A Senior Attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union says “fear and fear-mongering” have defined the post-September 11th legal landscape. Zachary Katznelson participated in a discussion panel on that subject at Wayne State University. He’s a Senior Attorney with the ACLU’s National Security Project. Katznelson says the 9-11 attacks spurred the creation of a vast and secretive security apparatus that infringes on civil liberties. And he says the federal government—particularly the Obama administration—comes down hard on people who draw attention to it.
“People who’ve revealed non-classified information but ineffective or improper programs in the National Security Agency for instance, have been prosecuted. More whistleblowers have been prosecuted under the Obama administration than all the previous administrations combined.”
The panel was the first several events in the “US Rising: Emerging Voices in Post Nine-Eleven America” series, co-sponsored by the Michigan ACLU, and ACCESS, an Arab-American social services agency. ACCESS Deputy Director Maha Freij says in the 10 years since September 11th, Arab-Americans have experienced some backlash and “guilt by association.” But Freij says positive things have also happened. She cites the opening of the Arab-American Museum in Dearborn as one example. “I think it got [a] special push, because the community was thirsty to showcase a different story about Arab-Americans,” Freij says. The series continues through the weekend. It will also feature a panel discussion on civil liberties, and a day of service in Detroit.