Someone asked me that on another forum, those kinds of questions have been circulating on forums a lot lately. Mostly by conservatives who support the
USA PATRIOT Act. It seems people may not be aware of what the act entails, or why else would they ask that question? The Patriot Act could plausibly
be affecting any of us, at any given time, and we may not know it.
While saying all civil liberties should be upheld the Patriot Act enforced efforts to take those rights away to supposedly protect your safety.
The act is stated to give the US government more power in relation to protecting the US from terrorism; terrorism, an “act” that has an ambiguous,
multi-interpretational definition. So the US government can protect the country from this act that fits several different actions and meanings many US
laws have been changed.
Thanks to the act government officials can go into your home, search it, and don’t even have to tell you they were there. (For those who don’t
know what a gross infringement of human rights this is I beg that you read the Fourth Amendment. I think you’d be a lot happier with the rights it
gave us versus the ones the Patriot Act took away)
Thanks to the act government officials can take non-citizens into custody and hold them indefinitely if they are charged. This might not seem like a
big deal if you are a citizen, unless you have a romantic partner, friend, or family member living in the US who is not a citizen, this person can be
charged with minor evidence, pertaining to which ever broad definition of domestic terrorism the government seems fit and held indefinitely. Even
more disturbingly another Patriotic Act is being pondered as we speak that would give US officials the right to take away an American’s citizenship
even if you were born in the US and have never left the country, or have no citizenship somewhere else. Whatever they deem you did to aid terrorist
(which could include something trivial like letting someone you didn’t know was a terrorist use your phone to make a call) can lead to them
stripping your citizenship, presumably so they can hold a once citizen indefinitely as well.
Thanks to the act making “domestic terrorism” a crime, with a vague definition, activist exercising their right to protest can be infringed upon
if their efforts are deemed “intimidating”, especially if they are protesting against government policy. Let’s hope none of us disagree with the
government on anything, including a second Patriotic Act that would allow government officials to wire-tap us for seven days with out a warrant, and
let us hope if we do disagree we do not shout or march our protest in a way they interpret as “intimidating”. (Infringing on 1st Amendment
Thanks to the act the FBI can put surveillance on and target religious and political groups with out evidence of wrong doing; which could lead to the
FBI harassing activists who take issue with government policy (Abolishing COINTELPO regulations). (Infringing on 1st Amendment rights)
Thanks to the act someone may be made a witness against themselves, infringing on 5th Amendment rights.
Thanks to the act you can be denied due process of law if the CIA (combined with the attorney general and defense secretary) chooses to label you, if
you are a citizen or non-citizen, as an “enemy combatant”. If you are given this label it could infringe upon your right to have a speedy, public
trial with an impartial jury.
The list goes on, read the act (with assistance if necessary) to help you fully comprehend its affect on your rights. (The Patriot Act infringes on
the rights given to you by the 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 8th amendments of the Bill of Rights.)
The US government used 9/11 as an excuse to infringe on several of our rights. Can America truly be called a free country when something like the
Patriotic Act was passed here, put into practice, and has since refused being amended despite several bills that if passed would better protect
individual rights while giving leeway to the federal government to go after those who plan to commit terrorist crimes? If you don’t think the
Patriot Act affects you, it could be doing so right now or in the future, and now or then you may not even know it.
[edit on 14-9-2008 by rapinbatsisaltherage]