Civil Liberties

You Will Awake From This Kafkaesque Dream Remembering Nothing

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A New York Times story that refers to both Franz Kafka and Lewis Carroll describes some of the measures the Justice Department has taken to protect official secrets while defending against lawsuits challenging the legality of the NSA's warrantless surveillance program. In one case, the FBI has demanded all copies of a document, accidentally released by the government, that shows the NSA eavesdropped on the plaintiffs without judicial approval. The Justice Department argues that the plaintiffs may not rely even on their recollection of the document's contents. As one of the plaintiffs' lawyers put it, "They claim they own the portions of our brains that remember anything." U.S. District Judge Garr King noted "there is nothing in the law that requires them to purge their memory."

King also has contended with the Justice Department's insistence on retaining custody of briefs that ordinarily would be filed with the court and a government lawyer's refusal to describe his own security clearance. That information is classified.

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  1. Ah the sweet smell of conservativism. It smells like….like…..

    Well, for those of us who remember the real Reagan, this is what he promised us when he started the drug war, and now finally, with the help of Republicans nationwide, this is what we have.

  2. Reagan, this is what he promised us when he started the drug war, and now finally, with the help of Republicans nationwide, this is what we have.

    Actually the “War on Drugs” was started by Nixon, that civil liberties hero we so fondly remember.

  3. So glad to see the how the whole ‘Democratic Congress puts a stop to Bush administration excesses’ is working out.

  4. HARRY J. ANSLINGER
    “The Father of the Drug War”
    Commissioner of the U.S. Bureau of Narcotics 1930-1962

    On January 1, 1932, the newly established Federal Bureau of Narcotics, a unit in the Treasury Department, took over from the Alcohol Unit of the department the enforcement of the federal antiopiate and anticocaine laws; and former Assistant Prohibition Commissioner Harry J. Anslinger took over as commissioner of narcotics. Commissioner Anslinger had no legal jurisdiction over marijuana, but his interest in it was intense.

    The Bureau’s first Annual Report under his aegis warned that marijuana, dismissed as a minor problem by the Treasury one year earlier, had now “come into wide and increasing abuse in many states, and the Bureau of Narcotics has therefore been endeavoring to impress on the various States the urgent need for vigorous enforcement of the local cannabis laws.”

    Many people believe that Mr. Anslinger collaborated with industry giants to outlaw marijuana. It is known that he was acquainted with both the Hearsts (of Hearst Newspapers) and the DuPonts, of DuPont plastic fame. (Hemp seed oil derivatives could replace DuPont’s petroleum derived compounds.)

    In the 1930s, Hearst, who owned newspapers all over the country, started publishing sensationalist-type “news” stories about marijuana use. These stories, often written by Hearst or Anslinger himself, talked about “insanity, criminality, and death” caused by smoking marijuana, sometimes after just one joint. This intense propaganda campaign led to anti-marijuana laws in many states.

    In 1937, the Marijuana Tax Stamp Act was passed, effectively prohibiting possession or use of marijuana. It was claimed to be needed to oversee and coordinate existing state law concerning marijuana.

    The following are excerpts of Mr. Anslinger’s testimony before a Senate hearing on marijuana in 1937:

    “There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos, and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz, and swing, result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and any others.”

    “…the primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races.”

    “Marijuana is an addictive drug which produces in its users insanity, criminality, and death.”

    “You smoke a joint and you’re likely to kill your brother.”

    “Marijuana is the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind.”

  5. I agree, the fact that Congress hasn’t stopped the administration from misusing its authority to classify information almost three weeks after being sworn in is pretty damning.

  6. “Commissioner Anslinger had no legal jurisdiction over marijuana, but his interest in it was intense”

    Wow! That describes me to a tee!

  7. “Marijuana is an addictive drug which produces in its users insanity, criminality, and death.”

    This part is actually true. Because of marijuana, I, myself, became an insane, dead criminal.

  8. Keep on rockin’ in the “free” world

  9. They don’t have to tell you the charges, you’re not allowed to see the evidence against you and your right to habeus corpus isn’t really a right.

    The documented proof was accidentally made public but has been retroactively made secret. People may not use their memory of the document as evidence.

    Briefs are not filed with the court and prosecutors don’t have to disclose anything about their authority.

    And these people claim, with straight faces, that they are just trying to protect America.

  10. And these people claim, with straight faces, that they are just trying to protect America.

    As far as homeland security goes, we should just issue M-16s to everyone who wants one, and tell the Islamists “Bring it, bitches”.

  11. As far as homeland security goes, we should just issue M-16s to everyone who wants one, and tell the Islamists “Bring it, bitches”.

    Yeah, that’s worked really well for Israel.

    (Don’t take the above smartass remark to mean I’m in favor of the Bush Administration’s obvious abuse of power, or the HSA.)

  12. I guess the theory is that taking losses to a foe with superior firepower is unacceptable to your typical Al Qaeda terrorist.

  13. Purging memories is Orwell, not Kafka.

    Kafka wrote religious comedy.

  14. I blame FDR for the Drug War.

    As for the original post, is the NSA’s warrantless surveillance program not under the
    Communications in Assistance to Law Enforcement Act(whatever it is called) passed by a Dem congress and signed into law by Clinton in 1994?

  15. Madpad,

    Well put!!!

  16. “As for the original post, is the NSA’s warrantless surveillance program not under the
    Communications in Assistance to Law Enforcement Act(whatever it is called) passed by a Dem congress and signed into law by Clinton in 1994?”

    No, it is allegedly under the inherent authority of the Commander in Chief. According to the novel theory put forward by these Republicans, not only does this program not depend on Congressional authorization of any sort, but would be allowed to operate even if legislation banning it was passed by Congress, as any such legislation would violate the separation of powers.

  17. American Dad looks more like an animated documentary every day.

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