The National Coalition to Repeal the Patriot Act (NCRPA) was founded by attorney Kellie Gasink and a group of self-described “concerned citizens” alleging that the Patriot Act violates Americans’ civil liberties in the name of fighting terrorism. Calling for the immediate and complete repeal of the Patriot Act, NCRPA asserts that the legislation was hastily pushed through Congress, largely unread, in the panic that followed the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and that it gives unconstitutional powers to the President, the Attorney General, the Justice Department, and the Department of Homeland Security.
The specific provisions of the Patriot Act to which NCRPA objects include: the right of the Department of Justice to monitor organizations with known hostile intentions to the United States, even if no specific criminal activity is alleged; the right of the government to hold terrorists in secure facilities to prevent their incarceration from motivating other terrorist assaults; the right of the government to treat terrorists differently from real enemy combatants (who are protected by the Geneva Convention); the right of government officials not to expose sensitive documents to public scrutiny; and the right of the Immigration and Naturalization Service to protect the U.S. from suspicious aliens. NCRPA further charges that the Patriot Act authorizes the government to track suspected terrorists without probable cause. In December 2003, Democratic Congressman and then-presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, a member of the Progressive Caucus, joined the NCRPA Board. “It will be an honor,” said Kucinich, “to work with the many talented individuals and organizations making up this grassroots effort, whose mission — to protect our civil liberties from the Patriot Act, the Homeland Security Act, and other executive orders — is in better touch with the American people than is the Congress of the United States.” By the time Kucinich joined the NCRPA board, more than 13,000 people had already signed the Coalition’s online petition calling for the Patriot Act’s repeal.
Among Kucinich’s fellow NCRPA Board members were Ajamu Baraka of Amnesty International; former Black Panther and New York City Councilman Charles Barron; Mitchel Cohen of the Green Party USA; the Reverend Herbert Daughtry of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Peace Now Committee; Primella Dixit of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom; Rani Elizar of Atlanta Palestine Solidarity; Akeel Hanano of the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee of Georgia; Robert Knight of WBAI radio; former U.S. Representative Cynthia McKinney; Josh Ruebner of Jews for Peace in Palestine and Israel; and radical attorney Lynne Stewart of the pro-Communist National Lawyers Guild.
Kellie Gasink remains NCRPA’s National Coordinator. A former member of the New Alliance Party, she worked on the 1992 presidential campaign of Lenora Fulani, a Marxist.