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Current issue : #61 | Release date : 2003-08-13 | Editor : Phrack Staff
IntroductionPhrack Staff
LoopbackPhrack Staff
LinenoisePhrack Staff
Toolz ArmoryPhrack Staff
Phrack Prophile on digitPhrack Staff
Advanced Doug Lea's malloc exploitsjp
Hijacking Linux Page Fault Handlerbuffer
The Cerberus ELF interfacemayhem
Polymorphic Shellcode EngineCLET team
Infecting Loadable Kernel Modulestruff
Building IA32 'Unicode-Proof' Shellcodesobscou
Fun with the Spanning Tree ProtocolVladislav V. Myasnyankin & Oleg K. Artemjev
Hacking the Linux Kernel Network Stackbioforge
Kernel Rootkit Experiences & the Futurestealth
Phrack World NewsPhrack Staff
Title : Phrack World News
Author : Phrack Staff
                           ==Phrack Inc.==

              Volume 0x0b, Issue 0x3d, Phile #0x0f of 0x0f

|=--------------=[ P H R A C K   W O R L D   N E W S ]=------------------=|
|=------------------=[ Phrack Combat Journalistz ]=----------------------=|


    1 - Quickies
    2 - Hacker Generations by Richard Thieme 
    3 - Citizen Questions on Citizenship by Bootleg
    4 - The Molting Wings of Liberty by Beaux75

|=-=[ Quick News ]=------------------------------------------------------=|

Microsoft got hit by SQL slammer worm:
[1] http://www.cnn.com/2003/TECH/biztech/01/28/microsoft.worm.ap/index.html
[2] http://www.thewmurchannel.com/technology/1940013/detail.html

They say they cought 'Fluffi Bunny':
[1] http://www.salon.com/tech/wire/2003/04/29/fluffi_bunni/index.html
[2] http://www.nandotimes.com/technology/story/872265p-6086707c.html

How Geroge W. Bush Won the 2004 Presidential Election. This article
outlines the danger of electronic voting systems. It explains why voting
systems are vulnerable to fraudulent manipulation by the companies
manufactoring and supervising the systems.
[1] http://belgium.indymedia.org/news/2003/07/70542.php

FBI Says Iraw Situation May Spur 'Patriotic Hackers'
[1] http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A64049-2003Feb12.html 

Over 5 million Visa/MasterCard accounts hacked into. This happens all the
day long but once in a while is one journalist making a media hype out of
it and everyone starts to go crazy about it. Wehehehhehee.
[1] http://www.forbes.com/markets/newswire/2003/02/17/rtr881826.html

The Shmoo group build a robot that drives around to find WiFi AccessPoints.
Wonder how long it will take until the first hacker mounts a WiFi + Antenna
under a low-flying zeppelin / model aircraft...
[1] http://news.com.com/2100-1039_3-5059541.html

Linux achieved the Common Criteria security certification and is now
allowed to be used by the federal government and other organizations.
[1] http://www.fcw.com/fcw/articles/2003/0804/web-linx-08-06-03.asp

$55 million electronic voting machines can be hacked into by a
15-year-old newbie. Guess who will win the 2004' election?
[1] http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A25673-2003Aug6.html

UK Intelligence and Security Report Aug 2003. I like the quote: "Britain
has a complicated and rather bureaucratic political control over its int
elligence and security community and one that tends to apply itself to
long-term targets and strategic intelligence programs, but has little real
influence on the behaviour and operations of SIS or MI5."
[1] http://cryptome.org/uk-intel.doc

Man jailed for linking to bomb-side. Judge, psst, *hint*: Try
http://www.google.com -> homemade bombs -> I feel lucky. Eh? Going to jail
google now? Eh?
[1] http://www.cnn.com/2003/TECH/internet/08/05/anarchist.prison.ap/index.html

The military is thinking of planting propaganda and misleading stories in
the international media [1]. A new department has been set up inside the
Pentagon with the Orwellian title of the Office of Strategic Influence.
The government had to rename the new department when its name leaked ([2]).
[1] http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/1830500.stm
[2] http://www.fas.org/sgp/news/secrecy/2002/11/112702.html
[3] http://www.fas.org/sgp/news/2002/11/dod111802.html

|=-=[ Hacker Generations ]=----------------------------------------------=|

Hacker Generations


Richard Thieme <rthieme at thiemeworks.com>

    Richard Thieme speaks writes and consults about life on the edge,
creativity and innovation, and the human dimensions of technology. His
exploraitions of hacking, security, and many other things can be found at
http://www.thiemeworks.com). A frequent speaker at security conferences, he
keynoted the Black Hat Briefings - Europe in Amsterdam this year, the
security track of Tech Ed sponsored by Microsoft Israel in Eilat, and
returns to keynote Hiver Con in Dublin for a second time in November. In
addition to numerous security cons (Def Con 4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11and Black Hat
1,2,3,4,5,6,7, Rubicon 2,3,4,5), he has spoken for the FBI, Infragard, the
FS-ISAC, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and the US Department of the
Treasury. Clients include Microsoft Israel, GE Medical Systems, and Network
Flight Recorder.

