The Patriot Act -  The Beginning of America's Police State - The Patriot Act and how it is destroying the very thing it pretends to protect: Individual Liberty
A personal journey into our 1st amendment... while we still have it... 20 January 2005  
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Never Forgotten

The [un]Patriot Act

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Benjamin Franklin
"The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil Constitution, are worth defending at all hazards; and it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have received them as a fair inheritance from our worthy ancestors; they purchased them for us with toil and danger and expense of treasure and blood. It will bring an everlasting mark of infamy on the present generation, enlightened as it is, if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle, or be cheated out of them by the artifices of false and designing men." Samuel Adams
"This law is based on the faulty assumption that safety must come at the expense of civil liberties. The USA Patriot Act gives law enforcement agencies nationwide extraordinary new powers unchecked by meaningful judicial review." Laura W. Murphy, Director of the ACLU's Washington National Office
"Liberty has never come from the government; it has always come from the subjects of it. The history of liberty is a history of limitation of governmental power, not the increase of it". Woodrow Wilson

Before casting THE ONLY NO VOTE the Senate against the USA Patriot Act, Sen. Russell Feingold said:

"Of course, there is no doubt that if we lived in a police state, it would be easier to catch terrorists. If we lived in a country that allowed the police to search your home at any time for any reason; if we lived in a country that allowed the government to open your mail, eavesdrop on your phone conversation, or intercept your email communication; if we lived in a country that allowed the government to hold people in jail indefinitely based on what they write or think, or based on mere suspicion that they are up to no good, then the government would no doubt discover and arrest more terrorists.

But that probably would not be a country in which we would want to live. And that would not be a country for which we could, in good conscience, ask our young people to fight and die. In short, that would not be America.

Preserving our freedom is one of the main reasons that we are now engaged in this new war on terrorism. We will lose that war without firing a shot if we sacrifice the liberties of the American people.

USResolve Quote: Ya' know, I think Senetor Feingold is right, more and more people are leaving, and more will leave the USA because of the eroding civil liberties.

The Patriot Act: Wired Headlines

  • Brave New Era for Privacy Fight
    ...sts on both sides of the political spectrum are bracing for a White House push to augment controversial domestic surveillance powers gained under the Patriot Act and other legislation passed since 9/11.The administration has made it clear that they do intend to continue their move to dramatically r...
  • Rants Raves
    Rants RavesReaders on being offended by the media ... Patriot Act overload ... protecting kids from indecency ... and more.2:00 a.m. Jan. 7, 2005 PDTDate: 01/06/2005 09:08 AMFrom: Brad Coon (bradley.s.coon@sbcglobal.net)While I appreciate Mr. Penenberg's suggestion that I change the channel wh
  • Rants Raves
    Rants RavesReaders on horrible cell service Patriot Act problems legal satellite pirating and more.2:00 a.m. Jan. 6, 2005 PDTDate: 01/05/2005 01:46 AMFrom: Bonnie J. Swain (wordbirdent@yahoo.com)How true (Cheap Cell Calls Have a Price, Dec. 30, 2004)! When I bought my first cell phone in 19
  • The Business of Fighting Terror
    ...he first behind-the-scenes look at the nation's most known and unknown antiterrorism programs.No Place to Hide opens with an intimate account of the Patriot Act's birth, starting with the law's architect Viet Dinh's breakfast on Sept. 11 and leading to the backroom Patriot Act infighting between ci...
  • Laser Wielder Faces Big Penalties
    Laser Wielder Faces Big PenaltiesThe feds use the Patriot Act to charge a New Jersey man who allegedly admits flashing a green light beam at overhead aircraft. The FBI says there's no terror connection, but the man faces a 25-year prison sentence and fines of up to $500,000.Associated Press1:52 p
  • Curbing Your Enthusiasm
    ... speech, or of the press.Yet the Bush administration has not made my top-10 list of organizations dedicated to serving this principle, not since the Patriot Act. The federal government's power to tap our phones, read our e-mail and otherwise snoop in our personal communications appalls me.Do we ha...
  • Can Math Help in Terror War?
    ... attacks, and convicted only 15 of them. By some counts, the United States has detained more than 5,000 foreign nationals under the provisions of the Patriot Act, alienating them and their families.Part of the war on terrorism is winning hearts and minds, said Woo, an analyst in the London office o...
  • House Bill Morphs 9/11 Advice
    ...r for the government to deport immigrants to countries where they might be tortured or to countries to which an immigrant has no relationship expand Patriot Act wiretap provisions and the ban on material support to designated terrorist organizations make it tougher for illegal immigrants to get a ...
  • Part of Patriot Act Struck Down
    Part of Patriot Act Struck DownThe provision that allows law enforcement agencies to demand confidential financial records from companies as part of terrorism investigations is ruled unconstitutional by a district judge.Wired News Report10:53 a.m. Sep. 29, 2004 PDTPart of the Patriot Act, a cent
  • Rants Raves
    ...Date: 09/16/2004 06:36 AMFrom: Guy Frazier (guyfrazier@hotmail.com)Having lost a number of friends in the 9/11 attacks, I have no problems with the Patriot Act (Don't Mess With Librarians, Sept. 15, 2004). I'll be glad when librarians like her are replaced by computers.- - -Have a Rant or Rave f...

