National Security and Civil Liberties

moderator: Kenneth Oye, MIT, Department of Political Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT
author: Mike Honda
author: Barney Frank
author: Merrie Najimy, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
author: Margie Yamamoto
published: Jan. 28, 2013,   recorded: November 2003,   views: 2150

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Merrie Najimy’s father told her that “making the right decision isn’t always popular but making the popular decision isn’t always right.” Each of the speakers on this panel has taken an unpopular stand following September 11th. Najimy believes that the Patriot Act codified anti-immigrant passions fired up by the terrorist attacks. She claims that more than 5,000 Arab and Muslim men are now in detention and 13 thousand have been deported – largely because of racial and religious profiling allowed by the new laws. Margie Yamamoto, who has known Congressman Honda since the 1960's briefly discusses details of the Honda family's internment and its aftermath.

Mike Honda, who was interned in 1942 at a Colorado camp with his family, says he had “flashbacks” to Pearl Harbor on 9/11. He anticipated that the same kind of civil rights violations suffered by the Japanese in the U.S. during World War 2 would be inflicted on Arabs and Muslims today. Honda says the Bush Administration and Republican leaders forged a Patriot Act that overreaches in terms of police powers. Barney Frank worries that the lack of judicial oversight in the bill has led to an erosion of basic rights, as witnessed by the indefinite detention of suspects not charged with any crime, the use of “sneak and peek” warrants and increased use of electronic surveillance.

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