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Bill Could Restrict Freedom of the Press 747

Posted by Zonk
from the who-needs-news? dept.
WerewolfOfVulcan writes "The Washington Post is carrying an article about a disturbing Senate bill that could make it illegal to publicly disclose even the existence of US domestic spying programs (i.e. NSA wiretaps)." An aide to the bill's author assures us it's not aimed at reporters, but the language is ambiguous at best. From the article: "Kate Martin, director of the Center for National Security Studies, said the measure is broader than any existing laws. She said, for example, the language does not specify that the information has to be harmful to national security or classified. 'The bill would make it a crime to tell the American people that the president is breaking the law, and the bill could make it a crime for the newspapers to publish that fact,' said Martin, a civil liberties advocate."
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Bill Could Restrict Freedom of the Press

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  • by smitingpurpleemu (951712) on Monday March 13, 2006 @04:15AM (#14905775)
    Hm... the Supreme Court is old and two have already retired, and have been replaced with solidly conservative Bush allies. I wouldn't be so sure that the courts will in fact shoot down this bill.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 13, 2006 @04:19AM (#14905786)
    Actually, under the patriot act they can simply hold them without charge. This has been done to several hundred americans since 9/11.
  • i.e. vs. e.g. (Score:5, Informative)

    by ljw1004 (764174) on Monday March 13, 2006 @04:22AM (#14905792)
    "i.e." stands for "id est" and means "that is [to say]".

    "e.g." stands for "exempli gratia" and means "for example".

    The article summary should have used e.g. instead of i.e. I see this mistake all the time and it irritates me.
  • Re:fuck (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 13, 2006 @04:22AM (#14905794)
    You should have stopped at "Actually, I can't think[.]" :P

    Just a couple from the top of my head,
    Nicaragua: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandinistas#Oppositio n_to_Somoza_.281961.E2.80.931979.29 [wikipedia.org]
    Cuba: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuba#History [wikipedia.org]
    Vietnam: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Vietnam#Relatio nship_with_the_United_States [wikipedia.org]

  • by cpt kangarooski (3773) on Monday March 13, 2006 @04:36AM (#14905832) Homepage
    No, the bar against ex post facto laws is in Article I, Section 9. The 9th Amendment is the one that says that the enumeration of rights shall not be construed to mean that unenumerated rights don't exist.
  • Re:Typical (Score:5, Informative)

    by killjoe (766577) on Monday March 13, 2006 @05:43AM (#14906024)
    I think it's someplace north of the border, or perhaps in europe someplace.
  • Re:Typical (Score:5, Informative)

    by rammer (9221) on Monday March 13, 2006 @05:49AM (#14906046) Homepage Journal
    > So what is all this "Land of the free" I keep hearing about?

    Not true anymore. If it ever was. See McCarthyism [wikipedia.org] or other examples from the history of civil rights in the US.

    I think that the verse continues as "Home of the Brave".

    Not true either. See how squeamish the US people get when soldiers die in wars and occupations that their elected government chose to enter.

    Here's a hit from the big clue stick:
    If you don't like the government that you have then don't re-elect it!
    And I'm not just talking about the president that you have over there.
    I'm talking about all of the elected officials.

    I must say things are not any better here in Finland.
    Our former Prime Minister resigned because she leaked confidential information during her election campaign.
    She was elected anyway to the European parliament after her resignation.

    People should realise the power that they have and make responsible decisions when voting.
  • by Siffy (929793) on Monday March 13, 2006 @06:06AM (#14906086) Homepage

    I read about a page of comments all basically saying the same thing "I hate this" "Bush's fault" "It won't get past the courts, move along" etc etc. Too bad there weren't any "why I hate this" comments backing up their opinions.

    I wish the Washington Post had included a link to the original wording of this proposed bill. But they didn't so all we had was this:

    The draft would add to the criminal penalties for anyone who "intentionally discloses information identifying or describing" the Bush administration's terrorist surveillance program or any other eavesdropping program conducted under a 1978 surveillance law.

