1. Text 1
Introduction to Civil Liberties: Current Controversies
One of the major questions in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on America is
what effects the U.S. war on terror will have on Americans' civil liberties. Within days of the attacks,
some pundits and public officials began calling for expanded police, FBI, and CIA powers to combat
future attacks. They were quickly answered by commentators who warned that to turn the United States
into a police state would be to give the enemies of democracy a partial victory. "If we are intimidated to
the point of restricting our freedoms, the terrorists will have won," said American Civil Liberties Union
(ACLU) executive director Anthony D. Romero in January 2002.
History shows that curtailment of civil liberties—including the right to free speech, the right to a fair trial,
and the right to equal protection under the law—has often followed national crises. During the Civil War,
Abraham Lincoln suspended the writ of habeus corpus1
on several occasions, holding suspected
traitors without trial even though only Congress can authorize such action. During World War I, more
than 1,100 people were jailed or fined under the Sedition Act, which essentially made it a crime to
criticize the government or the war effort. The law was later declared unconstitutional. In 1918, a series
of strikes, riots, and bombings culminated in the Palmer raids: Gross civil liberties violations ensued as
law enforcement officials led raids on suspected radicals in dozens of cities, arresting more than 6,000
people, many without a warrant.
After September 11, a consensus emerged that, as much as possible, the war on terrorism should be
waged without the civil liberties violations that have occurred in prior crises. For example, one of the
nations' worst overreactions to a national emergency occurred after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, when
the U.S. government evacuated more than 120,000 Japanese Americans from the West Coast and
held them in internment camps. In the wake of September 11, U.S. leaders took active steps to avoid a
similar episode. "How different [from the atmosphere after the attack on Pearl Harbor]," writes Harvard
law professor Laurence H. Tribe, "was the sight of New York's Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, soon followed
by President Bush, appealing eloquently to Americans not to seek revenge on their fellow citizens who
happened to be Muslims."
Nevertheless, Americans' civil liberties will surely be affected by the aftermath of September 11. Some
substantial changes have already been made. A bill called the Uniting and Strengthening America by
Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001—also known as
the Patriot Act—was passed by Congress late in 2001 to help the antiterrorism effort. Among other
things, the law:
● allows the government to detain any foreigners whom the attorney general has "reasonable
grounds to believe" might be a threat to national security.
● eases officials' ability to eavesdrop on communications between lawyers and their clients in
federal custody when it would "deter future acts of violence or terrorism."
● expands federal agents' power to conduct telephone and e-mail surveillance.
● enhances the ability of federal agents to conduct "sneak-and-peek" searches, in which agents
search an individuals home without notifying them.
President George Bush has also, through an executive order, authorized the use of military tribunals—
in which defendants are stripped of many traditional legal protections—to try suspected terrorists.
1 a w rit requiring a person under arrest to be brought before a judge or into court, to secure a the person’s release unless law fulgrounds are
show n fortheir detention
2. While most of these curtailments on civil liberties are directed at suspected terrorists, average
Americans may be affected in other, less direct ways. For example, a wartime atmosphere has
historically had a chilling effect on free expression. In a widely publicized case, the University of New
Mexico disciplined a history professor for jokingly telling a class on September 11 that "anyone who can
blow up the Pentagon gets my vote." And more than a dozen ABC affiliates pulled comedian Bill
Maher's Politically Incorrect talk show after Maher remarked on September 17 that "we have been the
cowards lobbing cruise missiles from 2,000 miles away," referring to U.S. bombings of Iraq since the
Persian Gulf War. "That's cowardly. Staying in the airplane while it hits the building, say what you want
about it, it's not cowardly." Civil libertarians worry that incidents like these will create an atmosphere in
which people are afraid to criticize the government.
The right to privacy may also be compromised, as law enforcement agencies intensify their efforts to
identify and track suspicious individuals. Airline travelers have submitted to more frequent random
searches, although proposals to issue national ID cards have met with substantial public opposition.
Facial recognition technology systems—which use surveillance cameras and a computer database of
photographs to identify individuals in a crowd—have already been installed in several airports, and
there have been proposals to implement retinal-scan technology as well. Critics of this increased
surveillance have compared it to George Orwell's classic novel 1984, which depicts a totalitarian
society in which "Big Brother"—the government—is always watching. Security experts, on the other
hand, insist that such measures are necessary and that they will not be abused.
