"We are at War"

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A disturbing tale of Patriot Act enforcement in a New York City Indian restaurant here.

[Link courtesy Angela Keaton]

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  1. The sonofabitching, fucking bastards! When do we get liberated?

  2. Not to impose common sense into perfectly fine religion bashing, but the founders/settlers of this country were fleeing religious persecutuion. I think they, as well as many other “good, moral born again christians” would and do have an acute sensitivity to and a severe problem with the loss of civil freedoms. Especially since these days being a good, moral born again Christian probably gets you put on a couple of watchlists.

  3. Um. I’d love to know the rationale behind this. Indians look sorta like a-rabs. So. . . let’s raid indian restaurants on the off chance some terrorist is hiding in the kitchen?

    (On a more trivial note: I’m a white guy, and I figure I have a little under a 50% chance of getting pulled aside for a “random” search before I get on an airplane. This is based on my past experience getting on planes since 9/11. 12 flights/5 searches. I get searched a little under half the time. I’d love to hear someone explain why that happens because I don’t look too swarthy).

  4. I’m glad we’re working to make an Iraq a free democracy. Once we’re finished, we can try doing the same back home. This story — and countless other similar Patriot Act horror stories — should scare the pants off every decent American.

    OK, so we’re at war, we’re at war. I do understand. What I don’t understand is this: If we’re such a great country because we value our freedom, why is that the first thing we’re willing to shitcan? If the only way to fight this war is to eliminate civil rights and personal liberty, what exactly are we fighting to save?

  5. ..a member of a group known for exaggerating & lying to support its agenda (msf) wouldn’t possibly act in a similar way…no, we won’t question or look into this story, we’ll just print it as the truth…

    (yes, the doctors of msf do great work, it’s the marxist developmental staffworkers I’m referring to)

  6. hey junyo!

    sure. agreed. however, ditto for islam. (remember the “the answer is D” story floating around, there to justify profiling, detainment?)

    and it’s a good call about “religion bashing”, so i’ll restrict the bashing to PATRIOT and to all of those who voted for it and support it. fair enough.

    it’s just that it’s really tiring listening to santorum talk his “moral” game, listening to a whole throng of people who, correctly, were aghast at the jack-booted government thuggery at ruby ridge and waco, but they’ve disappeared from the fury they exhibited back then.

    and we can also play the “i know people who are devout [fill in the blanks: southern baptist, islamic, etc] and they’re not terrorists/bad guys. they’re great people”. just when you’ve got that “god as law” thing going, where “hate the sinner” (operative word being “hate”) is a big component, that bums me out.

    i went to a horribly PC school during the worst of the PC era (late 80s early 90s) (hamilton college — it sucked. don’t go there.) — so i’m (overly) sensitive to the horrors the PC left does to those who are devout and religious. But I do take major offense as well to those who wish the ten commandments in courtrooms or in govt bldgs. that’s just as bad.

    this PATRIOT ACT, enabled in part by compliant, cowardly democrats is a terrible infringement on civil liberties. and of course, common sense aside (grin — very nice — if you’re not careful, i’d be buying you the first beer!!, grin again!), the founding fathers didn’t have any of that “in god we trust” stuff (for me that’s bullshit, because i’m an atheist) on coins or as a motto. or “one nation under god”. TJ was a deist, wasn’t he? and the puritans were only for religious freedom for themselves and persecuted away — and roger williams left for providence, RI.

    and don’t forget the treaty in tripoli from 1797 (signed by prez adams) that stated “. . . the government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; . . .”)

    so, while your point is well taken, the seemingly fundamentalist-political movement is as equally disturbing as the PC mov’t… both, for me, contain elements that would wish to squash dissentors, non-believers, competing points of view, and suchlike.

    enjoy!
    cheers,
    drf

  7. “Like most Americans, I did not recognize the extent to which this bill foregoes our civil liberties.”

