Town voted by a majority vote on May 8, 2004 to adopt the following resolution: To defend our state and federal Constitutions from threats imposed upon them by the USA PATRIOT Act and certain Executive Orders, by calling upon our elected representatives to work for their repeal.
Whereas the threat to our communities92 security posed by acts of terror at home and abroad moves us to speak out against the need to sacrifice civil liberties in order to secure our lives, recognizing that such a sacrifice itself incites terror; and
Whereas the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution guarantees those living in the United States the following rights:
Freedom of speech, assembly and privacy;
The rights to counsel and due process in judicial proceedings; and
Protection from unreasonable searches and seizures and subpoenas without a court order; and
Whereas we believe these civil liberties are inalienable, yet are now threatened by
A. The USA PATRIOT Act, which, among other provisions,
- Gives the Attorney General and the Secretary of State the power to designate domestic groups as “terrorist organizations” (Sections 411/602);
- Asserts that an unknowing association with terrorists is a deportable offense, and allows non-citizens to be jailed indefinitely without the government’s having to show they are terrorists (Sections 411/412);
- All but eliminates judicial supervision of telephone and Internet surveillance (Sections
- Greatly expands the government’s ability to conduct secret searches and take away one’s property without a hearing (Sections 213/606);
- Grants the FBI broad access to medical, mental health, financial, educational, and library records about individuals without having to show evidence of a crime and without a court order (Sections 215/505); and
B. Federal Executive Orders, which, for example,
- Establish secret military tribunals for terrorism suspects (11/13/01);
- Permit wiretapping of conversations between federal prisoners and their lawyers;
- Lift Justice Department regulations against illegal COINTELPRO-type operations by the FBI (covert activities such as wiretapping without a court order that in the past targeted domestic groups and individuals); and
- Limit the disclosure of public documents and records under the Freedom of Information Act
Whereas the USA PATRIOT Act and these Executive Orders particularly target foreign nationals and people of Middle Eastern and South Asian descent, but could affect any one of us in the U.S.A. acting and speaking legally in opposing government policy; and
Whereas we, the citizens of Heath, Massachusetts, do fully support and seek to uphold and protect the United States Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Constitution of the
Commonwealth of Massachusetts and its Declaration of Rights; and
Whereas sections of the USA PATRIOT Act and these several Executive Orders now threaten many of our fundamental rights guaranteed by the above-named documents;
Now, therefore, we, the citizens of Heath, Massachusetts, do hereby call upon our local officials to urge, on behalf of the citizens of this town, our Congressman and Senators to work actively for the repeal of all sections of the aforementioned Act and Orders that permit the violation our fundamental rights and liberties as set out in the state and federal constitutions, which form the bedrock of freedom in the United States of America.
Every month, you'll receive regular roundups of the most important civil rights and civil liberties developments. Remember: a well-informed citizenry is the best defense against tyranny.