USA Patriot Act

How Did Your Representative Vote on the 'Freedom to Read Amendment?
USA Patriot Act

On July 8, the House defeated the Sanders-Paul-Conyers-Otter-Nadler amendment to the Commerce, Justice, State and Judiciary Appropriations Bill of 2005. The amendment to deny funding for using Section 215 investigations of libraries and bookstores, was headed toward victory, when House Republican leaders OUTRAGEOUSLY held the vote open for an additional 23 minutes and persuaded ten members to change their votes, ending in a 210-210 tie.

Tom DeLay Breaks Bones to Defeat Freedom to Read Protection Act
USA Patriot Act

"By a 210 to 210 tie vote that GOP leaders prolonged for 23 tumultuous minutes while they corralled dissident members, the House rejected a proposed change to the USA Patriot Act that would have barred the Justice Department from searching bookstore and library records... But the victory came only after GOP tactics infuriated Democrats and a number of Republicans. The vote, scheduled to last 15 minutes, dragged on for 38 minutes despite outraged shouts and a unified chant of 'shame, shame, shame' from Democrats across the aisle... At one point the electronic tally board above the visitors' gallery showed the proposal passing, 219 to 201. But as the Republican whip organization went to work to get defectors to switch, the number of those voting for passage dropped steadily. The final count recorded 18 Republicans joining 191 Democrats and Rep. Bernard Sanders (Vt.), chief author of the amendment. Sanders called the proceedings 'an outrage' and 'an insult to democracy.'"

BushCroft Lose Patriot Act Case Against Web Editor
USA Patriot Act

"A federal jury in Idaho on Thursday acquitted a Saudi computer student of charges that he spread terrorism on the Internet, handing the Justice Department a resounding defeat in a case that turned on a provision of the USA Patriot Act. The case of Sami Omar Al-Hussayen, 34, in Boise had become a test of the scope of U.S. anti-terrorism laws, including a provision of the Patriot Act that targets secondary players.... While [BushCroft] has won scores of highly publicized guilty pleas in terrorism-related cases - often by dropping the most serious charges - its trial record is mixed. It has taken only two other major terrorism-related cases to trial since the Sept. 11 attacks, and at least some defendants have been acquitted in each. In one case involving an alleged domestic 'sleeper cell' in Detroit, the judge has threatened to throw out all three convictions because prosecutors allegedly withheld exculpatory information."

Bush's Push Fails to Quell GOP fear of Patriot Act
USA Patriot Act

The Hill reports, "A group of libertarian-minded Republicans in Congress is blocking Bush's effort to strengthen domestic counterterrorism laws and reauthorize the USA Patriot Act, which Bush has made one of his top domestic priorities this year. As a result of this opposition, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, was forced last week to cancel panel consideration of legislation that would have given law-enforcement officials more tools to pursue suspected terrorists. As other administration policy initiatives - such as a manned mission to Mars - have languished in Congress, Bush has emphasized the importance of renewing the Patriot Act this year, even though provisions of the law don't expire until the end of next year. Late last month, Bush launched a national tour to press Congress to reauthorize the controversial law immediately. Many Democrats and some conservatives have criticized the law as overly broad and intrusive."

Covert Searches Are Increasing Under Patriot Act
USA Patriot Act

"Underscoring changes in domestic surveillance allowed under the Patriot Act, the Justice Department said in a report released today that it had conducted hundreds more secret searches around the country last year... The process of obtaining approval and executing the searches and surveillance is also shrouded in secrecy. In an annual report to Congress, the Justice Department said it obtained approval to conduct electronic surveillance and physical searches in more than 1,700 intelligence cases last year. According to the department, the number of searches had surged 85% in the last two years; about 1,200 searches were authorized in 2002, and 900 in 2001... 'They are shifting the government apparatus for surveillance to a much more secret process with much less judicial oversight,' said Timothy Edgar, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union in Washington. By classifying cases as intelligence cases, he said, 'they are doing an end run around the 4th Amendment.' "

Displaying Real Patriotism, NYC Council Rejects the Patriot 'Act'
USA Patriot Act

NYC Council has approved "a resolution denouncing parts of the Patriot Act and affirming that 'security measures [must] enhance the public safety without impairing constitutional rights or infringing on civil liberties.' [This] makes New York the 251st 'civil liberties safe zone,' and raises the zones' population to 43 million nationwide, according to the Bill of Rights Defense Committee... Four of the country's five most populous cities--New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Philadelphia--are now 'safe zones,' along with the states of Alaska, Hawaii, and Vermont. Nancy Talanian, BORDC's director, says, 'Our country is indebted to New York's City Council for demonstrating true patriotism by courageously upholding the Bill of Rights. Their vote sends a strong message to Washington and our whole nation that the tragic attacks of September 11th were not a signal for the United States to abandon the Bill of Rights and Constitution.'"