In the end, the intense debate over the effects of antiterrorism efforts on civil liberties may itself be the
best sign that Americans' constitutional rights will survive the current crisis. History shows that civil
liberties are often abused in times of national crisis, but it also shows that civil liberties have survived
those crises. The viewpoints in Current Controversies: Civil Liberties debate the importance of civil
liberties and the potential threats to them in the following chapters: Should Limits Be Placed on
Freedom of Expression? Does Separation of Church and State Threaten Religious Liberty? Is the Right
to Privacy Threatened? Does the Threat of Terrorism Justify Curtailment of Civil Liberties? The wide
range of opinions in these chapters demonstrates that while Americans as a whole cherish the
freedoms guaranteed in the Constitution, they hold strong and differing views on how those freedoms
should be exercised and whether or not they should be restricted.
-James D. Torr
excerpted from "Introduction to Civil Liberties: Current Controversies"
Civil Liberties, 2003
3. Text 2
Arab Muslims Should Be Profiled in the War on Terror
right now has supplanted the IRS [Internal Revenue Service] as the bureaucracy3
love to hate, its policies are merely part of a long-standing cultural trend: The failure to recognize that
the good of the many outweighs the good of the few.
It's the same reason why certain cities, most notably London, are now surveilling their residents with
thousands of video cameras. If you're not willing to administer punishment sufficient to deter all the
criminally inclined save a few intractable miscreants, some of whom you can catch, the only other
solution is to have an all-seeing Big Brother that can catch all. It's much like treating a cancer: If you
cannot target just the affected tissue, the only other solution is to treat the whole body.
Because the former is preferable not just in medicine but also law enforcement, behavioral-sciences
specialists long ago developed the method called "profiling." Unfortunately, [...] when we want to
administer targeted treatment in the effort to thwart terrorism, we're told that it's "racial profiling" and
beyond consideration. This is utter nonsense.
As I have said before, "racial profiling" is much like "assault weapon": It's an emotionally charged term
designed to manipulate the public. In reality, there are only two types of profiling: good profiling and bad
profiling. What's the difference? Good profiling is a method by which law enforcement can accurately
determine the probability that an individual has committed a crime or has criminal intent; bad profiling
makes that determination less accurate. Good profiling considers all relevant factors—age, sex, dress,
behavior and, yes, race, religion and ethnicity—without regard for political or social concerns. Bad
profiling subordinates common sense, criminological science and security to political correctness.
Good profiling is also fair. That is to say, it discriminates on the correct basis: If a group—any group—
commits an inordinate amount of a given crime, it receives greater scrutiny. Period. Bad profiling is
invidiously discriminatory. It says, "Hey, if you're male, you'll be viewed with a jaundiced eye. If you're
young, then you, too, will be viewed more suspiciously. Don't like it? Take it up with those in your group
who commit crimes!" There is no talk of stamping out "sex profiling" or "age profiling." But when we
propose applying the same criteria to higher-crime-incidence groups we hear shouts of "racial profiling!"
Good profiling is also nothing unusual; it's just the application of common sense within the sphere of
law enforcement and something we all do continually. If you cross the street upon seeing a bunch of
rough-hewn young men walking your way, you've just engaged in profiling. And it doesn't mean you're
hateful or bent on discriminating against rough young men [...] but simply that you're in a situation in
which the cost of obtaining more information would be too great. Consequently, as Professor Walter
Williams wrote, "We can think of profiling in general as a practice where people use an observable or
known physical attribute as a proxy or estimator of some other unobservable or unknown attribute."
Let's look at a few profiling examples to see which ones you'd like outlawed.... Some racial and ethnic
groups have higher incidence and mortality from various diseases than the national average. The rates
of death from cardiovascular diseases are about 30 percent higher among black adults than among
white adults. Cervical cancer rates are five times higher among Vietnamese women in the U.S. than
among white women. Pima Indians of Arizona have the highest known diabetes rates in the world.
Prostate cancer is nearly twice as common among black men as white men.
2 TSA: TransportationSecurity Administration
3 a systemof government in w hich most of the important decisions are made by state officials rather than by elected representatives
4. Knowing patient race or ethnicity, what might be considered as racial profiling, can assist medical
providers in the delivery of more effective medical services.
Now, should doctors be prosecuted for taking these statistics into consideration when delivering
medical care? If not, why would we prosecute law enforcement for considering racial and ethnic factors
(along with sex, age and other characteristics) when tackling the moral disease known as criminality?
This brings us back to our current security concerns. The profile here is very specific, as it's a rare
person who will sacrifice his life to destroy an airplane. Protestants aren't doing that. Catholics aren't
doing it. Nor are Buddhists, Taoists, Zoroastrians or Hare Krishnas. In our age, this is a method of
[identifying suicide bombers] who 100 percent of the time are Muslim jihadists and 99 percent of the
time are non-white. And only the idiotic—or the suicidal—ignores such correlation.
