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As Human Rights Violations Mount In The USA

European Officials State the Extradition May Be Impossible.
As Human Rights Violations Mount In The U.S.A.,

European Officials State Extradition May Be Impossible.


Due to an executive order signed by Bush on Nov. 13th, non-citizens who are labeled terrorists by the Bush administration no longer have due process in the United States. His executive order makes it possible to try suspected terrorists in secret with no legal counsel. Victims of his executive order can be tried, sentenced, and possibly executed in secret.

On November 15th Amnesty International responded to this violation of human rights saying, "This sweeping presidential order bypasses fundamental principles of justice found in both US and international law, specifically the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, ratified by the US in 1992. As such it is unacceptable and should be revoked."

On October 29th Justice Department officials announced that over 1,017 people of Middle Eastern origin have been detained in the U.S. in their investigation of September 11th. More have been arrested since and most are still in custody. Few, if any, of those being held had anything to do with Sept. 11th. Most are being held simply because they fit the racial profile of being Arab, Muslim, or South Asian.

Amnesty International has documented many violations of these people's rights from inhumane treatment to being denied access to lawyers, to being held without charges. In October the FBI spoke out publicly about their desire to torture these same suspects.

Human rights advocates have pointed out that the government's refusal to disclose the names of those being held raises the possibility of secret detentions. "The secret detention of more than 800 people over the past few weeks is frighteningly close to the practice of `disappearing' people in Latin America," said Kate Martin, director of the Center for National Security Studies.

On November 24th the New York Times reported, "Spain might not extradite the eight men it has charged with complicity in the Sept. 11 attacks unless the United States agrees that they will be tried by a civilian court and not by the military tribunals envisioned by president Bush."

The same article states later, "A senior European Union official who asked not to be identified said he doubted that any of the 15 nations - all of which have renounced the death penalty and signed the European Convention on Human Rights - would agree to extradition that involved the possibility of a military trial."

While civilian trials in the U.S. regularly violate the rights of the accused, especially for the poor, people of color, and political prisoners; at least these trials are open to public scrutiny, stated presumptions of innocence, and a decision by a jury. Secret military tribunals serve only the purpose of violating the constitutional rights of the accused.

As Amnesty International States, "The executive order creates the risk that people may be executed after a trial conducted by a court whose decision cannot be appealed but only reviewed by the executive who selected the individual for prosecution in the first place."

Amnesty International states it is: "Particularly concerned that the executive order is discriminatory by affording foreign nationals a lower standard of justice than US nationals; gives unfettered and unchallengeable discretionary power to the executive to decide whom will be prosecuted and under what rules, as well as to review convictions and sentences. This is inconsistent with the principle of the separation of the executive and the judiciary; expressly bypasses the normal principles of law and rules of evidence applied in the trials of people charged with criminal offences in the US courts; provides no right of appeal against conviction or sentence to a higher court, or access to redress for any human rights violations that may occur during arrest, detention or prosecution."

In October Prosecutors in Brooklyn said they were investigating charges that Mohammad Maddy was beaten by a guard at the Metropolitan Detention Center. Other similar charges have been made against law-enforcement as well.

While the American Corporate media has lied about and ignored civilian casualties in the U.S. and British bombing campaign against Afghanistan, the mainstream West European press has reported on the terror and death caused by America's relentless bombing. Over 1500 Afghani civilians have been killed in the bombing.

It is murderous racism and national chauvinism that sees a difference between killing innocent Afghanis and killing innocent Americans. That kind of hatred is also being reflected at home against Arabs and South Asians living in the US. The present popularity of the U.S. government's slaughter of Afghanis is reflected at home in the large number of beatings, shootings, and other incidents of terror against Arabs and South Asians by civilian racists.

While Bush claims that his policies are not racist and anti-Muslim we should not forget how he stole the presidency through violations of the 1965 Voting Rights Act where blacks were prevented from voting in Florida by racist police road blocks, and by racist polling policies. Bush's appointment of John Ashcroft, an open racist who defends flying the confederate flag as part of southern heritage, is also revealing.

Today's mass incarceration of Arabs and South Asians is reminiscent of the U.S. imprisonment of Japanese Americans during World War 2. While it hasn't yet reached the same scale it is a very similar racist policy.