    Meaning, the law would make it illegal to disclose information that might harm ongoing legal investigations. How is that a bad thing? It would still be legal to report surveillance that is being preformed illegally. The key words are "conducted under a 1978 surveillance law". If this is the actual case the other quote they gave us:

    "The bill would make it a crime to tell the American people that the president is breaking the law, and the bill could make it a crime for the newspapers to publish that fact," said Martin, a civil liberties advocate.
    is contradictory and incorrect. One of them is wrong. The important question is which? Likely this law wouldn't affect law abiding citizens at all. The media has brought this crap upon themselves though. By reporting anything whether accurate or not in the name of revenue and ratings.

    You not hearing about legal wiretapping will not affect your life. You not hearing about illegal wiretapping is a different story. In the haste of the Washington Post to produce a story, they have reported contradictory opinions without facts to show which is true.

  • Re:Typical (Score:3, Informative)

    by meringuoid (568297) on Monday March 13, 2006 @07:27AM (#14906263)
    Isn't Europe north of the border?

    Most of it, no. For reference, the southernmost point of Great Britain is about level with the northernmost point of the USA (not counting Alaska, obviously...). Most of the population of Europe is further south than this.

  • by zippthorne (748122) on Monday March 13, 2006 @07:46AM (#14906321) Journal
    I took my wording from the constitution itself.

    Article 1, section 9:
    The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.


  • Re:Coup (Score:2, Informative)

    by whathappenedtomonday (581634) on Monday March 13, 2006 @07:46AM (#14906322) Journal
    Wiki is probably not the best source for this. Try here [couplescompany.com] ("The 14 Defining Characteristics Of Fascism") or here [mvp-seattle.com] if you want fancy illustrations.

    "A dictatorship is the most common association with fascism, a democracy or republic can also be fascist when it strays away from its Tenets of sovereignty."

    What surprises me is that most people still deny that there are lots of warning signs indicating the fascist layout of the US government. After WWII, everyone said that the Germans should have noticed right from the start what Hitler was up to. Hope the US won't repeat history...

  • Re:Yeah whatever (Score:3, Informative)

    by meringuoid (568297) on Monday March 13, 2006 @07:49AM (#14906331)
    Cliche? Already? It's only five months old [slashdot.org]...

    And, googling further, it seems to have earned a +5 every time it's been used in a political discussion on /. ever since. I suppose it's too late now to ask about royalties... :-)

  • by eclectic4 (665330) on Monday March 13, 2006 @08:05AM (#14906393)
    "It's your own stupid fault now. And the world knows it. What America does now, the ordinary American people can be directly and personally blamed for."

    We (they?) are just very very good at breeding consent through means of public manipulation. A shitload has been learned over many decades on how to manipulate public thought. Now, I'm not talking about intellectuals, or even /. readers (ahem), they merely need to convince 51% of the masses of their lies/misconceptions. They can and do, end of story.

    And remember, Bush won by only a few percentage points. The "rest" of us were so completely stunned, that therapy and Canadian visa applications were headline stories. If you feel you must blame somone, blame the ill-informed and the reasons for their inability to become informed. Our media is a laughing stock. Our workforce has barely the time to watch American Idol, let alone watch meaningful discourse (no car crashes? forget it...). Half of our country merely doesn't realize that there is anything wrong. They are convinced that power equals safety, and that gaining as much power as possible at any cost is worth it. What they don't realize, is that this very thinking is what we as Americans used to despise. In fact, that train of thought was thought to be a precursor for war by those same ill-informed masses. What a change has been made... kudos to the greedy. They've won hook line and sinker, and it's coming to a country near you!
  • by incabulos (55835) on Monday March 13, 2006 @08:33AM (#14906472)
    I believe that the elections were sufficiently rigged to disqualify them from any validity, hence you still cant blame the American people for all post-2004 actions. There was a huge amount of evidence that Diebold were gearing up to commit electoral fraud in cohorts with the GOP before the vote was cast. Post-electoral 'discrepancies' that have been uncovered are statistically impossible to have occured in a random, non-controlled way - think throwing a six-sided die one million times and getting a 6 each time.

    Hussein had elections too you may recall, ones in which he routinely won 99% of the vote. Vote rigging is a sign of a dictatorship, as are any laws giving said dictator the power to kill, imprison or torture their citizens on a whim, or as a result of 'evidence' that is subjective and easily fabricated. The Patriot Act could have been recycled and copied word-for-word from the legal machinations of Pinochet, the Ba'ath party, or the NKVD.

