By Ketch M’Canuwhile|Men With Foil Hats
Most of us know this to be the ” The Patriot Act ” In the wake of the “attacks” on September 11, 2001, then President of the United States George W. Bush signed Public Law Pub. L. 107-56 into law on October 26, 2001.
The Act grants law enforcement agencies immense powers unprecedented in United States history. These powers include the warrant-less search of personal records of ANY U.S. citizen as well as foreign nationals.
The Bill of Rights, Amendment lV states: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
The Patriot Act also expands the Secretary of Treasury’s authority to regulate financial transactions domestically and on an international level. In short, seizures of assets.
It also broadens the definition of terrorism, which includes “domestic terrorism”. This amplifies the number of activities that law enforcement can apply in investigations.
(Sec. 802) Amends the Federal criminal code to: (1) revise the definition of “international terrorism” to include activities that appear to be intended to affect the conduct of government by mass destruction; and (2) define “domestic terrorism” as activities that occur primarily within U.S. jurisdiction, that involve criminal acts dangerous to human life, and that appear to be intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population, to influence government policy by intimidation or coercion, or to affect government conduct by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping.
Intimidate or coerce. Does this mean that if a person dissatisfied with certain aspects of government and then voices opinons to one or more in a group setting, be accused of coercion because they are in an sense influencing that group, thereby falling into the designation of a terrorist. It’s quite possible under this broad definition.
All of which can be done without an court order and due process.( Dismissal of Habeas Corpus) Although there were many who critizied aspects of the act, amazingly it passed without a single amendment.
The Patriot Act has what is called an “sunset provision”, meaning it could be terminated altogether unless legislation took action to extend the act. Which of course they did in July 2005 with the House reauthorization bill. It then was enacted into law in March 2006 by President George W. Bush.
Presently, the Patriot Act was once again in front of congress who reauthorized the extention, and President Obama is expected to sign into law as early as February 2010, with no modifications and little debate.
Surprisingly enough, progressive Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) voiced protest against what he called America’s love of its fears. He further states; ” This legislation extends three problematic provisions of the PATRIOT Act and, at the same time, leaves some of the most egregious provisions in place, absent any meaningful reform and debate”.
WE AGREE. As long as Americans are willing to give up civil liberties under the umbrella of protection, we will incrementally lose even more freedoms that many have perished for in the name of liberty.