ACLU alert re: Senate Anti-Terrorism Bill

2001-10-10

Richard Moore

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Delivered-To: •••@••.•••
Date: Tue, 9 Oct 2001 11:47:53 -0700
From: "Thomas W. Warner" <•••@••.•••>
To: "Undisclosed-Recipient" <>
Subject:  ACLU E-mail Activist Alert - Oppose Senate Anti-Terrorism Bill

 October 9, 2001
 Greetings E-mail Activists!

Urge Senators Murray and Cantwell (in Washington State) or
your senator, to Oppose Anti-Terrorism Bill

In a dramatic departure from the anti-terrorism bill adopted
by the House Judiciary Committee last week, Senate leaders
have introduced the "Uniting and Strengthening America (USA)
Act" (S.1510), a more extreme bill than the House bill that
would significantly undermine many of the freedoms that
Americans hold dear.  It is likely that this legislation
will be rushed onto the Senate floor this week without any
committee hearings or deliberations.

Among the bill's most troubling provisions are measures that
would give the government the authority to spy on its own
people, enable the Attorney General unlimited authority to
incarcerate non-citizens, and allow the government to expand
its use of secret searches.  (See details below.)

 TAKE ACTION

Call Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell today and urge
them to vote against this extreme and unnecessary expansion
of government authority. The Senate could vote at any time
this week, so it is urgent that you contact them right away!

 SENATE CONTACT INFORMATION
 Senator Maria Cantwell (D)
 United States Senate
 717 Hart Senate Office Building
 Washington, DC 20510-4704
 Phone: 202-224-3441
 Fax: 202-228-0514
 •••@••.•••

 Senator Patty Murray (D)
 United States Senate
 173 Russell Senate Office Building
 Washington, DC 20510-4704
 Phone: 202-224-2621
 Fax: 202-224-0238
 •••@••.•••

 Thank you.
 Christianne Walker
 Field and Legislative Coordinator, ACLU of Washington
 705 Second Ave #300, Seattle, WA  98104
 www.aclu-wa.org

P.S. Your support is critical to the ACLU's ability to
protect these and other civil liberties.  If you are not
already a member, please considering joining the ACLU today
by visiting http://www.aclu-wa.org/contact/join.html.


 DETAILS
Among the most troubling provisions of the "Uniting and
Strengthening America (USA) Act" (S.1510) bill are measures
that would:

* Allow for indefinite detention of non-citizens, even if
they have successfully challenged a government effort to
deport them.

* Minimize judicial supervision of federal telephone and
Internet surveillance by law enforcement authorities.

* Expand the ability of the government to conduct secret
searches. (See http://www.aclu.org/congress/l100801e.html)

* Give the Attorney General and the Secretary of State the
power to designate domestic groups as terrorist
organizations and block any non-citizen who belongs to them
from entering the country. Under this provision, paying
membership dues to such an organization would become a
deportable offense. (See
http://www.aclu.org/congress/l100801d.html)

* Grant the FBI broad access to sensitive business records
about individuals without having to show evidence of a
crime. (See http://www.aclu.org/congress/l100801a.html)

* Lead to large-scale investigations of American citizens
for "intelligence" purposes.

In past times of tragedy and fear, our government has
harassed, investigated and arrested people solely because of
their race, their religion, their national origin, their
speech or their political beliefs. In the 1950's, when fears
of the Soviet threat were used to convert dissent into
disloyalty, people were spied upon and punished on the basis
of political beliefs and associations instead of criminal
evidence. Normal standards of criminal evidence were
abandoned; instead, race and political beliefs became a
cause for suspicion and recrimination.
Intelligence-gathering activities were directed at Americans
who dared to disagree with the government. We must not allow
this to happen again.

* The government must not be given the authority to spy on
its own people. The wiretapping proposals in the Senate bill
sound a common theme: they minimize the role of a judge in
ensuring that law enforcement wiretapping is conducted
legally and with proper justification. Further, other
provisions would allow the government access to sensitive
information about U.S. citizens and residents without having
to show evidence of a crime. Security and civil liberties do
not have to be at odds so long as the checks and balances
that have guarded against the excesses of the Executive
branch remain in place.

* The Attorney General must not be given new and
unprecedented authorities to incarcerate non-citizens.
Incarceration of individuals is one of the most serious
deprivations of liberty possible. When such a substantial
liberty interest is at stake, the Constitution demands that
adequate protection-due process-is provided to ensure that
decisions are correct and fair. The Senate bill would permit
the indefinite detentions of non-citizens based merely on
the Attorney General's certification that a non-citizen
endanger national security.

* The government must not be allowed to expand the use of
secret searches. In most cases, a person is notified when
law enforcement conducts a search. But in some cases, law
enforcement authorities can get court permission to delay
notification of a search for a limited class of crimes under
special circumstances. This bill would extend the authority
of the government to request "secret searches" in every
federal criminal investigation. This vast expansion of power
goes far beyond anything necessary to conduct terrorism
 investigations.
-- 

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Richard K Moore
Wexford, Ireland
Citizens for a Democratic Renaissance 
email: •••@••.••• 
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