Federal Judge Rules Part of Patriot Act Unconstitutional
USA Patriot Act

AP: "A federal judge has declared unconstitutional a portion of the USA Patriot Act that bars giving expert advice or assistance to groups designated foreign terrorist organizations. The ruling marks the first court decision to declare a part of the post-Sept. 11 anti-terrorism statute unconstitutional, said David Cole, a Georgetown University law professor who argued the case on behalf of the Humanitarian Law Project. In a ruling handed down late Friday and made available Monday, U.S. District Judge Audrey Collins said the ban on providing 'expert advice or assistance' is impermissibly vague, in violation of the First and Fifth Amendments. " Great! Now the other privacy-infringing and civil liberties-crushing sections need to be ruled unconstitutional -- because they are! Sneak and peaks, library record seizures, unrestricted wiretaps... all gotta go the way of the Alien and Sedition Acts.

Democrats Seek Patriot Act Hearings
USA Patriot Act

Boston Globe reports: "Ten House Democrats, voicing concern that the government strike the right balance between individual rights and collective security, have asked for sweeping congressional hearings on how the Justice Department has made use of the Patriot Act and other antiterrorism powers. In a letter to be delivered today, Representatives Martin T. Meehan of Lowell and William D. Delahunt of Quincy, along with eight other Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee, ask chairman James Sensenbrenner Jr., Republican of Wisconsin, to hold hearings next year 'on the war on terrorism's impact on civil liberties'... 'At a time when the department is seeking additional powers in the name of fighting terrorism, we think the committee should review the impact of existing investigative authority and tactics on innocent individuals and important political freedoms, including the rights to privacy and free speech.'"

Toledo Rejects Patriot Act by a 10-2 Vote!!
USA Patriot Act

"Toledo City Council voted 10-2 last night to express its opposition to the USA Patriot Act and to send a letter to President Bush and U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft informing them of that fact. Council weighed in on the federal anti-terrorist law after first rejecting a tougher resolution that would have 'requested' city police to refuse to participate in investigations deemed in violation of the Constitution. Republicans George Sarantou and Rob Ludeman voted against the resolution. All councilmen who supported the measure were Democrats, except Betty Shultz, who recently switched from the Democratic to the Republican Party."

BushCroft Ferociously Defend Un-American 'Sneak-and-Peek' Part of Patriot Act
USA Patriot Act

"A House measure rolling back part of the USA Patriot Act won't make it through Congress this year, but the measure's GOP author says he'll try again next year. The Justice Department, however, says it doesn't expect that Congress will ever pass Rep. C.L. 'Butch' Otter's (R-ID) legislation banning 'sneak and peek' searches. Otter was successful in July at getting the House to approve a prohibition on the use of federal funds for such searches, which are executed without the property owner's or resident's knowledge and with warrants delivered afterward. Senate and House leaders, though, refused to place that provision in the massive omnibus spending bill ... killing it for the year. 'I'm disappointed that it's not in there, obviously,' Otter said. 'But we've come a really long way in the last two years and we've really brought an awareness to the Patriot Act and some of its overreaches.' The Justice Department lobbied hard to ensure that the provision did not make it through Congress."

Left, Right, and Center Unite to Oppose Patriot Act
USA Patriot Act

"Calls for repeal of the act have found fertile ground Nevada -- an old cowboy state where state vs. federal issues are still fought on riverbeds, at nuclear sites and in the courts. A broad spectrum including liberals, conservatives, Libertarians, gay and Hispanic activists rallied in three corners of the state this week, calling for Nevada to join Alaska, Hawaii and Vermont and 210 U.S. communities that have passed resolutions urging curbs on the Patriot Act. 'The fact that this issue crosses the political spectrum really lends credibility to the concern,' said Janine Hansen of Sparks, president of the conservative Nevada Eagle Forum... Peggy Maze Johnson of Las Vegas heads Citizen Alert, a statewide activist organization that added opposition to the Patriot Act to its battle to stop the federal government from building a national nuclear waste dump in the southern Nevada desert."

The Constitution-Shredding Patriot Act: It's Not Just for Fighting Terrorism, Y'Know
USA Patriot Act

"The investigation of strip club owner Michael Galardi and numerous politicians appears to be the first time federal authorities have used the Patriot Act in a public corruption probe. Government officials said Tuesday they knew of no other instances in which federal agents investigating allegations such as racketeering and bribery of politicians have employed the act... Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Congress intended the Patriot Act to help federal authorities root out threats from terrorists and spies after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. 'The law was intended for activities related to terrorism and not to naked women,' said Reid, who as minority whip is the second most powerful Democrat in the Senate. Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., said she was preparing an inquiry to the FBI about its guidelines for using the Patriot Act in cases that don't involve terrorism. The law makes it easy for citizens' rights to be abused, she said."

FBI Desperately Tries to Scrub Evidence of Illegal Spying
USA Patriot Act

"Evidence has surfaced recently that the FBI has been spying on foreign nations for years... The controversy stems from a civil rights case filed... by former FBI agent Lok Thye Lau [who] filed a Declaration in late September that detailed his FBI career and the fact that he was engaged as a spy in a dangerous undercover assignment that required him to 'work against hostile and aggressive foreign powers for years.' [probably China]... the American people were told immediately following 9/11 that the FBI (a domestic law enforcement agency) and the CIA (an overseas intelligence agency) were hamstrung by their agency turf limitations and their inability to share intelligence information. To solve the problem, Attorney General Ashcroft brought us the Patriot Act, which broke down the wall between the FBI and CIA in the intelligence game. Well, if Lau's spy story is true, then that wall may have never existed to begin with, and Ashcroft's Patriot Act argument was based on" A LIE.

