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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2002 2:13 pm 
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The FBI can track reading habits under the U.S.A. Patriot Act.

A recent report from a syndicated columnist has alerted us of one of the least known sections of Attorney General John Ashcroft’s U.S.A. Patriot Act, passed overwhelmingly by Congress, which allows the FBI to demand from bookstores and libraries the names of books bought or borrowed by anyone suspected of “involvement in internal terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities”. The basis for this search is in Section 215 of the U.S.A. Patriot Act, which says that the director of the FBI may seek a federal court order for “any tangible things including books or records, papers documents, and other items for an investigation to protect against “terrorists”.
Among the Act’s definitions of domestic terrorism is “acts (that) appear to be intended to…influence the policy of government by intimidation.” Such alleged “acts” could be based on what the suspect reads and follows in a book.

What causes great concern among librarians and bookstore owners is that once they turn turn the information over to the FBI, a gag order is imposed on the bookstore or library that prohibits them from disclosing “to any other person…that Federal Bureau of Investigation has sought or obtained tangible things under this section.”

This means that the librarian or bookstore owner cannot call a newspaper or televesion reporter to say that the FBI has conducted the search.

Gag orders are occasionally imposed by judges on prosecution and defense attorneys as well as the press, in certain cases where, for example, classified information may be part of the evidence or one of the witnesses might be endangered if his or her identity is revealed.
But whenever that happens, the press can disclose that the gag order has been imposed and can contest it in open court. However, under this particular provision of the U. S.A. Patriot Act, there has never before, to the knowledge of the author, been so rigid a gag order in First Amendment History.
The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression has sent a letter to booksellers across the country informing them of this section of the U.S.A. Patriot Act, and telling them that when the court order for search is handed down, “the judge makes his decision “ex Parte’, meaning there is no opportunity for your or your lawyer to object in court”.
And since the bookstore owner or librarian can’t object to the press, can’t he or she at least consult a lawyer after the search has been made?” This is the advise of the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression…and also the advice the librarians are getting for the American Library Association. “You remain entitled to legal counsel. Therefore, you may call your attorney and/or (the Booksellers Foundation or, if a librarian, the American Literary Association) and simply tell us that you need to contact legal counsel. Because of the gag order, however, you should not tell us that you have received a court order.”

This, mind you, is part of a law in the United States of America, not the People’s Republic of China. Because of the chilling effect of this section of the U.S.A. Patriot Act, its uncertain how many booksellers and librarians will even call a lawyer. And for those who do, it’s difficult to predict how successful a court challenge will be in the present, and long-term, atmosphere of fear of shadowy terrorists among us.

After all, during the Second World War, some 120,000 Japanese Americans, two thirds of them citizens, were unjustly locked up in concentration camps for fear that being of Japanese ancestry, they would aid the enemy. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed, in one of the lowest points in its history, as judged by most historians of the Court. And at the time, there was little public criticism.

This time, because of the gag order, there will be even less public criticism because we will not know how often these searches are made – and what specific books are under suspicion. You might have some of those books in your jown home.

The U.S.A. Patriot Act does say that this pursuit of booklists cannot be conducted “solely upon the basis of activities protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution.”

What this actually means is that you are still protected by the First Amendment if you stand on a street corner and criticize John Ashcroft. But, if the FBI believes you are somehow connected to international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities – under the broad definition of the Act- they can find out what you’ve been reading. The gag order is indeed on the First Amendment.

The above article was written by syndicated columnist, Nat Hentoff.

In my humble opinion, there is more to self-defense for the martial artist than the physical approach. Our freedom to express our arts are dependent upon our ability to fully express our views on these forums and criticize (within the bounds of respect and good propriety.
One merely has to look back at the origin of any of our eastern arts and recall the banning of weapons and anything bearing the symbol of “martial” in its description.

In may cases the arts were buried and in symbolism of dances and statuary, to preserve them for the day that oppression ceased.
I think that the FBI has better things to do than to snoop libraries and bookstores for the reading habits of John Q Public, but what bothers me is that for every erosion or limitation or exception to our First Amendment Rights that takes place, a precedent is set that gives rise to shave a little more off here and there until freedom of expression is just an impression and not reality.

