ACLU Releases Report on Patriot Act Abuses

Provisions of the Patriot Act will be coming up for renewal in December. The ACLU has been busy meeting with members of Congress and compiling data. Today they released a new report, "Reclaiming Patriotism" which catalogs the abuses during the past eight years. The report is available here (pdf.)

From the gagging of our nation’s librarians under the national security letter statute to the gutting of time-honored surveillance laws, the Patriot Act has been disastrous for Americans’ rights,” said Caroline Fredrickson, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. “In the panic following the events of 9/11, our nation’s lawmakers hastily expanded the government’s authority to a dangerous level and opened a Pandora’s box of surveillance.”

Check out their new site, Reform the Patriot Act. [More...]

“Reclaiming Patriotism” reveals that in the years since its passage, the Patriot Act has paved the way for the expansion of government-sponsored surveillance including the gutting of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and a recent revamping of the Attorney General Guidelines to allow law enforcement to conduct physical surveillance without suspicion.

These are the provisions that need amending:

  • National Security Letters. ACLU's Doe v. Mukasey forced the second circuit to strike down the draconian gag rule that prevents NSL recipients from telling anyone that the government has secretly requested consumer communication, financial and credit records. Also, government reports confirm that upwards of 50,000 of these requests go out each year, most against Americans, and many against people unrelated to terrorism.
  • Material Support Statute. This provision criminalizes providing "material support" to terrorists, defined as providing any tangible or intangible good, service or advice to a terrorist or designated group. As amended by the Patriot Act and other laws since September 11, this section criminalizes a wide array of activities, regardless of whether they actually or intentionally further terrorist goals or organizations. Federal courts have struck portions of the statute as unconstitutional and a number of cases have been dismissed or ended in mistrial.
  • FISA Amendments Act of 2008. This past summer, Congress passed a law to permit the government to collect international communications coming into and out of the US in the absence of a warrant, even if one end of the communication is an American on American soil. This too must be amended to provide meaningful protections in the surveillance super structure.
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  • Display: Sort:
    I can hear it now.... (none / 0) (#1)
    by kdog on Wed Mar 11, 2009 at 01:11:21 PM EST
    "We can't exactly put spies, spooks, eavesdroppers, informants, data miners and assorted agents of tyranny out of work in this economy."

    By using charged words (none / 0) (#2)
    by Think Before You Type on Wed Mar 11, 2009 at 01:22:44 PM EST
    like "gagging" and "gutting", they are undermining their own case.

    If the fight against eliminationist terror has truly produced abuses that need to be addressed, the ACLU should be describing them dispassionately.  Using purple prose makes them sound like overeager teenagers, and they won't be taken seriously.

    by scrivener on Wed Mar 11, 2009 at 01:28:39 PM EST

    Gang stalking, menacing with a motor vehicle, surreptitious home entries, vandalism of property and personal effects, and covert assault with hi-tech microwave radiation weapons have been unconstitutionally decriminalized throughout the nation under the convenient banner of the "war on terror"...

    ...as demonstrated by the Bush Justice Department "torture memos," which have been described as a blueprint for a police state.

    Bush administration officials renounced the memos just days before the end of their term -- but fact is, the programs and policies that these memos deigned to justify continue under President Obama.

    The Bush torture memos, some still secret, appear to have laid the groundwork for a repressive "extrajudicial punishment network" -- in effect, turning local police into secret agents acting on suspicions derived from "intelligence" that may have been supplied with ideological baggage attached.

    Many innocent people have been "put on a list" by those who don't like their politics, their social activism, or their ethnic background. Persons slandered as "troublemakers, " "deviates," "mental defectives" or disloyal "dissidents" have been subject to years of persecution at the hands of their neighbors -- just as occurred in Nazi Germany in the years leading up to World War II and Hitler's "Final Solution."

    (A former NSA analyst has revealed that journalists nationwide have been subject to 24/7 surveillance, a claim to which this reporter can attest).

    A nationwide GPS satellite tracking network has been made available to "community gang stalkers" who hide behind federal- and county-funded volunteer organizations and public safety agencies such as fire departments and police auxiliaries.

    These organizations provide taxpayer-funded vehicles and gasoline to a squad of hundreds of vigilante volunteers, who seem to delight in "swarming the target" when signal from a secreted GPS device planted in their vehicles shows up in the so-called "crown of evil" GPS video screen of the stalkers.

    Some stalkers cause auto accidents and attempt to provoke confrontations that will draw police attention. The apparent motive: to portray the persecuted as mentally unbalanced.

    This vehicle stalking causes a public safety hazard as vigilante squads violate the civil and human rights of their prey -- many, if not most, of whom are upstanding citizens who were wrongly or maliciously targeted.

    Victims say the gang stalkers also make surreptitious entry into their homes to vandalize property and personal effects, and to leave tell-tale signs that the privacy of their targets has been violated -- a form of psychological harassment known as "gaslighting" (after the classic Ingrid Bergman movie Gaslight, in which an evil husband manipulates his wife's environment to make her think she is going crazy).

    Every law enforcement agency in the nation is likely to know about the GPS-enabled stalking system and the community gang stalking -- what some insiders call "the torture matrix." The Bush torture memos specifically cited anti-stalking laws as being exempt from enforcement when "terrorism" was suspected.

    Portraying the "targets" as mentally unsound also appears to be the goal of what amounts to an American "slow-kill" genocide: The covert assault of these "targeted individuals" with classified, hi-tech microwave radiation weapons and devices referred to by officialdom as supposedly non-lethal "directed energy weapons."

    The benign nomenclature notwithstanding, these powerful microwave weapons can stun, injure, induce illness, and, depending on exposure levels, kill. Victims say the weapons are being used on the "targets" to induce symptoms of mental illness and cognitive impairment -- in a campaign to have them declared mentally ill and thus "neutralized."

    These are crimes against humanity, enabled by federal programs and policies that have co-opted and corrupted local law enforcement, which is dependent upon federal funding from the agencies that devised these "programs of personal destruction."

    It is time for local authorities to reclaim their autonomy, and their respect for Constitutional rights. There is a new administration in Washington, one that has pledged to uphold the Constitution.

    Local and regional officials and law enforcement officers who renounce community gang stalking and prosecute those who have persecuted their neighbors will be praised as upholders of the Constitution and defenders of the rule of law.

    Those who continue to enable the violation of civil and human rights may find themselves under scrutiny as the new team in Washington makes good on its pledge to restore American values and respect for the rights granted to all citizens under the Constitution of the United States.

    -- Vic Livingston
    Lower Makefield Township, Bucks County, PA

    Columnist, NowPublic.com/scrivener; former host, Sports Business Report on Madison Square Garden Network; former reporter, Phila. Fox 29 News; New York Daily News; Philadelphia Bulletin; Phila. Channel 6 Action News; former editor, TV/Radio Age, CableVision magazines

    For more of Vic Livingston's articles about The American Gestapo:


    Well, scrivener, if you need to do this, (none / 0) (#4)
    by Think Before You Type on Wed Mar 11, 2009 at 03:43:44 PM EST
    can't you at least limit it to just one thread?

    Pretty please?

    Administrator - does what scrivener is doing count as trolling, or is it just a general nuisance?


    ACLU and Rush (none / 0) (#5)
    by diogenes on Wed Mar 11, 2009 at 08:55:34 PM EST
    Attaching the label "ACLU" to a legal report is like attaching the label "Rush Limbaugh" to a conservative idea.  All it does is rouse the majority opposition and rally the minority base.