Friday, January 20, 2006

Other Items

Dozens of lawyers around the country joined forces on Thursday to protest the Department of Homeland Security's decision to continue deporting illegal immigrants to Haiti, an island nation plagued by political instability, violence and human rights violations.
The United Nations says it has documented widespread cases of unlawful arrests and has received credible reports of police involvement in executions and banditry. The State Department says more than 25 Americans were kidnapped in Haiti last year, and local authorities say that over Christmas, kidnappings peaked to as many as 12 a day. Travel is so hazardous in Port-au-Prince, the capital, that American Embassy personnel have been barred from leaving their homes at night. More than 10 United Nations soldiers have been killed, officials say.
The lawyers want immigration judges to close the deportation cases until the situation in Haiti improves. Several lawyers said the legal strategy might not succeed on a broad scale because judges typically require assent from the government's lawyers before closing a case. But advocates for Haitian immigrants said they were trying to send the Bush administration a message and hoped that some judges would take action, even if it meant simply delaying decisions in deportation cases until Haiti stabilizes.
"I don't think it makes sense for the United States to send people back to a country where such devastating human rights violations are occurring," said Paromita Shah, associate director of the National Immigration Project in Boston. "Those Haitian deportees face grave risk to their lives, and that's not acceptable."

The above is from Rachel L. Swarns' "Lawyers Protest Deportation of Illegal Immigrants to Haiti" in this morning's New York Times and that's about all judging by the e-mails. (I'm assuming everyone was as unimpressed with the "news" that the Bully Boy said Laura Bush would run for the Senate "never" as I am.)

Cindy notes Harvey Wasserman's "Are You Ready to Be Bugged and Tortured By George W. Bush?" (Common Dreams):

It's not really terrorists George W. Bush wants to bug and torture. It's YOU.
It's not really terrorism he wants to fight. It's opposition from people he can't control.
It's not really US security he wants to protect. It's the power of his regime.
The Constitutional debate about whether these executive privileges are allowable in war is a smoke screen.
This isn't about war: It's about dictatorship. It’s about making power permanent by using private information against you, and by terrifying you with torture.
Team Bush believes it rules by Divine right. It has already re-defined "terrorist" to mean anyone who questions its power. It will use "anti-terrorist" wiretapping as a tool against anyone who dares oppose it.

Neil passes on this e-mail he received:

We have gotten many emails from our participants, asking "what more can we do?".
Some have reported senators arbitrarily turning off their answering machines at night, or long waits on hold. Are they trying to hide from the thousands and thousands of their constituents who are raising their voices to demand that our filibuster the evasive Alito. Even if you have already sent your personal message by email or made some phone calls, we have added a FABULOUS extra function to the main action page where you can instantly lookup all your senators local district offices phone and fax numbers with just one click.
If the other side can have a so-called "Justice Sunday", we can have our own "Filibuster Friday", and that day is tomorrow. In just the last 24 hours we have seen a major shift in momentum. Today, Senator Leahy came out with a very strong statement that he recognizes the immense threat to our freedom and democracy in allowing a dangerous and unpopular president to install a fifth and controlling vote to hold that our Constitution actually intended to create an executive dictatorship. . . . . we need to show our support for those senators who are starting to stand up now by hitting every phone they've got right down to the district level with our phone calls and faxes. Get all your numbers with one easy click at
Those you who like to call in to progressive radio programs, we have all their call in numbers too at the site above in the right column. Call them and ask them to talk up Filibuster Friday all day and night long! Let's start early and snowball the thing all day long. Ask them to give out the easy to say and remember URL above as much as possible. Senators have said they are "undecided" on a filibuster. But we the American people HAVE decided and all they have to do it get it.
Some senators who are too still too cowardly to demand a filibuster are saying they will make Alito an issue in the 2006 election. It'll be an issue alright, in their OWN primaries! Any officeholder who will not stand up for this one never hold public office in any capacity ever again. And the difference is whether you will stand up YOURSELF right now and make those calls to their local district offices. Make calls to the toll-free numbers 888-355-3588, 888-818-6641 and 800-426-8073 if you can get through there too. It is not enough to vote "No." They must vote "Hell, NO!" It's called a filibuster. Filibuster Friday.
Please take action NOW, so we can win all victories that are supposed to be ours, and forward this message to everyone else you know.
If you would like to get alerts like these, you can do so at

Momentum is starting to build. Use the above or anything in this morning's gina & krista round-robin (should be in your inboxes now) but let's hit hard today and make sure our senators know we oppose Alito. Let's make them consider the consequences of their vote all weekend. We were told at the start of the week (and also yesterday in the Times) that this was a 'done deal.' Everyone's accomplished a great deal already but let's really push hard today.

Markus notes Tom Hayden's "Pacifying Iraq: Insurgent Scenarios" (The Nation):

AMMAN, JORDAN--Iraq's armed national resistance is willing to support an honorable American troop withdrawal and recognize "the interests of the US as a superpower," according to a Baghdad source with intimate knowledge of the insurgents. He was interviewed this week in Amman, where he had driven twenty hours from Baghdad for conversations.
I interviewed this source, who insisted on anonymity, to explore the political aims of the resistance movement against the US occupation. Is theirs only a decentralized military strategy, or is there a shared set of demands that might lead to peace? The source, who is known and respected by several American media outlets, comes from one of Baghdad's once-mixed neighborhoods of Sunnis, Shiites, Kurds and Christians. In his mid-40s, he ekes out a living as a guide and translator for visiting reporters and occasional peace activists. The source spoke with urgency about the need for greater American understanding of the Iraqi resistance, so far faceless in the West.
While recent surveys show 80 percent of Iraqis supporting a US military withdrawal, opposition voices are rarely ever reported in American public discourse. Security conditions do not permit the insurgents to establish an overt political arm, like Sinn Fein in Northern Ireland. Meanwhile, American officials celebrate the large Iraqi voter turnout in the December 15 elections while not acknowledging that most of those same voters favor a US withdrawal. Instead of heeding the Iraqi majority, Newsweek reported that American military officials accused the insurgents of "cynically using the election process" in a new strategy they called"talk and fight."

Don't forget to check out Democracy Now! today.

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