Portland and the JTTF Decision

Yesterday, the Mayor Tom Potter of Portland announced that the city will recuse itself from the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force. Get the full story from the New York Times.

Here at BlueOregon, one of our contributors is Portland City Commissioner Randy Leonard. He has posted his thoughts on the JTTF several times - and has also asked for your advice and suggestions. To recap:

Some other JTTF discussions at BlueOregon:

Discuss.

Comments

  • wg (unverified)
    (Show?)

    For some extra info on negotiations check out ACLU's press release. Also Indymedia has an unusually measured thread here. Quote -- "may this kind of responsible government spread to other cities of the nation" -- which is a sentiment one would like to see in the Oregonian one of these days.

  • Sissyphus (unverified)
    (Show?)

    We can't HEAR YOU! Come on you ACLU loving Portlanders, speak up! You aren't afraid to disagree with the Great One, are you? I have an idea, why don't we call him Generalissimo Potter, instead of Mayor.

    You must be real proud of him: he sure showed those FBI goons who's the boss. If anybody sees anything suspicious, why don't you call the ACLU and ask them whether or not reporting it might violate the perps civil rights.

    It's all fun and games til somebody gets a building blown up.

  • (Show?)

    If anybody sees anything suspicious, why don't you call the ACLU and ask them whether or not reporting it might violate the perps civil rights.

    Actually, if anyone sees something suspicious, they just call the same people they would have called before. Reporting something you consider suspicious doesn't violate anyone's rights. The question is whether or not what law enforcement does next violates anyone's rights.

    I mean, you may want to report that a few odd-looking "anarchist types" are meeting next door to discuss a protest. That doesn't mean the cops should go investigate a fully protected act of free speech and free assembly.

  • Gonzo Journalist (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I wish all the "Free Mike Hawash" supporters spent as much time talking about him PLEADING GUILTY as they did whining about Brandon Mayfield.

    Or how about a "Guess we were wrong about Maher" demonstration in fron the Federal Courthouse.

    Lest we forget (quoting the AP):

    Hawash pleaded guilty to conspiring to provide services to the Taliban. Prosecutors agreed to drop charges of conspiring to levy war against the United States and conspiring to provide material support for terrorism.

    "You and the others in the group were prepared to take up arms, and die as martyrs if necessary, to defend the Taliban. Is this true?" U.S. District Judge Robert E. Jones asked Hawash during the hearing.

    "Yes, your honor," Hawash replied.

    I wonder if there are any other terrorists lurking in our midst, hiding behind our Bill of Rights, and using our democratic institutions against us like a modern Trojan Horse? I guess Randy Leonard and Mayor Potter are more concerned about the FBI wiretapping the wrong guy.

  • (Show?)

    FYI, the Portland Seven, including Hawash, really need to stop being the posterboys for "terrorists" in Portland, because that usage makes people think they were doing something like plotting to blow up a building in downtown or something.

    While conspiring to go to Afghanistan to wage war alongside the Taliban is certainly nothing I defend, it's not what people think of when y'all call the Portland Seven "terrorists".

  • Gonzo Journalist (unverified)
    (Show?)

    b!X wrote:

    While conspiring to go to Afghanistan to wage war alongside the Taliban is certainly nothing I defend, it's not what people think of when y'all call the Portland Seven "terrorists"

    You failed to mention who attempted to wage war against: AMERICANS.

    Plotting to kill American Soldiers is "Freedom Fighting" to you? I hope you're the first person to publicly suggest the Portland Seven aren't terrorists.

    Let's say they decided it was easier to blow up a building rather than go all the way over to Afhganistan? Do you think they would have felt constrained by our laws, or their religious beliefs, from killing a few civilians too?

    Get a real job b!X! This whole opinion journalist thing is wearing kind of thin.

  • (Show?)

    Let's say they decided it was easier to blow up a building rather than go all the way over to Afhganistan? Do you think they would have felt constrained by our laws, or their religious beliefs, from killing a few civilians too?

    I would assume they wouldn't have felt constrained, but neither you nor I know that for certain. But since we agree in that assumption, let's assume it's true.

    So what? They didn't do that. They went off to wage war, not commit acts of terrorism.

    As I said, reprehensible and completely deserving of punishment. But it isn't terrorism. The only reason people call it terrorism is so they have a rhetorical device to use in arguing for their political stance on police powers, or perhaps because they are congenitally incapable of making distinctions between different vile acts.