Tell Congress To Repeal the Patriot Act -- and To Stop Patriot Act II!
USA Patriot Act

"Bush used Americans' fears after the September 11 terrorist attacks to quickly pass a set of laws that diminished our freedoms. Federal police were empowered to conduct secret searches, jail us without charges and snoop into what we buy, what we read at the library, and where we go. Three states and 192 cities, towns, and counties have already passed laws and resolutions critical of the Patriot Act. A bipartisan bill, S1709, would repeal the worst provisions of the Patriot Act... Also, Bush has now proposed another round of national police powers in the Patriot Act II, which would give John Ashcroft and his FBI the power to: Spy even more expansively on internet communications, including e-mail, Seize private records without judicial oversight, Apply the death penalty more widely, possibly to punish political advocates. If you want your Senators to oppose the Patriot Act II and repeal the original Patriot Act just fill out this form and we'll send your Senators free faxes."

USA Patriot Act Reform: Tell Congress to Ask Tough Questions
USA Patriot Act

From the Electronic Frontier Foundation: "A nationwide movement to reform the USA Patriot Act is gaining steam, and you can help. The Senate Judiciary Committee is holding hearings on Monday, October 21st, to assess the government's use of its broad new surveillance powers. Let's make sure that the proceedings aren't just for show. Tell the committee members that you want them to ask tough questions about protecting your civil liberties!"

Behind the Iron Curtain
USA Patriot Act

Bill Douglas writes: "A man in some country was recently taken, handcuffed, down into a subterranean interrogation room in the bowels of a police station and asked by a police investigator, 'when I look into your writings will I find anything subversive?' This sounds like something one might have heard coming out of the former Soviet Union. However, it wasn't. The country was America, the man was me, and the interrogation room was in the basement of the massive and imposing Kansas City Jail on 12th street (Tuesday, Sept 16th, 2003). (I'm a writer who's contributed to many publications worldwide, including the Kansas City Star, and the Kansas City Business Journal). This event emblazoned into my mind that something has drastically changed in my America . . . our America. I had earlier been arrested for attempting to attend a protest of Laura Bush's visit in Kansas City."

It Could Happen to You
USA Patriot Act

Natasha H (age 11) writes: "No charges are filed and bail is set at $825,000. Imagine you are a pacifist, an environmentalist, an organizer of peace rallies. Imagine that, as you drive towards home from a peace rally, you notice that you are followed by five suspicious looking cars. You pull into your local police station. You are told that the people following you are federal agents and that the police cannot help you. Suppose you then go home and people who care about you try to ask the federal agents why they are following you. Suppose they react by taking you into custody, even though you know you have violated no law, and they order everyone who lives in your house outside while they wait until the next night to obtain a search warrant. Suppose the items they eventually do grab are school papers, computers and so forth but no evidence of any wrongdoing on your part."

New Bill Would Expand 'Sunset Clause' to Other Portions of the Patriot Act
USA Patriot Act

"A new bill introduced in the Senate would expand the sunset provision of the USA Patriot Act so that more of the Act's surveillance powers would expire at the end of a five year period. The bill applies to more than a dozen specific Patriot Act sections that are not covered by the existing sunset provision. 'Immediately after the Patriot Act passed, the administration draped a cloak of secrecy around its use,' according to Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT). 'When lawmakers and citizens have attempted to start a dialogue on Patriot-related issues, the response has been to ignore, insult or derisively dismiss them.' With that in mind, Senator Leahy, Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID) and others this week introduced The Patriot Oversight Restoration Act of 2003 (S. 1695). 'It will allow Congress to re-examine some of the important legal issues that abruptly confronted us in the weeks following 9-11, and to re-assess our efforts with the benefit of hindsight and the luxury of time,' Sen. Leahy said."

Kucinich Introduces Legislation to Repeal Un-American Parts of the USA PATRIOT Act
USA Patriot Act

Rep. Dennis Kucinich's new bill, "the 'Benjamin Franklin True Patriot Act', would repeal sections of the USA PATRIOT Act that authorize sneak and peak searches, warrentless library, medical, and financial record searches, and the detention and deportation of non-citizens without meaningful judicial review. Beyond the PATRIOT Act, the bill also cements the fundamental right of attorney-client privilege and restores transparency in the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security by revoking FOIA secrecy orders. 'After September 11th, Americans did not authorize the deterioration of the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments,' said Kucinich... The bill is supported by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and Religious Action Center of Reformed Judaism. In addition the bill has 20 Congressional co-sponsors." You Go, Dennis!

