Challenges of Fighting Terrorism While Respecting Human Rights – Speech Notes – PDF

2002 Challenges of Fighting Terrorism While Respecting Human Rights Speech Notes

I. Challenges of Fighting Terrorism While Respecting Human Rights

Asking whether we can fight terrorism and still respect constitutional and human rights; and to what extent those rights might have to give way to make us safe—

Underlying that question is the premise that somehow all of these new laws, regulations and executive orders—patriot act, indefinite detention, secrecy, wiretapping, unleashed FBI and jailing of non-citizens—will make us safe—I question that premise—I am not sure they will make us safe; I know they will make us less free

Less free–

–are we really safer because of TIPs–website

–are we really safe r because AG can wiretap atty-client without court order

–are we really safer because can detain over a thousand of non-citizens after 9/11 without any evidence involved in terrorism; and keep them jailed even after immigration charges are disposed of

—are we really safer because hundreds of deportation hearings can be closed in a blanket fashion

–are we really safer because the executive can jail people and claim that no court can review those jailings

I don’t think so—and believe seriously jeopardize our freedom—

I have a number of broad questions about these new laws and regulations:

First, I question new laws because many of the new and enhanced powers were given without any determination as to why our intelligence agencies failed us—implemented without a thorough investigation of what went wrong—

we still don’t know today—we do know that a few days ago relatives of victims, as the papers described, went to the white house and “tearfully” begged the white house not to block an independent investigation—so far Whitehouse has not budged

I am opposed to new powers without a determination that the old powers of our intelligence agencies were insufficient

Second, I question the premise—more laws make us safe– because I am not convinced that every law in world could make this country safe—We have 7500 miles of borders with Canada and Mexico, thousands of miles of seacoast, I think some 50,000,000 people a year enter and leave the country; 21,000 containers come in every day, there are at 10,000 flights a day–2 million railcars a year—and there are 300 million people here now–even a police state—which none of us want to live under—could stop terror

Third, I think many people in this country are missing something about this fight against terrorism—Here we very well may go to war against Iraq—I am not afraid of Iraq at this moment and don’t feel an imminent threat from Iraq; I do feel a threat from the anger that attack will engender and already has—and the increased terrorism that may come form that—already seen that possibly in bali, kuwiat and yemen–even US officials have said increase in terrorism may be because of Bush administrations moves toward Iraq—so at least one of the answers it too look at what we are doing abroad and how that makes us less safe—Blair—palestine

Those are some of my broad concerns; I also want to give you a summary of what I see as some of the major areas where rights are threatened—categories and can fill in:

  1. First, concerned by the attacks of open government—secrecy in what it is doing and what it is doing to others—Damon Keith 6th cir—case about closed immig hearings—blanket—no indiv showing, no family—democ dies behind closed doors—

creppy memo—

secret evidence in deportation

cutbacks in FOIA

names of post 9/11 detainees

secrecy of GITMO detainees—not even know of lawsuit

Padilla and hamdi—no access–

Govt not want us to know what it is doing—cuts at heart of system where govt accountable to the people

2.. I am concerned about first amend rights, the right to speak and dissent freely Again to paraphrase judge keith: democracy dies when we are not allowed to think and speak freely—intimidation and spying on our speaking is the order of the day



FBI guidelines—political and religious

CIA operating

Criticism of govt looked at as unpatriotic

Name of Patriot act—most other countries call it what it is—internal security act

(4th—the purpose —foreign intelligence—a significant purpose)

  1. I am concerned by the harsh treatment of non-citizens—democ dies when non-citizens are treated as non-people

9/1 1

immigration hearings and secret evidence

gitmo vs. hamdi and Padilla

indef detentions

military tribunals

that is how they get away with it—us not them

  1. I am concerned with the Jailing of people without any charges of court review –jailing of people apparently indefinitely because the President or John Ashcroft; says so—Executive detention– Democracy Dies when exec authority is unchecked by the courts—

9/11 detainees—Turkmen—no names—minor visa violations—kept after agreed—

Gitmo—out in space—no court review–OAS

Padilla and Hamdi—US citizens

Patriot Act provisions

5. I am concerned by what these laws and regulations and climate means in certain communities—Muslim, south Asian and Arabic–Fear of neighbors, speaking out, harassment—

Been asked to give up Rights without making us safer, yet seriously jeopardizing freedom;

reason so little debate is people afraid and willing to not examine new laws as I fear many courts will be as well

another reason is focus on non-citizens—us and them—but used against us—

****I want to be safe again and my children—not convinced what this govt has done so far is achieving that—

Any new initiative: investigation first of what failed; apply to all equally