Bill of Rights Defense Committee
A People for a Peaceable Planet committee spent much of February and March creating a resolution to present to the Mount Vernon City Council (see text of the resolution below.) This would have directed city agencies to refuse to cooperate with those parts of the USA PATRIOT Act which are inconsistent with the Constitution or the Bill of Rights. On April 9, council member Charlie Wend moved for the resolution (with amendments) to be adopted. Though it died for lack of a second, committee chair Barbara Kehoe is not deterred. The committee will present a resolution again, and in the meantime is preparing approaches to other local cities and to Skagit County.
If we can blanket upcoming spring and summer events (farmers' markets, etc.) with info, then we are educating a LOT of people about the USA PATRIOT Act and what the current administration is up to. If we can gather 5000 signatures in the next couple months, we will be ready to move ahead. BUT we need EVERYONE to participate. Please use copies of the petition which say SKAGIT COUNTY . . . at the top. The earlier petitions were all turned over to MV, so sign again on a SKAGIT COUNTY one and we will have copies for the other communities. If a small group from LaConner, Burlington, SW, etc. will step forward to work on this as we gather signatures, you will be ready when enough signatures are in hand. Feel free to encourage people, esp. in MV, to contact their reps about this. There is a very good 8-page information sheet called repeal.pdf which you can download from www.bordc.org.
Contact Barbara Kehoe at 856-1057 or firstname.lastname@example.org
to get involved or request a speaker for your group.
Join us to urge the City Council to restore
rights taken away by the USA PATRIOT Act.
Let our city stand up with over 70 cities around the US protecting their residents from this invasion of civil liberties.
Six weeks after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, a jittery Congress - exiled from its anthrax-contaminated offices and frightened of more terrorist assaults to come - capitulated to the Bush Administration's demands for a new arsenal of 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. The House voted 356-to-66, the Senate 98-to-1.
Amongst other provisions, the act provides for indefinite detention of non-U.S.
citizens, nearly unfettered telephone and Internet surveillance, enlargement
of secret searches and unprecedented authority to the attorney general to detain
individuals based on nebulous threats to national security. The FBI now can
force librarians and bookstores to turn over their customers' names and book
titles, and arrest librarians who notify the targeted customers.
Patriot I (2001)
USA Patriot Act (text, 342 pages)
Summary of Federal "USA Patriot Act" OLR, Connecticut General Assembly
Anti-Terrorism Law Proves Threat To Free Expression People for the American Way
CRS Report for Congress Congressional Research Service, Federation Of American Scientists (pdf format)
Patriot Revolution? by Dean Schabner, ABC News
ACLU Sues Bush Administration for Data on Surveillance Methods by Pete Yost, Associated Press
Patriot II (2003)
A Trial Balloon? Patriot II by Michael C. Ruppert (Feb 25)
Patriot II The Sequel by Anita Ramasastry, FindLaws (Feb 17)
Son of the Patriot Act by Charles Lewis and Adam Mayle, The Public i (Feb 7)
Whereas, the city of Mount Vernon has a long and distinguished
history of protecting and expanding civil rights and civil liberties, especially
when these liberties are threatened; and
Whereas, the City of Mount Vernon works to strengthen democratic principles and provide clarity and accountability in governance, inclusive participation in decision making, and access to justice; and
Whereas, the City of Mount Vernon houses a diverse population, including non-citizens, whose contributions to the community are vital to its character and function; and
Whereas, the City of Mount Vernon has, with gratitude for their supreme sacrifice, memorialized those who have died in battle protecting these same cherished rights and liberties; and
Whereas,the preservation of civil rights and liberties is essential to the well-being of a democratic society, and
Whereas, federal, state, and local governments, in protecting the public from terrorists, should do so in a rational fashion to ensure that any new security measure enhances public safety without impairing constitutional rights or infringing on civil liberties; and
Whereas, several acts and orders recently enacted at the Federal level, including sections of the USA Patriot Act and several Executive Orders, now threaten these fundamental rights and liberties:
· Freedom of speech, religion, assembly and privacy -
· The rights to counsel and due process in judicial proceedings -
· Protection from unreasonable surveillance, searches, and seizures -
All guaranteed by the Constitution of the State of Washington, and the United States Constitution and it's Bill of Rights; and
Whereas, a draft of the USA Patriot Act II, entitled the Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003, further curtailing the civil rights and liberties of both citizens and non-citizens, now exists and awaits endorsement by Congress;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT THE CITY COUNCIL OF MOUNT VERNON, WASHINGTON:
1. AFFIRMS its strong support for fundamental constitutional rights
and its opposition to federal measures that infringe on civil liberties.
2. AFFIRMS its strong support for the rights of immigrants and opposes measures that single out individuals for legal scrutiny or enforcement activity based on their country of origin.
3. DIRECTS the Police Department of the City of Mount Vernon to refrain from participating in the enforcement of any federal activities that threaten the civil rights and liberties of its residents, both citizens and non-citizens, as protected by the Bill of Rights.
4. FUTHER DIRECTS local law enforcement to continue to preserve resident's freedom of speech, religion, assembly, and privacy; rights to counsel and due process in judicial proceedings; and protection from unreasonable searches and seizures even if requested or authorized to infringe upon these rights by federal law enforcement acting under new power of the USA Patriot Act, new Executive Orders that restrict our civil liberties; USA Patriot Act II if and when that document should be enacted at the Federal level.
5. REQUESTS that Federal and State law enforcement officials acting within the City, work in accordance with the policies of the Mount Vernon Police Department and in cooperation with the Department by not engaging in or permitting detentions without charges and/or based on racial profiling.
6. REQUESTS that the U.S. Attorney's Office, the Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Washington State Police report to the City of Mount Vernon regularly and publicly the extent to and the manner in which they have acted under the USA Patriot Act(s), new Executive Orders, or COINTELPRO-type regulations, including the names and locations of any Mount Vernon residents being detained.
7. DIRECTS public schools and institutions of higher learning within the City of Mount Vernon to provide notice to individuals whose education records have been obtained by law enforcement agents pursuant to Section 507 of the USA Patriot Act.
8. DIRECTS public libraries within the City of Mount Vernon to post large, clear and visible notices to library users as follows:
"WARNING: Under Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act (Public Law 107-56), records of books and all materials you borrow from this library may be obtained by federal agents. That federal law prohibits librarians from informing you if you records have been obtained by federal agents. Questions should be directed to Attorney General John Ashcroft (or current Attorney General), Department of Justice, Washington, DC"
9. REQUESTS our U.S. Congressman and Senator to monitor the implementation of the Acts and Orders cited herein, and actively work to repeal the parts of those Acts and Orders that violate fundamental rights and liberties as stated in our State and Federal Constitutions and Bill of Rights.
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