Center for National Security Studies

 STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES

 1.  On September 11, 2001 thousands of people lost their lives in a brutal  assault on the United States.  We mourn the loss of these innocent   lives.  Those responsible for these heinous acts must be held accountable.

 2.  We recognize the importance of the government's responsibility to prevent future attacks.  We believe that law enforcement can be most effective when it  acts in a manner consistent with the principles of a democratic society and the Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution.

 3.  We welcome the statements by U.S. government officials condemning intolerance and bigotry and promising to bring the full force of law against those who commit hate crimes.

 4.  However, we have become increasingly concerned about a series of measures  by the government affecting the Arab American, Muslim and immigrant  communities. We are very concerned about a strategy of " prevention" of  terrorism that instead of targeting terrorists casts suspicion on entire religious and ethnic communities.  For example, we are concerned about   statements by Administration officials suggesting without any evidence that  hundreds of individuals arrested for unrelated visa violations are involved in  terrorist activity.  Such statements feed negative attitudes towards immigrant  Arabs, Arab Americans, and Muslim Americans.

 5.  We call upon the government and especially the Department of Justice   to  act in accordance with the Constitution.

 6.  Individuals should not be targeted for investigation or detention   because  of their race, religion, ethnic background or appearance, including Arab  Americans, Muslims, or immigrants in general.

 7.  Immigration and other laws should not be selectively enforced based   on  race, religion, or ethnic background.

 8.  Secret arrests and secret detentions are unconstitutional and   undemocratic.

 9.  Individuals seized in the United States should not be detained   unless they  are charged with either criminal or immigration violations.

 10.  Individuals charged with crimes or immigration violations should   not be  arbitrarily detained before trial on such charges.

 11.  Individuals should not be confined under abusive or unnecessarily   restrictive conditions.

 12.  All persons have a right to effective assistance of counsel.  There should be no interference with the attorney-client privilege.

 13.  Secret evidence should not be used to deprive individuals of their   liberty or to try them for violations of criminal or immigration laws.

 14.  Military commissions should not be used to try civilians arrested   in the  United States.

 15.  The First Amendment protects the rights of peaceful dissent, free   exercise of religion, and freedom of association.  The government should not  use its law enforcement powers to disrupt lawful political or religious activities, nor should it conduct investigations on individuals or groups  based on their lawful religious or political speech or associations.

 16.  Secret searches and seizures, as well as secret wiretaps without   necessary safeguards, are unconstitutional.

 17.  Governmental compilation of databases on individuals can pose   severe  dangers to freedoms of association, religion, and speech and the right  to  privacy.  The government should not compile databases on individuals without  procedures to protect against labeling them as suspected terrorists on  the  basis of their lawful religious or political activities, associations, or  race, religion or ethnic background.

 18.  Due process protections must apply to any closure or wholesale   seizure of  the assets of charitable or religious organizations.

 19.   We express our deep concern regarding the assumption of new powers   by  the executive branch  that pose risks to human rights and civil   liberties,  particularly when such powers have not been authorized by the Congress  and  there has been no public debate concerning them.

 20. We call upon the Department of Justice and all law enforcement   agencies to  act consistently with the above principles.

21.  We call upon all Americans, our political leaders, and the U.S. Congress  to speak out and act to protect our cherished constitutional rights and  democratic values.    

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