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Tale from the Tobacco Road

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Nov 12, 2009 5:00 pm

The thread, as i intended it, was to show an example of what happens when civil liberties are suspended. That ,and the abuse that comes with unlimited power. The case of Mr. Arar further proves the point that we don’t want to live in a 'Papers Pleze" society. We don’t want to give the government unlimited authority. We don’t want our lives to be like one of those nightmare stops on the turnpike.

  I started the thread after thinking about the posts on other threads where some here posted that they would willingly give up certain liberties in a trade for safety. I posted in light of the fact that some of you have contradicted yourselves on that point and may not realize it. Possibly a topic for another debate and we can flesh it out there.   Those who believe the thread is about localized police corruption have missed the point. While the NJSP did abuse their power, and were corrupt, they were sanctioned to do so at the highest levels of state government. What's that saying about absolute power corrupting absolutely? The deal with the NJSP is it went the only way it could go. It wasn't just a few bad apples. It was an entire police force, the executive branch of government, the state attorney's generals office, the entire municipal, superior, and supreme court systems, as well as the state assembly and state senate , AND, it was done over a 30 year period! All of these different divsions of government knew what was going on. No one stop it. It was a systemic problem in which the entire government in NJ was on board.   Moraen, I'll answer your question. Neither!
Nov 12, 2009 5:01 pm

Punks jump up to get beat down.

Nov 12, 2009 5:02 pm

[quote=JackBlack]

This is from the NY Times in 2006. The link is: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/31/health/psychology/31book.html?_r=1&ex=1162962000&en=438fcca0c2839726&ei=5065&partner=MYWAY&oref=slogin Suppose you are standing by a railroad track. Ahead, in a deep cutting from which no escape is possible, five people are walking on the track. You hear a train approaching. Beside you is a lever with which you can switch the train to a sidetrack. One person is walking on the sidetrack. Is it O.K. to pull the lever and save the five people, though one will die? <?: prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

Most people say it is.

Assume now you are on a bridge overlooking the track. Ahead, five people on the track are at risk. You can save them by throwing down a heavy object into the path of the approaching train. One is available beside you, in the form of a fat man. Is it O.K. to push him to save the five?

Most people say no, although lives saved and lost are the same as in the first problem.

I say both are wrong.

[/quote]   Ugghhh...the analogy doesn't fit the scenario again.  Ok, we are fighting terrorism.  I think we can all agree that Al Qaeda is the biggest threat, right?  With that said, its easy to say that "Would you kill 1 person to save 5" when the most recent example was 1 person killing 13.  But what about 9/11?  What about suicide bombers attacking our military in Afghanistan/Iraq/wherever?  There we are talking about thousands of lives, not just 5.  And we wouldn't be torturing or throwing in front of a train an innocent bystander.  We would be torturing a member of the most dangerous terrorism organization in the world that can give info that could prevent MULTIPLE future attacks. 
Nov 12, 2009 5:07 pm

[quote=BondGuy]The thread, as i intended it, was to show an example of what happens when civil liberties are suspended. That ,and the abuse that comes with unlimited power. The case of Mr. Arar further proves the point that we don’t want to live in a 'Papers Pleze" society. We don’t want to give the government unlimited authority. We don’t want our lives to be like one of those nightmare stops on the turnpike.

  I started the thread after thinking about the posts on other threads where some here posted that they would willingly give up certain liberties in a trade for safety. I posted in light of the fact that some of you have contradicted yourselves on that point and may not realize it. Possibly a topic for another debate and we can flesh it out there.   Those who believe the thread is about localized police corruption have missed the point. While the NJSP did abuse their power, and were corrupt, they were sanctioned to do so at the highest levels of state government. What's that saying about absolute power corrupting absolutely? The deal with the NJSP is it went the only way it could go. It wasn't just a few bad apples. It was an entire police force, the executive branch of government, the state attorney's generals office, the entire municipal, superior, and supreme court systems, as well as the state assembly and state senate , AND, it was done over a 30 year period! All of these different divsions of government knew what was going on. No one stop it. It was a systemic problem in which the entire government in NJ was on board.   Moraen, I'll answer your question. Neither![/quote]

BG - Fair enough.  Sometimes doing something that sucks will save innocent lives.  I'm not willing to let that be my family or people I care about.

