Lewis: Freedom is victim after Sept. 11 by Maya Ristic When America was struck by terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, citizens feared yet another tragic event.
The nation's freedom has become a victim of that fear, according to Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Anthony Lewis.
Lewis recently spoke to Unversity of South Dakota students in Slagle Hall.
His address, titled "Civil Liberties Post-9/11 America" focused on the loss of judicial rights in matters of security since 9/11.
"Terrorism has put the system's freedom under strain," Lewis said. "Politicians have used fear as a weapon."
Lewis discussed the U.S. administration's handling of the Guantanamo Bay detainees. He used this historical example to show what he believes to be an undemocratic way of addressing the rights of the accused; be it at Guantanamo Bay or on the United States mainland.
"The U.S says the Guatanamo Bay is outside of jurisdiction so Habeas
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Corpus cannot be of use," Lewis said. The writ of Habeas Corpus is a petition used for prisoners' rights to a fair and speedy trial. In addition, it is where an official can use a petition to see whether the prisoner has been treated unlawfully and whether or not the prisoner can be released from custody.
The Bush administration is unilateral and according to Attorney General John Ashcroft's campaign, "We make no apology to protect American public from terrorist attacks," Lewis said.
However, Lewis believes the war on terror in many ways is unlawful and will have no end.
"The war in Iraq has aroused terrorism," Lewis said.
He said the Bush Administration has been highly secretive and it in essence has detained U.S. citizens.
"We are not safe from the methods used against aliens," Lewis said.
He also said the press has made the war on terrorism a vulnerable fear to the American public. Cases involving Paul Bremer's shut-down of Iraq's newspaper because of criticism of American people was a poor way of expressing the U.S. entitlement to free speech and press, Lewis said.
"President Bush has taken the law and facts into his own accord," Lewis said.
An audience member asked Lewis what citizens can do to keep peace and democracy, as opposed to engaging in wars. Lewis said it is imperative to speak out, whenever possible, in a variety of methods, including writing letters to members of Congress.
Andrew Christianson, vice president of the Political Science League, said it was nice to hear different viewpoints.
"This benefits students because it is giving them an educated perspective other than a Fox news story," Christianson said.