The Patriot Act was passed before Congress even had a chance to read it. It is a severe attack upon the Bill of Rights. The American people have shown their opposition to it, and Congress should defend the Constitution by repealing the Patriot Act.
On June 9, 2003, the Palo Alto City Council passed a resolution against the Patriot Act "TO ASSURE THE PROTECTION OF CIVIL LIBERTIES THAT ARE THREATENED BY" it ...
WHEREAS, the City of Palo Alto is proud of its long and distinguished law enforcement tradition of protecting the civil rights and liberties of all persons; and
WHEREAS, the City of Palo Alto has a diverse population, including immigrants and students, whose contributions to the community are vital to its economy, culture and civil character; and
WHEREAS, the preservation of civil rights and liberties is essential to the well-being of a democratic society; and
WHEREAS, federal, state and local governments should protect the public from terrorist attacks, and should do so in a rational and deliberative fashion to ensure that any new security measure enhances public safety without impairing constitutional rights or infringing on civil liberties; and
WHEREAS, government security measures that undermine fundamental rights do damage to the American institutions and values that the residents of the City of Palo Alto expect the City to uphold and protect; and
WHEREAS, federal actions since September 11, 2001, including provisions in the USA PATRIOT ACT (Public Law 107-56) and related executive orders, regulations and actions, threaten fundamental rights and liberties of all those who reside in, do business with, or visit the City of Palo Alto, by:
SECTION 6. The Council directs the City Manager to seek periodically from federal authorities the following information in a form that facilitates an assessment of the effect of federal anti-terrorism efforts on the residents of the City of Palo Alto:
- (a) Authorizing the indefinite incarceration of non-citizens based on mere suspicion, and the indefinite incarceration of citizens designated by the President as "enemy combatants" without access to counsel or meaningful resource to the federal court;
- (b) Limiting the authority of federal courts to curb law enforcement abuse of electronic surveillance in anti-terrorism investigations and ordinary criminal investigations;
- (c) Expanding the authority of federal agents to conduct so-called "sneak and peek" or "black bag" searches, in which the subject of the search warrant is unaware that his property has been searched;
- (d) Granting federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies broad access to personal medical, financial, library and education records with little if any judicial oversights;
- (e) Chilling constitutionally protected speech through expansive definitions of "terrorism";
- (f) Threatening the relationship between immigrant communities and local law enforcement by encouraging involvement of state and local police in the selective enforcement of federal immigration law; and
- (g) Permitting the FBI to conduct surveillance of religious services, internet chatrooms, political demonstrations, and other public meetings of any kind without having any evidence that a crime has been or may be committed.
WHEREAS, thirty years ago California voters overwhelmingly adopted a Constitutional right to privacy to protect against a "proliferation of government snooping and data collecting [that] is threatening to destroy our traditional freedoms".
NOW, THEREFORE, the Council of the City of Palo Alto does RESOLVE as follows:
- SECTION 1. The Council affirms its strong support for fundamental constitutional rights and its opposition to federal measures that infringe on civil liberties based upon unsubstantiated fear, or racial or ethnic stereotyping.
- SECTION 2. The Council affirms its strong support for the rights of immigrants and opposes measure that single out individuals for legal scrutiny or enforcement activity based solely on their country of origin.
- SECTION 3. The Council affirms its policy that organizations and individuals should not be monitored based solely on their religious or political views and on information about political, religious or social views, associations, or activities should be collected unless the information related to an imminent threat to public safety or reasonable suspicion of criminal activity.
