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Ashcroft Mocks, Condemns Librarians and Others Who Oppose USA Patriot Act

Attorney General John Ashcroft today accused the country's biggest library association and other critics of fueling "baseless hysteria" about the government's ability to pry into the public's reading habits . . . "If he's coming after us so specifically, we must be having an impact," said Emily Sheketoff, executive director of the American Library Association's Washington office.

In an unusually pointed attack as part of his latest speech in defense of the Bush administration's counterterrorism initiatives, Mr. Ashcroft mocked and condemned the American Library Association and other Justice Department critics.
Ashcroft Mocks Librarians and Others Who Oppose Parts of Counterterrorism Law

By ERIC LICHTBLAU

WASHINGTON, Sept. 15 Attorney General John Ashcroft today accused the country's biggest library association and other critics of fueling "baseless hysteria" about the government's ability to pry into the public's reading habits.

In an unusually pointed attack as part of his latest speech in defense of the Bush administration's counterterrorism initiatives, Mr. Ashcroft mocked and condemned the American Library Association and other Justice Department critics for believing that the F.B.I. wants to know "how far you have gotten on the latest Tom Clancy novel."

The association, which has argued for months that the government's new antiterrorism powers risk encroaching on the privacy of library users, took some satisfaction from the broadside.

"If he's coming after us so specifically, we must be having an impact," said Emily Sheketoff, executive director of the library association's Washington office.

Mark Corallo, a spokesman for the department, said the speech was intended not as an attack on librarians, but on groups like the American Civil Liberties Union and politicians who he said had persuaded librarians to mistrust the government.

The American Librarian Association "has been somewhat duped by those who are ideologically opposed to the Patriot Act," Mr. Corallo said.

Mr. Ashcroft's remarks, he said, "should be seen as a jab at those who would mislead librarians and the general public into believing the absurd, that the F.B.I. is running around monitoring libraries instead of going after terrorists."

Mr. Ashcroft's speech was his 17th in the last month in defense of the sweeping counterterrorism act passed after the Sept. 11 attacks and under increasing criticism for those who contend that it gives the government too much power.

But in departing from his usual remarks, Mr. Ashcroft dwelled today much more expansively on the government's powers under the legislation to demand access to library records in searching for terrorists.

That issue has helped galvanize opposition to the act from libraries nationwide and from some 160 communities that have protested the law as too far-reaching.

It is not known how many times federal agents have actually used the law to gain access to library records because that information is classified. Even the association said it did not know because libraries served with demands for such records are bound by a gag order.

Mr. Ashcroft said critics had tried to persuade the public that the F.B.I. was monitoring libraries to "ask every person exiting the library, `Why were you at the library? What were you reading? Did you see anything suspicious?' "

The Justice Department, Mr. Ashcroft said, "has no interest in your reading habits. Tracking reading habits would betray our high regard for the First Amendment. And even if someone in government wanted to do so, it would represent an impossible workload and a waste of law enforcement resources."

homepage: homepage: http://www.nytimes.com/2003/09/16/politics/16LIBR.html?ex=1064289600&en=47f712422fda2a69&ei=5062&partner=GOOGLE
address: address: The New York Times

fuck Ashcroft and his absurd double-speak 16.Sep.2003 03:00

AA

So your local library has sold out to the KGB. What do you do now? If you were in Nazi Germany you would be dead already and/or sent to a camp for processing. Since our government can't get away with such totolitarian bullshit we have many more options for resistance open to us. One is: don't check out library books. Another is Don't use your social security number... ever. If the majority of America's voting population rejects the status quo then maybe we will have a chance at defeating the power-hungey corporations that have usurped our sovereignty.
Does this mean that you have to stop taking books out of the library? No! You should take books from the library. You should steal them. Rip the little tag out of the cover or insert page (every library book has one nowadays, either on the inside cover, the first few pages or on the spine.) Simply rip the little fucker out of the book and Big Brother can no longer track you. If the magnetic strip is gone then the alarm will not go off and you are free to give stolen books away. This will force our local libraries to spend those federal dollars on new books instead of survelience systems and micro chips. Do your part for america... Steal a book today. Make a librarian proud and give that stolen book to a neady child.

Buterfly in the sky
I'm just scraping by
Take a look
It's a spook
Reading your rainbow.

dumb idea 16.Sep.2003 04:34

spider

It pisses me off when I go to get a book from the library and
it turns up stolen. When you steal from the library you steal
from me.

The libraries in this area have decided to delete all infomation
about the book and the reader as soon as the book is returned.
This ensures that there is no information that can be gleaned.

