A Call to Courage: Reclaiming Our Liberties Ten Years
After 9/11
September 7, 2011
[moderator: read the full report here -

An ACLU report release to coincide with the 10th
anniversary of 9/11 warns that a decade after the
attacks, the United States is at risk of enshrining a
permanent state of emergency in which core values must
be subordinated to ever-expanding claims of national

The report, entitled, "A Call to Courage: Reclaiming Our
Liberties Ten Years after 9/11," explores how
sacrificing America's values - including justice,
individual liberty, and the rule of law - ultimately
undermines safety.

Everywhere And Forever War

The report begins with an examination of the contention
that the U.S. is engaged in a "war on terror" that takes
place everywhere and will last forever, and that
therefore counterterrorism measures cannot be balanced
against any other considerations such as maintaining
civil liberties. The report states that the United
States has become an international legal outlier in
invoking the right to use lethal force and indefinite
military detention outside battle zones, and that these
policies have hampered the international fight against
terrorism by straining relations with allies and handing
a propaganda tool to enemies.

A Cancer On Our Legal System

Taking on the legacy of the Bush administration's
torture policy, the report warns that the lack of
accountability leaves the door open to future abuses.
"Our nation's official record of this era will show
numerous honors to those who authorized torture -
including a Presidential Medal of Freedom - and no
recognition for those, like the Abu Ghraib
whistleblower, who rejected and exposed it," it notes.

Fracturing Our "More Perfect Union"

The report details how profiling based on race and
religion has become commonplace nationwide, with the
results of such approaches showing just how wrong and
ineffective those practices are. "Targeting the American
Muslim community for counterterrorism investigation is
counterproductive because it diverts attention and
resources that ought to be spent on individuals and
violent groups that actually pose a threat," the report
says. "By allowing - and in some cases actively
encouraging - the fear of terrorism to divide Americans
by religion, race, and belief, our political leaders are
fracturing this nation's greatest strength: its ability
to integrate diverse strands into a unified whole on the
basis of shared, pluralistic, democratic values."

A Massive and Unchecked Surveillance Society

Concluding with the massive expansion of surveillance
since 9/11, the report delves into the many ways the
government now spies on Americans without any suspicion
of wrongdoing, from warrantless wiretapping to cell
phone location tracking - but with little to show for
it. "The reality is that as governmental surveillance
has become easier and less constrained, security
agencies are flooded with junk data, generating
thousands of false leads that distract from real
threats," the report says.

"A Call to Courage" points out that many controversial
policies have been shrouded in secrecy under the rubric
of national security, preventing oversight and
examination by the public. "We look to our leaders and
our institutions, our courts and our Congress, to guide
us towards a better way, and it is now up to the
American people to demand that our leaders respond to
national security challenges with our values, our unity
- and yes, our courage - intact."


Portside aims to provide material of interest to people
on the left that will help them to interpret the world
and to change it.

Submit via email: [log in to unmask]

Submit via the Web: http://portside.org/submittous3

Frequently asked questions: http://portside.org/faq

Sub/Unsub: http://portside.org/subscribe-and-unsubscribe

Search Portside archives: http://portside.org/archive

Contribute to Portside: https://portside.org/donate