Notes on the Atrocities
Like a 100-watt radio station, broadcasting to the dozens...

Wednesday, July 09, 2003  

Oooh boy! this oughta speed the compiliation of my FBI file. Just got an email from David DiSabatino at the ACLU who's asked for a little print (this blog's great at little) on a report they've got out today on the DOJ released today. Relevant to my own recently-released Dossier (which must now be updated) on the AG, the ACLU offers some additional documenation:

WASHINGTON -- The American Civil Liberties Union today said that it has found a consistent pattern of factually inaccurate assertions by the Department of Justice in statements to the media and Congress, statements that mischaracterize the scope, potential impact and likely harm of the now-notorious USA PATRIOT Act.

To wit,

The Justice Department’s repeated assertion that the USA PATRIOT Act’s surveillance provisions cannot be used against U.S. citizens. In fact, the surveillance provisions are applicable to citizens and non-citizens alike. Some of the surveillance provisions can be used even against citizens who are not suspected of espionage, terrorism, or crime of any kind.

The Justice Department’s repeated assertion that Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which permits the government to demand that any organization – including a library, bookstore, or hospital – turn its records over to the FBI, cannot be invoked unless the government can show “probable cause.” In fact, the law contains no such restriction. Section 215 requires only that the government declare that the records are “sought for” an ongoing investigation.

Though the press release doesn't mention it, the Ashcroft dragnet has been largely a failure at producing links to terrorism (though it's great at harrassing immigrants). In addition to work done by the ACLU, the Migration Policy Institute released a report last month that described widespread arrests, but few terror-related convictions. Moreover, among those detained (and of the 1,200, the MPI could only identify a third) were "persistent violations of due process as well as harsh law-enforcement measures directed solely at males from Arab and Muslim countries." Forty-six percent had lived in the states over six years, and half had wives and children.

(And of course, there was the DOJ's own report that strongly criticized the AG.)

The only way to stop these abuses is to report them. Kudos to the ACLU for keeping up the fight. (Never been a better time to become a card-carrying member. I am.)

posted by Jeff | 12:26 PM |
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