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  1. BritInFrance
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    BritInFrance Active Member

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    Partner of Snowden journalist targeted by UK authorities

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by BritInFrance, Aug 19, 2013.

    Anti-terrorist laws have been abused in UK in an apparent attempt to intimidate the journalist who interviewed Snowden.

    His partner was detained for 9 hours and then released without charge (after confiscating all his electronic equipment).

    This - IMHO - is an attack on free speech, journalism and democracy.

    Read the story here
     
  2. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    Has evoked strong anti-government feelings within me. Don't know whether the images are mine or genuine - the idea some military suit gorilla can confiscate everything - and you, be damned - is unsettling. 9 hours, like DORA...Everything is so grey, wherever I look WE are wrong, or hypocrites. Little shrill, eh?
     
  3. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    The long arm of the global (war on) terror is on steroids. They have been exposed for what they are, and now they don't even try to pretend, they are flexing their muscles left, right and centre. But there is a price to be paid for freedom, much bigger than we are paying now. So I only expect it to get worse, before it gets better. Unless we evolve beyond these animal instinct to dominate someone all the time, or at least realise that we all need to sacrifice a little to gain a lot (ie. we can't always get every single thing we want, and in the process run over everyone to get it. That kind of behaviour is rude and antisocial and it's harming our society).
     
  4. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    Probably too late to stop this so-called 'journalist' from filtering Snowden's stolen information to the highest-bidding country.

    I'm glad they detained him. Snowden has been using these two men as his errand boys for transporting classified US information to other countries. It's about time the US and the UK stopped this traitor from doing anything he wants free of prosecution.
     
  5. Macaberz
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    Macaberz Pay it forward Contributor

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    JJ_Max

    Why is exposing a level of surveillance that is unprecedented in the entire history of mankind an act of treason? I find it an act of treason to your own, personal liberties that you not only stand by idly, but actually sneer at the one who revealed, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that we are all being spied upon.

    Don't give me the "I already knew that" argument, you didn't. Anyone who says he did is either overconfident of his own clairvoyance or morally wicked for not informing the rest of us. You might've claimed to know at a party, but no one knew for a fact. The ones that did claim to know were conspiracy theorists, who are now puffing their chest because they think they had it right all along (and since they were right on this, they believe themselves to be also right on UFO's and whatnot).
     
  6. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    As long as there is terrorism, governments are going to do stupid crap like this for "security reasons." And sad to say, terrorism, in some form or another, is always going to exist. The definition of terrorism already includes cyber-terrorism, for example. I bet 50 years from now we will still be waging a "war on terror."
     
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  7. BritInFrance
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    BritInFrance Active Member

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    Where is the evidence for your comments? The information is not being sold: The Guardian already has the information, and has published it.

    Snowden is in Russia, so presumably if he wanted to sell any further info he could do so from there without using 'errand boys' from the UK.

    The meeting was in Berlin was with a documentary film maker. And the guy was then on his way to see his family in Brasil. Is Brasil on the list of countries you think want to buy information that is all ready in the public domain?

    To hold someone using powers meant to investigate terrorism (when there is absolutely no evidence of terrorist activity) just in order to intimidate, or to try and steal information from the journalists partner, is wrong and demonstrates exactly why we are right to be worried about the powers western governments have now.

    The UK are acting in the same way as Russia, or China.
     
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  8. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    It's only unprecedented because of the technology. Unfortunately many lessons from history just can't be held in our collective memory for any useful period of time.

    I don't understand though, how some people can believe the First Amendment's guarantee of a free press is conditioned on the government's approval when the whole point of the amendment was to keep the government in check.


    Ridiculous, isn't it? No evidence for a profit motive, plenty of evidence against one, and yet some people manage to believe this thin-air fabrication for the only reason I can see, it better fits their reality.

    And the US is repeating acts from the McCarthy era:
    It's even worse in my mind because this whole mess says to me the Obama administration is so close to the right wing almost all remaining differences have been washed out.


    Actually, most of it was known to anyone who bothered to look. But that only says Snowden didn't really hurt anyone. His 'crime' was calling more attention to the spying on citizens and possibly encouraging more whistle blowers.

    I posted earlier about the surveillance room in the AT&T building and the Utah Data Center constructed to manage massive amounts of data.

    Snowden did expose more details of just how extensive the surveillance really was, which without, people like me might have wondered if we were treading just a tad too far into conspiracy theory territory, but I assure you I don't believe ETs have visited or that 911 was an inside job. Instead some of those people in denial, "it can't happen here", find they are the ones who have not been treading far enough into said territory, though I do not accuse you of being one who was in denial. I think some people are maybe not as much of a news junkie as I sadly am.
     
