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Bill Could Restrict Freedom of the Press 747

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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  • Typical (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 13, 2006 @03:37AM (#14905650)
    So what is all this "Land of the free" I keep hearing about?
    • Re:Typical (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Krach42 ( 227798 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @04:06AM (#14905748) Homepage Journal
      So what is all this "Land of the free" I keep hearing about?

      The first comment from my friend from Canada, who lives in the US said: "That's it, I'm moving back to Canada."
    • Re:Typical (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Opportunist ( 166417 )
      Like in all fairy tales, it's something that was a long, long time ago.
    • by Shihar ( 153932 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @04:54AM (#14905886)
      You see, not only is this the "land of the free", much to the surprise and horror of tyrants everywhere, it is also "land of the lawyers and civil societies" who love nothing more then a good old fashion 1st amendment smack down.

      This law will not make it out of committee.

      This law will not make it through the House.

      This law will make it to the president's desk.

      Should this law actually somehow become law, it absolutely will contested and struck down by the courts.
    • 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 [] 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 dynamo52 ( 890601 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @03:37AM (#14905654)
    I for one am planning to write a letter of protest and sending it to every member of he Senate.
  • Welcome... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 13, 2006 @03:37AM (#14905655)
    Welcome to the Soviet States of America! All your free speech are belong to us!

    Your's kindly,
    George W. Bush
  • by ( 960072 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @03:38AM (#14905658)
    While not perfect, the media is a crucial factor in the check and balances system. Once the media is supressed, branches of the government have free reign. -- Jim []
    • by EmbeddedJanitor ( 597831 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @04:57AM (#14905893)
      The whole thread is worrying because it presumes that the press is currently free and is under some new threat. Horseshit.

      It is convenient for people to have you think that the press is free, because it is convenient for you to be suitably mislead.

      The press is being lead around by the nose. Remember folks that these days the press (and other reporting media) are not primary there to bring you the truth. They are there to provide infotainment to piull in the advertising revenue etc. Need nice snappy "news" to compete against all those other things trying to get a slice of your time. So what happens? Reporters that don't play the game soon get blacklisted. Nothing openly stated. Just a few extra minutes delay in returning your call (so your story gets scooped) or instead of being embedded with frontline troops giving scenic footage of night rocket attacks you get embedded in the crew washing trucks down at the transport park (makes for real high viewer rating footage!).

    • by killjoe ( 766577 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @05:27AM (#14905976)
      "While not perfect, the media is a crucial factor in the check and balances system."

      In that case we are all in trouble. The media has long abandoned any sense of purpose or duty. It's now completely sycophantic to the politicians. Often it's just acting as a PR arm of a political party.

      Radio led the way but now all media does very little besides amplifying whatever talking points come out of the politicians.

      It's all over but the shouting now.
      • by moonbender ( 547943 ) < minus pi> on Monday March 13, 2006 @08:53AM (#14906531)
        These are the things to keep in mind. These are not just academic exercises. We're not analyzing the media on Mars or in the eighteenth century or something like that. We're dealing with real human beings who are suffering and dying and being tortured and starving because of policies that we are involved in, we as citizens of democratic societies are directly involved in and are responsible for, and what the media are doing is ensuring that we do not act on our responsibilities, and that the interests of power are served, not the needs of the suffering people, and not even the needs of the American people who would be horrified if they realized the blood that's dripping from their hands because of the way they are allowing themselves to be deluded and manipulated by the system.
        -- Famous American (so-called) Dissident, 1993
    • by G-funk ( 22712 ) <> on Monday March 13, 2006 @05:54AM (#14906055) Homepage Journal
      Unfortunately, the "fear-sells-advertising" culture the media has built, will now be used to silence them.

      They can eat the cake, but they'll no longer have it.
    • by aussie_a ( 778472 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @06:11AM (#14906099) Journal
      As opposed to now where the president has publicly admitted to undertaking impeachable acts, with government agencies regularly breaking laws, and nothing being done about any of it?

      Sure we know about it now. That's done a lot. Perhaps we can use those Diebold voting machines, or try to vote in Florida where they deliberately send people away that statistically will vote for the opposition.
  • Yeah whatever (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 13, 2006 @03:39AM (#14905662)
    An aide to the bill's author assures us it's not aimed at reporters

    And the patriot act wasn't aimed at drug enforcement, but that certainly didn't stop it for being used for exactly that purpose.
  • by d474 ( 695126 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @03:46AM (#14905678)
    ...that makes it illegal to make bills like this illegal one because they are trying to legalize the concealment of illegal activities.