ACLU Files Brief against Patriot Act's Secret Wiretap Provision
USA Patriot Act

"The American Civil Liberties Union has taken aim at the USA Patriot Act in an early court test of secret warrants the FBI says it needs for the war on terrorism. The group filed a brief on behalf of American citizens who were the targets of secret FBI surveillance. Friday's brief filed in U.S. District Court here marks the first ACLU challenge to the warrants in a criminal case, said David Fidanque, director of the ACLU's Oregon chapter. The brief supports motions filed last month by defense attorneys. The FBI used the secret warrants --called Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court warrants -- to plant bugs and tap phone conversations of American Muslims and Portland-area residents now on trial for conspiring to support the Taliban and al-Qaida.... 'The government's actions sound an ominous note for the future of privacy in America,' said ACLU associate legal director Ann Beeson. 'The Constitution and the courts are treated like an obstacle, rather than a path, to justice.'"

Absolute Power is the Goal: Bush Exploits 9/11 to Expand His Police State
USA Patriot Act

"Bush told Congress on Wednesday to 'untie the hands' of law enforcement officials and arm them with wider legal powers to combat terrorists, saying the groups that struck America two years ago are wounded but still dangerous... Bush's appeal threw the White House into a growing debate over the anti-terrorism USA Patriot Act enacted after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Critics say the law is too intrusive and a threat to civil liberties and fear that the administration is trying to pass a second version of the measure in piecemeal fashion. Even some House and Senate Republicans have talked about rolling back portions of the Patriot Act... Timothy Edgar, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, said all three provisions Bush highlighted were included in a draft sequel to the Patriot Act that was made public earlier this year... 'the Justice Department put together... a sequel to the Patriot Act in a way that further undermines civil rights and civil liberties.'"

Ashcroft's Propaganda Tour 'Turns Federal Prosecutors into Politicized Lobbying Team'
USA Patriot Act

The Fort Wayne Journal reports: "A U.S. attorney's presentation in Indianapolis this week exemplifies how Attorney General John Ashcroft is turning the nation's front-line federal prosecutors into a politicized lobbying team to defend an ill-conceived law. Certainly, prosecutors serve the public when they offer factual explanations of a controversial law and how they enforce it, as U.S. Attorney Susan Brooks of Indiana's Southern District did Wednesday. But her multimedia show - complete with 'God Bless America' playing over photos of the 9-11 terrorist attacks - was over the top, designed to stir emotions and build support for the USA Patriot Act. As political appointees, U.S. attorneys can be expected to support the policies of their bosses - the attorney general and the resident. But as public officials responsible for prosecuting violations of federal crimes, they should be above engaging in lobbying for partisan gain, as Ashcroft has essentially directed them to do."

Alaska Passes Anti-Patriot Act Resolution; Second State to Oppose Feds
USA Patriot Act

ABC News reports: "Alaska has joined a growing national rebellion against the USA Patriot Act, voting to oppose the massive federal anti-terrorism law.... The state Legislature used some of the strongest language yet in passing a resolution condemning USA Patriot, following the lead of Hawaii and 112 cities, towns and counties around the country.... But Alaska's measure goes further than most, advising police and other state agencies not to 'initiate, participate in, or assist or cooperate with an inquiry, investigation, surveillance or detention' if there is not 'reasonable suspicion of criminal activity under Alaska State law.' 'We have a concern that [the Patriot Act] could be abused. The potential for abuse is too great,' said Rep. David Guttenberg, a Democrat. 'America is an open state. There's a cost to that. Where are we willing to sacrifice for that? Guys are dying on the battlefield to protect our freedoms. It's up to us to protect those freedoms here at home.'"

Ashcroft on Campaign to Defend His Orwellian Patriot Act
USA Patriot Act

AP reports: "Ashcroft's speech marked the start of a campaign-style offensive aimed at countering criticism from leading Democrats and civil liberties advocates about the Patriot Act. He plans a road trip Wednesday and Thursday, with remarks to law enforcement audiences in Philadelphia, Cleveland, Detroit and Des Moines, Iowa... Among the dozen or so future stops are Salt Lake City and Boston, officials said. The Justice Department put up an Internet site to reinforce the pro-Patriot Act message and all 94 U.S. attorneys are being encouraged to hold town hall-style meetings to stress the law's benefits in fighting terrorism... The law has become a political punching bag for the Democratic presidential candidates and other top party members. Earlier this month, former Vice President Al Gore said in a speech at New York University that the law allows Resident Bush to 'send his assistants into every public library in America and secretly monitor what the rest of us are reading.'"

