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My family heritage is very white bread. My mother's family lived in the United States long before it became the United States, but my father's mother emigrated here from Derbyshire, England in 1911. She was somewhat scandalous as she was a divorced, single parent in the 1930's. She became a quality control manager for the Remington Rand Corporation. She was about seventy years old when I was born. I had a traditional Grandma who baked cookies while she chatted with me relationship. I still miss her.

She valued her right to vote and was never a low information voter. She read the newspaper every day, especially the editorial section. She spoke to me at least twice a week that the United States was unique for a few political rights she didn't have in England. The first was the presumption of innocence another was our rights to Freedom of Speech and she also said I shouldn't underestimate the right to remain silent despite my parents always believing my silence was an admission of guilt. She told me stories of her childhood of how it wasn't that way in England. I wish I had paid better attention to her stories of her brothers, father and family friends. Some of the reason she came to the Untied States was over her protestant sister marrying an Irish Catholic. It. wasn't. good. I might not remember the specifics, but I do remember how adamant she was about how our freedoms were stronger in the United States.

I think she would weep today if she were alive.

I wrote a comment some time ago that the United Kingdom did not have the same level and type of freedom of expression that we enjoy in the United States. I was challenged on that assertion. The commenter demanded proof. I couldn't very well defend myself by saying "My Grandma told me so," so, I didn't respond.

Today, unfortunately, I can respond.

Going to elementary school during the Cold war days that featured "Duck & Cover" drills had an impact. Even then, I could see the difference between Communism and Totalitarianism. Expressing my ability to see that nuance got me into a lot of trouble. I had a private tutor at home who made sure I understood that the reason we have our Bill of Rights was specifically due to the Eighteenth Century's English Army's tactics of beating colonists bloody and broken until they talked about dissidents, then tossing them in jail to rot until they died. (What General Sherman did to Georgia nearly 100 years later wasn't discussed much, but I digress.) The myths are difficult to separate from the facts concerning the birth of our nation, but my discernment grew with maturity.

What I zeroed in on was the idea that government brutality didn't seem to be much different no matter who the perpetrator was. At least, that's how I saw it. My father, being a WWII vet, had a lot to say about how Germany, Italy, Russia and Japan did horrible things to dissidents during WWII. He wasn't pleased when I asked him to reconcile those ideas with the U.S. Japanese internment camps. I must have been a vexing child/teenager. It was my grandmother who came to my rescue at that dinner table conversation. She said I had every right to ask and question our country's commitment to individual rights. After all, this type of talk would have led to a stern admonishment in England.

Well, Grandma didn't talk much about the Espionage Act of 1917, she did have serious reservations about FISA, and she died more than a decade before the Patriot Act. I sometimes wonder what Grandma would say about our current state of how our Bill of Rights is interpreted. There is a lot to find fault with the United States when it comes to eroding the Bill of Rights. Even so, England's Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 as described by puts paid Grandma's assertion that Freedom of Speech is different in England.

Schedule 7 [actual text here] of the Terrorism Act 2000 allows the police to detain anyone at the UK’s borders without any requirement to show probable cause and hold them for up to nine hours, without seeking further justification. The detainee must respond to any questions, regardless of whether a lawyer is present and there is no automatic provision of a lawyer. It is a criminal offence for the detainee to refuse to answer questions - regardless of the grounds for that refusal or otherwise fully cooperate with the police.

According to the advice published by the Association of Chief Police Officers’, Schedule 7 should only be used to counter terrorism and may not be used for any other purpose.

A similarly over-broad and vague section of the Terrorism Act 2000 which allowed stop and search without any grounds was held to be unlawful by the European Court of Human Rights in 2010. Section 44 - as it was known - violated Article 8 of the European Charter of Human Rights which protects privacy.

emphasis added

I get what Grandma was telling me. Schedule 7 would have problems in the U.S. based upon our 1st, 4th, 5th and 6th Amendment rights.

We need to revisit the idea that if we trade liberty for security, we'll get neither. We need to do that before we make our Bill of Rights totally irrelevant.

6:18 PM PT: Thank you Rescue Rangers. I just saw you reposted me.

Originally posted to JDWolverton on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 11:06 AM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Forgot about the auto tip jar (23+ / 0-)

    The most chilling thing to me about Terrorism Act 2000 is that you can't remain silent long enough to figure out what you are dealing with under Schedule 7 without being subject to criminal charges.

    It's against this law to remain silent.

    If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never has and never will be. Thomas Jefferson

    by JDWolverton on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 11:13:26 AM PDT

  •  Security is antithetical to liberty because to (11+ / 0-)

    secure something is to lock it up or tie it down and to be at liberty is to be roaming around unimpeded.

    Our agents of government have taken it upon themselves that their "good" intentions to "protect" the populace excuses putting us all, metaphorically speaking, in the barn and locking the doors behind us. It's human husbandry -- not quite complete because not all of us are yet totally exploited. But, that's what the collectors are aiming for.

