of San Francisco
The Patriot Act

The USA Patriot Act was passed by Congress only 45 days after September 11th. Under this legislation, the government can now:

· Label you a "terrorist" if you belong to an activist group.

· Search your home and not notify you.

· Collect information about what books you read, what you study, your purchases, your medical history, and personal finances.

· Take away your property without a hearing, if the government declares that you or your group is planning an act of terrorism.

· Monitor your e-mails and watch what Internet sites you visit.

· Put legal as well as illegal immigrants in jail indefinitely without due process.

· Wiretap you under a warrant that doesn't even have your name on it.

Much of the thrust of the Patriot Act was formulated two years before September 11, 2002 in the Hart-Rudman report, a broadly bipartisan report on the major issues of national interest and national security. The Report: (1) declared that control of Mid-East oil resources would become more necessary in the future, (2) anticipated that severe resistance would challenge US control of the Mid-East both at home and abroad, (3) called for many of the Homeland Security/Patriot Act measures implemented since Sept 11 and (4) warned that domestic cynicism, apathy, and lack of support would have to be overcome by whatever means nec-essary, because maintaining the US world position will require sacrifice and risk on the part of all citizens.

Originally, the government planned to introduce another act, the Domestic Security Enhancement Act (Patriot Act II), which would greatly enlarge its surveillance and seizure powers. After news of this was leaked to Charles Lewis of the Center for Public Integrity and publicized on the Bill Moyers show, a storm of protest forced its withdrawal. However, bits and pieces of Patriot Act II are being attached as riders to unrelated bills and slipping through Congress with little public notice.

Read a short history of the Patriot Act.

More on the Hart-Rudman Report.

More on Patriot Act II.

Bill Moyer's PBS NOW page on Patriot Act II

SF Chronicle Editorial against secretly expanding the Patriot Act

Center for Public Integrity

Z-Magazine article on Ashcroft's campaign to renew and expand the Patriot Act