November 2, 2003
In the wake of the September 11tth attacks, the Bush administration pushed through a set of laws that greatly undermined the freedoms and liberties set forth in the Constitution. These laws significantly expand governmental powers in surveillance and law enforcement, allowing federal police to conduct secret searches, jail individuals without charges, and access personal information.
So far, 200 communities in 34 states have adopted resolutions against the Patriot Act. The National Writers Union joined dozens of other organizations last winter to protest this suppression of civil liberties, and remains firmly committed to this stand.
President Bush is currently proposing to expand police powers through the Patriot Act II. These laws would:
· Give the FBI power to access more internet communications, including email
· Seize private records without judicial oversight
· Apply the death penalty more widely (possibly to punish political advocates).
S1709, a bipartisan bill, would greatly decrease the damaging force of this bill. Suggested limitations would focus on the seizure of library and business records, roving wiretaps, and sneak-and-peek warrants, among others.
The NWU opposes censorship and supports the protection of our basic civil liberties. These laws indicate a serious threat to our freedom of expression, not to mention our liberty and privacy. We strongly urge every member to contact their Senators, asking them to support S1709.