In the wake of a terrorist cell being taken down in England, the STACLU are frantically pushing their anti-ACLU spin on the situation. In particular, they're claiming that the ACLU would have prevented our government from acting so effectively because they're intentionally trying to make us less safe. Why anyone would think that Americans are intentionally trying to make Americans - which would include them less safe is beyond my ability to understand, but that's the kind of idiotic rhetoric the clueless throw around.
In this post by Glib Fortuna (doesn't that sound like the name of a drag queen?), he's busy peddling this myth. Here's the problem: they think that the ACLU opposes all law enforcement, all wiretaps, all infiltration of groups, and so forth. That's simply false. The ACLU does not oppose all forms of search, seizure or surveillance, including any of the above. They do demand, as does the 4th amendment, that there be probable cause and that a warrant be issued authorizing the search (and yes, wiretaps and the like are searches).
In the case of the breakup of the cells in Europe, they had reports from Muslims who saw their activity that triggered the surveillance. They also had an informant inside the group. All of that means they had more than enough probable cause to get the surveillance authorized, and everything done was perfectly legal and would have been in the US as well. In fact, according to Fox News, the NSA actually did get warrants for the surveillance of this particular group. But hey, why worry about these little details when you've got a myth to sell?
Glib Fortuna (doesn't that sound like the name of a drag queen?)
Sure does! I had no idea that the STACLU was nothing more than a front for a pack of cross-dressing nellie queens!
You go girls!
The more those idiots can convince themselves that the ACLU wants to "destroy America" (and along the way, "destroy all traces of Christianity" despite "our nation's Christian heritage"), the easier it is for them to foment their own and like-minded morons' hatred, and hatred is what fuels those shortchanged at birth in the brains department. Unfortunately for these geniuses, this requires adopting the assumption that everyone involved with the ACLU is effectively suicidal; since this is an indefensible position, the STACLU posters -- upon being challenged as to why the ACLU would want to eradicate itself -- do what they always do when they find themselves simultaneously upholding contradictory ideas: ignore the one that is most inconvenient to their mythology and fling around terms like "liberal agenda" and "activist judge" until the smoke clears.
"Glib Fortuna" may be a reference to a Star Wars character named Bib Fortuna, a sycophantic assistant to Jabba The Hutt. A strange associative identity to seek deliberately, but it isn't like I have room to talk. ;-)
Bill O'Reilly, in response to these arrests, is advocating striking down the probable cause clause in the 4th amendment and instead use "reasonable suspicion" as justification for searches and seizures. He's claiming the Brits were able to secure intelligence we would be unable to secure here in the States in regards to last week's arrests.
While I couldn't find a link of his statements this past week, googling him and reasonable suspicion provides some links that this rant of his is also tied to his desire to increase police power relating to drugs and illegal immigrants and not just terror investigations.
Why anyone would think that Americans are intentionally trying to make Americans - which would include them less safe is beyond my ability to understand...
Ah, you must've missed the comments section. mattm has the answer:
To find the reason why the ACLU opposed ways to make us safe, all we need to do is to look to the reason why it was founded, end the current US government and impliment Communism.
It just makes sense.
Asside - Poor punctuation leads to unintentional humor: "We have to implement communism in order to find the reason why the ACLU opposed ways to make us safe!"
At this point we don't know the details of how the Brits developed this case but from what has been revealed, the first evidence of it turned up in tips from acquaintances of the accused who were then tailed and watched for a considerable time. Knowing the Brits I suspect warrants for wiretapping, surveillance searches, and arrests were all obtained on the basis of probable cause or the British equivalent. From what has been revealed to date, the Brits did not follow, tail, wiretap, or pry into the affairs of anyone about whom they didn't independent indication they were worth following. In other words, at no time did they attempt to vacuum up every little detail of the lives of every Muslim in Britain or every one in Britain in the mode of Bush/Cheney/Gonzales. I suspect the Brits had more evidence, better evidence, and truly usable evidence than Bush's administrations could ever develop using their extra legal shotgun, shoot-from-the-hip approach.
The British standard of evidence for getting the equivalent of a search warrant is a bit looser than our standard, more like reasonable suspicion than probable cause. This case, however, appears to have met a probable cause standard from day one.
More to the point, it appears to be a textbook case of following proper procedures in an international investigation. Follow the evidence, work closely with allies and share information, get the job done. No torture required, just good detective work.
In a somwhat humorous related note, several US airports have decided to start giving all the bottles of shampoo, etc that they are confiscating to local charities. In other words, they are quite confident none of it is dangerous, they just felt like taking it. Doesn't that just make everyone warm and tingly.
If anyone is interested in a detailed history and comparison of the law covering these matters in both the United States and the United Kingdom, they might find this useful:
British criteria for issuing warrants, detaining suspects, and the like, are considerably less stringent than America's, even post-Patriot Act. Bill O'Reilly would do well to remember that that has a lot to do with why the Thirteen Colonies declared themselves independent in the first place...
In this post by Glib Fortuna (doesn't that sound like the name of a drag queen?)
I think the name is derived from Star Wars character Bib Fortuna. Who looks like a drag queen.
The British standard of evidence for getting the equivalent of a search warrant is a bit looser than our standard, more like reasonable suspicion than probable cause.
This is what people are saying but what test would the courts apply to distinguish between "reasonable suspicion" and "probable cause"? And does "reasonable suspicion" mean the same in both the US and UK?
I was using the US terminology, the link you gave goes into much more detail and gives the proper Brit terms for everything. Essentially, probable cause means the agent seeking the warrant or conducting the search has reasonable grounds for believing that a crime has been committed; this is why a cop who pulls you for speeding mught ask to search your car; since he's already got you on the speeding rap, he has a prima facie crime to tie the search to.
"Reasonable suspicion" on the other hand is a term used for searches conducted under a lesser scrutiny because of the circumstances. Most searches that occur in a school setting fall in this class, because the school is acting in loco parentis. basically it means that the state agent merely has to have good reason to believe something fishy is going on. Not all evidence seized under this standard will be admissable in court, however.