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Old May 23, 2005, 03:20 PM   #1
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Join Date: June 7, 1999
Posts: 3,846
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America's Aggressive Civil Rights Organization

May 23, 2005

JPFO ALERT: Especially For "Conservative" Supporters --
Did You Know About This?

Many members and supporters of JPFO describe
themselves as politically "conservative;" many also support
President Bush and most of his policies. We are grateful
for their support of JPFO's mission and we rely upon it to
continue our work.

Since 2001, we have noticed that many conservative
talk show hosts and commentators have dismissed any
concerns about civil liberties problems with the USA
Patriot Act. We at JPFO are always concerned about
potential and actual violations of the letter and spirit of
the Bill of Rights, so we have been highly suspicious and
critical of the Patriot Act. We have been disappointed
that conservative media people have shown little or no
interest in the civil liberties issues involved.

We heard commentators pooh-pooh the concerns that the
FBI's new power to procure library records of patrons could
lead to abuses and loss of freedom. One national talk show
host would challenge callers: "Name me a single instance of
federal agents snooping into library records!"

In a guest article appearing in the May 18, 2005
edition of USA Today, Ms. Joan Airoldi in Whatcom County,
Washington, answered that challenge. Ms. Airoldi is the
Director of the Whatcom County Library District.

Ms. Airoldi opened her article:

"It was a moment that librarians had been dreading. On
June 8, 2004, an FBI agent stopped at the Deming
branch [of the Library] and requested a list of the
people who had borrowed a biography of Osama bin
Laden. We said no."

The Library had consulted their lawyer and done their
homework, so they told the FBI that it would have to follow
the proper procedures. About a week later, the FBI served
a subpoena upon the Library, demanding a list of everyone
who had borrowed that book since November 2001.

Ms. Airoldi explained the Library's decision to oppose
the subpoena in court:

"It is our job to protect the right of people to
obtain the books and other materials they need to form
and express ideas. If the government can easily
obtain records of the books that our patrons are
borrowing, [the patrons] will not feel free to request
the books they want."

Penetratingly, Ms. Airoldi put it: "Who would check
out a biography of bin Laden knowing that this might
attract the attention of the FBI?"

After the Library's legal challenge, the FBI withdrew
its request. Ms. Airoldi learned, however, that under the
Patriot Act, the FBI could go to a secret court to obtain a
court order to obtain the borrowing records. By invoking
"national security" as a reason, the FBI could obtain this
order without having to explain whom they suspect of any
crime or why the investigation is being undertaken. Under
the Patriot Act, there is no direct way for anyone to
challenge such an order. Librarians would be barred from
even telling anyone about the order from the secret court.

Think again about this brave library director's
question: Who would check out a book from the library if
doing so would attract the FBI's attention?

If you believe that "I've got nothing to hide" is a
sufficient answer, then you don't know very much about FBI
investigations. The fact is, open FBI investigations are
not narrow inquiries -- they probe into every detail,
related or not, looking for evidence of some wrongdoing.
You can't predict what word or deed might implicate you.
You do not want to be under investigation by the FBI.

Incidentally, why did the FBI subpoena all of the
borrowing records for the bin Laden biography? As it
happens, there were two sentences scribbled in the margin
of the book that said: "If the things I'm doing is
considered a crime, then let history be a witness that I am
a criminal. Hostility toward America is a religious duty
and we hope to be rewarded by God."

Were these two sentences evidence that one of the book
borrowers is a terrorist? Unlikely, for two reasons.
First, we do not know that a registered borrower wrote the
sentences. Second, those two sentences are nearly verbatim
quotes from statements made by bin Laden himself in a 1998
interview. Thus, the two sentences do not necessarily
reflect the thoughts of the margin scribbler or any
registered borrower -- anyone could write a bin Laden quote
for any reason at any time.

If somebody else's margin scribble in a library book
is enough to put you on the FBI's suspect list, then do you
have more liberty or less? Secret courts with unreviewable
court order powers -- are these more a feature of free
countries or of police states?

(While you're pondering those questions, click on our
Alert about the National ID law --

We salute Library Director Joan Airoldi's courage, and
that of her Library's Board, in standing up for the rights
of Americans. We challenge the conservative media
community to applaud Ms. Airoldi also. Regretfully, we
expect the conservative media folks to ignore the story
totally, and that is a sad commentary indeed.

- The Liberty Crew

librarian-edit_x.htm or
04.htm or

To learn more about police state policies and their
appearance in America, get and read: The State vs. The
People, available at


JPFO mirror site:

Original Material in JPFO ALERTS is Copyright 2005 JPFO, Inc.
Permission is granted to reproduce this alert in full, so long
as the following JPFO contact information is included:

Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership
PO Box 270143
Hartford, Wisconsin 53027

Phone: 1-262-673-9745
Order line: 1-800-869-1884 (toll-free!)
Fax: 1-262-673-9746
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