February 10, 2003
'PATRIOT Act II' Demonstrates Immediate Need for Civil Liberties Resolution
PORTLAND, OR. (February 10, 2003) -- In a January 30 open letter to the Portland City Council, the Portland Bill of Rights Defense Committee expressed concern that in the absence of an immediate and sustained outcry when the USA PATRIOT Act was first passed in October 2001, the White House would continue to encroach upon the civil rights and liberties of all Americans.
And indeed it has.
The sixteen months since the Act's passage has seen the White House push for Operation TIPS, questionable provisions of the Homeland Security Act, and the Total Information Awareness program.
Now, with last Friday's revelation by the Center for Public Integrity of a secretly-drafted sequel to the PATRIOT Act -- technically called the "Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003" but already dubbed PATRIOT Act II -- the danger posed to our civil liberties has never been more clear and present.
"Increased surveillance powers, decreased judicial oversight, secret arrests, DNA databases of mere suspects, the repeal of post-COINTELPRO consent decrees," said Christopher Frankonis of the Portland Bill of Rights Defense Committee. "All of these things, and more, are included in this new draft legislation. Just how far do they have to go before Portland joins the growing chorus of communities saying, 'Enough is enough?'"
In light of the Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003, and after months of both private conversations with City Council offices and public organizing, the Portland Bill of Rights Defense Committee announced today that they are calling specifically upon at least one member of the City Council to follow in the footsteps of Commissioner Sten's leadership on the antiwar resolution and immediately sponsor "A Resolution Regarding the USA PATRIOT Act and the Protection of Civil Rights and Liberties" -- thereby setting the stage for the City of Portland to join the thirty-two other communities across the United States which have already gone on record as opposing the continuing onslaught against American freedoms.
"There's simply no more time to dance around the issue," Frankonis added. "Either the City of Portland opposes this sort of grab for power, or it does not."
To read the proposed resolution, the open letter to the Portland City Council, or to find more information on the Portland Bill of Rights Defense Committee, visit the Committee's website at < http://portland-or.bordc.org/>. For more information on the Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003, see the Committee for Public Integrity at < http://www.public-i.org/>.
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