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Future American Lawyers To Be Proud Of

U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales spoke before law students at Georgetown today, justifying illegal, unauthorized surveilance of US citizens, but during the course of his speech the students in class got up from their seats and turned their backs to him. To make matters worse for Gonzales, additional students came into the room, wearing black cowls and carrying a simple banner, written on a sheet.
Fortunately for him, it was a brief speech... followed by a panel discussion. And, as one of the people on the panel said, "When you're a law student, they tell you if say that if you can't argue the law, argue the facts. They also tell you if you can't argue the facts, argue the law. If you can't argue either, apparently, the solution is to go on a public relations offensive and make it a political issue... to say over and over again "it's lawful", and to think that the American people will somehow come to believe this if we say it often enough. In light of this, I'm proud of the very civil civil disobedience that was shown here today."
- David Cole, Georgetown University Law Professor

This article and these photos were provided by insomnia.livejournal.com.

Targeting Teheran

By Conn Hallinan
Jan. 16, 2006

Iran has long been a target of the Bush Administration’s rhetorical ire. The President called it ‘the world’s primary state sponsor of terrorism,’ Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice characterized it as ‘something to be loathed,’ and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld accused Tehran of designing roadside bombs to kill U.S. and British troops. But with the U.S. military under siege in Iraq, and polls running heavily against the White House’s Middle East version of Vietnam, it seemed just bluster and so much talk. 

But this past December, German newspapers reported that briefings by high-level officials indicate that the U.S. is seriously contemplating an air attack on Iranian nuclear facilities sometime this spring. And the general consensus among newspapers like Der Spiegel, Der Tagesspiegel, and DDP News Agency is that recent anti-Semitic tirades by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmandinejad gives the Bush Administration an opening.

How some arguments against the war might be twisted to prolong it: New challenges for the antiwar movement

By Zoltan Grossman

The U.S. Occupation of Iraq has entered its fourth calendar year. As criticism of the Iraq War intensifies across the political spectrum, its supporters are deploying new arguments (or repackaged old arguments), in order to defend the war. In December, President Bush delivered a series of speeches to build public support for the Occupation. His speeches were such a failure that they could easily be repackaged and released as a DVD under the title "How to Lose a War in 10 Days."

Yet even some of the Democratic and Republican critics of Bush's policy are not advocating an end to the war, but rather proposing a change in the war's form, or a shift in its focus. Instead of ending the violence, some of their arguments could be used to justify continuing (or even intensifying) violence against Iraqis. Some of the arguments they are making against Bush's Iraq policy can easily be manipulated or twisted by his Administration to prolong the war.

The Real Christmas Scandal

by Jim Wallis

Jim Wallis is one of 115 religious activists arrested while protesting the House's budget.There is a Christmas scandal this year, but it's not the controversy at shopping malls and retail stores about whether their displays say "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays." The real Christmas scandal is the budget proposed by the House of Representatives that cuts food stamps, health care, child support, and educational assistance to low-income families - while further lowering taxes for the wealthiest Americans and increasing the deficit for all of our grandchildren.

Secret DOD database tracks 'suspicious' domestic groups

By Lisa Myers, Douglas Pasternak, Rich Gardella and the NBC Investigative Unit

A year ago, at a Quaker Meeting House in Lake Worth, Fla., a small group of activists met to plan a protest of military recruiting at local high schools. What they didn’t know was that their meeting had come to the attention of the U.S. military.

A secret 400-page Defense Department document obtained by NBC News lists the Lake Worth meeting as a "threat" and one of more than 1,500 "suspicious incidents" across the country over a recent 10-month period.

Witness Against Torture marchers reach Guantánamo Bay base

Members of the New York City Catholic Worker pray at the military zone boundary near the U.S. Guantanamo Naval Base on Tuesday afternoon. Photo by Scott LangleyOn Tuesday,  December 13, twenty-five U.S. Christians ended their fifty-mile march from Santiago, Cuba to the American detention center at Guantánamo Bay. The Witness Against Torture marchers are the first American Christians ever to approach the prison, where hundreds of inmates have been tortured, humiliated and held in violation of international law. During their march, the participants prayed for the Guantánamo detainees and for the four Christian Peacemakers threatened with execution in Iraq.

Cindy Sheehan visits Camp Casey Dallas

By Rusty Tomlinson

Cindy Sheehan, with Hadi Jawad, greets Camp Casey Dallas demonstrators.On Friday, December 2, the day that 10 Marines and one soldier were killed in Fallujah, Cindy Sheehan joined a group of 100 demonstrators at Camp Casey Dallas, in front of Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison’s office. The demonstrators have set up camp in front of the office every Friday afternoon (except Thanksgiving weekend) since October 7, waiting for answers to questions Sheehan first posed to President Bush in August: What is the "noble cause" my son died for? How many more lives are you willing to sacrifice? What plan do you have to end the Iraq War?

Palestinians ask for release of CPTers held in Iraq

The mayor of At-Tuwani calls for release of CPTers in Iraq.On Friday, December 2, 2005, Palestinians from the village of At-Tuwani organized a demonstration in support of Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT), asking for the release of the CPTers currently missing in Iraq: Tom Fox, Harmeet Sooden, Jim Loney and Norman Kember.  More than 100 Palestinians from the southern Hebron district, including adults and children, marched from the school to the clinic in At-Tuwani, holding photos of the CPTers and banners. The banners read, "CPTers sacrifice their blood to help us and to help the world know about our struggles.  The people, women and children of At-Tuwani ask for the captors to let the CPT free."

Torture concerns fuel record 19,000 attendance at SOA protest

By Elliott Minor

A record 19,000 people demanded zero tolerance for torture at the School of the Americas in Fort Benning, Ga.Jerry Zawada, a 68-year-old Catholic priest, was released last November after spending seven months in a federal prison for trespassing on government property to protest a Fort Benning school he blames for human rights abuses in Latin America.

Undaunted by his sentence, Zawada was arrested again Sunday when he ventured into Fort Benning to call for the closing of the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, formerly known as the Army's School of the Americas.

Zawada, of Cedar Lake, Ind., said another jail sentence would be "nothing compared to the suffering of torture survivors and war victims.

"We want to stop this," he said during the annual protest by School of the Americas' Watch, which has held demonstrations outside Fort Benning's main gate since 1990.

Senate votes show waning support for Iraq War

On November 15, 2005, the U.S. Senate cast its first votes on the war in Iraq since authorizing the use of force in October 2002. While the two amendments did not cut off funds or force a timetable for bringing U.S. troops home, they marked a clear repudiation of President Bush’s “stay the course” policy.

There were two votes Tuesday.

An amendment offered by Sens. John Warner (R-VA) and Bill Frist (R-TN) was adopted 79 – 19. The amendment called for:

• A “phased redeployment of United States forces from Iraq,” although without providing a specific timetable.

• The Administration to tell Iraqis that they must make the compromises necessary for a sustainable political settlement.

• The Iraqis to be told that the U.S. will eventually depart.