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  9. Macaberz
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    Macaberz Pay it forward Contributor

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    GingerCoffee, I think I was just a bit naive really. Ever since I got hacked on some other forum (about three years ago) by another forum member, that's when I learned more about privacy and security. I was a programmer and a bit of geek before that, but only then did I realize that there is no such thing as privacy on the web.

    Oddly enough, it's exactly my understanding of technology that made me believe we weren't being spied upon. I simply believed that the sheer amount of data involved would be too much for any computer or institution to handle, let alone the problem of filtering out good hits from bad ones. (For example, how can any system determine the difference to an article about Osama bin laden and someone who's actually a terrorists and mentions him? I can think of a few ways, but you are still left with massive amounts of false hits.)

    Lastly, I don't trust everything I read straight away. It causes me to lag behind, in a sense, but I want to be certain that what I read is true, and the only real way to establish that is through personal research into the subject.

    Point is, I was exposed to the possibility of all-out-spying but I choose not to believe it because of what understanding I had of technology. Only since recently have I began to understand that I still have a lot to learn in that area.
     
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  10. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I appreciate your open-minded comments.

    Welcome to the ever expanding uses of Data Mining. You can even get a university graduate level certificate in the field.

    Top U.S. intel official challenges reports that spy agencies mined Internet data
    Add it to data visualization such as demonstrated in this fascinating TED talk and you have not only new programs that mine data, you have new means of the human brain being able to conceptualize the data, and new kinds of data that are now being mined. It's not just government spying. There are benefits and dangers with this data mining just like a lot of new technology brings benefits and drawbacks with it.

    It's not all bad, but it's no surprise governments and marketers would be chief consumers of the technology.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2013
  11. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    The problem with programs that collect data is that some of the keywords they look for are very common. You have words like "privacy," "quarter," and "talent." So there's going to be an enormous amount of data collected, and like Macaberz said, that much data is really too much for a person to go through.

    Another problem I have with data collection is that 70% of it is gathered and analyzed by private contractors. So the people working at these companies have access to your data/info as well, and they can do all sorts of things with it (sell it to other companies, for example).
     
  12. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Data mining is much more sophisticated than this.

    The real problem is when the data mining targets political dissent rather than terrorism.


    Not only is the private contractor bit disturbing, some of the NSA data has been shared with corporations when it involved political dissent against corporate policy. The idea of the government siding with corporations against the pubic as blatantly as that is reminiscent of the government siding against coal miner's attempts to organize the first unions in the US in the 1800s.
     
  13. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    My opinions are my own.

    Snowden is a criminal and anyone assisting him is aiding and abetting a fugitive.

    He is not 'enabling dialogue and debate', he has broken the laws of the US and deserves to be tried under those laws and prosecuted under those laws.

    Snowden is 100% guilty of: 18 U.S.C. 641 Theft of Government Property, 18 U.S.C. 793(d) Unauthorized Communication of National Defense Information, and 18 U.S.C. 798(a)(3) Willful Communication of Classified Intelligence Information to an Unauthorized Person; the two latter charges fall under the Espionage Act for “giving national defense information to someone without a security clearance and revealing classified information about communications intelligence...

    As already stated, the programs were legal. Answer this: Who is being charged with the alleged 'crimes' Snowden uncovered? What are the specific charges against those individuals? When is the court date? Who is prosecuting the criminals exposed by this whistleblower?

    It's about two things: Trust and checks and balances. We pay taxes to the government, and trust that our money is going to be used for things like schools and police and infrastructure. We give our personal information to the IRS and trust that the information will be used appropriately. We allow police to scan our license plates and monitor our movements and trust that they are keeping criminals and those lacking insurance off our streets. When those things fail to happen, we have a justice system that can right wrongs and hold people accountable. This is how things work in America.

    The fact that the NSA was data mining is irrelevant, they were working within the law, passed by your representatives. The people you voted into office deemed these programs to be acceptable. There is no evidence this information is being abused for personal gain, however, there is evidence that the programs work to keep my family safe from harm.

    According to top intelligence officials’ report to Congress, the NSA programs Snowden exposed to the world “helped foil more than 50 terrorist plots since Sept. 11, including one to blow up the New York Stock Exchange...

    So no, I'm sorry my heart doesn't bleed for this criminal, this traitor. There are good people working very hard at places like the NSA, the CIA, and the FBI to make sure that bad guys don't get a chance to kill any more Americans.
     
