I need to reprise the “ECLU”…

Miami police announced Monday they will stage random shows of force at hotels, banks and other public places to keep terrorists guessing and remind people to be vigilant.

Deputy Police Chief Frank Fernandez said officers might, for example, surround a bank building, check the IDs of everyone going in and out and hand out leaflets about terror threats.

“This is an in-your-face type of strategy. It’s letting the terrorists know we are out there,” Fernandez said.

The operations will keep terrorists off guard, Fernandez said. He said al-Qaida and other terrorist groups plot attacks by putting places under surveillance and watching for flaws and patterns in security.

Police Chief John Timoney said there was no specific, credible threat of an imminent terror attack in Miami. But he said the city has repeatedly been mentioned in intelligence reports as a potential target.

Timoney also noted that 14 of the 19 hijackers who took part in the Sept. 11 attacks lived in South Florida at various times and that other alleged terror cells have operated in the area.

Both uniformed and plainclothes police will ride buses and trains, while others will conduct longer-term surveillance operations.

“People are definitely going to notice it,” Fernandez said. “We want that shock. We want that awe. But at the same time, we don’t want people to feel their rights are being threatened. We need them to be our eyes and ears.”

When the hell did “Shock and Awe” become acceptable use for a police force to use, especially for police activity that could easily be re-branded “Community Policing” (except, I guess, that would require the police to lose the robo-cop gear). Last I checked, the original “Shock and Awe” was a massive bombing campaign meant to overwhelm Iraqi troops into utter fear to the point where they would surrender. Do words matter anymore? The Miami Police Department wants Miami bank customers to fear them?

This is what is going to stop Terrorists?

So, we can expect the ACLU to come out strongly against this, right?

Howard Simon, executive director of ACLU of Florida, said the Miami initiative appears aimed at ensuring that people’s rights are not violated.

“What we’re dealing with is officers on street patrol, which is more effective and more consistent with the Constitution,” Simon said. “We’ll have to see how it is implemented.”

I personally might respond with a similar even-handed “on one hand, on the other hand” response. Or I would if they didn’t describe their activity in the manner that they have, as a “Shock and Awe” campaign. But I’m not the freaking ACLU!! Here’s the question: has the Florida ACLU been “shocked and awed” in compliance, or are they actually secretly government agents?

Maybe I need to actually found this ECLU idea of mine. The ECLU. The EXTREME CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION. Now needed more than ever, because the ACLU is wimping out on us.

(More on wondering what this is supposed to do to fight terrorism here, and ponderings of the ACLU found here Thank you Libertarians.)

As I contemplate how all of this will play out in the streets of Miami – and, perhaps, in other American cities – I am reminded of the horrors depicted in 1940s-era films of German gestapo agents stopping people on the street and demanding “you vill show us your papahs!” In assessing such a police-state tactic, ACLU officials may turn to history to inform themselves as to “how it is implemented.”

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