    Foregoes? Does he mean that this “bill” PRECEDES the Constitution? ABSTAINS FROM, DOES WITHOUT? Maybe RELINQUISHES? Regardless, it’s an unnecessarily inventive (read: tortured) usage + poor word choice made in a vain effort to sound smart. Regardless, I’m glad he survived his ordeal & I hope he was not made to forego the vital human drama that is Rent.

  8. And once again, Regardless.

  9. Not to rain on anyone’s parade here, but this sounds like a big fat load of crap.

    “‘Yes, we have every right,'” responded one of the agents. “You are being held under the Patriot Act following suspicion under an internal Homeland Security investigation.'”

    “Like most Americans, I did not recognize the extent to which this bill foregoes our civil liberties.” [Bullshit… See how he tries to seem normal by saying “Like most Americans…” He worked for DWB and asks us to donate to the ACLU… just like most Americans do? I’m guessing he was screaming about it right from the beginning.]

    “We insisted that we had every right to leave and were going to do so. One of the policemen walked over with his hand on his gun and taunted: ‘Go ahead and leave, just go ahead.'”

    “‘We are at war, we are at war and this is for your safety,'” she exclaimed.”

    Please. They only say shit like this on COPS. If I were to honestly believe that these quotes are legitimate, I’d have to throw out everything I know about human nature. Have you people ever heard of corroboration?

  10. Right now, I’m almost wishing that Flight 183 made it to the Capitol building. Between the welfare state, the police state, and the nanny state, there’s little doubt in my mind that if the Founding Fathers were around today, they’d be calling for another revolution, regardless of how violent it wound up being.

  11. Well, in view of how the drug war has been fought, I think the story is credible. In fact, having personally experienced the sort of gestapo-like tactics police officers and DEA agents use when they attack a home on suspicion of drug possession, this doesn’t surpirse me at all.

  12. geophile sums it up, I think. Does anyone truly believe these events would have occurred in a Disney Square area restaurant without anyone else noticing, commenting on it? What a farce. Read some of MSF’s testimonials on their website to see how the terrorist supporting field workers can hysterically transform basic facts to support their ideologies.
    (again, the doctors of MSF are true heroes, it’s the SUV driving, rent-raising, local economy-destroying, donor supported tourists for life I’m referring to..you know the developmental staff or bureaucracy

  13. Based on my experiences with my local boys in blue, most cops are morons (and yes, I know I shouldn’t generalize). Face it, who would be attracted to a low paying, dangerous, thankless job with lousy hours? Either a truly saintly person who genuinely cares about their community (rare) or an egomanical jerkoff who was picked on as a kid and can’t wait to take vengence on the populous while hiding behind a badge (common).

    We should be focusing on taking power away from these yokels, not giving them more. Just leave me with my gun and i’ll handle any violations of my person or property in my own way. The cops are never around when the shit hits the fan anyways. Useless.

  14. An Alternet story (which kindly directs one to the nearest ACLU chapter) in which the restaurant is not named and neither are any of the officers involved – in short, in which no fact appears to be even remotely verifiable – hardly rings of credibility. Hey, but it turned into a great opportunity for some dimwits to gratuitously bash Christians, so I’m sure Reason is happy to have passed it on. This site just gets better every day.

  15. Mmmmmmm…. Christian Bashing. Woohoo!

  16. I agree Mr. Yeah. Brian’s description of the link as a “tale” is correct. Just an uncited rumor that automatically leads to calls for the Revolution from the peanut gallery, not to mention an opportunity to snipe at the dreaded Christians (at least it isn’t the dreaded “Neocons” this time). I am suspecious of Patriot, but at least give some reliable evidence of its abuse.

  17. http://www.wellesley.edu/Chemistry/Chem101/war/html%20pages/ny-police-raids.html

    Here’s a story of a couple in their 60’s getting on the wrong end of a no-knock warrant in the name of the drug war. There is absolutely no doubt the cops use these tactics all the time.

