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The Pittsburgh Bill of Rights Defense Campaign (PBORDC) held its first press conference on Thursday, July 3 at the City-County Building in downtown Pittsburgh. The group is asking the City Council to pass a resolution that would make Pittsburgh a "civil liberties safe-zone," a city that refuses to enforce unconstitutional provisions of the USA Patriot Act and the proposed Domestic Security Enhancement Act. PBORDC is a newly launched project of the Thomas Merton Center.
A man dressed as Uncle Sam and another wearing a Bush mask shredded copies of the Bill of Rights to demonstrate that our civil liberties are being systemically destroyed by Federal laws such as the USA Patriot Act, the Home Security Act, and various Executive Orders, while speakers urged listeners to sign a petition in support of the resolution and against the USA PATRIOT Act.
The press conference was part of a national day of action called by the National Coalition for the Repeal of the USA Patriot Act. Pittsburgh joined cities across the country that held independent public hearings in which people shared their testimony of how the Patriot Act has infringed on their civil liberties.
The dangers are serious, says the group. For example, without a warrant and without probable cause, Section 215 of the the Patriot Act grants FBI the power to access your most private medical records, your library records, and your student records...and can prevent anyone from telling you it was done. They will only be more serious if the Domestic Security Enhancement Act passes. Among other things, the DSEA would allow the state to collect and keep DNA samples of everyone.