Lost Liberties by Cynthia Brown
Ashcroft and the Assault on Personal Freedom

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Synopsis

Thirteen leading experts confront the justice department's assault on civil liberties.

To those who scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty, my message is this: Your tactics only aid terrorists.—Attorney General John Ashcroft

In the wake of September 11, John Ashcroft's Justice Department has presided over an unprecedented assault on the civil liberties established in the Bill of Rights. Enacted in haste and, at times, in partial secrecy, the legislation and orders have not been carefully examined, and their implications are only now beginning to surface. Not since the internment of Japanese-Americans during the 1940s have we witnessed such abridgement of American rights.

Some of the fundamental changes to Americans' legal rights by the Bush administration and the USA Patriot Act following the September 11, 2001, terror attacks; from the Associated Press, September 5, 2002:


&$149; Freedom from Unreasonable Searches—Government may search and seize Americans' papers and effects without probable cause to assist terror investigation.
&$149; Right to a Speedy and Public Trial—Government may jail Americans indefinitely without a trial.
&$149; Right to Liberty— Americans may be jailed without being charged or being able to confront witnesses against them.
&$149; Freedom of Association— Government may monitor religious and political institutions without suspecting criminal activity.
&$149; Freedom of Information—Government has closed once-public immigration hearings, secretly detained hundreds of people without charges, and encouraged bureaucrats to resist public records requests.

While the loss of liberties has been met with apathy by the press and public alike, the lawyers and analysts in Lost Liberties provide a detailed, comprehensive look at the USA Patriot Act, chronicling the destructive impact of crackdowns on thousands of Americans and revisiting the ugly history of political repression in times of crisis. Featuring original contributions from David Cole, Michael Tomasky, Nancy Chang, Kenneth Roth, and Anthony Romero, Lost Libertieswill be a critical text for those who want to know in advance the long-term implications of these drastic measures.

 

About Cynthia Brown

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Cynthia Brown, former program director of Human Rights Watch, is now a freelance consultant and editor based in New York.
 
Published September 1, 2003 by The New Press. 324 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference, Law & Philosophy. Non-fiction

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