(WILPF is one of the groups supporting the Resolution see list at end).


> Philadelphia City Council Overwhelmingly Passes Resolution Against USA
> PATRIOT ACT
>
> Thursday, May 29th (Philadelphia) _ By a vote of 13-3, Philadelphia City
> Council joined 115 other local and state governments around the country
> to call for the repeal of the USA Patriot Act. Introduced by Councilman
> Angel Ortiz, the resolution called for the _Philadelphia Congressional
> Delegation to vigilantly monitor the implementation of the USA Patriot
> Act and to actively work to repeal the Act._ Citing the long struggle for
> civil liberties in the United States, several council members spoke out
> in favor of the resolution. None spoke in opposition.
>
> "The real irony of the Patriot Act is that it's just plain unpatriotic,"
> says Ortiz. "The Constitution and the Declaration of Independence grant
> every American unalienable rights, and we've allowed the Patriot Act to
> erode those rights without question. And the worst of it is, if you dare
> to question the Patriot Act you're immediately labeled unpatriotic. What
> could be more patriotic than standing up for the rights of citizens and
> taxpayers? And what could be more unpatriotic than to happily watch those
> rights trampled upon?"
>
> Perhaps the most dramatic moment in the debate was when Councilman David
> Cohen introduced Hiro Nishikawa, a survivor of a Japanese internment camp
> during World War II, who was present to support the resolution. _Hiro
> Nishikawa_s experience is a stark reminder of dark days in our nation_s
> history. We must not allow the government to trample our civil liberties
> under the cloud of war,_ says Iftekhar Hussain, Secretary General of the
> American Muslim Society of Pennsylvania. _This resolution sends a clear
> message: Philadelphians value their constitutional rights!_
>
> Throngs of resolution supporters filled city Council Chambers. At
> 11:00am, the sergeant-at-arms was forced to declare that the room was at
> capacity. Several dozen supporters were forced to wait in the hallway,
> unable to get inside. Nearly 20 community groups in Philadelphia had
> endorsed the resolution, many of whose members were present at the vote.
>
> _The broad range of groups that have come together- across the religious,
> racial and political spectrum- shows that there is a growing consensus
> among the public: the USA Patriot Act is a threat to our communities,_
> says Ben Waxman, coordinator of Unite for Peace. _When Unite for Peace
> initiated this campaign, we had no idea the level of support it would
> receive. Needless to say, we are thrilled at the outcome._
>
> ###
>
> Resolution Against the USA PATRIOT ACT and Other Executive Orders for the
> City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
>
> Urging the City Administration to demonstrate Philadelphia_s strong
> commitment to civil liberties by continuing and strengthening the City_s
> protection of the Constitutional rights of all persons in our City,
> regardless of race, religion, or national origin, and urging our
> Congressional Delegation to vigilantly monitor the implementation of the
> USA Patriot Act and to actively work to repeal the Act or those sections
> of the Act and those Orders, rules and regulations issued under the Act,
> that violate the fundamental rights and liberties of persons protected by
> the United States Constitution and its Amendments.
>
> WHEREAS, the City of Philadelphia recognizes that a threat to any one
> person_s Constitutional rights is a threat to the rights of all; and
>
> WHEREAS, the City of Philadelphia has been and remains committed to the
> protection of civil rights and liberties for all residents; and
>
> WHEREAS, the Declaration of Independence of the United States, which was
> written in Philadelphia, holds as self-evident that all people are
> created equal and are endowed with the inalienable rights of life,
> liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and
>
> WHEREAS, the United States Constitution guarantees all person living in
> the United States certain fundamental rights including freedom of
> religion, speech, assembly and privacy; protection from unreasonable
> searches and seizures; due process and equal protection; and access to
> counsel, presumption of innocence and a fair, speedy public trial; and
>
> WHEREAS, a great crime against humanity occurred on September 11, 2001,
> resulting in new federal laws and enforcement powers, including the USA
> Patriot Act signed by President George W. Bush on October 26, 2001; and
>
> WHEREAS, the USA Patriot Act was written to respond to the attack on our
> nation, it weakens, contradicts and undermines the basic constitutional
> rights outlined above. The Act, a 342 page document, was hastily enacted
> in six weeks without public hearings, or a Congressional "mark-up"; and
>
> WHEREAS, examples of the Patriot Act_s threat to these fundamental rights
> include the Government_s expanded power to: engage in limited judicial
> supervision of telephone and Internet surveillance; grant law enforcement
> and intelligence agencies broad access to sensitive medical, mental