I'm sorry that you are.

If everybody were like you the world would be a great place.  Unfortunately, they aren't.
Nov 12, 2009 5:10 pm

[[email protected]]

[quote=Spaceman Spiff]…if you’re a Muslim looking male who spends his days hanging around other Muslim looking males in your NYC apartment, you’d better be ready to answer some questions.[/quote]
This is a crazy statement…where do you live? Happy McWhite-ville?
Would you say the same thing about Christians who love guns after Oklahoma City?
[/quote]

I would.  Including my Catholic Uncle who has two FULL gun safes and can’t shoot worth a sh*t. 

I’m all for people’s right to bear arms. 

But I think guns are disgusting weapons.  From a mechanical standpoint, they are gorgeous.  But for what they do, horrible.

Nov 12, 2009 5:17 pm

[quote=Moraen]

[[email protected]]

[quote=Moraen]the thread was about profiling. and yes, if it was a woman officer doing the patting.  now, will you answer my question?

[/quote]
I accept the risk and responsibility of living in a free country. So, of course, my answer is yes. I am against any form of torture against anyone who hasn’t had a fair trial by a jury of their peers.
[/quote]
Excellent.  Finally an answer. 
But I bet you wouldn’t have the same answer if your child were being held hostage and somebody knew where they were.
[/quote]
It is very easy to create scenarios that test the boundaries of my conviction.
But, in the end, I overwhelmingly do not trust the government.

ps: If someone knows, I’m allowed to kidnap them and torture them…and face the consequences later…I just don’t want the government to have that authority.

Nov 12, 2009 5:22 pm

[[email protected]]

[quote=Moraen]

[[email protected]]

[quote=Moraen]the thread was about profiling. and yes, if it was a woman officer doing the patting.  now, will you answer my question?

[/quote]
I accept the risk and responsibility of living in a free country. So, of course, my answer is yes. I am against any form of torture against anyone who hasn’t had a fair trial by a jury of their peers.
[/quote]
Excellent.  Finally an answer. 
But I bet you wouldn’t have the same answer if your child were being held hostage and somebody knew where they were.
[/quote]
It is very easy to create scenarios that test the boundaries of my conviction.
But, in the end, I overwhelmingly do not trust the government.

ps: If someone knows, I’m allowed to kidnap them and torture them…and face the consequences later…I just don’t want the government to have that authority.
[/quote]

Also fair enough. 

There are a plenty of examples of people who feel just like you do, that have changed their minds when faced with a situation like I described. 

It is all theoretical until it happens to you.  I hope it never does. 

Your and BG"s idealism is actually kind of refreshing. 

Nov 12, 2009 5:25 pm
[email protected]:

[quote=Moraen] [[email protected]] [quote=Moraen]the thread was about profiling. and yes, if it was a woman officer doing the patting.  now, will you answer my question?
[/quote]
I accept the risk and responsibility of living in a free country. So, of course, my answer is yes. I am against any form of torture against anyone who hasn’t had a fair trial by a jury of their peers.
[/quote]
Excellent.  Finally an answer. 
But I bet you wouldn’t have the same answer if your child were being held hostage and somebody knew where they were.
[/quote]
It is very easy to create scenarios that test the boundaries of my conviction.
But, in the end, I overwhelmingly do not trust the government.

ps: If someone knows, I’m allowed to kidnap them and torture them…and face the consequences later…I just don’t want the government to have that authority.

  What if the government were made up of a bunch of mulicolored dancing bears?
Nov 12, 2009 5:30 pm

As to Morean’s questions. To the first, I cannot answer because my wife and I have not been blessed with children. If I had to chose I would chose the children and then expect to be imprisoned for my crimes.