Titled: Patriots, by Clay Bennett (C)Clay Bennett

02 August 2004 - "The Revolution of 1800 and the USA Patriot Act," by William J. Watkins, Jr.

A Citizens' Guide to the Patriot Act

Texas Democrats Denounce Patriot Act
Party members approved a Texas State Democratic platform the included calling the immediate repeal of Patriot Act provisions that "are inconsistent with the letter or spirit of the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution." 19 June 2004 - Originally reported here...

Protecting America from the Patriot Act
Victoria Advocate on Patriot Act goes too far:
24 may 2004

The American Civil Liberties Union is challenging the constitutionality of a key provision of the USA Patriot Act. Congress passed the antiterrorism law in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the Pentagon and New York City's World Trade Center. Some members had not actually read the measure's full text and may not have understood all of its implications.

Now, the public cannot read the full text of the ACLU's lawsuit because releasing that could well violate the law the civil liberties organization is challenging in court.

"The ACLU is contesting a provision of the law that allows the Federal Bureau of Investigation to require telephone, Internet and other communications companies to provide basic information about their customers, including addresses and call records," The New York Times reported.

The lawyers had to file their lawsuit under seal for fear of being prosecuted by the U.S. Justice Department for violating the Patriot Act. The ACLU asked U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero of New York City to unseal the filing. - Read More ...

USResolve Editor Note: They [Big Brother] haven't told you, investigations utilizing provisions of the Patriot Act don't even need to have anything to do with terrorism or terrorists, only suggestive relevancy, nor do they have to have any probable cause. They've hidden provisions in the Patriot act disguised so you don't know they are actually designed as tools for the already failed, "War on Drugs." How much will this cost in human suffering, broken families, broken lives, wasted tax dollars...ad infinitum

Big Brother can enter your home or business without a warrant, and without your knowledge or permission. Oh, they can do wire taps without authorized warrants too. They could do this if they don't like the books you bought or checked out from the library, the sites you visited on the Internet, some of the keywords contained in your emails, the people you hang around with, the movies you see, or just about any reason they can think of. All this without any judicial oversight. They are trampling on the civil rights of American citizens, for any 'ol reason they like. ... Kinda sounds like a Police State's Secret Police Action to me...

Now, I may not have access the the full text of the Patriot Act, and I may not be expalining this exacly right, but elected Congressional representatives didn't get to read it before voting into law either, and didn't see the horrible crushing of liberties contained within. They were scared into signing it into law, by visions of impending terrorist doom, portrayed by the Bush Administration and John Ashcroft.


EFF Urges Court to Find USA PATRIOT Act Powers Unconstitutional
by IPR - 25 May 2004 - (Excerpts)
"Now the FBI can use them (provisions of the Patriot Act) to get private records about anybody it thinks could, (or might) be relevant to a terrorism or espionage investigation, without ever having to show probable cause to a judge." ... "unrestrained power to examine innocent citizens’ First Amendment activities online is merely one of the unconstitutional surveillance authorities granted to the FBI by the PATRIOT Act.” - Read the Article

Bill of Rights Defense Committee
The Bill of Rights Defense Committee encourages communities to take an active role in an ongoing national debate about the USA PATRIOT Act and other antiterrorism measures that threaten civil liberties guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.

Hundreds of Cities and counties, and a growing list of states have passed resolutions to protect their residents' civil liberties. Hundreds more resolutions critical of the Patriot Act are in progress.

Click here to learn more and how you can help defeat the Patriot Act and the upcoming Patriot Act II

NO MORE 1984

Orwell 2002

Westchester Bill of Rights Defense Campaign opposes Patriot Act
By Susan Elan - 25 May 2004 - Westchester, NY - (Read the full article)

Article Excerpts:
"I lived under Nazi tyranny, and I am concerned that this nation may permit the government to shortcut personal liberties," said William Donat of Purchase, who as a child was smuggled out of the Warsaw Ghetto when his parents were sent to concentration camps.
"I lived in a(n) (American)concentration camp during World War II because of my ethnic(Japanese) background," she told the board. "We are in the midst of a war, and our young men and women are fighting so we can preserve our civil rights and liberties. But we have a Patriot Act that violates many of our constitutional rights. We at home must work diligently to preserve our Constitution."
Winston Ross, a former regional director of the NAACP ... "the atmosphere that reigns in the nation under the heading of the war on terrorism is reminiscent of the 'hysteria' and 'illegal acts' which took place in the early 1950s on the pretext of fighting communism."
"As we approach Memorial Day, it is worth considering that we must memorialize not only those who have sacrificed their lives for our freedoms, but also to honor those basic rights embedded in our Constitution and the Bill of Rights."