What do you think?

Am I alone in my concern?

Alan K


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"The Goddess of Justice is Blind"


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2002 4:58 pm 
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Alan-sama,

IMHO, this smacks of undue search and seizure without recourse to due process.

It also says that the bookseller has no right to exercise Freedom of Speech regarding their visit from the Feds.

This is, IMHO, Unconstitutional in the extreme.

"Freedoms freely surrendered are the most difficult to regain." Lee Darrow, 1997

Personally, I find the Act a direct threat to the Constitution itself on a number of issues, particularly those you mention and the lack of due process when it comes to holding suspects in terrorism incidents.

I opposed the Act when I first read it and I oppose it now.

Color me stupid, but the Constitution should come before "protections" against any imagined threats to national security from "possible terrorists."

Frankly, it smacks of the McArthy Era and the Communist witch hunts that went on during that bleak period in our history.

Especially when you get down to the actual number of terrorist events that have happened since 9/11. Which can be numbered on the digits of one person and still leave leftovers.

The terrorists have won on this point. They have scared us so badly (at least some of us) that we are willing to give away our Constitutional rights for that most gossamer of promises - "security."

Frankly, if I was just a bit more paranoid, I would be worried that the whole thing was cooked up by people other than the Al Queda as an excuse to seize more power here at home.

It's not that much of a stretch. And that scares me.

Sincerely,

Lee Darrow, C.Ht.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2002 7:50 pm 
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Lee,

I agree with most of what you say.

The very sponsors of that act are sworn to uphold the Constitution.

As you know, lawyers as officers of the Court, are sworn to the same oath.

I can see some protection in that part of the Act which requires Judicial permission, but what bothers me is the lack of rules or guidelines required to obtain that permission. A presentation based upon mere suspicion could result in a search and GAG order.

Even more troublesome is the GAG order preventing disclosure to an attorney from whom you seek counsel.

This would clearly be unconstitutional, IMHO.

Where are our watch dog societies on this one?

Unfortunately I have not read the actual ACT, and have only magazine or coumnists opinons to go by.

I believe that Nat Hentoff is widely respected but is no constitutional lawyer.

The emotion and horror of attacks of terrorism sway the public mind-set to accept anything that appears as a solution to a problem without even thinking of the price paid.

I remember well when Joe McCarthy was entrenched in his witch hunt it took some time before he was exposed (in the mind's eye) of the public.

The fear of nuclear obliteration and the threats of the cold war, being at its peak,
swayed the opinon of the vox populi which lasted until the cold war warmed a bit and McCarthy was no longer acceptable.

You may recall his ending when challenged by a famous Boston attorney, who dramatically asked, "Sir, have you no sense of common decency?"

At that point the American public began to see Joe for what he was. In his heart, he believed he was a patriot.

I suppose most readers here are too young to have actually lived in this era, but many are aware of it by school, books or the media.

Let's face it, the American people needed to see aggresive action to comfort their fears and anxieties, and a quick bandaid was expected.

Let us also hope that consitutional issues will be resolved.

Was it Woody Allen who said "Just because I am paranoid, don't mean that they are not after me."

Alan K

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"The Goddess of Justice is Blind"


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2002 9:00 pm 
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Counselor,

Thank you for your kind words and your expansion on some of the issues involved with this law.

Personally, I believe that parts of it are blatently Unconstitutional, especially with regards to prisoner's rights and the right to seek legal counsel by the accused and or parties to search and seizure of possible corroborative evidence materials.

Last time I looked, the right to counsel was one of the absolutes. The fact that we are able to hold suspected terrorists without charging them or allowing them access to counsel is, IMHO, unforgivably Unconstitutional and, frankly, should be overturned.

I am NOT standing up for the terrorists, nor suspected terrorists, but I AM standing up for anyone, anyhwere, who has been accused falsely, who has been denied his rights under our laws and who is innocent.

The problem is, this Act is open to all sorts of abuses by well-intentioned (and maybe not well-intentioned) law enforcement people and agencies.

