AMV Press Release – Oct. 26, 2004
On the third anniversary of PATRIOT Act:
Volume of anti-PATRIOT Act resolutions dwarfs the Act itself
Today, Oct. 26 2004 marks the mark the third anniversary of the passage of the USA PATRIOT Act. The Bill of Rights Defense Committee (BORDC) has compiled all of the resolutions and ordinances opposing the Act and sent them to President Bush. The final document is over three times as long as the Act itself.
Since President Bush signed the USA PATRIOT Act into law on October 26, 2001, 355 communities, four states, and hundreds of organizations including the American Library Association and the National League of Cities have registered their opposition to sections of the Act and to what they see as a general erosion of civil liberties since 9/11. To mark the Act’s third anniversary, the Bill of Rights Defense Committee (BORDC) is sending President Bush a full set of the resolutions and ordinances opposing it.
“The collection of resolutions and ordinances is 400 pages long, more than triple the size of the USA PATRIOT Act,” according to BORDC director and cofounder Nancy Talanian, whose organization formed soon after the USA PATRIOT Act passed to support public education and debate about its impact on civil liberties. “One in five U.S. residents—55 million people—now live in communities, counties, or states with resolutions condemning parts of the USA PATRIOT Act, making this one of the largest mass movements in U.S. history.”
Critics of the Act and other measures are having their positions validated by a growing list of court decisions and DOJ missteps. The Supreme Court handed down two decisions last June that disagreed with the Bush Administration concerning the rights of “enemy combatants,” and two federal judges have found parts of the USA PATRIOT Act to be unconstitutional. More such decisions are expected. The DOJ’s Inspector General is examining allegations of misuse of the Act in connection with the wrongful detention of Oregon Attorney Brandon Mayfield, and the DOJ asked a Detroit judge to overturn the convictions of the so-called Detroit Terror Cell, which were secured through prosecutorial misconduct. The DOJ had previously touted the convictions as a key victory against terrorism.
The Patriot Act has particularly affected the Muslim, Arab and South Asian communities, says Samina Faheem Sundas, Executive Director of the American Muslim Voice. “ In the name of security, the Muslims and Arabs have become target of racial profiling and FBI calls. Currently hundreds of Muslims and Arabs are being interrogated by FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Forces about a possible terrorist attack to disrupt the Nov. 2 elections. Mosques are being visited the FBI and worshippers are asked personal questions which are not related to terrorism.”
The PATRIOT Act allows the government to search your home and not even tell you.
It permits spying on innocent Americans. The government, under the PATRIOT Act, can now use a special intelligence court to collect information about the books you read, your purchases and your personal finances.
AMV encourages you to contact your Members of Congress urging them to support corrections to the USA PATRIOT Act and other domestic surveillance powers. Congress must act to ensure government powers adhere to the Bill of Rights.
BORDC web site: www.bordc.org
Alphabetical list by state of communities with resolutions: www.bordc.org/Alphalist.pdf.
Collection of resolutions and ordinances sent to Pres. Bush and AG Ashcroft:
American Muslim Voice website: