Flutterby™! : Your papers, please?

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Your papers, please?

2004-07-23 01:24:49.949485+00 by Dan Lyke 9 comments

I'm sorry, maybe I'm just paranoid, but my parents had a lot of eastern European friends when I was growing up, and I heard lots of tales. Does anyone else find it unnerving that in the wake of the Hiibel decision that police are stopping Amtrak trains and checking the identity of everyone on board?

[ related topics: Current Events Law Enforcement Machinery Trains Public Transportation ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: Papieren bitte! made: 2004-07-23 13:10:56.202056+00 by: DaveP

Maybe this is one of those times where my habit of always trying to figure the worst-possible-case outcome has mentally prepared me ahead of time. I don't find the Amtrak thing at all surprising, since I've heard from friends that they're even searching people on the dirty dog.

I think the psychological blow might have also been decreased by reading the Harry Turtledove books about an alien invasion of Earth where the aliens had impsed controls on motorized transport, so a guy biked from Denver to Seattle (starting on US 40) and I said to myself "Yeah, that'd suck, but I could probably do it eventually."

#Comment Re: made: 2004-07-23 16:19:12.529478+00 by: other_todd

What's pissing me off is the MBTA (the local subway and bus people) instituting random searches of subway passengers. They're mostly doing it for the DNC but there are a lot of pissed people who say they don't have the right to do it at all; I am one of them. I hope a few lawsuits ensue (and if I'm wishing for more lawsuits, you see that I am annoyed indeed).

#Comment Re: made: 2004-07-23 16:52:11.682332+00 by: Dan Lyke

Then the Cryptome coverage of holes in the DNC security plans needs wider distribution, 'cause "randomly" searching passengers isn't the right way to do things.

(Speaking of which, I've avoided the whole Anne Jacobsen "Terror in the Skies" thing (the original paranoid ramblings), but can we give everyone who agreed with her a good hearty bitchslapping, and can we re-cast her whole premise as "and there were well behaved black males walking down the street without being randomly accosted by police, too! What an outrage!"?)

#Comment Re: made: 2004-07-23 23:17:12.603145+00 by: Shawn

My first response, as I started to read the article was, "Oh, that sounds reasonable. There was a note...". But then I started to really think about it - what have they done in the past when "a note" was found? Even since 9/11, they haven't collected and recorded the identification of everyone on the premesis. They haven't videotaped everyone.

Thanks, Dan, for bringing this up. If not, I probably wouldn've just glossed over it when I heard about it through the mainstream channels.

#Comment Re: made: 2004-07-24 17:19:21.695351+00 by: TC

I'd like to bifurcate the issue and take on the camera surveillance in public places. Why is this wrong? I understand gathering up the usual suspects everyone on the train show me your papers being wrong but don't get the cameras in "public" places trampling peoples rights.

#Comment Re: made: 2004-07-24 19:38:11.065681+00 by: Shawn

It's not so much the cameras themselves as what's being done with that imagery. There is [very realistic, IMO] concern that records are being compiled which could be used to track average citizens.

#Comment Re: dystopic SF made: 2004-07-24 19:53:42.224908+00 by: DaveP

I just realized there's more dystopic SF in my background. My Name Is Legion by Roger Zelazny focused on a guy who'd managed to work on "the system" keeping track of everyone's personal data, and had managed to backdoor it a bit. Handy!

On a slightly related note, the ACLU has a spiffy little movie that deserves a look.

Maybe I'm just too much of a pessimist, but none of this surprises me. It was during the Reagan years when I started figuring that the US government was a cross between the worst nightmares of George Orwell and the wet dreams of P.T. Barnum. Are we to be surprised when we elect people who are seeking power to positions of power and they turn out to want more? Maybe it's just the natterings of a black-helicopters (they're actually dark green, you know) conspiracy theorist ("Nobody sees what I see."), but I worry about that sort of thing once in a while.

Then again, I also travelled eastern Europe in 1980 and the UK in 2000 and experienced omnipresent surveillance. The biggest worry I have about that is the fact that databases are big enough, and computers powerful enough that people can now tie all the various pieces together. It's spooky that someone else can know everything I do in public, especially when there are evenings I can't even remember.

#Comment Re: made: 2004-07-25 19:26:05.874221+00 by: ziffle

I wish they would simply declare Marshall Law and by that show us that this is an emergency[Wiki] and in that way draw a clear line between vaild actions by government during an emergency. As it is they are eroding our constitutional protections and when this is over we will never get them back where they were, without a revolution.

We will look back and say they made glaring, damaging errors about this.

It reminds me of the movies about WWII were the POW's try to escape using the trains and Gestapo checks all the identity papers. But they were at war and we are not. That makes all the difference in the world.

If we were at war and we all inderstood why we were at war we would all support the actions you describe. We do not have the intellectual ammunition we need to justify what is happening, because our leaders don't really get it either. This article is the clearest explanation I have seen http://www.nytimes.com/2004/07...1679250&ei=1&en=a15efe8a2af12e28

Until we grasp the fact that its idealogical, we will never get it and we will destroy our country all by ourself by destroying its idealogical foundations.

uuuhh 'we' means 'them our leaders' not 'me' <g>

#Comment Re: made: 2004-07-26 05:05:46.642051+00 by: Shawn

Dave; I'm not surprised either, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't speak out about and against it.