It's unrealistic to think that we can have satisfactory security without some inconvenience. The point is
that whatever methods are settled upon—screening devices, bomb-sniffing dogs, pat downs, etc.—
political correctness must not factor into the decision. But it does, and this robs the government of all
credibility. And I, for one, do not take its efforts seriously.
excerpted from "Arab Muslims
Should Be Profiled in the War on Terror"
Racial Profiling, 2013
5. Culture of Fear: Poetry Professor Becomes Terror Subject
On April 19, after a day of teaching classes at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania, I went out to
my car and grabbed a box of old poetry manuscripts from the front seat of my little white Beetle, carried
it across the street and put it next to the trashcan outside Wright Hall. The poems were from poetry
contests I had been judging and the box was heavy. I had previously left my recycling boxes there and
they were always picked up and taken away by the trash department.
A young man from ROTC4
was watching me as I got into my car and drove away. I thought he was
looking at my car, which has black flower decals and sometimes inspires strange looks. I later
discovered that I, in my dark skin, am sometimes not even a person to the people who look at me.
Instead, in spite of my peacefulness, my committed opposition to all aggression and war, I am a threat
by my very existence, a threat just living in the world as a Muslim body.
Upon my departure, he called the local police department and told them a man of Middle Eastern
descent driving a heavily decaled white Beetle with out of state plates and no campus parking sticker
had just placed a box next to the trash can. My car has NY plates, but he got the rest of it wrong. I have
two stickers on my car. One is my highly visible faculty parking sticker and the other, which I just don't
have the heart to take off these days, says, "Kerry/Edwards: For a Stronger America."
Because of my recycling, the bomb squad came, then the state police. Because of my recycling,
buildings were evacuated, classes were canceled, the campus was closed. No. Not because of my
recycling. Because of my dark body. No. Not even that. Because of his fear. Because of the way he
saw me. Because of the culture of fear, mistrust, hatred and suspicion that is carefully cultivated in the
media, by the government, by people who claim to want to keep us "safe."
These are the days of orange alerts, school lock-downs, and endless war. We are preparing for it,
training for it, looking for it, and so, of course, in the most innocuous instances -- a professor wanting to
hurry home, hefting his box of discarded poetry -- we find it.
That man in the parking lot didn't even see me. He saw my darkness. He saw my Middle Eastern
descent. This is ironic because though my grandfathers came from Egypt, I am Indian, a South Asian,
and could never be mistaken for a Middle Eastern man by anyone who had ever met one.
One of my colleagues was in the gathering crowd, trying to figure out what had happened. She heard
my description -- a Middle Eastern man driving a white Beetle with out of state plates -- and knew
immediately they were talking about me and realized that the box must have been manuscripts I was
discarding. She approached them and told them I was a professor on the faculty there. Immediately the
campus police officer said, "What country is he from?"
"What country is he from?!" she yelled, indignant.
"Ma'am, you are associated with the suspect. You need to step away and lower your voice," he told her.
At some length, several of my faculty colleagues were able to get through to the police and get me on a
cell phone where I explained to the university president and then to the state police that the box
contained old poetry manuscripts that needed to be recycled. The police officer told me that in the
current climate I needed to be more careful about how I behaved. "When I recycle?" I asked.
4 Reserve Officers’ TrainingCorps - a college-basedprogramfortrainingcommissionedofficers ofthe UnitedStates ArmedForces
6. The university president appreciated my distress about the situation but denied that the call had
anything to do with my race or ethnic background. The spokesperson of the university called it an
"honest mistake," not referring to the young man from ROTC giving in to his worst instincts and calling
the police but referring to me who made the mistake of being dark-skinned and putting my recycling
next to the trashcan.
The university's bizarrely minimal statement lets everyone know that the "suspicious package" beside
the trashcan ended up being, indeed, trash. It goes on to say, "We appreciate your cooperation during
the incident and remind everyone that safety is a joint effort by all members of the campus community."
What does that community mean to me, a person who has to walk by the ROTC offices every day on
my way to my own office just down the hall -- who was watched, noted and reported, all in a day's
work? Today, we gave in willingly and wholeheartedly to a culture of fear and blaming and profiling. It is
deemed perfectly appropriate behavior to spy on one another and police one another and report on one
another. Such behaviors exist most strongly in closed, undemocratic and fascist5
The university report does not mention the root cause of the alarm. That package became "suspicious"
because of who was holding it, who put it down, who drove away. Me.
It was poetry, I kept insisting to the state policeman who was questioning me on the phone. It was
poetry I was putting out to be recycled.
