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View Poll Results: How Do You Feel About US Domestic Spying
Very UnHappy - Want To Shoot Everyone Involved Out Of Cannon 37 44.05%
UnHappy 15 17.86%
Not Sure 5 5.95%
Don't Care 5 5.95%
It's A Good Thing 16 19.05%
Shouldn't Happen - But Doesn't Really Bother Me 6 7.14%
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Re: How Do You Feel About US Domestic Spying
Old 05-14-2006, 08:25 AM   #41
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Re: How Do You Feel About US Domestic Spying

Theres a lot of assumptions going on here that arent correct.

"We are only spying on people who arent citizens". Incorrect. The phone records of over 100M people have been collected.

"We are at war". No we are not. A bunch of radical yahoos that are pissed at how we've conducted our political business in their home countries have chosen to commit crimes against our people here and abroad. That isnt even as good of an excuse as the ones we used to round up US citizens who were Japanese and herd them into camps in WW2.

"We're only looking at people who are suspicious or that we have information may be linked". No we are not. This is a broad net thats been cast that is then being used upside down to find connections between current suspicious people and newly suspicious people. We have no solid proof and no convictions that the people being examined have committed a crime, because the judicial branch of our government has not been utilized to fulfil its purpose, per the constitution and the bill of rights.

There also seems to be a proferred level of competency being given to these agencies...you know...the ones who all swore there were WMD's in Iraq?

"If you've done nothing wrong, you've got nothing to worry about". Right. The average american breaks 5-7 laws in the course of a day, most of them minor moving violations and petty misdemeanors. Everyone does "something" wrong. And clearly the people saying this have never ever been on the wrong end of the police. Their job is to fit you into the box of "evidence" they've gathered to the extent where a conviction can be obtained and they can go back to eating donuts.

Let me share the source of my angst. I have a friend I used to work with, who is an american citizen who relocated here from Jordan via Kuwait as a teenager. Shortly after 9/11 he was seized at gunpoint from his home in front of his wife and children by helmeted stormtroopers who ripped their house apart and took all of the computers and electronics. He was held as a "material witness" for almost a year with limited contact with his family and friends.

His crimes? He donated about $10,000 to a muslim charity which was later "tied to terrorist links" - although no proof ever came about, the charity still operates, and the 'terrorist links' appear to have gone off with the Iraqi WMD's. A lot of people gasped about the $10,000 amount. For a silicon valley guy dragging in a quarter to a half mil in stock options, thats a drop in the bucket. Oh yeah, and the charity donations were strongly urged by the leader of his mosque.

He also may have tried to obtain a plane ticket to fly into a country bordering afghanistan shortly after we invaded.

Thats it.

A case was made that he financially supported terrorism and may have intended to help aid and fight against our troops in afghanistan. He didnt actually DO anything.

At the end of more than a year of being held in jail without being charged or given a trial, this american citizens life was essentially over. His legal fees had eaten him and his family literally out of house and home. When he ran out of money for good legal defense, and without a decent case, he was offered a moderately lengthy jail sentence (he'll get out right about the time his young children are sending their kids off to high school) if he plead guilty to a charge of conspiracy to wage war against the US. His alternative was to remain in jail as a material witness indefinitely and ultimately face charges that could lead to life imprisonment or a treason charge.

It appears he may have been "involved" with some actual bad actors from his mosque. By involved, I mean he spoke with them, a few of them had some terrorist group links, and a few of them possessed illegal weapons.

So the case is:

- Made a donation at his churchs behest
- Looked at buying but cancelled the purchase of a plane ticket to a country neighboring afghanistan
- Knowing people who might have been criminals

He was 'reported' by his neighbors, who were quite uncomfortable with the arab guy who might be a terrorist who moved into the very high end upper class predominately white subdivision.

By the way, I know the guy. He's about as much of a terrorist as anybody else I know.

He didnt do anything wrong or commit any crimes.

Just a victim of some random data gathering...a donation...a cancelled online airline ticket purchase transaction...a 'tip' call from a neighbor.

Are we safer now?
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Re: How Do You Feel About US Domestic Spying
Old 05-14-2006, 11:41 AM   #42
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Re: How Do You Feel About US Domestic Spying

CFB -

I mourn for your friend, an American citizen who lost all his Constitutional Rights in this extra-legal show trial.* As Pogo said, we have found the enemy and it is us.

No - we are not more safe due to his experience.* Additionally, the 911 culprits are not any closer to being apprehended as long as it is more politically expedient for them to be on-the-loose as we argue whether there is a long-war or not.

