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Human Rights & Civil Liberties

Human Rights & Civil Liberties

Urgent Fascism Alert: the FBI raids nonviolent antiwar activists

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  • FBI cites terror link in raids of local activists
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  • The FBI confiscates picture of Martin Luther King!!
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Gary Kohls, Evergreene Digest

The FBI seems to be busy intimidating peace-loving, nonviolent antiwar activists who, for patriotic reasons, oppose the illegal US-led wars and the blatant American empire-building and greed for oil that underlies the wars.

Please read the Star and Tribune's report on the FBI's harrassment efforts and then take appropriate action.

One wonders if there is a certain amount of cowardice among our "national security" organizations that seem to prefer easy and safe missions such as targeting mellow pot smokers or harrassing nonviolent antiwar activists or spying on peaceful people who travel to oppressed third world countries rather than going after dangerous violent lawbreakers who might have guns to defend themselves!

It looks like peace and justice activists including those going on fact-finding and solidarity missions to Colombia, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Chiapas, the Philippines, East Timor, Palestine, etc etc are now fair game for legal (though hardly ethical) gestapo-type surveillence and terrorist tactics. Anybody doing their patriotic duty by opposing the US's blatant empire-building may be in deep trouble with those charged to protect, rather than harass, US citizens.

One wonders where our "To Protect and Serve" local police departments on this issue. Can we count on our local law enforcers to really protect their peace-loving citizens and refuse to obey illegal, unconstitutional, unethical and unjust orders that come from the FBI or the extrajudicial waterboarding and torturing that the CIA is infamous for?

I think everybody would like to hear from the local "authorities" not to mention the Dept of Justice on this issue.

Related:

[TCPCMn] Press Conference re FBI raids, TCPCMn@yahoogroups.com

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Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Chante Wolf

Press Conference to Denounce FBI Raids on Anti-war and Solidarity Activists Homes in Minneapolis and around Country

Subpoenas, Searches, and FBI visits carried out in cities across the country.

Press Conference:  September 24, 2010    4 pm

Location:  2911 Park Ave South, Minneapolis, MN

Anti-war activists and supporters will gather at 4pm at one of the homes raided to speak out against the outrageous FBI raids that took place this morning in Minneapolis and around the U.S.

Activists will denounce the Federal Bureau of Investigation harassment of anti-war and solidarity activists in several states across the country.  The FBI began turning over six houses in Chicago and Minneapolis this morning, Friday, October 24, 2010, at 7:00 am central time.  The FBI handed subpoenas to testify before a federal grand jury to about a dozen activists in Illinois, Minnesota, and Michigan.  They also attempted to intimidate activists in California and North Carolina.

"This is a blatant attempt by the FBI to silence activists who struggle for peace and justice.  Standing in solidarity with people fighting against US imperialism is not a crime!" stated Meredith Aby of the Anti-War Committee, one of the activist's whose home was raided.

"The government hopes to use a grand jury to frame up activists. The goal of these raids is to harass and try to intimidate the movement against U.S. wars and occupations, and those who oppose U.S. support for repressive regimes," said Colombia solidarity activist Tom Burke, one of those handed a subpoena by the FBI in Michigan. "They are designed to suppress dissent and free speech, to divide the peace movement, and to pave the way for more U.S. military intervention in the Middle East and Latin America."

This suppression of democratic rights is aimed towards those who dedicate much of their time and energy to supporting the struggles of the Palestinian and Colombian peoples against U.S. funded occupation and war.  The activists are involved with well-known anti-war groups including many of the leaders of the huge protest against the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, MN in September 2008.  The FBI agents emphasized that the grand jury was going to investigate the activists for possible terrorism charges.  This is a U.S. government attempt to silence those who support resistance to oppression in the Middle East and Latin America.

Press Conference is organized by the Anti-War Committee, and supporting organizations WAMM, Students for a Democratic Society, and the Welfare Rights Committee.

Press Contacts:

Jess Sundin, 612-865-8234;  Mick Kelly 612-296-5649;  Deb Konechne 612-816-4321

World Day against the Death Penalty

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  • The death penalty is a fundamental human rights abuse, violating the right to life. On October 10th supporters worldwide will focus their efforts on abolishing the death penalty in the United States.
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  • Help stop the execution of Reggie Clemons and others on death row for World Day against the Death Penalty.
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  • VA to execute first woman in nearly a century
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Laura Moye, Amnesty International USA

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Will Shapira

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  • Virginia may execute the first woman in the state in more than a century, despite troubling information about her mental competence. She is scheduled to be killed by lethal injection tomorrow (Sep 23).
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  • Yesterday (Sep 21), a man on Georgia’s death row tried to commit suicide, but officials revived him just so that they could execute him on Friday (Sep 24).
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  • Last month August), our hearts sank along with yours, when a federal court denied Troy Davis’ petition, putting him back at risk of execution. However, doubts about Troy’s guilt persist. There is a very real possibility that he may be innocent of the crime for which he could face death.
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As more high-profile death penalty cases are brought to the public’s attention, the more people begin to ask the all-important question: Is the death penalty really the right thing to do?

Unequivocally, we can say: No, there is a better way!

On October 10, 2010 supporters worldwide will join together to mark World Day against the Death Penalty – holding events, teach-ins, rallies, demonstrations and taking other powerful actions to advance the ever-growing movement against the death penalty.

We’re so grateful that this year’s World Day activities will focus on the death penalty in the U.S. With supporters around the world helping us shine a powerful light on this injustice, we know we can’t lose!

There are 18 pending executions currently scheduled in the U.S. The reasons for these individuals sitting on death row vary, but the intended outcome is the same – death. And there are no do-overs when it comes to carrying out the death penalty.

