Patriot Act

Patriot Act

Constitution: 1 - USAPA: 0

Fang-Face writes " Things started getting rocky for USAPA along about 27 May when a CIA terrorism expert shot down government arguments about internet postings being a terrorist weapon. Today,
Sami Omar Al-Hussayen was acquitted. A resounding victory for free speech and the free exchange of ideas."

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ALA Opposes Repealing Sunset Clause of Patriot Act

News from Library Journal today that "The American Library Association has issued a statement strongly opposing S.2476, introduced in the United States Senate by Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AR). The bill seeks to make permanent those portions of the USA PATRIOT Act set to expire at the end of 2005." President Bush announced his desire to extend those provisions in January's State of the Union address.

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Lehigh University faculty pass resolution on the Patriot Act

The Morning Call reports that the Lehigh faculty resolution does not condemn the law, but that it emphasizes the importance of civil liberties and academic freedoms, as well as making recommendations to the university administration.

" The resolution asks Lehigh's administration to report international students, faculty and staff who are denied visas to teach or study at the university and research that is suppressed for security or political reasons. It calls for the university to post warnings to library, bookstore and computer lab users about the potential for inspection of records and personal information.

The resolution also requests elected officials in Bethlehem and elsewhere to honor the principles of the U.S. Constitution."

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AlterNet: Patriot Act Besieged

Fang-Face writes "Two! -- count them: two! -- contentious issues wrapped up in one neat package. A person whom some of us love to hate,
Nat Hentoff, has a commentary on the USAPA movement, focusing primarily on the swing from "support" to "opposition". There is also some mention about the secrecy inherent in USAPA, and about how it often it is being used according to an Associated Press article. If you hate Hentoff, the indy media (Alternet.org), or are simply fed up with hearing about USAPA, find something else to read."

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Senators seek repeal of PATRIOT Act Sunsets

Daniel writes "Our friends at Secrecy News report that Sen John Kyl of AZ and nine other senators have introduced S. 2476, a bill to repeal the "sunset clause" S. 224 of the USA PATRIOT Act.Here is the text of Sec. 224:"SEC. 224. SUNSET.(a) IN GENERAL.—Except as provided in subsection (b), this title and the amendments made by this title (other than sections 203(a), 203(c), 205, 208, 210, 211, 213, 216, 219, 221, and 222,and the amendments made by those sections) shall cease to have effect on December 31, 2005.(b) EXCEPTION.—With respect to any particular foreign intelligence investigation that began before the date on which the provisions referred to in subsection (a) cease to have effect, or withrespect to any particular offense or potential offense that began or occurred before the date on which such provisions cease to have effect, such provisions shall continue in effect."It seems like the country could have a better debate on this bill if it were considered AFTER the election. There would still be plenty of time to act prior to Dec 2005."

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Use of Patriot Act Powers Remains Unknown

Fang-Face writes: John Ashscroft has insisted that Section 215 of USAPA hasn't been used, but

the federal government is refusing to prove it
: "In December, the agency argued that the lawsuit should be dismissed because Section 215 had not been used during the time in question. But in a letter dated May 19, Justice Department lawyer Joseph W. LoBue told U.S. District Judge Denise Hood that the agency did not plan to reveal whether any requests for information obtainable under the act had been filed."

The reason given for the refusal is that the DOJ plans to submit a classified report by June 30th to the House and Senate judiciary committees.

Last year, after a scuffle with Ashcroft, who at the time agreed to release this data, ALA president Carla Hayden made the forward-looking statement: "We look forward to learning how the PATRIOT Act is being used in libraries."

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Patriot Act debated at Front Page magazine

conservator writes "Front Page Magazine today hosts a debate on the Patriot Act between City Journal Contributing Editor Heather Mac Donald and Santa Cruz Indymedia Editor Joe Williams. The question at issue is 'Why is the Left waging a ferocious war on the Patriot Act when terrorists are trying to perpetrate more 9/11s on our territory?'"

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Libraries Juggle Privacy Issues

Libraries Juggle Privacy Issues is one from The Harvard Crimson that takes a look at privacy issues.
Concerns about civil liberties sent shock waves through the community of librarians and library users throughout the country. Some librarian organizations have even created a line of sarcastic signs informing patrons that their privacy rights are being violated.

But at the world’s largest academic library, fearful voices have quieted.

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EFF: Let The Sun Set On PATRIOT

Every two weeks The EFF profiles one of the 13 PATRIOT act provisions scheduled to sunset each week and explains in plain language what's wrong with the provision and why Congress should allow it to expire.
They say several provisions can be used against Americans in a wide range of investigations that have nothing to do with terrorism, Others are too vague, jeopardizing legitimate activities protected under the First Amendment. Worse, the Department of Justice has worked to expand and/or make permanent a number of these provisions -- despite the fact that they were sold to the public as "temporary" measures and are scheduled to expire, or "sunset," in December of 2005.

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GOP Senators Balking on Reauthorization of PATRIOT Act

ffirehorse writes "Some insist that there's not a darn thing wrong with the PATRIOT Act, but in that case, why are prominent Republican Senators (including Pennsylvania's Arlen Specter and Idaho's Larry Craig) putting roadblocks in the way of re-upping and adding bells and whistles to the Act (including granting law enforcement the power to force compliance with administrative, not just judicial, subpoenas)? The story comes from Congressional newspaper The Hill."

