Community Resolution for Aquinnah, MA

Resolution for Aquinnah on the Patriot Act

WHEREAS the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution and the Constitution of the State of Massachusetts ensure that every person has the right to freedom of speech and association. Every person has the right to freedom of religion. Every person has the right to assembly and privacy. Every person has the right to due process in judicial proceedings. Every person has the right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure. Stops or arrests may not be made without establishing reasonable suspicion or probable cause that a crime has been committed or is about to be committed. Every person has the right to equal protection under the law and the right not to be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.

WHEREAS there is strong evidence that these guarantees are threatened by parts of the USA PATRIOT Act, related legislation, and Federal Executive orders which allow:

a) detaining citizens and residents of Aquinnah without bringing legal charges and denying their right to counsel;
b) monitoring their telephone, internet and library use, video rentals, book and grocery purchases, financial transactions, medical records and other activities without evidence of criminal behavior and without a court order;
c) spying on domestic organizations without evidence of wrongdoing, designating organizations as "terrorist" without evidence of intent to act against the US and deporting citizens and residents who contribute to these organizations even if they are unaware of the "terrorist" designation;
d) conducting secret military tribunals without fundamental legal protections;
e) secretly searching the homes of residents and citizens of Aquinnah when they are absent; and
f) profiling individuals according to their ethnicity

WHEREAS the people of Aquinnah are joining over 250 cities and towns in the US in affirming strong opposition to those parts of the USA PATRIOT Act, related legislation and acts, and to certain Justice Department directives and executive orders that weaken or destroy our constitutional civil rights and liberties.

BE IT RESOLVED that the Town of Aquinnah should employ all possible leverage to ensure that Federal and State law enforcement officials working on the Island not engage, to the extent legally permissible, in law enforcement activities that threaten our civil rights and civil liberties, such as surveillance, wiretaps, and securing private information, which the USA PATRIOT Act and related legislation and acts authorize.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the people of Aquinnah request that our United States Congressional representatives monitor the implementation of the USA PATRIOT ACT and related legislation, acts, and executive orders, and actively work for the repeal of the parts of those documents that violate fundamental rights and liberties as stated in the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of Massachusetts, in the United Nations Charter, and the ratified International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention Against Torture, and the Convention on Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the Town Clerk communicate this resolution to all Town departments, the General Court, the Governor and Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Congressional delegation, the US Attorney General, the President of the United States and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva, Switzerland.

On September 28, 2004, the Aquinnah voters also passed a bylaw.

ARTICLE: To see if the town will vote to adopt the following bylaw:

In order to develop a systematic process for town response to requests for information or assistance under provisions of the USA Patriot Act (Public Law (107-56) or related orders of the executive branch, where such procedure may be in violation of an individual's civil rights or civil liberties, and

In order to protect the civil rights and civil liberties of all town residents, citizens and visitors and to affirm the Town's commitment to embody democracy, and to embrace, defend and uphold the inalienable rights and fundamental liberties granted under the United States and the Massachusetts Constitutions:

Any employee who receives a request, subpoena or other order under a law referred to in this by-law shall immediately contact the office of the Town Counsel for advice on how to proceed or respond. If there is a request made to town law enforcement and the urgency of the matter precludes referral to Town Counsel, law enforcement shall notify Town Counsel at the earliest possible time.

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