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  14. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Snowden is a whistleblower. I think Michael German, counsel for the ACLU got it right. What does the Whistleblower Act protect? He says:

    From there, he points out:


    Whether someone is ever charged for a crime is irrelevant. I think he's clearly a whistleblower, I think the reaction in Congress to certain revelations bolster that characterization. You even have GOPers in Congress coming out now and saying he is a whistleblower. It looks to me like he exposed large-scale problematic activities that came as a surprise to many in the country, including in our government, are oversteps Constitutional limits.
     
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  15. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Nothing supporting your fantasy then, that Snowden did it for money?


    Just to keep the record straight, Audit: NSA Agents Broke the Law Nearly 3,000 Times from 2011 to 2012


    There's an acknowledged tradeoff in the US justice system, convict all guilty people even if you falsely convict some innocent people with them, or make sure all innocent people are not convicted knowing some guilty people will get away if you do that. Supposedly the US justice system's philosophy is the latter. And of course there is that whole, 'illegal search and seizure' thing, a law you seem to not care about.

    In this case there is an additional false dichotomy, the assumption the only way those plots could have been stopped was with this spying.

    FireDogLake OpEd -
    Questioning the NSA’s Claim That Secret Surveillance Programs Thwarted 50 Terror Plots
    And:​

    None of this addresses the waste of our tax dollars.

    As for the government I voted for:

    I've not addressed your, not for personal gain claim yet. I find it ironic you assume Snowden had no motive but monetary gain while completely dismissing the possibility that the politicians, employees and private corporations involved in the PRISM program might have had a monetary motive. I may just do some more looking along that line, no promises, sometimes the pursuit of evidence is too time consuming.
     
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  16. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    @Steerpike - I'm afraid he is not a whistle-blower, no matter how hard his supporters want him to be.

    First of all, whistle-blower laws apply to government employees who expose wrongdoing, by protecting them from such retaliatory actions as firing, demotion, salary cuts, or blocked promotions, but those laws do not apply to employees or contractors who work for the intelligence agencies.

    Secondly, he did not expose the kinds of actions covered by whistle-blower protections — illegal conduct, fraud, waste or abuse. His supporters have argued that the programs revealed by Snowden were illegal or unconstitutional. For now, they are presumptively legal, given the assent of members of Congress and the special court known as FISA that oversees intelligence operations.

    Lastly, The Federal Whistle-blower Protection Act protects the public disclosure of “a violation of any law, rule, or regulation” only “if such disclosure is not specifically prohibited by law.” In other words, Snowden could claim whistle-blower protection only if he took his concerns to the NSA’s inspector general or to a member of one of the congressional intelligence committees with the proper security clearances. He didn't do either.

    It has also recently come to light that the only reason he took the job at the NSA was to betray his country, instead of serve it.
     
  17. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    @JJ_Maxx If he's not a "covered employee" under the statute, then that act wouldn't apply to him.

    However, whether the Whistleblower Protection Act itself applies or not, I think he's a whistleblower in the broader sense of the term, and as a matter of public policy we want people with this information to bring it forward. You say it is presumptively legal, but of course without this disclosure we would never be aware of it and there would never be an opportunity to challenge its legality, but instead it would remain something the government does in the shadows without knowledge of the public or, apparently, many of our elected representatives. I'd prefer not to have our government do something that is, in my mind, more characteristics of what you might find in China or the the USSR back when that was a going concern.

    Saying the information can only be disclosed unless it is prohibited by law makes no sense. The government is basically saying "You can blow the whistle on us about things, except those things we say you can't blow the whistle about." What sense does that make?

    Given the revelations from our own government after the disclosure, the U.S. has no business trying Snowden and should instead be trying to get its own affairs in order, and should also remember that neither a Congressional act or a FISA rubber stamp negates the Constitution.
     
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  18. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    With FISA, the government basically redefined the term "probable cause." If you're a foreign agent, that's automatically probable cause. And if you're a US citizen in contact with a foreign agent, that's probable cause as well. So even if you believe that this is all legal, you should still be worried about how "probable cause" is now being defined.

    This is just one of many, many problems with laws like FISA.
     
  19. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    There are two issues:

    One, whether Snowden deserves to be held accountable for breaking multiple US laws. (He does.)

    Two, whether the currently legal security programs need to be changed.

    Now, you can believe in changing the current programs or have the opinion that they are over-reaching, but don't claim Snowden should be absolved of legal responsibility under the law because of it. He knowingly and willingly broke the law and his oath of secrecy, and then gave or possibly sold US classified information to foreign entities.

    It's all quite simple.
     