  •  This has nothing to do with Freedom of Speech (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Be Skeptical, eztempo

    This wouldn't implicate our rights under the 1st or 4th Amendments.

    Because of the way the right to counsel works, this would likely not violate the 6th Amendment either, though the information thus obtained would be inadmissible in court.

    It would violate the 5th Amendment, though.

    •  By denying a lawyer you effectively limit/deny (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dirtandiron, scott5js, FindingMyVoice

      a person's right to petition the government for redress of grievances.

      1st Amendment:
      Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

      I suppose capturing the notes needed to write stories to be published is ok.....sort of.

      Anyway, it's hard to argue with the government without a lawyer.

      If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never has and never will be. Thomas Jefferson

      by JDWolverton on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 07:53:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I should have mentioned (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dirtandiron, IreGyre

      It's hard to petition the government when you are locked in a room segregated from the court system like you would be if you were stuck in a transit area in Heathrow Airport.

      If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never has and never will be. Thomas Jefferson

      by JDWolverton on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 07:57:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That would apply to all forms of detention and (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        StrayCat, eztempo

        the first amendment has not been interpreted as a general bar to detention.

        •  Yes, except that we do allow a lawyer as soon as (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          a detainee requests one or if some outside agent sends one before requested under regular circumstances as is typical in law enforcement circumstances.

          The issue here is in the transit zones of airports or in cases where we find a way to wriggle free of jurisprudence.

          Our Gitmo detainees have some room to argue 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th and 8th amendment rights, except they never step foot on a single U.S. state. The constitution makes no difference between citizens and guests. It's hypocritical to have a consulate or embassy bestow the Bill of Rights on whoever as a U.S. territory, then turn around and say Gitmo isn't U.S, territory and therefore any detainee within those walls isn't entitled to those same Bill of Rights. Think about it, if a soldier bore a baby on that base, no one should have a problem if we declared that baby a U.S. citizen. That baby was born on U.S, territory. The only problem would occur when they chose to run for President.

          This continual spin cycle is despicable.

          If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never has and never will be. Thomas Jefferson

          by JDWolverton on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 10:45:22 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Gawd...don't you just love this twisted legalistic (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      voicemail, Calamity Jean


  •  We're losing that freedom of speech (6+ / 0-)

    We're also losing the presumption of innocence.

    Where are all the jobs, Boehner?

    by Dirtandiron on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 08:06:01 PM PDT

  •  Especially interesting (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JDWolverton, IreGyre

    in view of the detention for 9 hours of a journalist, David Miranda at Heathrow was supposedly done under this provision; he is the only person held for the full amount of time. They took his laptop, phone, memory bars and did not return them.

    He left with no charges.

    He is Glenn Greenwald's assistant, a Brazilian national. When we treat journalists as spies, something is very wrong.

    Of course, Laura Poitras, also with ties to Edward Snowden, has been stopped at US airports, see told Democracy Now.

    Being attentive to the needs of others might not be the point of life, but it is the work of life. It can be ... almost impossibly difficult. But it is not something we give. It is what we get in exchange for having to die. - Jonathan Safran Foer

    by ramara on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 08:25:45 PM PDT

  •  One thing we've learned from watching (7+ / 0-)

    the overreaction of the US (and now UK) security agencies in the past few months is this:  Whatever they want to do will be legal, somehow, under some variation of the "We can do to you whatever we want" law.  That's one reason I dont' bog myself down in arguments about whether they are breaking the law or not, because they'll just change the law if it gets in their way, either secretly or publicly.  And then they'll pat themselves on the back for following the law they just made to do things that were previously illegal.  That's what happened in the first year of the Obama administration, sadly.

  •  Interesting. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    J M F, JDWolverton, StrayCat, LillithMc

    Of course, the Bill of Rights is only as good as the will of the courts to enforce it. And as far as individual citizens' rights are concerned, the Roberts Court can at best be described as "lackluster" in that regard.

    As one example, consider the trifling fact that "free speech cages" are now standard practice for public officials. Mustn't disrupt the 5-second soundbytes and public lying engaged in, after all.....

    The First Amendment is all but dead, particularly if the Obama Administration's latest assault on it stands up. The Fourth is on life support, thanks to DHS' "Constitution-free zones". The PATRIOT Act killed the Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Amendments - with Obama's ratification when he signed its extension.

    The Third Amendment is all but irrelevant these days, leaving the only healthy part of the Bill of Rights being the Second - if anything about the gun-nuts' chosen part of the Constitution can be called "healthy".

    I'm sure that Rawnnie Raygun is real pleased with the state of affairs today. It's like Republican utopia!

    "Violence never requires translation, but it often causes deafness." - Bareesh the Hutt.

    by Australian2 on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 05:42:50 AM PDT

    •  The First Amendment is not all but dead, but it (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JDWolverton, Geenius at Wrok, eztempo

      Is under attack.  The Fourth and Fifth Amendments are in much worse shape, as the very words that make them up are under constant revision, and the reason for this is an organized assault on the freedoms and liberties that the 4th and 5th protect.  However, there are many battles presently being engaged, and we may not lose.  The question is whether we have the fortitude to continue the fight, and not give up.