First, the meaning of hacker

    The word originally meant an inventive type, someone creative and 
unconventional, usually involved in a technical feat of legerdemain, a 
person who saw doors where others saw walls or built bridges that others 
thought were planks on which to walk into shark-filled seas. Hackers were 
alive with the spirit of Loki or Coyote or the Trickster, moving with 
stealth across boundaries, often spurning conventional ways of thinking and
behaving. Hackers see deeply into the arbitrariness of structures, how form
and content are assembled in subjective and often random ways and therefore
how they can be defeated or subverted. They see atoms where others see a 
seeming solid, and they know that atoms are approximations of energies, 
abstractions, mathematical constructions. At the top level, they see the 
skull behind the grin, the unspoken or unacknowledged but shared 
assumptions of a fallible humanity. Thats why, as in Zen monasteries, where 
mountains are mountains and then they are not mountains and then they are 
mountains again, hacker lofts are filled with bursts of loud spontaneous 

    Then the playful creative things they did in the protected space of
their mainframe heaven, a playfulness fueled by the passion to know, to
solve puzzles, outwit adversaries, never be bested or excluded by arbitrary
fences, never be rendered powerless, those actions began to be designated 
acts of criminal intent.. That happened when the space inside the 
mainframes was extended through distributed networks and ported to the rest 
of the world where things are assumed to be what they seem. A psychic space 
designed to be open, more or less, for trusted communities to inhabit, 
became a general platform of communication and commerce and security became 
a concern and an add-on. Legal distinctions which seemed to have been 
obliterated by new technologies and a romantic fanciful view of cyberspace 
a la Perry Barlow were reformulated for the new not-so-much cyberspace as 
cyborgspace where everyone was coming to live. Technologies are first 
astonishing, then grafted onto prior technologies, then integrated so 
deeply they are constitutive of new ways of seeing and acting, which is 
when they become invisible.

    A small group, a subset of real hackers, mobile crews who merely
entered and looked around or pilfered unsecured information, became the
definition the media and then everybody else used for the word "hacker. "A
hacker became a criminal, usually defined as a burglar or vandal, and the
marks of hacking were the same as breaking and entering, spray painting
graffiti on web site walls rather than brick, stealing passwords or credit
card numbers.

    At first real hackers tried to take back the word but once a word is
lost, the war is lost.  Hackernow means for most people a garden variety of
online miscreant and words suggested as substitutes like technophile just 
don't have the same juice.

    So let's use the word hacker here to mean what we know we mean because
no one has invented a better word. We dont mean script kiddies, vandals, or
petty thieves. We mean men and women who do original creative work and play
at the tip of the bell curve, not in the hump, we mean the best and
brightest who cobble together new images of possibility and announce them
to the world. Original thinkers. Meme makers. Artists of pixels and empty

Second, the meaning of hacker generations

    In a speech at the end of his two terms as president, Dwight Eisenhower
coined the phrase "military-industrial complex" to warn of the consequences 
of a growing seamless collusion between the state and the private sector. 
He warned of a changing approach to scientific research which in effect 
meant that military and government contracts  were let to universities and 
corporations, redefining not only the direction of research but what was 
thinkable or respectable in the scientific world. At the same time, a 
"closed world" as Paul N. Edwards phrased it in his book of the same name, 
was evolving, an enclosed psychic landscape formed by our increasingly 
symbiotic interaction with the symbol-manipulating and identity-altering 
space of distributed computing, a space that emerged after World War II and 
came to dominate military and then societal thinking.

    Eisenhower and Edwards were in a way describing the same event, the 
emergence of a massive state-centric collaboration that redefined our 
psychic landscape. After half a century Eisenhower is more obviously 
speaking of the military-industrial-educational-entertainment-and-media 
establishment that is the water in which we swim, a tangled inescapable 
mesh of collusion and self-interest that defines our global economic and 
political landscape.

    The movie calls it The Matrix. The Matrix issues from the fusion of
cyborg space and the economic and political engines that drive it, a
simulated world in which the management of perception is the cornerstone of
war-and-peace (in the Matrix, war is peace and peace is war, as Orwell 
foretold). The battlespace is as perhaps it always has been the mind of 
society but the digital world has raised the game to a higher level. The 
game is multidimensional, multi-valent, played in string space. The 
manipulation of symbols through electronic means, a process which began 
with speech and writing and was then engineered through tools of literacy 
and printing is the currency of the closed world of our CyborgSpace and the 
military-industrial engines that power it.

    This Matrix then was created through the forties, fifties, sixties, and
seventies, often invisible to the hackers who lived in and breathed it. The
hackers noticed by the panoptic eye of the media and elevated to niche 
celebrity status were and always have been creatures of the Matrix. The 
generations before them were military, government, corporate and think-tank 
people who built the machinery and its webbed spaces.

    So I mean by the First Generation of Hackers, this much later
generation of hackers that emerged in the eighties and nineties when the
internet became an event and they were designated the First Hacker
Generation, the ones who invented Def Con and all its spin-offs, who
identified with garage-level hacking instead of the work of prior
generations that made it possible.

    Marshall McLuhan saw clearly the nature and consequences of electronic
media but it was not television, his favorite example, so much as the 
internet that provided illustrations for his text. Only when the Internet 
had evolved in the military-industrial complex and moved through 
incarnations like Arpanet and Milnet into the public spaces of our society 
did people began to understand what he was saying.

    Young people who became conscious as the Internet became public
discovered a Big Toy of extraordinary proportions. The growing availability
of cheap ubiquitous home computers became their platform and when they were
plugged into one another, the machines and their cyborg riders fused. They 
co-created the dot com boom and the public net, and made necessary the 
security spaceperceived as essential today to a functional society. All day 
and all night like Bedouin they roamed the network where they would, hidden 
by sand dunes that changed shape and size overnight in the desert winds. 
That generation of hackers inhabited Def Con in the "good old days," the 
early nineties, and the other cons. They shaped the perception as well as 
the reality of the public Internet as their many  antecedents at MIT, NSA, 
DOD and all the other three-letter agencies co-created the Matrix.

