Demolition Democracy

Recently the Associated Press identified some of the fundamental changes to Americans' legal rights by the Bush administration through the USA Patriot Act and the Office of Homeland Security:

Freedom of association. To assist terror investigations, government may monitor religious and political institutions without suspecting criminal activity.

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.

Freedom of speech. Government may prosecute librarians or keepers of other records if they tell anyone that the government subpoenaed information related to a terror investigation.

Right to legal representation. Government may monitor federal prison jailhouse conversations between attorneys and clients and deny lawyers to Americans accused of crimes.

Freedom from unreasonable searches. To assist terror investigations, government may search and seize Americans' papers and effects without probable cause.

Right to a speedy and public trial. Government may jail Americans indefinitely without a trial.

Right to liberty. Americans may be jailed without charges or confronting witnesses against them.

Source: The Associated Press, 2002.

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Sojourners Magazine March-April 2003
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