Wednesday, April 19, 2006

EUROPE, THY NAME is hypocrisy:
Four and a half years after the Sept. 11 attacks, and after deadly bombings in Madrid and London since then, the troubled debate within Western democracies over how to weigh security against basic freedoms has only grown and spread, as the legal tools for dealing with terrorism suspects multiply.

The clashing of priorities has been clear in the United States, in the domestic debates preceding the renewal of the Patriot Act, and in the international uproar over prisoner abuses at Abu Ghraib and the treatment of detainees at Guantánamo Bay.

But many European governments, including some that had criticized the United States for its antiterrorism measures, have been extending their own surveillance and prosecution powers. Officials, lawyers and human rights experts say that Europe, too, is experiencing a slow erosion of civil liberties as governments increasingly put the prevention of possible terrorist actions ahead of concerns to protect the rights of people suspected, but not convicted, of a crime.

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