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Patriot Act

 The fetters imposed on liberty at home have ever been forged out of the weapons provided for defense against real, pretended or imaginary dangers from abroad. -- James Madison, 23 February 1799.
september 11 patriot actThe Patriot Act by september 11 patriot actFranklin Freeman
copyright ? the author 2002, 2300.1

The "Patriot Act" was rushed through Congress in just six weeks. It was given a helping hand by the anthrax attacks. Following hard on the heels of the September atrocities, these attacks "brushed up" the horror and were neatly dovetailed with the stages in the passage of the bill. (See Richard J Ochs, [WWW]Government By Anthrax, for the "dovetailing".) The Democrat-controlled Senate, whose leading Democratic Senators were "attacked" with anthrax letters, passed the bill with a 98-1 majority. That's how well they stood up for liberty! That's how easily they were manipulated and convinced to enact this authoritarian legislation.
The Act was signed into law by President Bush on 29 Oct. 2001.
 It is valid for four years, i.e. until autumn 2005.

The Act's provisions include detention without trial for non-citizen terror suspects, surveillance of mobile phone messages and email, and internet tracking. It also empowers the CIA to extend its intelligence-gathering operations from the foreign to the domestic field for the first time.
About one thousand non-citizens of Islamic origin were initially imprisoned under the Act. They were often held incommunicado, and had difficulty accessing legal representation. On 7 December 2001, the FBI said they believed none was linked either to the September 11 attacks in particular nor to al-Qaeda in general. Not a single one! (The FBI tried to save face by saying that the attacks were planned in Europe and had little help in the US.) (Reported by USA Today.) Some still remain in detention.

...The inspector general, Glenn A. Fine, [later] criticized the lengthy detentions - some up to eight months - of many of the 762 aliens held in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terror attacks and the FBI's assumption of sole authority to decide whether individuals remained a threat.
Conditions of custody were often harsh and none of the detainees were convicted of terrorism-related offenses, with such charges brought only against Zacarias Moussaoui [the "20th 9/11 hijacker". patriot actAP 13 June 2003

 The "Patriot Act" has inspired copycat legislation in various other countries, ranging from Britain's "anti-terrorist law", with detention-without-trial for foreign suspects (14 are currently detained!), to India's, which has not stopped at non-citizens.

In February 2003 a draft sequel to the Act, nicknamed the patriot act "Patriot 2", which had been quietly developing in Justice Department circles, was exposed. It contained further repressive provisions. See patriot actUS Police-State Hydra Re-Arises Threefold ....

A list of contents of the "Patriot Act", together with the final amendments to the Act, can be found at patriot actFinal text of USA anti-terrorism bill, on Don Mc Cullagh's http://politechbot.com. These amendments alone run to 31 A4 printout pages; the whole Act is over 300 pages long. Napoleon remarked that a constitution should be short and obscure; the "Patriot Act" is long and obscure, if only by its very length.

(!) See our pages: Anthrax Attacks, National Security Letters, Canadas Patriot Act 3, and Patriot Act 2.


DOMESTIC SECURITY ENHANCEMENT ACT OF 2003 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act
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