  • JimPortlandOR (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Shoe on other foot: Why is it that the FBI refuses to let the elected officials responsible for law and order in the city know what the city-taxpayer city police know about and are up to?

    This situation is cast as the Mayor and Council doing something irregular. What is irregular, IMO, is the FBI bypassing local civilian control over their city-paid employees.

    I'm glad we have an FBI, but I don't want a FBI raging out of control, especially using city resources without city oversight.

  • (Show?)

    And just to pre-empt what I know will be said by one person or another: As pacificistic as my tendencies may be, I supported going into Afghanistan after both al-Qaeda and the Taliban which hosted them.

    (You just know that at some point, someone would try to undercut my insistence on making distinctions between different kinds of vile acts by trying the distraction of wrongly alleging that I oppose any action against anyone.)

  • Gregor (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I'm with you, Jim. We have rights as a State and as a City to know what these law enforcement officers are doing in the territory. The City and State are being judged untrustworthy without any merit. If they have nothing to hide, then why are they hiding and whose best interests are they representing? I believe we have a right to know that, and by denying us that right, they're actions smack of authoritarianism.

  • W. Bruce Anderholt II (unverified)
    (Show?)

    In reply to JimPortlandOr, who wrote:

    Why is it that the FBI refuses to let the elected officials responsible for law and order in the city know what the city-taxpayer city police know about and are up to?...I don't want a FBI raging out of control

    The more people that are aware of an investigation, the less likely it is to remain confidential. Secondly, because the FBI is subject to Federal oversight and jurisdiction: they don't have to comply with the Oregon Constitution; they must 'merely' comply with the U.S. Constitution as well as all other Federal Law.

    Are you really concerned that FBI is hell bent on investigating people for no reason? If you are willing to acknowledge the Brandon Mayfield investigation was a mistake -- an exception to the rule -- ), do you believe they have sufficient resources to investigate lots and lots of people without probable cause?

  • Gregor (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Brandon Mayfield was a warning to the American people that the zealotry of the FBI can quickly get out of hand. We are not immune to repeat the mistakes of history. We are all merely human. The Mayfield SNAFU underscores why there should be more oversight. Does the FBI have the resources to investigate "lots and lots of people?" Even if it was just a couple of people, it's a crime. It's not acceptable and I do not see why we should tolerate it.

  • Sissyphus (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Nobody liked the "Generalissimo Potter" idea?

    He assumed control of all city bureaus, made an implicit threat to condemn PGE, insulted the Mrs. Oregon beauty pageant, demanded city oversight of Federal Officers, belittled the Oregon Surpeme Court, and now he's found a way to put millions of taxpayer dollars into incumbent's city commissioner's, auditor's, and mayor's reelection efforts.

    If Arnold had shown the same ambition, they'd be calling him Adolf Schwarzenegger.

  • Gonzo Journalist (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Gregor: YOU GO GIRL!

  • Gregor (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Gonzo - So which one of us is the 14 year old?

  • (Show?)

    do you believe they have sufficient resources to investigate lots and lots of people without probable cause?

    No, but law enforcement is no stranger to investigating people for their religious and/or political beliefs, as was the case with the JTTF in Denver. It's the responsibility of the various levels of government to do what they can to ensure that their police officers aren't used to do such things -- and the FBI didn't want to let us do that with our own officers.

  • W. Bruce Anderholt II (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Gregor, bIX, Jim:

    Which of the below options represents the greater threat to society:

    A). Wiretapping, shadowing, investigating, and eventually incarcerating a couple of Brandon Mayfields every year...and then releasing them with a formal apology?

    B). Waiting for a terrorist to blow something up?

    Option B represents a greater risk, in my opinion. You may argue this is a false dichotomy, but you cannot prevent Option B without incurring a few Option A mistakes. The historic role of the federal bureau of INVESTIGATIONS was to investigate who did what to whom AFTER THE CRIME HAD OCCURRED.

    Are you willing to wait until the kindergarden is taken hostage, the shopping mall or government building is blown up, or a 40 foot container at the Port of Portland explodes (possibly sending radiological debris over a 40 mile downwind range)?

