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December 18, 2003

2003.12.18: Antiwar Bulletin: Bush’s Saddam Deception

Filed under: Antiwar — nyclaw01 @ 2:49 pm
Tags:

From: Michael Letwin
Sent: Thursday, December 18, 2003 3:59 PM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Antiwar Bulletin: Bush’s Saddam Deception

Contents

1.  U.S. BACKED HUSSEIN AT HIS WORST
2.  RESISTANCE GROWS

=================================================================================

1.  U.S. BACKED HUSSEIN AT HIS WORST

Our examination shines a new spotlight on the revolving door between Bechtel and the Reagan Administration that drove U.S.-Iraq interactions between 1983 and 1985. The same men who courted Saddam in the 1980s while he gassed Iranians in 2003 helped plan and implement the invasion and assumption of control of Baghdad, ostensibly because Saddam harbored weapons of mass destruction. To a man, they now deny that oil has anything to do with the invasion of Iraq. Yet during the Reagan Administration, and in the years leading up to the present conflict, these men shaped and implemented a strategy that has everything to do with securing Iraqi oil exports.

[Source: Crude Vision: How Oil Interests Obscured US Government Focus On Chemical Weapons Use by Saddam Hussein 2d (Sustainable Energy and Economy Network/Institute for Policy Studies, August 13, 2002), at < http://www.seen.org/PDFs/Crude_Vision2.pdf >]

++++++++++

[T]he vast majority of the war crimes committed by Saddams regime took place during the period in which he was supported by the U.S. government. This may be the primary reason why the United States objects to any kind of international tribunal, since it would more likely bring the U.S. role in Saddams repression to light than a trial set up by the Bush Administrations appointed Iraqi surrogates.

[Source: Saddams Arrest Raises Troubling Questions, Common Dreams, December 15, 2003, at < http://www.commondreams.org/views03/1215-14.htm >]

++++++++++

The U.S. restored formal relations with Iraq in November 1984, but the U.S. had begun, several years earlier, to provide it with intelligence and military support (in secret and contrary to this countrys official neutrality) in accordance with policy directives from President Ronald Reagan. These were prepared pursuant to his March 1982 National Security Study Memorandum (NSSM 4-82) asking for a review of U.S. policy toward the Middle East.

[Source: Shaking Hands with Saddam Hussein: The U.S. Tilts toward Iraq, 1980-1984, National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 82, February 25, 2003, at < http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB82/index2.htm >]

++++++++++

U.S. forces in Baghdad might now be searching high and low for Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, but in the past Saddam was seen by U.S. intelligence services as a bulwark of anti-communism and they used him as their instrument for more than 40 years, according to former U.S. intelligence diplomats and intelligence officials.

[Source: Exclusive: Saddam key in early CIA plot, UPI, April 10, 2003, at < http://www.upi.com/view.cfm?StoryID=20030410-070214-6557r >]

++++++++++

The U.S. provided financial aid, military intelligence, and actual military planning to Iraq at a time when the Reagan administration was well aware that Iraq was using chemical weapons against Iran. One anonymous inside source told the New York Times that the Pentagon wasnt so horrified by Iraqs use of gas. It was just another way of killing people – whether with a bullet or phosgene, it didnt make any difference.

[Source: U.S. support for Iraq in the 1980s, Center for Cooperative Research, at < http://www.cooperativeresearch.org/globalissue/usforeignpolicy/USknowledgeIraqchemwarfare1988nf.html >]

2.  RESISTANCE GROWS

Everyone is with the resistance, said 22-year-old Safa Hamad Hassan, whose cousin was wounded when a [U.S.] tank round landed near his home during the fighting. Saddam Hussein is finished. We are protecting our honor and our land.

[Source: Belief That Insurgency Will Fade May Be Misplaced, Washington Post, December 15, 2003, at < http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A158-2003Dec14.html >]

++++++++++

[A]ll those hopes of a collapse of resistance are doomed. Saddam was neither the spiritual nor the political guide to the insurgency that is now claiming so many lives in Iraq – far more Iraqi than Western lives, one might add . . . .

Yesterday, for example, a sergeant in the 1st Armoured Division on checkpoint duty in Baghdad explained the situation to The Independent in remarkably blunt words. Were not going to go home any sooner because of Saddams getting caught, he said. We all came to search for weapons of mass destruction and attention has now been diverted from that. The arrest of Saddam is meaningless. We still dont know why we came here.

[Source: Saddams Capture Will Not Stop The Relentless Killings From Insurgents, Independent, December 15, 2003, at < http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article5376.htm >]

++++++++++

A US official has conceded that the manner and circumstances of Saddam Husseins arrest makes it unlikely he was directing resistance forces in Iraq. . . . .