> health, financial, and educational records with little, if any, judicial
> oversight; expand the government_s ability to conduct secret searches of
> individual_s homes and businesses, including monitoring what books are
> bought from bookstores or borrowed from libraries; and limits the
> disclosure of public documents and records under the Freedom of
> Information Act; and
> WHEREAS, Department of Justice interpretations of the Patriot Act and
> Executive Orders appear to impact on selective racial and religious
> groups including residents of other nations. This has caused alarm among
> many of our local citizens and non-citizens who fear an emergent climate
> for racial and ethnic profiling. This is especially disconcerting because
> the City of Philadelphia is home to a diverse population, whose
> contributions are vital to the city_s character and function; and
>
> WHEREAS, on May 30, 2002 this City Council passed resolution #020394
> which vigorously opposed federal policy giving local and state law
> enforcement agencies the authority to investigate the citizenship and
> residency status of any person unless required by court decision, or
> statute; and
>
> WHEREAS, the City Council commended the leadership of the city_s Police
> Department for protecting the privacy rights of non-citizens in our city
> by implementing Police Directive Memorandum 01-06 requiring all police
> personnel to "preserve the confidentiality of all information regarding
> law abiding immigrants to the maximum extent permitted by law."; and
>
> WHEREAS, the City of Philadelphia_s proactive response to the threats of
> terrorism following the attacks on September 11, 2001 was to establish in
> 2002 the Counter-Terrorism Bureau within the Philadelphia Police
> Department and
>
> WHEREAS, the City Council supports the Counter-Terrorism Bureau_s mandate
> including it_s policy which explicitly provides for the "legitimate
> needs of law enforcement while at the same time maintaining the
> constitutional and statutory parameters, which guarantee each individual
> the right to privacy," thus, another illustration of our city_s
> commitment to upholding basic civil liberties; and
>
> WHEREAS, many other communities and over fifty cities throughout the
> country have enacted resolutions reaffirming support for civil rights and
> civil liberties in the face of government policies that threaten these
> values, and are demanding accountability from federal agencies regarding
> the use of these new powers; therefore
>
> RESOLVED by the Council of the City of Philadelphia, that the City
> Council of Philadelphia reaffirms its support of the United States
> government in its campaign against global terrorism, but also reaffirms
> that any efforts to end terrorism not be waged at the expense of the
> fundamental civil liberties of the people of Philadelphia, and all
> citizens of the United States; and
>
> RESOLVED FURTHER, that the City of Philadelphia affirms the rights of all
> people, including United States citizens and citizens of other nations,
> living within the City in accordance with the Bill of Rights and the
> Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution; and
>
> RESOLVED FURTHER, that the City Council of Philadelphia urges the city
> administration and its citizens during the course of their daily life to
> be guided by the collective responsibility and obligation of safeguarding
> the constitutional protections afforded all people of our city. The
> Council recognizes that this is the paramount responsibility of local law
> enforcement personnel, appointed and elected government offices that are
> ultimately responsible for upholding the solemn oath they have taken to
> preserve, protect and defend the Constitutions of the United States and
> the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; and
>
> FINALLY RESOLVED, that the Council calls on our United States
> Representatives and Senators to monitor the implementation of the Act and
> Executive Orders cited herein and actively work for the repeal of the Act
> or those sections of the Act including Executive Orders that violate
> fundamental rights and liberties as stated in the United States
> Constitution and its Amendments.
> Introduced by Philadelphia City Councilman Angel L. Ortiz
> Thursday, May 29th, 2003
>
> Community Organizations Supporting the Resolution:
>
> American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania
> American Muslim Society of the Tristate Region
> African People's Solidarity Committee
> Arab-American Community Development Corporation
> Philadelphia Arab-American Association
> Black Radical Congress
> Bread and Roses Community Fund
> Coalition for the Defense of Civil Liberties
> First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia _ Global Concerns Committee
> Hispanic Bar Association of Philadelphia
> Japanese American Citizen_s League of Philadelphia
> Philadelphia Jewish Peace Network
> Jobs With Justice
> Muslim Bar Association of Philadelphia
> Philadelphia Chapter of the National Organization for Women
> The Shalom Center
> Women's International League for Peace and Freedom
> Why War?