[B5JMS] ATTN JMS: Have you seen this? Shades of Nightwatch?

b5jms-admin at cs.columbia.edu b5jms-admin at cs.columbia.edu
Tue Jul 23 04:24:13 EDT 2002

From: "Brian Stinson" <bleestin at coserv.net>
Date: Sat, 20 Jul 2002 15:48:32 -0500
Lines: 89

I have yet to make up my mind on this issue.  I've noted folks in this group
throwing out some pretty forceful objections to the policies in place or
proposed by the current administration.  Sometimes they make some good
points, other times they seem hysterical.  The echoes of McCarthyism is a
bit disturbing.

The one thing I can't help but notice is missing, however, is much in the
way of alternate suggestions on how to deal with the problem at hand.  It's
easy to dismiss the "red menace" since to my knowledge the communists never
actually attacked us ( though not everyone was so lucky) .  On the other
hand, Bin Laden and his supporters are pretty clearly a menace.  They are
known to operate in sleeper cells in multiple countries including our own.
Their acts are well documented.  Their objectives are not hidden.  Their
idea of a great society was seen in Taliban controlled Afghanistan, and was
sufficiently brutal and barbaric to make your typical fascist wince.

( On the other hand, they did manage to inspire Jerry Falwell and Pat
Robertson to say things so idiotic as to remove any doubt about their lack
of value to society.  But I digress ).

I would be interested to hear some alternate suggestions on how to deal with
them.   After all, it is one thing to criticize.  It is another to offer an

"Jms at B5" <jmsatb5 at aol.com> wrote in message
news:20020718224329.16411.00000335 at mb-fw.aol.com...
> >It's interesting that the idea of civilians looking out for each other
> >should fill some people with dread.  I attribute the fear to the
> >elitist perception that "I can handle responsibility, but everyone
> >else is irresponsible".  Certainly the best protection against
> >burglars is a nosey neighbor.
> This misses the point by a mile.
> What the Citizens Corps involves is the establishment of a branch of the
> government which will solicit information from various sources -- none of
> are authorized peace officers or in any way official individuals trained
> detection -- and take that information, gather it, disseminate it
> and track that information about people who may not have anything
whatsoever to
> do with anything in the smallest regard concerning terrorism.
> Who gets this information?  What will they be doing with it?  How will it
> organized and disseminated?  What stops someone from sending along
> or false information in order to get someone in trouble?  Who decides what
> "suspicious behavior?"  And you the person being cataloged have NO way of
> knowing what's in that file or that there even IS a file...further, this
> will be free from FOIA discovery, so there's no way to determine what the
> government has on you, if anything.  The potential for abuse is
> The way the country has always worked is that if someone sees something
> suspicious, they report it to the local police, who investigate it.
That's how
> our system has functioned for a very long time and successfully.
> The acts of 9/11 should not lead us to throw out the very aspects of our
> American system that brought their attack in the first place, the ideals
> we are, in principal, defending.
> We've seen this before, in the McCarthy period.  I'd hoped we had become
> enough as a people not to fall for the okey-doke a second time.  I was
>  jms
> (jmsatb5 at aol.com)
> (all message content (c) 2002 by synthetic worlds, ltd.,
> permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
> and don't send me story ideas)

From: jmsatb5 at aol.com (Jms at B5)
Date: 22 Jul 2002 05:29:54 GMT
Lines: 75

>I would be interested to hear some alternate suggestions on how to deal with
>them.   After all, it is one thing to criticize.  It is another to offer an

The alternative is that we use the system of justice that has served this
country for over two hundred years.

We endured two world wars and one cold one.  We faced the greatest military war
machine in human history, with their own agents in this country as we had
agents in theirs.  We beat them by hewing to the ideals and the standards and
the laws that had propelled us to that moment out of history in the first

The moments we look back at in shame are the moments when we *diverged* from
our sense of justice, as with the Japanese internment camps.

Let's take a good, hard look at what we're facing here.  For all the
announcements to come out of the administration, we have had no further attacks
on American soil, and the one attack we DID have consisted of a handful of
individuals wielding *box cutters*.  That's it.  We're talking freakin'
exacto-blades here.  They used our own technology against us.

This could have happened at ANY point in time prior to that moment.  It could
have happened during the Korean war, the Vietnamese conflict, the Gulf
war...all you need is X number of guys with the will to do it.  We are not in
any more danger now than we were then.

We have ALWAYS been vulnerable to such things because we are a free society,
and there are an awful lot of people pissed off at us for a variety of reasons.

Not ONE really credible threat has been exhumed since 9/11.  The "dirty bomb"
bit turned out to be just a *discussion* about such things, so that even
Ashcroft had to backpedal.  

The Al Queda structure has been severely weakened by the actions in Afghanistan
(or so we are told), the hostiles in this country (not yet proven but I'm
willing to believe they're here) are small in number...is all this worth
throwing the Constitution away, the same Constitution that served us through
the Civil War, in which over 100,000 US citizens died, in which brother could
not trust brother?  

(Yes, Lincoln suspended the writ of habeus corpus for some of that time, and
there were other abuses, but we recognize them now AS abuses.  If we see that
it was wrong then, why repeat the error?)

The administration says we are at war, and therefore must sacrifice our rights.
 But in fact we are NOT at war.  There has been no declaration of war from

Is the solution to detain American citizens in military cells without right of
attorney (even if they are lowlifes like Padilla)?  Is the solution to dealing
with maybe a few dozen dangerous guys (and there have ALWAYS been dangerous
guys in this country, anybody who thinks otherwise is nuts) to have a million
people acting as informants and spies on other American citizens through TIPS? 
Is the solution, as Ridge and Bush are now advocating, to use the military to
make arrests in violation of the Posse Comitatas act?

No.  The solution, the alternative to dealing with the problem you ask for is
the one we've had for two hundred years.  A nation with laws, and oversight,
and checks and balances.  

If we sacrifice that, then the country we hand to our inheritors won't be worth
the struggle we endured to maintain it.


(jmsatb5 at aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2002 by synthetic worlds, ltd., 
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine 
and don't send me story ideas)

More information about the B5JMS mailing list