- SECTION 4. The Council acknowledges the tremendous work the Palo Alto Police Department has done to assure the protection of civil liberties, and based upon that proud tradition directs the City Manager to take reasonable steps to prevent the Police Department of the City of Palo Alto from being pressured by any person or agency to:
- (a) Engage in the surveillance of individuals or groups of individuals based on their participation in activities protected by the First Amendment, such as political advocacy or the practice of a religion, without particularized suspicion of criminal activity unrelated to the activity protected by the First Amendment:
- (b) Collect or maintain information about the political, religious or social views, associations or activities of any individual, group, association, organization, corporation, business or partnership unless such information directly relates to an investigation of criminal activities, and there are reasonable grounds to suspect the subject to the information is or may be involved in criminal conduct;
- (c) Use images from a video surveillance network except insofar as it is done in clear compliance with civil rights existing under the federal and state constitutions;
- (d) Use video surveillance as a form of intimidation, and only when the police have a reasonable suspicion that the subjects of the video surveillance have or are about to commit a crime;
- (e) Deploy any form of biotechnology, such as facial recognition technology, prior to it being accepted as admissible evidence in the State of California;
- (f) Conduct searches, pursuant to warrants, without leaving a copy of the warrant for the individual whose premises have been the subject of search;
- (g) Use race, religion, ethnicity or national origin as a factor in selecting which individuals are subject to investigatory activities, except when seeking to apprehend a specific suspect whose race, religion, ethnicity or national origin is part of the description of the suspect;
- (h) Stop drivers or pedestrians for the purpose of scrutinizing their identification documents without particularized suspicion of criminal activity; and
- (i) Rely solely on information provided by Federal authorities, such as the Terrorism Information and Prevention System, that encourages members of the general public to illegally gather information about their neighbors, colleagues or customers.
SECTION 7. The Council directs the City Manager to transmit to the City Council no less than once every six months a summary of the information obtained pursuant to the preceding paragraph and based on such information and any other relevant information, and assessment of the effect of federal anti-terrorism efforts on the residents of the City of Palo Alto...
- a. The number of search warrants that have been executed in the City of Palo Alto without notice to the subject of the warrant pursuant to section 213 of the USA PATRIOT Act;
- b. The number of times education records have been obtained from public schools and institutions of higher learning in the City of Palo Alto under section 507 of the USA PATRIOT Act;
- c. The number of times library records have been obtained from libraries in the City of Palo Alto under section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act;
- d. The number of times that records of the books purchased by store patrons have been obtained from bookstores in the City of Palo Alto under section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act;
- e. The extent of electronic surveillance carried out in the City of Palo Alto under powers granted in the USA PATRIOT Act;
- f. The names of all residents of the City of Palo Alto who have been arrested or otherwise detained by federal authorities as a result of terrorism investigations since September 11, 2001; the location of each detained; the circumstances that led to each detention; the charges, if any, lodged against each detainee; the name of counsel, if any, representing each detainee; and
- g. The extent to which federal authorities are monitoring political meetings, religious gathering or other activities protected by the First Amendment within the City of Palo Alto.
As of April 7, 2006, The Patriot Act has provoked many local and state resolutions to oppose it-
We are living in Orwellian times where language has been inverted and those who are terrorizing us can label any who oppose government or corporate policies to be "terrorists" or declared "enemy combattants" or indefinitely detained, tortured, or killed.
- - 406 local, county, and state resolutions have passed
- - 277 efforts are underway
We met with the staff of Senator Feinstein and Senator Boxer in January 2002 to demand a Congressional Investigation of 9-11, Riva Enteen, then Program Director of the National Lawyers' Guild, stated that the sweeping changes of the Patriot Act challenged the rights obtained by the Magna Carta.
The Magna Carta has been considered a keystone of liberty and the primary legal defence against the divine, arbitrary and unjust rule of kings, wrenched from an unwilling King John in 1215. It established for the first time, the constitutional principle: that the power of a king could be limited in writing. The Patriot Act has threatened our constitution by removing fundamental protections of human rights from fallible, poor, indecipherable attacks upon them by the State.
If those in power, wielding all the weapons and instruments of the State, are immune to the law, and able to use the law to expand their powers and increase their force, then there is no real democracy, only tyranny. It is the responsibility of the people, and Congress, to uphold the Constitution, and abolish laws that violate it, and remove from public office those who threaten it.