10/13/01 3:33:10 PM Pacific Daylight Time

  Well folks, thanks for giving it the 'heave-ho' on
the so-called "USA2001" anti-terrorism bill. Fact is, it
sailed through committee without a hitch, passed in the
wee hours of Friday morning.
  Here's what we can look forward to:
  (taken from the ACLU website, dated 10/12)
  The Senate and the modified House anti-terrorism
legislation now:
    a..  Permits Information Sharing: Allows
information obtained during criminal investigations to
be distributed to the CIA, NSA, INS, Secret Service and
military, without judicial review, and with no limits as
to how these agencies can use the information once they
have it.
    a..  Authorizes "Sneak and Peek Searches":
Authorizes expanded use of covert searches for any
criminal investigation, thus allowing the government to
enter your home, office or other private place and
conduct a search, take photographs, and download your
computer files without notifying you until later.
    a.. Allows Forum Shopping: Law enforcement can
apply for warrants in any court in any jurisdiction
where it is conducting an investigation for a search
anywhere in the country. This would make it very
difficult for individuals subjected to searches to
challenge the warrant.
    a.. Creates New Crime of Domestic Terrorism:
Creates an entirely new type of crime, which is
unnecessary for the prosecution of the "War on
Terrorism." By expanding the definition of terrorism in
such a way, the bill could potentially allow the
government to levy heavy penalties for relatively minor
offenses, including political protests.
    a.. Allows the CIA to Spy on Americans: Gives the
Director of Central Intelligence the power to manage the
gathering of intelligence in America and mandate the
disclosure of information obtained by the FBI about
terrorism in general - even if it is about law-abiding
American citizens - to the CIA.
    a.. Imposes Indefinite Detention: Permits authorities to indefinitely detain non-citizens,
without meaningful judicial review.
    a.. Reduces Privacy in Student Records: Allows law
enforcement to access, use and disseminate highly
personal information about American and foreign
   a..  Expands Wiretap Authority: Minimizes judicial
supervision of law enforcement wiretap authority in
several ways, including: permitting law enforcement to
obtain the equivalent of "blank" warrants in the
physical world; authorizing intelligence wiretaps that
need not specify the phone to be tapped or require that
only the target's conversations be eavesdropped upon;
and allowing the FBI to use its "intelligence" authority
to circumvent the judicial review of the probable cause
requirement of the Fourth Amendment.

A few interesting details that popped out during my
three-hour 'scan':
- The first page requests unlimited funding in each
fiscal  year to pay for this bill (first year's
estimate: 6 billion dollars).
- The statute of limitations has been eliminated
*retroactively* on all anything classified as
'terrorist' activities. 
- Terrorist activities are not defined, and the
document gives unlimited power to the Attorney General
to desginate same.
Shall I spell this out? If the AG or the Office of
Homeland Security determines that an activity, a
group, an asset, an affiliation is 'terrorist,' the
person(s) in question can be charged for those 'crimes'
UNLESS he/she can *prove* (its in the document, folks)
that they had no prior knowledge of the 'terrorist'
activity. And they can be charged for things that
happened years, even decades ago.

Oh, and I noticed the 'special' status awarded
throughout the bill to the transportation of oil/gas
products. Not just attacking, but *interfering* with gas
pipelines, railways, or national highways is a terrorist
offence now.
   Therefore. Any activism around the Longhorn
Pipeline, for example, is going to have be carefully,
very carefully prepared. Even demonstrating can be
considered 'interfering' with national security. 

Those are just a few high spots.

The Fourth Amendment has been replaced
                 by the thought police.

~~~ ~~~ ~~~
"For the record, prejudices kill, and suspicion can
destroy. And a thoughtless, frightened search for a
scapegoat has fallout all its own, for children and
the children yet unborn. And the pity is these
things are not confined to the Twilight Zone."
  ~ Rod Serling ~

"They that give up essential liberty to obtain a little
temporary safety deserve neither liberty or safety,
and ultimately will have neither." 
~ Ben Franklin ~