Ron Paul & Civil Liberties: A Debate with Con Carroll & Bruce Fein

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Con Carroll of Heritage Foundation debates Bruce Fein of American Freedom Agenda Pt1

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Ron Paul: Civil Disobedience is very important!

8 thoughts on “Ron Paul & Civil Liberties: A Debate with Con Carroll & Bruce Fein

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  8. I disagree with Fein on one point. The remedy wasn’t for Bush to go to Congress and ask for a new law (as he ultimately did), though that would have been better than simply flouting FISA (as Bush did for years).

    The remedy to a change in technology is to be found by changing technology, not by changing legal principles. The legal principle of seeking a specific warrant from a judge should be absolute and unchangeable. A non-specific warrant is not a warrant at all. Warrants have to be specific. That’s the whole point of a warrant.

    What Congress should have done is stipulated some sort of search for a technological answer. In relation to the technological issue Con Carroll speciously (in my opinon) raises, the obvious solution is to reroute international emails and internet communications, so that an email from Saudi Arabia to Pakistan DOESN’T have to go through a US server. Such a technological change is really a no-brainer. The fact that Congress, to my knowledge, didn’t even consider such an approach shows, in my opinion, that an actual solution to an actual problem was never what the change to the FISA law was about.

    Secondly, when it comes to searching for patterns in large numbers of communications, an issue that I think Fein references, the technological solution would be encryption, it seems to me. If a spy agency has a real need to sweep up masses of communications, arbitrarily, in search for specific patterns that have been found to actually be useful in flagging terror activities (and not just in flagging, say, peace protestors), it seems to me that encryption could be used to protect private information while allowing such researches into patterns. Then, if a spy agency found a pattern that merited further investigation, they could – as due process stipulates – seek a warrant that specifies and justifies further investigation.

    When we sacrifice legal principles at the altar of technological change, we are not only commiting an act that is not internally logical, but we are opening the door to all kinds of abuses of the principle thus compromised – and that is presumably the REAL reason for the sacrifice.

    Witness the current operations to suppress free speech in relation to the RNC in Minneapolis/St. Paul. These would be impossible if any reasonable warrant process was required to carry them out, a warrant process that showed some actual probable cause. But in an era where the principle of the warrant has been degraded, fourth amendment protections have less and less meaning.

    Once the fourth amendment has been destroyed, the entire Bill of Rights has effectively been destroyed. Free speech and the right to assemble, for example, cannot exist in a society where police and military forces can harrass and detain at will.

    What has been going on at recent Conventions of both parties, in terms of relentless and arbitrary harrassment, arrest and detention of protestors and potential protestors, is an ominous reflection of what has been going on in Congress. Congress has colluded with the administration in the opening of the Pandora’s Box out of which flies the Police State. It’s really that simple.

    If you destroy the principle of the warrant, you destroy our system of government, and you create a Police State. And that is precisely what Congress has done. The Tribunals Bill, which stripped all citizens of the right to Habeas Corpus (remember, the President can designate ANY citizen an “unlawful enemy combatant”) was a big blow to “liberty and justice for all”. But the destruction of the principle of the warrant, which the changes in the FISA law essentially brought about, in my opinion, were the final nail in the coffin.

    Now all government has to do is hammer in the nails, to bury Democracy. And, as we see at the conventions, it is doing exactly that. Sure, maybe the knock in the middle of the night and the dragging of citizens into concentration camps has been restricted MOSTLY to the context of Dem and Pub conventions. But for how long? How long will it take “authorities” to find more and more excuses for such knocks in the middle of the night?

    How long? Not long. And God I hope I’m wrong about that.

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