Lawyers Want End to Patriot Act Surveillance
USA Patriot Act

"The American Bar Association, an outspoken critic of certain Bush administration anti-terrorism polices, on Tuesday opposed the renewal of surveillance powers granted to the executive branch in a post-Sept. 11 law. The ABA's policymaking body voted to oppose efforts to repeal the Dec. 31, 2005, expiration date of the powers contained in the USA Patriot Act until Congress reviews whether they have been used properly and determines if they should be extended. The law, which was adopted shortly after the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, gives the executive branch broad new law enforcement, immigration and intelligence-gathering authority... Bush administration officials have already sought a repeal of the sunset provision and want the new surveillance powers to be made permanent, the ABA said. "

House Rejects 'Sneak and Peek' Warrantless Searches, But BushCroft is Adamant
USA Patriot Act

Ashcoft "Friday opposed a bid to ban the government from conducting secret 'sneak and peek' searches of private property... If it became law, the legislation, 'would have a devastating effect on the US' ongoing efforts to detect and prevent terrorism, as well as to combat other serious crimes,' Assistant AG William Moschella said. In a letter to House Speaker Dennis Hastert, he said the legislation 'could result in the intimidation of witnesses, destruction of evidence, flight from prosecution, physical injury and even death.' On Tuesday, the House voted 309-118 to attach the amendment to a $37.9 billion bill... It would be the first change in the USA Patriot Act since its adoption in October, 2001. The amendment, sponsored by Rep. C.L. 'Butch' Otter (R-ID), would block the Justice Department from using any funds to take advantage of the section of the law that allows it to secretly search the homes of suspects and only inform them later that a warrant had been issued to do so."

House Votes to Roll Back 'Sneak and Peak' Patriot Act Searches
USA Patriot Act

"The U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to roll back a key provision, which allows the government to conduct secret 'sneak and peek' searches of private property, of [the USA Patriot Act] ... 'Not only does this provision allow the seizure of personal and business records without notification, but it also opens the door to nationwide search warrants and allowing the CIA and NSA to operate domestically,' said the amendment's sponsor, Idaho Republican Rep. C.L. 'Butch' Otter. The Justice Department recently told Congress that it had already executed 47 'sneak and peek' searches and had sought to delay notification of search warrants in a total of 250 cases, said Ohio Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich... John Ashcroft... defended the Patriot Act on Monday, saying criticism of it was based on exaggerations and falsehoods." Anoint me in Crisco Oil! Remove all satanic calico cats! Drape those nude statues! Let me be your Big Brother! Can't a guy have some fun?

Patriot Act Abuses in Jails Alleged
USA Patriot Act

The New York Times News Service reports: "A new report by Justice Department investigators has identified dozens of recent cases in which department employees have been accused of serious violations of civil rights and civil liberties involving enforcement of the federal anti-terrorism law known as the Patriot Act. The inspector general's report was presented to Congress last week and is awaiting public release. The report said that during the six-month period that ended June 15, the Inspector General's Office received 34 credible complaints of civil rights and civil liberties violations by department employees, including accusations of beatings of Muslim and Arab immigrants in federal detention centers."

Ashcroft Plays on Fears, Wants More Police State Powers by Expanding the Patriot Act
USA Patriot Act

MSNBC reports: "Attorney General John Ashcroft urged Congress on Thursday to expand the USA Patriot Act to permit the government to hold more suspects indefinitely and to extend the death penalty to more people accused of terrorist crimes. He also said the law, which critics say is eroding citizens' legitimate rights, needs to be expanded to allow charges against anyone who helps or works with suspected terrorist groups as 'material supporters.' Ashcroft held aloft copies of extremist declarations of war against America and read aloud the names of people killed in the Sept. 11 attacks as he defended the Justice Department's use so far of anti-terrorism powers granted after the 2001 hijack attacks... House Democrats, meanwhile, complained about the way the Justice Department has used its current anti-terrorism powers, especially considering a department inspector general report Tuesday that criticized the government's treatment of illegal immigrants held after the attacks."

Philly Council Passes Anti-Patriot Act Resolution
USA Patriot Act

AP reports: "Philadelphia on Thursday became the largest city in the nation to pass a resolution condemning the USA Patriot Act, saying it 'weakens, contradicts and undermines' constitutionally protected rights. The nonbinding resolution, sponsored by outgoing Councilman Angel Ortiz and passed 13-3, urges the region's three congressmen and two senators to push for a repeal of the act entirely - or its provisions that 'violate fundamental rights and liberties.' The vote made Philadelphia the 117th community to condemn the law, according to the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, a Massachusetts-based organization that provides a template for anti-Patriot Act resolutions on its Web site and tracks their passage." Three cheers for the City of Brotherly Love!

On Memorial Day, We Mourn the Death of Freedom
USA Patriot Act

Beth Quinn writes: "Today we mourn the passing of a cherished friend. His name was Freedom. Freedom has been dying a slow death since Oct. 26, 2001, when Congress passed the USA PATRIOT Act without debate or discussion, thereby administering a lethal dose of poison to Freedom... There is a small chance that Freedom can be resurrected. But it will only be accomplished if Americans demand that their elected representatives in Washington come back to life themselves. If Congress were to repeal the most noxious and poisonous portions of the PATRIOT Act, then and only then will Freedom begin to stir in his grave and rise up again. But no such thing will happen unless Americans demand it. Meanwhile, on this Memorial Day, we mourn the passing of Freedom just as we mourn our history's courageous soldiers who fought so passionately to protect Freedom. It is tragic that they died in vain."

