Politics / Law /Socioculture

Homeland Security is turning our borders into banana-republic checkpoints, routinely ignoring even the most basic rights of American citizens and others.

“For those who regularly write and read about civil liberties abuses, it’s sometimes easy to lose perspective about just how extreme and outrageous certain erosions are. One becomes inured to them, and even severe incursions start to seem ordinary. Such was the case, at least for me, with Homeland Security’s practice of detaining American citizens upon their re-entry into the country, and as part of that detention, literally seizing their electronic products — laptops, cellphones, Blackberries and the like — copying and storing the data, and keeping that property for months on end, sometimes never returning it. Worse, all of this is done not only without a warrant, probable cause or any oversight, but even without reasonable suspicion that the person is involved in any crime. It’s completely standard-less, arbitrary, and unconstrained. There’s no law authorizing this power nor any judicial or Congressional body overseeing or regulating what DHS is doing. And the citizens to whom this is done have no recourse — not even to have their property returned to them.
“When you really think about it, it’s simply inconceivable that the U.S. Government gets away with doing this.
“…the right-wing of the Republican Party and its “Tea Party” faction endlessly tout their devotion to limited federal government powers, individual rights, property rights, and the Constitution. If they were even minimally genuine in those claims, few things would offend and anger them more than federal agents singling out and detaining whichever citizens they want, and then taking their property, digging through and recording their most personal and private data — all without any oversight or probable cause. Yet with very few exceptions (a few groups on the Right, including religious conservatives, opposed some excesses of the Patriot Act, while the small libertarian faction of the GOP oppose many of these abuses), they seem indifferent to, even supportive of, the very policies that most violently injure their ostensible principles.”

http://www.salon.com/news/politics/us_house_of_representatives/index.html?story=/opinion/greenwald/2011/01/15/laptops

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