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Take action on this historic opportunity to "Restore Fairness" to the Patriot Act

From Restore Fairness blog

On December 31, 2009, three provisions of the Patriot Act expired, creating a perfect opportunity for Congress to examine the Act and its infringement on the rights of U.S. citizens. However the House and Senate rejected an alternative proposal called the JUSTICE Act that would bring in more checks and balances and add long overdue civil liberties protections and instead renewed the expiring provisions for 60 days. Time is running out and so on February 3, 2010, a broad coalition of allies are going to D.C. and they would like you to join them in flooding the halls of Congress in protest of the Act.

Amid the climate of fear and uncertainty that followed the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, President George Bush signed into law the Patriot Act, expanding the government’s authority to secretly search private records and monitor communications, often without any evidence of wrongdoing. Many believe that the legislation threatened privacy, intellectual freedom, and sanctioned racial profiling. And more than seven years after its implementation, many more believe there is little evidence to demonstrate that the Patriot Act has made America more secure from terrorists.

The provisions that are set to expire relate to roving wiretaps that allow authorities to monitor an individual instead of a particular phone number, a business record provision that allows investigators to seize “any tangible things” deemed relevant to a terrorism investigation, and the “lone wolf” provision that allows authorities to monitor terrorism suspects not connected to any specific foreign terrorist group or foreign government. But there is hope that this moment can be used as an opportunity to amend other parts of the Act. According to the ACLU this must include,

National Security Letters (NSLs): NSLs are secret demand letters issued without judicial review to compel internet service providers, libraries, banks, and credit reporting companies to turn over sensitive information about their customers and patrons.

Material Support Statute: This provision criminalizes providing "material support" to terrorists, regardless of whether they actually or intentionally further terrorist goals or organizations. Intended as a mechanism to starve terrorist organizations of resources, it has actually undermined legitimate humanitarian efforts such as asylum claims and charitable contributions.

Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendments Act of 2008: Originally passed to allow the government to collect foreign intelligence information, Congress changed the law to permit the government to conduct warrantless and suspicion-less dragnet collection of U.S. residents' international telephone calls and e-mails in the fight against terrorism.

Even with it cloaked in secrecy, government reports reflect a rapidly increasing level of surveillance and Department of Justice Inspector General reports have revealed misuse of NSL and other aspects of the Act. Moreover, several federal courts have found parts of the Patriot Act unconstitutional.

Add your voice to the demand that Congress uphold the Constitution and protect the rights of its citizens.

Photo courtesy of www.reformthepatriotact.org

 

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John Byrnes (not verified) on Fri, 01/22/2010 - 16:34

Profiling has failed us; we don’t need profiling to identify Individuals like the Christmas-Day Bomber or the Fort Hood Shooter!  There is a better solution!

 

Virtually all media outlets are discussing whether we should be profiling all Arab Muslims; I will in the one-page explain why we don’t need profiling. Over 15 years ago, we at the Center for Aggression Management developed an easily-applied, measurable and culturally-neutral body language and behavior indicators exhibited by people who intend to perpetrate a terrorist act.  This unique methodology utilizes proven research from the fields of psychology, medicine and law enforcement which, when joined together, identify clear, easily-used physiologically-based characteristics of individuals who are about to engage in terrorist activities in time to prevent their Moment of Commitment.

 

The Problem

Since the foiled terrorist attack by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian national on Northwest Flight 253 to Detroit, the President has repeatedly stated that there has been a systemic failure as he reiterates his commitment to fill this gap in our security.  This incident, like the Fort Hood shooting, exemplifies why our government must apply every valid preventative approach to identify a potential terrorist.

 

The myriad methods to identify a terrorist, whether “no-fly list,” “explosive and weapons detection,” mental illness based approaches, “profiling” or “deception detection” - all continue to fail us.  Furthermore, the development of deception detection training at Boston Logan Airport demonstrated that the Israeli methods of interrogation will not work in the United States.

 

All media outlets are discussing the need for profiling of Muslim Arabs, but profiling does not work for the following three reasons:

 

  1. In practice, ethnic profiling tells us that within a certain group of people there is a higher probability for a terrorist; it does not tell us who the next terrorist is!

 

  1. Ethnic profiling is contrary to the value our society places on diversity and freedom from discrimination based on racial, ethnic, religious, age and/or gender based criteria. If we use profiling it will diminish our position among the majority of affected citizens who support us as a beacon of freedom and liberty.

 

  1. By narrowing our field of vision, profiling can lead to the consequence of letting terrorists go undetected, because the terrorist may not be part of any known “profile worthy” group – e.g., the Oklahoma City bomber, Timothy McVeigh

 

The Solution

Our unique methodology for screening passengers can easily discern (independently of race, ethnicity, religious affiliation, age, and gender) the defining characteristics of human beings who are about to engage in terrorist acts.

 

The question is when will our government use true “hostile intent” through the “continuum of aggressive behavior” to identify potential terrorists?  Only when observers focus specifically on “aggressive behavior” do the objective and culturally neutral signs of “aggression” clearly stand out, providing the opportunity to prevent these violent encounters. This method will not only make all citizens safer, but will also pass the inevitable test of legal defensibility given probable action by the ACLU.

 

As our Government analyzes what went wrong regarding Abdulmatallab’s entrance into the United States, you can be assured that Al Qaeda is also analyzing how their plans went wrong.  Who do you think will figure it out first . . . ?

 

Visit our blog at http://blog.AggressionManagement.com where we discuss the shooting at Fort Hood and the attempted terrorist act on Flight 253.

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