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Subject: [IP] more on Who they're spying on

  • From: David Farber <>
  • To:
  • Date: Wed, 07 Jun 2006 17:16:06 -0400

Begin forwarded message:

From: Bob Frankston <>
Date: June 7, 2006 5:06:13 PM EDT
Cc: &quot;'Hiawatha Bray'&quot; <>
Subject: RE: [IP] Who they're spying on

I&#x2019;m backlogged so haven&#x2019;t posted this on SATN yet &#x2013; I wrote this in response to a Jacoby&#x2019;s column in the Globe asking why the ACLU is complaining.

Perhaps the big problem is that some fishing may be important and we might have to be flexible. But that makes it even more important to assure that we can trust those who have extraordinary rights. How can I feel safe with an administration that has a moralistic agenda that seems to go well beyond any narrow goal of looking for terrorists? An administration that operates in deep paranoid secrecy while seeing all others who want some freedom as suspects?

How can an administration that doesn&#x2019;t believe in evolution be trusted with understanding that Sherlock Holmes was story and that the kind of logic used in those books is simply and utterly wrong &#x2013; you don't eliminate all possibilities and know the one answer, you don't follow a whispering chain to many many levels and assume the results are valid. Same for Star Wars &#x2013; you don&#x2019;t close your eyes and mind and rely on The Force being with you.

When the government agents walk into libraries and demand to know what is being read and by whom and demand no one know about the visit &#x2013; how do you know what agenda they have? Even if we don't have cops being outright criminals (as in the news lately and in the Bulger debacle) na&#xEF;ve theories can do grave damage while making people afraid to appear on the wrong lists.

Is there any reason to assume the administration is not looking at who called Kerry?

Who should we be afraid of? Terrorists who might destroy buildings or those who seek to destroy our freedom with the terrorists as excuses

Should we trust an administration to protect our children when they would rather use children as an excuse to shut down the Internet and use simplistic testing to penalize thoughts that aren&#x2019;t easily measured and contained?

It&#x2019;s no surprise that we have &#x201C;proof by example&#x201D;. That&#x2019;s the method that was in use before the renaissance when we shifted to the scientific method of testing ideas instead of accumulating misunderstandings.

How many of those we should worry about go unnoticed because they have learned to hide in plain site? How many of those arrested have gotten convicted? How many learn to fear our government&#x2019;s actions and feel oppressed and attacked? What do desperate people do?

It&#x2019;s easy to create fear and give in to it&#x2013; it&#x2019;s harder to rise above it. That takes courage and maybe that&#x2019;s too much to expect.

+ + + + + + +

Responding to &#x201C;Phone-record hysteria at the ACLU&#x201D; http:// phone_record_hysteria_at_the_aclu/

I understand the apparent value in fishing through all of the phone records. I say apparent since without knowing the content of the conversations one must do more than just connect the dots. The records would not show all the conversations that take place outside the classic phone system &#x2013; be their in person or over the Internet as with email or Skype. It&#x2019;s too easy to see patterns that aren&#x2019;t there and miss those that are. At very least moral certainty is not compatible with dealing with the ambiguities.

The real problem, however, is that the administration has not shown the restraint necessary to be trusted with unlimited access to such information. This is an administration that has doesn&#x2019;t distinguish between terrorism and other activities that meet its disapproval. It uses cover stories like a campaign against child pornography and abortion to demand that all of our meanderings be recorded and reported.

Given that this administration views the oversight of the courts and the restrictions imposed by Congress with disdain we have every reason to be afraid of those who seek to track our lives and impose their rigid morality on us all.

We should be prepared for disruptions be they from terrorism or other disasters. Cynically pandering to our fears and tightly monitoring all activities will leaves us less capable of responding to events and unable to move beyond the seeing the future as more of the past.

One needn&#x2019;t be an anti-bush partisan to fear fear itself.

Bob Frankston

-----Original Message-----
From: David Farber []
Sent: Wednesday, June 07, 2006 11:54
Subject: [IP] Who they're spying on

Begin forwarded message:


Date: June 7, 2006 11:11:09 AM EDT


Subject: Who they're spying on

In all the fuss about the NSA spying issue, it's sometimes forgotten


there are real bad guys out there, who badly need to be spied on.

Here's a

story that makes the point, from today's London Times.,,3-2214663,00.html

  British computer whiz-kid exports

  terror via internet

  By Daniel McGrory

  An e-mail trail has led to the arrest

  of suspects across the world who were

  recruited and then schooled in


  AN INTERNET trail left by a British

  computer expert has led investigators

  to an intricate terror network

  spreading from the backstreets of

  Baghdad through cells of young

  militants living in European capitals

  to Islamic extremists plotting

  car-bomb attacks in North America.

  For nine months police and

  intelligence agents in eight countries

  have patiently worked through a forest

  of e-mails and intercepted telephone

  calls that have so far led to the

  arrest of up to 30 men.

  Most of these suspects have never met.

  They had no need. They were recruited,

  groomed by skilled propagandists and

  schooled in bombmaking via the


  A senior security source told The

  Times that there is a far greater

  number of terror networks operating in

  Britain than had been thought, all

  using the internet to plot attacks

  here and abroad.

Hiawatha Bray


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