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Monday, July 21, 2003

 
GEORGE W. BUSH RESUME
The White House, USA




ACCOMPLISHMENTS AS PRESIDENT:

* I attacked and took over two countries.
* I spent the U.S. surplus and bankrupted the Treasury.
* I shattered the record for biggest annual deficit in history.
* I set an economic record for most private bankruptcies filed in any 12 month period.
* I set all-time record for biggest drop in the history of the stock market.
* I am the first president in decades to execute a federal prisoner.
* I am the first president in US history to enter office with a criminal record.
* In my first year in office I set the all-time record for most days on vacation by any president in US history.
* After taking the entire month of August off for vacation, I presided over the worst security failure in US history.
* I set the record for most campaign fund raising trips by any president in US history.
* In my first two years in office over 2 million Americans lost their job.
* I cut unemployment benefits for more out-of-work Americans than any other president in US history.
* I set the all-time record for most foreclosures in a 12-month period.
* I appointed more convicted criminals to administration positions than any president in US history.
* I set the record for the fewest press conferences of any president since the advent of TV.
* I signed more laws and executive orders amending the Constitution than any other president in US history.
* I presided over the biggest energy crises in US history and refused to intervene when corruption was revealed.
* I presided over the highest gasoline prices in US history and refused to use the national reserves as past presidents have.
* I cut health care benefits for war veterans.
* I set the all-time record for most people worldwide to simultaneously take to the streets to protest me (15 million people), shattering the record for protest against any person in the history of mankind.
* I dissolved more international treaties than any president in US history.
* I've made my presidency the most secretive and unaccountable of any in US history.
* Members of my cabinet are the richest of any administration in US history. (The 'poorest' multimillionaire, Condoleeza Rice, has a Chevron oil tanker named after her).
* I am the first president in US history to have all 50 states of the Union simultaneously go bankrupt.
* I presided over the biggest corporate stock market fraud in any market in any country in the history of the world.
* I am the first president in US history to order a US attack and military occupation of a sovereign nation, and I did so against the will of the United Nations and the world community.
* I have created the largest government department bureaucracy in the history of the United States.
* I set the all-time record for biggest annual budget spending increases, more than any other president in US history.
* I am the first president in US history to have the United Nations remove the US from the Human Rights Commission.
* I am the first president in US history to have the United Nations remove the US from the Elections Monitoring Board.
* I removed more checks and balances, and have the least amount of congressional oversight than any presidential administration in US history.
* I rendered the entire United Nations irrelevant.
* I withdrew from the World Court of Law.
* I refused to allow inspectors access to US prisoners of war and by default no longer abide by the Geneva Conventions.
* I am the first president in US history to refuse United Nations election inspectors access during the 2002 US elections.
* I am the all-time US (and world) record holder for most corporate campaign donations.
* The biggest lifetime contributor to my campaign, who is also one of my best friends, presided over one of the largest corporate bankruptcy frauds in world history (Kenneth Lay, former CEO of Enron Corporation). I spent more money on polls and focus groups than any president in US history.
* I am the first president to run and hide when the US came under attack (and then lied, saying the enemy had the code to Air Force 1)
* I am the first US president to establish a secret shadow government.
* I took the world's sympathy for the US after 911, and in less than a year made the US the most resented country in the world (possibly the biggest diplomatic failure in US and world history).
* I am the first US president in history to have a majority of the people of Europe (71%) view my presidency as the biggest threat to world peace and stability.
* I am the first US president in history to have the people of South Korea more threatened by the US than by their immediate neighbor, North Korea.
* I changed US policy to allow convicted criminals to be awarded government contracts.
* I set the all-time record for number of administration appointees who violated US law by not selling their huge investments in corporations bidding for gov't contracts.
* I have removed more freedoms and civil liberties for Americans than any other president in US history. In a little over two years I have created the most divided country in decades, possibly the most divided that the US has been since the civil war.
* I entered office with the strongest economy in US history and in less than two years turned every single economic category heading straight down.