<?: prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /> 

Nov 12, 2009 5:34 pm

Torture is seeing 3000 Americans die because Bill Clinton didn't do what was necessary to protect America.  - Volt 2009

Nov 12, 2009 5:37 pm
SometimesNowhere:

[[email protected]] [quote=Moraen] [[email protected]] [quote=Moraen]the thread was about profiling. and yes, if it was a woman officer doing the patting.  now, will you answer my question?
[/quote]
I accept the risk and responsibility of living in a free country. So, of course, my answer is yes. I am against any form of torture against anyone who hasn’t had a fair trial by a jury of their peers.
[/quote]
Excellent.  Finally an answer. 
But I bet you wouldn’t have the same answer if your child were being held hostage and somebody knew where they were.
[/quote]
It is very easy to create scenarios that test the boundaries of my conviction.
But, in the end, I overwhelmingly do not trust the government.
ps: If someone knows, I’m allowed to kidnap them and torture them…and face the consequences later…I just don’t want the government to have that authority.

What if the government were made up of a bunch of mulicolored dancing bears?[/quote]

I'd give them a hug.
Nov 12, 2009 5:38 pm

…and you would bend them over.

  like that volt ?
Nov 12, 2009 5:50 pm

Moraen, let me ask you this: What if it was you,and not Mr. Arar who got pulled out of line and sent on a year long hell? One innocent american or 100 children?

  You've said yourself "Please pull me out of line- please search me..."  with regard to Vigilance being part of your belief system for keeping us safe. But, what if it goes beyond just getting a pat down? Then what?   or   let's fast forward 15 years and one of your kids is flying out to someplace that kids want to go- they get yanked from line and the detained. And i mean put in a dark place and mistreated detained for a long time. Is it still one innocent american for 100 children?   You like all of us here would die protecting your children. I believe that's a univeral fact. And as law biding citizens we let the law enforcement do the heavy lifting. They deal with the scumbags, the lawless, and the terrorist. We are ever vigilant and take personal responsiblity for our own safety, but big picture falls to law enforcement. This is also a given. So, that being the case what do we do when it's the protectors who are endangering our children? When it's the protectors who are lawless? Who protects us from them?
Nov 12, 2009 5:57 pm

[quote=Ron 14]…and you would bend them over.

  like that volt ?[/quote]  
Nov 12, 2009 6:55 pm

[quote=BondGuy]Moraen, let me ask you this: What if it was you,and not Mr. Arar who got pulled out of line and sent on a year long hell? One innocent american or 100 children?

  You've said yourself "Please pull me out of line- please search me..."  with regard to Vigilance being part of your belief system for keeping us safe. But, what if it goes beyond just getting a pat down? Then what?   or   let's fast forward 15 years and one of your kids is flying out to someplace that kids want to go- they get yanked from line and the detained. And i mean put in a dark place and mistreated detained for a long time. Is it still one innocent american for 100 children?   You like all of us here would die protecting your children. I believe that's a univeral fact. And as law biding citizens we let the law enforcement do the heavy lifting. They deal with the scumbags, the lawless, and the terrorist. We are ever vigilant and take personal responsiblity for our own safety, but big picture falls to law enforcement. This is also a given. So, that being the case what do we do when it's the protectors who are endangering our children? When it's the protectors who are lawless? Who protects us from them?[/quote]

If it were me, who is an American citizen that they've already done a background check on (I, too have a top secret security clearance), I'm sure they'd figure it out very quickly that I wasn't the problem.  And would probably apologize.

I don't have a shady past.

As for my kid.... you are right.  However, she is also an American citizen and is brought up to be honest and forthright.  If she is detained on suspicion of carrying Polly Pockets I'd be surprised.

Also, this is an ideology we are fighting.  She doesn't hold those ideologies.  Mr. Arar did.  One step separates him from being a terrorist.  Several for my kid.

You are comparing apples to oranges. 

I have already said that Mr. Arar deserves an apology.  But, he's not an American citizen.  When you travel to foreign countries, you accept the risk that the government might not like you.  For instance, when my brother and I went to Austrailia, we were detained for eight hours after a 16 hour flight.  Both of us having just returned from deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

We were questioned about our last names. 

The same thing happened to me in Great Britain when I was on leave.

Guess what?  I was honest and forthright and didn't resist and didn't act like a punk or suspiciously. 

My guess with Mr. Arar - he acted out.  Probably called them all infidels, and refused to answer any questions. 

You never get the whole story with these news stories.


