stop the madness

In the days following September 11, U.S. Attorney-General John Ashcroft championed a broad set of changes to rights of citizens and non-citizens in cases related to terrorism. The Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (or USA PATRIOT Act) gives sweeping powers to law enforcement to wiretap, search and otherwise spy on unknowing citizens. Despite heavy criticism, the act became law in October 2001, with hardly any debate in Congress. One little-known fact about the 342-page document is that it was supposed to be valid up until 2005. Now some republicans in Congress want to make the PATRIOT act permanent.
Given all the coverage that the war on Iraq is getting, there is no question that the timing of this couldn’t be worse. So…how would you like having your library records accessed by the FBI? Your phone tapped and your house searched without your knowledge? Your Google searches spied on? If arrested, how would you like not to know the charges against you? Being denied an attorney? Being held in solitary and possibly indefinitely? If you have a problem with this, call your Senator this week. A list of Senators is available here.
And don’t even get me started on PATRIOT II.

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