all crime is terrorism

I mentioned the Patriot Act being used to go after meth labs in August:
The term "nuclear, biological or chemical weapon of mass destruction" applies to "any substance that is designed or has the capability to cause death or serious injury and ... is or contains toxic or poisonous chemicals or their immediate precursors."

And now there's this gem, showing that, in fact, this is Fatherland Security's favored approach, rather than just some loophole being attempted by an insane prosecutor: New Terror Laws Used Vs. Common Criminals:

"Within six months of passing the Patriot Act, the Justice Department was conducting seminars on how to stretch the new wiretapping provisions to extend them beyond terror cases," said Dan Dodson, a spokesman for the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys. "They say they want the Patriot Act to fight terrorism, then, within six months, they are teaching their people how to use it on ordinary citizens." [...]

Stefan Cassella, deputy chief for legal policy for the Justice Department's asset forfeiture and money laundering section, said that while the Patriot Act's primary focus was on terrorism, lawmakers were aware it contained provisions that had been on prosecutors' wish lists for years and would be used in a wide variety of cases.

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38 Responses:

  1. Boy, that was quick. They didn't even wait until the (2004) election.

    P.S. Please cut it with the Nazi allusions ("Fatherland", "Reichstag"); it undercuts your points by making it look like you have a poor sense of perspective.

    • jwz says:

      I think my sense of perspective is just fine, and the analogies are terrifyingly appropriate.

      • harryh says:

        Sure, if you have absolutely no sense of scale.

      • avva says:

        Your sense of perspective needs a sense of perspective.

        All you're achieving by this is showcasing your ignorance of what the Nazi regime was like.

        • jwz says:

          And you're showcasing your ignorance of how the Nazi regime rose to power.

          Whatever, I'm so not in the mood to argue about this. Feel free to not read my journal if my "lack of perspective" offends you.

          • avva says:

            Feel free to not read my journal if my "lack of perspective" offends you.

            It merely amuses me, that's all.

            People tend to think that someone who's a great bullshit detector in one field will naturally be at least good at detecting bullshit in other fields, too. But that's just so not true (and this applies to us all, alas). Sometimes it takes a particularly instructive example to realize just how not true it is.

            Apropos bullshit: an insightful analysis (philosophy, not politics).

          • arbat says:

            Well, you say that we are in an immediate danger of getting some kind of totalitarian state on our ass. Ok, then, let's run a simple test of how sure you are about it. Would you advocate immediate renounciation all gun-control laws?

            Knowing that taking guns out of people's hands always has been one of the first (and trullly necessary) acts of any known totalitarian regime - how soon do you excpect Bush will move on our guns?

        • flipzagging says:

          They Thought They Were Free

          "You see," my colleague went on, "one doesn't see exactly where or how to move. Believe me, this is true. Each act, each occasion, is worse than the last, but only a little worse. You wait for the next and the next. You wait for the one great shocking occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock comes, will join with you in resisting somehow.

          [...] "But the one great shocking occasion [...] never comes. That's the difficulty. "

          IMO the worst damage has already been done. People accept that the war on terrorism is all-encompassing, and that the normal rules of justice do not apply to the war on terrorism. Scary enough yet?

          That said, I don't think the USA is going the way of the Nazis. History doesn't repeat itself so neatly. But there is an increasing danger things could really go off the rails, in some peculiarly American direction.

    • baconmonkey says:

      "homeland" security...
      last I checked, This has not been used to protect the Apache, Ojibway, Hopi, Navajo, or Dakota people from hostile genocidal attacks.

  2. thesliver says:

    ...and in London the provisions of the Anti-Terrorism Act were applied by the Metropolitan Police to protesters on their way to the Arms Sales Fest.

  3. greyface says:

    *weighs the nonchalance "I knew this from the beginning" face against the nauseous hatred "6 months to pass a bill that we have to live with for 10 years, or really more likley, forever, and represents the single largest step away from a country with guaranteed liberties "we've" ever taken" face*

    • avva says:

      the single largest step away from a country with guaranteed liberties "we've" ever taken"

      Admittedly that would require some knowledge of history or a desire to learn, but you could try, measuring "the single largest step" against, for example, the Dred Scott case or the Alien and Sedition Acts, or the Sedition Act of 1918.

