Overview of Changes to Legal Rights
By The Associated Press

September 5, 2002, 11:44 AM EDT
Some of the fundamental changes to Americans’ legal rights by the Bush administration and the USA Patriot Act following the terror attacks:

  • FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION: Government may monitor religious and political
    institutions without suspecting criminal activity to assist terror investigation.
  • FREEDOM OF INFORMATION: Government has closed once-public immigration hearings, has secretly detained hundreds of people without charges, and has encouraged bureaucrats to resist public records requests.
  • FREEDOM OF SPEECH: Government may prosecute librarians or keepers of any other records if they tell anyone that the government subpoenaed information
    related to a terror investigation.
  • RIGHT TO LEGAL REPRESENTATION: Government may monitor federal prison
    jailhouse conversations between attorneys and clients, and deny lawyers to
    Americans accused of crimes.
  • FREEDOM FROM UNREASONABLE SEARCHES: Government may search and seize Americans’ papers and effects without probable cause to assist terror
  • RIGHT TO A SPEEDY AND PUBLIC TRIAL: Government may jail Americans
    indefinitely without a trial.
  • RIGHT TO LIBERTY: Americans may be jailed without being charged or being
    able to confront witnesses against them.


167 thoughts on “FYI”

  1. just a small point of information for Canadian:
    “Someone very insightfully made a comparison with Ancient Roman Empire. Well, if you need a reminder, it fell with a big crash.”
    Most ancient historians would nowadays dispute that strongly. Gibbon’s Decline and Fall covers a period of 1500 years, after all…
    Which is not to say that I necessarily disagree with the rest of what you have to say.

  2. You know, I’ve been trying to comment on these things for AGES now, and all I got was called a “gutless euro-liberal whiny turd”. I mean, you’d think someone would notice…but nooooooo.
    I mean, seriously guys. Spending more than, say half an hour a day, reading real newspapers and being objective about your informaton sources, is all it takes. I knew about this months ago, when all the British Media went into apoplexy over the Patriot Act. We couldn’t believe that it was allowed to happen. When our Gov tried to bring in similar measures we managed to make them back down on most of them.
    When I read about this the first time round, i thought,
    “Thank fuck I’m not in America”
    I still think that. I mean, Tony Blair may be a lying little shit, and he may be “Shrubs Poodle”, but we still have a democratic control over him.
    Bush is using a time honoured tactic (or at least, someone else is doing it for him, it does require concentration). He’s keeping your attention focused on external situations to ensure he can yank your rug of liberty out from under you.
    Question: Whats the point of fighting dictators around the world to ensure world peace, if you don’t have any liberty left once your finished? By all means lets get Al Quaeda, but all these security measures will simply ensure that Bush has a tighter control over your lives, and won’t really stop a determined terrorist from carrying out some level of atrocity.
    You have to ask yourselfs..why are these laws REALLY in place? To protect us, the people, or to protect the power of them, the Government?

  3. Individually we can get angry.
    Together, we can, and will make a difference.
    Seek out, and attend peaceful protests in your area, write letters, but most importanly: EDUCATE EDUCATE EDUCATE.
    An informed population is an empowered population.

  4. Of course, I saw an interview of Clinton where he said that he agrees with what Bush is doing, and thinks that Saddam should be deposed. So it *isn’t* just Bush saying these things. Yes, this disturbs me a little, but it’s nothing that hasn’t been happening little by little over the years, and that includes the Clinton years, folks. Our government has become too big for it’s breeches, plain and simple. We have turned a good idea into a monster, and I am not sure there is any way to go back now.

  5. Government may jail Americans indefinitely without a trial? Freedom of speech? They don’t really sound like they belong together, do they?

  6. Well, we shouldn’t really be surprised, should we? This administration was NOT elected by the American people, but was put into power by a fradulent, biased court. The election was STOLEN from the people. Can you say ‘coup’????
    This is the scariest bunch of goons to come to power in US history, and you can bet that the shit is still gonna hit the fan with these guys. “We ain’t seen nothin’ yet!”