* RECORDS AND REFERENCES:
* I have at least one conviction for drunk driving in Maine (Texas driving record has been erased and is not available).
* I was AWOL from the National Guard and deserted the military during a time of war. I refuse to take a drug test or even answer any questions about drug use.
* All records of my tenure as governor of Texas have been spirited away to my fathers library, sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public view.
* All records of any SEC investigations into my insider trading or bankrupt companies are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public view.
* All minutes of meetings of any public corporation for which I served on the board are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public view.
* Any records or minutes from meetings I (or my VP) attended regarding public energy policy are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public review.


RECORDS AND REFERENCES:
* I have at least one conviction for drunk driving in Maine (Texas driving record has been erased and is not available).
* I was AWOL from the National Guard and deserted the military during a time
* of war. I refuse to take a drug test or even answer any questions about drug use.
* All records of my tenure as governor of Texas have been spirited away to my fathers library, sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public view.
* All records of any SEC investigations into my insider trading or bankrupt
* companies are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public view.
* All minutes of meetings of any public corporation for which I served on the board are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public view.
* Any records or minutes from meetings I (or my VP) attended regarding public energy policy are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public review.

PERSONAL REFERENCES:

* For personal references, please speak to my dad or uncle James Baker (They can be reached in their offices at the Carlyle Group where they are helping to divide up the spoils of the US-Iraq war and plan for the next one.)

The White House, USA

Sunday, July 06, 2003

 
Amnesty Labels U.S. Trials 'Travesty of Justice' - Where is the Public Outcry?

by Kate Holton

LONDON - Amnesty International has denounced the planned U.S. military trials for six prisoners at "Camp X-Ray" in Guantanamo Bay as a "travesty of justice."

"We deeply regret that the President has taken his country one step closer to running trials that will flout basic standards of justice," the human rights group said in a statement late on Friday.

President Bush has designated six foreign captives in what he calls the war on terrorism as eligible to be tried for U.S. military commissions.

Britain's Foreign Office announced on Friday that two Britons -- Moazzam Begg, 35, and Feroz Abbasi, 23, -- would be among the six suspects, whose names and nationalities U.S. defense officials have refused to reveal.

Charges set out in the Pentagon's instructions for the trials could bring the death penalty.

"Any trial before these military commissions would be a travesty of justice," Amnesty said.

"We urge the U.S. administration to rethink its strategy before it causes any further affront to international fair trial norms and any more damage to its own reputation.

Amnesty criticized the commissions, citing the use of a lower standard of evidence that would be admissible in an ordinary court, including hearsay evidence.

It also drew attention to Pentagon guidelines which do not expressly exclude statements extracted under coercive methods.

Officials said there was evidence the six had attended "terrorist" training camps and may have been involved in financing Saudi-born Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network -- blamed by Washington for the September 11 attacks against the United States.

Military officials have had preliminary discussions about building an execution chamber at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. navy base, where about 600 prisoners are being held, but say talk of execution is premature.

The Foreign Office said on Friday they were opposed to the death penalty in all circumstances and had made this view clear to Washington.

The U.S. chief defense lawyer for Guantanamo Bay, Colonel Will Gunn, told the BBC's Newsnight program late on Friday that he faced many challenges.

"We will have a cultural divide which will take us time to overcome, if we're ever able to overcome it. So I see that as a fundamental challenge," he said.

But he said he had faith in his staff who would work to provide the "very best possible defense."

"This country has long said we're about justice being done," he added. "That's what the principle of Americanism means to many people."

Note from Joy, need barf bag to listen to this guy. the american injustice system filled with patr-idiot-otic fools. Just gotta run screaming.

Aloha from Hawaii, Joy
 
Amnesty Labels U.S. Trials 'Travesty of Justice' - Where is the Public Outcry?

by Kate Holton

LONDON - Amnesty International has denounced the planned U.S. military trials for six prisoners at "Camp X-Ray" in Guantanamo Bay as a "travesty of justice."

"We deeply regret that the President has taken his country one step closer to running trials that will flout basic standards of justice," the human rights group said in a statement late on Friday.

