portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article reporting united states

government | human & civil rights | police / legal

parts of PATRIOT II now law

Bush signed bill into law the day Saddam was captured.
The FBI can now probe _all_ of your financial activities without probable
cause and without court supervision. Your bank / credit card company /
airline / post office / etc will face criminal prosecution if it informs
you that your information has been looked at. And now the FBI no longer
has to report to Congress how often it uses these procedures.

The Fourth Amendment is very ill indeed.

Article here.

homepage: homepage: http://mediarevolution.blogspot.com
address: address: Reno, Nevada

use 28.Dec.2003 10:39


cash. Use cash, use cash, use cash. Whenever you can, use cash. Not the answer to all ills, of course, but it might help.

here's what they've done without Patriot II..what will they do... 29.Dec.2003 11:44

with it?

repostings 4 u

-Caveat Lector-
Forwarded with Compliments of Government of the USA in Exile (GUSAE): Free Americans Resisting the Fourth Reich on Behalf of All Species.

By James Ridgeway
Village Voice
Wednesday 24 December 2003

Police State Tactics Transform a Nation--Our Own

WASHINGTON-Every day the U.S. looks more like a police state.

An internal Justice Department probe, based on surveillance videos made by the government inside federal detention facilities, shows that the U.S. harassed, beat, and kept in solitary confinement without access to family or lawyers men it picked up off the streets of New York after 9-11. More likely than not, these men were seized on grounds that some cop or FBI agent thought they looked like Osama followers. Or that a business partner or neighbor decided he could get the man's money or property by charging him first with theft and then telling the cops, "Oh, by the way, I think the guy is Al Qaeda," a claim that one magistrate after another accepted as the reason to set bails so high no one but a millionaire could pay to get out.

And this doesn't even scratch the surface of what's been going on. Lawyers were not told the numbers of courtrooms to where their clients were being shuttled because the room locations were secret. Members of Congress, government, the press, and the judiciary knew from the very get-go that any FBI agent, acting on his or her own, could make an affidavit asserting that any individual was a suspected terrorist.

Every day, Ashcroft and Bush work the country toward something like martial law, though the administration has suffered setbacks, like last week's rulings by two federal appellate courts in Padilla v. Rumsfeld and Gherebi v. Bush. Both of those decisions, for now at least, hamper the government's ability to simply lock up suspects indefinitely.

But the government has other targets and other ways of dealing with them. The most recent crackdown seems to be on the foreign press-the source of much of the substantial critique of its policies.

U.S. immigration authorities are detaining foreign correspondents on grounds they have not obtained special visas permitting them to operate here, reports the Associated Press. True, there is a law stipulating a special visa for journalists, but few have ever heard of it and it is seldom enforced. No more. No one ever told the visiting journalists it had suddenly been revived. As a result, immigration officials aren't allowing reporters from abroad to come in under ordinary 90-day tourist visa waivers.

Peter Krobath, chief editor for the Australian movie magazine Skip, was seized and held overnight in a cold room with 45 others who landed without visas. Is he an Osama follower? A disguised fedayeen from Saddam's clan? No. He is guilty of flying to the U.S. to interview Ben Affleck.

Thomas Sjoerup, a photographer for the Danish paper Ekstra Bladet, had to give the American authorities fingerprints, a mug shot, and a DNA sample, and he was promptly sent back home anyway.

Six French journalists were marched across a terminal at Los Angeles International Airport in handcuffs, having had their belts and shoelaces removed. The International Press Institute, based in Vienna, along with the International Federation of Journalists, headquartered in Brussels, is protesting this treatment.

The U.S. response? An embassy official in Vienna insisted that the government was only acting in accordance with the letter of the law.
© : t r u t h o u t 2003

take this into consideration as well... 29.Dec.2003 12:04

very important!

repostings 4 u

-Caveat Lector-

With a Whisper, Not a Bang
By David Martin
The San Antonio Current
Wednesday 24 December 2003

Bush signs parts of Patriot Act II into law —stealthily.

On December 13, when U.S. forces captured Saddam
Hussein, President George W. Bush not only celebrated
with his national security team, but also pulled out
his pen and signed into law a bill that grants the FBI
sweeping new powers. A White House spokesperson
explained the curious timing of the signing - on a
Saturday - as "the President signs bills seven days a
week." But the last time Bush signed a bill into law
on a Saturday happened more than a year ago - on a
spending bill that the President needed to sign, to
prevent shuttng down the federal government the
following Monday.