  7. Gah!!! ::whimpers:: I really want to know what is going on in the mind of our President? It seems not much by the look of it. Being paranoid and iron fisted will only lead the U.S. down a path that we don’t really want to go down. The U.S. was a proud nation, proud that we skipped all that arcaic shite that Europe went through. ::scoffs:: Some of these rights harken back to those primative days that we are so proud of never having gone through. I say Boo on it, these changes will only cause more strife and discord in an already tense nation.
    but that is my half a cent…

  8. Yes, a biased court did influence the 2000 presidential election: The Florida Supreme Court, by approving recounts (2) only in predominantely Democratic precincts. Thank goodness the U. S. Supreme Court stepped in and ended this attempt to hand an unwon victory to Gore by not allowing this cherry picking approved by the FSC to go on.
    It’s amazing how few know what actually happened during that time. Or, maybe it’s not amazing.

  9. Alacrity, here is some info regarding the FL recounts…
    Question: Who actually received the most votes in Florida’s 2000 presidential election?
    Answer: Al Gore. State election officials ultimately declared George W. Bush the winner by a margin of 537 votes, but during and after the election dispute, questions remained about the uncounted ballots of 175,010 voters, ballots that had been rejected by error-prone tabulating machines employed in many Florida counties. Confusion and conflict, much of it generated by partisan intrigue, prevented these ballots from being counted during the election controversy. However, in 2001 every uncounted ballot was carefully examined in a scientific study by the University of Chicago, which concluded that when all the votes were counted, more votes had been cast for Gore than for Bush.
    Q: Why did some earlier post-election studies say just the opposite, that is, that Bush had actually won after all?
    A: They did not really say this. They reported, instead, that Bush might have kept his lead if the manual recounts of machine-rejected ballots had been completed along the lines either requested by Gore or initially mandated by the Florida Supreme Court. In these recount scenarios, not all of the machine-rejected ballots would have been included. However, just before the U.S. Supreme Court intervened, the judge overseeing the final statewide recount was preparing to announce that the recount would cover all of the previously uncounted ballots.
    Q: Are manual recounts inherently biased or subjective?
    A: No. In any election, many discarded ballots contain votes that are completely unambiguous. Of particular importance in the 2000 election were the ballots on which a selection had been made from the list of candidates and then a name had also been printed in the space for write-ins. Although these “write-in overvotes” were automatically excluded by tabulating machines, they contained unambiguous and legally valid votes whenever the write-in candidate matched the candidate chosen from the list preceding it. In its comprehensive study of all the uncounted ballots, the University of Chicago found that these write-in overvotes heavily favored Gore.
    Q: Why were more errors like this made by Democrats than by Republicans?
    A: The social characteristics of Florida Democrats. The two groups making the most errors were African Americans and seniors, who are core constituencies of the Florida Democratic Party. Seniors probably made errors because of weak eyesight and other physical limitations caused by aging. African Americans may have made errors because of the anxiety they are likely to feel at the polls, where in the not-very-distant past they would have routinely faced threats, violence, police harassment, and worse.
    Q: Why should ballots with mistakes on them have been counted at all?
    A: The law required all discernible votes to be counted. Rejecting ballots only because they contain technical errors would have been a violation of Florida election law (Section 101.5614(5)).
    Q: Did Florida officials faithfully execute the state’s election laws?
    A: No. The New York Times and The Washington Post discovered evidence that Florida’s governor, secretary of state, and speaker of the House, all Republicans with close ties to George W. Bush, used their offices to manipulate the election controversy and secure Bush’s victory. During the controversy, they collaborated either directly or through intermediaries with the legal and political advisers of George W. Bush to: (1) put pressure on the state’s top law firms not to work for Gore; (2) bend the rules on absentee ballots to allow improperly marked absentee ballots to be counted; (3) block, stall or discredit manual recounts; and (4) create fears of a constitutional crisis so that the U.S. Supreme Court would intervene.
    Q: Will changes to state election laws that were enacted in 2001 prevent the same problems from recurring?
    A: No. In fact, the badly named Florida Election Reform Act is in many respects a step backward. It was enacted before the Times and the Post reported that Florida’s public officials at the highest levels had collaborated with George W. Bush’s advisers to block fair and proper execution of Florida’s election laws. Consequently, the legislation focused on modernizing Florida’s vote-casting and vote-tabulating equipment but failed to deal with the more serious problem of partisan corruption in the state’s system of election administration.
    Q: What can be done to assure that Florida’s election system is administered properly to minimize voter confusion, count all valid votes, and reduce bias associated with race and age?
    A: Amend the Florida Constitution. Florida elections are unlikely to be fair and accurate until their administration is constitutionally removed from the hands of partisan officials and prohibited from being biased against any groups of people who face special challenges when voting.
    Of course, additional votes were wrongfully excluded through the purge of the voter roles ordered by Katherine Harris, where errors in identifying people as felons were not corrected. An estimated 22,000 Gore votes were not allowed because of the purge. This should be #5 in the sixth answer above.
    The first thing doubters will bring up is the overseas military vote. They think those votes were disallowed. Not true. Gore asked that they be allowed, even the ones that were not legal votes because they were sent after the election ended.
    After the media backed recount, all the headlines in the “liberal media” said bush won. But if you actully read the articles bush only one if everything was done the same as it was already done. If they did any kind recount, whether the most liberal or the most conservative versions, Gore won. And that does not even include adding in the votes of the people who where prevented from voting by jeb & katherine’s voter roll purge.
    Also, here is a great video from Greg Palast that should leave little doubt.