Nov 12, 2009 7:10 pm

Hey interesting tidbit about Mr. Arar - he was detained on a tip from the Canadian government.  They deported him to Syria based on that information.

That from the Toronto Star.

Nov 12, 2009 7:21 pm

The blame does not lie with the Bush Administration or the United States:

Here are the investigative findings:

Though prior to his arrest in the U.S., Arar was of interest to the
Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) they never considered him a target
of an investigation or a suspect. Rather they were interested in
interviewing him because of his associations. Investigators conducted background searches on Arar using public
source information, including obtaining copies of Arar’s rental
application and tenancy agreement. There is nothing to indicate that Arar committed an offence or that
his activities constitute a threat to the security of Canada. The RCMP provided the U.S. with an entire database of information
relating to a terrorism investigation (three CDs of information), in a
way that did not comply with RCMP policies that require screening for
relevance, reliability, and personal information. In fact, this action
was without precedent. The RCMP provided the U.S. with inaccurate information about Arar
that portrayed him in an infairly negative fashion and overstated his
importance to a RCMP investigation. They included some “erroneous
notes”. The sharing of information with the U.S. authorities did not
include caveats (as required by RCMP policy), “thereby increasing the
risk that the information would be used for purposes of which the RCMP
would not approve, such as sending Mr. Arar to Syria”. Canada Customs placed border lookouts for Arar and his wife;
ensuring that the two would undergo both primary and secondary
examinations when entering Canada. “There is a reduced expectation of
privacy at the border when any person is entering Canada, and secondary
examinations are frequently conducted where search warrants cannot be
obtained. In the circumstances, requesting a lookout for Mr. Arar was
an appropriate investigative step.” The inquiry concluded that there
was no basis for the lookout for Arar’s wife. The ‘lookout’ for Arar and his wife was designated wrongly as a
’terrorism’ lookout. This only occurs when one is suspected of being a
member, associate or sympathizer of a known terrorist organisation. “Mr
Arar did not meet these criteria”, as he was merely a person of
interest. “Labels have a way of sticking to individuals, reputations
are easily damaged and when labels are inaccurate, serious unfairness
to individuals can result.” As for his wife, the commission found this
to be inaccurate: "It was wrong and very unfair to her." The RCMP asked that Arar and his wife should be placed on the U.S.
Customs watchlist for border activity (U.S. Customs’ Treasury
Enforcement Communications System (TECS). The RCMP routinely makes such
requests. The RCMP described Arar and his wife as “Islamic Extremist
individuals suspected of being linked with the Al Qaeda terrorist
movement.” (The report later states that due to the non-cooperation of
the U.S. authorities in the inquiry, it is impossible to conclude what
role this TECS lookout played in his detention by the U.S.) Labelling Arar and his wife as being linked with terrorists was
"inaccurate, without any basis, and potentially extremely inflammatory
in the United States in the fall of 2001." At one stop at the Canadian border, Arar’s computer, hand-held
computer, and papers were seized and copied. Arar’s wife and childrens’
profiles (itineraries, iD documents) were uploaded to the “Intelligence
Management System (IMS)”, an automated facility for reporting and
compiling intelligence information on targets known or suspected to be
potential border risks. The inquiry concludes that the profiles of
Arar’s wife and children should not have been uploaded. The Canadian Security and Intelligence Service (CSIS) did not share
any information with the U.S. authorities prior to his detention and
removal to Syria. While he was detained in the U.S., the RCMP provided information
regarding him to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), “some
of which portrayed him in an inaccurate and unfair way”. The RCMP
provided inaccurate information to the U.S. authorities that tended to
link Arar to other terrorist suspects; and told the U.S. authorities
that Arar had previously refused to be interviewed, which was also
incorrect; and the RCMP also said that soon after refusing the
interview he suddenly left Canada for Tunisia. “The statement about the
refusal to be interviewed had the potential to arouse suspicion,
especially among law enforcement officers, that Mr. Arar had something
to hide.” The RCMP’s information to the U.S. authorities also placed
Arar in the vicinity of Washington DC on September 11, 2001 when he was
instead in California. The RCMP even faxed to the FBI a number of questions that it wanted
put to Arar while under detention. They believed that “American
authorities would extend a person in Mr. Arar’s position similar
protection to that provided by Canadian law.” Statements made by Arar while in Syrian custody were shared
dsitributed by Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs and International
Trade (DFAIT) to the RCMP and CSIS without informing them that the
statement was likely a product of torture. “That statement became the
basis for heightened suspicion in some minds about Mr. Arar’s
involvement in terrorism. That was unfair to him.” RCMP and CSIS were not supportive of a later DFAIT initiative to
convey to the Syrians that the Canadians were seeking Arar’s release.
Thye obejcted to DFAIT’s proposed statement to the Syrians that there
was “no evidence” that Arar was involved in terrorism-related activity,
and advised other ministers from signing any such statement. RCMP and
CSIS rather suggested language stating that Arar was the subject of a
national security investigation, when he was not. Upon return to Canada, the government prepared reports that had the
effect of downplaying the mistreatment or torture. Some officials did
not believe Arar’s claims of being beaten or tortured. Canadian officials leaked confidential and sometimes inaccurate
information about the case to the media for the purpose of damaging
Arar’s reputation, or protecting their self-interests or government
interests. There were at least eight media stories containing leaked
information, attributed to an unnamed government official. In one leak
he was said to have trained in Afghanistan (which was part of a
statement attributed to Arar by the Syrians when he was under torture),
he was called a “very bad guy”, “not a virgin”. The most important leak
was one that showed that the prior leaks were done in defence of
organisational self-interest. That is, leakors were selective in
picking and choosing what to leak to paint the picture that suited
their interests.
Nov 12, 2009 7:52 pm
[email protected]:

