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A Silent Victim of 9/11 - Our Civil Liberties

by Fatima Cash, MWL Board Member

The truth as trickled out over the past few months and it is difficult to face. As our nation

has mourned the victims of 9/11 we also have learned that the very government departments designed to protect us, failed miserably. The FBI, CIA, INS, FAA, state and local police departments don’t talk to one another or share vital information.

Some have said that our immigration policies are too loose, our legal system is flawed and in general our society is too open. Their answer is to restrict legal protections and civil liberties to keep us safe. I reject this philosophy because to endanger our freedom is too dear a price to pay. Fix those government agencies that don’t work, streamline communication between agencies, and tighten up INS tracking of student visas and other immigrants before asking us to sacrifice ONE civil liberty.

After 9/11, we have allowed our government to trample on some peoples’ civil liberties. The US government detains people in maximum-security facilities on minor immigration violations, restricting access to attorneys and family members. The Justice Department has won lower court appeals to avoid disclosing the names and numbers of people they detain on grounds of “National Security”. Due process and regular laws to protect the detained have been suspended. The government can listen and record confidential attorney-client conversations. Legally established US charities have had their assets confiscated and their operations closed without the government showing any proof of illegal activities. Congress passed the Patriot Act, which further strengthens the power of the government against individuals. Several US citizens have been labeled enemy combatants and have been stripped of the protections afforded a citizen in our legal system.

We should be ashamed of what our government is doing in our name. History will view this post-9/11 hysteria in a similar light to the internment of Japanese Americans in the 1940’s, a dark period in our nations history.

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