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Europe Violates Civil Rights More than US
In reply to Sinclair, I wrote a few days ago:
"I happen also to think that detention without access to attorney, without
recourse to a writ of habeas corpus, without speedy trial are all wrong,
especially for US citizens or aliens in the US. There are wartime precedents
to the contrary but not in an open ended undeclared war when it will be hard
to say when or what the end is. These rights are in the US Constitution and
when the appeals in the US federal courts are completed I am certain that the
US Constitution in all its grandeur will be upheld."
I did not, however, expect to be vindicated so soon. Perhaps I would be a
better prophet than Sherlock Holmes----although I did note in Ann's telling
us all about her husband that she said nothing of the national origin of his
mother or where all he spent his childhood, but I digress.
The lead article in the Outlook section of the Washington Post, Sunday, Sept.
15, 2002, on US and European violations of civil rights was written by
Jeffrey Rosen, an associate professor of Geo Wash Univ Law School and legal
affairs editor of the New Republic. He is coming out with a book on liberty
and security after 9\11 that will be published by Random House. I shall
quote excerpts of the article.
"In the course of researching the state of liberty and security after 9\11,
I've been especially struck by how restrained America's legal response
appears when constrasted witih that of our European allies. Although they
weren't attacked, the countries of the European Union passed anti-terrorism
measures during the past year that are far more sweeping than anything
adopted in the U.S. In Oct., France expanded the powers of the police to
search private property without a warrant. Germany has engaged in religious
profiling of suspected terrorists, a practice that was unheld in a
court....In Britain...Parliament passed a sweeping anti-terrorism law in Dec.
that authorized a central govt authority to record and store all
communications data generated by e-mail, Internet borwsing or other
electronic communications and to make the data available to law enforcement
without a court order. In May the European Union authorized all of its
members to pass similar laws requiring data retention."
"The new British anti-terrorism law...gives the home sec'y unilateral power
to designate as an 'international terrorist' anyone whom he perceives as a
'risk to national security' and to indefinitely detain the person without
charge if the individual can't be deported."
"What distinguishes America from Europe, however, is how quickly all three of
these three extreme positions [of the Bush Admin] met with opposition from
the other two branches of the govt."
The article concluded in re US: "The executive branch tried to increase its
own authority across the board, but the courts and Congress are insisting on
a more reasoned balance beween liberty and security. Of all the lessons
about America' s strength that have emerged since the attacks, this is one of
the most assuring."
Comment: I would add that historically Americans have been the least
deferential to authority of about any European or European off-shoot country.