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FIGHT the Anti Terrorism Bill

by tom paine Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2001 at 11:16 PM

This is IMPORTANT - contact your senators to kill this legislation... before it attacks YOU. If you are in CA, your senators are: Barbara Boxer, and Diane Feinstein.

New Urgent Action: Tonight the Senate will discuss and vote on the "Anti-Terrorism Act of 2001" This is a bad bill. I am giving you the whole story below. å The Congress is pushing it through on the fastest track. The House already passed it so it's a waste of time to contact a Representative BUT WE HAVE ONE SHOT because the Senate is not finished. å WE ARE PUTTING OUT THE URGENT TO EVERYONE TO CALL THEIR SENATOR AND EVERY OTHER SENATOR THEY HAVE THE ENERGY TO CALL TONIGHT. (The Senate Aids will get the message to the Floor). å TO VOTE AGAINST THE INCURSION INTO OUR DEMOCRATIC CIVIL RIGHTS (such as they are). å To reach all Senators: Congress Switchboard number is (202) 224-3121

URGENT ALERT
From Gail Melville Coalition for World Peace and Duro Bag Workers Support Network
(213) 920-9266

U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr., Chairman www.house.gov/judiciary

News Advisory
For immediate release å - Contact: Jeff Lungren/Terry Shawn October 3, 2001 202-225-2492

House Judiciary Committee Unanimously Passes Anti-terrorism Legislation

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The House Judiciary Committee tonight unanimously passed the Sensenbrenner-Conyers anti-terrorism legislation. H.R. 2975, the "Provide Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (PATRIOT) Act of 2001," passed by a 36-0 vote after more than six hours of debate. The PATRIOT Act will now move to the full House, with a vote likely early next week.

The PATRIOT Act was introduced on October 2 by House Judiciary Committee Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R-Wis.) and cosponsored by Ranking Member John Conyers (D-Mich.) and 21 other House members.

##30##

From the ACLU Website:
In addition, the ACLU said that the Judiciary Committee failed to narrow the definition of terrorism under federal law to include only acts that common sense would dictate to be terrorism. For example, under the legislation adopted by the Judiciary Committee, an organization like the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) could be investigated as a terrorist group because one of its members hits the Secretary of Agriculture with a pie."

Hello everyone:

å One of the most controversial measures included in the proposed Act gives the Attorney General sweeping new powers and unprecedented discretion to detain non-citizens indefinitely and without meaningful judicial review. å The non-citizens include legal permanent residents, if the Attorney General has certified that he or she is a "threat to national security." å The Attorney General could make this designation if he has "reason to believe" that a person may engage in, further, or facilitate terrorist activity, or otherwise "endanger the national security." å As you probably remember, since the anti-terrorism bill Clinton signed after the Oklahoma bombing, even citizen protestors against WTO were removed from the streets and held several days and nights without being booked, under the excuse that they were a security threat.

As outlined, the proposed bill:

allows indefinite detention;

allows the government to detain individuals without charging any crime or even an immigration violation;

provides no meaningful opportunity for a hearing to determine the reason for an individual's detention.

Okay, Can We Do Anything Effective?

We still have a chance. å I urge that we call every Senator you can immediately. å Direct these Senators to reject the bill in its present form and produce one which respects such democratic liberties and law as we still have; the new proposal must guarantee due process. å The last discussions and vote å are underway before the entire Senate. å There is still a good chance that at least some of the objectionable provisions will be deleted or modified. å It could still go the other way in the Senate. å So lobbying on the issue, especially from home states and districts remains critically important.

Here is a sample phone message: To the Honorable Senators and Representatives of the 107th Congress

Ladies and Gentlemen:

I'm calling to express my shock that such a document as the proposed Anti-Terrorism Act of 2001 (HR2975), should have anything but your sharp rejection. å This broadly worded and ill-conceived bill is dangerous; its provisions would grant sweeping new powers to the Attorney General without meaningful judicial review. å These legal powers would be unprecedented in the nation's history.

We out here, the public, suppose ourselves to be living in a society founded on the rule of law; a democracy which takes the protection of civil rights seriously. å Especially after September 11, we recognize the need for the government to take reasonable steps to guard our physical safety. å That is not going to be achieved by removing such civil rights laws as we have.