That is significant and disturbing because it means the insurgents are not fighting for Saddam, theyre fighting against the United States, said Sen. Jay Rockefeller, the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

[Source: Saddam not heading insurgency, Aljazeera, December 15, 2003, at < http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/C47A8269-85EA-4EAE-ADCE-9B54AF438B9A.htm >]

++++++++++

Now that Saddam is no longer a bogeyman to scare the people with, trade union and other mass opposition is likely to increase, complementing and coalescing with the armed opposition. . . .

Saddams ignominious end is likely to weaken US-led efforts to divide the Iraqis along sectarian and national lines. In memory of all those who died resisting Saddams tyranny, the peaceful and armed resistance is likely to intensify and attract greater support across the world, including that of the American people.

[Source: Resistance to occupation will grow, Guardian, December 15, 2003, at < http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,1107236,00.html >]

++++++++++

I felt no pity for Saddam. He had killed some dear comrades of mine and imprisoned too many others, but the US had no right to do this. It was the responsibility of the Iraqi people. . . . .

If it is true, as the warmongers argued once they couldnt find any weapons of mass destruction, that they were ridding Iraq of a tyrant, the logic should now be an immediate end to the Occupation. I dont think this will happen. That is why a political resistance could spread throughout the country. Banning trades-unions as the Occupation has done wont make too much difference. The Iraqi underground is vibrant and hopeful.

[Source: The New Model of Imperialism, Saddam on Parade, Counterpunch, December 16, 2003, at < http://counterpunch.org/ali12162003.html >]

++++++++++

Joy at the capture of Saddam Hussein gave way to resentment toward Washington on Monday as Iraqis confronted afresh the bloodshed, shortages and soaring prices of life under U.S. occupation. . . .

The Americans promised freedom and prosperity; whats this? Go up to their headquarters, at one of those checkpoints where they point their guns at you, and tell them that you hate them as much as Saddam, and see what they do to you, said Mohammad Saleh, 39, a building contractor.

The only difference is that Saddam would kill you in private, where the Americans will kill you in public, he said.

[Source: Resentment toward U.S. lingers, Gas lines, anger temper euphoria, Reuters, December 16, 2003, at < http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-0312160213dec16,1,3302017.story?coll=chi-newsnationworld-hed >

++++++++++

Some Iraqis said the capture of Mr. Hussein would actually deepen the rebellion against the occupation.

Of course there will be violence, and resistance will increase, said Col. Ibrahim Mutlak, director of police patrols for Salahadin Province, where Mr. Husseins hometown, Tikrit, is located. Lots of people did not want to join the resistance because they did not want to be called Saddam supporters. But now all the people who oppose the Americans will join.

[Source: Attacks Go On; Car Bomb Kills 6 Iraqi Officers, NY Times, December 16, 2003, at < http://www.nytimes.com/2003/12/16/international/middleeast/16IRAQ.html >]

++++++++++

This is the largest of the countrys more than 260 potential mass graves identified by human rights workers.

So one would expect the people of Mahawil to be clamoring for accountability from the imprisoned Mr. Hussein. They are, but they are clamoring even louder for accountability from the American occupiers.

Im against the Americans, said Alaa Abdul-Nabie, 25, as he drove some visitors along a palm-lined dirt road to one of the mass graves. Im a Muslim and Iraq is an Islamic country. The Americans should get out of Iraq and let the Iraqi people build their own country and do what they should do. The Americans dont have a pretext to be here now that Saddam Hussein has been captured.

[Source: Joy Fades as Iraqis Chafe Under a Grim Occupation, NY Times, December 16, 2003, at < http://www.nytimes.com/2003/12/16/international/middleeast/16GRAV.html >]

++++++++++

Col. William Darley, a spokesman for General Sanchez, said yesterday that the capture of Mr. Hussein had changed nothing in the generals assessment, the first mention from the American commander in Iraq of a minimum two-year time frame for the allied deployment.

[Source: U.S. Troops Are Expected to Remain in Iraq at Least a Couple More Years, Commander Says, NY Times, December 16, 2003, at < http://www.nytimes.com/2003/12/16/international/middleeast/16SANC.html >]

++++++++++

Soldiers who have served in the war and their family members interviewed yesterday said they do not expect Husseins capture to eliminate the danger of duty in Iraq in the short term. Nor do they hold much hope that it will reunite deployed soldiers with their families anytime soon. . . .

As for his comrades from the 101st Airbornes 1st Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment who stay in touch from Iraq, [S/Sgt. Joshua] Olson said, Theyre ready to get the heck out of there.

[Source: Concern Tempers Soldiers Optimism, Hussein Gone, but Danger Persists, Washington Post, December 16, 2003, at < http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A2945-2003Dec15.html >]

++++++++++

American troops killed at least 17 Iraqis in ambushes and violent rallies on Monday and Tuesday, the military reported, as repercussions of the capture of Saddam Hussein continued to be felt from Washington to the seething Sunni Muslim heartland of Iraq.

