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Archive for Saturday, May 24, 2003

Protecting rights

May 24, 2003

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To the editor:

The USA Patriot Act, passed by Congress in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, gives the government unprecedented powers to spy, detain, arrest, seize property and deny citizens due process. The act grants intelligence agencies broad access to your personal records -- credit, medical, mental health, library, travel, phone, e-mail and financial -- even if you haven't done anything. Congressman Dennis Kucinich says this act "effectively cancels half of the U.S. Bill of Rights."

That is why more than 100 communities and one state -- Hawaii -- have passed resolutions condemning the USA Patriot Act as unconstitutional and calling for its repeal or reform so it does not destroy civil liberties in the name of protecting citizens from terrorism.

The Lawrence Bill of Rights Defense Committee has initiated a broad-based campaign to request that the Lawrence City Commission and Douglas County Commission pass resolutions requesting Congress repeal the USA Patriot Act and directing city and county law enforcement officers not to participate in the act's implementation when doing so constitutes an infringement upon the fundamental civil liberties enumerated in the Bill of Rights. The proposed resolutions also oppose any new legislation which violates the Bill of Rights.

The Lawrence Bill of Rights Defense Committee has a Web site at www.kansasbordc.org, with relevant documents available and links to analyses of the USA Patriot Act and information on the local and national campaigns.

Clark H. Coan,

Lawrence

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