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News stories tagged with "civil-liberties"

A traffic stop in Waddington (NCPR File Photo)
A traffic stop in Waddington (NCPR File Photo)

Owens says some Border Patrol activity "very troubling"

Last week, the New York Civil Liberties Union and other groups released a report criticizing the US Border Patrol for its activities along the Canadian border. Federal agents regularly stop and questions motorists as well as passengers on trains and buses as far as a hundred miles away from the the nearest border, raising questions about civil liberties.

The Border Patrol declined NCPR's request for an interview, but sent a statement saying that officers are constantly changing their methods in order to "manage risk and mitigate threats." According to the statement, many of the so-called "transportation checks" are based on intelligence, and not random.

Following release of the report, Brian Mann sat down with Congressman Bill Owens. Owens' district includes much of the border, from Lake Champlain in the east to Lake Ontario in the West.  Go to full article

McHugh, Oot spar over Iraq, civil liberties

In this election season, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have often been eclipsed by the sagging economy. But national security took center stage last night when Congressman John McHugh and challenger Mike Oot met for a debate in Plattsburgh, hosted by Mountain Lake PBS. The pair clashed repeatedly over the war's future, treatment of returning soldiers, and civil liberties. Brian Mann has our story.

NOTE: Last night's debate was hosted by Mountain Lake PBS. It will air in its entirety on October 30 at 8 pm.  Go to full article
Photo of Guantanamo Bay prison facility (Source:  According to Wikipedia, this is a public domain photo taken by a government official at Guantanamo Bay)
Photo of Guantanamo Bay prison facility (Source: According to Wikipedia, this is a public domain photo taken by a government official at Guantanamo Bay)

Civil liberties advocate tells Adirondack audience about fight over Guantanamo

Last month, the Bush administration lost a major Supreme Court fight over the treatment of prisoners held at the detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The Court ruled that inmates held at the facility must be allowed to challenge their detentions in civilian court, and they must be presented with the evidence against them. The rules are known broadly as "habeas corpus" rights. Civil liberties advocates praised the decision. Critics say prisoners labeled as "enemy combatants" by President Bush shouldn't enjoy legal protections. Over the weekend, one of the attorneys who challenged the Bush Administration's terror policy spoke at a church in Keene Valley. Occasionally, North Country Public Radio broadcasts an excerpt of a speech given on an important topic in the North Country. This morning, we'll hear from Emi MacClean, who works for an organization called the Center for Constitutional Rights.  Go to full article

Balancing Private & Public in Canada

Unlike in the United States, the Canadian constitution, drafted in 1982, puts the rights of the group over the rights of the individual. Robert Thacker is a professor of Canadian Studies at St. Lawrence University. He told David Sommerstein in Canada, there's been an assumption that people cede some of their personal rights for the good of the community.  Go to full article
Andrew Vitek, with bandanna.
Andrew Vitek, with bandanna.

Bandanna Ban Lesson in Free Speech

Earlier this month, students at Potsdam High School staged an act of civil disobedience. They were protesting the new principal's ban on bandanas and headbands. She said they could be used as gang related symbols. Commentator Andrew Vitek is a student at the school and participated in the demonstration. He says now, more than ever, you have to stand up for what you believe in.

Principal Holly Ledger declined to give her version of the bandanna policy. She said it's not an issue. Potsdam High School has announced Ledger has taken an unexpected leave of absence for personnel reasons.  Go to full article

St. Lawrence County Mulls Patriot Act Opposition

This week, Attorney General John Ashcroft began criss-crossing the country speaking in defense of the controversial USA Patriot Act. The act was passed less than a month after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. It gives law enforcement broader surveillance powers to track potential terrorists. But it's drawn widespread criticism that it compromises civil liberties. State legislatures in Vermont, Hawaii, and Alaska have drafted resolutions against aspects of the Patriot Act, as have more 150 communities, including the village of Potsdam and the city of Burlington. Next week, the St. Lawrence County legislature will consider whether to add its name to the opposition. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article

The Case of Ansar Mahmood

In the months since the September 11th terror attacks, the U.S. government has deported thousands of Muslim men. Some were detained here in the North Country as they tried to cross the border to Canada. They're not charged with terrorism, but with violations of federal immigration law. Some critics say the policy is too severe. As Brian Mann reports, activists in the Catskill town of Hudson are working to free one Pakistani man who's been held in a federal prison for 18 months.  Go to full article

Potsdam Takes Stand on Civil Liberties

The village of Potsdam became the first northern New York community to go on record against a controversial aspect of the USA Patriot Act of 2001, which allows law enforcement agencies to secretly monitor the books library and bookstore patrons borrow or buy. Opponents of the resolution say it's not the village's role to criticize a federal law. David Sommerstein has more.  Go to full article

Vermont Bookseller Nervous About Threat of 'Patriot Act' Searches

Afraid of 'Patriot Act' searches, a Vermont bookseller is deleting the names of books on its reader's club list.  Go to full article

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