portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article oregon & cascadia

corporate dominance | human & civil rights

Community Briefing on Civil Rights Issues

There will be a COMMUNITY BRIEFING on the federal
anti-terrorism legislation, the joint terrorism task
force, and the current threat to our civil liberties:

Monday, November 12
7:00 - 9:00 pm
Central Lutheran Church
1820 NE 21st Ave
Call 503-888-6939 for more details
Tue, 6 Nov 2001 16:25:24 -0800 (PST)
From: "Red Emma"  redemma13@yahoo.com
Subject: Community Briefing on Civil Rights Issues

Hello CAPS members and all friends of civil rights:

As you probably know, the federal anti-terrorism act
(now called the "USA PATRIOT Act") passed both houses
of Congress in final form and was signed by
"President" Bush on October 26. The final vote of the
Oregon delegation was unchanged from earlier versions.
In the House: Blumenauer, Wu and DeFazio voted no;
Hooley and Walden voted yes. In the Senate: Wyden and
Smith voted yes. The vote in the Senate again was
unanimous except for Russ Feingold.

There will be a COMMUNITY BRIEFING on the federal
anti-terrorism legislation, the joint terrorism task
force, and the current threat to our civil liberties:

Monday, November 12
7:00 - 9:00 pm
Central Lutheran Church
1820 NE 21st Ave
Call 503-888-6939 for more details

Legal professionals and other activists will present
information about just what's in these frightening
pieces of legislation, there will be
question-and-answer, and then time for participants to
talk to each other about how we can organize to
protect civil rights. Among the presenters are
expected to be Eugene activists who are now receiving
another round of grand jury summonses. Come hear
what's going on right now in our own community, and
strategize for how we can support each other!

MORE ABOUT THE FEDERAL LEGISLATION:

Click here to read the ACLU's legislative analysis of
the final USA PATRIOT Act:
 http://www.aclu.org/congress/l110101a.html

The following link is a rather lengthy article by Sen.
Russ Feingold, explaining his "no" vote. It contains
one of the best explanations of the new bill I've seen
yet, in layperson's language, and also includes
details of some of the racial profiling by the FBI
that's been going on since September 11.
 http://www.counterpunch.org/feingold1.html

OTHER NEWS FROM THE LEGISLATIVE FRONT:

In order to pass the big anti-terrorism bill, Sen.
Wyden agreed to put the "special provisions for
Oregon" into a separate bill that would repeal the
requirement that federal prosecutors follow state
ethics laws. I don't have the latest on this
bill--anybody who does, let me know.

I recently heard from an ACLU e-mail alert that the
federal government is also considering legislation
that would remove virtually all restrictions on the
ability of customs officials to conduct whatever
searches they wanted of anybody they wanted.
Unfortunately, I deleted it after responding, and now
I can't find a link for this on their website. Anybody
who wants to stay on top of these issues should
subscribe to the ACLU's alert service. (It's really
easy--they send you e-mails, and there's a link to
send an automatic fax.)
 http://forms.aclu.org/team/member.cfm

OTHER INFORMATION FROM THE CIVIL RIGHTS FRONT:

The number of (mostly Middle Eastern) immigrants now
being held in federal prisons from the government's
"anti-terrorism" sweeps is now over 1,000. None has
yet been charged with any crime relating to terrorism.
A small number are being called "material witnesses"
to the September 11 case; a couple hundred are being
charged with immigration violations (some very minor);
and it's not entirely clear why the rest are being
held. Can you say "racial profiling," anybody? Civil
libertarians and immigrant rights activists have
charged that the detainees are being held without
access to lawyers or ability to contact their
families, and some are in solitary confinement. A
55-year Pakistani waiter and father of 5 from Queens,
Muhammed Rafiq Butt, has died in custody.

"They didn't find anything against him except that his
status expired," said Ahsanullah "Bobby" Khan of the
Pakistani Community Center in Brooklyn. "The people of
the United States should raise their voice that it is
not fair what's going on."

Link to the story from Newsday:
 http://www.newsday.com/news/printedition/ny-nydet312440032oct31.story

The ACLU and other groups have filed a Freedom of
Information Act (FOIA) request, demanding that the
government release information about the detainees:
 http://www.aclu.org/news/2001/n102901a.html

In a development that is gut-wrenching but somehow not
shocking, the FBI is complaining that the "material
witnesses" are not cooperating with interrogation, and
that they are "hamstrung" by overly restrictive US
laws against torturing prisoners. Since US prisons
are well-known to use torture all the time (it
happened to a friend of mine in Seattle) this public
admission seems to indicate they are trying to raise
the bar of what the public will accept.

Read the article from the Toronto Star:
 http://www.torontostar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1003701702170&call_page=TS_News&call_pageid=968332188492&call_pagepath=News/News
Alexander Cockburne's reply (warning, this is a
graphic story about torture in American prisons):
 http://www.counterpunch.org/torture1.html

To the stories of racial profiling on airplanes, we
can now add ideological profiling. A young man was
recently thrown off an airplane, and prevented from
boarding any other flight from that same airport, for
having a copy of one of Edward Abbey's
"monkeywrenching" books on him. (Sorry I don't have a
web link for that, but it was reported through several
mainstream media sources.)

Author Tariq Ali reported in Counterpunch that
security guards tried to throw him off a plane in
Germany for having a copy of Karl Marx's book "On
Suicide" in his luggage (still in its wrapper--it was
a gift at a book-signing.) "After September 11, you
can't have books like that any more," he reportedly
was told. He was let back on the plane only after
offering to get Munich's Mayor to vouch for him.

Counterpunch interview with Nancy Oden of the national
Green Party, about her recent experience with being
thrown off a plane (it is not clear what role her
Green politics played in this incident--other Green
Party officials report they have flown without any
problems):
 http://www.counterpunch.org/oden2.html

And in a decision that clearly seems
ideologically-motivated in the wake of September 11, a
federal judge in Seattle has ruled that the draconian
measures implemented by Seattle Mayor Paul Schell
during the 1999 WTO protests (including a "no protest
zone" covering downtown Seattle) were perfectly
constitutional. Free speech must sometimes bend to
public safety," wrote US District Judge Barbara
Rothstein. Rest assured, this decision will be
appealed. (I am party to a class action lawsuit
against the City of Seattle on just this issue.) Read
the article in the Seattle Times:
 http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/134360638_wto31m.html

Stay safe, everybody, and hope to see you next Monday.
The Feds'll Come A-Snoopin' 13.Nov.2001 07:08

by Declan McCullagh--repost from wired.com