Friday, August 12, 2005

Cindy, Mahar Arar

1) Move On's appeal for Cindy Sheehan:

Support Cindy Sheehan

MoveOn is taking out an ad in President Bush's local newspaper in support of Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq who is camped outside Bush's ranch in Texas asking for a meeting with the president. They'll publish the number of signers and the best comments in a full two-page spread in the newspaper nearest to Crawford (The Waco Tribune Herald) while Cindy holds her vigil. Can you sign and spread the word before the 3:00 PM Friday print deadline?

2) New Orleanians for Cindy:


Local supporters of Cindy Sheehan have organized activities in the New Orleans area to show their support for her vigil near the Bush ranchin Crawford, Texas. Sheehan is the mother of U.S. soldier Casey Sheehan who was killed in Iraq in April, 2004. She has been denied a face-to-face meeting with President Bush since Saturday and has vowed, if necessary, to remain in Crawford for the entire length of the president's vacation - until she is granted a private audience with the commander-in-chief.

Sheehan, a co-founder of Gold Star Families for Peace, decided to confront President Bush at his ranch after hearing his comments to the American Legislative Exchange Council last Wednesday. At that meeting the president said, "Our men and women who've lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan and in this war on terror have died in a noble cause and a selfless cause."

"Why did my son die? What was the noble cause that he died for? I don't want [President Bush] to use my son's name or my family name to justify any more killing or to exploit my son's name, my son'ssacrifice, or my son's honor to justify more killing. As a mother, why would I want one more mother to go through what I'm going through, Iraqi or American? And I want to tell him that the only way to honormy son's sacrifice is to bring the troops home now."

If Sheehan is unable to talk to Bush in Crawford, she has vowed to "follow him to D.C. and ... camp out on his lawn," even going to prison if necessary.

Please show your support by joining in the New Orleans activities: Thursday, August 11: 4:00 - 6:00pm - Demonstration and distribution of information at the intersection of Canal and Claiborne Streets Friday, August 12: 4:00 - 6:00pm - Demonstration and distribution ofinformation at the intersection of Canal and Claiborne Streets (location may change - we will keep you posted if that happens)Saturday, August 13: 7:00pm - Gather at Bayou St. John and Esplanade Avenue; 8:00pm - Candlelight Vigil on Bayou St. John
If you have questions, need to get in touch, or you can offer some help in any way, reply to this message or send an email to You can also download a flyer at

Additional information can be found at:

3) Maher Arar's Case:

New York Times
August 10, 2005

Foreign citizens who change planes at airports in the United States can
legally be seized, detained without charges, deprived of access to a
lawyer or the courts, and even denied basic necessities like food, lawyers for the
government said in Brooklyn federal court yesterday.

The assertion came in oral arguments over a federal lawsuit by Maher
Arar, a naturalized Canadian citizen who charges that United States officials
plucked him from Kennedy International Airport when he was on the way home on
Sept. 26, 2002, held him in solitary confinement in a Brooklyn detention
center and then shipped him to his native Syria to be interrogated under torture
because officials suspected that he was a member of Al Qaeda.

Syrian and Canadian officials have cleared Mr. Arar, 35, of any
terrorist connections, but United States officials maintain that "clear and
unequivocal" but classified evidence shows that he is a Qaeda member. They are
seeking dismissal of his lawsuit, in part through the rare assertion of a
"state secrets" privilege.

The case is the first civil suit to challenge the practice known as
"extraordinary rendition," in which terror suspects have been transferred for
questioning to countries known for torture.

After considering legal briefs, Judge David G. Trager of United States
District Court prepared several written questions for lawyers on both
sides to address further, including one that focused pointedly on Mr. Arar's
accusations of illegal treatment in New York. He says he was deprived of sleep and
food and was coercively interrogated for days at the airport and at the
Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn when he was not allowed to call a lawyer,
his family or the Canadian consul.

"Would not such treatment of a detainee - in any context, criminal,
civil, immigration or otherwise - violate both the Constitution and clearly
established case law?" Judge Trager asked.

The reply by Mary Mason, a senior trial lawyer for the government, was
that it would not. Legally, she said, anyone who presents a foreign passport
at an American airport, even to make a connecting flight to another country,
is seeking admission to the United States. If the government decides that
the passenger is an "inadmissible alien," he remains legally outside the
United States - and outside the reach of the Constitution - even if he is being held in
a Brooklyn jail.

Even if they are wrongly or illegally designated inadmissible, the government's papers say, such aliens have at most a right against "gross physical abuse."

Under immigration law, Ms. Mason asserted, Mr. Arar was afforded "ample" due process when he was given five days to challenge an order finding him inadmissible.

"The burden of proof is on the alien to demonstrate his admissibility," Ms.

Mason said, "and he did not do that." "Do you do this to all people on a connecting flight?" Judge Trager asked, raising his eyebrows.

"Yes, all have to show admissibility," Ms. Mason replied. In some ways, she
asserted, Mr. Arar had more rights than a United States citizen, because he
could have challenged his deportation to Syria, which he had left as a
teenager, under the Convention Against Torture. He also had 30 days to challenge
his removal, she said.

But David Cole, a law professor at Georgetown University who argued on
behalf of Mr. Arar and the Center for Constitutional Rights, contended that
the government had denied Mr. Arar a meaningful chance to be heard, first
by refusing to let him call a lawyer, and later by lying to the lawyer about his

Mr. Arar, who had been told he would be deported to Canada, was not handed a
final order sending him to Syria until he was in handcuffs on the private jet
that took him away, Mr. Cole said, while his lawyer was told he had been sent
to a jail in New Jersey.

"We can't take a citizen, pick him up at J.F.K. and send him to Syria to be
tortured," he said. "We can't hold against Mr. Arar the failure to file a
motion for review when he's locked up in a gravelike cell in Syria."
Dennis Barghaan, who represents former Attorney General John Ashcroft,
one of the federal officials being sued for damages in the case, argued that
Congress and recent judicial decisions tell federal courts "keep your
nose out" of foreign affairs and national security questions, like those in this

At several points the judge seemed to echo such concerns. He said he had
refused to read a letter from the plaintiffs detailing testimony before
a Canadian board of inquiry into Mr. Arar's case because he did not know how to
deal with questions that might require the government to confirm or deny
classified information.

"How am I going to handle that?" he asked, rubbing his forehead and furrowing
his brow before adjourning the hearing---

4) Another war video, recorded by insurgents. I haven't screened this one, and I'm not even sure it works:

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