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December 29, 2004


Police forces battling street gangs has already been cited as a new front in fourth generation warfare. Charging gang members as terrorists is not entirely without merit, if they employ terrorist tactics. However, I have no idea whether Mr Morales's case is an appropriate use of the legislation, or if the legislation itself is at all sane.

Anti-terrorism legislation should focus on acts of terrorism, or conspiracy to commit such acts, and deal out punishments appropriate to the severity of the act. There should be no difference in sentencing between 'murder' and 'terrorist murder', although the latter suspect could well be charged with a separate act of terrorism, if he was attempting to spread terror and disrupt society.

In other words, we shouldn't fall into the fallacy of making one set of laws for little brown men flying into our skyscrapers and something else for the rest of us. If terrorist suspects are equal to other suspects in a court of law, we don't have to worry much about anti-terrorism legislation being used against gang members. If their repertoire included what amounts to acts of terrorism, they should be punished appropriately.

Shit. I have to point out that much as I'm impressed with Lind's views on war, I really disagree with his ideas about immigration from my link above.

When it gets down to where this is used to prosecute frat house hazings gone awry, maybe then folks will understand the Pandora's box this has opened.

Nongang members are next, you can bet on it. Arsonists seem a likely target.

Is there a root philosophical difference between the treatment of Morales and prosecution of defendants under "hate crime" statutes? The latter equally involves sentence enhancement based on a politically incorrect perceived state of mind when the crime is committed.

Agree completely with von's summary of how civil RICO went awry. Almost as if it were conceived by the plaintiffs' trial bar.

Anders, interesting that Lind begins his diatribe with the words "According to people who have been there . . .", meaning he's never even been to Fallujah. Sniping at the US military from afar via second- and third-hand sources has been an MSM pastime for years, and hasn't gained any credibility with the passage of time.

Kim du Toit never, ever has a point worth consideration by rational human beings.

You see, duToit is pretty much in favor of stepping all over the civil rights of people he doesn't like such as "Islamists" and various African-American groups and organizaions.

What he doesn't like is the fact certain pro-gun/paramilitary groups would also fall under this umbrella.

Dave Neiwert has written about how little attention is paid to homegrown groups that flirt with or actively engage in domestic terrorism.

Almost as if it were conceived by the plaintiffs' trial bar.


Incidentally, I had Judge Mikva as a mediator in a RICO case a bit back. Mediations tend to be fairly law-free events (as I'm sure you know), so we weren't expecting an extensive back and forth on the peculiarities of the RICO Act. But we were expecting a little back and forth. Instead, what we got was a single statement from the former Congressman from Chicago, accompanied by a wave of the hand:

"Don't talk to me about RICO. I was there when it passed."

I can honestly say that we didn't talk about the law of RICO for the rest of the day.

Arsonists seem a likely target

as do political protestors.

i don't see any mention of "intent to kill" in the USA PATRIOT's definition of 'domestice terrorism'; so anyone who kills (or even harms) someone else during a political protest that gets out of hand would seem to me to meet the requirements.

here in the fine state of NC, we had some guys cooking meth get tried on terrorism (chemical weapons!) charges.

"Scope creep" is inevitable when there's no institutional constituency for restraint. Law enforcement agencies are notoriously unconstrained.

Espionage and surveillance powers granted to fight WWII were later used to harass dissidents. Surveillance, search and confiscatory powers granted to fight major drug traffickers in the "War on Drugs" expanded to be used against minor players and even innocent bystanders.

A lot of people saw this coming when the Patriot Act was passed. You give authoritarian institutions that kind of power, they're going to use it in ways not originally intended. They always have; they always will; and in this case we're dealing with an Administration already openly hostile to civil liberties.

This, to me, is another argument for ending the Patriot Act altogether, rather than trying to "fix" it.

As far as I can tell, Lind does not offer a critique of particular events on the ground, tomsyl. His focus is rather the strategic mistake of smashing Falluja. If he is sniping at the American military, he at least has the decency to aim for the upper strata, most of which is just as far away from Falluja as he is.

But we're straying...

Liberals were widely lambasted after September 2001 for continuing to think of the struggle against terrorism as a law-enforcement problem rather than a war. But if that war gets redefined to include all sorts of other law-enforcement actions, it really comes to the same confusion described by different words.

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