It is clearer every hour that safety can only be realized by an intelligent and mature foreign policy. å Both our foreign policy and the agencies carrying it out must actually respect international law and signed agreement, not to mention the novel idea that all the various government agencies charged with security actually suspend their mutual rivalries and develop human intelligence assets in the Middle East. å But that is another discussion.

Regarding the foolish and dangerous Proposal HR2975, I plead that you reject this bill. å Under the above proposed legislation, any innocent immigrant or patriotic native-born dissenter to some government policy or other could be named by the Attorney General as a "terrorist" if some official or other decides, under the vague phrase "reason to believe", that this person is a threat to national security. å Onto the broad flatbed of "reason to believe" all manner of outrageous cartage may be loaded. å Our history shows that abuse is inevitable where legislation is put through which inadequately addresses the long-term consequences for the sake of short-term compromise. å If this bill were to pass, all sorts of innocent persons could be detained without due process, including judicial review, which gives democratic law meaning. å KafkaÌ¢??s nightmare is welcome as art but not as fact. å You must oppose this folly. å I trust that you and other thoughtful Representatives and Senators can, if you will, arrive at a policy which will not abandon checks and balances, fairness, and due process to meet the present concern for safety. å

Let us not shred the very principles essential to this precious republic å -- a destruction terrorists would love to achieve. å LetÌ¢??s not help them by approving a ridiculous, anti-democratic and dangerous bill. å

In the terrible event the Congress does move forward with these, or similar provisions, I urge that any new law ensure that:

. the decisions are reviewed by an independent judge;

. immigrants are not detained indefinitely without charge; and,

. decisions to detain non-citizens are made based on a recognized standard of evidence.

I am in accord with the sentiments of former ILWU President, Brian McWilliams included below.

Sincerely,

Former ILWU President Brian McWilliams Speaks Out on the Tragic Events of September 11

[Note: Following are the remarks presented by former ILWU President Brian McWilliams to the morning session of the 2001 ILWU Pacific Coast Pensioners Association Convention in Seattle, Wash., on September 18, 2001. Brother McWilliams is a member of the Executive Board of the San Francisco Labor Council. He was a keynote speaker at both the Western Hemisphere Workers Conference in November 1997 and the Open World Conference in February 2000.]

"Thank you for the opportunity to share this time with you. å It warms my heart to see so many of my old friends. å Of course, you know that I'm no longer involved in developing policy for our union, but I would like to talk with you about the recent events that are so troubling for all of us and how we respond as workers.

First, we must condemn the senseless acts of violence perpetrated against innocent people, just like we have throughout history. å And the perpetrators need to be sought out and brought to justice.

But let us not be too quick to judge the terroristic acts of others without taking a thorough look at our government's acts of aggression, passive and otherwise, against our fellow citizens of the world. å Issues of sufficient importance for this union to make strong policy statements about for the simple fact that, by any standards, they constitute violent acts against workers and could only be seen as terrorist acts by most of those on the receiving end.

We have challenged regularly the wisdom of the U.S. government policies resulting in the Cuban blockade, Korea, Iraq, Vietnam, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Colombia, Chile - where CIA involvement in the assassination of their democratically elected leader fell on the same day, September 11, as last week's bombing.

Apartheid in South Africa, racial profiling, racism and poverty in our own country all induce terror in those on the receiving end. å Not to compare these acts with what just happened in NY, but to realize that there is a tremendous amount of suffering brought upon people, and as long as people have to suffer the consequences of these acts of aggression, the more hurt and anger will be left steeping in their hearts.

And if we can't, as a nation, see the wisdom in following the road to peace, one of the first victims of a heightened militarism will be our civil liberties. å It is our job to guard against national security programs being used as an excuse to exploit working people. It's not hard to imagine that new laws will threaten to curtail union organizing, picket lines, and public gatherings, while surveillance of citizens, racial profiling, and union busting go unchecked.

Peace must be our goal if people on the bottom are not to pay the highest price. å We can start towards achieving peace by being peaceful.

And an even greater threat than losing our civil liberties is the potential for us to fall victim to the intolerances of internalized bias. å Of course, we will continue to fight against the misled patriotism of ignorance that pits us as workers against each other. And remember that racism is not patriotic in any situation. å What a tragedy the indiscriminate targeting of Americans has become, yet another form of terrorism, perpetrated by Americans on Americans.