[quote=Spaceman Spiff]…if you’re a Muslim looking male who spends his days hanging around other Muslim looking males in your NYC apartment, you’d better be ready to answer some questions.[/quote]
This is a crazy statement…where do you live? Happy McWhite-ville?
Would you say the same thing about Christians who love guns after Oklahoma City?

  Yes, and yes.    Why is it a crazy statement?  The majority of the time when we hear about terror cells being taken down they are Muslim looking males in an apartment somewhere.  The neighbors all say they were very quiet, smelled like curry, and liked to play with Play-Doh.  They kept to themselves and didn't bother anyone.  It's not the loud, outspoken Imam that you have to worry about.  It's the quiet ones who are going out of their way to be inconspicuous that are the potential threat.    I'm not a big fan of radical "Christians" either.  I put quotations there because I don't personally believe that those folks quite meet the definition for Christian.  Nutbag, yes.  Christian, no.  My God doesn't tell me to shave my head, write manifestos, withdraw from society, or form my own compound.     
Nov 12, 2009 8:13 pm

I like your prose, keep writing. A creative response to unnatural times.

  Here is a new and frugal cartoon from the Oregon territory. I get it, the goal is mental survival, and  the day job and things like the means and desire to play golf in the winter (still) exist after two years of recession.   http://www.milyunair.com/    
Nov 12, 2009 9:20 pm
Spaceman Spiff:

[[email protected]] [quote=Spaceman Spiff]…if you’re a Muslim looking male who spends his days hanging around other Muslim looking males in your NYC apartment, you’d better be ready to answer some questions.[/quote]
This is a crazy statement…where do you live? Happy McWhite-ville?
Would you say the same thing about Christians who love guns after Oklahoma City?

  Yes, and yes.    Why is it a crazy statement?  The majority of the time when we hear about terror cells being taken down they are Muslim looking males in an apartment somewhere.  The neighbors all say they were very quiet, smelled like curry, and liked to play with Play-Doh.  They kept to themselves and didn't bother anyone.  It's not the loud, outspoken Imam that you have to worry about.  It's the quiet ones who are going out of their way to be inconspicuous that are the potential threat.    I'm not a big fan of radical "Christians" either.  I put quotations there because I don't personally believe that those folks quite meet the definition for Christian.  Nutbag, yes.  Christian, no.  My God doesn't tell me to shave my head, write manifestos, withdraw from society, or form my own compound. [/quote]

In NYC alone, there's probably 25,000 apartments that match that description.
There's alot of Muslims in the United States.