Simpsons' Episode Assailing Patriot Act Will Rank Among Program's Classics
by Frederick B. Meekins - 27 May 2004 The Simpsons is a series at its wittiest when it pokes fun at issues with broader social implications. Classic episodes that come to mind include the ones spoofing the Masons, the UFO cult, and Homer's Drudge-style webpage. Joining these will no doubt be the one alluding to the Patriot Act. - Read More...

Area group seeks stronger action against Patriot Act
by John Sowell, Douglas County, Oregon - 16 May 2004
A group of area residents on Wednesday pressed Douglas County commissioners to take a stronger stand against the USA Patriot Act. Read More...

The Wrong Target
By Nancy Talanian, AlterNet - 5 April 2004
"In our hasty retreat toward safety since September 11th, our nation has discarded parts of the Bill of Rights along the way. After reviewing U.S. antiterrorism policies and practices, the Bill of Rights turns out not to be an extravagance to be abridged during times of stress: It is the key to our effectiveness." Read the article...

A Question of Patriotism
by Joe Fields - 4 April 2004
...what, exactly is so patriotic about the Patriot Act? It is an act that cuts the courts out of the careful review of 4th Amendment issues; the issues that provide safeguards against domestic surveillance and seizures. FBI agents can now conduct searches, seize bank records and mine library and business databases without disclosing they have done so." Read More...

The Patriot Act, The Victory Act, The Despot Act
by Peter Guither - 26 September 2003
I suppose this "old law-enforcement culture" is the one where the Bill of Rights was considered an important part of our freedom. That is what Ashcroft now considers "no longer relevant." - Click here to read more...

Government abuses of power in the Patriot Act II
(aka: Domestic Security Enhancement Act 2003)
By Alex Jones - 10 February 2003
TOTAL POLICE STATE TAKEOVER: The Secret Patriot Act II Destroys What Is Left of American Liberty

More Articles

Patriot Act - No judicial oversight on wiretaps

Things We Lost in the Fire
by Alisa Solomon - [Originally Written September 11 - 17, 2002]
While the Ruins of the World Trade Center Smoldered, the Bush Administration Launched an Assault on the Constitution

"Liberty is the most precious gift we offer our citizens."

Could Tom Ridge have said anything scarier or more telling as he accepted the post of homeland security czar? Trying to strike the bell of liberty, he sounds its death knell, depicting government not as the agent of the people's will, but as an imperious power with the authority to give us our democratic freedoms. Which means, of course, that it can also take them away.

That's exactly what Ashcroft, Bush, Cheney & co. have been up to all year as, in the attorney general's words, the government has marshaled the might of "every available statute" to root out "the terrorists among us." Wrapping themselves in the flag, they have shredded the Constitution. They have sneered at, ignored, or defied the courts and legislatures that are designed to provide checks and balances on uninhibited executive power. They have eroded the precious Bill of Rights protections of free speech, assembly, and association and its assurances of privacy, due process, equal protection, legal counsel, and a fair trial - practically everything but the right to bear arms. Read More...

USA Patriot Act - Too Much Power!!
Editorial: Appearing in the Washington Post - Sunday 04 January 2004

This year's intelligence authorization bill provided a little-noticed and dangerous expansion of a peculiar and unaccountable FBI investigative power. Last-minute efforts to modify the provision in conference committee failed, unfortunately, so the bureau now has more power to compel the production of certain business records in national security investigations, with no court oversight and in nearly total secrecy. The use of "national security letters" is not new, but in light of new authorities provided the FBI in the USA Patriot Act, Congress should be finding ways to curtail their use, not expand it.

National security letters are a form of administrative subpoena that permit the FBI to request from businesses records of, among other things, telephone and Internet activity or financial data from banks and other financial institutions bearing on investigative targets in counterintelligence or terrorism cases. These subpoenas are secret; the recipient cannot disclose having received one. And the letters can be issued by relatively low-level bureau officials without going to any court. In the Patriot Act, Congress made this process easier, removing the requirement that the FBI have specific facts linking the subject to a foreign power to justify each letter. Now, to issue a national security letter, the FBI merely has to certify that the information is "relevant" to a national security investigation. The only reason national security letters have not posed a significant threat to civil liberties is that they have applied only to relatively narrow categories of records.

