BTL: Citizens Urged to Reverse Erosion of Civil Liberties Since Sept.11
Interview with Nancy Chang, attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights conducted by Scott Harris.
While the Bush administration is gearing up for a new war with Iraq, the nation is still trying to absorb the many dramatic changes made to the U.S. legal system since the Sept. 11 terroris attacks. Only six weeks after the assaults on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the White House pushed for and received near unanimous backing from Congress for new measures Mr. Bush said were necessary to fight the war on terrorism. With almost no debate or public hearings, the USA PATRIOT Act was signed into law -- curtailing the civil liberties of citizens and non-citizens more sharply than at any time since World War II.
The U.S. government now has wide latitude to hold individuals in secret detention, withhold legal counsel and spy on people engaged in lawful religious and political activity. Despite some recent court decisions ruling that the Bush administration's practice of holding deportation hearings in secret was illegal, the erosion of civil liberties continues to alarm growing numbers of citizens.
Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Nancy Chang, the senior litigation attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights. She discusses the historical and contemporary attempts to weaken critical provisions of the U.S. Bill of Rights described in her new book titled, "Silencing Political Dissent, How Post-September 11th Anti- Terrorism Measures Threaten our Civil Liberties."
Nancy Chang's book, "Silencing Political Dissent" published by Seven Stories Press. Contact the Center for Constitutional Rights by calling (212) 614-6464 or visit their Web site at www.ccr-ny.org
National Lawyers Guild, www.nlg.org
American Civil Liberties Union, www.aclu.org
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