US Indymedia Global Indymedia Publish About us
Printed from Boston IMC : http://boston.indymedia.org/
Boston.Indymedia
IVAW Winter Soldier

Winter Soldier
Testimonies
Brad Presente

Other Local News

Spare Change News
Open Media Boston
Somerville Voices
Cradle of Liberty
The Sword and Shield

Local Radio Shows

WMBR 88.1 FM
What's Left
WEDS at 8:00 pm
Local Edition
FRI (alt) at 5:30 pm

WMFO 91.5 FM
Socialist Alternative
SUN 11:00 am

WZBC 90.3 FM
Sounds of Dissent
SAT at 11:00 am
Truth and Justice Radio
SUN at 6:00 am

Create account Log in
Comment on this article | View comments | Email this article | Printer-friendly version
News :: Human Rights
New Patriot Act Provision Creates Tighter Barrier to Officials at Public Events
31 Jan 2006
WASHINGTON — A new provision tucked into the Patriot Act bill now before Congress would allow authorities to haul demonstrators at any "special event of national significance" away to jail on felony charges if they are caught breaching a security perimeter.
WASHINGTON — A new provision tucked into the Patriot Act bill now before Congress would allow authorities to haul demonstrators at any "special event of national significance" away to jail on felony charges if they are caught breaching a security perimeter.

Sen. Arlen Specter , R-Pa., chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, sponsored the measure, which would extend the authority of the Secret Service to allow agents to arrest people who willingly or knowingly enter a restricted area at an event, even if the president or other official normally protected by the Secret Service isn't in attendance at the time.

The measure has civil libertarians protesting what they say is yet another power grab for the executive branch and one more loss for free speech.

"It's definitely problematic and chilling," said Lisa Graves, senior counsel for legislative strategy at the American Civil Liberties Union , which has written letters to the chairmen and ranking members of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, pointing out that the provision wasn't subject to hearings or open debate.

Some conservatives say they too are troubled by the measure.

"It concerns me greatly," said Bob Barr, former U.S. prosecutor and Republican representative from Georgia. "It clearly raises serious concerns about First Amendment rights."

But not everyone agrees that rights are being trampled on by the additional provision. In fact, some say the ACLU is the problem when it comes to protecting national security.

Rocco DiPippo, a freelance writer for the conservative FrontPageMagazine.com and editor of The Autonomist Web log , said the ACLU has fought the government every step of the way over security measures following the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

"Its opposition to Specter's reasonable proposal is simply more of the same," he said. "I can understand the concern that we should be suspicious of government, but we shouldn't adopt this mindset: 'government is evil.' This is just more hatred of (President) Bush."

Under current law, the Secret Service can arrest anyone for breaching restricted areas where the president or a protected official is or will be visiting, but the new provision would allow such arrests even after those VIPs have left the premises of any designated "special event of national significance." The provision would increase the maximum penalty for such an infraction from six months to one year in jail.

In a post-Sept. 11 world many non-political events have been designated National Special Security Events and would rise to the higher status. Examples of possible NSSEs are the Olympics or the Super Bowl. In 2004, the presidential inaugural balls and President Ronald Reagan's June funeral procession in Washington, D.C., were designated NSSEs.

According to government sources with knowledge of the legislation, Secret Service protection and law enforcement authority would extend beyond protecting a specific person, rather the event itself would become the "protectee."

Currently, non-violent demonstrators who enter restricted areas at such events previously would be arrested and charged by local law enforcement with simple trespassing, said Graves. Under the provision included in the new law, they will be charged with felonies by the Secret Service.

"It's a different consequence to people," she said.

"You are talking about giving the executive branch broader authority to create these exclusion zones which could cover broad areas and last for days [during an event ]," David Kopel, a constitutional expert with the Cato Institute, told FOXNews.com.

A spokesman at Specter's office said the senator was surprised by the clamor over the provision, which merely makes a technical change to clear up legal confusion over who has arresting authority at NSSEs. His office had no further comment on the provision. Committee Ranking Member Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., also declined comment. Republican and Democratic House Judiciary Committee leaders did not return calls for comment.

