March 6, 2006
Congress is about to renew the USA PATRIOT Act. After the
act was first passed in 2001, members of Congress excused away their votes by
saying they didn't have time to study it and were still under the influence of
9/11 shock. By now, they have had ample time to study it, and even to examine
"improvements" added to the bill, such as section 3056A.
Others have had the time, like the author of the following.
provision in the "PATRIOT Act" creates a new federal police force
with the power to violate the Bill of Rights. . .
to House Report 109-33 USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005
and check it out for yourself. Sec. 605 reads: 'There is hereby created and
established a permanent police force to be known as the "United States
Secret Service Uniformed Division."'(1)
my trusty friend Troll first forwarded this story to me, I believed the author,
who noted, "We can take for granted that the new federal police will be
used to suppress dissent and to break up opposition. The brownshirts are now
arming themselves with a Gestapo."(2)
believed because I have, unfortunately, good reasons to believe some
presidential administrations work to erase the Bill of Rights and the freedoms
that make this nation great. My reasons reach back to my childhood and the
McCarthy witch-hunts, when even the neighbor woman I stayed with after school
my training as a scientist's daughter made me step back from paranoia's
slippery slope and think, "Wait a minute. I need to check this out before
I will accept this story as really and truly so." I sincerely hoped that
Troll had been suckered by a hoax or by someone blowing a few out-of-context
details into a paranoid fantasy -- the way the Swift Boat Vets did with bits of
John Kerry's background during the 2004 election.
knew that, like me, Troll has reasons to expect the worst from the Bush cabal.
Neither of us needs much evidence to believe a story like this one. But there
is a difference between believing and knowing. For example, a woman knows
that a baby is hers. Her husband only believes it is his. I like to know.
reasons to believe the worst go back at least to the Nixon administration
(about the time I met him), when we antiwar activists were the
"terrorists," no matter how peaceful we were in our opposition to the
Vietnam War. Both of us were put under surveillance similar to what the Bush
administration is doing today in the guise of protecting the American people.
We have personally experienced police and intelligence agents invading our
homes, tapping our phones, following us, jailing us, sending informers to spy
on us while pretending to be our friends, fabricating charges against us or our
dearest friends, and so on. No fun.
neither is paranoia. So I did my homework and learned for myself that what
amounts to the United States Gestapo is in the works.
information I was looking for is overlooked behind the media hype about NSA's
wiretapping of US citizens and is buried in legislative legalese. House Report
109-33 USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005 Section 605
refers to an "improvement" in the USA PATRIOT Act, section 3056A,
which is to be inserted into title 18 United States Code, chapter 203,
following section 3056, and appears to repeal title 3 U.S.C., chapter 3. Trying
to sort it all out made me dizzy.
when I was at my dizziest, I finally ran across a news item that read, "A
new provision tucked into the Patriot Act bill now before Congress would allow
authorities to haul demonstrators at any 'special event of national
significance' away to jail on felony charges if they are caught breaching a
This item wasn't in any
of the more liberal of our "liberal media." It was from Fox News,
which helped convince me that, sad to say, this story is for real. And the
United States Secret Service Uniformed Division (SSUD) may already be
was under such an authority that Cindy Sheehan was arrested at a "special
event of national significance" -- Bush's State of the Union sales pitch
-- for wearing a T-shirt that gave the number of US fatalities in Iraq,
including her own son. Despite misleading reports designed to discredit her,
Sheehan did not make a spectacle of either herself or her T-shirt. And she was
an invited guest (though not by the Bush cabal). Another example of a
"special event of national significance" was the Super Bowl even
though no top administration officials, who are guarded by the Secret Service,
were expected to attend.(4)
to the new bill, officers of the Secret Service Uniform Division will
"carry firearms" (sec. 3056A (b)(1)(A)) and be authorized to
"make arrests without warrant for any offense against the United States
committed in their presence, or for any felony cognizable under the laws of the
United States if they have reasonable grounds to believe that the person to be
arrested has committed or is committing such felony" (sec. 3056A
constitutes "reasonable grounds" is not specified, which leaves them
up to the discretion, prejudice, and mood of the officers. Another woman, the
wife of a congressman, was also removed from the Capitol gallery before Bush's
speech because she wore a T-shirt. Hers said, "Support the Troops."