    Treason the likes of which would have seen previous political figures torn apart by a mob, put up against a stake and shot, or dangling at the end of a rope are now 'patriotic initiatives'. The Reichstag has been burned, and history seems to be repeating itself.
  • by RalphSleigh (899929) on Monday March 13, 2006 @08:55AM (#14906534) Homepage
    Theres a whole bunch of numbers just waiting to be looked up that says a whole lot more innocent Americans get shot than in similar countries that have much tighter firearm laws. Start here http://www-medlib.med.utah.edu/WebPath/TUTORIAL/GU NS/GUNSTAT.html [utah.edu] I meanwhile will continue enjoying the tight firearm legislation around here. /me kisses kama goodbye
  • Re:Bill Could... (Score:3, Informative)

    by TubeSteak (669689) on Monday March 13, 2006 @09:08AM (#14906574) Journal
    How about some specific language that would actually restrict speech from a proposed bill with a remote chance of passing Congress that the Supreme Court is also likely to find constitutional
    Ah, now ain't that the catch: "Specific Language"

    I'm going to quote an old post [slashdot.org] from the "DMCA Abuse Widespread" [slashdot.org] article:
    Whenever a controversial law is proposed, and its supporters, when confronted with an egregious abuse it would permit, use a phrase along the lines of 'Perhaps in theory, but the law would never be applied in that way' - they're lying . They intend to use the law that way as early and as often as possible.
    The problem will Bills like this, is that if some of those Mother Humpers get really attached to the idea, they'l keep trying to sneak it into legislation.

    "It in no way applies to reporters _ in any way, shape or form," said Mike Dawson, a senior policy adviser to [Sen. Mike DeWine, R-Ohio], responding to an inquiry Friday afternoon. "If a technical fix is necessary, it will be made."
    If it doesn't apply to a certain class of people, then you better damn well say so in the legislation, cause after it's law, it can be interpreted any which way "The Man" wants (Hint: See "DMCA Abuse Widespread" quote)

    I'm not to worried though, the newspaper types have a big-ass Guild and the Civil Liberties types will freak out if it applies to them.
  • by Theaetetus (590071) <theaetetus,slashdot&gmail,com> on Monday March 13, 2006 @11:07AM (#14907463) Homepage Journal
    If by domestic disputes, you mean an altercation in the United States, you're probably right. Other than that, I think you're misusing the phrase.

    No, parent was right. Domestic disputes - a term for 'fights within the home between relations', including spouses, signifigant others, parents/children, etc. - cause more gun violence than armed robbery does in the US.

  • by Twanfox (185252) on Monday March 13, 2006 @11:55AM (#14907908)
    Just a nit. "tax-and-spend" liberalism. Not that I am a liberal, since I tend to vote how I feel is best, government spending is at an all-time high, thanks to our republican president. As someone once said, 'conservative' doesn't mean 'fiscally conservative.' It could mean 'social conservative' or something else. Amazingly, I imagine it might just be the same with liberalism too, that not all of them are of the mindset that 'money makes it all better.'
  • by Junnonen (205988) on Monday March 13, 2006 @12:24PM (#14908177)
    So you are saying that most militaries in Europe train soldiers mostly to keep peace? Right........

    The troops they send to abroad are special trained units, not regular soldiers. Regular soldiers are tought regular skills, ie. how to fight in wars and kill enemies. Of course this is not necessarily very relevant in this time and age, especially as here in Finland we still have compulsory military service, but that's the way it is.
  • Re:Typical (Score:3, Informative)

    by slavemowgli (585321) on Monday March 13, 2006 @03:03PM (#14909688) Homepage
    Both of that, actually - to the north *and* in Europe. If you want countries that are not ENTIRELY fucked up yet, you should check Sweden, Iceland and so on. I'm not saying things are perfect there, but at least "democracy" and "freedom" are not completely empty words there yet.
  • by Cervantes (612861) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @12:34PM (#14916590) Journal
    Orwell, eat your heart out!

    Orwell is spinning in his grave. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength. We are always at war. We live in constant fear of terror attacks.

    The dystopian future I studied in high school is coming true. He erred only by two decades.


    Actually, a bit more than that. The book was first titled "1948", but the British government expressed their extreme displeasure at his harsh commentary on current society... so he retitled it "1984" to appease them. Really, he could have called it "2121: A Fascist Odyssey" and it still would have been relevant, because the themes he puts forward will always exist... it's just a question of to what degree.

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