Skip to comments.Librarians Against the Patriot Act
Posted on 02/27/2006 7:38:32 PM PST by William Tell 2
Who is the ultimate authority on whether a homeland security surveillance measure is appropriate: the president, Congress, or the Supreme Court? According to its president, the answer is the American Library Association.
Dom Giordano, talk show host for Philadelphias radio station WPHT 1210-AM, interviewed American Library Association (ALA) president Michael Gorman on February 9. One of issues addressed concerned the ALAs policy towards governmental investigation of library patrons reading materials.
During the interview Gorman reiterated the policy of the ALA, which instructs librarians to ensure that any search warrants they receive from the FBI regarding library records are legal. They advise librarians to consult with legal counsel. Apparently, the librarians of the American Library Association are the self-appointed sentinels of the civil liberties of American citizens.
Yet, the ALA policy concerns whether a librarian should comply with a search warrant issued by a genuine neutral magistrate, not a self-appointed one for authorities who want to determine if an individual is a fanatic planning to participate in a terrorist plot. The federal government is not implementing an investigation of an individuals politics which is what totalitarian societies do.
However, the ALA disagrees. Its resolution on the USA PATRIOT Act states, The American Library Association (ALA) opposes any use of governmental power to suppress the free and open exchange of knowledge and information or to intimidate individuals exercising free inquiry ALA considers that sections of the USA PATRIOT ACT are a present danger to the constitutional rights and privacy rights of library users.
On its webpage, the ALA announces, The USA PATRIOT Act expanded the authority of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and law enforcement to gain access to library records, including stored electronic data and communications These enhanced surveillance procedures pose the greatest challenge to privacy and confidentiality in the library.
Moreover, the ALA has drafted a policy that states that they intend to resist enforcement of this law if they feel it is inappropriate. Point number three of the ALA Policy on Confidentiality of Library Records recommends that librarians, Resist the issuance of enforcement of any such process, order, or subpoena until such time as a proper showing of good cause has been made in a court of competent jurisdiction. They then qualify this by stating, the library's officers will consult with their legal counsel to determine if such process, order, or subpoena is in proper form and if there is a showing of good cause for its issuance. The ALA then refers their members to the Library Bill of Rights, a policy adopted in 1948 by the ALA Council.
First Amendment activist Nat Hentoff, a writer for the Village Voice, is not too happy with the ALA Council. Hentoff, who supports the ALA's campaign against the PATRIOT Act, apparently believes the ALA Council is hypocritical. Hentoff wrote:
while I am impressed by this assembly of mass indignation (about the PATRIOT Act) there's something missing. So far as I know, in this congregation of freedom-to-read activists, not one on the listexcept for PENhas said or done anything about the torment that 10 independent librarians in Cuba are undergoing in Fidel Castro's gulag, along with 65 other pro-democracy dissidents rounded up in the dictator's crackdown in April last year The governing council of the American Library Association, an organization on the list, disgraced itself in January when it overwhelmingly rejected an amendment to a final report at its mid-winter meeting telling Castro to let the librarians out. Apparently there are members of the council who romanticize Fidel, as do some Hollywood celebrities.
Hentoff also wrote that directors of the ALA and some members believe that independent Cuban librarians are lackeys of the U.S. government (something they would never be). He quotes Mark Rosenzweig of the ALAs governing council as saying, we cannot presume that all countries are capable of the same level of intellectual freedom that we have in the U.S. Cuba is caught in an extremely sharp conflict with the U.S....I don't think [Cuba] is a dictatorship. It's a republic.
Rosenzweig is alsothe Director of the Reference Center for Marxist Studies. A Marxist civil libertarian seems like an oxymoron to me....
A January 2001 report by the ALAs International Relations Caribbean Subcommittee incredibly concluded, While the civil oppression of individuals (Cuban independent librarians) appears to be documented by Amnesty International and other observers, it is not conclusive whether these conditions result from the denial of intellectual freedom or from anti-government activities by the persons involved.
So if one is to understand this correctly, the ALA deems it permissible for the civil oppression of individuals to occur if it is the result of anti-government activities by those individuals. Yet, the FBI investigating whether someone who reads Muslim terrorist publications, or books describing bomb making, or communicating with suspected terrorists, is a threat to the Republic is not okay?