    So I mean by the First Generation of Hackers that extended or
distributed network of passionate obsessive and daring young coders who
gave as much as they got, invented new ways of sending text, images, sounds,
and looked for wormholes that let them cross through the non-space of the
network and bypass conventional routes. They constituted an online
meritocracy in which they bootstrapped themselves into surrogate families
and learned together by trial and error, becoming a model of self-directed
corporate networked learning. They created a large-scale interactive system,
self-regulating and self-organizing, flexible, adaptive, and unpredictable,
the very essence of a cybernetic system.

    Then the Second Generation came along.  They had not co-created the
network so much as found it around them as they became conscious.  Just a
few years younger, they inherited the network created by their elders. The
network was assumed and socialized them to how they should think and act.
Video games were there when they learned how to play. Web sites instead of
bulletin boards with everything they needed to know were everywhere. The 
way a prior generation was surrounded by books or television and became 
readers and somnambulistic watchers , the Second Generation was immersed in 
the network and became surfers. But unlike the First Generation which knew 
their own edges more keenly, the net made them cyborgs without anyone 
noticing. They were assimilated. They were the first children of the Matrix.

    In a reversal of the way children learned from parents, the Second 
Generation taught their parents to come online which they did but with a 
different agenda. Their elders came to the net as a platform for business, 
a means of making profits, creating economies of scale, and expanding into 
a global market. Both inhabited a simulated world characterized by porous 
or disappearing boundaries and if they still spoke of a digital frontier, 
evoking the romantic myths of the EFF and the like, that frontier was much 
more myth than fact, as much a creation of the dream weavers at CFP as the 
old west was a creation of paintings, dime novels and movies.

    They were not only fish in the water of the Matrix, however, they were
goldfish in a bowl. That environment to which I have alluded, the 
military-industrial complex in which the internet evolved in the first 
place, had long since built concentric circles of observation or 
surveillance that enclosed them around. Anonymizers promising anonymity 
were created by the ones who wanted to know their names. Hacker handles and 
multiple nyms hid not only hackers but those who tracked them. The extent 
of this panoptic world was hidden by denial and design. Most on it and in 
it didn't know it. Most believed the symbols they manipulated as if they 
were the things they represented, as if their tracks really vanished when 
they erased traces in logs or blurred the means of documentation. They 
thought they were watchers but in fact were also watched. The Eye that 
figures so prominently in Blade Runner  was always open, a panoptic eye. 
The system could not be self-regulating if it were not aware of itself, 
after all. The net is not a dumb machine, it is sentient and aware because 
it is fused bone-on-steel with its cyborg riders and their sensory and 
cognitive extensions.

    Cognitive dissonance grew as the Second Generation spawned the Third.
The ambiguities of living in simulated worlds, the morphing of multiple 
personas or identities, meant that no one was ever sure who was who. 
Dissolving boundaries around individuals and organizational structures 
alike ("The internet? C'est moi!") meant that identity based on loyalty, 
glue born of belonging to a larger community and the basis of mutual trust, 
could not be presumed.

    It's all about knowing where the nexus is, what transpires there at the
connections. The inner circles may be impossible to penetrate but in order 
to recruit people into them, there must be a conversation and that 
conversation is the nexus, the distorted space into which one is 
unknowingly invited and often subsequently disappears. Colleges, 
universities, businesses, associations are discovered to be Potemkin 
villages behind which the real whispered dialogue takes place. The closed 
and so-called open worlds interpenetrate one another to such a degree that 
the nexus is difficult to discern. History ends and numerous histories take 
their place, each formed of an arbitrary association and integration of 
data classified or secret at multiple levels and turned into truths, 
half-truths, and outright lies.

    Diffie-Hellman's public key cryptography, for example, was a triumph of
ingenious thinking, putting together bits of data, figuring it out, all 
outside the system, but Whit Diffie was abashed when he learned that years 
earlier (1969) James Ellis inside the closed worldof British intelligence 
had already been there and done that. The public world of hackers often 
reinvents what has been discovered years earlier inside the closed world of 
compartmentalized research behind walls they can not so easily penetrate. 
(People really can keep secrets and do.)  PGP was well, do you really think 
that PGP was news to the closed world?

    In other words, the Second Generation of Hackers, socialized to a
networked world, also began to discover another world or many other worlds
that included and transcended what was publicly known. There have always
been secrets but there have not always been huge whole secret WORLDS whose
citizens live with a different history entirely but thats what we have 
built since the Second World War. Thats the metaphor at the heart of the 
Matrix and that's why it resonates with the Third Generation. A surprising 
discovery for the Second Generation as it matured is the basis for 
high-level hacking for the Third.

    The Third Generation of Hackers knows it was socialized to a world 
co-created by its legendary brethren as well as numerous nameless men and 
women. They know that we inhabit multiple thought-worlds with different 
histories, histories dependent on which particular bits of data can be 
bought on the black market for truth and integrated into Bigger Pictures. 
The Third Generation knows there is NO one Big Picture, there are only 
bigger or smaller pictures depending on the pieces one assembles. 
Assembling those pieces, finding them, connecting them, then standing back 
to see what they say - that is the essence of Third Generation hacking. 
That is the task demanded by the Matrix which is otherwise our prison, 
where inmates and guards are indistinguishable from each other because we 
are so proud of what we have built that we refuse to let one another escape.