  10. *groan*
    Anyone want to place bets on how long it takes for the whole “Who Won The Election” debate to be rellegated to the History books?
    I’m betting longer the “Who Shot JFK” debate.
    Go outside and get some fresh air and sunlight before winter comes, forcing you to stay in your hermetically sealed houses!

  11. Will you all stop quibbling! Please! For those of you who thought yourselves ‘free’ within this country, you just haven’t done enough to capture the notice of our government yet. You are not free, folks. You are prisoners of the least common denominator and the continuing manipulation of the constitution through the corporate mass media.
    And to the conservatives out there who feel safe at home with your guns, the Army has been given the right to conduct offensive operations on American soil. Let’s see you stand up to an Abrams tank.

  12. …unless they are a well liked celebraty.
    no, really this is kinda heart breaking. everything that our country prides itself on is slowly slipping away.

  13. Canada is no better, I live here are there is just as much corruption. I plan to eventually move to the Netherlands if things get worst.

  14. Weel, boys and girls, it seems to me that the timing here was perfect. Last week, we all voiced out opinion to Creation, and our cry was heard and acted upon. Now It’s time for us to pick up our pens once more and write to our repective congress-people. I know that many of you, like myself, are skeptical that it would actually work, but changes like these, for what ever the reason, are unacceptible and unconstitutional.

  15. Ay, gods.
    In response to those stating the Newsday site is biased, or the article may not be grounded in fact:
    The source of the article Wil quoted was Newsday, but the author of the article, as was clearly stated in the post title–is the Associated Press.
    Now, the AP may be many things, but for the most part, it is GENERALLY regarded as a fairly objective, accurate, unbiased news source. (as unbiased as a ‘news source’ can get anyway)
    The ‘Overview of Changes’ article is simply a summary of several articles and discussions on law changes since 9/11 that have been appearing in most major ‘news sources’ for the past few days.
    None of the changes listed are factually incorrect. And honestly–that article could have been written in much more inflammatory language. It was *extremely* mild, comparatively.
    As others have already stated, this is nothing new. These changes are months old.
    And for those attempting to minimize the impact of the changes, just browse through the AP Wire, or the New York Times or the Washington Post for a bit. Put in some search terms like ‘detainees’ or ‘Ashcroft’ or ‘FBI’.
    I’d post dozens of links to relevant articles, but I don’t want to post anything ‘biased.’ :)
    And you know…I knew this already, was already terrified and infuriated by the Patriot Act and other such things…but seeing it all typed up neatly and comprehensively…
    Gods, I’m depressed. Forget Canada–I vote for Tierra Del Fuego.

  16. Oh and one more thing… if you think this is all because it’s the Bush administration, guess again. Both your parties are evil, Clinton praised the Turkish government for their dealings with “terrorism” (which was of course slaughtering innocent Kurds).

