Men (and Women) in Black Defend the Constitution

Gonzales protestors

Today, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales gave a speech to Georgetown University regarding the legality of Bush’s wiretapping program. It was shaping up to be the usual fascist-justifying affair until some hooded folks came in. (No, not these guys, but people to actually be proud of.)

These black-hooded protesters raised a banner with Benjamin Franklin’s immortal words inscribed; “Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.” Gonzales, intellectually outclassed by a dead man and a sheet, resorted to the only course available to him-ignoring the protest. Not just the four hoodeds holding the sheet, but the 22 other protesters who had their backs facing him.

So yeah… go Hoyas!

Update by Nicholas Sarwark: Gonzales was also interviewed by NPR today. In the interview, he claims that the Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) authorized all activities “incident to war.” Basically, when we’re fighting an enemy, the President is authorized to spy on and detain the enemy. I’m with him that far.

The part that makes me wonder how he looks in the mirror at night is that, in advancing this argument to justify warrantless surveillance of American citizens, he’s conveniently sidestepping the Constitution and the FISA Act. And what level of proof does it take to authorize this magical transformation of an American citizen into an enemy? The “determination of career professionals at the NSA,” that’s what. But that shouldn’t bother us, because the Inspector General of the same agency has been reviewing the program to make sure it’s okay. I’m not a lawyer (yet), but I’m pretty sure there’s a reason why the Fourth Amendment requires warrants to be issued by a neutral magistrate.

The interview gets even more maddening when he tries to justify not using the FISA courts because he’s have to be sure that there was sufficient probable cause to justify the surveillance to said courts before his office could apply for the warrant. Seriously, he said on national radio that he wasn’t using the FISA courts because he couldn’t come up with sufficient justification (for a court that has only turned down ten warrants in the course of its entire existence) for the surveillance ahead of time, or even be sure that they could round up the justification within the 72-hour emergency provision.

There’s a word for fishing expeditions like that: illegal.

Update by Stephen VanDyke: DailyKos has more photos from the event in this comment thread. This wide shot is really good.

Another Update by Stephen VanDyke: Here’s a bigger, better version of that wide shot photo. I’d love to get ahold of the original size and use it as my desktop if anyone knows how to contact the photog from the event.

Update by Stephen Gordon: Scoplaw was one of the original participants, and has some updates here. Lyco, another of the participants, explains the black hoods. Perhaps Stuart shouldn’t have linked to the KKK, but rather to the White House. The visual explanation of what the hoods are for is right after the jump.

Update by Stuart Richards: As has become obvious by now, the protesters themselves are on here and seeing this. This was listed on Google News as one of the few articles dealing with this protest early on, so everyone pretty much came here to give the protesters support. So if you want to say anything to the protesters, rest assured it’ll reach them through this medium. Even if what you have to say is like this guy’s, it’ll still get through.

posted by Stuart Richards