My body exists politically in a way I cannot prevent. For a moment today, without even knowing it,
driving away from campus in my little Beetle, exhausted after a day of teaching, listening to Justin
Timberlake on the radio, I ceased to be a person when a man I had never met looked straight through
me and saw the violence in his own heart.
"Culture of Fear: Poetry Professor
Becomes Terror Subject"
Alternet, April 23, 2007
5 fascism: a governmental system ledby a dictatorhavingcomplete power, forciblysuppressingoppositionandcriticism, regimentingall industry,
commerce, etc., andemphasizingan aggressive nationalismandoften racism
7. Text 4
STATEMENT FROM AMNESTY
"We must stand up for human rights"
The attacks in the USA on 11 September 2001 amounted to an international tragedy. The victims
included US citizens as well as Asians, Latin Americans and Europeans, Muslims as well as Christians
and Jews. The identity of the perpetrators has yet to be fully determined but there is evidence to
suggest that they come from several different countries. Grief and outrage at the atrocity have affected
people all over the world. This global tragedy demands a global response - based on global values of
human rights and justice.
As the world braces itself for a ''robust reaction'', world leaders are speaking the language of war. It is
at times like these that we must be alert to the risks posed to human rights. The voice of the defenders
of human rights must not be drowned out by the clarion call to arms. We insist that states respect
human rights and international humanitarian law at all times, under all circumstances.
Already we have seen a wave of racist attacks directed at people because of their appearance or
religion. The threat perception is encouraging an environment of racism and xenophobia6
. In North
America, Europe and elsewhere, Muslims, Arabs and Sikhs have been shot, stabbed and beaten.
Mosques have been firebombed. Shops have been looted. Schools have been forced to close because
of intimidation and harassment.
Governments must take strong action against racist attacks directed at the Muslim, Asian and Middle
Eastern populations in their countries, whether they are citizens or foreigners. You cannot claim to
speak in the name of freedom if all those on your territory do not feel equally protected.
Governments are using the ''war on terrorism'' to introduce draconian measures to limit civil liberties.
The US and EU governments are considering provisions that would allow them to detain immigrants
indefinitely, even if they have not been charged with any offence. Such measures are unlikely to deter
attacks but they are likely to stifle dissent and curtail basic freedoms. For this reason, they must be
In reaching a balance between security and individual freedom, the internationally recognized
safeguards to protect human rights must not be sacrificed. Even in the most extreme crisis,
Governments do not have a completely free hand. Even if they are at war, they must abide by the basic
rules that protect civilians' lives.
The human toll of this crisis must not fall on those who are the most vulnerable - refugees and asylum
seekers who are themselves fleeing repression and terror. Some governments are exploiting the
climate of public fear to tighten up asylum laws and policies. Australia and the European Union are
rushing through measures that will undermine the rights of refugees and cause more human misery.
6 intense or irrational dislike or fear of people fromother countries
8. A humanitarian crisis of epic proportions is developing on the borders of Afghanistan as Iran and
Pakistan turn away famine-stricken Afghan women, children and men fleeing in fear of military attacks.
We need to act now to prevent a repeat of the calamity we saw at Blace as refugees fled Kosovo. The
international community must insist that Afghan refugees are allowed to enter neighbouring countries.
The international community must also share the cost and responsibility of hosting them.
The victims of the 11 September attacks, like all victims, deserve justice, not revenge. But how should
that justice be delivered?Governments are fast defining their options in terms of force. Our concern as
human rights activists must be to insist that justice is rendered according to the rule of law. Both the
pursuit and any subsequent trial of the suspects must be in accordance with internationally recognized
standards governing the use of force and fair trial procedures. The death penalty should not be
The 11 September attacks highlight once again the need for a system of international justice. Some
atrocities demand international accountability. In some circumstances, international cooperation to
bring suspected perpetrators to justice can be more easily forthcoming through an international tribunal.
Unfortunately, many governments including the USA have not ratified the International Criminal Court
and resisted, during the drafting of the Rome Statute, broadening its jurisdiction. As the need for
international cooperation to address transnational crimes become evident, the US Government should
consider supporting the establishment of the court.
All victims, whether they are killed under the eyes of the world's media or perish in a remote conflict,
have the right to justice. The response to the 11 September tragedy must not create new victims or be
used as a pretext for an attack on human rights. Instead, it should lead governments to build an
effective system of international justice that could end impunity for all perpetrators of gross human
rights abuses, whether committed in the USA or the Middle East, in Chechnya or Sierra Leone.
-Irene Khan, Amnesty International Secretary General
Statement from Amnesty International: We must stand up for human rights
http://www.amnesty.dk, September 2001