Nov 1, 2005

Torture And Guantanamo Bay The Focus Of DC Protest


(Washington, DC) Dozens of protesters gathered in front of the White House Monday evening to speak out against what many believe to be extra-legal measures used by the Bush administration in its War on Terror. This article, which has simultaneous publication in Clamor, is part of a series of profiles on grass-roots political activism in America.

I first spoke with Kit Gage, director of the First Amendment Foundation , who was a scheduled speaker at the rally.

"We are here today to talk about the importance of protecting dissent in the post-9/11 era," she said. "Since the mid-1970s, these rights have slowly been whittled away."

One of the cases most closely watched by the FAF is that of purported terrorist Jose Padilla.

"It is disturbing that the US government can detain someone not in a battle, who is a US citizen, and not charge him with a crime," Gage said of Padilla, who has been in custody since June 9, 2002. "This man is being denied due process, is prevented from the right to an attorney, and is being denied the right to see the evidence that is used to detain him."

Gage said that there is momentum toward protecting rights threatened by legislation such as the Patriot Act.

"Courts are beginning to look at a lot of these legal issues," she said. "I was also pleased that the DC city council passed new legislation affirming and protecting the right to protest."

Another speaker at the rally was Johannes Williams, a DC-area attorney, who addressed the crowd on the legailty of the administration's actions.

"The Bush administration has blatantly violated national and international law," he said. "The possible remedies for this egregious evasion of the law are three: impeach, indict, and evict."

Harold Nelson, with Survivors of Torture , spoke out against the acquiescence and outright support by the US government for detainee torture.

"While the US government has quietly looked the other way toward torture in the past - such as in the Phillipines - we now have an administration that actively promotes torture," he said, describing US policymakers as "war criminals" for embracing torture. "The administration willingly violates international law, and actively fights prosecutorial attempts to investigate torture cases."

Nelson excoriated the current administration for its policies.

"People have had enough of this criminal regime," he said. "This is a government that steals from workers, showers largesse on the rich, and refuses to allow debate about its policies in an open forum."

Text by Michael Brooks, photos by Isis. The viewpoints of the people interviewed may or may not reflect those of the author, so kindly direct political commentary to the respective individuals mentioned.


Anonymous said...

the us government IS a criminal regime

Hooda Thunkit said...

Only in America would this kind of protest be allowed to take place unfettered.

A demonstration of free expression in action.

My opinion of the subject matter however, will remain mine.

Mike & Isis:
Good coverage!

I wonder why I didn't see coverage of this elsewhere...

IsisDC said...

Hooda- When I got the flier to this event, I also got a press release in my e-mail box from NOW about a protest at the Supreme Court against Alito.

The NOW event was at 4pm, this was at 5pm and they were about 20 blocks apart during DC rush hour.

I selected this event because I have seen this topic and purpose often attempted in a press conference, and it is often ignored.

I really feel this kind of coverage is important, not just the sensationalist weather patterns of todays MSM.

The Alito Stuff will have plenty of coverage from us in the future as the filibustering kicks in and I try to sneak gallery pics or if I can con the people at the Senate radio and TV gallery office into giving me a press pass for the floor...(yeah RIGHT!) *grin*

Ice Cream Headache said...

The Ice Cream Headache have released a new song protesting the human rights abuses at Guantanamo. Please take a listen and pass it along.

(we don't wanna go to) Guantanamo!

liberal_dem said...

"(we don't wanna go to) Guantanamo!"

You won't ever have to if you drink your Kool Aid regularly, say The Pledge, and watch Fox News.

Clear enuf?

IsisDC said...

Ice Cream Headaches, that is an AWESOME SONG!!!!