I thank you for your elegance in presenting his particulars to us REers.

JohnP
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Re: How Do You Feel About US Domestic Spying
Old 05-14-2006, 11:56 AM   #43
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Re: How Do You Feel About US Domestic Spying

As long as the IRS does't look at my fabricated tax return too closley, I don't give a damn what US government agency digs into my phone or internet connections or yours.

(Hello NSA, if you are peeking at me today. )
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Re: How Do You Feel About US Domestic Spying
Old 05-14-2006, 12:11 PM   #44
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Re: How Do You Feel About US Domestic Spying

Quote:
Originally Posted by gtmeouttahere
People really need to get over themselves.* The government, in this situation, could care less about most of our dull lives.* They are only going after persons of interest.*
You miss the point. The people making the decision to hold someone as a "material witness" or an "enemy combatant" (aka, we don't need no stinkin' Constitution) are fallible humans. Some are also power-hungry and would use their knowledge for political or personal gain. Some are just stupid. With checks and balances, this activity is hindered. With a disregarding Presidency and a blase/rubberstamping Congress, the checks and balances are...unbalanced.

Innocent people faced the potato sack under Videla in Argentina. Innocent people were ruined by McCarthy.

But, hey, It Can't Happen Here. The government is at the door and it's here to help. Right?
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Re: How Do You Feel About US Domestic Spying
Old 05-14-2006, 12:47 PM   #45
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Re: How Do You Feel About US Domestic Spying

CFB--You are correct in that not all of the suspected people are not US citizens. Some are some aren't that's the way it works with immigaration. Think about it do you really think the Feds are looking through the records of 100m people. Do you realize how many agents that would take. Not to mention there are more phone calls made every day. The Feds don't have the resources to look at everything. They can't. So as I stated before their search is limited to those they have received information about who probably have connections to an international terrorist group. That's the b#$%^ of the job, your damed if you do and your damed if you don't. Do you even realize how many investigation into people are started, but the subjuect is never contacted, because no evidecne of wrong doing is produced. There are a lot.

However your comment that we are not at war is off, Congress has allocated money for the use of military action and declared war, with bi-partisan support, for the purpose of hunting down and killing Al Queada members. Yet you say were not at war. I don't ever remember the G saying they were done fighting the war on terror. That is the reason for the POW camp at GitMo.

The story your friend provided has many holes that make me question his position. Althougth it could be in the translation, it is being told by a second person to a thrid person.
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Re: How Do You Feel About US Domestic Spying
Old 05-14-2006, 01:03 PM   #46
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Re: How Do You Feel About US Domestic Spying

CFB,
Thanks for the personal account of your friend's present situation.

It wasn't clear if he's decided to take the deal or go to trial. The court system is designed to offer the ultimate protection to the wrongly accused--it's not perfect, but it's amongthe best in the world by most accounts. I hope your friend, if he believes he is innocent, goes to trial. If he does, you should hope that a lot of collection was done against his communications, since during discovery the defense can get these records (with some effort) and help to establish his innocence. If the records aren't released, he'll be in good shape for an acquittal.

At the risk of stirring up a firestorm:
-- There's a lot of strange circumstantial information here. If this individual had driven a carbomb up to a govt bulding, we'd all be reading about the "failure of police to do anything about a man with known ties to local radical living in our midst. Despite tips from those who knew him, a record of donating large sums to extremeist groups, and associations with domestic radicals, police failed in their . . ." You get the idea.

-- I don't think shutting down police investigative tools is the best way to protect the innocent. We need to be vigilant against unwarranted searches, but that is to protect privacy. Improper detentions can best be defended against by a vigilant court system, including civil court procedings where warranted.

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Re: How Do You Feel About US Domestic Spying
Old 05-14-2006, 01:22 PM   #47
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Re: How Do You Feel About US Domestic Spying

Minor nit, but Congress has NOT declared war...
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Re: How Do You Feel About US Domestic Spying
Old 05-14-2006, 01:36 PM   #48
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Re: How Do You Feel About US Domestic Spying

Quote:
Originally Posted by lets-retire
So as I stated before their search is limited to those they have received information about who probably have connections to an international terrorist group.
10s of millions of Americans have connections to international terrorist groups?!?

Joe McCarthy, is that you?
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Re: How Do You Feel About US Domestic Spying
Old 05-14-2006, 02:20 PM   #49
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Re: How Do You Feel About US Domestic Spying

How do you "declare war" on an unstructured enemy without a country or really any specific location?

