Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Items of note

As the child of parents who escaped Eastern Bloc Poland, I knew these types of government activities were commonplace elsewhere. My parents told me many a story where figures in the resistance--and even some family friends--were monitored and "disciplined" by the regime.
Poland's country-wide martial law of the 1980's--in Polish, literally, the state of war--declared open surveillance season on every communication or activity. Any perceived deviation from the party line, be it breaking curfew or protesting the Communists, was grounds for the severest sanction. And it all started with unchecked surveillance.
In the United States, on April 5, 2005, I deviated from the party line when I joined a protest against military recruitment.
I didn't protest with Students Against War to be threatening, or to be un-American, or to waste anyone's time. I protested because it was a way I could stand up for what I believed was right. I knew that my actions were protected by the Constitution. Yet the government believes that the peaceful protest in which I took part is a "credible threat." When lawfully standing up for my beliefs--standing up for what I think is right and just--is a "threat" to the government, something is wrong.
We're not in a Cold War anymore. This isn't martial law. We like to think that maybe we learned something from the past--that when governments spy on their own citizens without due cause, both our security and our civil liberties suffer. Obviously, we were wrong.
When I learned our constitutionally protected advocacy was included on a Pentagon list of monitored events, I was taken aback. I was disappointed that this country had strayed so far from its ideals, from the values of freedom, dissent and hearty public debate on which it was founded. I was saddened that the Constitution could be so easily ignored.

The above is from Konstanty Hordynski's "Statement -- Konstanty Hordynski, Target of Illegal Spying" and is part of the ACLU's series "Faces of Surveillance -- Targets of Illegal Spying" which is putting a face on the issue. Shawn noted that we hadn't highlighted one in a while and suggested this one.

Human face on the victims of torture? Billie notes "First Violation of McCain Torture Amendment Alleged in Emergency Injunction" from the Center for Constitutional Rights (and clicking on the link gives you this synopsis as well as the opportunity to read the report, PDF format):

On February 27, 2006, The first violation of the McCain torture amendment was alleged in federal court in an emergency injunction to end further torture of Guantánamo detainees. The court made public an injunction filed by cooperating attorneys from Sutherland, Asbill & Brennan working with the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), which won the landmark Supreme Court case establishing the Guantánamo detainees' right to challenge their detention in U.S. court (Rasul v. Bush).
"If I were Senator John McCain, I would be the angriest man in America today." said Rick Murphy, a partner with Sutherland, Asbill & Brennan, which provides pro-bono counsel to detainee Mohammed Bawazir.
After being imprisoned without charges for over three years, Mr. Mohammad Bawazir began a hunger strike in August 2005. As recent news accounts have confirmed, military personnel responded with several actions designed to inflict pain, torture and punishment for the hunger strike. The cruel and inhumane treatment is detailed in today's filing, which alleges that the torture is a flagrant violation of both the McCain torture amendment, which became law as the Detainee Treatment Act, and the Constitution. The filing charges that Guantánamo personnel:
Forcibly strapped Mr. Bawazir into a restraint chair, tying his legs, arms, head, and midsection to the chair.
Inserted of a feeding tube that was larger than the tube that had previously been left in Mr. Bawazir's nose, increasing the pain of the insertion and extraction.
Poured four bottles of water into his stomach through the nasal gastric tube every time he was fed even though Mr. Bawazir has never refused to drink water by mouth.
Restrained Mr. Bawazir in the chair for extended periods at each feeding.
Denied Mr. Bawazir access to a toilet while he was restrained and then for an additional hour or more after he was released from the chair.
Placed Mr. Bawazir in solitary confinement.

"Mere days after signing the McCain Amendment, the Bush Administration engaged in some of the most flagrant acts of torture that have occurred in Guantánamo. The horrific misuse of the emergency restraint chair and the medical abuses served no purpose other than to terrorize nonviolent prisoners into ending their hunger strik," said Gitanjali S. Gutierrez, an attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights. "Senator McCain led an important fight to ban torture, but will he stand up for it now that the Bush Administration is breaking the law?"
CCR and its cooperating attorneys will continue to challenge the torture, mistreatment and illegal detainment of the Guantánamo prisoners in federal court.

