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HOMELAND SECURITY TACTICS ARE FRIGHTENING

People were interrogated in secret, asked if they were a member of the Communist Party or a Communist sympathizer. Those who crumbled, or took the Fifth Amendment, were often brought back in public sessions to be openly challenged.

The questions these days aren't so blatant. Instead, the McCarthyesque questions come in the form of a check box on a medical form, authorizing the government to collect the names of AIDS patients, or those who practice a certain religion other than Christianity.

The unsealing of 4,000 pages of transcripts of some 500 accused Communists 50 years ago reveals a frightening similarity between what went on a half-century ago and what is taking place today under the auspices of Homeland Security.

Under John Ashcroft, attorney general in the Bush administration, people are having their e-mail read, computers and telephones bugged, attorney-client conversations monitored, credit card transactions monitored, credit, medical and travel histories examined. All without a warrant or even much of a good excuse. . . .

If we continue to strip civil liberties from American citizens, then the war on terror in the Middle East is a waste of bullets and bombs.

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