The following article is from the Associated Press about how a judge in the U.S. declared as unconstitutional a section of the USA Patriot Act that bars giving expert advice or assistance to groups designated foreign terrorist organizations. As written, the Act does not differentiate between impermissible advice on violence and encouraging the use of peaceful, nonviolent means to achieve goals. You can see the original article at http://www.canada.com/news/world/story.html? id=3BB0CD48-E137-4874-AAEF-4AF64A271E31.
U.S. judge rules part of the Patriot Act is unconstitutional
by Linda Deutsch
January 26, 2004
LOS ANGELES (AP) - For the first time, a federal judge has declared unconstitutional a section of the USA Patriot Act that bars giving expert advice or assistance to groups designated foreign terrorist organizations.
In a ruling handed down late Friday and made available Monday, U.S. District Judge Audrey Collins said the ban is vague in its wording. The U.S. Justice Department is reviewing the ruling, spokesman Mark Corallo said in a statement from Washington.
Corallo called the Patriot Act - the federal anti-terrorism statute passed in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks - "an essential tool in the war on terror" and asserted that the portion at issue in the ruling was only a modest amendment to a pre-existing anti-terrorism law.
David Cole, a Georgetown University law professor who argued the case on behalf of the Humanitarian Law Project, declared the ruling "a victory for everyone who believes the war on terrorism ought to be fought consistent with constitutional principles."
"It Is the first federal court decision declaring any part of the Patriot Act unconstitutional," he said.
The case before the court involved five groups and two U.S. citizens seeking to provide support for lawful, nonviolent activities on behalf of Kurdish refugees in Turkey.
The Humanitarian Law Project said the plaintiffs were threatened with 15 years in prison if they advised groups on seeking a peaceful resolution of the Kurds' campaign for self-determination in Turkey.
The judge's ruling said the law, as written, does not differentiate between impermissible advice on violence and encouraging the use of peaceful, nonviolent means to achieve goals.
"The USA Patriot Act places no limitation on the type of expert advice and assistance which is prohibited and instead bans the provision of all expert advice and assistance regardless of its nature," the judge said.
The ruling specified that the plaintiffs seek to provide support to "the lawful, nonviolent activities" of the Kurdistan Workers' Party and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, an advocate group for the Tamil people in Sri Lanka. Both groups are on a list issued by former secretary of state Madeline Albright in 1997 of "foreign terrorist organizations."
In Sri Lanka, the LTTE has been engaged in a two-decade civil war that has killed more than 65,000 people. Turkey's military has been battling Kurdish rebels seeking autonomy since 1984, a fight that has left some 37,000 people dead.
Under the Patriot Act, the U.S. prohibition on providing "material support" or "resources" to terrorist groups was expanded to include "expert advice or assistance."
The ruling follows a December decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn portions of a sweeping 1996 anti-terror law which preceded the Patriot Act. A three-judge panel found the law's reference to financial assistance or "material support" to terrorist organizations was overboard.
The government has asked for a rehearing of the three-judge decision by the entire circuit court.
Another challenge to the Patriot Act is pending in Detroit. In that case, the American Civil Liberties Union argued that the law gives federal agents unlimited and unconstitutional authority to secretly seize library reading lists and other personal records.
General Fair Use Notice
This reposted page may contain copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Globalissues.org is making this article available in efforts to advance the understanding of the workings, impact and direction of various global issues. I believe that this constitutes a “fair use” of the copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Law. If you wish to use this copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond “fair use,” you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
This article is part of the following collection:
- War on Terror: Crackdown on Civil Rights; War on Freedom
- Amnesty International: Human Rights Backlash
- U.S. Intensifies the War of Words
- America’s hyperreal war on terrorism
- Post-September 11 Corporate Stance
- Goodbye to Patriotism
- The Silence on Terrorism
- The New McCarthyism
- American Caesar
- Farewell Liberty
- Bush’s Aggressive Accounting
- Race War
- The War on Dissent Widens
- The USA PATRIOT Act Was Planned Before 9/11
- FBI digs deeper into the Web
- Seven Points
- The War on Freedom and Democracy in the EU
- Overview of Changes to Legal Rights
- How I became a target for America’s zealots
- Washington’s Eye on the Internet
- High treason in the U.S. government
- US Librarians See 'Big Brother' Monitoring
- Muted Response to Ashcroft’s Sneak Attack on Liberties
- Our Designated Killers, 'Where Is the Outrage?'
- Our voices are lost in the tide of intolerance sweeping America
- Broad Domestic Role Asked for C.I.A. and the Pentagon
- Amnesty International: No Shortcut to Genuine Security
- Asian Security Talks Risk Giving Green Light to Repression
- South African Anti-Terror Bill Draconian
- Rage. Mistrust. Hatred. Fear. Uncle Sam’s Enemies Within
- US Anti-war Activists Hit by Secret Airport Ban
- On the Record
- Army Admits Using JetBlue Data
- Congress Defunds Controversial 'Total Information' Program
- Federal Judge Rules Part of Patriot Act Unconstitutional
- Executive Power after 9-11 in the United States
- War on Terror or War on Liberties?
- War on Global Values
- India’s 'No' to 9-11 Legacy
- Homeland Security: The price of safety
- Republicans See Signs That Pentagon Is Evading Oversight
- Is the Pentagon spying on Americans?
- Judge Rules NSA Warrantless Spy Program Unconstitutional
- Pentagon is keeping secret tabs on peaceful protest activities
- Is Princeton Professor and Retired Marine on Government No-Fly List for Criticizing the White House?
- Corporate Takeover of US Intelligence
- US and Europe Near Agreement on Private Data