The Free Associator

The Philadelphia Syndicate is a collection of writers, businesses, artists, musicians, and activists based in Philadelphia, with connections to associates around the world via the internet. This publication is produced by members of the Syndicate's private online discussion forum for the purpose of giving exposure to the organization's thinkers to the public.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Half a truth is often a great lie


So I was reading The Nation today. Generally, I am not a huge fan of the magazine on account of its vehement partisan nature. Anyone reading these entries here should have noticed at least one thing by now: I am not partisan when it comes to politics. I am an equal opportunity exposer of whatever insanity and lies come from either side. My reading today gave me plenty to expose.

In the January 3rd issue of The Nation, John Nichlos addresses the recently passed National Intelligence Bill that I have also commented on here. After reading Nichols' comments, entitled Flawed Intelligence Bill, an overall assessment I agree with, I am concerned with his inability to tell the whole story. Like I said, I'm non-partisan when it comes to liars, or to be a bit more understanding, folks who distort the truth for their own purposes.

I am referring specifically to this quote from Nichols: "[the Bill] eliminates "guilt by association" protections so that mere membership in a group identified by the Feds as a "terrorist organization" will for the first time in US history become a criminal offense." A serious allegation that bears some looking into.

The problem is, beyond the obvious implication that this could be applied to groups within the United States, he offers no reference to the law intself for the contention that it eliminates guilt by association. Well, I found the relevant section for him.

The full text of P.L. 108-458, The National Intelligence Reform and Prevention Act, does not appear to be available online yet, but you can view the version agreed upon by the Senate and House by doing a Google search of S. 2845. Search Sec 6603. You can read there that the accused person must have had prior knowledge that the organization in question was a terrorist organization, something that the Justice Department, possibly headed by Gonzalez may have no trouble proving, but which seems to fall short of the elimination of guilt by association protections Nichols rails about.

Not only that, but upon further digging, I discovered that in the referenced section of US code that is altered by the Intelligence Bill, namely USC 2339A(b) of Title 18, that the reference to terrorist organizations refers only to "foreign terrorist organizations". Small comfort, but best to take all the comfort we can get these days.

You see, the fear-mongering does come from all sides. And it is only getting worse. Keep Your Eyes Open.


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