White House sources say the measure was not instigated by the administration and pointed out that it was a stand-alone bill that was rolled into the Patriot Act by Specter's office during House-Senate conference negotiations. White House spokeswoman Dana Perino told FOXNews.com that the White House would not comment on the intent of the measure, but that the president is concerned with preserving individual rights.

"President Bush is committed to protecting the American people's national security as well as their civil liberties," she said.

Secret Service representatives said the agency does not comment on pending legislation.

The Bush administration has been criticized in the past for what many say are tactics that keep protesters far away from official events and by employing stringent policies to ensure favorable audiences for the president.

Last year, three ticket-holding audience members at one of the president's Social Security events in Denver, Colo., were apprehended by a man who they said identified himself as Secret Service. The three were forced away from the event because of an anti-war sticker on the driver's car.

"[The administration] has certainly demonstrated a desire to have carefully-controlled events," said Graves.

John Pike, director of GlobalSecurity.org, an Alexandria, Va.-based clearinghouse for domestic and international security information, said he "could certainly understand why the Secret Service would want that legal authority," given the enormous burden of making venues safe for VIPs today.

"However, I think many people have concluded that the way it is being used has nothing to do with protecting the president from Usama bin Laden and everything to do with suppressing dissent and making sure the protesters don't get on TV," Pike said.

Bush is not the first president to flex his authority in this area, said Kopel, who pointed out that beginning with Reagan, presidents have created a larger security bubble and greater distance between themselves and dissenters at public events. The 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States just intensified the situation, he said.

"I think the concerns about free speech in areas where the president is speaking long pre-date Bush. They were an issue in the Clinton administration, the first Bush administration and began as an issue during Reagan," Kopel said. "I do think the ACLU has legitimate concerns about the breadth of the new language and how it could be applied."

Graves points out that conservative "pro-life" groups will be the target of the new provisions, too, a scenario that could raise the concerns for those who are typically critical of the ACLU, which she said is necessarily concerned about other provisions in the bill that impinge on civil liberties.

House and Senate leaders, who return to Capitol Hill this week, are trying to renew the Patriot Act by Friday. Democrats and four Republicans in the Senate who filibustered a final vote in December after raising concerns about preserving civil liberties instituted a short-term extension of the previous bill, which was set to expire on Dec. 31.
See also:
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,183147,00.html

This work is in the public domain
Add a quick comment
Title
Your name Your email

Comment

Text Format
Anti-spam Enter the following number into the box:
To add more detailed comments, or to upload files, see the full comment form.

Comments

Re: New Patriot Act Provision Creates Tighter Barrier to Officials at Public Events
31 Jan 2006
Great idea!
It only seems fair that when you ask someone to please vacate or move back ten or twelve times - then they should be arrested for their ignorance. it seems the protesters brought this on themselves and now are going to complain about it? Interesting.
Veteran, the most ignorant poster on any IMC.
31 Jan 2006
"It only seems fair that when you ask someone to please vacate or move back ten or twelve times - then they should be arrested for their ignorance."

OK, Veteran. I'm asking you leave. Back off and post somewhere else. If you don't comply, I will arrest you.
Re: New Patriot Act Provision Creates Tighter Barrier to Officials at Public Events
31 Jan 2006
Silly Rabbit, tricks are for kids.

Cambridge 2005 - the United States Army's BIRTHDAY PARTY!

Protesters asked many, many times to back off adn STOP climbing over the barricades. Final outcome - the PD arresting and having to cart off those that cannpt follow directions. It's called disorderly conduct or disturbing the peace which usually gets a resisting arrest or maybe even an assault on a police office thrown in. Those that can't listen usually cry, whine and resist when their turn comes to be escorted away.