[Source: Iraqis Ambush a U.S. Convoy; G.I.s Raid Cell, NYT, December 17, 2003, at < http://www.nytimes.com/2003/12/17/international/middleeast/17IRAQ.html >]

++++++++++

U.S. troops [in Samarra] smashed down workshop doors and junkyard gates with sledgehammers, crowbars, explosives and even armored vehicles in a massive raid to hunt for pro-Saddam Hussein militants and stamp out the increasingly bold anti-U.S. resistance. . . .

Samarra has been a little bit of a thorn in our side, , said Col. Nate Sassaman. It hasnt come along as quickly as other cities in the rebuilding of Iraq. This operation is designed to bring them up to speed.

No one knows the town better than we do, were gonna clean this place. Theyve made a mistake to attack U.S. forces. We will dominate Samarra, he said. . . .

The loud blasts mixed with the sound of women and children screaming inside the houses. At one point, there was a short exchange of gunfire, but it was not immediately clear what happened.

At another home, an explosion ignited a small fire.

Elsewhere, a suspect was punched in the head and a soldier said: Youre dead. Youre dead.

[Source: U.S. military conducts major operation in restive Iraqi town, AP, December 17, 2003, at < http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/news/archive/2003/12/17/international0727EST0479.DTL >]

++++++++++

The memory of persecution – particularly in the sphere of religion – at the hands of Hussein left some Iraqis determined to never again submit to an outside power, whatever the cost. . . .

When I heard what had happened, I wept, and do you know why? said Hashim Hassan, an Iraqi journalist who was jailed, placed under house arrest and had his newspaper closed down by Husseins security apparatus. Not for being sad over what happened to me, and not for being glad that he was getting what he deserved. Because it was an American soldier, not an Iraqi, doing this – and he mimed hauling someone upward by the scruff of the neck. . . .

I am a Kurd, and my people suffered greatly because of him – of course I cant forget that, said Gulzar Tahar, a 30-year-old Baghdad teacher. But when I saw these pictures, I just didnt want to look – I couldnt. Because I could not endure something like this happening to me.

[Source: For Iraqis, Husseins Arrest Not a Cure-All, They wonder if it will bring closure, Gratitude to the U.S. gives way to anger over occupation, LA Times, December 17, 2003, at < http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-iraqmood17dec17,1,5406453.story >]

++++++++++

An American soldier was killed in an ambush in Baghdad on Wednesday, the United States military said today, in the first American combat-related casualty since the former Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein, was captured.

[Source: U.S. Soldier Killed in Ambush in Iraq, NY Times, December 18, 2003, at < http://www.nytimes.com/2003/12/18/international/middleeast/18CND-IRAQ.html >]

++++++++++

[NYT Reporter Chris Hedges said]: I dont think the resistance movement in Iraq has very much to do with Saddam Hussein at all. And I think it obscures the fundamental issue, which is that Iraqis are chafing against U.S. occupation. Having spent a lot of time in Iraq, I can tell you he was a deeply detested and feared figure. The fact that he was removed doesnt in any way mitigate the fact that most Iraqis do not want to be occupied by U.S. troops.

[Source: The War Rolls On, at < http://www.tompaine.com/feature2.cfm/ID/9623 >]

++++++++++

WARNING: These Pages Depict The Horror And Reality Of “OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM”: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article2604.htm

++++++++++

General Smedley Butler, a much-decorated and celebrated US war hero of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with 34 years military service, later reflected on his campaigns and produced a telling volume entitled War as a Racket. He explained his central thesis thus: I spent most of my time being a high-class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. . . I helped make Honduras right for American fruit companies in 1903. I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long.

[Source: The same old racket in Iraq, To the victors, the spoils: Bushs colonialism will only deepen resistance, Guardian, December 13, 2003, at < http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,1106238,00.html >]

December 17, 2003

2003.12.17: Tomorrow: Antiwar Events in Downtown Bklyn

Filed under: Antiwar,Civil Liberties,Police Abuse,Racism — nyclaw01 @ 2:50 pm
Tags:

From: Michael Letwin
Sent: Wednesday, December 17, 2003 1:55 PM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Tomorrow: Antiwar Events in Downtown Bklyn

9 a.m.:  War at Home — Activists of Color Court Date

What: The first court date for the defendants who were arrested at the November 15 APOC fundraiser.

When: Thursday morning, 12/18/03, 9 am

Where: Brooklyn Criminal Court, 121 Schemerhorn, AP2.  You can take the 4, 5, 2, 3 to Borough Hall and walk directly from there.

Why: Activists of color and allies were pre-emptively and brutally attacked by the NYPD at a fundraiser for activists of color. Some of them are facing serious charges – please come show your support and solidarity.

