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Unconstitutional - The War On Our Civil Liberties (2004)

Aquil Abdullah , John Ashcroft , Nonny de la Peña  |  NR |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Aquil Abdullah, John Ashcroft, Bob Barr, Azmat Begg, Tony Blair
  • Directors: Nonny de la Peña
  • Writers: Nonny de la Peña
  • Producers: Nonny de la Peña, Daniel Raskov, Earl Katz, Robert Greenwald
  • Format: Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: The Disinformation Company
  • DVD Release Date: October 5, 2004
  • Run Time: 68 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000621NRQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #240,488 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Unconstitutional - The War On Our Civil Liberties" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Unconstitutional: The War on Our Civil Liberties is the new, hour-long documentary from Robert Greenwald – one of the most prolific and progressive producers in Hollywood – in conjunction with the ACLU. This new film, written, directed and produced by Nonny de la Peña, details the shocking way that the civil liberties of American citizens and immigrants alike have been infringed upon, curtailed and rolled back since 9/11 and the USA Patriot Act.

Autumn of 2001 brought us assaults against Americans' comfort zone on many fronts. We learned that we could fall victim to attacks on US soil, and we learned that those guarantees provided to us in the Constitution were equally vulnerable.

Unconstitutional is the third in a series of Public Interest Pictures films that follows Unprecedented: The 2000 Election and Uncovered: The Whole Truth About the Iraq War. True to their legacy, Unconstitutional provides the facts and stories that illuminate administration lies, wrongheaded policies and the real victims of these actions – the American people.

Here, you'll get the real story behind the USA PATRIOT Act and other administration policies and the gut wrenching stories behind those affected – from law abiding sales clerks to United States Olympians unable to travel. It'll remind you of what America used to stand for and what it seems we're falling for now. In short, this film will affirm why you're angry and give you a tool to help others join your ranks.

Completing a trilogy that should be required viewing for all Americans, Unconstitutional explicitly reveals how the USA Patriot Act violates numerous civil liberties guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. Following the equally persuasive documentaries Unprecedented: The 2000 Presidential Election and Uncovered: The Whole Truth About the Iraq War, this film presents powerful and tragic examples of how the USA Patriot Act--passed with virtually no Congressional debate just 45 days after the terrorist attacks of 9/11/01--has been used to justify the unconstitutional arrest of innocent immigrants based on Arab stereotyping; the illegal detention of vaguely defined "suspects" and their improper treatment (including beatings and torture) during extended confinement; prisoner abuse of alleged terrorism suspects in Guantanamo Bay military prison; the allowance of improper search and seizure without due cause; prohibited travel based on racial profiling; bully tactics employed with impunity by local police in efforts to undermine free speech; and other clear indications of the Patriot Act's unconstitutional enforcement. The more personal these stories of violation are, the more gut-wrenching is the realization that U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft--and by extension, the George W. Bush administration--have used the Patriot Act to justify what is essentially a dictatorial police state.

Sponsored by the American Civil Liberties Union and full of bipartisan testimony by lawyers, politicians, and victims of Patriot Act abuse, Unconstitutional makes an eloquent case for the careful interpretation of Constitutional law, exploring rising opposition to Patriot Act abuses while exposing how many of our freedoms have been undermined in the name of post-9/11 security. Regardless of your political affiliation, this is a chilling reminder of how seemingly good intentions can corrupt even our most cherished American values. --Jeff Shannon

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
85 of 92 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ESSENTIAL. October 21, 2004
By alrodz
See it and vote on Nov. 2. I disagree with an earlier reviewer who compares the film to those of Michael Moore. There is nothing tongue-in-cheek in UNCONSITUTIONAL, no use of humor to dampen or soften the blow of this documentary. This is as serious as they get. Very compelling film. Should be required viewing for everyone BEFORE they vote. Big props to director Nonny de la Peña and producer Robert Greenwald (responsible for the other "UN" docs and the potent "OUTFOXED") for making this vital, necessary film. As UNCONSTITUTIONAL points out, there was no debate on The Patriot Act before Congress passed it. Now is the time to have that debate, in the public arena.
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
It's about time someone delved into the repercussions of the Bush administration's Patriot Act, a hurried piece of legislation that was supposed to provide us a safeguard against terrorists. Director Nonny de la Pena, under the supervision of Robert Greenwald (who directed the blistering "Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism", also strongly recommended) has made an eye-opening, sometimes shocking documentary that brings new, unfiltered light to the underbelly of the Patriot Act. Subjected to last-minute additions and changes before passing that dramatically altered its orientation, it has had a significant and heretofore unknown impact on our civil liberties, and the film pulls no punches in outlining those violations. De la Pena asserts that many of the provisions in the Patriot Act have little to do with terrorism and were just changes that various conservative Republicans wanted for a long time.

