A public forum in Des Moines last night focused on civil rights and the national situation since the terrorist attacks of September eleventh. Ben Stone, executive director of the Iowa Civil Liberties Union, says there’s a danger of giving up our own rights during times of national crisis.He says Congress has given up the responsibility to guard freedoms, and has given greatly enhanced police powers to federal authorities. Stone says the “War on Terrorism” has already led to hasty actions that go against many American freedoms.Stone says the USA “Patriot” Act was enacted with little review and members of congress voted without reading it. The so-called Patriot act approved by Congress makes it easier to get warrants and conduct searches, and lifts some rules on arresting and holding suspects and making public the accusations against them. Stone says the American Civil Liberties Union was the only organization that opposed the placing of Japanese Americans in internment camps during World War Two. He says politicians give up American freedoms to expediency and politics, and we almost always come to regret it after a while. Stone says the Iowa Civil Liberties Union is reworking its brochure on the rights of people facing arrest, publishing versions in Spanish and Arabic and adding information about deportation and the Immigration Service.
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