Feel safe yet?

So, this supposedly democratic nation with its famed Bill of Rights cannot keep us safe without disregarding its own principles and standards. And, since we have been told that the "war on terorism" will continue until there is no terrorism (freelance) anywhere on the planet, we can expect never to see those principles and standards again.

HACKENSACK, N.J., May 20 — Justice Department lawyers, defending the federal government's refusal to identify the 1,200 foreign Muslims arrested after Sept. 11, said today that public disclosure would undermine counterterrorism efforts and put the detainees at risk of attack from angry Americans as well as terrorists.

Appearing before the Appellate Division of State Superior Court, the government lawyers insisted that national security interests outweighed any public right to know who is being kept in its jails, why and for how long.

"This is not secrecy for secrecy's sake," said Robert D. McCallum Jr., the assistant attorney general in charge of the department's civil division.

He added that revealing the names of detainees, even those cleared by investigators of involvement with terrorism, might open them to attack by American "vigilantes" or allow terrorists to piece together details of the government's counterterrorism efforts.

The arguments were the latest in a series of attempts by the Bush administration to justify its assertion of sweeping powers to hold secret immigration hearings, conceal the identities of foreign detainees and imprison people as material witnesses, all in the name of fighting terrorism.

In every case heard in the last few months, federal and state district judges in New York, New Jersey and Michigan have ruled against the government and in favor of disclosure.

Should we bother pointing out that these detainees were rounded up within our borders and most remain concentrated in camps (oops, Jails) largely in two New Jersey counties?

And is it still necessaary to point out that in all of the Government's counterterrorism efforts since September 11, among all of those detained after that date, here in the U.S. in Afghanistan, Cuba or anywhere else, not one person has yet been charged, other than John Walker Lindh?

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Published on May 21, 2002 11:54 AM.

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