ACLU Forum at Elms College
Spying, Surveillance, Torture—
Is This OUR Government?
Activist Northampton Atty. Bill Newman calls to my attention an important upcoming event that focuses on issues that too many of us are ignoring.
At 7 p.m. on March 23 at the Veritas Auditorium at Elms College in Chicopee, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Massachusetts will sponsor a discussion of federal government policies on domestic spying and surveillance, torture and secret prisons.
Among those participating will be Rep. Richard Neal, Democrat from Massachusetts and Representative from the Second District, which includes Northampton; former Republican Congressman Bob Barr of Georgia, who is involved with the American Conservative Foundation’s 21st Century Center for Privacy and Freedom; and Carol Rose, executive director of the ACLU of Massachusetts.
The matter of government lying and the steady erosion of privacy rights seems to be gaining a little more traction as more federal excesses are revealed by an somewhat energized press.
For example, I found in a recent Harper’s Magazine article by one of my favorite essayists, Lewis Lapham, a powerful indictment of the President and his operatives.
Reacting to a statement by the President that “we’re at war, we must protect America’s secrets,” Lapham writes:
“No, the country isn’t at war, and it’s not America’s secrets that the President seeks to protect. The country is threatened by free-booting terrorists unaligned with a foreign government or an enemy army; the secrets are those of the Bush Administration, chief among them its determination to replace a democratic republic with something more safely totalitarian. The fiction of permanent war allows it to seize, in the name of the national security, the instruments of tyranny.”
And, elsewhere in the article, Lapham makes the following points: “We have before us in the White House a thief who steals the country’s good name and reputation for his private interest and personal use; a televangelist who engages the United States in a never-ending crusade against all the world’s evil, a wastrel who squanders a vast sum of the nation’s wealth on what turns out to be a recruiting drive certain to multiply the host of our enemies. In a word, a criminal – known to be armed and shown to be dangerous.”
So it is well worth a trip to Chicopee – to Elms College at 291 Springfield Street - to listen in and participate in a regional Town Hall meeting “to restore the Rule of Law.”
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