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for those who are worried about the Patriot's Act = check out this from Germany


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German Police Software Allows Targeted Registration of Homosexuals

 

(By Ray D.)

 

According to reports in the German media, computer software used by police in the German states of Bavaria, Thuringia and North Rhine-Westphalia allows authorities to explicitly identify and register homosexuals involved in criminal investigations by sexual orientation. Additionally, locations frequented by homosexuals or "Aufenthaltsorte von Homosexuelle" have been categorized by police as sites for potential crime or "potentielle Tatorte". Authorities in the above-named states can isolate and access the files of anyone categorized as "homosexuell" in two major police databases by simply entering the keyword *omosex*.

 

Now that the story has gained wide publicity, both Bavaria and North Rhine-Westphalia have decided to stop the use of the term "location frequented by homosexuals" as a keyword for identifying potential crime sites. But the two states reportedly plan to continue to allow police to classify those involved in criminal investigations as suspects, witnesses or victims by sexual orientation. Michael Koch, a speaker for the German state of Thuringia, rejected recent criticism of the policy, stating that authorities almost never make use of the "sexual orientation field." He also pointed-out that there has only been one case in his state in which a person's sexual orientation was actually noted in the system. Nonetheless, the very existence of such an entry field on police computers is questionable at best and leaves the system vulnerable to potential abuse. Above all, one has to wonder how this could be allowed at all in a nation where homosexuals were once persecuted and locked-up in concentration camps.

 

Furthermore, one has to wonder why German police would possibly target homosexuals as a potential criminal group when they can't even prevent an airplane from crashing and burning on the lawn of the German Reichstag in central Berlin in a post September 11 world filled with suicide-bombers looking for an easy target. Why would German police anywhere be concerned with singling-out and categorizing gays while the German criminal justice system is failing the entire international community by acquitting and releasing senior members of Al-Qaeda and being turned into a mockery by Muslim extremists who grossly abuse German asylum and welfare law? Are we the only ones baffled by this?

 

And what if this had happened in the United States? If American police authorities went around registering people by sexual orientation, the German media would jump on the story like a pack of frenzied wolves determined to provide expectant readers further evidence of the injustice and intolerance of "Bush's America." Less than a year ago, SPIEGEL ONLINE ran a piece entitled "Every Fourth American Holds Prejudices Against Muslims" to document perceived bigotry in American society. But as is so often the case, the problem is far worse in Germany. Despite that, it seems far more emotionally satisfying for many in Germany to read about how terrible Americans are than it is to face their nation's own rapidly increasing internal problems.

 

And make no mistake; the potential targeting of gays by police is hardly the only cause for concern in Germany today. Intolerance against foreigners continues to remain a major problem and both the extreme right and left are gaining strength politically by agitating against non-Germans. Housing discrimination against minorities remains a widespread practice. Anyone who has spent more than ten minutes at a major German train station knows that racial profiling by police is the norm. And despite legislation passed in 2001 legalizing same-sex civil unions, Germany is clearly not as open and tolerant towards homosexuals as many have been (mis)led to believe...

 

Note: Our commenter Niko writes (I've translated three German terms and made one cosmetic grammatical change): "Actually, same-sex civil unions aren't sanctioned by the government in the same way as heterosexual ones. Certain rights still aren't granted to same-sex couples when it comes to child custody, visitation and inheritance. So even by the law Germany is hardly on the cutting edge in that field, unlike the Scandinavians, for instance. Strange, though, that German journalists indeed are on the cutting edge when it comes to identifying bigotry in Americans, or certain Italian politicians."

 

July 25, 2005 at 06:50 AM | Permalink | Comments (28) | TrackBack (1)

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Or vice versa.

 

I note that they are complaining about the library records again. They seem to forget that the access to the library records was gotten under the RICO statutes, not the Patriot Act.

 

In any case we all need to keep a close eye on what is going on at all levels.

 

BTW did you see the bit about the Lt Gov of Penn and her escapade? She showed up at the funeral of a soldier, sat next to a relative of the soldier, told the relative the state did not support the war but supported the soldiers, gave the relative her card. Just the support the family needed and wanted at the time. They complained to the state, the gov released a notice that he regretted what the Lt gov had done, reiterated that the state did not support the war. The Lt gov's office is now releasing a press release regretting what she did but she is not available for questions and will not talk about the issue. Real class act there.

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Guest ReturnOfS

What can I say? After reading your original post I find that I am more against the patriot act than ever before.

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I don't see what wrong the Lt. Gov. did. She said the state didn't support the war but supported the soldiers. She was attending a soldier's funeral to show her support. That is more than Bush has done, who sent the soldiers in in the first place, under a web of half-truths, lies and deceptions. You should direct your anger where it belongs!

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How would you like to be at the funeral of your loved one and have an official basically say that he died for no good reason and maybe even in the pursuit of an unjust cause? Saying “we support the troops” does not give someone license to cheapen their sacrifice at their own freaking funeral.

 

I don’t support the war and I do think these lives are being wasted, but she should have kept her mouth shut and just SHOWED her support by being there. If it had been my loved one, I would have kicked the bitch to the curb.

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The funny thing is she has said she was late and didn't have time to talk to the family but at the same time she did have time to have a press conference right outside the church.

 

Actually the reason the family is so angry about this is a good reason for Bush not to show up at funerals. The family claimed it was their time to grieve without outside influences.

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Guest Merlin

Our civil liberties have actually increased during the Bush administration. Income taxes have been cut three times--a far more important civil right than who knows what books I check out at the library.

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Amen Merlin,

I'm one of "Those Rich Americans who make over $80,000 a year

and don't pay their fair share of taxes"

that John Kerry and that psychotic Chairman of the Democratic Party( what's his name) talk about with such hate.

I'd like to take the $32,000 I paid in federal income tax last year and stuff it down their throats.

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  • 3 weeks later...

A friendly reminder to those of you who have your skirts up over your heads because of the Patriot Act........

 

The things that everyone is constantly screaming about have been on the books for YEARS against organized crime. No one screamed about it then. However, we now expand it to terrorists (you know, those guys who fly planes into buildings and saw people's heads off on video) and suddenly we're all going to hell in a hand basket.

 

Lighten up ladies.

 

Informatively yours,

 

FFF

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