Racism is a poison that has been used repeatedly to blind the American people into supporting U.S. wars, yet it should be recognized that racism is not the motive for war. The consistent motive for U.S. wars is economic. The U.S. government, which is a slave to capitalist financial interests, is currently seeking access to Central Asian oil and gas in the former Soviet Union through a pipeline Unocal and others have been proposing through Afghanistan since before September 11th. September 11th, mixed with a strong dose of ignorance and racism, was the pretext that they needed to sell their war to the American public.

The Taliban, while being put in power by billions of dollars in U.S. military aid, were no longer serving U.S. capitalist interests. The U.S. is now seeking a coalition government of the Taliban, Northern Alliance, and King Zahir Shah, all of which are the worst butchers of the people, and violators of women's rights, in Afghanistan's past 50 years of history.

While violating the rights of the people of Afghanistan and non-citizen residents the U.S. the government has also taken hold of the present political climate to take away more rights from the entire population. The "USA-Patriot Act" which has been passed through both the Senate and Congress and signed into law by Bush legalizes the indefinite detention of non-citizens, legalizes FBI break-ins as well as computer spying, and allows the CIA to engage in domestic spying.

Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. correctly stated, "The terrorists didn't attack the Statue of Liberty, the Constitution, or the Bill of Rights, or the Declaration of Independence. They attacked the symbols of our economic and military power in the world. It's the supporters of this bill who are really attacking American liberties that are contained in our most sacred historical documents."

FBI investigations are also targeting students. Over 200 colleges have turned over the names and records of students to the FBI. The FBI is America's notorious political police who carried out COINTELPRO and extermination of the Black Panther Party.

The U.S. government is using recent events to crack down on rights, but if we build the resistance in the long run we can do much to expand civil liberties. The Vietnam anti-war movement did a lot in this regard in terms of fighting for free speech and in creating spin off movements for women's rights, gay rights, and the environment, while also supporting anti-racist movements as well.

The racist climate and hysteria surrounding Sept. 11th is also a threat to the life of death row political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal. On Nov. 21st the Pennsylvania State Court of Judge Dembe turned down his appeal to have new evidence heard despite the fact that the new evidence includes the confession of Arnold Beverly, the actual killer in the crime Mumia has been framed to have committed. Mumia's case is still open in Federal Court, but the government may use Mumia's Arab sounding name, his color, and his political convictions to push ahead with Mumia's execution. It will be necessary to turn up the heat with more protests and other actions to save Mumia's life and gain Mumia's freedom.

On November 2nd Green Party Coordinator Nancy Oden was arrested by the military when she tried to fly from Bangor Maine to Chicago. "An official told me that my name had been flagged in the computer," a shaken Oden said. "I was targeted because the Green Party USA opposes the bombing of innocent civilians in Afghanistan."

"I was told that the airport was closed to me until further notice and that my ticket would not be refunded," Oden said. She was scheduled to speak on the Green Party's anti-war efforts. "Not only did

they stop me at the airport, but some mysterious party had called the hotel and cancelled my reservation,"

Nancy Oden has not only come under attack from armed government agents, she has come under attack from people in the Green Party, who calling her a member of a splinter faction and not the Green Party have called her a liar. They have called her a liar not based on any evidence of their own but on the faulty logic that if she was targeted the entire Green Party would be. They also call her a liar based on the reporting of a corporate newspaper. They state, "While who said what is not clear, it appears that her name was not flagged by a computer search of potential terrorists or their supporters, according to a news report in the Bangor Daily News on Nov. 3."

Other Green Party members have supported Nancy Oden. It shows the extremely low political consciousness of someone in the Green Party to believe the corporate media and call a fellow party member a liar without evidence based on the say so of the corporate media and their own touching faith in the system.

The Green Party leadership has even administered over police repression against anti-war protesters in the past. Back in May 1999 the Santa Cruz police violently attacked a peaceful protest against the bombing of Yugoslavia. Despite clear film footage showing the police brutality that had occurred, and despite having power over the police, Green Party City Council member Tim Fitzemaurice did not take one step of action to publicly support those victims of the police.