    I would prefer the FBI take a more active role than mere investigation of the crime after the fact; I believe they need greater authority (not less) and greater cooperation from Mayor Potter (not less), and I honestly don't see how the City Attorney or the Mayor Potter can provide greater protections of my civil rights. I don't have anything to hide, or anything to fear. I am willing to allow small encroachments on my privacy/civil rights if it helps prevent the loss of life.

    The FBI are on our side, they're the good guys. To read this thread you would think they were all enemy spies intent on torturing you into false confessions.

  • (Show?)

    The FBI are on our side, they're the good guys. To read this thread you would think they were all enemy spies intent on torturing you into false confessions.

    This is, and I almost never resort to language in these discussions, bullshit, and I'm damned tired of people trying to distract from the legitimate public policy debate by making their opponents out to be nonsensical extremists.

    That said, here's the point: It's one thing to admit that there will always be mistakes. But it's another thing altogether to say we shouldn't even worry about it. And it's still yet another thing to outright be willing to give up protections because "I don't have anything to hide".

    If you don't have anything to hide, then are you willing to simply go all the way with that reasoning and repeal the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution? I mean, if we trust the FBI, why do we need it?

  • W. Bruce Anderholt II (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I didn't say anything about waiving any constitutional rights.

    If the FBI has some intelligence that leads them to take an interest in me, then I would expect them to investigate what library books I've read, or what emails I've sent, or how I'm spending my time. Let them look: they will find I lead a rather boring life...No plans to defend the Taliban, no fundraising for Jihadits, absolutely zero interest in blowing anything up. The harder they look, the better I'll look. That's what I mean by nothing to hide.

    If you've got a grow operation in your basement, then you might place a bit more emphasis on an irrational expectation of absolute piracy.

    I don't buy the "incrementalist" argument (if we give the FBI an inch, they'll take a yard). More importantly, if you want them to prevent crime (rather than investigate after the fact), you will have to give them some lattitude. Not everybody they investigate is going to be found guilt: that's a good thing. Its not bullshit; we just disagree. I do appreciate your passionate defense of your opinion.

    You can worry all you want b!X, but is strikes me as irrational, and little paranoid.

  • (Show?)

    Thank God (whatever color she might be) for paranoia if that's the box you're trying to stuff b!X into.

    It was and is about accountablility. When you give any organization any amount of power, some people within that organization are guaranteed to find search for the limits of that power. If you give that organization more power, more exploration of limits will occur.

    Left unsupervised, a culture will develop within the organization that constantly pushes the boundaries.

    Could be Portland Public Schools, could be the national office of The United Way, or anyone else. Where it becomes dangerous to the general population is precisely in the law enforcement area.

    We've had our share of incidents of abuse in Portland, but by and large we have demanded and gotten a pretty ethical law enforcement community.

    Let's keep it that way.

  • W. Bruce Anderholt II (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I hate to repeat myself: the FBI Agents are the good guys. They work for the Federal Government, and they're trying to both investigate and prevent crimes. The crimes the FBI investigates are usually committed against the 99.5% of the population that don't engage in kidnappings, murders, bank robberies, or (like the Portland Seven) rise to the defense of totalitarian regimes by trying to kill U.S. Soldiers.

    They protect us, either by catching the bad guys or (preferably) foiling the plot in advance.

    Mayor Potter knows as much: he is motivated more by ego and politics than some perverse sense of trying to undermine the FBI. To listen to KPOJ and read this (and other) local blogs, you would think the FBI was routinely operating outside the law, like some kind of 21st Gestapo.

    Please don't demonize the FBI: they are your protector and mine. The rhetoric seems to overlook the fact that FBI Agents take pride in doing their jobs professionally, and WITHOUT TRAMPLING ON OUR CIVIL RIGHTS. I guarantee you that nobody at the FBI is getting paid enough to put up with the verbal and written abuse that their critics routinely sling at them.

    I'm still waiting for somebody to answer which of the below options represents the greater threat to society:

    A). Wiretapping, shadowing, investigating, and eventually incarcerating a couple of Brandon Mayfields every year...and then releasing them with a formal apology?

    B). Waiting for a terrorist to blow something up?

  • Jud (unverified)
    (Show?)