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Patriot Act discussion via OpinionJournal: The Spirit of Liberty

GregS* writes "The skinny:"What about the section the librarians were so concerned about, Section 215? Well, it bears some mention that the word library appears nowhere in that section. What the section does authorize is the issuance of subpoenas for tangible things, including business records, but only upon approval by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Such a subpoena can direct everyone, including the record keeper, not to disclose the subpoena to anyone, including to the person whose records were obtained. That section also specifically forbids investigation of a citizen or a lawful alien solely on the basis of activity protected by the First Amendment. It requires that the Justice Department report to Congress every six months on subpoenas issued under it. At last report, there have been no such subpoenas issued to libraries. Indeed, there have been no such subpoenas, period."
Read It Here"

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Library to receive ACLU's first Patriot Act award

The Redwood chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is honoring the Humboldt County Library for protecting library users' privacy against searches called for by the USA Patriot Act.

Union representatives will present its Patriot Act Award to Library Director Carolyn Stacey at the Red Lion Inn on Thursday evening.
times-standard.com Has The Story.
"We hope to make it a coveted award, that people strive to be as patriotic as possible to receive it," Allbright said.Update: 05/06 12:11 EST by B: link fixed.

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Local governments vs. PATRIOT

Harvard's Elaine Scarry on resistance to the PATRIOT Act, with some library-related statistics that bear repeating:

Attorney General Ashcroft dismissed the idea that the Justice Department could conceivably care about librarians or library records, an act of jeering that echoed the earlier derision of FBI officers ...

The derision is puzzling since it seems to imply that librarians do not have any history of serving as political actors, an implication starkly at odds with national and international history. More to the point, and perhaps as a result of their lack of interest in libraries, the attorney general and his assistants appear not to have read the University of Illinois study that found that by February of 2002 (four months after the Patriot Act was passed) 4 percent of all U.S. libraries, and 11 percent of all libraries in communities of more than 50,000 people had already been visited by FBI agents requesting information about their patrons' reading habits.

Complete article from the Boston Review, via Metafilter.

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Patriot Act Suppresses News Of Challenge to Patriot Act

The Washington Post Reports on The American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit challenging the FBI's methods of obtaining many business records.
The lawsuit was filed April 6 in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, but the case was kept under seal to avoid violating secrecy rules contained in the USA Patriot Act, the ACLU said. The group was allowed to release a redacted version of the lawsuit after weeks of negotiations with the government.

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Public support for USAPA slipping

Daniel writes "The current Bill of Rights Defense Committee Newsletter cites polls indicating the public's support for the USA PATRIOT Act is slipping.A quote from the newsletter suggests that the gov't is starting to acknowledge the opposition:"Even the Department of Justice (DOJ) is starting to listen to the public: On March 21, 2004, Chuck Rosenberg, the chief of staff to the DOJ's Deputy Attorney General, admitted that the public's support of the Patriot Act is waning. At a panel in St. Louis following the passage of that city's resolution, Rosenberg acknowledged that his department is "losing this fight" to justify controversial parts of the Patriot Act."As I've told other people on this board, polls DO NOT show whether laws are just, only how people feel about them. Still, I'm happy to see that as more people become acquainted with the possibilities of the Act, the less they like the law."

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USAPA Misinfo debunking

Fang-Face writes "Okay. I'm going to spell it out for you in plain English. This has nothing to do with libraries at all. There isn't even any mention of any kind of books. This is about the Patriot Act. This article is likely to be of interest only to those who are following the USAPA Affair. Be warned.

On 22 Apr 2004, the evil and Big-Brother-bashing ACLU posted
a point by point rebuttal to comments made by the president about USAPA. The ACLU states flat out that the president's remarks are outright misinformation. (Ashcroft gets a dishonourable mention, but just barely.) If you would like to find out about his mendacity, then by all means follow the link. If you love Big Brother, you will of course refrain from committing any thought crimes. If you want stuff about libraries, there are still plenty of other articles posted here.

"Thank you, come again." --Apu Nahasapeemapetalon"

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Patriot Act board game is now available

conservator writes "For those of you who think the Patriot Act is less about protecting the U.S. from terrorism and more about The Man violating what's left of our civil liberties, there's good news: Now you can turn your disgust to a board game the whole family can enjoy!"

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Clarke says Patriot Act may preserve civil liberties

Richard Clarke spoke at Harvard on Wednesday 4/21 in support of PATRIOT: "Though the Patriot Act's expansion of law enforcement powers has been assailed as an assault on civil liberties, Clarke said the act provides law enforcement tools that could prevent another major terrorist attack. And a second attack, if successful, is sure to prompt even harsher legislation."

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City resolution doesn't favor the Patriot Act

Kathleen McCook sent over An sptimes.com Article on the Tampa, Florida, city council who just voted 4-to-3 for a resolution asking Congress to repeal key parts of the Patriot Act.
The resolution is purely symbolic, since the City Council has no power to change legislation crafted in Washington that affects the entire nation.

About 289 other communities, as well as legislatures in Alaska, Hawaii, Maine and Vermont, have passed similar resolutions.

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Data Disclosure Contradicts Feds

Anonymous Patron writes "Wired Reporting On American Airlines' announcement that it shared more than a million passenger itineraries with four government contractors reveals that Transportation Security Administration officials have repeatedly issued false statements about the development of the passenger-profiling system known as CAPPS II.
We Already Know the Justice Department has not used Section 215 of the Patriot Act, can we assume it has not been used in the same way the TSA officials have repeatedly said they were not collecting passenger information?"

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