21st Century Law Enforcement at its Finest

by matttbastard

Because the presumption of innocence is, like, so September 10th, dude:

The Justice Department is considering letting the FBI investigate Americans without any evidence of wrongdoing, relying instead on a terrorist profile that could single out Muslims, Arabs or other racial and ethnic groups.

Law enforcement officials say the proposed policy would help them do exactly what Congress demanded after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks: Root out terrorists before they strike.

Yes, we all know just how successful the doctrine of prevention has worked out so far–hey, how is that crusade to forcefully spread democracy across the Middle East going?

Currently, FBI agents need specific reasons — like evidence or allegations that a law probably has been violated — to investigate U.S. citizens and legal residents. The new policy, law enforcement officials told The Associated Press, would let agents open preliminary terrorism investigations after mining public records and intelligence to build a profile of traits that, taken together, were deemed suspicious.

Among the factors that could make someone subject of an investigation is travel to regions of the world known for terrorist activity, access to weapons or military training, along with the person’s race or ethnicity.

[…]

Critics say the presumption of innocence is lost in the proposal. The FBI will be allowed to begin investigations simply “by assuming that everyone’s a suspect, and then you weed out the innocent,” said Caroline Fredrickson of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Oh, come on. Who needs actual, y’know, specific ‘evidence‘ that illegal activity is occurring, when everybody knows that those swarthy Arabmuslimdarkies (especially the ones who dare to rack up frequent flyer mileage) have pure, undistilled terror flowing through their steely veins 24/7? (What? ‘IRA’ stands for ‘Indo-Republican Army’. Srsly.)

Update: Also see I Need To Calm Down, Threat Level, and, representing the silly side of Blogtopia’s *cough* main street, Tammy “everybody knows” Bruce and Allahpundit, who wonders if we should “[b]e on the lookout for English-speaking caucasians with light-colored eyes“.

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Post-Race Era? Once Again, My Black Ass.

by matttbastard

Contra Barack Obama and Frank Rich, the reaction to the Sean Bell verdict shows that Americans still have a long way to go to “[transcend] the racial and cultural rifts that [have] divided them for centuries”, says Max Blumenthal.

Related:

[W]hile we might be outraged at the Sean Bell decision itself, it comes directly from the flawed jurisprudence that gave us the Dred Scott Decision in 1857, Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896, Bakke in 1978, Croson in 1989, Adarand in 1995, Gratz in 2003, and all of the Ward Connerly-inspired attacks on the very same affirmative action hard won by students facing water hoses and dogs, men and women facing jail, lynch mobs, and death.

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More On Acceptable and Unacceptable Victims

by matttbastard

Christina with the question (and subsequent answer) of the day:

[What] if Hope Steffey had been black? Or an immigrant? Or gay? Or trans? Or poor? We would have immediately wondered what she had done. When we heard that she’d handed the cop the wrong ID, we would probably have thought she was trying to pull something. When we heard that she demanded it back, we might have assumed she “gave the cop attitude”. She might have gotten the benefit of the doubt that she hadn’t caused it somehow or that the reaction had been out-of-proportion to the infraction but there would have been a doubt there–there must be in order to get a “benefit of”.

Werd.

Also make sure to check out the AlterNet article that provoked Christina’s musings, along with the related discussion at Feministe.

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