  17. I see that I am not the only one considering dropping my American citizenship.
    Bush is a @#%&*!! MADMAN.
    Anyone with half a brain would see that he is just using 9/11 as a reason to start a war with Iraq/terrorists, etc. Hmmm… I wonder if the reason he is doing that is to detract attention from is pathetic stint as “president” and his utter inability to do anything competently.
    I didn’t like or trust the guy from the get go.
    Here is the main problem here, though: Unless people actually get enough guts to join together to stand up for their rights, the government will continue to do whatever the hell they want.
    Except for a few groups, that has not happened. The average American is so caught up in their day to day life, they won’t even realize what has happened to their rights until they are gone.
    I would move to Canada, where it seems that you still have your basic rights. The American government is quickly turning into a dictatorship badly disguised as a democracy. It is disgusting and a complete sham.
    Wait until the anniversary for 9/11 comes around. Watch the speech that Bush will obviously make. There will be flag waving and patriotism galore; enough to make even the most empathetic person puke.
    The irony is, Bush will speak of how great this country is because we are “free” etc. ad nauseum, yet he and his cronies are the ones taking away the freedoms we have had for 200+ years.
    Like I said, Canada is starting to look good.

  18. Well, blame the 50.whatever% people that voted for Baby Bush. The guy is an idiot and total moron. He has the Gestapo in his administration and as staffers but he’s too stupid to realize it.

  19. Scott,
    “Well, blame the 50.whatever% people that voted for Baby Bush.”
    Actually it was 48% that voted for Baby Bush.
    49% voted for Gore.

  20. The problem is that for those of you living in the States, it very difficult to get information on the outside world that is not american orientated. When was the last time you saw an article on the news that had nothing to do with the States?
    Please try and read news from other countries, it will open your mind to why so much of the rest of the world has a real problem with that dunce, Goerge W. Bush.

  21. until there’s no longer threats of terrorism by RELIGOUS FANATICS, I’d much rather live in a country with these laws, than in the open-door country we had before 9/11..I’ll take safety for 500, alex, thank you very much

  22. I had to come back to this and see what ended up being posted next – glad I did. (And it gave me a chance to post my two fav personal URLs equal linking coverage from my name up there ha ha!) Anyway, there seems to be a debate in here about whether Americans are free or not.
    It’s obvious: yes and no.
    NO CIVILIZED ORGANIZATION OF PEOPLE CAN BE DEFINED AS FREE as many of you here have defined it. A NATION IS MERELY A CONSENSUS BETWEEN MINDS THAT THERE EXISTS A NATION. That’s it. That’s all there is. And with that consensus comes RULES. INHERENTLY.
    Are we free then? Well, Of Course we are! The rules I and my fellow Americans agree to in this illusion of America are much less strict than they are in most other nations. And there is some give and take – in some places, they can do things I can’t legally do here, and vice-versa. But I can’t think of ANYTHING I want to do that I can’t legally do, aside from things that are totally selfish in nature and add nothing to my community (i.e. destruction og property). IF I WANT TO ORGANIZE A REVOLUTION TO CHANGE THE NATURE OF THE ILLUSION, I CAN. I have the right to organize people to act to change the rules of the current illusion. That’s all revolution is. Or, I can act within the rules, and use due-process to make change. Those are my only legitimate options.
    All things considered, I’m pretty damn content with this illusion we’re all participating in (if you know we exist you’re participating) given other situations I could be living in.
    Signed ~pup, fierce patriot, Inde-damn-pendent, American, and not one to forget my American origins as pauper farmers in Ireland, land-owners in Britain, religious outcasts in Scotland, losing-war-tribes in Germany forced into Denmark, whence we became religious outcasts again, African hunters and gatherers rounded up and brought to the New World as slaves, etc. etc. etc. We are all one, people, seriously, and it’s all been done before.
    I still haven’t checked to see if the Patriot Act expires on its own or if it has to be legislated (like that’s gonna happen easily!) Dang.

  23. “Americans may be jailed without being charged or being able to confront witnesses against them.”
    This is the scary one, because without the right to know what we are accused of and question our accusers, we have no hedge against any hidden agenda. There simply is no defense against a hidden or personal agenda.

  24. psh..FREEDOM FROM UNREASONABLE SEARCHES..happens all the time…before sept 11th. happened to me as a matter of fact, 3 years ago. Not a new thing.
    RIGHT TO LEGAL REPRESENTATION..also not a new thing
    FREEDOM OF SPEECH right. like we ever had it in the first place.
    FREEDOM OF INFORMATION..have you ever TRIED to get public records? You have a better chance finding the holy grail.
    FREEDOM OF do you think they found out about Waco?
    These rights (as well as many others) have been being violated for years. The problem isnt the government, it’s US. WE are responsible for the downfall of everything WE say we cherish. The government (and the media) doesnt control us. We control them. Makes it even worse when we cant blame an autonomous evil entity. Which is why it doesnt change. Noone wants to punish themselves for their own stupidity.

