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News ::
State Resolution Could Help Civil Liberties! (english)
06 Apr 2003
A House Resolution being introduced by constiuents of Rep. William Greene of Billerica, MA may protect our civil liberties if passed. Read the resolution, and contact me for more information!
Read the following resolution, if you support it and can send around petitions of support for it, let me know: jimlrush (at) msn.com
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AN ACT affirming the legislature's commitment to human rights, civil liberties, and all protections guaranteed by the constitutions of the United states and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and other international charters and covenants.

WHEREAS, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has a long and distinguished history of protecting and expanding human rights, civil liberties, and constitutional protections, often serving as a beacon for our country's citizens when their rights, liberties, and protections are threatened; and

WHEREAS, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has the most diverse population in the nation, and the contributions of citizens and non-citizens are vital to its character, harmony, and spirit of life; and

WHEREAS, numerous American citizens from Massachusetts have served in the Armed Forces of the United States with courage and honor; and

WHEREAS, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts contains many sites that memorialize the gratitude felt by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the nation for the supreme sacrifice made by those in the Armed Forces who have died in battle protecting these same cherished rights, liberties, and protections; and

WHEREAS, several actions recently taken by the federal government, including the adoption of the USA PATRIOT Act and Homeland Security Act, and the promulgation of several executive orders and departmental rules and regulations, may tempt the federal government to sacrifice fundamental human rights and civil liberties that are guaranteed by the constitutions of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and United States, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Convention Against Torture, and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and Convention on Elimination of Racial Discrimination, which require the United States to promote human rights for all without distinction; and

WHEREAS, at least two American citizens are already being held incommunicado without charges or access to defense counsel, in violation of their right to a public trial guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States; and

WHEREAS, the USA PATRIOT Act defines "domestic terrorism" so broadly as to potentially apply to certain acts of civil disobedience by lawful advocacy groups, which may be labeled as terrorist organizations and subjected to invasive surveillance, signal and electronic intelligence gathering, harassment, and criminal penalties for protected political advocacy; and

WHEREAS, the USA PATRIOT Act grants unchecked power to the Secretary of State to designate domestic groups as "terrorist organizations and greatly expands the government's ability to conduct secret searches without warrants; and

WHEREAS, the Justice Department has issued a directive limiting Freedom of Information Act compliance, citing the threat of terrorism as justification, thereby limiting disclosure of public documents and records covering all government information, much of which has no connection to national security or law enforcement; and

WHEREAS, the United States Attorney General unilaterally, without consulting Congress, eased long-standing intelligence guidelines which were put in place in 1976 as a result of gross intelligence abuses by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and issues surrounding the Watergate Hotel break-in by operatives linked to the Nixon White House; and

WHEREAS, new guidelines allow Federal Bureau of Investigation agents to spy on religious groups, political rallies, and organized meetings without any suspicion that the organization is involved in terrorism or any other criminal activity; and

WHEREAS, this type of unchecked intelligence gathering led to the intelligence abuses of the 1960s and 1970s, including the severe disruption of the civil rights movement and the murder of many leading activists and dissidents; now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the House of Representatives of the One hundred and eighty-third General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Regular Session of 2003, that actions recently taken by the federal government pose a threat to the human rights, civil liberties, and constitutional protections of the residents of this Commonwealth, and run the very serious risk of destroying freedom, security, and prosperity in a misguided attempt to save them; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Legislature remains firmly committed to the protection of the human rights, civil liberties, and constitutional protections of all people residing within the Commonwealth, including those who are citizens of other nations, and affirm its commitment to embody the true spirit of democracy, to embrace and defend the rights, liberties, and protections now under siege, and to make them equally viable for all, regardless of citizenship status, gender, sexual orientation, racial identification, religious affiliation, age, or country of origin; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that federal and county law enforcement officials acting within the Commonwealth work in accordance with the policies of the county police departments, and in cooperation with those departments, and not engage in law enforcement activities that threaten the human rights, civil liberties, and constitutional protections of people residing in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Legislature requests that Massachusetts’ delegation to the Congress of the United States monitor the implementation of the USA PATRIOT Act, Homeland Security Act, executive orders, and federal departmental rules and regulations cited herein, and actively work for the repeal of those Acts, and the withdrawal of those executive orders, and federal department rules and regulations, that violate human rights and civil liberties stated in the constitutions of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and United States, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Convention Against Torture, and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and Convention on Elimination of Racial Discrimination; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the United States Attorney's Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Homeland Security, county law enforcement authorities and relevant state departments are requested to report findings and recommendations to the Legislature twenty days before the convening of the Regular Session of 2004 on the extent and manner in which they have acted under the USA PATRIOT Act, Homeland Security Act, executive orders, and federal departmental rules and regulations, that weaken or destroy our human rights and civil liberties stated in the constitutions of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and United States, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Convention Against Torture, and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and Convention on Elimination of Racial Discrimination, including the disclosure of the names and locations of any detainees held in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts or any Massachusetts residents detained elsewhere as "enemy combatants"; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a certified copy of this Resolution be transmitted to the President of the United States, United States Attorney General, Director of Homeland Security, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Majority Leader of the United States Senate, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, members of Massachusetts’ delegation to the Congress of the United States, the Governor, Attorney General, and the local governments of the Cities, Towns, and Counties of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
See also:
http://www.geocities.com/borda2003
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