Unconstitutional War on Civil Liberties

Unconstitutional: The War on Our Civil Liberties is about The Patriot Act and the possible dangers it poses to our civil liberties and individual freedoms in the USA. Following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, Congress passed a series of legislations known as The Patriot Act, supposedly designed to assist law enforcement in preventing future terrorist attacks. Take an inside look at this controversial bill through the eyes of legal analysts and constitutional experts as they examine this so-called Patriot Act. Our country has been here before. During WWII, the US government put 110,000 innocent Japanese-American citizens in internment camps, because they were all considered to be “security threats” to our nation. In retrospect, most people can see what a horrible decision that was. Maybe it was not so clear at the time given the state of the world. Lesser known is that our government also put 12,000 innocent German-American and 3,000 Italian-Americans in internment camps — just because they had not gotten American citizenship since arriving after WWI intending to become U.S. citizens but had not completed the process of naturalization and so were still classified technically as “enemy aliens” after war was declared. Only non-citizen Italians were rounded up — unlike Japanese-Americans, who were rounded up whether citizens or not. Internment is based on the Enemy Alien Act of 1798, and was applied only to enemy aliens—i.e., nationals of those countries with which the United States was at war. Internees were almost always men, many of whom were the sole financial support of their families. Their family members, even if American citizens, were permitted voluntarily to join husbands or fathers in internment. But once inside the camps, they could not leave. When the horrible attacks of 9/11 occurred, it seems that same mindset from WWII reappeared and certain people are paying the price again for the evil deeds of others. Is it right to take away the liberties of people who happen to have a skin color or name similar to the terrorists? How far do we go in balancing security and individual freedom? Is the USA Patriot Act really making us safer? Was there enough thought and discussion before passing this bill? It was rewritten during the wee hours of the morning and not one member of Congress was given a chance to read it through before voting! There was definitely some maneuvering and dirty tricks pulled to get it signed into law. These and other controversial issues are discussed in this documentary as well as interviews with people whose lives have been affected by the Patriot Act, such as a US Olympian whose name has made him a target. This is not a partisan issue as you see Democrats and Republicans teaming up in challenging the administration’s actions. The so-called Patriot Act has shown us once again how politicians can use a ‘crisis’ to push through governmental controls. And once our freedoms are gone, they are more difficult to get back. The filmmakers have tried to present a balanced story although I’m sure not everyone will agree. It is a very difficult job trying to balance security versus freedom — and one worthy of every one’s involvement. How much freedom are you and I willing to give up to feel secure? Is this what our founding fathers had in mind? I did like the use of examples of Constitutional violations that were immediately followed up with readings of the specific phrases that befit the examples. I also understand that to have a concise message as a sort of “wake-up call” to scare everyone into action is a good start. This movie really makes me think: should I leave a critique of this film on a website? How could I say anything negative about the Patriot Act? Hell, that would be unpatriotic. After all, it’s the “Patriot” Act. Perhaps the government subpoenaed the names of people that said anything of dissent about the Bush / Cheney administration on a website. Perhaps my name would make it on one of those lists and I’d be stopped at the airport every time I tried to travel by air. I don’t normally think those thoughts. This movie will really start to make you think like that. Watching Unconstitutional shows the negative implications of what our government has done since 9/11 and should be highly disconcerting to Americans who value their civil liberties. I think you’ll also think twice before you post anything on any website! This is an excellent film that should be a staple in every government teacher’s video collection and essential viewing for all Americans concerned with the decline of our society and government. It shows just how far we are willing to go as a people when we are afraid of “others.” Just like the Soviets during the Cold War, Muslims have become our new scapegoats, and the manner in which we have treated and continue to treat them will determine how much of the world views us for generations to come. Please rent this movie and show it to as many people as you possibly can. If it does not set your democratic soul aflame, then I do not know what will. You will want to see this if you are an American citizen. See what happens when your rights are ignored. Very informative documentary. A worthwhile investment of your time. The film is a little dated now, having been made before the 2004 election and recent events; however it still points out earlier issues, such as the underhanded tactics used to pass the Patriot Act. Even if you know the history of the Patriot Act and how 911 was used to push it through without any congressperson having time to read it, every new take helps to better understand what happened, and aids in memorizing the Constitutional amendments no longer in effect. We can’t know too much about what our government is doing to “protect” us. As long as the Patriot Act is in effect, this film will never be obsolete. Documentary 2004 NR 66 minutes. This film completed Robert Greenwald’s trilogy of Un- movies that began with 1. Unprecedented: The 2000 Election and 2. Uncovered: The War on Iraq.

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