    Orwell, eat your heart out!
  • Coup (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tengoo ( 446300 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @03:50AM (#14905687)
    Six or seven years ago, if I were able to read today's headlines, maybe I'd think that a Coup d'etat had occurred in the states.
    • Re:Coup (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dynamo52 ( 890601 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @03:51AM (#14905694)
      Six or seven years ago, if I were able to read today's headlines, maybe I'd think that a Coup d'etat had occurred in the states.

      No, just a facist takeover through a manipulated electoralprocess

      • by meringuoid ( 568297 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @05:57AM (#14906062)
        I used to believe that. I used to say to people that the Americans weren't so bad. You couldn't blame the American people for the actions of their president - after all, they voted for the other guy. I didn't have any quarrel with America itself or with the American people - I just supported regime change.

        Then... 2004. Having been lumbered with that idiot for a president, with his cabal of fascist hangers-on pulling the strings, and having seen the horrors they perpetrated together on America, and on America's global standing, and on the world in general, what did the American people do?

        They voted him in. For real this time. No question about it, Bush won that election. They looked at the record of Bush's first term and said 'Yes. This is what we want from our Presidents. We like Bush and approve of what he has done, and want four more years of the same.'

        At which point you can't blame a corrupt fascist takeover. The fascists sneaked into office via a very dodgy election, but you had the chance to get them out. But you endorsed them and voted them in again with an authentic mandate.

        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.

        • by dynamo52 ( 890601 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @06:07AM (#14906088)

          You make some interesting arguments and while I don't completely disagree, I'm not totally convinced GW won in 2004. Ohio still looks awfully fishy to me. When was the last time you have seen exit polls so out of line with official results? And none of it auditable? We all know about Diebold.

          Yes, far too many Americans voted out of ignorance and fear, and are reaping their rewards, but the process was corrupted

        • by Lemmaling ( 960801 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @07:56AM (#14906359)
          Although the American people did reelect Bush in 2004, you have no way of knowing what their motives were. My guess is that as many people voted for Bush as a vote against Kerry, as actually voted for Bush because they support all of his politics. Kerry had some strong views on domestic policy, such as steps toward nationalized medicine, that probably made many borderline conservatives shy away from electing him.

          All I'm saying is that the post I'm responding to is one-sided and more beligerent than insightful. Although I disagree with the Bush's treatment of civil rights and his foreign policy, there were also other factors acting on people during the 2004 election. Perhaps if the Democratic - or any other - party would produce a good candidate, American's would have a better option than "choosing the lesser evil". And what you call "the lesser evil" is different for everyone anyway.
        • 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 elrous0 ( 869638 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @10:13AM (#14906948)
          They voted him in.

          51% of them did. Us remaining 49% don't like your sweeping generalization.


          • by zx75 ( 304335 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @12:34PM (#14908282) Homepage
            But when a country goes to war on the strength of what 51% of the voting population says... then I don't give a damn what the minority thinks. If you don't like the administration, then get out. I will say what I want about "Americans" as a whole because by the very founding notions of your country, your government is representative of the people, by the people, and for the people.

            If you don't like it, then it's your responsibility to change it, not mine. And as long as your government continues on the path it's been then I'll keep saying what I feel needs to be said.
        • by dghcasp ( 459766 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @10:22AM (#14907029)
          They looked at the record of Bush's first term and said 'Yes. This is what we want from our Presidents.

          I think we were watching different elections. 2004 seemed largely a referendum on whether gays should be allowed to marry, based on the exit polls they showed on TV.

          From where I watch (Canada,) a large number of voters in the US seem to be single-issue voters; voting for the candidate who agrees with their view on:

          • Should I be able to have a gun?
          • Do I support abortion rights?
          • Should gays be allowed to marry? (2004 special!)
          • Do I support labour unions?

          Also remember, although the people in office may change every few years, the lobbyists don't.

  • by Bushido Hacks ( 788211 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @03:52AM (#14905695) Homepage Journal
    "...except some are more equal than others." --George Orwell, Animal Farm

    I suppose the next thing the will want to do is confescate all of our "controband" and "propganda".

