Monday, September 15, 2003

Of course the British are complete amatuers when it comes to jack-booting over civil liberties. Latest plans for turning America into a police mean combatting terrorists include:

  • Allowing federal agents to demand private records and compel testimony without the approval of a judge or even a federal prosecutor (I imagine future amendments will be made to allow them to be the executioner as well as the judge and jury).
  • Expanding the use of the death penalty in crimes like terrorist financing (objections to the death penalty aside, you'd better be damned sure about their definition of terrorism before you post that donation off to Greenpeace).
  • Requiring judges to presume that defendants in terrorism-related offences should not be allowed out on bail, unless the defense can persuade the judge otherwise. (Future amendments will no doubt require judges to presume that they are guilty until proven innocent).

Advisors have said that "even though the administration is confident that the United States is winning the war on terrorism, they have run into legal obstacles that need to be addressed." The legal obstacles that are referring to seem to be things like "due process" and "checks and balances" but hey, who needs them anyway?

I predicted at the time that there would be a massive roll back of basic freedoms as a consequence of September 11th but it doesn't really give me much pleasure saying "I told you so," particularly given that the next step will be for the Americans to pressure other governments into adopting similar restrictive laws (Hi Helen).