FOXNews is reporting that a judge has ordered the Department of Justice to release the names of all people detained in the 9/11 investigations.
This is a good thing. The terror investigations have exposed some alarming power that the government has that is entirely inconsistent with a free people.
Don’t get me wrong. I bet most of the people that have been investigated are guilty. And I hope we find all the terrorists, and all those who are plotting terror, and string them up.
But the end does not justify the means. If the government can indefinitely “detain” Abdul, Mohammed, Omar, and Raoul, refuse to divulge that they are even being held, and deny them due process; then the government can do the same thing to Joe, Fred, Bill, and George.
Americans should be outraged at the government’s abuses in the name of protecting us. Consider Mr. Padilla. The DOJ couldn’t hold him legally any longer, so they declared him an “unlawful combatant” and transferred him to the State Department’s custody. That way they can “detain” him indefinitely.
Padilla is an American citizen. We have Constitutionally recognized natural rights. One of those is our right to liberty, which manifests itself as the right to a speedy trial. Legal trickery to justify indefinite detention is inconsistent with our Constitutional and natural right to freedom.
We take comfort in the belief that since we haven’t done anything wrong, we are in no danger. And we’re probably right. But what if we’re not?
What if extreme gun-control freaks take power and ban guns? It would be quite a simple step to classify anyone who did not turn in his or her weapons as a “terrorist” or otherwise dangerous individual.
What if strong cryptography is outlawed? Could you be classified as a dangerous individual because you use PGP or steganography?
Any strong political opinion could conceivably become illegal, and those who refused to abandon their convictions could quickly be treated just as the terrorists are now. All in the name of keeping America safe.