Please call Critical Resistance at 718-398-2825 for more information on how you can get involved.

4:30 p.m.:  War Abroad — Rally to Bring the Troops Home Now

Support the Troops
Bring Them Home Now
End the Occupation

Thursday, December 18

BROOKLYN BOROUGH HALL
Gather to Music at 4:30pm | Candlelight Rally 6-7pm SUBWAY 1, 2, 4, 5, M, N, & R TO COURT STREET/BOROUGH HALL OR A, C & F TO JAY STREET/BOROUGH HALL

Sponsors: Brooklyn Parents for Peace Veterans for Peace Military Families Speak Out Brooklyn Peace Action United for Peace & Justice
Contact: Brooklyn Parents for Peace 718.624.5921 bpfp@brooklynpeace.org http://www.brooklynpeace.org

Download flyer at:
http://www.brooklynpeace.org/flyers/downloads/troopshome_2003_1218.pdf

2003.12.17: Tomorrow: Antiwar Events in Downtown Bklyn

From: Michael Letwin
Sent: Wednesday, December 17, 2003 1:55 PM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Tomorrow: Antiwar Events in Downtown Bklyn

9 a.m.:  War at Home — Activists of Color Court Date

What: The first court date for the defendants who were arrested at the November 15 APOC fundraiser.

When: Thursday morning, 12/18/03, 9 am

Where: Brooklyn Criminal Court, 121 Schemerhorn, AP2.  You can take the 4, 5, 2, 3 to Borough Hall and walk directly from there.

Why: Activists of color and allies were pre-emptively and brutally attacked by the NYPD at a fundraiser for activists of color. Some of them are facing serious charges – please come show your support and solidarity.

Please call Critical Resistance at 718-398-2825 for more information on how you can get involved.

4:30 p.m.:  War Abroad — Rally to Bring the Troops Home Now

Support the Troops

Bring Them Home Now

End the Occupation

Thursday, December 18

BROOKLYN BOROUGH HALL

Gather to Music at 4:30pm | Candlelight Rally 6-7pm SUBWAY 1, 2, 4, 5, M, N, & R TO COURT STREET/BOROUGH HALL OR A, C & F TO JAY STREET/BOROUGH HALL

Sponsors: Brooklyn Parents for Peace Veterans for Peace Military Families Speak Out Brooklyn Peace Action United for Peace & Justice

Contact: Brooklyn Parents for Peace 718.624.5921 bpfp@brooklynpeace.org www.brooklynpeace.org

Download flyer at:

http://www.brooklynpeace.org/flyers/downloads/troopshome_2003_1218.pdf

December 11, 2003

2003.12.11: Vietnam Vet: Why We’re Terrorized

Filed under: Antiwar — nyclaw01 @ 2:51 pm
Tags:

From: Michael Letwin
Sent: Thursday, December 11, 2003 1:31 PM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Vietnam Vet: Why We’re Terrorized

Truth is, we’re terrorized because we’re hated National Catholic Reporter, October 2, 1998

We are the target of terrorists because, in much of the world, our government stands for dictatorship, bondage and human exploitation. We are the target of terrorists because we are hated. And we are hated because our government has done hateful things. . . .

Robert Bowman flew 101 combat missions in Vietnam. He is presently bishop of the United Catholic Church in Melbourne Beach, Fla.

[Full text:  http://www.natcath.com/NCR_Online/archives/100298/100298l.htm ]

2003.12.11: Tonight, 7 p.m.: Military Family/Vets Report From Iraq

Filed under: Antiwar — nyclaw01 @ 2:51 pm
Tags:

From: Michael Letwin
Sent: Thursday, December 11, 2003 1:38 PM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Tonight, 7 p.m.: Military Family/Vets Report From Iraq

Military Families and Veterans Delegation REPORTBACK FROM IRAQ

WHEN: Thurs., December 11 at 7PM
WHERE: Washington Square United Methodist Church, 135 W 4th St., btwn. 6th Ave and Wash. Sq. Park.
$5 suggested donation, no one turned away.

As President Bush was completing his two-hour visit to Iraq, a delegation of 10 military family members and veterans were about to embark on a one-week trip to Iraq to express their concern about the occupation and see first-hand the reality being faced by Iraqis and U.S. troops. Just days after their return, they will report back about what’s really going on in Iraq and present their ideas for alternatives to the occupation.

Featured speakers:

Fernando Suarez del Solar of Military Families Speak Out, whose son Jesus was killed during the invasion of Iraq

Medea Benjamin, co-founder of Global Exchange and the Iraq Occupation Watch Center

Hany Kahlil, United for Peace and Justice

Several other military family members and veterans who participated in the recent delegation to Iraq.

Also featuring: Exhibit of photographs from Iraq.

Sponsored by Global Exchange, Military Families Speak Out, United for Peace and Justice New York and Veterans for Peace. Also endorsed by New York City Labor Against the War.