    W. Bruce, The history of law enforcement has shown time and again that if given an inch, they WILL try for the yard, whether you believe it or not. And your point that the FBI has to follow the Federal laws and the Constitution is NOT a point well taken. In many cases, the state courts have given greater protection to the individual based on the state constitution than they'd get under the federal constitution. So if we're going to have people snooping around after us, we're better off with enforcers who are subject to the state constitution.

  • Jud (unverified)
    (Show?)

    W. Bruce, I guess I'll give an answer, since you're angling for one. Clearly the greater threat to society is in option A. In the process of unconstitutionally invading the privacy of a couple of Mayfields every year, and then apologizing for it, how many people's privacy will they invade and NOT apologize for it? And while you (as you've stated) don't appear to have anything to hide, how do you know? What if that book you checked outof the library just happened to have been added to a "trouble" list? And the phone call you made back home was accidentally added to a list of "suspicious" numbers? And what if someone, despite your protestations, decided that they needed to show how much progress they were making in the War on Terror(TM) and ignored your pleas of ignorance and your "proof" that you had done nothing wrong?

    The chances of that happening are greater than the chances of terrorists blowing up anything. Remind yourself of how many foreign terrorist attacks we've suffered in this country, and then think about how many times an innocent has been persecuted at the hands of law enforcement of any type. If you can't figure out that the latter is the far more serious problem, you've got some fact-finding to do.

  • W. Bruce Anderholt II (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Jud:

    Thanks for your honesty. You have implied you believe the "War on Terror" is a falsehood. On that, we will have to disagree.

    I didn't think anybody would have the stones to pick option A), least of all in a public forum. You proved me wrong, albeit using only your first name.

    Based on the tenor of your writings, it appears you may have had more experience with the FBI than I have. Good luck on appeal!

  • (Show?)

    I thought there was a compromise position, which I've posted elsewhere.

    I'm glad this issue is now over. I hope the city council and mayor can get on with the real issues facing the city and county and stop dealing with distractions.

  • Jud (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Ahhh, W. Bruce, your suppositions are quite off base. My first name is not my first name, of course. I have had no trouble with the FBI, and don't anticipate any. The tenor of my writing reflects my lack of naivete, though I appreciate your attempt at denigrating my opinion. My experience with the War on Terror, which of course IS a falsehood, as no declaration of war has been made, involves close relatives in close combat. I have not yet attended any funerals, thank God.

    Just because that government isn't threatening to blow me up, does not mean it's less of a threat than terrorists. The visible threat is not always the one we should fear most.

  • (Show?)

    I didn't say anything about waiving any constitutional rights.

    Nice try at deflection, but I never asserted that you said this. What I asked if you were willing to take your own line of reasoning to its obvious conclusion.

    What you did state were these two things:

    "I am willing to allow small encroachments on my privacy/civil rights if it helps prevent the loss of life."

    and

    "The FBI are on our side, they're the good guys."

    So my question was simple: If you trust the FBI, why do you restrict your willingness to abandon privacy/civil rights to "small encroachments"? If the FBI can simply be trusted, why not do away with all legal restrictions on what the police can do? Surely, by your reasoning, that would really allow them to protect you, who have nothing to hide.

    If it's all just about trust, why do we need statutory or constitutional restrictions on what they can do at all?

    So, try answering the question I psoed to you rather than lying about what I said in order to dodge the issue.

  • (Show?)

    In the process of unconstitutionally invading the privacy of a couple of Mayfields every year, and then apologizing for it, how many people's privacy will they invade and NOT apologize for it?

    This is the issue. What people seem to forget is that the only reason the FBI got backed into the corner of releasing Mayfield and apologizing to him is that they finally couldn't ignore the appeals from Spanish authorities that the FBI had the wrong man.

    If not for those Spanish authorities, the FBI would have merrily gone along its way detaining and prosecuting Mayfield all because they saw some designation somewhere that the fingerprint appeared to match a Muslim from Portland, and at that point listened to nothing but fear, bias, and prejudice.

    And those three forces would have held sway over Mayfield for a very long time if the only authority involved had been the FBI.

  • Gregor (unverified)
    (Show?)

    The most incredible aspect of W's argument, and I am sure he will warm to the nickname, is that he thinks law enforcement can prevent the crimes rather then investigate, after it is too late. W reports he has nothing to fear. Frankly, the terrorists have won against him. He would gladly forsake the very foundation of our freedom, MY FREEDOM, because he fears the terrorists will strike again. Doesn;t that other Dubya always say, they hate democracy. Well, we're giving it up because people fear them.

