PATRIOT Act and Free Speechless Zones

Holding anti-war signs at a Bush press conference or party convention would be punishable by a year in prison, if the new odious PATRIOT act revisions pass.

From a Green listserv forwarded by Ben Manski, former chair of the national Green Party.

Full text of the pending PATRIOT Act Renewal, with the Joint Explanatory Statement from the GOP members of the Conference Committee

Section 602 makes holding an un-authorised sign at a Democratic or Republican National Convention, a Presidential or VP appearance, and any other event designated by the Secret Service as a "national special security event" a felony punishable by a year imprisonment.

A not farfetched interpretation would have made felons of the entire Wisconsin Delegation to the 1968 Democratic Convention, when Mayor Daley ruled them out of order for moving to adjourn the Convention and reconvene outside Daley’s bailiwick.

Was that before or after Sen. Abe Ribicoff denounced "Gestapo tactics on the streets of Chicago" and Daley screamed "Fuck you, you Jew bastard" at him? Just wondering…

Section 603 makes a separate offense of entering the Convention with forged credentials, possessing such, or even perhaps the time-honored tradition of sharing one’s entry pass to a friend.

Sharing an entry pass is a clear indication of someone who loves the terrorists and hates freedom. Although any Congress that would pass this Orwellian piece of rubbish is no friend of freedom either. Abe Ribicoff would have denounced this bill in no uncertain terms. Where are senators like him now?

  • We have to be careful exaggerating the truth. Although I can Google numerous references to this claim on the web, looking at “original sources” seems to suggest only that UNAUTHORIZED ACCESS into “national special security events” will become a felony, having nothing whatsoever to do with holding unauthorized signs. Likewise, section 603 has to do with forged credentials, but doesn’t seem to involve sharing LEGITIMATE credentials with a friend (which would not be forged, therefore).

    I’m not 100% certain of this, but I definitely am skeptical of the claim being made. There are enough REAL transgressions of civil liberties without inventing (if that is indeed what is happening here) new ones.

  • Bob


    Your points are valid. Interpretation may be what’s important. 602 targets “other disruptive or potentially dangerous conduct” while 603 is about “False Credentials”

    Is waving a sign and chanting “disruptive””? Is using a friends ID to get in using false ID? More to the point, could these be used to target protestors. A federal arrest is serious and requires major lawyers and money to fight – even if the charge is bogus.

    Sec. 602. Interference with National Special Security Events.

    Section 602 of the conference report is a new section. 18 U.S.C. § 1752 authorizes the Secret Service to charge individuals who breach established security perimeters or engage in other disruptive or potentially dangerous conduct at National Special Security Events (NSSEs) if a Secret Service protectee is attending the designated event. Section 602 of the conference report expands 18 U.S.C. § 1752 to criminalize such security breaches at NSSEs that occur when the Secret Service protectee is not in attendance. Additionally, it doubles the statutory penalties (from 6 months to 1 year) for violations of § 1752, to make the penalty consistent with the prescribed penalty under 18 U.S.C. § 3056(d) (interference with Secret Service law enforcement personnel generally). The conference report makes punishable by up to 10 years the thwarting of security procedures by individuals in possession of dangerous or deadly weapons.

    Sec. 603. False Credentials to National Special Security Events.

    Section 603 of the conference report is a new section. This section amends 18 U.S.C. § 1028 to make it a Federal crime to knowingly produce, possess, or transfer a false identification document that could be used to gain unlawful and unauthorized access to any restricted area of a building or grounds in conjunction with a NSSE. Such actions were a problem during the 2002 Winter Olympics, and the conference report will allow for Federal prosecution against such criminal violations at future NSSEs.

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