President Bush has designated six foreign captives in what he calls the war on terrorism as eligible to be tried for U.S. military commissions.

Britain's Foreign Office announced on Friday that two Britons -- Moazzam Begg, 35, and Feroz Abbasi, 23, -- would be among the six suspects, whose names and nationalities U.S. defense officials have refused to reveal.

Charges set out in the Pentagon's instructions for the trials could bring the death penalty.

"Any trial before these military commissions would be a travesty of justice," Amnesty said.

"We urge the U.S. administration to rethink its strategy before it causes any further affront to international fair trial norms and any more damage to its own reputation.

Amnesty criticized the commissions, citing the use of a lower standard of evidence that would be admissible in an ordinary court, including hearsay evidence.

It also drew attention to Pentagon guidelines which do not expressly exclude statements extracted under coercive methods.

Officials said there was evidence the six had attended "terrorist" training camps and may have been involved in financing Saudi-born Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network -- blamed by Washington for the September 11 attacks against the United States.

Military officials have had preliminary discussions about building an execution chamber at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. navy base, where about 600 prisoners are being held, but say talk of execution is premature.

The Foreign Office said on Friday they were opposed to the death penalty in all circumstances and had made this view clear to Washington.

The U.S. chief defense lawyer for Guantanamo Bay, Colonel Will Gunn, told the BBC's Newsnight program late on Friday that he faced many challenges.

"We will have a cultural divide which will take us time to overcome, if we're ever able to overcome it. So I see that as a fundamental challenge," he said.

But he said he had faith in his staff who would work to provide the "very best possible defense."

"This country has long said we're about justice being done," he added. "That's what the principle of Americanism means to many people."

Note from Joy, need barf bag to listen to this guy. the american injustice system filled with patr-idiot-otic fools. Just gotta run screaming.

Aloha from Hawaii, Joy
 
Amnesty Labels U.S. Trials 'Travesty of Justice' - Where is the Public Outcry?

by Kate Holton

LONDON - Amnesty International has denounced the planned U.S. military trials for six prisoners at "Camp X-Ray" in Guantanamo Bay as a "travesty of justice."

"We deeply regret that the President has taken his country one step closer to running trials that will flout basic standards of justice," the human rights group said in a statement late on Friday.

President Bush has designated six foreign captives in what he calls the war on terrorism as eligible to be tried for U.S. military commissions.

Britain's Foreign Office announced on Friday that two Britons -- Moazzam Begg, 35, and Feroz Abbasi, 23, -- would be among the six suspects, whose names and nationalities U.S. defense officials have refused to reveal.

Charges set out in the Pentagon's instructions for the trials could bring the death penalty.

"Any trial before these military commissions would be a travesty of justice," Amnesty said.

"We urge the U.S. administration to rethink its strategy before it causes any further affront to international fair trial norms and any more damage to its own reputation.

Amnesty criticized the commissions, citing the use of a lower standard of evidence that would be admissible in an ordinary court, including hearsay evidence.

It also drew attention to Pentagon guidelines which do not expressly exclude statements extracted under coercive methods.

Officials said there was evidence the six had attended "terrorist" training camps and may have been involved in financing Saudi-born Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network -- blamed by Washington for the September 11 attacks against the United States.

Military officials have had preliminary discussions about building an execution chamber at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. navy base, where about 600 prisoners are being held, but say talk of execution is premature.

The Foreign Office said on Friday they were opposed to the death penalty in all circumstances and had made this view clear to Washington.

The U.S. chief defense lawyer for Guantanamo Bay, Colonel Will Gunn, told the BBC's Newsnight program late on Friday that he faced many challenges.

"We will have a cultural divide which will take us time to overcome, if we're ever able to overcome it. So I see that as a fundamental challenge," he said.

But he said he had faith in his staff who would work to provide the "very best possible defense."

"This country has long said we're about justice being done," he added. "That's what the principle of Americanism means to many people."