    If this is the future of America then I suggest a scishim and a sucession from the Imperial American Empire! Save the REAL United States of America from the New World Order.
  • by mejesster ( 813444 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @03:55AM (#14905705)
    I will confess my initial reaction was pure shock and horror, however the worst case scenarios pictured in both the article and slashdotters' heads don't seem likely. It's a clear violation of the first amendment right to free speech to abridge political speech, and NO supreme court, conservative or liberal, would interpret otherwise. I will say, I'm shocked at how Republicans in Congress are pandering to this administration's bizarre and invasive agenda.
  • by Sinbios ( 852437 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @03:57AM (#14905710) Homepage
    ...think "Gates" when they read the title? :P
  • So they want to make it illegal to report a crime.....

    Talk about stupid. Hopefully the Supreme Court would see fit to nuke this bill from orbit (should the US suffer the misfortune of this insane bill not being stillborn).

  • by ucsckevin ( 176383 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @03:59AM (#14905715) Homepage
    Even if Media is excluded from the language of the bill, it will still have negative consequences. Primarily, I wonder how it could not stiffle or discourage whistle blowing, if said whistleblower feared running afowl of this new law. Leaks are often bad, but they are often important---otherwise the public would have no knowledge of bad policy. I would doubt, with all the trouble the patriot act had passing, that this would pass as well. Unfortunately, though, the past 20 years we've relied more and more on the courts to protect our freedoms. I wish it didn't come to that, because sometimes they mess up too (imminent domain anyone?
  • But anybody who tells them about the illegal spy program is going to end up in jail -- and the reporter will end up in jail on contempt of court charges for not ratting out his/her informant.
  • by visualight ( 468005 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @04:10AM (#14905758) Homepage
    Most of them voted to renew the Patriot Act, and for a minute there I thought there was hope they'd make a big enough stink to get a few Republicans to disobey their leaders.

    If George wants this one, it'll pass too, probably with half of the Democrats voting for it.

    Doesn't the last 5 years seem almost surreal? WTF happened to our country?
  • 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.
  • by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @04:28AM (#14905806) Homepage Journal
    Hey, why not? The NSA domestic spying already violates the 4th Amendment. And the Republican Congress is willing to violate the spirit of the 9th, "no ex post facto laws", to change the law just to try to make Bush's crimes, breaking the FISA and Constutiotion, "go away".
  • by ian_wolffe ( 625024 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @04:28AM (#14905807)
    Anyone familiar with the term should know what I'm talking about. I hereby propose we (the people) stop f'in around and propose a new amendment to the Constitution(tm) and: I. Criticism of the Government(R) is now a felony and will be tried as treason. II. Disagreement with the above statement shall be considered Terrorism(R). III. Disenting views shall be subject to provisions I. and II. above. IV. Buy more stuff. All in favor? I believe in one man, one vote. I'm the man, ergo I get the vote. All complaints subject to above four provisions
  • by BinBoy ( 164798 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @04:29AM (#14905812) Homepage
    An aide to the bill's author assures us it's not aimed at reporters

    And the Patriot Act is only used against terrorists.
  • by Shihar ( 153932 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @04:30AM (#14905814)
    First, this proposed law will get shot pretty much instantly by the courts should it pass the senate (which it wont). This proposed law pretty much pisses on the first amendment, something that should be clear to senate, and something that is certainly clear to the courts. I really am not the least bit worried.

    That said, I think that this law inspires me to want a law of my own. Let's call my new law the "three strikes, now stop fucking with the constitution" law. Any congressman that votes for three laws that are later over turned on the grounds of it being unconstitutional should have their seat revoked for their absolute and utter incompetence in upholding the constitution of the United States.

    These worthless fuckers have sworn an oath to the constitution, and it really fucking pisses me off when they promptly turn around and drop one of these shit for laws. Not only does it piss me off that they are so incompetent as to not see the clear violation of the constitution that they are proposing, but it also pisses me off that my tax money has to be pissed away overturning these steaming piles of shit.

    Would a "three strikes, now STFU and stop messing with the constitution law" be great? Sure. It won't happen, so let's do the next best thing. STOP VOTING FOR THESE DUMB FUCKER. I am not sure who to be more pissed off at, the spineless incompetent politicians that seem to think that upholding the constitution is optional, or the worthless and lazy voters that blindly support their parties candidate and vote for these dumb fucker.

    Bah. This crap will be shot down. Thankfully, the court system still mostly works and takes its responsibility to the constitution seriously. It still pisses me off though that it even needs to go that far.
    • by killjoe ( 766577 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @05:35AM (#14906003)
      The courts have been stacked with handpicked judges by this administration. What makes you think they will do anything to undermine this administration or the republican party?

      Look at how the republican judges in the supreme court betrayed all their principles of states rights in the florida election. They even wrote in the decision that this case can never be used for precedent because they don't want it thrown back in their face.

