Use of Secret Evidence and Detentions

Shortly after the September 11 attacks, I was asked to join a new coalition which now consists of about 150 conservative, green, liberal and libertarian organizations and websites lead by political powerhouses like the ACLU and Free Congress Foundation. The resulting coalition was called “In Defense of Freedom”, which developed a 10 point declaration regarding civil liberties and anti-terrorism legislation.

For more information:

Unfortunately, some of the worst parts of the anti-terrorism legislation have now been passed by House of Representatives and will very likely pass with overwhelming support in the Senate today. The resulting legislation will likely be signed into law next week by the President.

Worst on the list, the legislation expands use of secret evidence giving law enforcement almost unfettered authority to jail immigrants on a mere accusation without evidence and with no real time limit on incarceration. This has been happening for years, but this legislation will expand the practice dramatically.

The 4th and 5th Amendments have been shredded and doctor-patient privilege has been rendered null and void by this legislation which allows law enforcement to seize medical records and search any location and seize property without notifying the owners until later, if at all, without necessarily securing a search warrant. Obviously, this is completely un-Constitutional and the potential for abuse is staggering. Clearly, this ability will be very useful in silencing activists and community leaders when they get too close to affecting changes in local politics and government.

Furthermore, the bills will likely not receive a second review by either the House or Senate Committees on the Judiciary before moving onto the President. Democrats and Republicans have cowardly failed the people in allowing this to occur.

Despite the best efforts of In Defense of Freedom Coalition and The Coalition for Constitutional Liberties (another coalition I belong to), which kept many bad provisions out of consideration, this legislation has resulted in increased ability of government to suppress dissident political thought through suspension of the 4th and 5th Amendments. To protect against this type of intimidation and oppression is precisely why the Amendments were originally passed.

Welcome to the dawn of the police state. Clearly, this fight is only beginning and things are apt to get much worse. Any readers who are in leadership positions of organizations with a policy, activist, or political bent are strongly urged to join this extremely ideologically and politically diverse Coalition. Information on joining can be found at:

For information on the activities of the Coalition for Constitutional Liberties,
how to join and other civil liberties issues:

This entry is also posted at Yahoo! Groups – Race Debate.

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