    With the Patriot Act, though, it’s secret. They don’t have to tell anybody shit about where they get their information or even if the event happened. If anybody questions or protests it they’re ridiculed or called un-American or worse – put on “the list” that is also secret.

    Every branch of government and the courts are upholding this abomination. What the hell is going on?

  18. I have no doubt that the cops have been using these tactics for years. Remember Clinton? Why suddenly the panic? As a gun owner and outspoken critic of Big Government I am sure I am 1000s of secret lists and have been for years.

    Here’s a tip: Don’t trust the police, watch what you say on the phone and encrypt your email. Remember that even if we elected 200 Ron Pauls to congress this would still be an issue. Police spy, its their job. This sudden “panic” over Patriot looks to just be polical posturing by the Anti-Bushies. As soon as a Dem is elected they will get off the Indians’ backs and back onto the “militias.”

  19. Weather the account is is true or not,(I’m thinking it is but it wouldn’t be that hard to verify as we know who the author is and the approximate location of the restaurant)the actions decribed are legal under the Patriot Act.
    The descrptions of the horrible powers afforded to
    the Justice Department if PatriotII is passed were
    accurately described. We can fight back though. Contact your congress person and your senators and tell them not to repeal the sunset provisions
    of the Patriot act and not to pass PatriotII. Our freedom may well depend on our taking action.
    If we don’t; who will? Even if you trust Bush; think of a Clinton with these powers. Remember the FBI files of political enemies found at the White House. Think of a Nixon with these powers. The odds are huge that they will be used against dissent.

  20. Hey Stinky. Lincoln’s been shot – and Clinton’s long gone.

    Secret, unreviewable, domestic legal proceedings are a product of the guy you voted for.

    Now that I think about it, maybe the way to combat this is to make up stories about abuses and print them. Make the bastards prove they’re wrong.

  21. Seems like that’s been the Left’s strategy for a long time. Where have you been?

  22. I am painfully aware of the abuses of police, but this definitely requires corroboration, especially given that the source is AlterNet. Surely this raid would have appeared in the news in NYC? No?

    A couple of things struck me as particularly goofy. First, he seems amazed that we don’t yet hire Psychic Police or those “Minority Report” cops. Yes, our police make mistakes. Eveyone does. This one, luckily, didn’t involve any fatalities or injuries, except perhaps to someone’s pride.

    Second, police can and do make warrantless arrests every day, if they observe a crime in commission. Not that this event applies, but the author’s implication is that police require a sworn warrant with every arrest and detention.

    Third, I loved this one: “I also understand that the freedoms afforded to all of us in the Constitution were meant specifically for times like these. Our freedoms were carved out during times of strife by people who were facing brutal injustices, and were intended specifically so that this nation would behave differently in such times. ”

    Um, if he’s referring to the freedoms in the Constitution, they were “carved out” by a bunch of upper-class white Christians and Deists a decade after the revolution was over with. And I question whether they were designed “specifically for times like this,” since the Constitution allows for the Congress to suspend habeas corpus in the event of emergencies.

  23. BTW, just for the record: I’m no fan of the Patriot Act or abuses of civil liberties. But the story smells of spin at best and BS at worst, and the writer, as Phil points out, doesn’t make a very good case for being a clear-thinking observer of fact.

    But not surprisingly, some people think lying and propagandizing is a great way to get a point across. Thanks for clarifying that, Lefty.

  24. I’m working on trying to corroborate/refute the story…so far all I’ve found is another printing of this story (verbatim) on a blog a couple of days ago:

    http://blogs.salon.com/0001282/2003/04/25.html#a159

    The blog entry begins “The following account was forwarded to me by email…”

    Which we should all know by now is not a good indicator of veracity…

    Anyone else find anything?

  25. Political partisanship won’t help us on this one. We all have an interest in fighting the Patriot Acts threat to our freedom. Remember, Bob Barr and Dick Armey joined ALCU out of their concern about Patriot.

