The War on the Bill of Rights and the Gathering Resistance

Overview

"The Constitution," said Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia ominously in March 2003, "just sets minimums. Most of the rights that you enjoy go way beyond what the Constitution requires." In The War on the Bill of Rights-and the Gathering Resistance, nationally syndicated columnist and Village Voice mainstay Nat Hentoff draws on untapped sources-from reporters, resisters, and civil liberties law professors across the country to administration insiders-to piece together the true dimensions of the ongoing assault on the Constitution and the Bill ...
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Overview

"The Constitution," said Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia ominously in March 2003, "just sets minimums. Most of the rights that you enjoy go way beyond what the Constitution requires." In The War on the Bill of Rights-and the Gathering Resistance, nationally syndicated columnist and Village Voice mainstay Nat Hentoff draws on untapped sources-from reporters, resisters, and civil liberties law professors across the country to administration insiders-to piece together the true dimensions of the ongoing assault on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
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Editorial Reviews

The Washington Post
In this short, punchy book, Hentoff introduces readers to ominously named law enforcement techniques such as "Carnivore" and "Magic Lantern." He scores nearly every aspect in the "war on terror," from the "assassination" of suspected al Qaeda operatives in Yemen to the use of military tribunals to the Patriot Act. In its zeal to fight terror, he argues, America is "trampling" on the Constitution. He insists that the legal tools of anti-terrorism are not just targeted at foreigners; they may just as easily be applied to American citizens. The book is a call to arms for citizens to fight back and defend their liberties. — Vincent J. Cannato
Publishers Weekly
Hentoff, a veteran defender of civil liberties, elaborates on the legal "steamroller" unleashed after September 11 that he contends is diminishing our civil rights. Thanks to the USA Patriot Act, Hentoff reports, the FBI has authority to enter your apartment without serving a warrant first, take "evidence," copy computer files and even install software that will record your every keystroke for government perusal. All of this is done in the name of fighting terrorism, but, Hentoff relates, the government no longer requires hard evidence of terrorist ties, and actions as simple as attending a protest rally or donating to a charitable organization are now enough to arouse the interest of federal spies. This concise expos /manifesto, the latest salvo in Hentoff's lifelong defense of constitutional liberties, concerns developments he's covered for the Village Voice and other publications, but draws them together into a blistering attack on the administration, and on Attorney General John Ashcroft in particular, who Hentoff says has "subverted more elements of the Bill of Rights than any attorney general in American history." He berates Congress for its "supine" acquiescence to the Patriot Act, and the media for slack coverage of these issues. and raises the specter of J. Edgar Hoover's goon squads. Anyone concerned with civil liberties should read this short and snappy report from the frontlines of this latest constitutional struggle. (Sept. 15) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
"Ever since Attorney General Ashcroft pushed the U S A PATRIOT Act through an overwhelmingly supine Congress soon after September 11, he has subverted more elements of the Bill of Rights than any attorney general in American history," states Village Voice columnist and civil liberties champion Hentoff in this pithy warning about the dangers he believes much of the Bush administration's recent legislation poses to the basic rights guaranteed by the Constitution. The author details Justice, Defense, and Homeland Security Department attempts to broaden the government's authority to detain Americans in custody, collect information on Americans, and invite Americans to spy on one another. Alternating between describing the threat that various legislative efforts have posed to the Bill of Rights with reports of ACLU and other citizen groups' defiance of the PATRIOT Act, Hentoff aims to raise readers' consciousness to the dangers inherent in recently enacted and proposed legislation. Recommended for public and academic libraries. [With the growth of so-called Bill of Rights defense committees, this book may be in demand.-Ed.]-Jill Ortner, Univ. at Buffalo Libs., NY Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781583226216
  • Publisher: Seven Stories Press
  • Publication date: 8/25/2003
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 5.72 (w) x 8.55 (h) x 0.69 (d)

Meet the Author

NAT HENTOFF, a prolific author, journalist and weekly columnist in the Village Voice, has won the National Press Foundation Award for Distinguished Contributions to Journalism, and the American Bar Association Certificate of Merit for Coverage of the Criminal Justice System, as well as the Thomas Szasz Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Cause of Civil Liberties.
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Table of Contents

1 "Why Should We Care? It's Only the Constitution" 11
2 How We Began to Lose Our Liberties 19
3 A Society Under Surveillance 26
4 J. Edgar Hoover Lives! 32
5 The FBI Eyeing What You Read 35
6 Burglars with Badges 39
7 The FBI's Magic Lantern 43
8 Computers Will Say Who We Are 46
9 The Patriot Enforcers 50
10 A Citizen Shorn of All Rights 54
11 Liberty's Court of Last Resort 59
12 Ashcroft's Detention Camp 62
13 The American Way of Torture 65
14 Our Designated Killers 69
15 Ashcroft's Master Plan to Spy on Us 75
16 The Apparent Death of Operation TIPS 78
17 Ashcroft Out of Control 81
18 Red Alert for the Bill of Rights 84
19 The Sons and Daughters of Liberty and Their Opponents 87
20 Grass Roots of the Constitution 92
21 The Unilateral President 97
22 Spinning the Military Tribunal 101
23 Vanishing Liberties 105
24 Bush-Ashcroft vs. Homeland Security 109
25 Conservatives Rise for the Bill of Rights! 113
26 Protecting John Ashcroft from Congress - and Us 117
27 Will American Liberty Survive the War on Terrorism? 120
28 Dick Armey's Farewell Address 125
29 Knowing Enough of Our History to Save Our Future 127
30 A Secret Meeting in 1773 on Which "The Political Salvation of America Depends" 130
31 The Chilling Effect on Our Freedoms 134
32 In the Enduring Spirit of Sam Adams 142
33 Justice Denied at Its Source 146
34 Ashcroft in Conference 150
35 The Once and Former Rule of Law 154
Epilogue 158
Acknowledgments 160
Index 161
About the Author 175
Other Books by Nat Hentoff 176
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