For example, the case of Reggie Clemons in Missouri illustrates just how flawed the death penalty can be. The case has:

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  • No physical evidence linking Clemons to the crime
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  • Two highly questionable witnesses - both of whom were initially charged with the crime
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  • Alleged police coercion
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  • Sharp racial inequities evidenced by the jury selection where blacks were disproportionately dismissed
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You can support World Day against the Death Penalty by taking action.

Thank you for joining our growing global movement to abolish the death penalty!

Please visit our World Day against the Death Penalty page for fact sheets, event ideas, community petitions and more ways you can help abolish the death penalty!

Related:

VA to execute first woman in nearly a century, Steve Szkotak, Associated Press/Florida Times Union
The U.S. Supreme Court and Gov. Bob McDonnell declined to intervene. All her legal appeals have been exhausted, her attorney said.

Torture: The Prisoner's Reality and International Law

Live streamed on Saturday October 9 (12pm Central time) at http://www.veteransforpeace.org

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Betsy Reznicek, Veterans for Peace

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Bob Heberle

http://www.veteransforpeace.org/files/Image/tortureperspectives2.jpg

Phil Butler:  Phil graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy, class of 1961. Flew the A4C with VA-22 aboard the USS Midway. On April 20, 1965 his aircraft went down over Vinh from malfunctioning VT fused bombs. Spent 4 days and nights  attempting to evade capture but was finally tracked down by two well-trained german shepherd dogs. He was repatriated eight years later on February 12, 1973.  He is also the author of  an incredible  book: "Three Lives of a Warrior."

Moazzam Begg - Moazzam Begg was seized by the DIA in Islamabad in February of 2002.  He was flown to the U.S. detention facility at Kandahar then Bagram where he was held for a year before being transferred to Guantanamo.  He was labeled as an "enemy combatant" but never charged with a crime.  In all, Moazzam spent three years in prison, much of it in solitary confinement.  He was subjected to over three hundred interrogations as well as death threats and torture.  He was released in January of 2005 along with three other British citizens.  He is the author of "Enemy Combatant: My Imprisonment at Guantanamo, Bagram, and Kandahar."  Begg will be joining us from England via web cast.

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Moderator: Jean Abbott - Jean is Clinical Director of the Center for Survivors of Torture and War Trauma in St. Louis, Missouri. The center provides free counseling for refugee and immigrant survivors of torture and war trauma.

More...

The CIA and Secrecy


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  • Torture gets a free pass
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  • The Bleaker Truth of Anti-Americanism: Torture, Rendition, and Guantánamo
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  • ACLU Report: Obama Continuing Bush-Era Torture Policies
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Boston Globe | MA

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Boston Globe Staff Photo Illustration

A government fighting terrorists and overseas wars has a right to some secrets. At times, the revelation of a specific piece of information -- a name, a location, a date -- could thwart antiterror efforts. But the last two presidential administrations have made a broader argument: plaintiffs who claim they were tortured as a result of illegal CIA kidnappings can't have their cases heard in court, because simply hearing the cases could cast unwanted light on valuable state secrets.

This standard is far too sweeping, because there's a way to honor both the government's need for secrecy and plaintiffs' rights to have their allegations heard. Cases could proceed, but with judges privately evaluating individual pieces of evidence the government claims to be secret and determining on a case-by-case basis which should be admitted. Such a system had already been endorsed by a three-judge panel from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Unfortunately, after a razor-thin ruling by 11 members of that same court, the broader interpretation of the so-called state secrets doctrine will prevail -- unless the Supreme Court decides otherwise.

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More...

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Related:

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The Bleaker Truth of Anti-Americanism: Torture, Rendition, and Guantánamo, Andy Worthington, Common Dreams
On the 9th Anniversary of 9/11, A Call to Close Guantánamo and to Hold Accountable Those Who Authorized Torture

ACLU Report: Obama Continuing Bush-Era Torture Policies, Deborah Weinstein,  TruthOut.org/AlterNet

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  • Fear of an unchecked, unaccountable government permeates the report, particularly in the section about targeted killings.
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  • On torture, U.S. must clean house
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Summary: Immigration Reform | Week of September 19

4 New Items including:

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  • The 'Great Wall of America' and the Threat From Within
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  • Why Becoming a Legal Immigrant Is Next to Impossible
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David Culver, ed., Evergreene Digest

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Deng Coy Miel

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The 'Great Wall of America' and the Threat From Within, Richard Rodriguez, New America Media
The irony remains: The land of the free that the wall was built to protect — the literal "homeland," soil so infused with sacred legend it was deemed by the makers of the Constitution more important than blood in determining citizenship — is threatened from within. And the wall that is supposed to proscribe the beginning of America becomes the place where America ends.
Great empires expand beyond their own borders. Empires in decline build walls.

Why Becoming a Legal Immigrant Is Next to Impossible, Mari Herreras  Tucson Weekly| AZ

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  • Many wrongly assume there is a process you can easily go through to become legal. In reality, our immigration system is a bureaucratic nightmare.
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  • No One is “Illegal”
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  • Stop the Militarization of the DREAM Act!
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Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, The Progress Report, Think Progress

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  • The DREAM Act was specifically cited in the Department of Defense's FY2010-12 Strategic Plan to help the military "shape and maintain a mission-ready All Volunteer Force."
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  • Stop the Militarization of the DREAM Act!
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  • US eyes more troops for Afghanistan
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Revised: Stop the Militarization of the DREAM Act!, Comite Anti-Militarizacion (CAMI)/Change.org

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  • Comite Anti-Militarizacion (CAMI) supports higher education for all students both documented and undocumented; however, we denounce the military component of the DREAM ACT. Unfortunately, this deadly component is strategically excluded from the debate by many Democrats and organizations who support the DREAM ACT.
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  • Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act
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