  26. Agreed…we need to fight PATRIOT, from left,right,center and above…

    …but perpetuating a story that may be a complete fabrication undermines that cause by making those that oppose PATROT seem like paranoid nutjobs.

    CAN ANYONE CORROBORATE THIS???!??

  27. Good point Brian. We might even need somebody on the ground in NYC. Its probably the nature of the Patriot Act that you can’t get corroboration from federal authorities or even local police.

  28. Phil: “Surely this raid would have appeared in the news in NYC? No?”

    You aren’t a New Yorker, are you? Let’s see: an INS/NYPD raid on a restaurant, no shots fired, no one hurt, no big political players involved. Why the hell would it make the news? You think the New York papers report on every time a cop sneezes? This is a city of over 9 million people: you could fill several papers with the doings of the cops alone (might not be a bad idea…)

    I’m a little puzzled at the strong negative reaction this story is getting. Basically, the cops raid a place with guns drawn, don’t have a warrant, and when questioned, respond (more or less), “Shut up, you.” And what’s the response? “Oh, the guy is a member of MSF, so he must be lying!” Is there any particular reason to believe he is? Raiding with guns drawn and treating everyone as dangerous criminals isn’t an aberration, it’s SOP. Have people forgotten Waco and Elian Gonzalez already?

  29. Wrong, JD. The “negative” response has been more along these lines: “Sure, the Patriot Act sucks, but this story smells fishy.” The burden of proof is on the person making the accusations, i.e. in this case the writer. Brian above is exactly right – passing off a story that may be delusional or fraudulent in support of your cause undermines that cause if it’s discovered. But shhhh! Nobody tell Lefty.

  30. “Now that I think about it, maybe the way to combat this is to make up stories about abuses and print them.”

    If this is the response from our “civil libertarian” allies on the Left to Patriot, be scared, very scared. More misinformation is not a solution. This story stinks of it.

  31. let’s not confuse issues. you’re a guy & you wanna suck a dick while sitting on the john with a needle in your arm & a joint in your hand, go ahead…that should be and is your right and the law should have no role in consensual adult sex, drug use. nor should it have any role to play in marriage. however, if you’re planning on blowing up a building full of citizens, the law’s coming to get you.

  32. Heh-heh-heh! Ha-Ha-HAAAA-Hah-hah!

    I’ve won! I did it! I’ve won!

    HAAAA-Hah-hah-hah! Whoooooh! I’ve won!

    It was worth it! Hah-hah-hah-hah!

    (Suffer, America! Suffer!)

  33. Every branch of government and the courts are upholding this abomination. What the hell is going on?

  34. I completely believe Jason Halperin’s nice story. Sure, he might have exaggerated a bit, and the events described might not have happened (like, the part where the stormtroopers lapsed into Hochdeutsch, even I’m skeptical about that part) but, so what? It could have happened, just like Tawana Brawley.

    By the way, if you liked this post, please consider supporting your local ACLU chapter. To the revolution!

  35. With credit to George Lucas: This bickering is pointless! While Its true that without economic liberty, civil liberty is worth much less it doen’t follow that we shouldn’t support the ACLU in fighting the Patriot Act(s) . As I said; Bob Barr and Dick Armey joined the ACLU out of concern about Patriot.
    Contact your congress person and your senators and tell them not to repeal the sunset provisions
    of the Patriot act and not to pass PatriotII.

  36. I agree that the event was possible, and even plausible, especially considering that the guy’s ID checks out. Still, something about those cartoonish quotes made the whole thing sound like some bullshit story you’d try to impress your drinking buddies with. I’ve been interested in internet hoaxes/urban legends for years, and something about the phrasing and tone of the article sounded peculiar, at least. It’s possible that he needed to add a little (or a lot) of zing to the story, since it was obviously written with the intent to outrage the ideologically outrageable, and wasn’t newsworthy in its own right. AlterNet should hire someone like Mike Barnacle to do their color commentary, if they insist on fabrication. Their believability would still be nil, but they’d get caught less frequently.