      • I mean the Tuskegee Experiment (whereby black men were infected with syphilis and left to die without their knowledge or consent), the internment camps for thousands of Japanese-American citizens during WWII (none of whom were ever convicted of spying), forced sterilization primarily of black citizens (as part of the American eugenics movement), centuries of black slavery and Native American genocide -- those sure pale in comparison to the gov't using the Patriot Act to fight non-terrorist crime!

        • jwz says:

          Does it have to be a contest?

          • No that is true.

            Let me make an addendum -- I agree that this is a very bad thing.

            It appears we're just arguing over the extent of the badness, which is really academic, so I'll just shut up now. :)

          • dolboeb says:

            Does it have to be a contest?

            It sure doesn't, but this list of previous wrongdoings in American history represents a timely reminder, speaking of perspectives and tendencies. By your logic, merely stepping up fight against non-terrorist crime (and the article in question talks only crime, not any sort of human rights activism) makes American society look - and eventually become - a Nazi one. Such a statement can hardly originate from someone who really cares about Nazi era history, or bears the slightest respect for the millions victims of Nazi prosecution.

            With all due respect to criminals' rights in modern America, Nazis never needed a criminal indiction to prosecute their victims.

        • Although the Tuskegee Experiment was abominable, let us stick to the truth. The subjects of the experiment were not infected with syphilis; they were only refused treatment.

  4. baconmonkey says:

    shit, that mean's booze and smokes will come next.
    Then you know, AIDS will be deemed a biological weapon, and the most obvious way to prevent those attacks it to round up those who spread it, and as any good theocratic republican knows, only fags get aids. But we can't forget about those other terroristic biological weapons, like herpes, syphilis, and such that are spread by those dangerous philandering degenerates who have sex before marriage. And we really can't round up all of them, so the obvious answer is to enlist families, and require that unmarried women be accompanied in public by a male relative to ensure that no terrorist can attack her with his biological weapons. look, it's all for their own good.
    Freedom means being free from these dangers, and thanks to these tools, consumers are once again free to go out and help the economy.

  5. ammonoid says:

    Yeah, a pint of ether used in making crank is a weapon of mass destruction. There is more toxic crap under your sink- it is possible to make chlorine gas by mixing bleach and windex, are they going to call those weapons too? Like no one could tell this was going to happen....

  6. mikeys says:

    This is a good article to drag around and show to people. When I saw it this morning I printed it out and stuck it outside my office. Then I went and gave some money to the ACLU (check to see if your company does matching) because all the half informed ignorant speculation and paranoid ranting is worth about jack shit compared to some lawyers on your side.

    Don't like the current state of affairs? Then either get yourself elected to public office, or give some fucking cold hard cash to some one who shares your point of view so they can get into office and put your paranoia to good use.


  7. taper says:

    Y'know, there's these huge groups constantly moving tanker trucks full of a substance that 1) has the capability to cause death or serious injury and 2) is a toxic chemical through our towns and across our interstate highways.

    We just need some enterprising DA to try to take out Exxon.

    • superlib says:

      Thank you. Thank you so much. You just scared the shit out of my boyfriend.

      Where did you find that little gem?

      You kick SO much ass...

    • flipzagging says:

      It's easy to catch someone in a Hitler-like pose, but IMO the scary part is the phalanx of flags behind him.

      Is it *really* just the American way to do this? Somehow I remember that prior to Reagan, one or two flags were enough, except of course for special days like the 4th of July.

      If any other head of state appeared in front of a zillion flags like this, people would just start giggling.

  8. So the Bush regime might not be exactly like the NAZIS... what about it's similarity to fascism itself? Personally, I maintain the reichstag incident (knowing that no-one knows for sure what happened in that case) has similarity to 9-11. The major components of similarity lie in the lack of information, unanswered questions and the LIES of this presidency. The thing to be wary of when dealing with fascism is not to bide our time and bite our tongues until the regimes are synonymous...because many people will have died by then.

    You know that in Nazi germany the supporters denied any wrong doing to the end. Yes, I agree that this is not the nazi party...But it's beginning to look alot like fascism.

    Maybe a hybrid of fascism and "republic democracy" who knows?

    The thing is this:
    Something's wrong.

  9. simuran says:

    Another funny thing is how meaning of a word "terrorism" changed over time. Here's what it *used* to mean:

    Terrorism \Ter"ror*ism\, n. [Cf. F. terrorisme.]
    The act of terrorizing, or state of being terrorized; a mode of government by terror or intimidation. --Jefferson.

    (Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913))