Its a criminal investigation. And we dont let the police just listen in to anyones private discussions (written or verbal) without probable cause or a warrant.

Picking up the phone or hitting the 'send' key isnt probable cause.

As far as my friend, he wasnt given the option of a trial. In fact he wasnt charged. He was held like the guys at guantanamo bay...as a material witness/enemy combatant. He was kept from his family and only given a lawyer after a period of time.

I can tell you exactly what happened and the genesis, for the edification of the folks who think the government tries hard to "do it right". He got on a watch list because his neighbors called in "that terrorist looking fellow that lives in our neighborhood and always has other terrorist looking fellows over to the house". He mosque recommended a donation to a muslim charity that they believed favored good causes, none of which have ever been determined to be in support of terrorism.

He and some co-worshippers, several of which are more recently from various muslim countries, became concerned about our invasion of afghanistan and whether this was a war on terrorism or a war on muslims. They talked about travelling to afghanistan, perhaps fighting, perhaps helping refugees...they werent really particularly sure. They just thought they ought to do something. Some of them got plane tickets. Some didnt. This guy got as far as the confirmation stage on buying the ticket, then cancelled.

His donation was "discovered" by the government group covering his existence on the "watchlist" when a computer spit out the correlation of his being on the watchlist, having made a large cash donation to a muslim charity suspected of terrorist ties...and a cancelled ticket request to fly to a country adjacent to afghanistan.

The bottom line: he didnt DO anything. He wasnt GOING to do anything. He THOUGHT about doing SOMETHING. He wasnt sure what. He decided to do NOTHING.

He did find out the answer to the question: "is it a 'war' against muslims or terrorists", I guess.

The justice department needed some wins to show they're "making progress". They ruined this guys entire life, his family's life, and made his kids hate America. In the end it was "Ya wanna rot in jail pretty much forever, maybe get a trial, probably lose, probably spend 40 years in prison, or will you 'rat out' your friends, throw yourself on the mercy of the court, and get a middling length sentence?". After more than a year of staring at the bars until he ran out of money, he accepted the latter.

Wake up people.
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Re: How Do You Feel About US Domestic Spying
Old 05-14-2006, 02:27 PM   #50
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Re: How Do You Feel About US Domestic Spying

Quote:
Theres a lot of assumptions going on here that arent correct.
Correct me if I am wrong but I think the Bill of Rights is the 'law of the land' that applies to everyone, not just American citizens. *Citizenship is required to be a Representative, Senator, or President.
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Re: How Do You Feel About US Domestic Spying
Old 05-14-2006, 08:20 PM   #51
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Re: How Do You Feel About US Domestic Spying

Quote:
Originally Posted by unclemick2

Being an old defense contractor type employee - maybe we should contract out domestic spying and pay bonus bounty for real live terriosts?
I'm game for that!!!
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Re: How Do You Feel About US Domestic Spying
Old 05-14-2006, 08:28 PM   #52
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Re: How Do You Feel About US Domestic Spying

Old Cheech and Chong skit:

Cheech: "Is it true you can get a reward for turning in a drug dealer?"

Sgt. Stadenko: Yes, son, that's true."

Cheech: "Well, then, I want to turn in Billy. He sold me this $hit that wouldn't get a fly high..."

:P
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Re: How Do You Feel About US Domestic Spying
Old 05-15-2006, 02:12 AM   #53
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Re: How Do You Feel About US Domestic Spying

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cute Fuzzy Bunny
Wake up people.
OK, I'm awake. Got up from my nap and decided to read this thread. Based on your description, it sounded like your coworker should have been charged with some sort of conspiracy offense. So, I googled [edited] and found this guy:

[link removed]

If this is the guy you're saying didn't DO anything, it's still considered bad karma to conspire against the US. Illegal, too.

I'm definitely on the side of civil liberties, but this guy confessed and went to jail.

[link removed]

Personally, I think he's still a sympathetic character. I have no idea what I might have done in his shoes -- if I felt my religion and/or homeland were being unfairly attacked by my host country. But, this doesn't look like a valid indictment against The System.

MODERATOR EDIT: Revealing personal details of another poster and/or his acquaintences. - BMJ
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Re: How Do You Feel About US Domestic Spying
Old 05-15-2006, 11:42 AM   #54
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Re: How Do You Feel About US Domestic Spying

Of course, you need the rest of the story, not just what hits the papers.

