Block Patriot Act II's march to fascism!
March 4, 2003 (published in MIM Notes 279, 1 April 2003)
While Bush and his war council prepare to bomb Iraq, John Ashcroft's minions have put together a second Patriot Act -- a laundry list civil liberties they want to get rid of. The new law is officially called the Domestic Security Enhancement Act, and MIM condemns its fascist goals and calls on all people to see that it does not become law.
We only know of the DSEA's existence because someone leaked it to the press. The so-called Justice Department said after the leakage that it would be "derelict" if it were not "continually considering anti-terrorism measures." Yet this same office has yet to give Congress any report on the first Patriot Act and its effectiveness in preventing terrorism. Just as the USA Patriot Act was in the works before 911, and was made into law with Congress shut down for the anthrax scare, this new draft law has been kicking around for months while Ashcroft's staff told Congress members that it did not exist.
Patriot Act II alarms us, as the same people putting it forward are the ones who failed to prevent 9/11. Many of the powers that would be granted in Patriot II have been used in the past and demonstrably failed to make Amerika any safer. Ben Franklin pointed out that "those who would give up liberty for security deserve neither." And Democratic Party congresspersyn Jerrold Nadler (NY) has called Patriot II "little more than the institution of a police state."(1)
Before 911, Denver police were nailed for spying on the American Friends Service Committee, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Quaker organization.(2) And throughout the 1960s and 1970s, the FBI conducted a war of wiretaps, infiltration and provocation against oppressed nation revolutionaries and such firebrands as Martin Luther King, Jr. and prevented not one incident of violence including the Kennedy assassination. These police actions were illegal when they took place. Now the Patriot Acts are doing away with past safeguards -- placing the police and the federal spy organizations above the courts and beyond the reach of law.
The new act includes scores of horrifying provisions, taking us back before the Magna Carta imposed limits on executive power. As in the first Patriot Act, many provisions could be used in regular criminal cases. And more than in 2001, much of the Patriot Act II is aimed directly at political activists. Among other things, the "Domestic Security Enhancement Act" would:
* quash habeas corpus and fair trial rights by authorizing secret arrests including those of material witnesses who are not charged with a crime, denying the right to sue for information on detainees under FOIA,(3) and preventing defense attorneys from challenging use of secret evidence;
* end freedoms of association and assembly and criminalize basic political activism by stripping American citizenship from anyone who supports even the lawful activities of organizations the administration calls "terrorist," making it terrorism to engage in potentially dangerous civil disobedience like that taken up to stop U.$. bombings in Vieques (even when the potential danger is only to the demonstrators themselves), and making it legal to spy on religious and other non-criminal groups;
* eliminate privacy by further reducing the role of courts in overseeing search and wiretap warrants, creating a DNA database of American citizens who have not been convicted of crimes, making credit reports available to law enforcement without consent or judicial review, creating a new category of "domestic security surveillance" for terrorism investigations with looser standards than criminal investigations, encouraging businesses (like your cable company and your ISP) to spy on their customers by immunizing them for any crimes they commit when they do it, and requiring bookstores and libraries to turn over records of their customers' reading habits upon request by investigators, without a warrant;
* target immigrants by opening visa files to local police,(4) providing for extended jail terms for common immigration offenses, allowing summary deportation, and deporting people to any country in the world, including those with no functioning government;
* and finally, Patriot Act II would enhance Amerika's role as an international police state by permitting arrests and extraditions of citizens and non-citizens alike to countries with which the united snakes has no treaties and without regard for humyn rights.(2) Had this last provision been in effect in the Twentieth Century, Amerika would have been deporting Armenians to Turkey during the genocide, Jews to Nazi Germany, and Blacks to Apartheid South Africa.
Amerika cannot make its people safe because it cannot change its own nature. Its rapacious brutality has made the united snakes the sworn enemy of the world's people, who respond with violence -- the only response this country understands. Gutting the first, fourth, fifth, sixth and eighth amendments will not protect this country from the wrath of those who have suffered its assaults. It will only lay bare the hollowness of Amerika's claim to democracy and right. The only chance for safety is getting right with the world's people through international peace achieved under communism.
1. Baltimore Sun 21 February, 2003.
Click on link "For a detailed section-by-section analysis."
3. With this provision, the DOJ proposes to resolve pending suits by the American Civil Liberties Union and American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, et al, for information on the more than 1,000 people detained since 911. The new Act actually says that defending itself against the ACLU & ADC suits "requires extensive Department of Justice resources, which would be better spent detecting and [incapacitating] terrorists."("Patriot Act Redux," abcnews.com 21 February, 2003)
4. Police in some cities oppose this measure, saying that it will make it harder to get cooperation from immigrant communities. MIM doesn't give a hoot about the ease of police work. We point this out to say that as the reactionaries' state of desperation increases, they have more trouble keeping their own interests covered.
Get angry, get busy!
Sign the petition online: http://www.petitiononline.com/civlib/petition.html
Get more info or print copies of the petition: http://www.etext.org/Politics/MIM/agitation/civlib/index.html
Maoist Internationalist Movement (MIM)
P.O. Box 29670, Los Angeles, CA 90029-0670 firstname.lastname@example.org