      Patriotism may be the last refuge of scoundrels, but religion is assuredly the first.

      by StrayCat on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 08:36:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Please explain how the patriot act adversely (0+ / 0-)

    Affected 7th amendment rights.

    •  I'm confused (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      My only mention of the Patriot Act is that my grandmother died about a decade before it was enacted. I don't see where I write the Patriot Act has anything to do with the 7th Amendment. I don't mention the 7th Amendment at all. So, I'm not sure what you are asking. Would you please clarify your question?

      If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never has and never will be. Thomas Jefferson

      by JDWolverton on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 08:52:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Perhaps a misreading of "Section 7" (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JDWolverton, Calamity Jean

        to refer to the Seventh Amendment?

        "The great lie of democracy, its essential paradox, is that democracy is the first to be sacrificed when its security is at risk. Every state is totalitarian at heart; there are no ends to the cruelty it will go to to protect itself." -- Ian McDonald

        by Geenius at Wrok on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 11:02:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Grandma's generation (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    My parents thought segregation was the natural order of the races, but they also watched the news for violations of basic rights.  I know that sounds odd to us.  Poverty is becoming a legal issue.  Homeless possessions like tents are taken.  Homeless and poor cited and thrown in jail often for lame excuses.  The gerrymanders that should be illegal in the red states make it easy not only to suppress  voting, but push all but the GOP into underrepresented areas for all government purposes.  Basic rights are disappearing while technology is producing power easily abused.  We live in dangerous times.  If we want to continue with our basic rights, we  need to stand up while we can.

  •  Thanks for posting this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    There's a lot of confusion right now about the distinctions between US Law and British Law. Citizens of the US are notorious overseas for having a parochial view that treats our standards as universal rather than peculiar to our own system. The outcry over the detention of Miranda has produced some stark examples of this.

    Another good example are the laws concerning libel. In this country, the bar is set so high as to require proof of malicious intent, whereas in Britain your intent is irrelevant. Even if you acted in complete good faith you can be convicted of libel. You can even be sued for libeling the dead if their survivors choose to bring suit.

    Nothing human is alien to me.

    by WB Reeves on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 04:45:57 PM PDT

  •  How to Have a Legitimate Government (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JDWolverton, Calamity Jean

    Article 7 is clearly a violation of rights, even if the UK government doesn't recognize them. When governments don't recognize your rights they lose legitimacy. This is just as true in Britain as it is here.

    The sad truth is that most governments only recognize rights when it's convenient--or the people living there rise up and make them. In this sense we get the government we deserve.

    Where is the widespread criticism of the various abuses we've seen in the U.S.? Our government put people in prison without trial and is holding them indefinitely.


    Our government allows the President to kill people on his own say-so, without a formal trial.


    Our government spies on people the world over without any reason to really believe they are committing a crime or are preparing to harm us.


    Our government searches people without going to the trouble of getting a warrant.


    When a government acts illegitimately time and again it becomes illegitimate. This is what happened to the Soviet Union. And it went away.

  •  Oh god.... (0+ / 0-)

    I knew if I waited long enough someone would trot out the usual US twaddle about CCTV cameras

    arguably the world's first constitution, is so wired with CCTV and license plate recognition systems that anybody with a nodding acquaintance of the US's 4th amendment would have a conniption fit entering the UK and being subject to all the surveillance.
    yeah triplepoint... loads of cameras everywhere


    Most are unmanned and as has been shown over and over again when recordings are needed in relation to a crime investigation, either not working or not recording. There are also a lot that are "dummy" cameras to deter crime.

    And oh those awful traffic cameras - the ones put there to stop people speeding and driving like tw@ts (which work well at doing that) and make sure those damn oppressive traffic laws are obeyed. Oh, and the ones that allow traffic management and responding to traffic jams and snarls and provide public information on traffic conditions, as well as accident response systems.

    Cos yeah.... obviously over here in Airstrip One where Big Brother is always watching us we are sooooo opressed and put upon, never more than a short hop away from a watching glass eye.

    Grow up and turn off the Alex Jones and Faux Nooz y'fool.

    Worry about your own state.... the one with warrant less wire tapping by everyone with a badge and a nice little offshore gulag where your government can send you, and those gameboy goofs in air con rooms playing Drone Doom.... let us Limey Commie Pinkos with bad teeth worry about those awful cameras every where eh?

    And one more thing.

    Dont wave The Magna Carta about like you know whats in it eh? One very long document about land rights and trade rights for the aristos and barons, one very short part about actual rights that matter for the plebs.

    An Agreement Of The People put together by the Levellers during the Civil War and the resultant Heads Of Proposals charter is more relevant to modern legal rights than the fecking Magna Carta, as was the Bill Of Rights 1689.

    The Magna Carta has as much influence on modern English law as the fecking Puritan charters of the old colonies had on the modern US Constitution.

    Rant mode off.

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