Random commentary and senseless acts of blogging.
The first Republican president once said, "While the people retain their virtue and their vigilance, no administration by any extreme of wickedness or folly can seriously injure the government in the short space of four years." If Mr. Lincoln could see what's happened in these last three-and-a-half years, he might hedge a little on that statement.
Prisoners of Azkaban
Saturday, June 15, 2002
A Moment of Gloating
The very first post on this blog critiqued a post by Max Power asserting that Earth First activists Judi Barr and Darrell Cherney planted the bomb that injured them in 1990 and mocking one of their witnesses in the trial in which they accused the FBI and Oakland police of violating their rights in trying to convict them of the bombing instead of searching for the real criminals.
I pointed out that the evidence against Barr and Cherney was very weak and there were many reasons to suspect the FBI's handling of the case.
That trial is now over, and the jury verdict is a complete vindication of Barr and Cherney, who have been awarded $4.4 million in actual and punitive damages. The FBI, the Oakland PD, and 6 current or former agents/police officers have been convicted of violating Barr and Cherney's rights under the First and Fourth Amendments.
This case is of considerable importance in the current climate. As a matter of self-defense, there is probably no alternative to giving expanded powers in some areas for counter-terrorist security to law enforcement in general and the FBI in particular. This instance of the FBI responding to a terrorist act not by vigorously searching for the criminal but instead harassing the victims illustrates the importance of balancing that power by accountability. In particular, the FBI and other executive branch agencies working on counter-terrorism must remain accountable to judicial review.