ACT NOW OR LOSE CIVIL LIBERTIES!
(even when unconnected with terrorism!)
Detentions After Attacks Pass 1,000, U.S. Says (New York Times, October 30, 2001)
Defining Terrorism Stirs Words of Dispute (Los Angeles Times, October 1, 2001)
URGE CONGRESS TO SLOW DOWN (See Bottom to Send Free Fax to Senators
and Congressperson)to not erode Civil Liberties in rush to pass anti-terrorism
legislation that has some reasonable provisions mixed in with others that
would make us all less free even for non-terrorism related cases! Pleaseread....
WASHINGTON - The American Civil Liberties Union urged Senators to follow the lead of the House of Representatives and slow down consideration of the Administration's proposed anti-terrorism legislation so that its full impact on both security and civil liberties can be understood.
"Congress must take every reasonable step it can to protect our nation against future attacks," said Laura W. Murphy, Director of the ACLU's Washington National Office. "At the same time, the people's representatives must also work to minimize the legislation's impact on our free society." As Attorney General John Ashcroft prepared to testify about his proposed legislation before the Senate Judiciary Committee, members of the House Judiciary Committee expressed open skepticism of some of the Administration's proposals during a hearing yesterday.
Rep. Bob Barr, R-GA, for example, pointedly asked if the Administration
was seeking to rush its proposals through because many of them have failed
in the past. "Does it have anything to do with the fact that the department
has sought many of these authorities on numerous other occasions, has been
unsuccessful in obtaining them, and now seeks to take
advantage of what is obviously an emergency situation," he said. And Michigan Representative John Conyers, the ranking Democrat of the Judiciary Panel, also raised significant questions, saying he was "deeply troubled" by whether some provisions of the measure would violate the Constitution.
The ACLU today reiterated its belief that the Administration's proposed counter-terrorism legislation includes both reasonable measures to give law enforcement authorities the necessary tools to investigate terrorism as well as other provisions that go far beyond addressing the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.
Among the provisions of the Administration's bill that are of
greatest concern, the ACLU said, are measures that would dramatically expand
law enforcement's ability to do secret searches and would expand the government's
ability to seize assets in non-terrorism-related cases. The ACLU is also greatly
concerned about provisions that would allow for the
indefinite detention of non-citizens without any judicial review. The ACLU said that several of the Administration's proposed measures were non-objectionable, including those that would prohibit the harboring of terrorists and providing support for terrorism by rendering expert advice and assistance. "The civil liberties we value so much as a society are at stake," Murphy said, "and we urge you to go slowly."
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