Notes on the Atrocities
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Thursday, March 27, 2003  

Law and War

Last week, Oregon made the biggest headlines for it’s protesters-as-terrorists jackboot shuffle, but it’s not alone. States across the country are ratcheting up the assault on legal protections in the war on terror. Here are a few.

"(March 19, 2003) OLYMPIA --The state House passed an anti-terrorism bill a few minutes before midnight, sidestepping a fight over gun control that had threatened to stall the measure.

"Requested by Gov. Gary Locke and Attorney General Christine Gregoire, House Bill 1210 would create six new terrorism-related crimes, including possession of a weapon of mass destruction, making terrorist threats, and providing material support to terrorists."

New York
"(March 22, 2003) Donohue has been touring the state this week to put pressure on the Democratic-led Assembly to pass an anti-terrorism bill pushed by Gov. George Pataki and the state Senate.

"Among the many provisions, the bill would authorize 'roving' wiretaps to make it easier for authorities to listen to calls of suspects using one or more cellular phones. The bills also would create the crime of cyberterrorism and widen the ability of law enforcement to prosecute potential terrorists.

"The legislation came under fire this week from defense lawyers and the New York Civil Liberties Union, who claim it would infringe on citizens’ rights and constitutional guarantees.

“'They would create extraordinary new police powers that would undermine basic freedoms,' said Robert Perry, the union’s legislative counsel."

"(February 27, 2003) CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) -- The author of an Assembly anti-terrorism bill that's less sweeping than a Senate proposal said Thursday he's open to even narrower wording to ensure Nevadans' civil liberties aren't threatened.

"Brown's bill has several descriptions of terrorism, including one that defines it as an act that would 'disrupt, affect or influence the conduct or policy of a governmental entity by intimidation or coercion.'

"AB99, as amended, would outlaw 'any act that involves the use or the threatened or attempted use of sabotage or violence' to cause such disruptions, or to retaliate against a government agency or 'cause widespread panic or civil unrest' through attacks that result in 'substantial destruction.'"

"(March 17, 2003) Oklahoma City (AP) - A state House committee today approved bills giving law enforcement agencies more power to investigate suspected terrorists.

"One bill by the Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee authorizes vaccination programs for teams that would respond to a bioterror attack.

"Another bill gives the attorney general authority to ask for wiretaps of terror suspects and allows the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation to investigate terrorism. It also allows for closed-door meetings for officials to assess and discuss acts of terrorism and exempts documents involving terrorism assessments and response plans from the Open Records Act.

"The bills have already passed the state Senate and now go to the full House for action."

It doesn't hurt to repeat: there are inadvertant, negative consequences to war.

posted by Jeff | 9:46 AM |
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