We fought one of the bloodiest wars in our nations' history to make sure these rights were preserved. Most of the wars we have fought have had at least an element of that same protection of our rights in them as well.

To see these rights simply set aside because we are afraid of the POSSIBILITY that someone may do something nasty is an insult to those who gave their lives (and sometimes much more!) to protect out freedoms.

If this sounds like I am on my soapbox, so be it. My statement about freedoms willingly surrendered being the hardest freedoms to regain is something that I stand by and firmly believe.

Thank you again, for your support of the Constitution.

Respectfully,

Lee Darrow, C.Ht.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2002 2:44 pm 
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Lee-san,

You need not apologize for advocating adherence to the Constitution.

Lambs and sheep who fear to criticize governmental usurpation and believe it is politically correct to remain silent, are the first to complain when an eroded Constitutional right fails to protect them.

Many famous people were ruined by the Black List which denied employment to these persons, most of whom were actors, and the Black List. This list was created merely on hearsay and inuendos, and Joe McCarthy was not the only with hunter, but he was the chief.

Once there is an investigation, a file is created and that information is logged in d data base. That remains even if the suspect is later exonerated.

In Massachusetts many lesser crimes can be "sealed" after statutory time limit and upon motion of counsel.

When I went into the Army toward the end of the Korean War, I was elated by the fact that the Uniform Code of Military Justice was very easy to work with and reminded me so much of Massachusetts law. One impressive article of the code (memory fades but I believe it was Article 39) was a Miranda-like warning of rights to remain silent and right to counsel. This was many years before Miranda and the CID investigators would always present a signed copy at Courts Martial or Boards.
I found the code easy to follow because it was familiar and discovered years later that when the Code was introduced after World War Two (repealing the old Articles of War), may of the draftsmen were Massachusetts lawyers who had served in World War Two.

Even the Military affords protection of code and the Constitution and except as to matters taking place in a war zone or operation the Constitution applies.

Constitutional protection is being sought by Colonel McSally in her battle with the military as an example of her alleged rights to be afforded equal rights (as a woman) and separation of church and state issues.

We should all be aware of our Constitutional rights and seek to preserve them.

Now I am on a soap box and will shut up, but sometimes one has to do more than dry elaboration of laws of self-defense.

But I do believe the preservation of the Constitution is a form of self-defense.

Alan K


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2002 7:00 pm 
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Alan,

I have not read the act yet, but the snippets you provided sound scary. If the act defines domestic terrorism as "acts (that) appear to be intended to…influence the policy of government by intimidation," that is awfully broad. Is an economic boycott intimidation? Is lawful assembly and protest intimidation? What about a campaign slogan the incumbent doesn't like (A vote for me is a vote against corruption and the status quo)? This law is scary.

I don't know if this is related, but I purchased books at a Border's recently, and paid cash. The cashier asked me for my name and address. I declined to give that information and he did not pursue it. I assumed this was a marketing issue. Perhaps it was more?

Has the act been assigned a code section yet?

Sincerely,
Norm Abrahamson


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 11, 2002 10:09 pm 
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This may not be all that new. I don't know how true it is, but according to a member of the CyberDojo list the FBI has for quite a while been keeping tabs on people who buy books published by Paladin Press. It's always possible this is just a conspiracy idea though. I'll see if I can track down the post with that info.

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Glenn


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 12, 2002 2:43 pm 
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Hi Norm & Glenn,

Sorry for this delayed post. I did not notice it until now.

I totally agree with what you say and have been looking in the newspapers to see if anything else had been written.

I don't know if it has received a US Code Section yet.

The request for your address from the clerk could be part of a marketing program.
I know that Radio Shack does this all the time. On the other hand who knows?

Glenn,

I was not aware that Paladan Press was ear marked. I did hear the same thing about subscribers to Soldier of Fortune but doubted the veracity of the source.

Norm, if you hear of anything related to the Act please post and I will do likewise,

Sincerely,

Alan K


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 12, 2002 4:22 pm 
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Norm & the group
I found the final USA Patriot Act on the internet and Section 215. When I printed it, I was not aware that it is 132 pages long. Luckily, i used the high speed laser printer in the office.