For more information, contact 212 868-5545.

December 9, 2003

2003.12.09: Antiwar Events This Week

Filed under: Antiwar — nyclaw01 @ 2:52 pm
Tags:

From: Michael Letwin
Sent: Tuesday, December 09, 2003 2:32 PM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Antiwar Events This Week

CONTENTS

1.  12.10.03: Special Registration Press Conference 2.  12.10.03: Demilitarize the Police @ RNC 3.  12.11.03: Military Family/Vets Reportback From Iraq

========================================================

1.  12.10.03: Special Registration Press Conference

Special Registration Never Ended for Us…
Immigrant New Yorkers Begin Deportation Hearings as Discriminatory Program “Ends”

WHAT:
New Yorkers facing deportation after complying with the government’s Special Registration Program will demand an apology from the Bush Administration and a chance to remain here with their families. Last week immigrants and advocates of social justice celebrated the federal government’s decision to suspend the discriminatory program. But the victory is bittersweet for the thousands still facing incarceration and expulsion at the hands of the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security.

WHO:
NAVILA ALI, teenager whose dad has been detained in a NJ private prison since Feb 2003 TARIQUL ISLAM, facing deportation to Bangladesh. Fears persecution because of his beliefs Other Families, Advocates and Concerned Community Members

WHEN: Wednesday, December 10, 2003 – 10.30 a.m.

WHERE: 99 Hudson Street, 14th floor

2.  12.10.03: Demilitarize the Police @ RNC

http://demilitarizethepolice.netfirms.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Eric Laursen, (212) 679-5822
December 8, 2003

NO NYPD VIOLENCE AT THE REPUBLICAN CONVENTION!
PRESS CONFERENCE AND RALLY AGAINST POLICE USE OF MILITARY WEAPONS AND TACTICS AGAINST NON-VIOLENT DEMONSTRATIONS

What: Rally and press conference against police violence
When: Wednesday, Dec. 10, noon
Where: One Police Plaza (NYPD Headquarters), Chambers and Centre Streets, Manhattan

NEW YORK – The New York-based Campaign to Demilitarize the Police (CDP) will gather near One Police Plaza on Wednesday in the first of a series of public events to protest growing police use of military-style weapons and tactics at demonstrations. The Republican National Convention, to be held in New York Aug. 30-Sept. 2, 2004, is expected to draw tens of thousands of activists outraged at Bush Administration policies. CDP members are concerned that the New York Police Department are preparing to greet them with the same brutal and illegal violence the Miami police recently used against activists at the anti-Free Trade Area of the Americas protests.

“The militarization of law enforcement is tied to state efforts to repress and suppress protest,” says author and CDP founding member Frank Morales.
“We can no longer sit idly by and allow the increasing repression of protest in America.”

Speakers at Wednesday’s press conference will include leading civil rights attorney Norman Siegel and medics who treated police victims at the Miami FTAA protests.

DON’T LET MIAMI 2003 BECOME NEW YORK 2004!

The Campaign to Demilitarize the Police is demanding:
* Full disclosure and civilian representation in NYPD planning for the RNC 2004.
* No NYPD use of chemical weapons such as tear gas and CS gas – outlawed as weapons of war under the Geneva Convention.
* No NYPD firing of wooden pellets and rubber bullets, which can cause serious and lasting injury at close range.
* An end to antagonistic NYPD use of interlocking metal barricades, preventing people from reaching demonstration sites by providing false information, unwarranted searches, seizures and destruction of personal property, aggressive mounted police attacks, and denial of freedom of movement – all of which serve to spread panic and anger among demonstrators.
* An end to harmful and invasive surveillance of protesters – including monitoring of telephone and computer activity, facial recognition scanning, etc. – under the guise of the so called “war on terrorism.” An end to harassment and preemptive arrests.

The CDP has compiled a fact sheet on the growing pattern of police scaremongering and violence against activists who take to the streets in the U.S., from the Seattle WTO protests to the present. Please contact us at
(212) 969-8045 or at the Website above for a copy.

# # # # #
THE CAMPAIGN TO DEMILITARIZE THE POLICE
http://demilitarizethepolice.netfirms.com

3.  12.11.03: Military Family/Vets Reportback From Iraq

Military Families and Veterans Delegation REPORTBACK FROM IRAQ

WHEN: Thurs., December 11 at 7PM
WHERE: Washington Square United Methodist Church, 135 W 4th St., btwn. 6th Ave and Wash. Sq. Park.
$5 suggested donation, no one turned away.

As President Bush was completing his two-hour visit to Iraq, a delegation of 10 military family members and veterans were about to embark on a one-week trip to Iraq to express their concern about the occupation and see first-hand the reality being faced by Iraqis and U.S. troops. Just days after their return, they will report back about what\’s really going on in Iraq and present their ideas for alternatives to the occupation.