Much more to it but that is some of it!
Re: New Patriot Act Provision Creates Tighter Barrier to Officials at Public Events
31 Jan 2006
those activists *wanted* to get arrested and make a point. please don't be so naive.
Re: New Patriot Act Provision Creates Tighter Barrier to Officials at Public Events
31 Jan 2006
So the point was................
Act like an ass and get arrested and then whine about it?
Where is the point?
Lots of growing u pand an obvious lack of parenting back in the day is quite obvious here!
Here's another warning, Veteran
31 Jan 2006
Step back from the computer. We've arbitrarily decided to make this IMC a restricted zone. Right-wing lunatics are not invited. Obey or you will be arrested.
Re: New Patriot Act Provision Creates Tighter Barrier to Officials at Public Events
31 Jan 2006
Opinions that differ and the truth are not invited is what you meant to say. Right?
Re: New Patriot Act Provision Creates Tighter Barrier to Officials at Public Events
31 Jan 2006
thats not the point vet. The point is that now it will be a felony. Just like using a gun in a robbery. So do you agree that tresspassing should be a felony? Is our free speech and acts of civil disobediance equal to armed robbery?
Re: New Patriot Act Provision Creates Tighter Barrier to Officials at Public Events
31 Jan 2006
Is your act of approaching a protected official to make an ass out of yourself worth the felony conviction? That's up to you! Common sense should say NO!

PS - Stop hiding behind the "free speech" and "civil disobediance" nonsense. This is 2006 and EVERYONE has the right to be heard but in the right forum , with the right amount of respect and maintaining yourself as a concerned citizen and not some crazed lunatic. Hence, the reason Sweet Cindy will never be heard or taken seriously.
Re: New Patriot Act Provision Creates Tighter Barrier to Officials at Public Events
31 Jan 2006
it's all about dissent, Veteran, and the right to voice it. I mean, if you were at a communist parade, you would want to be able to show up w/a couple signs against it, wouldn't you? So what if you lived under a Communist regime and they tell you that anytime you show dissent in front of a public official, you'll end up in jail... I think the US is turning slowly into a tyranny, if you ask me.
You can reason with "Veteran".
31 Jan 2006
Those who are so pliable as to be molded by the state would bend in awe before Bush under fascism and bend in awe before Moa under communism. Both are made of the same silly putty and nothing more.
Re: New Patriot Act Provision Creates Tighter Barrier to Officials at Public Events
31 Jan 2006
So, Rosa Parks should not have stayed seated, she should have offered her opinion in the "proper" place (ie: one were it does not bother the master). Civil rights marchers should have been chaged with felonies. Next those who oppose bush will be marked by a little red L on their chest like the jews in germany.
Re: New Patriot Act Provision Creates Tighter Barrier to Officials at Public Events
31 Jan 2006
Thanks for speaking for black people. Any other racist nonsense you can just keep to yourself. I know plenty of gay black vegen people. Your one black friend does not convince me that ALL people of color are reactionary conservatives like yourself. So it appears that you are attempting to use someones color to push your ideology.
Re: New Patriot Act Provision Creates Tighter Barrier to Officials at Public Events
31 Jan 2006
Anyway, this post was about the new Patriot Act provisions on protesting. You got any comments on that?
Re: New Patriot Act Provision Creates Tighter Barrier to Officials at Public Events
01 Feb 2006
Gonna sidestep that one eh Brad?
It's ok. It's not the first time the Boston anarcracker community utterly failed to stand behind their lame ass bluster.

Point taken that IMC is shielding lamers from having dialogue.
Grow Balls Today
01 Feb 2006
Anyway, why is IMC always running their jib about doing out reach to 'people of color" aka "colored people"? It seems that when the first opportunity arises, some well placed censors desperately try to salt up the arrangements.
Re: New Patriot Act Provision Creates Tighter Barrier to Officials at Public Events
01 Feb 2006
I never once "ran my jib about helping people of color". Not sure what the hell you are talkin bout. Yo.
Re: New Patriot Act Provision Creates Tighter Barrier to Officials at Public Events
01 Feb 2006
OK so you're claiming to be the IMC now?