Blind belief in the tenets of a government and all of its actions without any critical thinking is mistaken by many as patriotism. å In truth that diminishes us as a people and leads to the kinds of ignorant and blatantly racist and violent acts and military aggression we are beginning to read about in the papers.

This must be stopped. å That innocent American working families are the target of hate crimes and discrimination in any form has always been condemned by this ILWU.

But that is not enough. å Each of us must help carry the torch of justice and tolerance and peace, and clearly and aggressively respond to such injustices wherever they may be in a way that truly represents our philosophy that an injury to one is an injury to all.

For your further info on this, I include following: 1) the remarks of a group called "The Lawyers Committee for Human Rights å (LCHR)"

2) the opinion of Former International Longshore Workers Union (ILWU) President Brian McWilliams

LCHR: "(We) urge Congress to immediately take the necessary steps to amend this proposed legislation, to ensure basic due process of lawÌ¢?‰öÇ. These legal powers are unprecedented in American history. å Ì¢?‰öÇBeyond the corrosive effects on our own systems of due process and judicial oversight, this proposed legislation, if enacted, will clearly be copied elsewhere. As the United States seeks to promote freedom and the rule of law globally, it is essential that we promote these values here at home."

To contact the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights (LCHR) for more information, write Gene Guerrero at: guerrerog@lchr.org.

Former ILWU President Brian McWilliams Speaks Out on the Tragic Events of September 11

[Note: Following are the remarks presented by former ILWU President Brian McWilliams to the morning session of the 2001 ILWU Pacific Coast Pensioners Association Convention in Seattle, Wash., on September 18, 2001. Brother McWilliams is a member of the Executive Board of the San Francisco Labor Council. He was a keynote speaker at both the Western Hemisphere Workers Conference in November 1997 and the Open World Conference in February 2000.]

"Thank you for the opportunity to share this time with you. å It warms my heart to see so many of my old friends. å Of course, you know that I'm no longer involved in developing policy for our union, but I would like to talk with you about the recent events that are so troubling for all of us and how we respond as workers.

First, we must condemn the senseless acts of violence perpetrated against innocent people, just like we have throughout history. å And the perpetrators need to be sought out and brought to justice.

But let us not be too quick to judge the terroristic acts of others without taking a thorough look at our government's acts of aggression, passive and otherwise, against our fellow citizens of the world. å Issues of sufficient importance for this union to make strong policy statements about for the simple fact that, by any standards, they constitute violent acts against workers and could only be seen as terrorist acts by most of those on the receiving end.

We have challenged regularly the wisdom of the U.S. government policies resulting in the Cuban blockade, Korea, Iraq, Vietnam, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Colombia, Chile - where CIA involvement in the assassination of their democratically elected leader fell on the same day, September 11, as last week's bombing.

Apartheid in South Africa, racial profiling, racism and poverty in our own country all induce terror in those on the receiving end. å Not to compare these acts with what just happened in NY, but to realize that there is a tremendous amount of suffering brought upon people, and as long as people have to suffer the consequences of these acts of aggression, the more hurt and anger will be left steeping in their hearts.

And if we can't, as a nation, see the wisdom in following the road to peace, one of the first victims of a heightened militarism will be our civil liberties. å It is our job to guard against national security programs being used as an excuse to exploit working people. It's not hard to imagine that new laws will threaten to curtail union organizing, picket lines, and public gatherings, while surveillance of citizens, racial profiling, and union busting go unchecked.

Peace must be our goal if people on the bottom are not to pay the highest price. å We can start towards achieving peace by being peaceful.

And an even greater threat than losing our civil liberties is the potential for us to fall victim to the intolerances of internalized bias. å Of course, we will continue to fight against the misled patriotism of ignorance that pits us as workers against each other. And remember that racism is not patriotic in any situation. å What a tragedy the indiscriminate targeting of Americans has become, yet another form of terrorism, perpetrated by Americans on Americans.

Blind belief in the tenets of a government and all of its actions without any critical thinking is mistaken by many as patriotism. å In truth that diminishes us as a people and leads to the kinds of ignorant and blatantly racist and violent acts and military aggression we are beginning to read about in the papers.

This must be stopped. å That innocent American working families are the target of hate crimes and discrimination in any form has always been condemned by this ILWU.

But that is not enough. å Each of us must help carry the torch of justice and tolerance and peace, and clearly and aggressively respond to such injustices wherever they may be in a way that truly represents our philosophy that an injury to one is an injury to all."

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