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2002-01-02

Nancy Murray: Hyper-Nationalism and Our Civil Liberties

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From a story in today’s New York Times:

When the letter arrived at Pakistan’s consulate in New York recently, it offered welcome help to officials worn outby desperate calls from Pakistanis in detention. It said it was "to offer our assistance" to people who have beenheld by the American government since Sept. 11.

"We are particularly interested," the letter continued, "in highlighting instances of abuse by our government and indeveloping systematic litigation to challenge its unconstitutional practices."

It was from the American Civil Liberties Union, a group so reviled and revered that even the mention of its namecould create a furor. . . .The letter was sent in December by the civil liberties union to the consulates of the 10 countries with the mostcitizens among those detained, including Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and Yemen.

The story of the letter shows the frustrations of civil liberties advocates in trying to challenge the government’sterrorism crackdown when even the names of many people in detention are still secret.

The A.C.L.U. has championed the causes of immigrants since its founding 81 years ago during the Palmer Raids. TheRaids targeted immigrants who were accused of terrorism by the government.

We will go now to a speech delivered recently by Nancy Murray, the Director of the ACLU’s Bill of Rights EducationProject in Massachusetts. The subject of the speech is "hyper-nationalism and our civil liberties." It was deliveredat a conference sponsored by the American Friends Service Committee called, "AFTER SEPTEMBER 11TH: paths to PEACE,JUSTICE, and SECURITY"

Tape:

  • Nancy Murray, Director Bill of Rights Education Project in Massachusetts, American Civil Liberties Union(ACLU).

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