Bush's Assault on Civil Liberties

March 2003

Military aggression abroad has always meant political repression at home. To date, the Bush presidency has been characterized by significant erosion of fundamental civil rights and legal principles. These restrictions are made in the name of protecting our security in an increasingly dangerous world. Yet these rights and principles are essential to our system of government, and the best advertisement for democracy outside our borders.

Patriot Act
"Patriotism...is a word which always commemorates a robbery." --Mark Twain
Six weeks after the September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, a jittery Congress capitulated to the Bush Administration's demand for new anti-terrorism weapons. Over vigorous objections from civil liberties organizations on both ends of the political spectrum, Congress approved the "Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act", better known by its acronym, the USA PATRIOT Act.

Homeland Security Department
Signed into law in November 2002, the law creating the Homeland Security Department is one of the most dangerous pieces of legislation ever put forth by any administration.

Information Awareness Office
The Information Awareness Office (IAO), under the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in the Defense Department, will provide intelligence agencies and law enforcement with instant access to information from e-mail, telephone records, credit cards, banking transactions and travel records, all without a search warrant.

Total Information Awareness
The Total Information Awareness (TIA) Program is the main reason for the existence of the IAO and receives the bulk of its funding. The TIA will create a working model for computerized profiles of the intimate details of citizens private lives.

Reproductive Rights
Roe in Rough Waters by Jennifer Baumgardner, The Nation (Jan 22)
Choice Under Siege, by Sayra Meyerhoff, Baltimore Sun (Jan 22)

Progressive Links
America Live Free
American Civil Liberties Union
Bill of Rights Defense Committee
National Lawyers Guild, post 9-11 project
People for the American Way
Thomas Paine Project

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