Featured speakers:

Fernando Suarez del Solar of Military Families Speak Out, whose son Jesus was killed during the invasion of Iraq

Medea Benjamin, co-founder of Global Exchange and the Iraq Occupation Watch Center

Hany Kahlil, United for Peace and Justice

Several other military family members and veterans who participated in the recent delegation to Iraq.

Also featuring: Exhibit of photographs from Iraq.

Sponsored by Global Exchange, Military Families Speak Out, United for Peace and Justice New York and Veterans for Peace. Also endorsed by New York City Labor Against the War.

For more information, contact 212 868-5545.

December 6, 2003

2003.12.06: From NLG Observers Attacked by Miami P.D.

Filed under: Antiwar,Civil Liberties,Criminal Justice,Police Abuse — nyclaw01 @ 2:52 pm
Tags:

From: Michael Letwin
Sent: Monday, December 08, 2003 1:21 PM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: From NLG Observers Attacked by Miami P.D.

POLICE, LEGAL OBSERVERS CLASH IN MIAMI
-From the ABA Journal E-Report

Protests at Free Trade Summit Bring Charges, Potential Lawsuits

BY MOLLY McDONOUGH

Veteran New York City lawyer Marc Steier says he watched in dismay as a police field commander grabbed his hand and snapped off the top of his flip phone before he was “dogpiled” by police. Steier says officers confiscated the cassette tapes he was using to monitor Miami and Miami-Dade County authorities.

Washington, D.C.-area law student Miles W. Swanson says he found himself the subject of a “snatch and grab” when a group of undercover officers dressed as ski mask-wearing anarchists beat him and threw him into a waiting van after he outed them to a group of demonstrators.

And Portland, Ore., environmental lawyer Brenna Bell says she was swept in with a mass arrest after she negotiated in vain with police to allow protesters to peacefully disperse from an unsanctioned jail vigil they were holding.

While remaining tight-lipped about these allegations, Miami police say their actions were necessary to stop lawbreakers.

The three were among 60 National Lawyers Guild volunteer legal observers sent to Miami to monitor police activity and assist demonstrators who ran afoul of the law during the Free Trade Area of the Americas summit in Miami last month. At least six legal observers were arrested and charged with misdemeanors ranging from unlawful assembly to obstruction of justice without violence during the week of the summit.

The arrests stunned the lawyers guild observers. Most were wearing bright neon green caps designed to distinguish them from the rest of the demonstrators. But many say the caps ended up serving more as targets than as protection from arrest. Several report being teargassed, shot with rubber bullets and jailed for more than 17 hours without access to food, water or counsel.

“It’s kind of shocking,” says Steier, who helped organize observers in Miami. “I honestly never expected to see legal observers arrested, let alone teargassed.”

National Lawyers Guild observers are a regular presence at large demonstrations, and the organization has a long history of litigating to combat government actions it says are geared toward preventing individuals from expressing their basic rights.

Heidi Boghosian, the guild’s executive director, says that at past demonstrations, legal observers have been swept up in mass arrests, often with charges being dropped before trial. “Here, we saw pinpointing of individuals,” she charges.

Miami police dispute claims that officers targeted anyone other than lawbreakers. Police officials met with demonstration organizers in the weeks leading up to the summit and were alerted to the fact that there would be legal observers present, according to police detective Delrish Moss.

“Observing is the key word,” Moss says. “Legal observers are fine, and we’re glad they’re there.” But, he adds, “People were arrested not for observing but for engaging in conduct that was lawless.”

Police report seeing demonstrators throwing rocks, and Moss says officers recovered slings, ball bearings and marbles from a local mansion that was burglarized the week of the summit. The lawyers guild disputes there was widespread violence and maintains police overreacted to otherwise peaceful demonstrations.

Swanson, Steier and Ernesto Longa, a second-year student at St. Thomas University School of Law in Miami, say they were clearly wearing their green hats, had notebooks in hand, were using audiotape recorders and tried to explain to officers that they were legal observers. Longa says his entire ordeal was caught on videotape because a Miami television reporter and cameraman had been assigned to follow him that day. And he says that because he was arrested while reporting the activity to higher-ups, his legal-team colleagues were able to hear over his cell phone much of what transpired.

Several groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, are investigating these and other claims. The groups are compiling personal accounts and collecting evidence, including rubber bullets and a police PowerPoint presentation the guild says includes a photo of Swanson and describes legal observers as tools of the demonstrators.

The observers interviewed by the ABA Journal eReport say they intend to help with any potential litigation and plan to serve as plaintiffs in lawsuits after their criminal cases are resolved. Swanson says he pleaded no contest to his reduced charges so he could return to D.C. to take an evidence exam at David A. Clarke School of Law. The others intend to fight the charges in court, if necessary.