      I have no faith in the court system anymore. It's just another partisan branch of the govt now. I can predict with greater then 99% accuracy how the supremes will vote on any issue. They all simply vote their party platform.
  • Outsourcing (Score:5, Funny)

    by Tarmas ( 954439 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @04:54AM (#14905884) Homepage
    Come to think of it, outsourcing a government to India is not such a bad idea.
  • by PinkyGigglebrain ( 730753 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @05:05AM (#14905912)
    Under President Reagan, Yeah this is a bad joke.

    Under President George Sr., Yeah This is a bad joke

    Under President Clinton, Yeah this is a bad joke

    Under Emporeror Bush, this fucking scares me.

    A fitting quote from Sid Myer's Alpha Centaury

    "As the Americans learned so painfully in Earth's final century, free flow of information is the only safeguard against tyranny. The once-chained people whose leaders at last loose their grip on information flow will soon burst with freedom and vitality, but the free nation gradually constricting its grip on public discourse has begun its rapid slide into despotism. Beware of he who would deny you access to information, for in his heart he dreams himself your master." -- Commissioner Pravin Lal, "Librarian's Preface"
  • 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.

  • Eventually... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tomstdenis ( 446163 ) <tomstdenis@gm a i> on Monday March 13, 2006 @07:20AM (#14906244) Homepage
    You'll get to the point where the conservatives won't be pointing out "stop worrying you hippie liberal douche" because you won't have the right to discuss politics in public.

    I'll go out on a limb and say this law won't pass.

    But I'll point out another fact my friends from back home used to say. You have the government you deserve. You recalled Gray Davis just to hire a movie star as your governor, why not recall Bush to hold a new election? It worked in Canada :-)

    Fact of that matter is this time around if you're american *you did* vote for Bush. Even knowing what sort of assclown he is. Sure John Kerry wasn't much of a choice either but what about all the independents? Despite what CNN says you're not in a bipartisan country. It is *legal* to have a third, fourth and even fifth option on the ballet.

    If enough people stole seats from the "holy bestowed party of two" they wouldn't get away with these sorts of laws and lobbying activity. But no, you guys take the easy road, do zero investigation and don't question anything.

    Oh and another thing I have to say to Americans. You really should learn at least one Chinese dialect in the next 5 or so years. With the raising of your deficit it just means less and less of America actually belongs to Americans [well the USA at least]. Canada on the other hand is in relatively good hands.

    Canada is certainly not perfect and Harper has yet to make the news for something really positive but at least I know all 14 spies we have aren't pointed at me.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 13, 2006 @07:55AM (#14906356)
    by Dr. Lawrence Britt

    Dr. Lawrence Britt has examined the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia) and several Latin American regimes. Britt found 14-defining characteristics common to each:

    "1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism - Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

    2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights - Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need." The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

    3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause - The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.

    4. Supremacy of the Military - Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

    5. Rampant Sexism - The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution.

    6. Controlled Mass Media - Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

    7. Obsession with National Security - Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.

    8. Religion and Government are Intertwined - Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government's policies or actions.

    9. Corporate Power is Protected - The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

    10. Labor Power is Suppressed - Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.

    11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts - Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked.

    12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment - Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.

    13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption - Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

    14. Fraudulent Elections - Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are mani

    • by Michael Woodhams ( 112247 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @04:33PM (#14910460) Journal
      I just did a web search. This list was published in 2003. As such, it clearly is deliberately drawing parallels - looking for common threads between current USA politics and historical facist regimes. This looks like an academically informed partisan political argument, rather than an impartial assesment.

      I'd be happier if it had been published in (say) 1975, so that it was predictive rather than reactive.

      (For the record, I agree with the author's point of view, however.)
  • Slow down here (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MobyDisk ( 75490 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @10:04AM (#14906885) Homepage
    Where's the text of this bill? The Washington Post article skips on some crucial details:
    The draft would add to the criminal penalties for anyone who.."
    So it isn't a new law, it only adds to the existing penalties? I'm not sure what that really means because:
    "... 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.
    Notice that they drop the quotes after a few words and start paraphrasing. So what does the law really make it illegal to disclose? Also, the thing about reporters is strange. They quote a politician as saying:
    "It in no way applies to reporters..."
    That doesn't sound like they have a line in there that says "This law does not apply to reporters." It sounds like he means that the law applies to internal government officials like CIA, FBI, etc. That would make this completely different.

    This article might be reactionary, but there's not enough information to tell. I'll wait until the actual text is available before making a judgement.

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"