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“Democracy Dies Behind Closed Doors” -- Article Dedicated to the 4th of July

by builder123 Saturday, Jul. 05, 2003 at 12:08 PM

6-26-03 Topanga Community House (Los Angeles area) Stephan F. Rohde - constitutional lawyer, author and lecturer spoke on the post 911 erosion of civil rights under the Bush Administration. Event sponsored by the newly formed --- Mother’s for an Aware America--- Below is a portion of the transcript and photos:

“Democracy Die...
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USA Patriot Act Submitted Within Weeks of 911

“…In the horror and grief and hysteria, fright after those horrible attacks. The government under the leadership of John Ashcroft created what became known as the USA Patriot Act. I have said that much of the USA Patriot Act was in John Ashcroft’s far right hand drawer before 911. I submit to that because we know many of its provisions have been … rejected before 911 because of the serious assault on civil liberties they pose. No 350 page piece of legislation with the detail and cross references amending vast portions of federal law can be written in 3 weeks, yet General Ashcroft was able to display the 1st draft of this legislation before the end of the month in September. Now at that stage people went to bat, the ACLU engaged in the process of legislation. Compromises were made, some of the more egregious provisions of the administration’s bill were removed. Then the bill went into conference committee in October of 2001 and that’s when John Ashcroft said, “If you don’t pass the original bill as introduced by the administration the next terrorist attack will be on your shoulders.” Intimidated in that fashion, stamped 3:25 am in a closed session, the conference committee of the Senate and the House reverted to the original administration bill and we got the USA Patriots Act. Men and women who voted for it called the ACLU the next morning and said, “What did I vote for?”…”

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USA Patriot Acts I and II – Orwellian Roadmap

by builder123 Saturday, Jul. 05, 2003 at 12:08 PM

USA Patriot Acts I a...
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A Reversal of Rolls since 911

“…Ladies and gentlemen in an ominous reversal of rolls in the aftermath of 911. Instead of a democracy, where our government is open and the people enjoy their privacy. As a result of the breath taking series of new laws and policies imposed by the Bush Administration today the government function largely in secret and individual privacy is being invaded on a unprecedented scale…”

We the People, Denied the Guarantee of the Bill of Rights and the Constitution

“…Let me try to trace some of these assaults. In place of the traditional standard of probable cause required by the Fourth Amendment to conduct telephonic eavesdropping under the USA Patriot Act the government need only assert relevance to an ongoing investigation. Now many of you have heard already whether by name or by reference of the provisions of the USA Patriot Act regarding libraries or bookstores. Section 215 of the Patriot Act is not limited to libraries and bookstores by the way. What it does is it allows the FBI to go to a judge to get a search warrant, now unlike the law before 911 no probable cause must be established. The subject of the search warrant need not be an individual that is the target of the investigation… all the government has to do is establish that the information they are seeking is relevant to an on going investigation. What self-respecting FBI agent couldn’t establish some relevancy if there’re going to the trouble of getting a search warrant?

One of the main defects of the USA Patriot Act is the virtual removal of judicial independence and the role of our courts as a counter weight to the administration and the executive branch. What I mean by that is before 911 the courts stood in order to test whether probable cause has been established. Whether a suspect could have their records searched. Under the USA Patriot Act that has been removed and the court become a rubber stamp. So the statue says that if the FBI agent establishes relevance to an on going investigation the court must issue the search warrant and it has gained public attention because of the focus on libraries and bookstores. Before 911 you may remember Kramer Books in Washington DC. Kramer Books, now let me run that through my memory bank. Who bought books at Kramer Books and gave them to President Clinton, Monica Lewinsky and when the government was investigating Monica Lewinsky they served a sapeona on Kramer Books at Dupont Circle in Washington DC and Kramer Books in the name of the first amendment resisted that subpoena. They said that the record that the records of bookstores and the records of libraries are protected by the 1 st. amendment. The books people buy, the books people take out of the library goes to the heart of freedom of conscience of freedom of thought and before 911 a high standard, higher than probable cause was established when you served a search warrant on a bookstore or a library; the Patriot Act tears that all down…”

USA Patriot Act Allows the Use of Foreign Intelligence in Prosecution

“…USA Patriot Act tears down that wall and now evidence obtained in the name of foreign intelligence is legal and can be used in criminal investigation without the protection of the Bill of Rights, without the standards of probable cause and due process. To add insult to injury this is not limited to, as much of the Patriot Act is not limited to the War on Terrorism. It has vastly changed our criminal statues, in all respects and while doing that the courts have been given a reduced role in our protection…”

The Government is Not Finished

“…In January of this year, THE CENTER FOR PUBLIC INTERITY leaked the text of Patriot Act II. The new Patriot Act being drafted by the Administration. This is a law that runs 300 pages. General Ashcroft was on capitol hill two weeks ago saying that we need more powers, “we need greater authority”. Let me tell you briefly about two provisions in Patriot Act II. Now Patriot Act II has not been introduced in congress yet, certainly hasn’t become law yet, that’s why it is an ideal subject for the kind of organizing and resistance that we’re talking about tonight. I’ve given you the definition of domestic terrorism. The law is very clear that government cannot strip you of your American citizenship. Whatever crime you’re convicted on including treason you cannot by the government as one of you penalties be stripped of your American citizenship unless Patriot Act II passes… If it wasn’t real, you would think I’m doing the George Orwell lectures tonight, but it is real…”