By signing the bill on the day of Hussein's
capture, Bush effectively consigned a dramatic
expansion of the USA Patriot Act to a mere footnote.
Consequently, while most Americans watched as Hussein
was probed for head lice, few were aware that the FBI
had just obtained the power to probe their financial
records, even if the feds don't suspect their
involvement in crime or terrorism.

The Bush Administration and its Congressional
allies tucked away these new executive powers in the
Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004, a
legislative behemoth that funds all the intelligence
activities of the federal government. The Act included
a simple, yet insidious, redefinition of "financial
institution," which previously referred to banks, but
now includes stockbrokers, car dealerships, casinos,
credit card companies, insurance agencies, jewelers,
airlines, the U.S. Post Office, and any other business
"whose cash transactions have a high degree of
usefulness in criminal, tax, or regulatory matters."

Congress passed the legislation around
Thanksgiving. Except for U.S. Representative Charlie
Gonzalez, all San Antonio's House members voted for
the act. The Senate passed it with a voice vote to
avoid individual accountability. While broadening the
definition of "financial institution," the Bush
administration is ramping up provisions within the
2001 USA Patriot Act, which granted the FBI the
authority to obtain client records from banks by
merely requesting the records in a "National Security
Letter." To get the records, the FBI doesn't have to
appear before a judge, nor demonstrate "probable
cause" - reason to believe that the targeted client is
involved in criminal or terrorist activity. Moreover,
the National Security Letters are attached with a gag
order, preventing any financial institution from
informing its clients that their records have been
surrendered to the FBI. If a financial institution
breaches the gag order, it faces criminal penalties.
And finally, the FBI will no longer be required to
report to Congress how often they have used the
National Security Letters.

Supporters of expanding the Patriot Act claim
that the new law is necessary to prevent future
terrorist attacks on the U.S. The FBI needs these new
powers to be "expeditious and efficient" in its
response to these new threats. Robert Summers,
professor of international law and director of the new
Center for Terrorism Law at St. Mary's University,
explains, "We don't go to war with the terrorists as
we went to war with the Germans or the North
Vietnamese. If we apply old methods of following the
money, we will not be successful. We need to meet them
on an even playing field to avoid another disaster."

Opponents of the PATRIOT Act and its expansion
claim that safeguards like judicial oversight and the
Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable search
and seizure, are essential to prevent abuses of power.
"There's a reason these protections were put into
place," says Chip Berlet, senior analyst at Political
Research Associates, and a historian of U.S. political
repression. "It has been shown that if you give [these
agencies] this power they will abuse it. For any
investigative agency, once you tell them that they
must make sure that they protect the country from
subversives, it inevitably gets translated into a
program to silence dissent."

Opponents claim the FBI already has all the
tools to stop crime and terrorism. Moreover, explains
Patrick Filyk, an attorney and vice president of the
local chapter of the ACLU, "The only thing the act
accomplishes is the removal of judicial oversight and
the transfer of more power to law enforcements

This broadening of the Patriot Act represents a
political victory for the Bush Administration's
stealth legislative strategy to increase executive
power. Last February, shortly before Bush launched the
war on Iraq, the Center for Public Integrity obtained
a draft of a comprehensive expansion of the Patriot
Act, nicknamed Patriot Act II, written by Attorney
General John Ashcroft's staff. Again, the timing was
suspicious; it appeared that the Bush Administration
was waiting for the start of the Iraq war to introduce
Patriot Act II, and then exploit the crisis to ram it
through Congress with little public debate.

The leak and ensuing public backlash frustrated
the Bush administration's strategy, so Ashcroft and
Co. disassembled Patriot Act II, then reassembled its
parts into other legislation. By attaching the
redefinition of "financial institution" to an
Intelligence Authorization Act, the Bush
Administration and its Congressional allies avoided
public hearings and floor debates for the expansion of
the Patriot Act.

Even proponents of this expansion have expressed
concern about these legislative tactics. "It's a
problem that some of these riders that are added on
may not receive the scrutiny that we would like to
see," says St. Mary's Professor Robert Summers.