    No one is a criminal until they cross the line, and then, in my opinion, they need only do it once to be prosecuted. And yes, I would give them equal protection under the law. If we stoop to some other level, we lose our integrity. But it seems there's scant little left of that anyway. Last President with integrity was Jimmy Carter and look what the Right did to him.

  • W. Bruce Anderholt II (unverified)
    (Show?)

    You guys can intellectualize and self-aggrandize all you want: it's interesting that the more blustery and reckless comments come from those who don't reveal their real names. Have you ever met any FBI agents? I have. They're good people. You sound as if the entire Justice/Homeland Security Departments are just looking for an excuse to cart you off to the work camp.

    Here's something else I know about law enforcement: they deserve your respect and admiration, rather than your distrust and enmity.

    My father spent a career in local law enforcment, and retired as the Undersheriff of a rural county in California. When I was in the second grade, two of my classmates (Michelle Vickers and Kenny Hennesey) had fathers who worked with my dad in the Sheriff's Office: they were in patrol, my father worked in the jail. They went to investigate a noise complaint at a motel, and before they could get out of their patrol car, two career felons (one of them had the last name of "Woodhouse") shot them both in the back of their heads, killing them. The two perpetrators were on the run from their latest crime (I believe it was a bank robbery), and thought the deputies had come looking for them. The deputies never had a chance.

    I doubt I can elicit any tears from the "progessives" that dominate this discussion, but I still remember the look on both Shelly and Kenny's faces when we stopped by their respective homes to pay our respects. I remember the casserole we took to each of their homes (two homemade lasagnas; my mom made great lasagna), I remember the lighting in their living rooms (it was dark at Shelly's apartment and warm and sunny at Kenny's house, and I remember the personal automobile that Kenny's dad would never drive again (a Trans Am or Camaro, dark blue). I wondered if Kenny would get to drive his dad's car.

    More than 30 years later, I still remember the locations of their home/apartments, and I make a point to drive by them when I visit my parents, to say a silent prayer.

    I doubt anybody on this thread has put their own lives in harms way for a sometimes hostile and unsympathetic public. There were not drafted into war, they did not expect to die, and their children grew up without a daddy. Current members of the FBI and local law enforcement put their lives in harm way, a job they volunteered for, and you are the most unsympathetic public imaginable. You need to tone down the rhetoric and remember the "good guys/bad guys" distinction is not some theoretical construct. The good guys should follow the law, and they should be subject to oversight and our laws: they should not have to pass muster with the Mayor of Portland, or Commissioner Leonard. The alleged bad guys should not be accorded greater respect and protections than you would afford the good guys.

    I don't know where Michelle and Kenny live today. I believe they both moved away. It seems likely their lives were forever changed.

    Today, I am the father of an 8 month old son, and I shudder at the thought that he, or the child of any law enforcement officer might grow up without a father. If I have an overdeveloped trust in law enforcement, it's because I grew up with them. It is not naivete.

  • Randy Leonard (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Mr. Anderholt-

    I found your last post to be amongst the most moving and powerful that has occurred in this debate.

    Thank you.

    Nobody feels stronger about protecting our public safety personnel than I do. I have fought the odds for individual police officer and firefighter rights for the better part of my adult life.

    I have said at many funerals for both firefighters and police officers across the United States that cops and firefighters never "give up" their lives in the performance of their sacred duties. Their lives are taken in spite of their dying efforts to fight the pull towards deaths door. These men and women are not trained to die...but to survive. But notwithstanding their Herculean efforts to live, there are circumstances in that work where death is victorious over desire, drive and the will to live.

    If we were debating police officer safety issues exclusively, you would win this argument hands down.

    But that is not what this debate is about.

    It is important to remember that the checks and balances contained within our constitution and statutes have derived from abuses that our ancestors experienced at the hands of their government, be it Great Britain or the United States.

    It is also important to remember that it has never, ever been popular to fight for civil rights…even those clearly articulated in the US Constitution. Even President John Adams pushed for the passage of the Alien and Sedition Act to silence his critics, especially one Thomas Jefferson.

