Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Defending liberty and peace this week

Below are three notices, about a protest for Sami al-Arian, a hunger striking political prisoner held at Butner, on the 24th, a day of action against the Military Commissions Act Wednesday (local petition on at www.petitiononline.com/stopMCA.petition.html), and an urgent need for calls to Price against war funding. [When I first posted this I forgot to mention, today there were student strikes against the War at UNC and local high schools. Also, NC Stop Torture Now is having a protest and press conference at 2pm on Wednesday (the 21st) at the Legislative building in Raleigh.]

Sami al-Arian

Join Lady Liberty to Free Palestinian Sami Al-Arian, 4 years in Prison 10 AM- noon, March 24 ,off I-85 N at Exit 189
(take exit and turn left onto NC 1103 toward Butner, NE of Durham)

Demonstration will aim to set up on the SW quadrant of the intersection. There is a I-85 service road along the exit ramp to access I-85 going south where parking looks feasible.

Attire: orange jumpsuits, black hoods, orange T-shirts
Needed: Large signs and banners to be visible from I-85
Carpools: Call [ X ]

Mileage for Lady Liberty from Cary: 31 miles, 41 minutes
Durham: 17 miles, 25 minutes
Chapel Hill: 29 miles, 37 minutes

Please come with concerned friends,

Sami Al-Arian has been a prisoner since February 20, 2003.

Dr. al-Arian, a Palestinian who taught computer science at the University of South Florida, stopped eating Jan. 22 to protest a judge's decision to hold him indefinitely after he refused to testify before a Virginia grand jury. March 17 is the 55th day and he has lost 52 pounds. Officials at the Federal Medical Facility in Butner have told al-Arian that they will begin force feeding if his condition worsens, according to his attorney, Peter Erlinder. Supporters of al-Arian have asked Gonzales to deport al-Arian before his scheduled release from prison in April.

During a six-month trial in 2005, prosecutors labeled al-Arian a leader of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which the United States calls a foreign terrorist organization. The trial ended in an acquittal on some counts and a hung jury on others. Prosecutors and al-Arian had agreed to deportation as a part of the plea deal. Erlinder declined to say where al-Arian would be deported. In a plea bargain last April, al-Arian admitted to conspiring to aid Palestinian Islamic Jihad and was sentenced to nearly five years in prison, although he got credit for the time he had already served. Al-Arian and his attorneys said that the plea deal also exempts him from testifying before a grand jury in Alexandria, Va., which is investigating Islamic charities in northern Virginia.

His five children were all born in the U.S. and the family lived in Raleigh for a period of time. I believe two of his children attended NC State University.

Read http://www.freesamialarian.com/home.htm for more information.

Dear [ X ],

On Wednesday, March 21, join the Bill of Rights Defense Committee and millions of our allies throughout the U.S. in an overwhelming grassroots repudiation of the Military Commissions Act! To ensure this effort's success, the BORDC has teamed up with other organizations including the ACLU, National Religious Campaign Against Torture, the
Presbyterian Church, and Public Citizen, each of which will take responsibility for a day the week of March 19-23.

The Military Commissions Act (MCA):

* Legalizes the President's ability to name anyone in the world an "unlawful enemy combatant" and to detain them indefinitely, denying them basic rights, including due process of law,
* Denies habeas corpus--the right for a detainee to challenge his or her detention before an impartial judge--to anyone who is not a U.S. citizen,
* Allows detainees to be convicted on the basis of secret and hearsay evidence, and testimony gained from the detainee through torture and coercion, and
* Permits the executive branch to ignore the Geneva Conventions.

The Message: Please phone both your Senators and your Representative
and urge them to:

* Co-sponsor legislation restoring habeas corpus and other
fundamental rights abolished by the MCA (see bill numbers below).
* Seek out Republican co-sponsors for legislation restoring habeas corpus.
* Hold hearings on legislation that would repeal key provisions of the MCA.
* Speak out publicly on the importance of a thorough restoration to
our vanishing rights.

Proposed Legislation includes bills to restore or preserve habeas corpus and bills to partially dismantle the Military Commissions Act (MCA).

Bills that take large steps towards dismantling the Military Commissions Act: S. 576 (Sen. Christopher Dodd) and H.R. 1415 (Reps. Jerrold Nadler and Jane Harman), Restoring the Constitution Act of 2007, would not only restore the right of habeas corpus for those detained by the United States, but would also do the following:

* Prohibit testimony gained by torture or coercion,
* Narrow the definition of enemy combatant,
* Reassert the Geneva Conventions,
* Provide for expedited judicial review of Military Commissions Act

Bills that would restore habeas corpus alone:

* S. 185 (Senators Patrick Leahy and Arlen Specter), the Habeas Corpus Restoration Act of 2007, would restore the right of habeas corpus for those detained by the United States.
* H.R. 1416 (Reps. Jerrold Nadler and Jane Harman), Habeas Corpus Restoration Act of 2007 (House version of Senate bill S. 185 above).
* H.R. 267 (Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee), the Military Commissions Habeas Corpus Restoration Act of 2007, would restore the right of habeas corpus for those detained by the United States.
* H.R. 1189 (Rep. David Wu), To Preserve the Right of Habeas Corpus, would restore the right of habeas corpus for all U.S. legal residents.

Make Sure Your Voice is Heard!

* Visit http://bordc.org/threats/mca-call-in.php for talking points and a link to a flyer you can print and distribute.
* On Wednesday, May 17, 2006, call the Capitol switchboard, 202-224-3121, and ask the operator to connect you (24 hours a day) or call your legislators directly (find their Washington office phone numbers at http://www.visi.com/juan/congress/).
* For more information about the MCA, visit

Please forward this message widely, and don't forget to call your Senators and Representative during the week of March 19-23. You can call more than once!

Thank you for all you do!

The Bill of Rights Defense Committee:
Nancy Talanian, Director
Hope Marston, Organizer, West Region
Mohamed Elgadi, Organizer, East Region
Meredith Gray, Administrator

Price votes to enable the Iraq War

Last Thursday the Supplemental Appropriations bill passed in the House Appropriations Committee, and Price voted for it. It sets a deadline for the War, after which it will be unlawful, but the bill does not cut off funding after that date, so it could continue. The entire House will vote on it this week, so anti-war citizens need to let Price know what we think.

Price's office numbers:

Washington Office
Phone: 202-225-1784
Fax: 202-225-2014

Phone: 919-859-5999
Fax: 919-859-5998

Phone: 919-688-3004
Fax: 919-688-0940

Chapel Hill
Phone: 919-967-7924
Fax: 919-967-8324

1 comment:

Comrade O'Brien said...

Greetings Comrade!
We've been protesting the Military Commissions Act since October. If you're interested in joining us, find out more at http://ministryoflove.wordpress.com