The Bush Administration has yet to answer
pivotal questions about its latest constitutional
coup: If these new executive powers are necessary to
protect United States citizens, then why would the
legislation not withstand the test of public debate?
If the new act's provisions are in the public
interest, why use stealth in ramming them through the
legislative process?

MOTHRA-NYC.org advocates for full disclosure about the risks from WTC toxins and exposes the extent and effects of Environmental Protection Agency's failed outreach.

reposters note: the next day after announcement of Saddam's capture when Bush gave his little press conference, he
ended it saying>>>" MAY God Bless America!" and I wonder if , perchance, this wasn't code to those "in-the-know" that
Bush & Company's governance has shifted into another gear...one not so good for USa out here. If you go back and
notice all of his previous press conferences, speeches, inpromtu mutterings when he used the "...God Bless America"
mantra, you'll note he never has said "may" before...that I'm aware of, and to suddenly change his established pattern--
such as it is--on the whim of Saddam's capture and his signing the aforementioned Patriot II bill, seems to indicate to
me that he is "signaling" to those out there that are waiting for such significant signal to get prepared for "something"
that is on the horizon for America's people that may be terrible in consequence. Don't trust these people...they've NOT
given USa reason too as yet! Beware! Beware! Oh! Beware!

here's more to add context to the above postings... 29.Dec.2003 13:10

repostings 4 u

repostings 4 u

-Caveat Lector-  http://usa.mediamonitors.net/content/view/full/3381/

American Government Terrorizes America After 9/11 Attacks
by Stan Moore
(Saturday 27 December 2003)

"It does not take too long before the public will wary of the "sky is falling" routine. There might be another life-destroying disaster to keep the fear levels up, or to intensify them so as to remove more American freedoms."

Apparently, all Al Qaeda has to do is to "chatter" via nameless radio communications and the Homeland Security Department will declare "Code Orange" or "Code Red" and the American people will be terrorized into fear of an imminent attack. Al Qaeda does not have to lift arms, expose personnel to danger, do any actual damage or violence -- just chatter away and Tom Ridge will do the real work of terrorizing the American people.

Some people think it is nothing short of amazing that the Homeland Security Department, plus various senators and high government figures can use vague discussion of "imminent threats" and disrupt American society with no hard evidence, no substantive documentation, no specific times or locations -- just "threats". And it seems to work -- especially now that the American public can see soldiers with machine guns "protecting" public areas, and other recognizable evidences that America is increasingly becoming a police state, and rumor has it that soon the spelling change will be official, from America to Amerika.

Yet, when the U.S. government had knowledge of conspirators, timing, and plans to destroy the World Trade Center, and had plenty of ability to forestall the attacks or even shoot down the hijackings in progress BEFORE the buildings were hit, the American government utterly failed to prevent the attacks. In fact, the evidence is incontrovertible that the American government (1) stood down its response forces on 9/11 during the critical time frame when the hijacked plans could have been intercepted (2) knowingly allowed the hijackers entry into and out of the country multiple times prior to 9/11 -- often over the objections of State Department officials who tried to prevent entry into the U.S. (3) stymied any significant public investigations subsequent to that day, and (4) stonewalled the minor investigations that were allowed.

So, what we have is an American government that failed to prevent terrorism when intelligence was adequate, and which now itself terrorizes the American people by "terror alerts" based on vague information. And this is the same government which detains people of all nationalities on the basis of "guilt by association" and not on proof of actual crimes committed. This is the government that has tossed a blanket over the American constitution and which has warred on freedom and democracy at home and abroad -- all in the name of a spurious "war on terror".

George Bush and Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld and Condi Rice and Colin Powell have terrorized far more Americans far more times than bin Laden ever did! Bin Laden can hardly get airtime in America any more -- but frightening the American people is a full-time job for many members and employees of the American government.

No one should be surprised if another terrorist attack is engineered so as to provide more visual evidence to frighten the American people. It does not take too long before the public will wary of the "sky is falling" routine. There will have to be another life-destroying disaster to keep the fear levels up, or to intensify them so as to remove more American freedoms.

It is the American government, not Al Qaeda which is able and desirous of removing American freedoms, so that the corporate elite which controls government and commerce can continue strangling the economy created by the American people.

Another big attack may occur, and it may not be without participation or permission of the American government. You can count on it.