    However, the principle of civilian control over our military and police is a time tested check and balance that has allowed this country to survive the highs and lows of our republics history. The requirement within the resolution of oversight by the chain of command within the Police Bureau –including their civilian, elected Commissioner- is a fundamental principle that we cannot allow the federal government attempt to dilute. Yes, it may make law enforcements job more difficult. But, which of the ten amendments to the constitution don’t make it harder to investigate and prosecute our citizenry?

    I would argue that every police officer, firefighter or military member who has died in the performance of their duties did so partly in the defense of the very principles contained within our country’s hard fought for civil rights. It is important to me that all of us entrusted by the public to uphold those rights make sure that we are aggressively and diligently protecting those rights.

  • (Show?)

    Here's something else I know about law enforcement: they deserve your respect and admiration, rather than your distrust and enmity.

    You can obfuscate and misrepresent all you want. It's interesting that the more blustery and reckless disregard for what people have actually said here comes from the same person who refuses to answer the most direct questions based upon his own statements.

    The issue isn't about trust. In a nation of laws, not of men, we're supposed to ensure rather than assume. To do so isn't an insult to the people who swear an oath to preserve, protect, and defend the law and the Constitution, it's part of the very system to which they are swearting their loyalty.

  • W. Bruce Anderholt II (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Commissioner Leonard:

    I appreciate your kind words. To the degree you are motivated by civil rights concerns rather than politics, I commend your tenacity.

    In a civil society, we all lose a little bit of freedom to live in harmony with our neighbors. A few examples: no public nudity, no cigar smoking in most restaurants, you can't shout fire in a movie theater.

    I assume the Patriot Act further constrained my rights (if I was going to hatch a blot to build a truck bomb, I wouldn't talk about it on the telephone; I wouldn't borrow the Anarchists Cookbook from the Library or buy it on Ebay). I'm o.k. with those constraints, and I remain grateful that there is a very tiny possibility that anything I say or do (even in jest) will ever land me in homeland security hot water.

    Whatever additional protections afforded by the Oregon Constituion (or the City Council's vigilance) can only be extended to me if you are willing to extend them to all the potential bad guys. That's what I mean when I say I'm willing to permit "small encroachments on my privacy/civil rights". I have no expectation of absolute privacy in a house of worship: I also don't believe they should be wrapped in a cone of silence (the better for building truck bombs in).

    I prefer that potential terrorists (and yes, I count the Portland Seven as terrorists) think of Portland as an undesirable place to do business. I am afraid many of your proponents do a disservice to public safety when they demonize the Department of Homeland Security, or when they create the false notion that anybody can go anywhere and say anything without consequences, because the Oregon Constitution and the Portland City Council are vigilantly defending our freedoms.

    I hope the DHS/FBI have a few computers devoted to searching out words like RDX, C-4, Torpex, cordite, and truck bomb. If they see those words being typed on a computer (whether the computer is located in a library or a Mosque) I would expect them to learn more. If learning more meant pointing a parabolic antenna at the Mosque, or following some 14 year old kids home from the Library to speak with their parents, I DON'T CARE. That's an example of the good guys doing there job.

    The Mayfield example is unfortunate example of momentum overcoming perfection. We are accustomed to perfection from the FBI fingerprint analysis folks: but even they make mistakes. Your JTTF withdrawal will do NOTHING to prevent the next Brandon Mayfield.

  • Gregor (unverified)
    (Show?)

    "I doubt I can elicit any tears from the "progessives" that dominate this discussion"

    WOW! I am amazed at how you so viciously depersonalize the writers on this blog. To suggest that we are somehow devoid of tears is completely dehumanizing and I consider dangerous people who think like you do. I'm waiting for you to describe the terrorists as sub-human, so we can further denigrate our humanity and start rounding up THOSE people and perhaps people like me, and send them to the camps. The Holocaust was not an overnight phenomenon. It was a gradual, insidious eveli lurking in the guise of nationalism. The police and the military were complicit in the program.

    Here's what this is about in simple terms so you don't accuse me of intellectualizing and self-aggrandizement [If this isn'y my full name where does this self-aggrandizement accusation stand? And why is thinking about it, rather then taking a gut based reaction to somnething decades ago, somehow to be discarded? Aren't the best generals the ones calm under pressure?]. OK, I digress. Here it is. No one gets a blank check for being good, or evil. That's it.