Going before a judge and saying "I didnt do anything, but since i'm having my arm twisted, I guess I'm guilty" gets you very little "leniency", while "I did something wrong and throw myself on the mercy of the court" gets you an oh-so-short 7 years of being beaten up in prison "cuz yer one of them terrorists".

If you read the article you posted, I think that says it all.

"But that same year, neighbors reported to the FBI, he became noticeably more devout. He grew a beard, wore Arab clothing, prayed five times a day and regularly attended mosque. He also became noticeably less friendly.

Further inquiry found that [name removed] paid up his house mortgage (interest payments go against Islamic law) and donated more than $10,000 to the Global Relief Foundation, an Islamic charity subsequently closed for financing terrorist groups [as an aside, if you read up on this charity, there were no criminal charges] . Early in 2001, he went on pilgrimage to Mecca. And "Middle Eastern males" were seen coming and going from his house."

So becoming "more muslim" is a crime worthy of being reported and gaining FBI attention?

Seizing an american citizen and their property and imprisoning them for an extended period without filing charges because they got "more religious", paid off their mortgage and donated to charity is ok?

I think a lot of people tried to reduce this to "well, he admitted committing a crime and said he was sorry, so I guess he was guilty after all".

He said what he had to say to get the "best" outcome. Justice wasnt an option.

If that isnt getting through, perhaps if YOU paid off your mortgage, made a donation and starting becoming more christian and having a lot of them there christians hanging around, and talking about christian oppression is fair game for you to be grabbed, shoved in jail and held without charges? Just to stay on the safe side?

Somebody needed a "poster boy", this guy fit the bill. He got handed a very long, very ****ty stick and was asked exactly how far up the stick he wanted to grab to get out of the hole he was in.

MOD EDIT: Removed name after removing references from Wab's post. -BMJ
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Re: How Do You Feel About US Domestic Spying
Old 05-15-2006, 01:15 PM   #55
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Re: How Do You Feel About US Domestic Spying

This should make everyone happy.

http://newsblogs.chicagotribune.com/...ource_tel.html

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Re: How Do You Feel About US Domestic Spying
Old 05-15-2006, 01:28 PM   #56
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Re: How Do You Feel About US Domestic Spying

I wonder if they'l find/arrest the guy who is "tipping off" the reporters.

The reporters are protected from charges of divulging secrets . The weasels who are leaking classified information are not--they should expect to be the subject of all legitimate investigatory tools available to the government, to be arrested, and to do time.
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Re: How Do You Feel About US Domestic Spying
Old 05-15-2006, 01:38 PM   #57
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Re: How Do You Feel About US Domestic Spying

Legitimate.
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Re: How Do You Feel About US Domestic Spying
Old 05-15-2006, 01:42 PM   #58
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Re: How Do You Feel About US Domestic Spying

do time
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Re: How Do You Feel About US Domestic Spying
Old 05-15-2006, 03:09 PM   #59
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Re: How Do You Feel About US Domestic Spying

Quote:
Originally Posted by retire@40
Even in the worst case scenario, if the government is listening to every conversation I have and every posting I make, it wouldn't bother me since I don't do anything illegal - at least not intentionally . *They would get bored with me very quickly.

I doubt most reasonable, honest people would think the government would be concerned with their lives.

The people that make noise in this area are usually people who are looking for attention or want to think they are more important than other people.
I have not read the whole thread... but it makes me boil that people would so easily let the police state take over just because they are honest and they would not find anything... THAT IS NOT THE POINT... They would find nothing with ME, but I do not think they have the RIGHT to even LISTEN... The constitution is supposed to prevent unreasonable search and seizures... who should decide? Not the police who is doing the searching... but the courts... Bypassing the courts is the problem here...

I am ALL for listening to the terrorists... once they get a warrent which would be signed in a hearbeat if they had evidence there was a terrorist...
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Re: How Do You Feel About US Domestic Spying
Old 05-15-2006, 03:17 PM   #60
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Re: How Do You Feel About US Domestic Spying

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Originally Posted by lets-retire


I'll leave my post at this as I'm tired of debating with people about war time issues, who seem to forget WE ARE AT WAR whether we like it or not.
Lets retire...

I am getting a bit tired of this also... I heard Britt Hume say something this weekend about them spying and he used the 'We are at WAR' to justify it... well, just because we are at WAR does not give the government more rights...

And lets be real... this is NOT a conventional war with a known enemy... nor at a known country.. and we will be 'at war' with this group until everybody on this board is dead... so I do not want to give up my rights for the rest of my life just because 'we are at war'..
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