Note from Joy, need barf bag to listen to this guy. the american injustice system filled with patr-idiot-otic fools. Just gotta run screaming.

Aloha from Hawaii, Joy

Saturday, July 05, 2003

 
Rescuing Protest Before Bush '04
Activists Push Back at NYPD
by Chisun Lee
July 2 - 8, 2003

"Public outcry led the NYPD to destroy the forms and database. "

Sharpshooters will man the rooftops. Counterterrorism agents will patrol in civilian guise. Bomb squads will case subway tunnels. At least this much will be certain when the Republican National Convention comes to Madison Square Garden next year, say two former NYPD officials who helped oversee previous conventions there.

And while he won't divulge specifics, police spokesperson Michael Collins says plans are forming more than a year in advance to ensure "the highest levels of security this city has ever seen" when President George W. Bush arrives to be renominated in September 2004.

For the NYPD, in concert with the Secret Service and a slew of federal agencies, maintaining order will be a daunting challenge, and not just because of the obvious terrorism concerns. The Bush administration's policies have roused hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers to some of the most heated agitation the city has seen in decades.

Angry protesters have claimed police are meeting these demonstrations with new heights of repressiveness, amounting to a pattern of unfounded arrests and abuses. Now, with an eye to the near future, they are pushing back. A look at the activist scene today reveals a number of challenges that together form a multipronged effort to free the streets. New Yorkers want their right to protest to be as firmly entrenched as the police presence will be come 2004.

------------------------------------------------------------------------


Fifteen activists were set to file a federal lawsuit July 1 claiming the NYPD trampled on their civil liberties at the massive February 15 anti-war demonstration near the United Nations. Accusing police of interference and abuse—including arbitrary arrests and blocked access to the rally—the complaint will seek damages and a declaration that police violated the constitutional rights of a potentially huge class of participants from the year's biggest protest.

The ranks of the wronged could include "everybody who was denied access to the demonstration site that day because police were blocking off the streets," says William Goodman, former legal director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, who represents the plaintiffs along with police brutality lawyer Jonathan Moore.

Police refused to issue a permit for a march past the UN, citing security concerns, and instead approved a stationary rally, ultimately located at 51st Street and First Avenue. But to get there, an estimated 100,000 to 400,000 people, of all ages and backgrounds, packed First, Second, and Third avenues, inching along in the frigid cold for hours. Cops wearing riot gear, at metal barricades, in the crowd, and on horseback, tried to shift bodies en masse, mostly away from the side streets. A great many who showed up that day complained of being unable to reach the rally site. Some 300 were arrested.

At minimum, Goodman argues, police robbed legions of their rights to assemble and express their views—through decisions ranging from the denial of the march permit to the handling of the crowds.

Then there are the folks like plaintiff Sara Parkel, a 31-year-old freelance artist from Brooklyn, who was arrested and held overnight, although, she says, "I wasn't doing anything wrong."

"I was always under the assumption that you would be arrested if you did something wrong, like threw a rock," says Parkel. "I wasn't even in the street." Knowing protesters were supposed to stay on the sidewalks, she says she was among the minority who managed to do so. But on a sidewalk on West 39th Street, "I was trapped," she says, when a small army of police pressed the throng around her against a building and began making arrests.

Parkel was locked up with 13 other women in the back of a paddy wagon for approximately four hours, she says. "People were peeing in the back of the truck," because "overloaded" police ignored their pleas to use the bathroom. They also ignored her three or four requests to use the phone once at the Seventh Precinct, where she was held overnight. "Around 1:30 or two in the morning, they called us all in individually," she says, to question the arrestees about their political affiliations and views. "I grew up knowing you're supposed to be read your rights, which we weren't, and you're supposed to be allowed one phone call, which we weren't."

None of the plaintiffs arrested that day was convicted. Says Goodman, "People were arrested in the hundreds, not as a method of legitimate law enforcement, but as crowd control."