And if you're wanting a more substantial entry this evening, blame the Center for Constitutional Rights for not getting one. Specifically, blame their Articles of Impeachment Against George W. Bush which is all I want to talk about. But we're hoping to do a discussion of it this weekend at The Third Estate Sunday Review, so I bite the tongue.

Why did Bully Boy fly to Texas to vote in the primary? Could it be to avoid Cindy Sheehan yet again? Noted by Tori, from Common Dreams:

Cindy Sheehan Joins Iraqi Women in Peace March to the White House on March 8th, International Women's Day In a rare visit to the US, Iraqi women will deliver an urgent call for peace to the Iraqi Embassy and the White House
WASHINGTON -- March 7 --
WHEN: Wednesday, March 8, 12 Noon
WHERE: Meet at the Iraqi Embassy, 1801 P Street, NW. March to the White House. WHAT: Gold Star mothers Cindy Sheehan and Elaine Johnson will join a delegation of Iraqi women for a peace rally and march from the Iraqi Embassy to the White House on Wednesday, March 8, International Women's Day. The women will be delivering an urgent call for peace to the White House that’s been signed by 80,000 women across the globe and urges the withdrawal of all foreign troops and foreign fighters from Iraq.
"These women are not politicians, but ordinary Iraqis who are desperate to see an end to the escalating violence and are taking great personal risk to come to the US," said Medea Benjamin, cofounder of the CODEPINK and Global Exchange, the two groups organizing the delegation.
"The Bush administration would never listen to me, but I hope they'll listen to these women who've risked their lives to be here and have paid such a high price for this war," Cindy Sheehan said.
Sheehan and Benjamin were arrested on Monday during an event with the Iraqi women at the UN. The women were trying to deliver a Women's Call for Peace to the US mission to the UN, but the US mission refused to accept it. The same call will be delivered to members of Congress on Tuesday, March 7 and the White House on Wednesday, March 8. It will also be delivered to US embassies in 20 countries. The Women's Call for Peace requests the withdrawal of all foreign troops and foreign fighters from Iraq, negotiations to reincorporate disenfranchised Iraqis, full representation of women in the peacemaking process, and a commitment to women's equality in the post-war Iraq. For the full text of the call, see
The delegation of Iraqi women is a diverse group, including Shia, Sunni and Kurdish women -- some secular, some religious. They arrived in the United States on March 5th and will travel throughout the United States to tell Americans about the reality of every day life in Iraq. Two Iraqi women whose families were killed by US troops were denied visas to enter the US as part of the delegation.
"The U.S. occupation has destroyed our country, made it into a prison. Schools are bombed, hospitals are bombed," said Entisar Mohammad Ariabi, a delegation member who is a pharmacist at Yamook Hospital in Baghdad. "We thank you, Mr. Bush, for liberating our country from Saddam. But now, go out! Please go out!" she said.
Nadje Al-Ali is a writer/researcher specializing in women in the Middle East. She is a founding member of Act Together: Women's Action on Iraq and mother of a 3-year-old daughter.
Faiza Al-Araji is a civil engineer, blogger (
afamilyinbaghdad.blogspot.com), religious Shia with a Sunni husband, and mother of three. After one son was recently held as a political prisoner by the Ministry of the Interior, the family fled to Jordan.
Eman Ahmad Khamas is a human rights advocate who has documented abuses by the US military in Iraq. She is a member of Women's Will, and is married with two daughters.
Dr Entisar Mohammad Ariabi, a pharmacist at the Yarmook Teaching Hospital in Baghdad, has documented the deteriorating health system. She is married with five children.
Sureya Sayadi, a Kurdish woman born in Kirkuk, is an activist for human rights in the Middle East, particularly for the Kurdish people. She now lives in the United States, but her family is dispersed in Iraq, Iran and Turkey,
Vivian Salim Mati is a widow who lost her husband and three children when they were fired on by U.S. tank fire as they attempted to flee the bombing of their neighborhood in Baghdad in April 2003.
Kadhim Jawad (Anwar) is a widow whose husband and three children were killed by US soldiers at an unmarked checkpoint.

