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Department of Justice Not So Interested in “Justice”

Juan Cole at Salon:

The U.S. Justice Department is considering a change in the grounds on which the FBI can investigate citizens and legal residents of the United States. Till now, DOJ guidelines have required the FBI to have some evidence of wrongdoing before it opens an investigation. The impending new rules, which would be implemented later this summer, allow bureau agents to establish a terrorist profile or pattern of behavior and attributes and, on the basis of that profile, start investigating an individual or group.

 If the aim is to identify al-Qaida operatives or close sympathizers in the United States, racial profiling is counterproductive. Such tiny, cultlike terror organizations are multinational. Richard Reid, the shoe bomber, is a Briton whose father hailed from Jamaica, and no racial profile of him would have predicted his al-Qaida ties. Adam Gadahn, an al-Qaida spokesman, is from a mixed Jewish and Christian heritage and hails from suburban Orange County, Calif.

Sadly, this sounds a lot less far-fetched than the Department of Homeland Security’s “shock bracelet” story from a couple of days ago. That famous old Benjamin Franklin quote seems particularly apt here. Our government has long been intent on selling away our liberties for safety and security, often with the cowed acquiescence — if not outright encouragement — of the people. Perhaps in this case the tradeoff will appear so high enough as to a reaction not limited merely to the ACLU, disgruntled, anti-Bush liberals, and other civil libertarians.

(via Tololy’s Box)

  1. Timothy says:

    Not being a bedwetting fraidy-cat pansy would be a good start. All this shit makes me hate suburban soccer moms even more.

  2. Chris Holman says:

    Let’s hope there’s some opposition. I mean, ‘they’ said that DHS wouldn’t be used in immoral/unethical ways and it only took several months before members of Congress were using DHS to track Texas State Congresspeople who fled their session and went into neighboring states in protest of…I think it was redistricting.

    The other problem is the way that stuff is put in place ‘to fight Al-Qaeda’ and then ends up being put to use to investigate environmentalists, political groups (including the AMISH of all people) and other just completely insane uses of a misappropriated power.

    Basically, the main response you hear is “trust us, you have nothing to worry about if you’re not doing anything wrong”. Then it’s one instance after another of people doing nothing wrong getting fucked with big time by the feds.

    It’s wrong on a LOT of levels.

    There are ways to do these sorts of things without diluting the country.

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