SEC. 215. ACCESS TO RECORDS AND OTHER ITEMS UNDER THE FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE SURVEILLANCE ACT. Title V of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1861 et seq.) is amended by striking sections 501 through 503 and inserting the following: ``SEC. 501. ACCESS TO CERTAIN BUSINESS RECORDS FOR FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE AND INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM INVESTIGATIONS. ``(a)(1) The Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation or a designee of the Director (whose rank shall be no lower than Assistant Special Agent in Charge) may make an application for an order requiring the production of any tangible things (including books, records, papers, documents, and other items) for an investigation to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities, provided that such investigation of a United States person is not conducted solely upon the basis of activities protected by the first amendment to the Constitution. ``(2) An investigation conducted under this section shall-- ``(A) be conducted under guidelines approved by the Attorney General under Executive Order 12333 (or a successor order); and ``(B) not be conducted of a United States person solely upon the basis of activities protected by the first amendment to the Constitution of the United States. ``(b) Each application under this section-- ``(1) shall be made to-- ``(A) a judge of the court established by section 103(a); or ``(B) a United States Magistrate Judge under chapter 43 of title 28, United States Code, who is publicly designated by the Chief Justice of the United States to have the power to hear applications and grant orders for the production of tangible things under this section on behalf of a judge of that court; and ``(2) shall specify that the records concerned are sought for an authorized investigation conducted in accordance with subsection (a)(2) to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities. ``(c)(1) Upon an application made pursuant to this section, the judge shall enter an ex parte order as requested, or as modified, approving the release of records if the judge finds that the application meets the requirements of this section. ``(2) An order under this subsection shall not disclose that it is issued for purposes of an investigation described in subsection (a). ``(d) No person shall disclose to any other person (other than those persons necessary to produce the tangible things under this section) that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has sought or obtained tangible things under this section. ``(e) A person who, in good faith, produces tangible things under an order pursuant to this section shall not be liable to any other person for such production. Such production shall not be deemed to constitute a waiver of any privilege in any other proceeding or context. ``SEC. 502. CONGRESSIONAL OVERSIGHT. ``(a) On a semiannual basis, the Attorney General shall fully inform the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence of the House of Representatives and the Select Committee on Intelligence of the Senate concerning all requests for the production of tangible things under section 402. ``(b) On a semiannual basis, the Attorney General shall provide to the Committees on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives and the Senate a report setting forth with respect to the preceding 6-month period-- ``(1) the total number of applications made for orders approving requests for the production of tangible things under section 402; and ``(2) the total number of such orders either granted, modified, or denied.''

I found it by using Yahoo as a search engine and typed in USA Patriot Act.

The contributor was Declan McCullagh's politechbot.com

You will find more scary things in there.

Please read and comment,

Cordially,

Alan K


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 13, 2002 5:37 am 
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An article on the internet analyzing the USA Patriot Act appeared to be the work of intelligent people and dealt with other sections than 215 that was posted here.

Take a look at this: www.eff.org or can also be reached by search engine typing in subject of: USA Patriot Act and select the EFF article.

Alan K


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 13, 2002 8:21 pm 
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If my prior post concerning EFF's analysis of the USA Patriot Act internet address did not lead you to the specific site, here is a copy of the headline leading to their presentation:

EFF Analysis of USA PATRIOT Act (Oct. 31, 2001)
... EFF Analysis Of The Provisions Of The USA PATRIOT Act. That Relate
To Online Activities (Oct 31, 2001). Introduction. ... http://www.eff.org/Privacy/Surveillance/Terrorism_militias/20011031_eff_usa_patriot_analysis.html
More Results From: www.eff.org

Alan K


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2002 6:16 pm 
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Sorry for the delay getting back to this. However I have not been able to find the posts on CyberDojo that talk about Paladin Press. Unfortunately YahooGroups does not have a good search function, and I cannot remember when this was discussed to narrow down searching through the posts. If I come across anything, I'll post it here.

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Glenn


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