    That challenge demands that real Third Generation hackers be expert at 
every level of the fractal that connects all the levels of the network. It 
includes the most granular examination of how electrons are turned into 
bits and bytes, how percepts as well as concepts are framed and transported 
in network-centric warfare/peacefare, how all the layers link to one 
another, which distinctions between them matter and which dont. How the 
seemingly topmost application layer is not the end but the beginning of the 
real challenge, where the significance and symbolic meaning of the 
manufactured images and ideas that constitute the cyborg network create a 
trans-planetary hive mind. That's where the game is played today by the 
masters of the unseen, where those ideas and images become the means of 
moving the herd, percept turned into concept, people thinking they actually 
think when what has in fact already been thought for them has moved on all 
those layers into their unconscious constructions of reality.

    Hacking means knowing how to find data in the Black Market for truth, 
knowing what to do with it once it is found, knowing how to cobble things 
together to build a Big Picture. The puzzle to be solved is reality itself, 
the nature of the Matrix, how it all relates. So  unless youre hacking the 
Mind of God, unless you're hacking the mind of society itself, you arent 
really hacking at all. Rather than designing arteries through which the oil 
or blood of a cyborg society flows, you are the dye in those arteries, all 
unknowing that you function like a marker or a bug or a beeper or a gleam 
of revealing light. You become a means of control, a symptom rather than a 

    The Third Generation of Hackers grew up in a simulated world, a
designer society of electronic communication, but sees through the fictions
and the myths. Real hackers discover in their fear and trembling the
courage and the means to move through zones of annihilation in which
everything we believe to be true is called into question in order to
reconstitute both what is known and our knowing Self on the higher side of 
self-transformation. Real hackers know that the higher calling is to hack 
the Truth in a society built on designer lies and then the most subtle, 
most difficult part - manage their egos and that bigger picture with 
stealth and finesse in the endless ambiguity and complexity of their lives.

    The brave new world of the past is now everyday life. Everybody knows
that identities can be stolen which means if they think that they know they
can be invented. What was given to spies by the state as a sanction for 
breaking laws is now given to real hackers by technologies that make spies 
of us all.

    Psychological operations and information warfare are controls in the
management of perception taking place at all levels of society, from the 
obvious distortions in the world of politics to the obvious distortions of 
balance sheets and earnings reports in the world of economics. 
Entertainment, too, the best vehicle for propaganda according to Joseph 
Goebbels, includes not only obvious propaganda but movies like the Matrix 
that serve as sophisticated controls, creating a subset of people who think 
they know and thereby become more docile.  Thanks for that one, SN.

    The only free speech tolerated is that which does not genuinely
threaten the self-interest of the oligarchic powers that be.  The only
insight acceptable to those powers is insight framed as entertainment or an
opposition that can be managed and manipulated.

    Hackers know they don't know what's real and know they can only build
provisional models as they move in stealthy trusted groups of a few. They 
must assume that if they matter, they are known which takes the game 
immediately to another level.

    So the Matrix like any good cybernetic system is self-regulating,
builds controls, has multiple levels of complexity masking partial truth as
Truth. Of what else could life consist in a cyborg world? All over the
world, in low-earth orbit, soon on the moon and the asteroid belt, this
game is played with real money. It is no joke. The surrender of so many
former rights - habeas corpus, the right to a trial, the freedom from
torture during interrogation, freedom of movement without papers in ones
own country - has changed the playing field forever, changed the game.

    Third Generation Hacking means accepting nothing at face value,
learning to counter counter-threats with counter-counter-counter-moves. It
means all means and ends are provisional and likely to transform themselves
like alliances on the fly.

    Third Generation Hacking is the ability to free the mind, to live
vibrantly in a world without walls.

    Do not be deceived by uniforms, theirs or ours, or language that serves
as uniforms, or behaviors. There is no theirs or ours, no us or them. There
are only moments of awareness at the nexus where fiction myth and fact 
touch, there are only moments of convergence. But if it is all on behalf of 
the Truth it is Hacking. Then it can not fail because the effort defines 
what it means to be human in a cyborg world. Hackers are aware of the 
paradox, the irony and the impossibility of the mission as well as the 
necessity nevertheless of pursuing it, despite everything. That is, after 
all, why they're hackers.

Thanks to Simple Nomad, David Aitel, Sol Tzvi, Fred Cohen, Jaya Baloo, and
many others for the ongoing conversations that helped me frame this article.

Richard Thieme

|=-=[ Citizen Questions on Citizenship ]=--------------------------------=|

by Bootleg

(Please READ everything then check out my posts by Bootleg on this forum:

"A Citizen Questions on Citizenship" or "Are outlaws screwing your inlaws
 without laws?"

    What's the difference in "Rights" between a citizen who is an excon and
a citizen who is not? What law gives the government the right to
permanently take away certain rights from an excon without a judge
proscribing the rights be taken away? When has an excon ever been taken to
court to have his civil rights stripped away permanently?

    When has an excon ever been arrested and prosecuted on any law that 
specifically says since they are excons they must now go to trial to fight
for their right to keep all their civil rights? In American law, ONLY a
JUDGE can proscribe penalties against a citizen and only after being
allowed a trial by his peers and only for specific charges brought against
him. How then can an excons rights be stripped away if he has never been in
front of a judge for a charge of possessing civil rights illegally? What
law exists that states certain civil rights exist only for certain people? 

    I've been convicted of several felonies and not once during sentencing
has any judge ever said I was to loose any of my civil rights as part of my
sentence! If no judge has ever stripped my rights as part of any criminal
sentence they gave me, how then can I not still have them? Furthermore...
why does my wife and children also loose some of their civil rights simply
because they are part of my family even though they have never committed
any crime????