That will now begin to change. The definition of "financial institution" in the new law is expanded to include insurance companies, pawnbrokers, dealers in precious metals, the Postal Service, casinos, travel agencies and more. The FBI, on the authority of individual supervisory agents, can now get any of these businesses to disclose its dealings with anyone if the bureau deems those records relevant to counter-terrorism. This is more unchecked power than the agency ought to have.

The Patriot Act already gave the FBI wide-ranging power to seek a much broader category of "business records" - but with the approval of a special court that authorizes surveillance in national security cases. The standard is not high, but by giving a federal judge the chance to look at the application, the law creates some accountability. Ironically, it is this unobjectionable provision in the Patriot Act that has attracted the ire of civil libertarian and library groups. In our view, the objections are wrongheaded; the provision merely parallels the government's authority in criminal cases to seek business records using grand jury subpoenas. But now Congress has taken action that really is worth worrying about, giving the government another authority for whose use it need seek leave only from itself.

A True Act of Patriotism
Commentary by Phil Duncan
On Monday[1-26-04], a federal judge in Washington, D.C., ruled that part of the USA Patriot Act was unconstitutional.

To this I sarcastically reply, "You're kidding me!"

This ruling proves a point already understood by many people - the Patriot Act was written with haste and passed into law by fear. I agree that something had to be done after the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, but the way it was carried out was sloppy and irresponsible. It would be hard to find anyone who would say the entire effort was wrong, because in today's world national security is absolutely necessary. However, a couple components are rather vague, drastic and, as shown in the court's ruling, unconstitutional. - Read More ... - 28 Jan 04

Scholars say: Patriot Act anything but patriotic
November 19, 2003

Is it a euphemism for government intrusion into the lives of the people? Or is it a necessary tool for governmental spying to keep America safe from terrorists?

The existing law may be below the radar for much of the country, but in Oakland the Independent Institute drew an overflow crowd last week to hear a panel of scholars discuss the Patriot Act.

This was not a debate. It was an exposition of how the Patriot Act is a threat to the freedoms we enjoy. Sometimes a law is so egregious it can't be debated in a democratic fashion.

David Theroux, institute president, believes the Bill of Rights has been "seriously compromised as government agencies have been given unprecedented surveillance and police authority, including un-accountable powers to arrest people and intercept all private communications, transactions and records. Most American naively believe because they are not terrorists they will be safe from such powers."

The Patriot Act really has nothing to do with patriotism except it calls for what could be the ultimate sacrifice for your country -- giving up your freedoms and rights granted by the Constitution.

True patriot Patrick Henry (in 1775) said it best, "I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death."

But don't Americans (in 2003) expect to have both their lives and their liberty?

At the heart of the question currently is, should all people living in America have the same unfettered liberty as documented U.S. citizens? Most criticism of the Patriot Act has focused on immigrants and detainees who are held by the government without any charges against them.

The panel of scholars made the point that the law applies to all Americans -- not just people with foreign names and faces.

And the Constitution states that only the Congress, not the executive branch, can suspend the Great Writ of Habeas Corpus, which forbids the indefinite detention of prisoners, except in cases of rebellion or invasion when the public safety may require it. It may no distinction between citizens and "people."

Ian Eland, the institute's director of Peace and Liberty, said government actions can create crises so there will be government money to fix it. "Then when the crises worsen, the government will need more money to fix it. And that's what is happening with the war on terrorism.

"It's probably a matter of time before we have another terrorist attack so there can be more security, more restrictions and more money."

David Cole, professor of law at Georgetown University and author of "Enemy Aliens," said: "In balancing liberty and security, we have consistently relied on a double standard, imposing measures on foreigners that we would not tolerate if they applied more broadly to us all."

It works because the non-citizens don't vote but, "It is constitutionally suspect and counter productive as a security matter."

As for American citizens, "They seem willing to give up others' rights but not their own," said Cole.

Five thousand people have been arrested since 9-11 under the law but none has been charged, he said. "Government always targets foreigners first when we are asked to give up our liberties.

James Bovard, a controversial journalist in Washington, D.C. and author of "Terrorism and Tyranny," said the 9-11 attack was "the biggest intelligence failure since Pearl Harbor ... the attack made it easier for them to hide their mistakes because to reveal them would harm security."

"Giving the government more power won't make us safer, it's amazing the administration is getting away with what they doing and telling us."

The third panelist, Margaret Russell, a law professor at Santa Clara University, was asked why students aren't protesting the Patriot Act. She said law students are actively opposing it and the rest of the university is gradually becoming aware.

Many in the audience were concerned primarily with excessive and inefficient security at airports.

Bovard said, "If someone even raises his voice at an airport, the person can be arrested."

Question from the audience: "What are the legal rights of someone who refuses to be searched at the airport?'

Bovard's answer: "He has a legal right not to fly."

Author: Peggy Stinnett, Oakland Tribune

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A personal journey into our 1st amendment... while we still have it...