This report also quoted Ann Sparanese, of the Englewood (NJ) Public Library as saying, Almost all the individuals operating these 'libraries' identify themselves as dissidents and members of anti-Castro political parties she has seen no evidence of censorship or confiscation of books in her many visits to Cuba.
Others besides Nat Hentoff have criticized ALAs hypocrisy as well. Only a few weeks ago, at the January 25, 2006 ALA midwinter meeting, author and National Public Radio commentator Andrei Codrescu, who was an invited speaker, chided the ALA for not condemning the imprisonment of Cuban librarians.
Maine librarian Walter Skold, is a co-founder of FREADOM, a coalition of - one might say - libertarian librarians who have campaigned for freeing the Cuban librarians. Skold has written for FrontPage Magazine concerning the Castro sympathizers among the ALA membership.
How can Americans believe that the ALAs campaign against the PATRIOT Act is legitimate because of their love of American civil liberties when many of the ALA membership admire one of the most terrible violators of civil liberties extant? The ALA has no credibility. It is not so much concerned about American civil liberties as it is about making a political statement about Republicans, President Bush and the conservative value of Americans defending themselves from all threats foreign and domestic?
In November 2003, the National Constitution Center conducted a poll in association with the Gallup organization, asking, Do you think the PATRIOT Act goes too far, is about right, or does not go far enough in restricting peoples civil liberties in order to fight terrorism?
All told, 45 percent of those who replied said the PATRIOT Act was about right, while 20 percent said it did not go far enough. Only 25 percent of those surveyed by the National Constitution Center / Gallup poll neither of which is considered a member of the vast right wing conspiracy - said the Patriot Act goes too far in restricting peoples civil liberties in order to fight terrorism.
The ALA does not seem to have public opinion on its side. Nor does it have reason, consistency, or good common sense.
Michael P. Tremoglie is the author of the soon-to-be-released novel A Sense of Duty, and an ex-Philadelphia cop. E-mail him at email@example.com.
Librarians are highly territorial.
I'm guessing their lobbyists are located in this area.
No doubt they were "dating" the same guys.
No librarian can be trusted in this war.
I'm guessing their lobbyists are located in this area.
No doubt they were "dating" the same guys.
No librarian can be trusted in this war.
Hentoff could also have cited the ALA's refusal to condemn the deliberate destruction of the national library of Bosnia by Karadzic's men during the siege of Sarajevo, which burned up a large portion of the original documents from the Ottoman centuries of Bosnian history...an outrage comparable to the German destruction of the library in Louvain in 1914, or maybe worse in its impact.
And liberal as heck.
I donated three copies of Buzz Patterson's "Derelection of Duty" to my local library when it was first published (I've given them hundreds of books from pretty rare local history books to modern fiction and non fiction over the years).
When I laid them on the desk and the librarian saw Bill Clinton's smarmy grinning face on the cover she was effusive if not orgasmic in her thank yous.
A little later, when I was on my way out of the library, after she got a chance to get an idea what the content of the books was, she (literally) used a yardstick to push the books back at me as if she feared contamination by conservative and patriotic ideals and said : "We don't need THESE kinds of books in THIS library."
There are SEVERAL copies of Hillary's and Bill's pseudo-biographies on the shelves and in the catalog, but almost no current books of a conservative nature.
And I've quit donating books of any sort to them.
When I was a kid, seemed like every librarian loved to get any kind of book, regardless of content. Now the lefties teaching "library science" in the colleges, they only want books that are completely apolitical and amoral, or ones that reinforce their leftwing, anti-American agenda.
What they did to you is book burning without the flames.
See my Post 6 for what I have to put up with at my public library.
Nowadays librarians appear to be liberals who have no problem with people watching porn all day or checking out bomb-making sites in their library.
I guess that means the ALA leadership thinks you should only be free to see porn at taxpayer expense at your local library.
Mark Rosensweig, the communist librarian mentioned in this article is also infamous for saying "F**k the troops!" in messages sent to members of the Intellectual Freedom Forum mailing list of the ALA. The man is a pathetic excuse for a human being.
Most librarians are normal, intelligent people, but the librarians who seek the leadership positions seem to be myopic collectivists who are dragging the whole profession into the sewer. Too bad.