    Are excons having their civil rights taken WITHOUT due process and
without equal protection the true intent of the Bill of Rights and the
Constitution? Or should all rights be restored after an excon pays his debt
to society like they have always been throughout our history? Since an
excon is still a citizen, then what kind of citizen is he under our
Constitution that states all citizens have equal rights? If the government
can arbitrarily take most of an excons rights away without due process, can
they then take one or more rights away from other groups of citizens as
they see fit thus making a layered level of citizenship with only certain
groups enjoying full rights? Either they can do this or they can't
according to the Constitution. If they do it to even one group of
citizens...excons, then are they not violating the Constitution? Are all
American citizens "EQUAL" the Constitution and is that not the intent of
those that wrote the constitution as evidenced by their adding the "Bill of
Rights" guaranteeing "Equality" for ALL citizens?

    Just as "blacks" were slaves and had no rights even as freemen in the
past, even as women couldn't vote till the 20th century, even as the aged
and disabled were denied equal rights till recently, so now does one more
group of millions of citizens exist that are being uncoonstitutionally
denied their birthright as American citizens. This group is the millions of
American citizens that are exconvicts and their families! ARE THEY CITIZENS
OR NOT? The law says they still are citizens even if they are excons. If
this is the case, then under our Constitution, are not ALL citizens equal
having equal rights?

    If so, then exconvicts are illegally being persecuted and discriminated
against along with their families. How would you rectify this?

Nuff Said-

|=-=[ The Molting Wings of Liberty ]=------------------------------------=|

by Beaux75

Thesis:  The USA PATRIOT Act (USAPA) is too restrictive of the rights
mandated by the Constitution and must be repealed.

I.  Introduction
        A.  Circumstances leading up to the USAPA
        B.  A rushed job
        C.  Using public anxiety and war fever to push an unjust bill
II.  Domestic spying and the end of probable cause
        A.  Breaking down restrictions on unlawful surveillance
        B.  Side-stepping court orders and accountability
        C.  Sneak and peek
III.  Immigrants as suspects
        A.  Erosion of due process for legal immigrants
        B.  Criminal behavior now subject to detention and deportation
        C.  Denying entry based on ideology
IV.  Defining the threat
        A.  Accepted definition of terrorism
        B.  The USAPA and its overbroad definition
        C.  "Domestic terrorism"
V.  Silencing dissent
        A.  Questioning government policy can now be terrorism
        B.  Public scrutiny encouraged by present administration
                1.  Recruiting Americans to inform on Americans
                2.  Blind faith in political matters
                3.  Keeping our leaders in check and our citizens informed
VI.  Refuting common retort
        A.  "I do not want to be a victim of terrorism."
        B.  "I have nothing to worry about because I am not a terrorist."
        C.  "I am willing to compromise my civil rights to feel safer."
VII.  The future of civil rights at the present pace
        A.  Expansion of unprecedented and unchecked power
        B.  The illusion of democracy and our descent into fascism
        C.  Our leaders no longer have the public's best interests in mind
VIII.  Conclusion
        A.  The USAPA trounces the rights guaranteed to all Americans
        B.  People must stay informed
        C.  Vigilance in the struggle to maintain freedom

                1.  Act is unjust and violates civil liberties
                2.  Definition of "terrorist" reaches too far
                3.  Act is a stepping-stone toward fascism
                4.  Signals the decline of a democracy
                1.  Limits the effectiveness of anti-terrorism efforts
                2.  No longer have broad and corruptible powers
                3.  Must find new ways to prevent terrorism
                4.  Must maintain the rights of the people

                       The Molting Wings of Liberty

        In the darker alleys of Washington, DC, something very disturbing
is taking shape.  Assaults on our civil liberties and our very way of life
are unfolding before us, yet somehow we are blind to it.  What is shielding
us from the truth about the future of America is the cataract of ignorance
and misinformation brought on by mass paranoia.  One thing is definite and
overwhelming when the haze is lifted: our elected officials are knowingly
sacrificing our rights under the guise of national security.

        In the six weeks after the worst terrorist attacks on US soil, a
bill was hastily written and pushed through congress granting the executive
branch extensive and far reaching powers to combat terrorism.  Thus, the
awkwardly named "Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate
Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism" or USA PATRIOT Act
(USAPA) was signed into law on October 26, 2001.  President George W. Bush,
in his remarks on the morning of the bill's signing stated, "Today we take
an essential step in defeating terrorism, while protecting the
constitutional rights of all Americans" (1).  How can it be said that this
law protects our constitutional rights when it can be utilized to violate
five of the ten amendments in the Bill of Rights?  The USAPA is a classic
example of political over-correction: it may provide our government and law
enforcement agencies with "appropriate tools" for combating terrorism, but
at what cost to the basic freedoms that this country was founded upon?

        Simply put, the USA PATRIOT Act is extremely dangerous to the
American people because its potential for corruptibility is so great.
Still, the 342-page tract was forced through Congress in near record time
with next to no internal debate and very little compromised revision.
Despite massive objection from civil rights watchdogs, it passed by an
unprecedented vote of 356-to-66 in the House of Representatives, and
98-to-1 in the Senate (Chang).  The Bush administration considered the
USAPA an astounding bipartisan success, but neglected to inform the public
of exactly what its provisions called for and conveniently left out that,
in order to gain such an encompassing victory, many of the new powers were
superceded by a "sunset clause" making some of the more sweeping and
intrusive abilities subject to expiration on December 31, 2005.  Most
recently, there have been numerous reports of the Republican controlled
Congress and their attempts to lift the sunset clause making these broad
powers permanent ("GOP Wants")

        Admittedly, the abilities mandated in the USAPA might help to
counteract terrorism to a minor degree, but the price of such inspired
safety means the systematic retooling of the very principles that every
American citizen is entitled to.  There is no doubt that this legislation
is a result of public outcry to ensure the events of September 11, 2001
never happen again, but the administration's across-the-board devotion to
internal secrecy was largely able to keep the bill from public eyes until
after it was jettisoned into law.  Even now, more than a year and a half
after its inception, no one seems to know what the USAPA is or does.