If wearing a T-shirt is "reasonable grounds" to remove or arrest
someone before 3056A has been enacted, I shudder to think what the Bush
cabal will do with it once it becomes law.
can we expect any better from a president who came into office in 2000 in an
unprecedented, and probably an illegal, manner? Jeffrey Toobin studied that
election and concluded -- after all the legal votes were finally counted --
"Al Gore should have been declared the victor over George Bush -- in the
popular vote, in Florida, and in the Electoral College."(5) In other
words, We the People elected Al Gore, but got stuck with Bush.
state law specifically stated that "no vote shall be declared invalid or
void if there is a clear indication of the intent of the voter."(6) That
was the prevailing law, so Bush v. Gore should have gone no higher than
the Florida State Supreme Court, which unanimously ruled to let the counting of
the Bush cabal went whining to the U.S. Supreme Court and convinced five of the
nine justices to stop the count. Judicial conservative Terrance Sandalow called
this "incomprehensible" and an "unmistakably partisan decision,
without any foundation in law."(7)
Republicans the ones who have been campaigning against "activist
judges?" Yet stopping the count, thereby giving the election to Bush, was
as activist a judicial action as you'll find anywhere.
GOP is also the party of fiscal conservatives, who keep running up astronomical
GOP is the party of Homeland Security guards, who let millions of strangers
cross our borders illegally every year and who still haven't figured out how to
protect our ports from terrorists or hurricanes (remember that "heck of a
job" in New Orleans). And now they want to turn control of six of our
major ports, including military shipments, to the United Arab Emirates after
their pre-emptive war in Iraq and other stupidities have inflamed Muslims against
us even in friendly countries.
the GOP is the party that promised to return morality and virtue to the White
House. Yet this self-proclaimed moral administration pushed through Congress a
prescription drug plan that denies many US citizens medications their lives
depend on and it submitted a budget that cuts essential programs for the needy,
while it gives more tax breaks to the wealthy. These moralists rob workers of
money they have been investing in Social Security all their working lives and
send troops into battle without equipment they need to survive. And so on.
what else can we expect from a presidency that has defied US laws by jailing US
residents for indefinite periods of time, denying them recourse to legal
assistance, and eavesdropping on what assistance it does permit? Or from a
presidency that smears the reputations of those who publicly disagree with it,
and that allows the Pentagon, NSA and FBI to spy on innocent civilians, among
else can we expect from a president who repeatedly said a dictatorship would be
a lot easier than a democracy; who has protestors penned in "Free Speech
Zones" out of his sight and hearing; who has told the FBI not to follow
"a long-standing policy requiring agents to destroy their files on innocent
American citizens, companies and residents when investigations closed"?(8)
else can we expect from a president who lets his supporters smear the good
names and reputations of Senators John McCain, Max Clellan, John Kerry, and
Representative John Murtha, as well as those of antiwar Vietnam veterans who
served honorably, while Bush and many of his staff and cabinet officers
supported but dodged the war?
else can we expect from a president who ignored warnings about 9/11, then said
of it that he had "won the Trifecta" and stonewalled investigations
of that horror?
what can we expect when leaders of the Democratic Party -- the only political
party large enough to fight for us against the Bush cabal's assaults on our
laws and constitution -- run like a pack of scared rabbits whenever a
Republican scowls in their direction, and apologizes when caught speaking up
what can we expect when the people are more interesting in Angelina Jolie and
Brad Pitt's baby than in what Bush and Cheney are doing to the country and to
Paul Craig Roberts, "Antiwar.com - Unfathomed Dangers in PATRIOT Act
Reauthorization," January 24, 2006.
Kelley Beaucar Vlahos, "New Patriot Act Provision Creates Tighter Barrier
to Officials at Public Events," Fox News, January 31, 2006.
Jeffrey Toobin, Too Close to Call: The Thirty-Six-Day Battle to Decide the
2000 Election, Random House, New York, 2001, p. 280. Contrary to often
repeated claims, not all of the presidential votes in Florida were counted and
recounted. Saying that they were was more Republican smoke and mirrors to
convince the general public of a falsehood. Like most dirty tricks, it worked.
Gullible people were convinced and blamed Gore for being a bad sport in not
conceding that Bush had won Florida and thus the presidency.
From Alan M. Dershowitz, Supreme Injustice: How the High Court Hijacked
Election 2000, Oxford University Press, New York, 2001, p. 33.
Dershowitz, p. 50.
Barton Gellman, "The FBI's Secret Scrutiny: In Hunt for Terrorists, Bureau
Examines Records of Ordinary Americans," Washington Post, November
6, 2005, p. A1.
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