Thursday, July 04, 2002

The Fourth of July: here are some thoughts a libertarian is handing out as a leaflet today

Happy 4th of July!

As we celebrate the Declaration of Independence, let us keep in mind what truths the founding fathers felt were self-evident. Our media doesn’t give us all of the information that a free press should. Below are just a few facts that you might not have been aware of.

· US citizens are being held in military prison, deprived of their constitutionally protected rights, such as the right to a lawyer, a trial, or even the writ of habeus corpus, which allows citizens to petition the federal government to right and unjust arrest.

· The FBI has gone down the path of COINTELPRO, a counter intelligence program that was used in the 50s, 60s, and 70s to hold down the civil rights movement (according to the FBI’s own files, “The purpose of this new counterintelligence endeavor is to expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize” certain organizations). The new program allows federal agents to dig through library records of ordinary citizens, conduct surveillance of religious or political organizations without a warrant or even probable cause.

· The “War on Terrorism” has turned into an excuse to put down dissent. On May 30th, Jaoudat Abouazza was stopped on the pretext of a minor traffic violation, but when the police found leaflets of a legal, permitted protest, he was handcuffed and brought into the police station without being read his rights. From there he was turned in to the FBI and the INS, who have held him since, even from appearing at his own trial on the orders of the court. On June 16th, the prison guards pulled him from his cell, restrained him in his chair, and pulled 4 of his molars against his will and without anesthetic. Similar cases of the federal government putting down dissent can be seen with Ahmed Bensouda, an activist who just graduated from UIUC, and Faruk Abdel-Muhti, an activist in New York.

· The “War on Terrorism” has turned into a witch hunt, encouraging people to turn in people they don’t like. For instance, the Haitian bus driver in Boston who, after getting into a petty argument with another bus driver about a parking space, was turned in to the FBI the next day as a “suspicious character”.

· Strong evidence of US war crimes by US troops against Taliban prisoners has been ignored by the media and the government, amid calls for an investigation by Amnesty International

· The US media has been censored from publishing anything critical of the current administration. Not only are articles questioning US policy pulled from news sources, but US based news outlets are not sending reporters to cover the millions of people standing against the current administration’s policies in the US and abroad.

· Attorney General John Ashcroft is attempting to exempt the department of Homeland Security from the Freedom of Information Act and the Whistleblower’s Protection Act, citing national security claims, even though those acts specifically allow for national security exemptions. In effect, he is trying to create an unaccountable federal security force.

· The US has kept the G8 summit from addressing the AIDS epidemic in Africa so that we can rally support for our “War on Terrorism”

Thank you for coming out today to celebrate the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. Stand up and speak out against these actions. Contact your representatives in congress and demand change, write your newspapers and insist on fair and complete coverage of the world’s events, and get involved!

“Those who give up liberty for the sake of security deserve neither” – Ben Franklin

Interesting. I hope some of these stories will upon investigation prove baseless. Even so, the main points would remain. On which please see, not National but Rational Review. --FP

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