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   ACLU steps up to fight for Americans' freedoms

How “War on Terrorism” Impacts Citizens:

ACLU steps up to fight for Americans’ freedoms

by Russell Henley

It’s been over a year since the September 11 attacks on the United States, and some US citizens feel no safer now than they did prior to the terrorism. Despite measures intended to promote safety, such as the USA Patriot Act, civil rights activists warn that people’s rights are being undermined (sometimes without them knowing it) while the government continues to balloon in size, increase its secret activities, and perform discriminatory acts, all in the name of “operation: enduring freedom.”

According to Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), “The government has used the threat of terrorism to justify an extremely broad range of spying activity that is unrelated to terrorism and does nothing to stop it.” These activities, he says, include spying on religious and political organizations exercising their First Amendment rights. Government agents can now perform surveillance of meetings and activities of these citizens without notice, and without evidence of criminal activity.

The ACLU is fighting what it deems to be unconstitutional actions initiated by the U.S. government. The organization has filed lawsuits challenging the new restrictions on courts’ authority, has began working with Arab-American groups to extend the outreach of its Campaign Against Racial Profiling, and has launched public-education campaigns to alert the public, media, and judges of the dangers of new government surveillance powers.

For more information, visit the ACLU website at or write to ACLU, 125 Broad Street, 18th Floor, New York, NY 10004.

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This story was published on January 8, 2003.
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