We have members in the DC area. Hopefully, some will turn out to show their support.
Also via Common Dreams, and also noted by Tori, the Associated Press' "Four Vermont Towns Vote to Impeach Bush:"

The article, approved by a paper ballot 121-29, calls on Vermont's lone member of the U.S. House, independent Rep. Bernie Sanders, to file articles of impeachment against the president, alleging that Bush misled the nation into the Iraq war and engaged in illegal domestic spying.
At least three other southern Vermont towns, spurred by publicity about Newfane's resolution, brought up similar resolutions during Tuesday's meetings and endorsed them. They were Dummerston, Marlboro and Putney. Marlboro passed it 60-10 by paper ballot. Putney and Dummerston approved the measures under "other business" from the floor.
In Newfane, the impeachment item came at the end of a roughly four-hour meeting that was devoted mostly to the local affairs of the town of 1,600 located in southeastern Vermont. Some residents stayed alert with the help of coffee and sweet pastries offered as a school fundraiser at the back of the hall.

Note that the following community sites all posted today:

Sex And Politics and Screeds and Attitude
Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man
Mikey Likes It!
Cedric's Big Mix
Like Maria Said Paz
The Daily Jot

Also, please check out Trina's Kitchen. Trina posts on Saturdays only. I haven't done a very good job getting the word out on that. On Saturday morning's I don't want to give a heads up in case something comes up and Trina's not able to post. I always mean to give a heads up on Sunday morning, but I'm just trying to get to bed and usually forget. So please check out
Trina's Kitchen.

Ruth passes on this:

PLUS: Wednesday and Thursday as WBAI spends the entire days in all-women's programming to celebrate International Working Women's Day, Wakeup Call has these two special shows:
* Betty Friedan versus the Third World: We bring you a rare recording from the Pacifica Radio Archives of an International Women's Day Conference in Mexico City that was broadcast on KPFK in 1975. We will listen to these pioneering feminists talk issues of race, class and sexism, and then we'll bring you a 2006 debate on the very issues that women of color were bringing to the fore back in the late 60's. Has anything changed for poor women of color around the world?
* Young women speak! We share the reigns with Radio Rootz and Riseup Radio young women as we learn what's up for the next generation of young women leaders.

Rachel asks that we again note the upcoming event to celebrate Democracy Now!'s tenth anniversary:

An Evening of Conversation with Harry Belafonte: Sat, Mar 18 *
Celebrating 10 Years of Democracy Now!, join us for an evening of
conversation with Harry Belafonte
Democracy Now! and WBAI invite you to join us for an evening ofconversation
with Harry Belafonte, Amy Goodman, Juan Gonzalez and WBAI's Bernard White as
we mark the 3rd anniversary of the invasion of Iraq and the 10th anniversary
of Democracy Now!
WHEN: Saturday, March 18, 2006
WHERE: The Great Hall at Cooper Union, East 7th Street at Third Avenue, New
York City
Pre-event reception: 6-7 p.m.
A special gathering with Harry Belafonte and Amy Goodman.
Hors d'oeuvres & Refreshments served.
Ticket price (includes admission to main event): $100
Main Event: 7 p.m.
Ticket price: $25

Space is limited. Purchase your tickets today at

And we'll also note the next dates on the Un-embed the Media tour:

* Amy Goodman in New York, NY:
Fri, Mar 10 *
TIME: 7:15 PM
2006 IBS National College Radio Convention
Hotel Pennsylvania 6th Fl. Conference Suite Area

* Amy Goodman in New York, NY:
Sat, Mar 11 *
The Left Forum
Cooper Union

Also remember that Democracy Now! is broadcasting from London this week. The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com.