"Freedom under attack"
by H. Millard (c) 2001

n October 26, President Bush signed the USA Patriot Act (USAPA), to help Dubyafight terrorism. Given the events of 9/11, an anti-terrorism bill sounds good. Unfortunately, USAPA can too easily be misused as a weapon against citizens who may be on some sort of personal or political enemies list of those in power. Think of President Nixon Nixonand his enemies list to get the picture. But, unlike in Nixon's day, USAPA is set up so that there is no meaningful check on the power of the executive branch by the judicial branch of our government. If misused, USAPA can amount to open season on anyone in this nation. Secret searches, wiretaps, web snooping, access to personal medical records and more are all in USAPA. This is the stuff of 3 a.m. knocks on the door carried out by repressive regimes.

It gets worse. On November 13, Mr. Bush signed an order allowing secret military trials of suspected terrorists which could conceivably include secret executions. "You're guilty. Take the defendant into the alley and shoot him."

Given the fact that all nineteen terrorists involved in the 9/11 attacks were foreign nationals and ten of them were in the country illegally at the time they vaporized themselves and around 6,000 others, many citizens who have been clamoring for some sort of immigration reform to protect our borders had hoped that President Bush would finally bring an end to the madness of unbridled immigration. However, it appears that Mr. Bush has no such intention. USAPA and the military tribunal order might be likened to the situation where a homeowner, tired of having his house constantly flooded by a nearby river, goes out and buys more buckets to bail out the place instead of building up the banks of the river.

John AshcroftOn November 14, Attorney General John Ashcroft gave a speech about restructuring the INS, and he said "America is a nation of immigrants. Our commitment to maintaining controlled but open borders not only is enshrined in our laws, but it's deeply embedded in our national character." Good grief! Mr. Ashcroft, EVERY nation is a nation of immigrants. Humans have been moving over the face of the Earth since there were humans. Saying, today, that America is a nation of immigrants is as absurd as saying that America is a nation of people who wet their diapers. Yes, we all once wet our diapers, but after we passed infancy most of us stopped doing so. Are we to be held captive to a cliche about what we as individuals and as a nation did in our infancy? America has grown out of diapers, Mr. Ashcroft. It's time we put away the things of our national infancy.

Lamar SmithCongressman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), who is a long time immigration reformer, told a group of reporters the other day that there may be as many as 14 million illegal aliens in the U.S.at any given time. He also pointed out that terrorism on our shores is not the only downside to lax immigration laws, and that one quarter of inmates in federal prisons in the U.S. are foreign-born. Most citizens are at least partly aware of this illegal alien/criminal connection, because they see the crime brought to U. S. cities every time they open a newspaper. News reports on crimes these days seem to have fewer perpetrators with names like Riley, Jones and Smith and more with names such as Sanchez, Morales and Hernandez.

Instead of doing something realistic about protecting our borders against non-citizens, USAPA gives power to the Feds to get around the Constitution and use methods that are offensive to the spirit of the Bill of Rights. The problem, as mentioned above, is that while many of the provisions of the bill can be used to spy on potential terrorists and interrupt their plans, it can also be used in ordinary criminal investigations and it can even be used to curtail First Amendment rights if government officials feel that a particular exercise of free speech is a threat to national security. Such as criticizing the government or government officials?

And, what about this nebulous term "terrorism." What does it mean? There is no single definition of the term, and this can lead to abuses both by government agents and by the usual left wing fascists who now may add "terrorist" to their lexicon of words such as "racist" and "hate" they they use to intimidate others into silence. All of this has a chilling effect on free speech and our civil liberties.

One definition of terrorism is found in Title 22 of United States Code, Section 2656f(d), " The term 'terrorism' means premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience."

However, the definition of terrorism favored by USAPA appears to be contained in SEC. 802. DEFINITION OF DOMESTIC TERRORISM.

(a) DOMESTIC TERRORISM DEFINED- Section 2331 of Title 18, United States Code, `(5) the term `domestic terrorism' means activities that--

`(A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State;

`(B) appear to be intended--

`(i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;

`(ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or

`(iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and

`(C) occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States.'.

Consider those definitions, and look at all the weasel words. Many ordinary Clintoncitizens mocked Bill Clinton when he said "It depends on what the definition of 'is' is." But, Clinton was right. In the law, words must be correctly and narrowly defined. In the above definition, just to pull out one example, what exactly does "appear to be intended" mean? It can mean just about anything one wants it to mean, and that's one of the problems with this type of law. Here's one of many possible scenarios: Suppose a group of citizens holds a rally against something and does this by chaining chained to white house fencethemselves to the White House fence, so that they block the sidewalk. Well, it could be argued that their blocking of the sidewalk was an act dangerous to human life because it forced pedestrians to walk in the street. It would violate laws against blocking the sidewalk and thus be a criminal violation. This act of chaining themselves to the fence and blocking the sidewalk could be seen as an attempt to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion. Thus, these peaceful demonstrators could be tried as terrorists. And, if the system is abused and military style tribunals are used for instances such as this, these people could suddenly "disappear."

agent provocateurTake it even further and imagine, as has often been the case, that left wing fascist agent provocateurs infiltrate a peaceful demonstration and cause or provoke violence. Those who want to curtail civil liberties might then use the color of the law to blame the peaceful demonstrators for the violence and charge them as terrorists.

So, what should the President do to fight terrorism by those sneaking into this nation? He should do the direct and obvious thing: close our borders. America No Trespassingdoes not need any more immigrants either legal or illegal, and citizens should not have to live in a police state in order to be protected from foreign nationals. Furthermore, no one in the world has a right to come to the U.S. This is our land, and it is our right to say who can come here, when they can come, and how many of them can come. This is our club. We are members. We make the rules. Period.

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The Outsider "THE OUTSIDER" H. Millard's novel of alienation in post-American America is available. Get it by telephone: 1-877-823-9235, at Amazon.com or from Barnes & Noble. If THE OUTSIDER doesn’t appear when the link page opens, just type in the author’s name or ISBN and it should take you to the book. The book is also available in brick and mortar stores, either on the shelves or by asking for it. The ISBN for the OUTSIDER IS: 0-595-19424-9 (helps when ordering).