    W, you use a very broad brush to paint your world and you are afraid, very, very afraid. You are surrendering your freedom because of those murderers, and you dishoner the men who gave their lives to protect that. To me, Portland is our house, and the Feds come from somewhere else. They are obligated to share their information with chosen officials here, in my opinion, because they need to be accountable. Are they the "good guys"? Let's get to know them before we trust them. No blank check.

  • Randy Leonard (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Mr. Anderholt- I agree that our rights are balanced with society's need to be safe.

    For an example, Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote that the right to free speech does not include “yelling fire in a crowded theatre” when there is no fire.

    The difficultly is finding the right balance between our society’s right to free speech, to worship -or not- the Supreme Being of their choice within their Mosque, Church, Synagogue or Temple of their choosing and the right to assemble balanced against our need for our citizenry to be secure in their homes.

    It is my opinion that the resolution the council is poised to pass tomorrow night reestablishes that balance as it applies to the Joint Terrorism Task Force and our Portland Police Officers.

  • (Show?)

    Bruce, you write: I hope the DHS/FBI have a few computers devoted to searching out words like RDX, C-4, Torpex, cordite, and truck bomb. If they see those words being typed on a computer (whether the computer is located in a library or a Mosque) I would expect them to learn more.

    Only here's the rub. You just wrote those very self-same words. Now, if the FBI came to your home, packed you up, didn't tell your family where they were taking you or when you'd be back, and refused to offer you legal counsel.... just because you spoke those words here at BlueOregon... wouldn't that be a violation of your rights?

  • Gonzo Journalist (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Kari:

    You insult the reader to suggest the FBI is unable or unwilling to take context into account.

    If Mr. Anderholt should receive a knock at his door this evening (an unlikely eventuality), it would more likely be to thank him for carrying the FBI's water on this blog than to incarcerate him without due process.

    Clearly, you and the law enforcement community can (and should) distinguish between typing the words "It is dangerous and illegal to shout fire in a crowded theater" and actually shouting "fire" in the crowded theater.

  • Gregor (unverified)
    (Show?)

    It seems more likely the Feds would be surveilling the house for weeks and dropping in uninvited and without a search warrant to scan his computer. No one in Portland need be advised at any level whatsoever. It seems we should all be glad they did, since he has nothing to hide and dismiss W if he finds this intrusive or inconvenient.

    Gonzo, nice of you to help W carry water for the FBI. you're a hero in your own mind.

  • afs (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Gonzo: If someone's skills in analyzing evidence are so poor that they cannot tell the difference between terrorist plots in Spanish and a kid's Spanish homework assignment, then someone clearly is not willing or able to take context into account. I don't want to hear the FBI could not find some skilled language translators to help establish that proper context, either. One thing we have in abundance is people that can translate Spanish.

  • (Show?)

    Whatever additional protections afforded by the Oregon Constituion (or the City Council's vigilance) can only be extended to me if you are willing to extend them to all the potential bad guys. That's what I mean when I say I'm willing to permit "small encroachments on my privacy/civil rights".

    Then petition the Oregon Legislature to repeal ORS 181.575 and ORS 181.850. Until then, they are the law of the land and the elected officials of Portland have the duty to make sure they are respected. Otherwise, what you're asking is that the City either deliberately ignore, or at least turn a blind eye to, state law.

  • Gonzo Journalist (unverified)
    (Show?)

    You're all way too hyped up: the FBI is not out to get you. Inhale deeply, hold it.....and exhale.

    I see three possible explanations for the Brandon Mayfield case.

    1. The FBI acted with complete incompetence (there was never any probable cause or evidence). They made a huge mistake, and it took a while to realize it.

    2. The FBI acted with incompetence and malicious intent (they knew their evidence was weak, but made no effort to challenge their assumptions). Were it not for the Spanish Authorities, Mayfield would still be in custody.

    3. The FBI had some evidence (albeit imperfect) and were able to establish probable cause before beginning their surveillance of Mr. Mayfield. Eventually, their own data (plus the protests from Spain) would lead to Mr. Mayfield's release and the FBI's apology.

    I did not follow the case, but I am hopeful that hypothesis #1 or #3 are more likely than not. Either way, I fail to see how Portland's withdrawal from the JTTF would have prevented this mistake.

    This is pure politics: this is the fresh meat (make that soyburger) the City Council members are throwing to their most liberal constituents. ENJOY YOUR MEAL!