        From the Senate floor, under scrutiny for his lone vote against the
USAPA legislation, Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold delivered his thoughts
on the bill:
        There is no doubt that if we lived in a police state, it would be
        easier to catch terrorists.  If we lived in a country where police
        were allowed to search your home at any time for any reason; if we
        lived in a country where the government is entitled to open your
        mail, eavesdrop on your phone conversations, or intercept your
        e-mail communications; if we lived in a country where people could
        be held in jail indefinitely based on what they write or think, or
        based on mere suspicion that they are up to no good, the
        government would probably discover more terrorists or would-be
        terrorists, just as it would find more lawbreakers generally.  But
        that wouldn't be a country in which we would want to live.  (qtd.
        in Hentoff)

        Senator Feingold's words make up a very relevant issue that has
been mentioned, but largely ignored by the Bush administration.  It seems
reasonable that most Americans would be willing to compromise certain
liberties in order to regain the necessary illusion of safety.  But what is
not universal is that those compromises become permanent.  In the wake of
recent Republican activity and the other proposed methods of quashing
terrorism, it is becoming more and more vital that the people of America
educate themselves on this issue and urge their leaders to repeal the USAPA
on the grounds that it is grossly unconstitutional.

        At the heart of the USAPA, is its intent to break down the checks
and balances among the three branches of government, allowing for a
wholesale usurping of dangerous powers by the executive branch.  Because of
this bill, the definition of terrorism has been broadened to include crimes
not before considered such; our first amendment rights of free speech,
assembly and petition can now fall under the heading of "terrorist
activity" and thusly, their usage will surely be discouraged; by merely
being suspected of a crime, any crime, it can strip legal immigrants of
their civil rights and subject them to indefinite detainment and possible
deportation; and most alarmingly of all, in a fit of extreme paranoia, it
allows for unprecedented domestic spying and intelligence gathering in a
cold war like throwback to East Berlin's Ministry of State Security

        On the subject of domestic spying, news analyst Daniel Schorr, in
an interview during All Things Considered on National Public Radio in the
latter half of 2002 said, "Spying on Americans in America is a historic
no-no that was reconfirmed in the mid-1970s when the CIA, the FBI and the
NSA got into a peck of trouble with congress and the country for conducting
surveillance on Vietnam War dissenters. A no-no, that is until September
11th.  Since then, the Bush administration has acted as though in order to
protect you, it has to know all about you and everyone" (Neary).

        Never before in the United States have law enforcement and
intelligence agencies had such sweeping approval to institute programs of
domestic surveillance.  In the past, things like wire-tapping, Internet and
e-mail monitoring, even access to library records were regulated by
judicial restrictions in conjunction with the fourth amendment and
"probable cause." Because of the USAPA, warrants have been made virtually
inconsequential and probable cause has become a thing of the past.  Medical
records, bank transactions, credit reports and a myriad of other personal
records can now be used in intel gathering (Collins).  Even the
restrictions on illegally gained surveillance and so-called "sneak and
peek" searches (that allow for covert, unwarranted, and in many cases
unknown, searches and possible seizures of private property) have been
lifted to the point of perhaps being admissible as evidence.  Mind you,
this is not just for suspicion of terrorist activity, but rather all
criminal activity and it can be corrupted to spy on anyone, regardless of
being a suspect or not.  In addition to all of this, there is a clause in
the USAPA that insulates the agencies who use and abuse these powers from
any wrong doing as long as they can illustrate how their actions pertain to
national security (Chang).  Under these provisions, everyone is a suspect,
regardless of guilt.  When no meaningful checks and balances are in play,
there is enormous capacity for corruption.

        For the sake of argument, say that an administration has a faceless
enemy in which they know to be affiliated with an organization that
questions recent government policy.  With this new power, the entire
organization and all of its present, past and future members can be spied
on by local and national law enforcement agencies.  Thanks to unchecked
sneak and peek searches, the members' private lives are now open for
scrutiny and the intelligence gathered can be used to trump up charges of
wrong-doing, even though the organization and its members have had their
first and fourth amendments clearly violated.  And because of asset
forfeiture laws already long in place, the government can now seize the
organization's and its members' property at will as long as they are
labeled as suspects.  Whether the case makes it to a courtroom or not is
irrelevant.  The government can now publicly question the integrity of the
organization, thereby damaging its credibility and possibly negating its
cause.  All this, and much worse, can now be done legally and virtually
without accountability.

        This closely parallels the 1975 Watergate investigation.  On this
topic, Jim McGee, journalist for The Washington Post, writes, "After wading
through voluminous evidence of intelligence abuses, a committee led by Sen.
Frank Church warned that domestic intelligence-gathering was a 'new form of
governmental power' that was unconstrained by law, often abused by
presidents and always inclined to grow" (1).