  25. I’m posting everything in one post and I won’t be responding (e-mail me off list if you want to continue the discussion):
    Derek: I’ve been considering it myself for some time now. However, my wife seems dead set against it – not out of any love for America, but for purely superficial reasons (mostly materialist) that I detest.
    Canadian: Smugness is shitty regardless of which side of the border it comes from.
    Sean: Where’d you move to?
    Ember Ryan: There *is* no way to change things in this country. We’re a one-party system disguised as a two-party system. The masses are content to have their DVD and DSS and free delivery and drive-thrus and Monday Night Football (and more recently, their empty nationalist rhetoric). I did my part to change things. I voted for Nader. It doesn’t work. It will never work. It’s corporate idiot A or corporate idiot B, forever and ever, world without end. America is done. Game over.
    Canadian (Redux): Again, mind the smugness. Never forget that America is your Mexico.
    evan: The religious fanatics were a threat to us even before 9/11. Even before Islam became a household word. Don’t forget that most Americans think that “Freedom Of Religion” means freedom to be a Baptist or a Methodist.
    See you in Utrecht.

  26. Ah, the sound of liberal blather. The reason you cats are so pissed is that you dimwits ‘got no ground to stand on, no position on which your candidates can run and the logic (and brain power)of a fruit fly sucking on the edge of a glass filled with everclear and vodka.
    Oh, so sorry, that(3000 +)people got in the way of those planes, they should have been more considerate, as not to cause YOU any inconvience.
    ‘Night ‘tards.

  27. Well, I just saw a documentation about this here in europe. I must say you americans are in a very difficult situation right now.
    But I give you one thing to think about: It’s funny that the USA declares their society as democratic when only 50% of the population really goes voting.
    Here in germany nearyl 80% of our population goes voting – and so is thinking in a democratic way.
    Maybe your country don’t want democracy anymore. Maybe the cicizens of the USA don’t want democracy anymore and that’s why they let this happen.
    Sometimes a man only sees a good thing when he had loosed it. Maybe that’s gonna have to happen to the USA.

  28. Its nice the way any argument against the loss of American Civil Rights can be scuppered by mentioning 9/11. (not). All those people died so it must be ok for the Government to shit on the very rights that they are supposed to uphold, right?
    Reppression of the American people is not the way to go and never will be. Anyone who thinks that the Patriot Act and its ilk will only be used to catch terrorists clearly have no understanding of the concept of corruption. What happens if the Patriot Act is used against people who speak out against the Government? Exactly what system is in place to prevent that from happening?
    Its so much easier for gun-bunnies with no real argument to dismiss Liberalism as “blather”, than it is for them to put forward a strong, well argued case for why we should all kow-tow to “Big Brother”. Maybe Orwell was just 8 years too early, huh? I wonder when they’ll start brainwashing people (oops looks like they already have.)
    The German guy, T.S, pointed out that sometimes you don’t know what you’ve got till its gone. Trouble is, theres people in the US who are activly trying to give it away.

  29. Hey guys, Canada is no better, we do whatever the States does. Its already beginning. As soon as it gets too bad I will be out of here as soon as possible. Countrys not to go to are as follows,: USA, Canada, and England. The only country I am thinking about is the Netherlands. If weed is made legal then I will believe in Canada again because it will prove that we are not just another state, but if its not…forget it.

  30. mccarthy was the front man for an inquisition that created terror for many americans…others lurked in the background letting him do the dirty work…now the offspring of those lurkers would try to sell us this load of crap in the light of day!…the attacks of september 11th were bad enough…at some point you have to realize the the cure they are proposing is worse than the disease.

  31. Don’t ever get carried away and give up your USA passport! With that, you get respect, deference, and special treatment just about anywhere you go in the world. Try traveling with the passport of some small third world country and you will quickly regret it.

  32. Well Jim
    With a American passport you can also get tortured and killed in many countries aslo. With a Canadian one you may have a chance in those same places. In france you god if your Canadian:)
    I may try for dual citizenship with Canada and the Netherlands…if it’s possible.

  33. Or I would suggest moving to Austrailia or Greenland..NOTHING ever happens there… I will learn to play with Kangaroos and play the dingereedoo…or however its spelled. -Hits Bush with a large golden strap-on-

Comments are closed.