Spying under Patriot Act Disclosed
USA Patriot Act

"The Justice Department released information Tuesday showing that federal agents have conducted hundreds of bugging and surveillance operations and visited numerous libraries and mosques using new law-enforcement tools. ... they are reviewing some 4,500 intelligence files in terrorist cases to determine whether criminal charges should be brought. Such a mingling of intelligence and criminal investigations was largely banned under internal Justice Department procedures that were in place before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. ... federal investigators had used hundreds of secret search warrants and detained some 50 people without charges as material witnesses. The report said that about 90 percent of the material witnesses were held for 90 days or less, 80 percent were held for 60 days or less, and about half were held for 30 days or less. Agents have contacted about 50 libraries nationwide..., and 'fewer than 10' FBI field offices have visited mosques."

Calif. Town to Defy Patriot Act
USA Patriot Act

AP reports: "More than 100 cities and one state have passed resolutions condemning the USA Patriot Act, saying it gives the federal government too much snooping power. But in this liberal fold of Northern California's Redwood Curtain, a simple denouncement just doesn't go far enough. To cooperate with the act, the City Council says, is criminal. Starting this month, a new city ordinance would impose a fine of $57 on any city department head who voluntarily complies with investigations or arrests under the aegis of the Patriot Act, the anti-terrorism bill passed after Sept. 11."

With Patriot Act, Companies Forced To Play Informant on Customers
USA Patriot Act

Robyn E. Blumner writes: "Section upon section of the [USA Patriot Act] imposes new obligations on businesses to produce the personal records of their customers, or to spy and snitch on their customers as a condition of operating. Million-dollar fines and criminal liability are punishment for noncompliance... The rules are so difficult to implement that a cottage industry of compliance products has come on the market. Mike Ernst, product line director for Sybase Inc., a California-based software company that offers Patriot Act compliance software, explains that his product will help companies thoroughly scrutinize every transaction with every customer in every part of the companies' business... One would have thought the business-friendly Bush administration would have been a little more sensitive to the expensive burdens it was creating under the Patriot Act. But no. When it comes to eradicating Americans' privacy no price is too high."

Senate Stops Patriot Act Provisions from Being Made Permanent; Votes for 'Moussaoui Fix'
USA Patriot Act

"The Senate wisely balked at making permanent certain provisions of the USA Patriot Act, parts of which are set to 'sunset' - expire - in 2005... The Senate did approve what is called the 'Moussaoui Fix,' an amendment to a 1978 law that will make it easier for the FBI to get surveillance warrants on foreigners suspected of planning a terrorist attack but not known to be part of a specific terrorist group... The Senate's refusal to extend parts of the Patriot Act is an encouraging sign that Congress is having second thoughts about the sweeping and hastily enacted antiterrorism law and its still unknown implications for civil liberties. The political use of the fear of terrorism is occurring in state governments all over the country, and the Senate seems to understand that it's getting out of hand. A spokesman for House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner said making the Patriot Act permanent 'will happen over his dead body.'"

Tucson Council Votes to Object to Patriot Act
USA Patriot Act

AP reports: "The City Council narrowly voted to object to the USA Patriot Act, a federal law that gives sweeping powers to law enforcement to track and apprehend terrorists. The council approved a resolution 4-3 on Monday, saying the council remains strongly opposed to terrorism, but efforts to prevent terrorist acts should 'not be waged at the expense of the civil rights and liberties of the people.'"

Bernie Saunders (I-VT): 'Pulling FBI's Nose Out of Your Books'
USA Patriot Act

"To remedy the excesses of the Patriot Act that threaten our right to read, I have introduced the Freedom to Read Protection Act. The bill, which has the support of Democrats and Republicans, progressives and conservatives, will establish once again that libraries and bookstores are no place for fishing expeditions. Because this new legislation will allow the FBI to use the constitutional routes at its disposal, including criminal subpoenas, to get library and bookstore records, it will not tie the hands of investigators. At the same time it will require -- as had always been the case -- that investigations be focused and that the reasons behind them be subject to judicial scrutiny. Before Congress begins any discussion of new powers for the FBI, as some in Washington are advocating, we must first focus on correcting the unchecked authority the Patriot Act already grants the government."

Librarians Unite Against The Patriot Act
USA Patriot Act

Time reports: "What makes librarians raise their voices above a whisper? Certain passages of the U.S.A. Patriot Act. Librarians are among the most vocal opponents of the law, taking particular exception to Section 215, which they claim makes it easier for the government to search library records. 'A big part of the public library system was to sustain democracy so people could make up their own mind about things,' says Carolyn Anthony, director of the Skokie Public Library near Chicago. 'Aspects of the act compromise this.'"

New Mexico Stands Against the Patriot Act
USA Patriot Act

"House Joint Memorial 40; 46th Legislature - State Of New Mexico - First Session, 2003; Introduced By Max Coll A Joint Memorial Affirming Civil Rights And Liberties; Declaring Opposition To Federal Measures That Infringe On Civil Liberties."

