The Walkerville Weekly Reader

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Walkerville, VA
Monday, May 20, 2024
Carolyn Purcell, Editor

Alan Dershowitz supports torture, national identity papers

When forced to choose between self-defense and a police state, famous civil liberties activist chooses police state.

Alan Dershowitz spoke to a packed crowd at the Jewish Community Center in Creve Coeur, St. Louis, on Sunday, as the opening speaker for the Jewish Book Fair. The celebrity lawyer and once-famous civil libertarian said that he supports not only identification papers but also court-ordered torture. “Civil rights activists need to re-adjust their thinking due to recent terrorist attacks,” said Dershowitz.

Dershowitz says that his new support for police-state measures is “not totally out of line with” his past policies, but rather are a natural outgrowth of them. According to the civil libertarian, fourth amendment and fifth amendment freedoms cannot be maintained without the second amendment freedoms he abhors.

“Look,” said Dershowitz, “I support abolishing self-defense. I’ve said so in the past. I think that what the passengers of flight 93 did is unconscionable. No one has the right to take the law into their own hands. Individuals should not take responsibility for their own defense. That’s what the police are for. Everyone who is arming themselves for self-defense are just as wrong as those misguided passengers. I’m in favor of broad controls on guns. But it is clear, in the wake of the September 11 box-cutter attacks, that if people don’t defend themselves, somebody else has to, because a victim who lets an attacker free may be condemning thousands to die. If I oppose individuals defending themselves, I have to support police defending them. I have to support a police state.”

According to the civil libertarian, in the absence of self-defense only a police state can protect the American people. “Everyone will need to carry identity papers,” said Dershowitz, “and will need to produce them at regular intervals.” Dershowitz added that “anyone who opposes effective self-defense must support effective police-state measures to make up the lack.”

Dershowitz cautions that Americans must not allow the basic values of the United States to erode. “The United States is all about safety and shirking social responsibilities,” said Dershowitz. “It’s all about relying on others to protect us, and today that means a police state.”

Dershowitz brushed aside concerns that torture might be overused. “Torture would only be used under court-issued warrants, which we already use for searches and arrests,” he said, “and we know that those are extremely difficult to get.” Dershowtiz said that courts almost never issue warrants unless a police officer requests one. He also said that with “probable cause”, police would be able to use torture without having to wait for the delay of a court-issued warrant. “Hell, police already do this--just ask Abner Louima. And I support that. Society needs to be protected from immigrants and other undesirables.”

Dershowitz told the book fair audience that if identity papers and torture don’t work, identification papers may “need to be made more obvious.” He suggested that special symbols be devised for various classes of individuals, especially immigrants and religious fanatics. “These symbols might be worn around the neck, or on the arm,” said Dershowitz. Such symbols would allow police to quickly identify possible criminal elements during an emergency.

Further measures might also be needed, Dershowitz told the crowd. He stated that “we might need to re-adjust our thinking” on the issue of incarcerating undesirable individuals “who might otherwise go free for lack of evidence against them.” According to Dershowitz, these special holding centers could specialize in “mass court-ordered torture” to acquire the “evidence that only torture can acquire”. Once individuals are tortured into confession of their crimes, says Dershowitz, “they can then be disposed of according to law.”

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