  37. Bob,

    Right on! How about a libertarian July 4th celebration where we burn the Declaration of Independence and say “We’re sorry, King George!”

    I think if you could go back in time and tell the militiamen on Lexington Green about Garden Plot, or the anti-terror legislation under Reno and Ashcroft, or the fact that most Americans work at jobs where they have to piss in a cup on command, they’d have thrown their flintlocks and said “Why are we wasting our fucking time?”

  38. With a revolution needed every generation, do we have a bubble?

  39. Hey, Stinky. COPS’ “Greatest Takedowns” is on tonight. Don’t miss it.

    Bad boys, bad boys
    Whatcha’ gonna do?
    Whatcha’ gonna do
    When they come for you?

  40. hey lefty!

    oh yeah! cops! today’s episode is how actually Neocons are an invention of the aclu, and the aclu has ruled that it will defend it’s schizo other self in the case to burn down the aclu… (you know, where the national review (jonah g.), weekly standard, wm. kristol, safire, etc., bill bennett, et al join forces with noam chomsky and friends… they learn a little, laugh a little, and fight off homoerotic thoughts in a wholesome way!!!)

    i have no idea what that means, either. off to have a cup of coffee.

    (and thank goodness that today IS NOT “workers’ and pissants’ day here in the good ol US of A. ugh. suffering through all of those “may-days” ugh. Labor day properly belongs in september, and it’s a perfect time to take in the boat from Lake michigan, marking the end of the season… none of this first of may crap. so there.)

    happy onion day all!
    drf

  41. You may thank the American Labor movement for your weekends. Unless you’re a waitress or a maid or or a programmer…

  42. “You may thank the American Labor movement for your weekends.”

    Damn, why did I start my own business? No free weekends for us capitalist oppressors…

  43. hey Mr. S!

    well, as you know, there are so many backs for we capitalists to break, and so little time. unfortunately, that means we do have to stomp on weekends, too!

    cheers!
    drf

  44. There is a Jason Halperin working with MSF in NYC, that much can be confirmed:

    http://chaos.cpmc.columbia.edu/sph/Displayimage.asp?Event_No=525

    And there was a showing of “Rent” March 20 (they play every day but Wednesday, and March 20 was a Thursday).

    So, the context of the story checks out at least. No independent confirmation of the incident itself, though. JD makes a good point that this would probably not be newsworthy in NY (or for that matter, most cities of any size at all.) I think a healthy skepticism is warranted, for reasons I’ve already mentioned, but the scenario is entirely possible.

  45. You may thank the American Labor Movement for your high-priced cars, milk at almost $2.00, bread at nearly $3.00, steel, trucking, education, road-construction . . . on and on. Need I say more?

    Road-construction!? (Phew!) That’s a horror story all by itself!

  46. Why would you tell someone about the delicious vegetarian curry AFTER visiting the buffet?

    It’s a bit odd that, after a dramatic and no doubt frightening event like this, the writer can remember exactly how many armed officers first appeared, how many later appeared, and provide complete descriptions of all the patrons and staff (thought not of the officers) .. but the most amazing thing is that, as far as I can tell, none of the cops tapping furiously on their laptops had to deal with any computer glitches!

    The only detail with any verisimilitude is a kitchen full of Mexican workers.

    Either way, though, I support the ACLU.

  47. Say, Kevin Carson, you better write fast — while you still can, and while you’re still able to enjoy the freedom to express yourself through a forum such as this.

    Better hurry, though.

    Reminds me of that young lady who walked up to Ben Franklin as he strolled out of the convention hall.

    She asked him, “What did you guys just now do in there?”

    “Well, we created a new government,” he answered. “It’s called a Constitutional Republic.”

    “But will it guarantee our freedoms?” she asked.

    “Yeah, if you can keep it!” Ben replied.

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