  • (Show?)

    Either way, I fail to see how Portland's withdrawal from the JTTF would have prevented this mistake.

    More oh-so-typical deflection and misrepresentation from your side of this discussion.

    No one seriously following the JTTF debate has ever argued that oversight of Portland officers would have prevented the Mayfield abuse. What's been said is that the Mayfield case represents an example of abuse, as does the use of the JTTF in Denver to spy on people for their political and religious affiliations (an example of abuse that knee-jerkers on the other side of this debate from me very conveniently ignore).

  • Gregor (unverified)
    (Show?)

    From the "liberal" [Let's label everybody] press, it was presented as weak evidence and disregard for his rights. It took a whole lot of complaining from many, many citizens, [Or you probably want to label them activists for having the temerity to challenge the FBI] and a lot more complaining from Spain, [Well, what else can we call them?] because they were concerned that we were doing the right thing. Even though their train was bombed, they have managed to keep their heads. Perhaps because they've seen one Franco already.

    The FBI was sealous in their quest, jsut like Dubya was to attack Iraq. No terrorists there but it seems they have them now, so perhaps we should call Dubya a prophet, and mean, attack a nation, occupy them, build army bases and then they resort to terrorism. You have to have Divine inspiration to see that coming.

  • Sissyphus (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Hey b!X;}

    Maybe you could petition Multnomah County's Counsel to opine that ORS 181.575 and 181.850 are unconstitutional: they could just rescind them, and the City of Portland could rejoin the JTTF.

  • M Butterfly (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Yeah I have one other way for Portland to stand alone: Tell Ashcroft and his Joint Terrorism Task Force to go f*ck themselves. Make national headlines for being (as far as I know) the first JTTF city to do more than pass a resolution praising civil liberties, by not reauthorizing our JTTF participation.

    (Yes, I know you're already thinking about that anyway. But now we need the other votes.)

    Posted by: The One True b!X | November 3, 2004 07:39 PM

    B!xsey: you're a prophet!

  • Gonzo Journalist (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Can I "recuse myself" from paying property and income taxes? I believe the funds are being spent on policies which violate my civil rights. I have a large number of neighbors that are willing to testify to that effect.

    I will still contact the City on a regular basis to advise them how I am spending my tax dollars. If the Portland fiscal crisis becomes truly desperate, I will consider opting back in to the property and income tax regimen. I am sure our infrasture needs will benefit from this recusal, and promise to spend all of my tax savings on paving the street I live on.

  • playdead (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Despite what the local media say, Portland is not the first community to raise legitimate concerns over the JTTF.

    April 2, 2005 House Condemns Patriot Act
    by Jennifer McKee Gazette State Bureau

    HELENA - Montana lawmakers overwhelmingly passed what its sponsor called the nation's most strongly worded criticism of the federal Patriot Act on Friday, uniting politicians of all stripes.

    The resolution, which already galloped through the Senate and passed the House 88-12 Friday, must survive a final vote before it officially passes.

    Senate Joint Resolution 19, sponsored by Sen. Jim Elliott, D-Trout Creek, says that while the 2005 Legislature supports the federal government's fight against terrorism, the so-called Patriot Act of 2001 granted authorities sweeping powers that violate citizens' rights enshrined in both the U.S. and Montanan constitutions.

    The resolution, which does not carry the weight of a law but expresses the Legislature's opinion, encourages Montana law enforcement agencies not to participate in investigations authorized under the Patriot Act that violate Montanans' constitutional rights. It requests all libraries in the state to post a sign warning citizens that under the Patriot Act, federal agents may force librarians to turn over a record of books a person has checked out and never inform that citizen of the request.

    The resolution asks Montana's attorney general to review any state intelligence information and destroy it if is not tied directly to suspected criminals. It also asks the attorney general to find out how many Montanans have been arrested under the Patriot Act and how many people have been subject to so-called "sneak and peaks," or government searches of a person's property without the person's knowledge.

    Elliott, a Democrat and rancher from northwestern Montana, sponsored the resolution, but it garnered support from Republicans on the far right of the political spectrum.

    "Sometimes we just take liberty for granted in the country," said Rep. Roger Koopman, R-Bozeman, who keeps a plant called "the Liberty Tree" on his legislative desk.

open discussion

connect with blueoregon