Feeling the Boot Heel of the Patriot Act
USA Patriot Act

Jason Halperin writes: "Several weeks ago, my roommate Asher and I went to an Indian restaurant just off Times Square in the heart of midtown Manhattan... Suddenly there was a terrible commotion and five police officers in bulletproof vests stormed down the stairs. They had their guns drawn and were pointing them indiscriminately at the restaurant staff and at us... Having some limited knowledge of the rights afforded to U.S. citizens, I asked why we were being held. The INS agent said we would be released once they confirmed that there were no outstanding warrants against us and our immigration status was OK. In pre-9/11 America, the legality of this would have been questionable. After all, the 4th Amendment states: 'The right of the people to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures. ' 'You have no right to hold us,' said Asher. But they explained that they did: This was a homeland security investigation under the authority of the Patriot Act."

Hawaii Legislature Becomes Nation's First to Pass Pro-Civil Liberties Bill
USA Patriot Act

"The American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii today applauded the state legislature for being the first in the nation to stand up for the rights of individuals by passing a joint resolution affirming and protecting the individual liberties of all the people of Hawaii and calling for the repeal of the most egregious provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act. 'The actions of the legislature truly represent the Aloha state - we are a diverse people, and we have a long, proud tradition of respecting human rights and upholding civil liberties,' said Vanessa Y. Chong, Executive Director of the ACLU of Hawaii. 'We are proud to be the first state, hopefully of many, to recognize that our safety need not come at the expense of our individual rights and freedoms. This resolution sends a clear message to America - Hawaii want to remain both safe and free.'" The text of the Legislation can be found at: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/sessioncurrent/bills/scr18_.htmhttp://squawk.ca/lbo-talk/0305/0076.html

Washington Post: 'Don't Spoil the Sunset' on the Patriot Act
USA Patriot Act

A Washington Post Editorial: "When Congress passed the U.S.A. Patriot Act in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, it granted the government sweeping new law enforcement and intelligence powers... The bill's most important protection against any abuse of these new powers was its 'sunset' provision, which causes the new powers to expire after five years. Now Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) is advancing an amendment that would repeal the sunset provision, making the Patriot Act authorities permanent. It is a dangerous idea -- one that would remove any incentive for the Bush administration to cooperate with congressional oversight efforts that it already treats with contempt... [Hatch's] colleagues should make sure he does not write it into law."

If the Patriot Act Isn't Repealed, Congress Should Let It Die at the End of 2005!
USA Patriot Act

From a Salt Lake City Tribune Editorial: "Unless Congress acts otherwise, the entire USA Patriot Act will dissolve with the final hour of Dec. 31, 2005. And, until the Justice Department starts coughing up answers to questions asked by members of the public and members of Congress, dissolve is exactly what the law should do. Support for the Patriot Act was fully bipartisan in the beginning. Now, disillusion with it is also crossing party lines. Such conservative groups as the Eagle Forum and the American Conservative Union have joined the American Civil Liberties Union in being officially nervous about the law's reach into private financial records and Internet." We say kill this orwellian, unamerican act -- the sooner the better!

Salt Lake City Rally Protests USA Patriot Act, Calls for Resignation of Orrin Hatch
USA Patriot Act

"Sen. Orrin Hatch missed a good old-fashioned political rally Saturday at the Utah Capitol, and it is a good thing. His name was taken in vain at least a dozen times during a rally on what some see as civil rights infringements being foisted on the country by the USA Patriot Act of 2001. Speakers stopped short of calling him a turncoat, but did ask that he resign from office for turning his back on the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Hatch's most onerous deed of late is playing point man for the Patriot Act... 'This country is allowing fear to smother the very thing that makes us great,' [political activist Shari] Holweg said... The Patriot Act 'is not aimed at terrorism at all. It is aimed at those on the left and the right who threaten to expose' government injustices and illegal acts'," said Joel Skousen of World Affairs Brief." Orrin Hatch is a leading member of the Federalist Society, the rightwing law organization that works night and day to gut the Constitution.

PentaPost Says It's 'Radical' for a City to Stand Up for the Constitution in Opposing the USA Patriot Act
USA Patriot Act

"Arcata was one of the first cities to pass resolutions against global warming and a unilateral war in Iraq. Last month, it joined the rising chorus of municipalities to pass a resolution urging local law enforcement officials and others contacted by federal officials to refuse requests under the Patriot Act that they believe violate an individual's civil rights under the Constitution. Then, the city went a step further. This little city (pop.: 16,000) has become the first in the nation to pass an ordinance that outlaws voluntary compliance with the Patriot Act... The Arcata ordinance may be the first, but it may not be the last. Across the country, citizens have been forming Bill of Rights defense committees to fight what they consider the most egregious curbs on liberties contained in the Patriot Act." Hawaii Democratic State Rep. Roy Takumi said, "If a number of states begin to pass similar resolutions, then it raises the bar for Congress, making them realize our concerns."