The invasion of privacy highlighted is enormous. According to the film, the government can now demand customer records from stores and conduct sneak-peek searches in people's homes without a warrant. There is no limit to what the Patriot Act allows, and the original purpose has been lost. The documentary does provide good news in that the officials who actually passed it are beginning to question its effectiveness and clamoring for public debate about it. De la Pena even interviews Representative Robert Barr, one of the more conservative members of Congress, who is quite open about his concerns regarding the credence of the Act. But the most telling portion of the documentary is the story of the Hamouis, a Syrian family who owned a grocery store in Seattle for over a decade.
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars We have to put a stop to this!! October 12, 2004
By Gen Res
This depressing and eye-opening documentary shows the severe abuses of civil liberties for immigrants and U.S. citizens. We detain people we suspect of terrorism indefinitely in Guantanamo Bay. The vast majority of these people have no links to terrorism what so ever. In addition, in the weeks after 9/11, we deported hundreds of people of Middle East origin back to their countries secretly with their families still living in the U.S. unaware of what had happened.

Latin Americans, people who converted to Islam, or people who look slightly Middle Eastern have also been a victim to these disgusting abuses of civil liberties.

Nobody would like their mother or father to be discriminated against, arrested and held indefinitely simply because of their faith or the way they look. America has chosen to put these people in Guantanamo Bay indefinitely because it is not on American soil so American laws don't apply, neither do Geneva conventions.

If we follow the USA Patriot Act and allow these civil rights abuses to continue, then the terrorists have won. We have all started suspecting each other and going against each other. What we have to do is show tolerance and stick together.

I highly recommend this eye-opening documentary. It is very moving. Every human being, whether they are American or not, has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That's what we have been taught since we were born.
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40 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought Provoking November 5, 2004
By foolrex
Besides thought provoking, this film will make you sad, fearful and angry. Anyone that suggests that this film bears any resemblance to Moore's F9/11 has not seen the film. This is pretty much straight documentary, without the music and humor that Moore used. It focuses on the aftermath of 9/11 and the passage of the so-called "Patriot Act." The wholesale attack upon civil rights and the abuses of both citizens and foreign nationals that the film documents is truly frightening. Every American should see this film because it focuses on the rights we have under the Constitution and the attack upon those rights that 9/11's hysteria has allowed. Truly a conversation starter but NOT for the faint of heart as it is critical of current US policy.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exposing the tools of Neocon Oppression.. October 20, 2004
People often ask "If 9/11 was a scam, what is the reason for executing such a scheme?" Unconstitutional - The War On Our Civil Liberties answers a major portion of that question.

The "Patriot" Act, passed by congress after 9/11 in the middle of the night under the noses of the American people, is one of the most powerful tools the Neocons have ever had to render the protections of our liberties in the Constitution useless. It was passed through congress by cowardly senators who did'nt want to look "weak on terrorism" and were too scared to even read it! This movie outlines the history of this act of treason and EVERY American should watch it. The truth is getting out: ANYONE can be labelled a "terrorist" under the Patriot Act.

I am sure Neocon lapdogs will hate this movie; their response to this Fascist legislation has always been "if you are a good American (a silent, obedient slave to your government masters) then you'll have nothing to worry about.."

This film explains why being an ignorant minion in a democratic society is such a bad idea.

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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five stars because I am sure he is right. But the whole subject is old...
Five stars because I am sure he is right. But the whole subject is old news, and I'm bored with it. Time to move on.
Published 14 months ago by RadioMaven
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great documentary!
Great only in the sense that it's informative and an eye opener to those who rely on Mainstream Media for their source of information.
Published 20 months ago by J. Wilson
5.0 out of 5 stars Unconstitutional
People, you need to educate yourselves on what your government is doing to you. This is the start of a great read.
Published 20 months ago by grammy
4.0 out of 5 stars Unconstitutional
I saw this video online and wanted a copy. Everyone should see this video for the information it contains about real history. People need to wake up and in a hurry. Read more
Published on August 10, 2011 by Martha Jane Lane
5.0 out of 5 stars Eye opening and fact based
This film is for anyone who is interested in understanding how your rights can be compromised by laws that are unnecessarily and purposefully vague and over-reaching.
Published on February 9, 2011 by Louis Gedo
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Information
Interesting DVD, refreshed my mind on why the Patriot Act is illegal and good for a research project for school.
Published on May 23, 2010 by Robert Carr
5.0 out of 5 stars Is This America?
This is the most heartbreaking documentary. Unconstitutional is about the destruction of the American legal system. The US became after Sept. Read more
Published on November 4, 2008 by Lynn Ellingwood
Our country has been here before. During WWII, we put innocent Japanese citizens in internment camps because they were all considered to be security threats to our nation. Read more
Published on October 17, 2008 by Loves To Read
5.0 out of 5 stars The Truth (And The Lies) Behind The Patriot Act
Much more than buildings, airliners, and lives were destroyed on September 11, 2001. So too was America's ability to balance liberty and security. Read more
Published on October 8, 2008 by Erik North
5.0 out of 5 stars Less Is Not Always More
This is a fantastic film - but it doesn't go far enough. Though its central premise - that the USA Patriot Act is unconstitutional - is sound, it buttresses that premise with a... Read more
Published on May 9, 2008 by Howard M. Kindel
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