Fortnightly logo

Political Dissent During National Security Crises: A Panel Discussion
JOHN MEANY, moderator

The United States Constitution guarantees freedom of speech and association, as well as protection against unreasonable search and seizure. In the wake of catastrophic crises and national tragedies, such as those on September 11, patriotic zeal and campaigns to protect the nation against domestic and international terror may threaten those liberties. Although it may identify criminal activity, many citizens and immigrants may find their rights curtailed by enhanced surveillance, investigations of political groups and charitable donations, guilt by association and profiling, and deportations and detentions of 'persons of interest.'

This program will feature an excerpt from the documentary film, "Point of Order" (1963), a review of the 1954 Army-McCarthy hearings, a landmark event in American media politics and the first nationally televised Congressional investigation.

After the film, there will be a moderated panel discussion with audience participation. The panel will feature James Walsh and the award-winning students of The Claremont Colleges Debate Union (CCDU). Walsh is executive director of Harvard University's Managing the Atom project at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, and founder and chair of the Harvard International Working Group on Radiological Weapons. An expert in terrorism, the production of weapons of mass destruction, security studies, and civil liberty issues, Walsh has testified before the United Stares Senate on the issue of nuclear terrorists and served as an expert witness in federal deportation litigation. He has appeared on a variety of television and radio programs, from the BBC, NPR, and CNN to MTV. Walsh's writings have appeared in scholarly journals and editorial pages, including the The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and the Times of London.

The 5-college CCDU is the nation's premiere college debating society, winning scores of awards annually in national and international competition in addition to public debate and educational outreach honors.

John Meany, director of the successful Claremont Colleges Debate Union since 1987, will moderate the panel discussion.