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News ::
BTL:Federal Court Upholds Secret Detentions; Another Victory for... (english)
26 Jun 2003
Modified: 01:40:07 PM
...White House Measures Eroding Civil Liberties. Interview with Arthur Spitzer, legal director of the ACLU's Washington, D.C. office conducted by Between the Lines' Scott Harris
Federal Court Upholds Secret Detentions; Another Victory for White House Measures Eroding Civil Liberties

Interview with Arthur Spitzer, legal director of the ACLU's Washington, D.C. office conducted by Scott Harris

In a 2 to 1 ruling on June 17, a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C. upheld the Bush administration's right to keep secret the names of some 700 immigrants arrested by the Justice Department after the Sept. 11 attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C.

The ruling, expected to be appealed, is yet another victory for the Bush administration, whose rewriting of judicial procedures has been challenged by civil liberties groups. Speaking for the White House, Attorney General John Ashcroft has cited the war against terrorism as the justification for a steady erosion of rights accorded to immigrants and citizens. Recent court decisions have affirmed the Bush administration's right to hold secret hearings; indefinitely detain and deny access to attorneys to U.S. citizens labeled "enemy combatants" and declared that Afghan prisoners held at the U.S. Guantanamo Naval base in Cuba are not subject to protections embodied in U.S. constitutional law.

Last month, the Justice Department's own inspector general released a report documenting many abuses committed against immigrants held in secret detention, confirming the fears many opponents of these measures had expressed about the dangers inherent in secret imprisonment. Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Arthur Spitzer, legal director of the ACLU's National Capitol Area Office, who examines the long term impact these series of court decisions may have on America's judicial system and civil liberties guaranteed under the Bill of Rights.

For more information, call the ACLU at (212) 549-2500 or visit their website at:

Related links

"U.S. Can Withhold Names of 9/11 Detainees," by Ted Bridis, Associated Press, June 17, 2003

"US Plans Death Camp at Guantanamo," The Courier-Mail, May 26, 2003
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"Between the Lines," WPKN 89.5 FM's weekly radio news magazine can be heard Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m. ET; Wednesdays at 8 a.m. ET and Saturdays at 2 p.m. ET (Wednesday's show airs at 7:30 a.m. ET during fundraising months of April and October).
betweenthelines (at)
2003 Between The Lines. All Rights Reserved.
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What Constitution? (english)
26 Jun 2003
I feel bad for the immigrants being detained. And abused, too?!?
What I want everyone to realize is this...Brutality and illegal arrests have been going on in this country for many years. I was arrested illegally, in 1975. Beat by police in 1977. Yea, I was in my early 20's. Never mouthed off to a cop. I asked a cop if he knew the Bill of Rights, and the laws. The cop started laughing at me. Then the cop said sarcasticly to me, "I am the law"...
Until we, the American people, get control of our law enforcement. We will have to see history repeated again and again.
The Patriot Act is the most intrusive, illegal bill ever enacted. How come none of us hear anyone bitching about it?
Will the government enact Patriot 2 Act? I hope not...You never know...
Remember folks. We're all from immigrants. Every one of us. Don't be the bigot who wants to send them all back. Be the person who gives the immigrant a helping hand. Most are poor by our standards. And most have a hard time adjusting to our country.
I know. I married a woman from South America.