Police, including the Miami-Dade County Police Department, report a total of 250 arrests the week of the summit and the days immediately following. Most of the arrests were misdemeanors, although prosecutors report there were 28 felony arrests involving more serious offenses including burglary and vandalism. Public defenders in Miami organized in advance and worked overtime to handle the influx of cases.

Although the guild members say they believe the police tactics were meant to deter demonstrators, those interviewed insist they will be ready volunteers the next time around to ensure that citizens have an avenue to exercise their First Amendment rights.

“It makes us more committed than ever,” says Bell, the Oregon attorney.
Asked whether she is worried the arrest and possible conviction could impact her law license, Bell says no.

“This isn’t the kind of thing that speaks to one’s integrity as a lawyer, especially when I’m not doing anything wrong,” she says. “The bar should be proud.”

December 4, 2003

2003.12.04: Re: Steel Workers call for Cong. Invest. into “Police-State Assaults in Miami”

From: Michael Letwin
Sent: Thursday, December 04, 2003 3:28 PM
To: Daniel Ashworth; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Re: Steel Workers call for Cong. Invest. into “Police-State Assaults in Miami”

Additional accounts of the police riot, and its reflection of Bush’s “war on terror.”

http://www.americas.org/News/Features/20031125_MiamiFTAA/Dissent_Jones.htm

http://www.globeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20031125.wnaomi25/BNStory/International/

http://socialistworker.org/2003-2/478/478_06_Miami.shtml

>>> Daniel Ashworth 12/4/2003 9:44:21 AM >>>
USWA Calls for Congressional Investigation into Police-State Assaults in Miami

From United Steel Workers of America cite at:  http://www.uswa.org/uswa/program/content/737.php

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                           November 24, 2003

Union condemns use of federal Iraq reconstruction funds to subsidize “homeland repression” at FTAA meetings

PITTSBURGH – The United Steelworkers of America (USWA) is calling for a Congressional investigation into “a massive police state,” created in part with federal funds, to intimidate union members and others critical of the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) and limit their rights during FTAA meetings in Miami last week.

“Last week, the fundamental rights of thousands of Americans … were blatantly violated, sometimes violently, by the Miami police, who systematically repressed our Constitutional right to free assembly with massive force, riot gear and armaments,” said Leo W. Gerard, USWA international president, in a letter to Congressional leaders.

“It is condemnable enough that a massive police state was created to prevent American citizens from directly petitioning FTAA negotiators for redress of their grievances,” Gerard said in the letter.

“It is doubly condemnable,” he added, “that $9 million of federal funds designated for the reconstruction of Iraq were used toward this despicable purpose. How can we hope to build democracy in Iraq while using massive force to dismantle it here at home?”

Citing “countless instances of humiliating repression in which the Miami police force disgraced itself,” Gerard said that Miami police chief John Timoney should be fired, all charges against peaceful demonstrators should be dropped, and a Congressional investigation into the Miami police department’s systematic repression should immediately be launched.

“To do less would be to endorse homeland repression in the guise of homeland security,” Gerard’s letter concluded.

************************

From: Miami Herald – Sunday, Nov. 23, 2003

Subject: AFL-CIO Outraged Over Police Tactics in Miami

http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/news/columnists/jim_defede/7328687.htm

Early on Thursday morning, Bentley Killmon boarded a chartered bus to take him from Fort Myers to Miami so he could protest the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas. The 71-year-old, retired airline pilot said he was amazed by the heavy police presence in downtown Miami when he arrived.

Throughout the day, he said he watched police overreact to incidents. He saw a 53-year-old woman get shot in the chest with rubber bullets. He saw other peaceful protesters being gassed with pepper spray. He saw young people, who weren’t doing anything illegal or improper, being pushed and harassed by cops.

”My father was in the Norfolk City Police Department for many years,” he said. “Until Thursday, I respected the badge. I respected the job the police had to do. But I no longer respect the badge. Not in Miami. Not after what I saw. Not after what happened to me and others.”

As the day ended, Killmon, along with others from the Alliance for Retired Americans, were trying to find their way back to their buses.

”We ran into a line of brown shirts,” he said, referring to the uniforms worn by the Miami-Dade Police Department. “They were very rude. They would not let us pass, and they sent us down the railroad tracks.

”That’s when we saw the black shirts coming at us,” he said. Miami police wore black uniforms.

”They were pointing their guns at us,” he continued. “I guess they had those rubber pellets in them, but I didn’t know, I was just incredibly frightened. Some of the people with us got down on their knees, and as I got down on my knees, I was briskly pushed to the ground. It felt like I had a foot to my back knocking me down. Everyone in our group was knocked to the ground and handcuffed. I had my hands cuffed behind my back for 7 1Ž2 hours.”

