Saturday, December 15, 2007
ADDRESS TO CITY COUNCIL
Here's my little spiel. Cheers.
Mr. Mayor, council members, we have a president and a vice president who lied to Congress and to the American people to get us into a war, and they're still lying about the reasons for it to this day.
The invasion itself was an unprovoked, premeditated attack against a defenseless sovereign country, in direct violation of the U.N. and the Nuremburg Charters; and a violation of every principle this country stands for.
This unjust war has now killed over three thousand Americans and approximately 1.2 million Iraqis--men, women and children. 4.5 million human beings have been driven from their homes since the U.S. invasion in 2003.
Meanwhile, at Guantanamo, many of the 385 inmates have been held for five years or more, unable to mount a legal challenge to their detention.
Statements by the Bush Administration that these men are "enemy combatants," "terrorists," or "very bad people," do not justify the complete lack of due process rights.
Some 300 detainees are now held at a new facility that, according to Amnesty International, creates "even harsher and more permanent conditions of extreme isolation and sensory deprivation."
According to Human Rights Watch, each day brings more information about the appalling abuses inflicted on men and women held by the U.S. in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere around the world.
U.S. Forces have used interrogation techniques including hooding, stripping detainees naked, subjecting them to extremes of heat, cold, noise and light, and depriving them of sleep, in violation of the Geneva Conventions and the Convention Against Torture And Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment Or Punishment.
And there are many cases of vicious beatings, sexual degradation, sodomy, near drowning and near asphyxiation.
Our last Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales, was a straight ahead advocate of torture, including the use of waterboarding, which was first employed to great effect during the Spanish Inquisition.
And now, we have replaced him with a new Attorney General, Michael Mukasey, who refuses to say whether waterboarding amounts to torture.
The President can now declare anyone he wants an "enemy combatant," and thereby detain them indefinitely.
That means anyone in this room could be detained without the right of habeas corpus, the fundamental right to a lawyer or a fair trial. Anyone in this room could be picked up, carried away somewhere, interrogated, and even tortured.
The President acknowledges giving explicit and secret authorization for warrantless electronic eavesdropping and physical searches by the NSA.
There is proof that the Pentagon is illegally gathering and sharing private and protected information on American citizens.
The actions of this president, his administration, and these agencies are part of a broad pattern of disregard for the rule of law in the name of national security.
Mr. Mayor, council members, each of you took an oath of office in which you swore "to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution and the laws of the United States, and of this state," so help you, God.
The question is whether you will now do what you have sworn to do. Will you defend the Constitution? Will you stand for the rule of law?