The 40-page complaint mentions other wrongs, including people being injured by police horses, manhandled by cops, and denied food and water for many hours. Similar charges appear in a New York Civil Liberties Union report based on a much larger number of complaints from that day, over 300. NYCLU executive director Donna Lieberman knows of about 35 charges from that day that were dropped outright.

Says Parkel, "The arrests were a tactic to discourage people who were talking out against our government." She signed on to the class action "to fight against intimidation." Goodman hopes the lawsuit will make the NYPD more protest-friendly by convention time. "If they get away with it once, they'll do it again," he says.

But police blame the disorder of February 15 on the rally's organizers. The NYPD's Collins says leaders failed to adequately inform people how to get to the protest site and provided too few marshals to manage the crowd. Police acted well within reason, says Collins. "Thousands and thousands of people were not arrested," he points out, when asked about the legitimacy of the several hundred arrests.

------------------------------------------------------------------------


There is the possibility of another lawsuit by activists, however, which would accuse police of making questionable arrests to deal with demonstrators on yet another occasion.

On the morning of April 7, about 20 people purposely risked arrest by blocking the entrance to the midtown office of the Carlyle Group, a defense-industry investment firm with ties to the Bush administration, to dramatize their opposition to the war in Iraq. Across the street stood some 100 protesters who sought to support those engaging in civil disobedience through lawful means. According to a number of participants, those supporters kept to the sidewalk and left a path clear for pedestrians, as instructed by the First Amendment lawyers there to advise them.

Two of those lawyers told the Voice that a swarm of helmeted police—so many as to seem to outnumber the protesters—abruptly surrounded the group of supporters. Spurning the participants and lawyers, who said the crowd was willing to disperse, police reportedly would not let anyone leave and arrested approximately 80 people, ranging from teens to seniors.

Mark Milano, a longtime organizer with ACT UP/NY, the direct-action AIDS activist group, says, "One of the cops said it was really a preemptive strike, that they thought the people across the street might break the law."

Several arrested that day say they were questioned while in custody about their political views and associations, but they were not read their rights or permitted to speak with lawyers. They complain of being held as long as 12 hours without counsel. On the outside, one attorney, Joel Kupferman, went so far as to draft a writ of habeas corpus, get it signed by a State Supreme Court judge, and submit it to police officials to get detainees access to lawyers, who had been trying to see them all day.

The NYPD's Collins said he lacked enough specific knowledge of the April 7 arrests to comment on them. But asked about the traditional practice of giving demonstrators notice and opportunity to disperse, he said, "We generally try to warn protesters that they are violating the law before arresting them. However, that can't always be done, if they're taking actions that pose an immediate risk." Activists in this case deny they were taking any such actions.

Many charged on April 7 are too angry to take the administrative dismissals that are often offered to resolve minor disorderly conduct charges and vow to fight their cases in court. At least two have gone to trial so far and been acquitted. Center for Constitutional Rights staff attorney Nancy Chang says the organization is seriously considering a class action suit against the city, pending the resolution of all the cases.

------------------------------------------------------------------------


Still another battle to protect activists' rights targets the NYPD's use of its newly won power to investigate lawful political activity.

After September 11, the department claimed it needed that power to root out potential terrorists, who might masquerade as law-abiding New Yorkers. In March 2003 a federal judge agreed to radically weaken a long-standing ban, known as the Handschu agreement, on police investigations of lawful, constitutionally protected activity—a remedy to the politically motivated FBI and police probes of the 1960s and 1970s.

Since then, hundreds of arrestees from various protests have reported being quizzed, some under duress, on their political views and group memberships. In April, it was revealed that a police intelligence officer had created a "demonstration debriefing form" and computer database to compile such information. Public outcry led the NYPD to destroy the forms and database.

But the scandal has prompted a team of civil rights lawyers to challenge the lifting of the old ban on political probes. "That change was based on concerns about investigating terrorism," says Martin Stolar, one of the attorneys. "Now we find out they used [the new powers] on low-level First Amendment protest." The lawyers, who won the original ban on political surveillance in 1985 in an activists' class action suit against the city, want internal police investigation guidelines to be made enforceable through the courts.

