September 13, 2002
Northampton Bill of Rights Defense Committee to Appear on PBS NOW With Bill Moyers
Nancy Talanian, Director
Bill of Rights Defense Committee
On Friday, September 13, at 9 p.m., the PBS program NOW with Bill
Moyers will examine the impact of post-September 11 policy on America's
civil liberties. One segment of the program will cover the local
and national grassroots work of the Northampton Bill of Rights Defense
Committee, based in Northampton, Massachusetts. The Committee formed in November
2001 in response to Congress's passage of the USA PATRIOT Act and
federal executive orders that threaten key liberties guaranteed by
the Bill of Rights.
Since the Northampton City Council's unanimous passage of a resolution to protect civil liberties on May 2, the Bill of Rights Defense Committee has pushed for similar resolutions nationwide and has provided information, tools, advice, and assistance to other communities through its web site at www.gjf.org/NBORDC. So far, committees in 40 cities, towns, and counties in 20 states have had resolutions passed or are working on resolutions similar to Northampton's.
The program will also include analysis by specialists in Constitutional Law on how the USA PATRIOT Act threatens civil liberties, a commentary by Bill Moyers, and a panel discussion in which Moyers asks a panel of experts their opinions as to whether our homeland security policies are protecting our democratic freedoms, or giving our government new abilities to alter our civil rights.
For more information on the panel segment, please see the following
release from NOW with Bill Moyers.
NOW WITH BILL MOYERS EXAMINES THE IMPACT OF
POST SEPTEMBER 11 POLICY ON AMERICA’S CIVIL LIBERTIES
PBS Airdate: Friday, September 13, 2002, at 9 p.m.
In our efforts to prevent another catastrophic attack like September 11, are we going too far in enhancing the rights of our government—or not far enough? In “Rethinking Freedom,” airing Friday, September 13, 2002, at 9 p.m., on PBS (check local listings), NOW with Bill Moyers asks a respected panel of experts their opinions about the vital questions raised in our country since September 11. Are our homeland security policies protecting our democratic freedoms, or giving our government new abilities to alter our civil rights?
The segment examines the civil liberties issues at the core of the debate about post-September 11 policy including: surveillance, informants, detention of suspects, and racial profiling, and offers insight into the national homeland security discussion that is taking place in homes, churches, and offices around the nation.
The participants of the discussion are leading authorities from across the spectrum of political ideologies:
- Nancy Chang, senior litigation attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights;
- Christopher Edley, Jr., member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Harvard Law professor and founding co-director of Harvard's Civil Rights Project;
- Frank J. Gaffney, Jr., president and CEO, the Center for Security Policy;
- David A. Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union;
- Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union;
- Victoria Toensing, founding partner at diGenova & Toensing an internationally known expert on white-collar crime, national security, and intelligence matters.
“On September tenth there was a bipartisan consensus that racial profiling was a bad idea, but on September twelfth, suddenly there’s an enormous sentiment that…maybe racial profiling isn’t such a bad idea in certain circumstances. That, I find dismaying,” says Edley. “We make a mistake if we ignore the fact that we do have a history of abuses by the executive branch that have called for the courts and Congress to rein them in.”
“Whether it’s racial profiling, whether it’s airport screening….You need to use some common sense and differentiate, prioritize,” says Gaffney. “I think the government’s powers such as they are today are well within the realm of what we can live with as a democratic society…to make even the contention that this is a police state is laughable.”
NOW with Bill Moyers is funded by PBS. Corporate funding is provided by Mutual of America Life Insurance Company. Additional funding is provided by the Kohlberg Foundation, Inc. and The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The series is a production of Public Affairs Television, Inc. for PBS in collaboration with NPR News. NOW is a national presentation of Thirteen/WNET New York.
Executive Producer: John Lewis Siceloff; Senior Producer: Peter
Bull; Senior Story Producer: Tom Casciato; Supervising Producer:
Sally Roy; Producer: Mark Ganguzza; Line Producer: Scott Davis; Executives
in charge: Judy Doctoroff O’Neill and Felice Firestone; Executive
Editor: Judith Davidson Moyers.
Public Affairs Television
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