“…The second provision of the Patriot Act II that is so dangerous, I talked about the abuses of the CIA, the FBI and the police departments in the 50’s 70’s and 80’s. And a lot of the abuses of police departments led to consent decrees because police departments around the country were sued by the ACLU and other civil rights organizations In order to resolve those lawsuits because of the pattern of abuse was apparent and the evidence was very strong the police departments entered into consent decrees. Where they agreed to train. They agreed to civilian over sight. They agreed to limitations on surveillance: Domestic, political religious organizations and these consent decrees have become part of the fabric of the training of police departments around the country and of what we rely on. Now that doesn’t mean police haven’t abused our rights, we know that here in Los Angeles and elsewhere, but these consent decrees have been a powerful weapon something to point to when police departments abuse our rights. IN ONE SENTENCE IN PATROIT ACT II ALL CONSENT DECREES ARE VACATED AND REMOVED FROM THE LAW…”

“…Today the Supreme Court is the last resort for the government itself, upholding these violation in the name of national security. It cannot be ignored the current supreme court installed President Bush on December 12th 2000 in the ignominious decision of Bush v. Gore, one of the most controversial to say the least decisions in history… Worse yet, Most observer predict that in the next year… two vacancies will be made available in the court and if he is reelected in 2004 as many as 6 vacancies on the Supreme court could be chosen by President Bush…”

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An American Inquisition

by builder123 Saturday, Jul. 05, 2003 at 12:08 PM

An American Inquisit...
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”…In my view Bush is taping into a certain part of the American psyche that is triumphal. That believes in American exceptionalism. That believes we are better than other people around the world. That we need to export what we have, that has tapped into a dark vein and it’s a dark vein that has deep racism infecting it. That views the other and different people around the world with essentially a deep vein of hatred. Now, this has been apparent in history, it was true in Germany with the rise of Nazism. It is part of anti-intellectualism of the burning of books. I brought something here to remind us of what can happen when there is book burning in a society. The problem is this photograph is taken from the New York Times on January 1, 2002. This book burning is in the United States of America, “Burning Books in New Mexico, Christ Community Church in Alamogordo N.M. Burned Harry Potter Books along with works by Shakespeare after the Reverend Jack Brock called them “satanic deceptions”. The Vatican, the Roman Catholics church’s most famous exorcist, they have one of those apparently, said the devil was behind young Potter. If you can reach into this mentality in America then you can do a great deal to promote hate, and division and animosity. I am convince that part of what we are up against is that and why we have our work cut out for us when it comes to community and others who wouldn’t understand or agree with virtually a word that was said here, tonight and that mentality is exactly what the Administration exploits, exactly what the administration builds upon…”

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Feeling Like a Frog?

by builder123 Saturday, Jul. 05, 2003 at 12:08 PM

Feeling Like a Frog?...
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“…You drop a frog in boiling water and it will jump out immediately to save itself. You put a frog in a pot of tippet water and ever so slowly you turn up the heat and the frog will boil to death. Ladies and gentlemen the heat is being turned up on our civil liberties in the United States today and ever so slowly and imperceptibly to some and highly perceptively to others including people that have come out on a unusually warm Thursday evening. We must find out what our government is doing. We must educate ourselves and we must organize and then we must take action…”

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Related Websites

by builder123 Saturday, Jul. 05, 2003 at 12:08 PM

Related Websites...
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A Case Study on FBI Domestic Surveillance:

Leaked Text of Patriot Act II from THE CENTER FOR PUBLIC INTERITY

Mr. Rohde helped found Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace and is

a contributing editor at

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Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 12 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
No Frogs Here Kay Brown Sunday, Jul. 06, 2003 at 6:53 PM
Exactly! activist community Sunday, Jul. 06, 2003 at 6:59 PM
(wheeze!) cough cough (gasp!) debate coach Sunday, Jul. 06, 2003 at 7:09 PM
Security vs. Freedom: The False Choice talk about it and ACT!! Sunday, Jul. 06, 2003 at 7:09 PM
ACT!! activist community Sunday, Jul. 06, 2003 at 7:13 PM
Sanders Introduces “Freedom To Read Protection Act” builder123 Monday, Jul. 07, 2003 at 12:24 AM
Ironically, Bush Is A Terrorist Under the Patriot Act Patriot Act Wednesday, Jul. 16, 2003 at 5:35 PM
silly fresca Thursday, Jul. 17, 2003 at 1:03 AM
Fresca... Republican Idiot Thursday, Jul. 17, 2003 at 2:45 AM
fresca is like... Self Indulgent Reality Critic Thursday, Jul. 17, 2003 at 2:54 AM
Prophet George R. McClure Sunday, Jan. 22, 2006 at 3:01 PM

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