...I had received the prized ALA Immroth Award for Intellectual Freedom. The citation reads: "For courageous and articulate advocacy of the First Amendment as an author, speaker, and activist for human rights" (June 1983).
I now publicly renounce the Immroth Award and demand that the American Library Association remove me from the list of recipients of that honor. To me, it is no longer an honor...
Can't be trusted, eh? Well I'm one.
If a law enforcement agency has a warrant, libraries will and do comply. Various acts, passed recently, are asking librarians to keep records they normally do not carry. Check out records simply do not exist after the property borrowed is returned. Material viewed in a library is not recorded as having been viewed. Various agencies are in effect looking for us to do their bidding, do their work, and pay for it too. The FBI, nor any other agency wishes to fund any form of record keeping or surveillience they wish librarians to perform. These agencies are effectively on fishing expeditions, which the constitution strictly forbids. What they are doing is akin to going into a book store and asking a clerk who bought what.
Furthermore, where do such invasions end? Perhaps every site you visit on the WEB should be reported? Perhaps every video you rent should be made available to law enforcement? Perhaps all reading material you purchase should be recorded somehow, just in case? Perhaps all your firearms should be recorded in a national data base? After all, it's simply information and there isn't much to prohibit such registration.
They had the information they needed to prevent 9/11 and they failed. Not that I fault them for that, there were likely tons of similar information available and sorting out which is pressing and which isn't is a monumental task. But to piss away our freedoms and rights to fight this so called war is silly. The more restrictive and invasive we allow the government to become, the more they, that is the terrorists win.
I am a librarian, too, but I have a different understanding of what we are required to do. My library goes out of its way to try not to have any records so that if a subpoena is issued, they will have nothing to provide. I never heard of having to create records, nor of fishing expeditions. There has to be enough credible evidence that a judge will issue a subpoena for records. My library would not turn over anything without one, so I see no danger of patrons having every web site they view being scrutinized.
Looking through the lenses of liberal bias can distort what one sees.
I take issue with your rhetoric. What do you mean "so called war"?
You don't know who this guy is.
This fellow was an acquaintance of mine. His name was David Kovalcin, he had a wife and two daughters, and he was killed on 9/11 on American Flight 11. There were 3000 other people that day who had simliar stories. A so called war?
That is damned easy for you to say.
You can disagree with the way the war is being fought, but people on your end of the spectrum, contributed to the inability of our government to see and take action in time to prevent something like 9/11.
You are all too happy to take the moral high ground and have pristine hands, while you let others do the dirty work behind the scenes as you condemn them. You, and plenty of people like you don't mind taking a free ride on the backs of others who guarantee your safety.
There has been talk in congress and in the FBI in the past of requiring libraries to maintain records. Sorry I cannot recall articles directly, but I do remember reading such. Personally, I see nothing wrong with the way libraries are run now, sans records.
The insidiousness of what the gov desires, I think, is evident in the NAIS (National Animal Identification System). Such a system is precurser for keeping track of much more than animals.
Nice to meet a librarian who is of a conservative nature. I needn't tell you what the general crop is like.
Gee, they sure are very proud of themselves. Let's hope it isn't their children who happen to be in the daycare at the bottom of the next imploding skyscraper.
You have my sympathy. You live in Newton. Well, know there are other things Newton has going for it, but the entire city of Newton, MA is to the left of Cambridge. No, I take that back. Berkeley, CA and Madison, WI are to the left of Newton.
Nice. Your smarminess doesn't go far with me. Parading the dead around as a shield for your position is pathetic. Did you take a lesson from Cindy's book? As a former Marine, I understand sacrifice. I am truly sorry about your friend, but I do not believe we should give up what we have here to catch these guys. Even were it 2 million people killed rather than 2000, I do not believe we give up our rights to win this battle. It would certainly be easier to catach criminals, terrorists and othe bad guys if the constitution were not in the way, but talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face. I say so called, because every time the government wants to look at what I am doing it is in the name of winning the war. It is BS.
Are you of the conservative persuasion? That indeed is rare in this profession. I usually find it prudent to keep my comments at work in the neutral zone, which is why it is so freeing to turn into a Freeper after work and be able to let my hair down.
This should not be a group. Books are not difficult to organize.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.