Dangerous And UnAmerican Patriot Acts I and II
By Michael Moore
On October 26, 2001, just six weeks after the devastation on September
11, Congress passed the USA Patriot Act. Attorney General John Ashcroft and his cronies wasted no time in attempting to further
their agenda at the expense of a traumatized nation.
USA Patriot is an acronym for "Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing
Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism," but all that elaborate language does not succeed in hiding
the dangerous nature of the document.
So just what does the Patriot Act give the Bush administration the right
to do? Well, for starters, it allows the FBI to monitor everything from e-mail to medical records to library accounts, providing
frightening access to once private information. They can now legally wiretap phones, break into homes and offices, and access
financial records without probable cause.
The Patriot Act broadens terrorism to include "domestic terrorism" which
could potentially be used to target activist groups within the country speaking out against Bush's treacherous deeds.
The Patriot Act also disregards attorney-client privilege and authorizes
government surveillance of previously confidential discussions.
Immigrants can be detained indefinitely based on suspicion alone, and
the Patriot Act aids the excessive amounts of deportations that are taking place.
Calling this the Patriot Act is quite a dangerous action within itself,
because the implication follows: if you speak against the Patriot Act, well, you sure aren't being a good citizen in our country's
time of need. When Bush labels his actions as the model of patriotism, he then classifies all dissent as un-American. While
this may be comforting to him, it is actually an insult to patriotism. Protecting the Constitution and the Bill of Rights
demonstrates a great respect for the government of this country and the rights of its citizens, and that sounds downright
Read the text of the Patriot Act here.
Patriot II: What it is
It's not over yet. Currently, the Justice Department is working on the
Domestic Security Enhancement Act, an extension of the Patriot Act that has been dubbed "Patriot II."
Perhaps one of the most
dangerous aspects of this bill would grant the government the right to detain someone indefinitely without ever disclosing
their identity, allowing the person to ultimately disappear. It would also broaden local police's ability to spy on "terrorist"
groups, including domestic religious and political organizations.
The government could take sweeping "anti-terrorist" action, like obtaining
an individual's financial and library records without a warrant and allowing wiretaps without a court order.
How else could this affect you? Well, if you engage in civil disobedience,
the government would have the right to strip you of your citizenship!
You can read more about Patriot Act II, and the text of the proposed
act at the Center for Public Integrity or through the ACLU.