Sometimes I worry that SF becomes a place where we blow off a little too much steam, as if all we do is complain. So instead we’ll let Dahlia Lithwick of Slate do the complaining for us. Last week she published her Bill of Wrongs, which are the 10 most outrageous civil liberties violations of 2006. I wonder how she whittled it down to 10.
Here are a few highlights:
10. Attempt to Get Death Penalty for Zacarias Moussaoui
Thankfully, a jury rejected the notion that Moussaoui could be executed for the crime of merely wishing there had been a real connection between himself and 9/11.
9. Guantanamo Bay
The lucky 75 to be tried there will be cheered to hear that the Pentagon has just unveiled plans to build a $125 million legal complex for the hearings. The government has now officially put more thought into the design of Guantanamo’s court bathrooms than the charges against its prisoners.
5. Government Snooping
Take your pick. There’s the NSA warrantless eavesdropping program wherein the president breezily authorized spying on the phone calls of innocent citizens, in violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The FBI’s TALON database shows the government has been spying on nonterrorist groups, including Quakers, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, and Veterans for Peace. The Patriot Act lives on. And that’s just the stuff we know about.
3. Abuse of Jose Padilla
The Bush administration supported his motion for a mental competency assessment, in hopes that will help prevent his torture claims from ever coming to trial, or, as Yale Law School’s inimitable Jack Balkin put it: “You can’t believe Padilla when he says we tortured him because he’s crazy from all the things we did to him.”
Lithwick encourages you to send CL outrages that she’s forgotten to her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Andy in the HBG