Orrin Hatch is Leading the Charge to '1984,' Critics Warn
USA Patriot Act

Salt Lake Tribune writes, "At the same time coalition forces are bringing liberty to Iraqis, organizations on both the left and right of the U.S. political spectrum say members of Congress led by Sen. Orrin Hatch are trying to strip precious rights from Americans. [Hatch] last week quietly proposed and then retracted an amendment to eliminate the Dec. 31, 2005, expiration date of the expanded electronic surveillance authority given to the Justice Department under the USA Patriot Act, the sweeping anti-terrorism legislation quickly passed after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. There is growing debate over the complex law's full implications to privacy and civil liberties. Some Republican members of Congress now openly express regret they voted for the bill that Hatch had a direct hand in crafting. Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, recently called it the 'worst act we ever passed ... stupid, it was what you would call 'emotional voting.' But Hatch is the Patriot Act's most rigid defender."

Bush Wants to Make His Police State Permanent by Setting Patriot Acts I and II in Stone
USA Patriot Act

NY Times reports, "Working with the Bush administration, Congressional Republicans are maneuvering to make permanent the sweeping antiterrorism powers granted to federal law enforcement agents after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, officials said today. The move is likely to touch off strong objections from many Democrats and even some Republicans in Congress who believe that the Patriot Act, as the legislation that grew out of the attacks is known, has already given the government too much power to spy on Americans." Bush wants to secure his grip on our freedom while distracting us all with rants about busting Saddam's grip on Iraqi freedom.

Librarians Use Shredders to Battle Big Brother Bush
USA Patriot Act

In Santa Cruz CA, "the shredder is not new, but the rush to use it is. In the old days, staff members in the nine-branch Santa Cruz Public Library System would destroy discarded paperwork as time allowed, typically once a week. But at a meeting of library officials last week, it was decided the materials should be shredded daily. 'The basic strategy now is to keep as little historical information as possible,' said Anne M. Turner, director of the library system. The move was part of a campaign by the Santa Cruz libraries to demonstrate their opposition to the Patriot Act, the law passed in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks that broadened the federal authorities' powers in fighting terrorism. Among provisions that have angered librarians nationwide is one that allows the FBI to review certain business records of people under suspicion, which has been interpreted to include the borrowing or purchase of books and the use of the Internet at libraries, bookstores and cafes."

Ebay's PayPal a Terrorist? The Justice Department Thinks So Due to the Patriot Act. Very Scary
USA Patriot Act

Big Brother is watching. Ebay's PayPal is charged with breaking the Patriot Act. "A U.S. Attorney's office has alleged that PayPal violated laws regarding the processing of online gambling payments, and is asking parent company eBay to hand over nine months of the gambling-related earnings in settlement. The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri told eBay that its online payment service violated provisions in the USA Patriot Act between October 2001 and July 2002, according to eBay's annual report, filed Monday with securities regulators. Under the act, it is prohibited to transmit funds known to have come from a criminal offense, or that are intended to promote or support unlawful activities." We are not justifying online gambling, but the Patriot Act was written so broadly and anything and everything could be construed as terrorism in certain jurisdictions. Watch out. They will get you. Call your Senators and Representative to say NO to the new Patriot Act!!

Paypal Faces Prosecution under USA Patriot Act
USA Patriot Act

If you thought the USA Patriot Act was about fighting "terrorism," you were wrong. Paypal is facing prosecution under the USA Patriot Act for processing online gambling payments. How on earth did online gambling come under this outrageous law? Yes, Ashcroft's religious zeal covers not only breasts, but gambling too. Amazingly, Paypal could be prosecuted for a "crime" it committed 2 years ago - before the Patriot Act became law! Big Brother is not only watching you but everything in your past as well. Just in case you did something before it was made illegal. So now we have retroactive illegality and preemptive strikes - even 1984 wasn't this rough. Impeach Bush and Ashcroft Now!

Pass the Freedom to Read Protection Act
USA Patriot Act

"The USA PATRIOT Act of 2001 gave the FBI the power to demand records of your book purchases and library checkouts without a search warrant. The law even made it a crime for bookstores or libraries to tell their customers if the FBI requested their records. An anonymous survey done by the University of Illinois found that over 175 libraries across the county have been visited by federal authorities since the September 11th attacks. This is one more Big Brother invasion of privacy by the Bush Administration that must be immediately stopped. Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and 23 co-sponsors have introduced the Freedom to Read Protection Act, which would require the FBI to get a search warrant based on probable cause of criminal activity or terrorism before demanding reading records, and would require the Justice Department to report to Congress on its investigations under the USA PATRIOT Act." Sign the petition!

House Democrats Demand Truth about Patriot Act II
USA Patriot Act

Reps. John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), Robert C. Scott (D-VA), and Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) sent a stinging letter to John Ashcroft. "Recent reports irrefutably indicate that the Dept. of Justice has been working on a successor bill to the 'USA Patriot Act' for some time... Your spokesperson, Barbara Comstock, claimed... the new draft bill was still in 'internal deliberations' within the Department and still being discussed at 'staff levels' and has not been 'presented... to the White House.' ... yet a Department of Justice 'Control Sheet' plainly indicates that the bill was forwarded to the Speaker of the House and Vice President on January 10. The Department's handling of this matter has only lent credence to suggestions that this Administration is intent on using the war on terrorism as a partisan political tool and the Justice Department is waiting to spring this bill on the Congress when the nation once again has endured a terrorist attack or is in the midst of war." Impeach Ashcroft!