Blog of Rights

This Week in Civil Liberties (8/5/2011)

By Rekha Arulanantham, ACLU at 6:03pm

What does the debt ceiling have to do with civil liberties?
What government agency has to pay the ACLU’s legal fees?
How many states believe Islamic Law is a threat to our legal system?
What threatens civil liberties?
How is Big Brother watching you?

Is the Debt Ceiling a Civil Liberties Issue?
During this week's debt ceiling negotiations, hard decisions were made about which federal programs will continue and which ones won’t. Read more about the civil liberties consequences of those choices.

Court Sanctions CIA to Pay Fees Over Torture Tapes
This week, a judge sanctioned the CIA for its attempt to evade the law by destroying 92 videotapes depicting torture of two prisoners, Abu Zubaydah and Abd Al-Rahim Al-Nashiri, and will require the agency to pay our legal fees for costs incurred in bringing the misconduct to light. The judge also asked the CIA to publish its forthcoming document-destruction policies, which are being considered in response to our litigation to prevent this type of destruction from occurring again.

ACLU Lens: The Truth Behind the Anti-Sharia Movement
Over the past few years, anti-Sharia organizations and politicians have introduced versions of anti-Sharia legislation in 26 states — with some bills expressly singling out Sharia law for condemnation, and others sweeping Islamic law under broader categories of “foreign” or “international” law. The ACLU is currently working to overturn an example of this kind of legislation in Oklahoma.

In related news, find out what New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has to say about the anti-Sharia movement >>

Brinksmanship: The Hidden Threats to Liberty
Everyone agrees that the forces behind 9/11 and similar attempted terrorism attacks pose a real threat to our national security, but most Americans also agree the government’s responses to those attacks launched an unprecedented erosion of civil liberties.

Your Cell Phone Knows Where You Were Last Night . . . Who Else Does?
Yesterday, 34 ACLU affiliates filied 379 public records requests in 31 states around the nation, seeking information about how our local law enforcement agencies are using our cell phone information to track us.

Bloomberg Gives With One Hand; Takes With the Other
This week, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that he would invest $30 million of his own money to uplift the young black and Latino men who are most excluded from New York’s civic, educational and economic life. While this proposal is generous, it fails to address the fact that the Bloomberg administration has supported policies that have led to staggering racial disparities in New York’s corrections system.

This is your week in civil liberties. Let us know if this is useful or if you'd like to see changes. Share your thoughts: ideas@aclu.org

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