  20. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I still don't agree. Given what was going on, I think he did the right thing. Even if he did break the letter of the law and isn't protected by Whistleblower's statutes (and I don't know if he is or not), that's not the end of it. Government makes the laws, defines the protections for whistleblowers, and effectively decides for itself what we need to know and what we don't? I don't agree with that, and one reason the Founders had the wisdom to give us a jury system was so that even when the law was violated, you still had the jury as a last check against tyranny.

    Some statements by some of our Founders and also Justice Holmes:

    I agree with the quotes above, and if Snowden were ever brought to trial the jury should acquit him whether he's protected by the Whistleblower Act or not.
     
  21. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    I'm afraid I couldn't disagree with you more. You are saying that a juror should put aside the law and go with what they think is right and just. This is completely contrary to our justice system.

    Just listen to the Jury Instructions used by the US Federal Courts:

    "You, as jurors, are the judges of the facts. But in determining what actually happened–that is, in reaching your decision as to the facts–it is your sworn duty to follow all of the rules of law as I explain them to you.
    You have no right to disregard or give special attention to any one instruction, or to question the wisdom or correctness of any rule I may state to you. You must not substitute or follow your own notion or opinion as to what the law is or ought to be. It is your duty to apply the law as I explain it to you, regardless of the consequences. However, you should not read into these instructions, or anything else I may have said or done, any suggestion as to what your verdict should be. That is entirely up to you.

    It is also your duty to base your verdict solely upon the evidence, without prejudice or sympathy. That was the promise you made and the oath you took."

    Again, your stance runs contrary to the very fabric of our legal system and it is not a notion I can rightly accept.
     
  22. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    How can it be completely contrary to our justice system, when our justice system was set up that way? In fact, the current state of the law by Supreme Court decision is that the jurors have the right to nullify (though they don't have to be told about it), and since the Supreme Court is the final arbiter of such matters, that trumps your jury instruction.

    Just in 2012, the State of New Hampshire passed a law allowing jurors to be told they have this power (funny to think you need a law stating people can be told of a Constitutional power they have, but there was a case in the 1800s that said they didn't have to be told, and it was misused thereafter).

    Even though the Supreme Court decision is old, there are recent decisions in various Circuits affirming that the jury has this power.

    And, again, the Founders intended juries to have this function.

    So given that there is legal recognition that juries have this power, and that the Founders actually set up our system in a way that ensured they had it (and by their own statements, wanted juries to have it), what is the basis for saying it is "contrary to our justice system." You might argue it violates the oath (that argument has been hashed out in both directions before) but the evidence is that it is not contrary to our justice system at all but was an intended part of it, even more so at the founding.
     
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  23. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Your spy scenario continues to be painted with fantasy.

    I suppose one could make a semantic argument that Glenn Greenwald was a "foreign entity" because he works for the Guardian, but most people would describe him as an American journalist. According to his Google bio taken from Wiki:
    The other person Snowden shared information with was Laura Poitras, an American documentary film director and producer. According to the bio that pops up on Google also from the Wiki source:
    The thing both of these Americans are well known for is speaking out against government wrongdoing, and especially that which involves abuse of power and stepping on the Constitutional right stated in the First Amendment.

    How hypocritical can a right winger be to claim concern about government overreach and profess support of the Constitution but apply a double standard here when that government really does overreach and step on that First Amendment.

    Perhaps some people need a review:
    I don't claim any definitive legal knowledge when a whistle blower reveals government law breaking to the news media, but I'm pretty sure you can't have a free press and make it illegal for reporters to report on law breaking that is brought to their attention.

    Put that together with the admission in the NSA audit they broke the law thousands of times with the spying Snowden blew the whistle on, and you don't have anything close to an evil traitor selling secrets to foreign entities.


    Edited to add: Oh the irony, complaining about jury nullification while supporting NSA lawbreaking.
     
  24. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    We can debate jury nullification if you want, but the truth is that most jurors will be dismissed if they show a desire to ignore the law. Jury nullification licenses juries to apply their own personal prejudices and idiosyncratic values rather than the orderly, unbiased, application of fact to law.

    It may still be on the books, but it is not practiced in any real sense because society has realized that when juries can create a verdict based on feelings and pre justice, the system breaks down and the most vulnerable people in our society suffer, such as minorities and the poor.
     
  25. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I don't agree.

    But whether you agree or disagree with the desirability of nullification (I agree with the Founders that it is a check against tyranny), my point is that you can't really say it goes contrary to our whole system of justice when it was consciously contemplated and even approved of when our system of justice was formed (there's even a real early Supreme Court decision that said juror had to be told about it, which came shortly after the founding but which was overruled years later when the Court recognized it existed but said jurors didn't have to be told).
     

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