Fitzemaurice is also a supporter of the city law that makes it illegal for the homeless to sleep at night. The Green Party has joined the ranks of the Democrats and Republicans who unjustly rule in favor of the rich. It will take a socialist party to mobilize the strength of the oppressed to take power and build a just egalitarian society. Still socialists demand government hands off all Green Party members even if all of the Green Party doesn't make the same demand.

In Charleston West Virginia Circuit Court Judge James Stucky ruled on Nov. 1st that 15 year-old Katie Sierra cannot wear T-shirts opposing the U.S. bombing of Afghanistan or form an anarchy club. Sierra's attorney, Roger Foreman, said she is "being punished for expressing her opinion."

While terrorists like Bush sit in the White House, the anti-war movement, people of Middle Eastern origin, and the people in general are being treated like terrorists. Now is not the time to hide. The Anti-war and the labor movement can play an important role in exposing these attacks on democratic rights and beating them back.

In Minnesota Governor Ventura has used Sept. 11 to attack the right to strike. First he used the attack to explain why 28,000 striking government workers should accept a lousy contract. He said, "Personally, I would be going back to work because it's a tough time. We're going to war, in my opinion. Everybody has to bite the bullet a little bit." These workers did not accept Ventura's argument that they should "bite the bullet" because of the war and won a slightly better proposal than Ventura's "final offer." The bosses and their politicians always want workers to suffer the consequences of their wars while the capitalists sit back in their mansions of luxury.

Now that Ventura wasn't able to force workers to "bite the bullet" he is saying he is going to use the strike and the war as an excuse to cut needed government programs and government jobs. On October 22 he went further in his attacks saying government workers should not have the right to strike.

It is a law of capitalist politics that the closer the American people feel aligned with this government the more the government feels it can take away from us. Now more than ever the working class needs to unite and fight against the attacks of the government.

One particularly outrageous aspect of the Anthrax attack has been the total disregard the U.S. government has shown for the lives of postal workers. While showing the highest levels of precaution for members of congress, shutting everything down and considering the use of chlorine gas to eliminate all contamination, postal workers were kept working under contaminated conditions. After the deaths of two postal workers the contaminated equipment at the Washington D.C. Brentwood facility was only wiped down with bleach.

According to Maureen Dowd's article in the New York Times entitled "Postal Workers Kept In The Dark" Capitol Police dogs got tested for Anthrax before postal workers did.

After Anthrax spores were found at New York's Morgan Station workers were ordered to stay on the job.

Instead of fighting this blatant attack on union members in the only way that would have effectively gotten workers out of harms way, by going on strike, the postal union leadership filed a lawsuit. Union bureaucrats are always wasting the dues of rank and file workers with lawsuits while the real power of any union stems from its ability to shut down production.

Despite being illegal, a strike for the safety of postal workers would gain tremendous sympathy from the working class and would be hard for the U.S. government to shut down without concessions to workers safety. Any union leadership that can't take a meaningful stand in such a blatant situation with workers lives on the line shows itself to be completely useless and points to the need to build a class struggle wing in the postal union to replace the current misleaders.

The racist anti-union climate is chilling. In South Carolina the attorney general issued a statement against the Charleston 5 comparing them to terrorists saying, "I'm against forcing people to join unions in order to get a job. And so this whole idea of ends justifies the means, as we know these terrorists killed so many people, that's exactly their argument."

The Charleston 5 are longshore workers who were arrested after the police violently attacked their picket lines a couple years ago. They had been held under house arrest, allowed only to go to work and union meetings for most of the time they have faced charges. They were facing up to 5 years in prison, but despite the current reactionary political climate the Charleston 5 won settlements in their cases on Nov. 14 where they did not have to admit guilt, will do no jail time, and only pay a $100 fine.

This was won through national and international solidarity that included a scheduled protest in Charleston and a scheduled strike of all longshore workers on the east and west coast the day they were to go to trial. The government backed down in the face of mass pressure.

The victory in the case of the Charleston 5 shows the way forward to defend the rights of non-citizens, unionists, activists, and those being blown up by U.S. bombs in other countries.

No to the trap of national unity for war! For class struggle to defend and broaden our freedoms at home!




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