Ask your librarian if this is the policy in your library. If not, you
should start a grassroots campaign to make it so. If this is the
case, you should not hesitate to continue to use your library
as a source of knowledge. But don't steal books from the library.
We all hurt when that is done.


what does it say about a man... 16.Sep.2003 08:05

this thing here

... who mocks those who fear for their liberty?

the degree to which ashcroft mocks and condemns those who fear for their rights is the degree to which ashcroft loathes those very rights people are trying to protect, as well as those very people who criticize him.

the reason ashcroft has no children and no wife is obvious. he's an imperious, fearful of freedom, piously overbearing, self-righteous prick, a real son of a bitch, and the reason why he has such strong religious beliefs is because he knows, he knows that religion is the only friend somebody like him has. the more speeches like this he gives, the more the real ashcroft begins to peek out.

"Missing" book 16.Sep.2003 08:22

Mark

About a month or two ago, I put myself on the waiting list to read, "Fortunate Son: George W. Bush and the Making of an American President " at my local library.
Well... last week I got a letter in the mail stating that the book is no longer available. It did not give any reason.

Mark about missing book of the Making of Bush 16.Sep.2003 10:13

99th Monkey

If you live in Portland, Or. area, there are 5 copies available in Multnomah County Library system and also 5 copies in Washington County system.
Enjoy the comic book!

Another Option 16.Sep.2003 11:16

PoohNTigger

" the magnetic strip is gone then the alarm will not go off and you are free to give stolen books away. This will force our local libraries to spend those federal dollars on new books instead of survelience systems and micro chips"

Or they might just close the library. Ever think of that?

revolution is the only solution 16.Sep.2003 11:52

j

how about damaging the infrastructure of homeland security and the other enforcement systems the Patriot Act will employ, instead of libraries? How about creating our own libraries, our own schools, our own ability to support our communities, instead of thinking that stealing library books and giving them to kids is going to change anything at all. these are serious times, and it makes me ashamed to think that we are not taking our responsibilities to the future seriously.

we're not far from not having to worry at all 16.Sep.2003 12:11

seattle

In the 14 months that I've been living in Seattle, the libraries (city-wide!) have been closed for a week at a time on THREE separate occassions, due to budget cuts (um, hello, a war?!). That's about 6% of the year. Anyway, it seemed that no one was shocked or appalled at this, merely inconvenienced...point being, if the libraries are closed more consistently, that stops the potential of terrorism happening there (or maybe discourages the frequency), so I really wonder how bad it has to get before people wake up and get pissed that their libraries are being co-opted! I mean, what, next year, will they say, well, if we close the libraries for 6 months, we can save this much....KRIKIES!

Library Policy on Privacy 16.Sep.2003 21:11

alex

I have worked at a library for more than two years, and continue to do so. all the software that i have used to check out books, in all cases, immediately deletes the books that you have checked out from your account as soon as you return them. there has never been a use to keep a record as privacy has been a cornerstone of most libraries for a long while. until persons build new software that will allow a permanent record of all books checked out, there is not much anyone can do to keep a record of what you read. and don't steal books, thats just idiotic and greedy.

Ashcroft mocks US(a) for being HYSTERICAL 16.Sep.2003 22:12

Mickey M

So, John Ashcroft mocks US(a) for being "hysterical"! How about him when he is standing in his fundalooney
chuch and is "talking-in-tongues"...is he not HYSTERICAL? How about when he is there at same fundalooney
church and is "handling snakes"...is he not HYSTERICAL? And, how about when he is at the pulpit and is beg-
ging for contributions as the plate passes by...is he not HYSTERICAL? He ought to recall the littler ditty about
GLASS HOUSES and them that live in 'em! Enuf said!

Hysterical 17.Sep.2003 14:07

anonymous

Unfortunately it is obvious that the word "hysterical" came to Ashcroft's mind too easily because he is talking about a field with a high percentage of women, if not dominated by women.

He reveals his backwardness with every little word and phrase he uses.

Dirty and Underhanded- I love it! 28.Oct.2003 11:59

Comrade Bolshka dtzelda@aol.com

I think government is finally realising what it takes to rule a nation. Notice that I use "rule." Because of my political affiliation, I believe in totalitarian system but not in the case of US government. If a government is supposed to be built on principles of democracy, its democratic leaders must see that it remains that way. They can track my library books! Who cares? This is only evidence that capitalism and democracy is failing. The US will fall! And it is all the fault of this man who calls himself "Attourney General" and this man who has bought his Presidency. I say, "Fall on, US!!" Up with Communism!!!!