        Another flagrant disregard for basic civil and human rights is the
USAPA's stance on criminality and immigration.  We have already seen
immigrants suspected of crimes being detained unjustly.  In the near
future, we should expect to see a rise in deportation as well as a further
erosion of due process for legal immigrants.  It has now become legal to
detain immigrants, whether under suspicion of criminality or not, for
indefinite periods of time and without access to an attorney (Chang).  This
is in clear violation of their constitutional rights, but with the fear of
terrorism looming overhead, anyone who champions their cause is subject to
public survey.  Immigration is a hot potato of unjust activity, but one
that many Americans seem apt to ignore.  Newcomers to our country are
already treated as inferiors by our government and now, because of the
USAPA legislation, they are treated as suspects before any crime is even
committed.  More alarmingly, federal law enforcement agencies now have
influence to keep certain ethnicities out of America based on "conflicting
ideologies" (Chang).  The message being sent: conform to American standards
and belief systems or risk deportation.  The clause sounds more like a
scare tactic in order to keep what some deem as undesirables at bay, rather
than a tool for preventing terrorism.

        Even the definition of "terrorism" has undergone a major overhaul
in the USAPA.  Since 1983, the United States defined terrorism as "the
premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against
noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents, usually
intended to influence an audience" (Chang).  Essentially, it draws the line
at people who intend to impact a government through violence of its
civilians.  This definition has been around for close to twenty years and
has served its purpose well because of its straightforwardness.  It
addresses the point, and it does not overreach its bounds by taking into
consideration acts or organizations that are not related to terrorism.  As
of October 26, 2001, the definition has become muddled enough to include
"intimidation of civilian population," "affecting the conduct of government
through mass destruction, assassination or kidnapping," or any act that is
"dangerous to human life."  It also spurs off to include "domestic
terrorism" which is an act of terrorism by an internal organization (ACLU
04-Apr-03).  All of these pieces can be legitimately molded to include
activists, protestors, looters and rioters (all potentially dangerous to
human life); embezzlers and so-called computer hackers (dangerous to
financial institutions and therefore intimidating to civilians and
government); serial killers, mass murderers, serial rapists (dangerous to
human life and intimidation of civilians); and can even be stretched to the
point of including writers, publishers, journalists, musicians, comedians,
pundits and satirists based solely on their scope of influence.  To think
that by increasing the size of the terrorism umbrella, organizations like
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Food Not Bombs (FNB),
and Anti-Racist Action (ARA) not to mention hundreds of thousands of
outspoken protestors and activists for political and social change can be
lumped in with the same international terrorist factions we have been
hearing about for years.

        In a report from the ACLU dated December 14, 2001, Gregory T.
Nojeim, Associate Director of the Washington National Office stated:
        There are very few things that enjoy almost unanimous agreement in
        this country.  One of the most important is our collective
        dedication to the ideals of fairness, justice and individual
        liberty.  Much of our government is structured around the pursuit
        of each of these ideals for every American citizen.  The
        Administration's actions over the past three months - its
        dedication to secrecy, the tearing down of barriers between
        intelligence gathering and domestic law enforcement and the erosion
        of judicial authority - are not in tune with these ideals.  (ACLU

        All of these provisions taken into account, it makes one wonder if
the Bush administration's commitment to ending terrorism is part of a
larger commitment to end political dissent in general.  After all, why
else would a bill that so blatantly violates our basic civil liberties have
been rushed through congress and signed into law on the horns of legitimate
public anxiety and war fever?  Thanks to the USAPA, the war on terrorism no
longer seems concentrated on reducing the loss of innocent life at the
hands of those who would kill to influence our government so much as it
focuses on anyone who would like to influence the government regardless of
their means or intended ends.

        Now is the time, when our leaders see fit to begin whittling away
at our basic rights that we need to be and stay informed and be as vocal as
possible.  Unfortunately, being outspoken may now land us in hot water, as
we are now subject to the frivolous and unjust laws contained in the USAPA.
Logic follows that if a government sees its own people as a threat, then it
will do what it can to effectively gag them.  Why would the American people
be seen as a threat?  All we have to do is wait out the current term and
vote someone else into his or her place.  That is, unless the right to vote
is next on the chopping block.

        Never before has their been a time when questioning government
action can turn someone into a terrorist and therefore an enemy of his own
country.  Standing up for beliefs is terrorist activity?  Voicing opinions
and writing letters to officials is terrorist activity?  The right to
privacy and against unreasonable searches and seizures without probable
cause is now terrorist activity?  No!  These are rights guaranteed to us by
our country's charter!

        Our leaders have seen fit to draw lines on the pavement and demand
its allies on one side and its enemies on the other.  They are recruiting
Americans to spy and inform on other Americans without discretion while
needlessly inflating the importance of such buzzword-labels as
"unpatriotic," and "un-American."  In addition, they are requiring those on
their side to have blind faith in their leadership.  Blind faith is a good
thing to have in certain walks of life, but political matters are most
assuredly not one of them.  The main reason being that we are all humans
and therefore subject to the same shortcomings and corruptibility as every
other human being.  For our leaders to somehow suggest that they are above
this means that they are extremely misguided in their pursuits and may no
longer hold the public's best interests in mind.

        A report issued by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) one
year after September 11, 2001 contained this apt summation:
        The Bush Administration's war against terrorism, without boundary
        or clear end-point, has led to serious abrogation of the rights of
        the people and the obligations of the federal government.  Abuses,
        of Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights in particular, have been
        rampant, but more disturbing is the attempt to codify into law
        practices that erode privacy, free speech, and the separation of
        powers that is the hallmark of our democracy. (CCR 16)

        Now is the time to become and stay informed and make sure that our
leaders know that we are.  There is a complacency that has permeated our
culture, which dictates that people can not be bothered to take an interest
in political policy.  "Leave the politics to the politicians," is the usual
cry.  Many people don't even try to learn about governmental policy because
they do not think they will understand it.  Admittedly, politics is not as
palatable as several thousand other things; root canal surgery somehow
seems less painful.  But it is imperative that we make the effort to
protect ourselves from an administration that sees us as unwitting sheep.
Especially now, when checks and balances are systematically being broken
down within the structure of our governing body, it is upon us to keep our
leaders from becoming excessively corrupt and hold them accountable for
trying to trample on our freedoms.