Killmon said he was charged with disorderly conduct.

”I still don’t know what it was I did,” he said Saturday.

After spending the night in jail, he said a judge dismissed the charges against him.

”Miami was a police state,” he said.

While city and county leaders pat themselves on the back and Miami Police Chief John Timoney talks about the ”remarkable restraint” shown by officers, one of them may want to contact Killmon and tell this man what a great job the police did.

Miami’s Angel Calzadilla, Timoney’s executive assistant, said he couldn’t comment on Killmon’s arrest until he was certain which police agency arrested him.

”As the story comes out, over the next few hours and days and weeks, the public is going to learn what we saw on the street, that the police provoked these exchanges and went way out of their way to increase the magnitude of their response,” said Ron Judd, a regional director for the AFL-CIO. “There was nothing measured in their response. We had retired steel workers, retired firefighters, retired teamsters harassed and arrested Thursday.

”When you start shooting seniors with rubber bullets and using pepper spray on them and arresting them, it’s just outrageous,” Judd said. “And if their stories don’t get people’s dander up and the public isn’t outraged by this, then folks in South Florida have no heart.”

As far as the national leadership of the AFL-CIO is concerned, what happened in Miami was an insult to every member of the organization.

”You are going to hear from us loud and clear over the next few weeks and months,” he said. “All of the options are open — asking the Justice Department to investigate civil rights abuses, filing our own lawsuits against the city and the county and whatever we can think of. That is how outraged we are by this.”

Fred Frost, president of the South Florida AFL-CIO and its 150,000 members, agreed.

”Am I happy with the way the police treated regular working people and the respect that I think we are due?” he asked. “The answer is no. I think they treated us like we were the enemy. The police just seemed to be so hyped up. I felt like I was in a war zone. This wasn’t my city. This wasn’t the city I know.”

December 1, 2003

2003.12.01: NLG Request for On-Call Lawyers

Filed under: Antiwar,Civil Liberties,Criminal Justice,Police Abuse,Racism — nyclaw01 @ 12:45 pm
Tags:

From: Michael Letwin
Sent: Monday, December 01, 2003 11:43 AM
To: ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: NLG Request for On-Call Lawyers

——————————————————————
****Don’t just hit “reply”!  Instead, reply to: vanessa@riseup.net
——————————————————————

Dear Mass Defense Lawyers:

As many of you know, early in the morning on November 16th a fundraiser party at the Critical Resistance office in Brooklyn was raided by NYPD.
Many people were beaten, peppersprayed, and harassed; eight were arrested.
As the People’s Law Collective (PLC) worked to arrange legal support for these arrestees, we realized that we are in dire need of a current list of on-call lawyers.

We write to ask you to be on this list.  What responsibilities would that entail?  Basically, if an emergency arises, like the one last weekend, we might call on you for precinct visits, negotiations, and arraignments.  We might call you in the middle of the night, or on very short notice.
Agreeing to be on-call would not in any way commit you to taking on cases beyond arraignment, or being part of an ongoing defense team.  (Although of course if you’re willing to do those things, that’s great!)  PLC (which is a small, all-volunteer collective that facilitates legal support for the local activist community) will not share this list with anyone outside PLC or the leadership of the NLG Mass Defense Committee.

Please reply to Vanessa Lee of PLC (vanessa@riseup.net) and let us know if you’re willing to be on-call.  If so, please fill out the questionnaire below, with as much detail as you can and send it back quickly.  Hopefully last weekend’s raid was an isolated incident, but better safe than sorry…
Given the recent news about arrests and raids in Miami, and FBI surveillance of activists in NYC and around the country, we’d like to have this system up and ready to go ASAP, so please reply soon.

It goes without saying that the more people are on this list, the more the responsibility gets spread around.  Of course, we hope that we will need this list so rarely that it really won’t be a burden on anyone.

Thanks to all of you for all the awesome mass defense work you’ve already done, and special props to Kamau Franklin and Franklin Siegal for rolling out of bed and to precincts in the middle of the night for the CR arrests, and to Liz OuYang for handling Sunday night arraignments.

In Solidarity,

People’s Law Collective & NLG Mass Defense Committee

QUESTIONNAIRE

1. Name:
2. Cell #:
3. Home #:
4. Work #:
5. Email address:
6. What boro do you live in?:
7. Do you have a car?:
8. Have you done activist defense work before?:
9. Have you done precinct visits before?:
10. Have you negotiated with police/precincts before?:
11. Have you done arraignments before?:
12. Availability:
[e.g. “I’m available for anything, but never call me after midnight.”  Or “I can do precinct visits, but not arraignments.”  Or “I can’t do anything till February, but you can call me after then.”  Or “Whatever, whenever.”] 13. Any additional information you think we might find useful:
[e.g. where you work – Legal Aid??? – anything else you can think of.]

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