        The public anxiety caused by recent events has been overwhelming.
There is no one in this country that wishes to be a victim of terrorism,
and the odds of it happening are miniscule at best.  Terrorism itself is a
minor occurrence, but the fear of it has ballooned to the point of mass
paranoia, which today, seems to be more of a mode of operation rather than
a temporary affliction.  It is wrong for our leaders to use that fear and
paranoia in order to limit our freedoms, regardless of the cost.

        There are those who feel that they have nothing to worry about
because they are not terrorists.  This logic is faulty because it assumes
that our law enforcement agencies see us as innocents, which is no longer
the case under the USAPA.  Everyone is treated as a suspect until proven
otherwise, and even then, the connotation of being a suspected terrorist is
enough to ruin an innocent person's life.  Under the 1983 definition of
terrorism, far fewer people than what we are now told would fit the bill.
By suspecting everyone, more overall undesirables will be weeded out but
only a few of those will actually be terrorists.

        Since the World Trade Center disaster, there has been mass
speculation as far as what liberties we, as a nation, may have to give up
as a result of national security.  And there are those who are so afraid of
the threat that they are willing to go along with this one-sided argument.
The other side, being both safe and free, has been largely ignored in the
media and dodged right and left by the president's administration.  It is
perfectly normal to fear something, even to the point of being willing to
give up anything just to make the fear subside, but it cannot be expected
that everyone, or even a simple majority, feel the same way.  The
difference in opinion must be addressed and the sound basis of freedoms
that our country was founded upon must remain intact if we are still to be
entitled to life, liberty and happiness.

        Some would say that the future of our civil rights is hazy and
unforeseeable.  When examining the USAPA and the precedents it sets, the
future becomes very clear.  If we allow the provisions contained in the
USAPA to linger, we can expect an expansion of that kind of unchecked
power.  In fact, plans are already underway.  Attorney General John
Ashcroft is one of the parties involved in drafting what has been called
"Patriot II."  If the bill is passed, the entropy of civil liberties in
America will continue unhindered.  The bill will further erode governmental
checks and balances and expand the already loose definition of terrorism to
incorporate all outspoken dissidents, and hold media outlets responsible
for airing or printing what would be deemed as domestic terrorism.  Under
this power, mass media would theoretically cease any kind of editorial,
unpopular opinion, quite possibly even normal news coverage out of fear of

        If our country remains on its current course, it is said that we
will become less and less of a democracy and more of a fascist
parliamentary dictatorship.  Eventually, our way of life will be hollowed
out from the inside and only the most trivial of freedoms will remain.
Deeper down, we will become a nation of benign citizens under state
control, and the smart money says that we will still be told that America
is the greatest democracy in the world.

        This is why we must stay informed and why we must remain vigilant
in our struggle to maintain our freedom.  The USAPA is detrimental to
American society because at its core, it operates under the assumption that
anyone could be a terrorist, or more generally, a threat to government
policy.  In a true democracy, organizations like the ACLU, Bill of Rights
Defense Committee (BORDC), and Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) would
not be needed because all laws would be passed with our basic civil
liberties in mind.  Unfortunately, this is no longer (has it ever truly
been?) the case.

        The freedoms to voice our opinions and to assemble with others of a
like-mind have been instrumental rights that we have utilized in order to
make sure our government hears us.  Beyond that, they have played a major
role in keeping our leaders from excessive corruption.  When our officials
begin to make laws that counteract our freedoms, then it is time to raise
our voices in unity despite the possibility of being called un-American.
When our government begins to recruit Americans to inform on other
Americans, then it is time for open defiance because living in a world
where you can't trust your neighbor is not a world worth living in and a
government that cannot trust its own citizens is a government that itself
cannot be trusted.  When our leaders tell us that our voices and our
actions are only aiding America's enemies, then it is time to stand up and
show our leaders that we are not the servile sheep that they think we are.

        As a people, we need to send a clear, resounding message to our
elected officials that we deserve our rights, and we deserve leaders who do
not try to undermine them.  But we also deserve safety.  Our government has
done some nasty things overseas, mostly without public knowledge or
consent, so is it any wonder that terrorists lash out at our leaders by
lashing out at us?  After all, we are easy targets because we take for
granted that out government will protect us.  The demand that we compromise
our freedoms in order to obtain that protection is not just grossly
insubordinate, it is indicative of a government that is quickly losing
interest in the needs of its people.

                               Works Cited

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) 04 April 2003

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) 20 April 2003

Bush, George W. "Remarks on Signing the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001." Weekly
Compilation of Presidential Documents 37 (2001): 1550-1552.

Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) 20 April 2003

Chang, Nancy. Center For Constitutional Rights (CCR) 18 April 2003

Collins, Jennifer M. "And the Walls Came Tumbling Down: Sharing Grand Jury
Information with the Intelligence Community Under the USA PATRIOT Act."
American Criminal Law Review 39 (2002): 1261-1286.

"GOP Wants to Keep Anti-Terror Powers." San Francisco Chronicle
09 April 2003: A15

Hentoff, Nat. "Resistance Rising!" Village Voice 22 November 2002.

McGee, Jim. "An Intelligence Giant in the Making." Washington Post
04 November 2001: A4.

Neary, Lynn. "Commentary: Worrisome Trend of Bush Administration Efforts to
Expand Their Collection of Information Data on American Citizens." All
Things Considered National Public Radio. 18 November 2002.

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