Political questioning "takes us back to the days of the old Red Squad, where police are keeping dossiers on noncriminal citizens," says Stolar. "If people know they'll end up in a police file, they won't participate in demonstrations." A judge is expected to rule soon.

Also pending are at least 70 individual grievances that protesters made this year to the Civilian Complaint Review Board, the independent agency that investigates NYPD misconduct. CCRB spokesperson Ray Patterson says the number of protest-related complaints is unusually high. With most, "excessive force was alleged, like use of horses."

A handful of individuals have filed their own civil suits against the city on protest-related claims.

------------------------------------------------------------------------


The spate of complaints by activists may signal not necessarily that police tactics have become harsher, but that more people are being exposed to them.

Unjustified arrests and rough treatment were always to be found at anti-police-brutality rallies and events like Harlem's Million Youth March, claims activist Wol-san Liem. She and some 80 members of a racially diverse group were arrested this May during three days of planned civil disobedience, dubbed Operation Homeland Resistance. In shifts, they blocked the entrance to 26 Federal Plaza, which houses immigration authorities, in an effort to highlight "the war at home" against the undocumented.

"It's interesting to hear white, middle-class protesters talk about how unbelievable it is to them that they were not treated humanely. People of color daily deal with police brutality, and they resist it routinely—that's what the Diallo protests were about," she says.

Indeed, the city's protester population has recently burgeoned with additions from across the political spectrum. The numbers promise a rowdier convention than the several Democratic gatherings the city has hosted in the past.

"Back then, we were pretty laid-back," says Miami police chief John Timoney, who commanded NYPD operations during the 1992 Democratic convention. He notes that nothing like the September 11 attacks haunted police then, and the issues and the candidate were less controversial. There was no preemptive war on Iraq, no suspicions of political lies about weapons of mass destruction, and there was no great anxiety over losing civil liberties to a White House-led war on terrorism.

The traditional convention-protest area, Eighth Avenue between 31st and 33rd streets, holds a maximum of about 5,000 bodies, says Timoney. Bush policies have propelled hundreds of thousands into city streets this year.

"People are going to be as angry or angrier about the Bush administration as they are now. The fact that there is some possibility of getting rid of this guy will draw a lot of people," predicts Leslie Cagan, lead organizer of United for Peace and Justice. Accused by police of not planning its February 15 anti-war demonstration far enough in advance, UFPJ has already submitted two permit requests for a march and a rally during convention week.

The NYCLU asked the police a month ago to begin negotiations for convention protest, says executive director Lieberman, and a meeting is expected as early as July. She says the NYPD's response to current criticism of its protest tactics is a key indicator. "The refusal to acknowledge mistakes will be the single biggest cause for pessimism as we move ahead."

The mass arrests and political questioning have already had a chilling effect, according to some activists. Liem says immigrants, especially, find themselves weighing their desire to demonstrate against the risk of detention and even deportation, to themselves and, by association, family and friends. No one, says ACT UP/NY's Milano, should have to "be afraid just to come out to a street protest."

From the Village Voice

 
Rescuing Protest Before Bush '04
Activists Push Back at NYPD
by Chisun Lee
July 2 - 8, 2003

"Public outcry led the NYPD to destroy the forms and database. "

Sharpshooters will man the rooftops. Counterterrorism agents will patrol in civilian guise. Bomb squads will case subway tunnels. At least this much will be certain when the Republican National Convention comes to Madison Square Garden next year, say two former NYPD officials who helped oversee previous conventions there.

And while he won't divulge specifics, police spokesperson Michael Collins says plans are forming more than a year in advance to ensure "the highest levels of security this city has ever seen" when President George W. Bush arrives to be renominated in September 2004.

For the NYPD, in concert with the Secret Service and a slew of federal agencies, maintaining order will be a daunting challenge, and not just because of the obvious terrorism concerns. The Bush administration's policies have roused hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers to some of the most heated agitation the city has seen in decades.

Angry protesters have claimed police are meeting these demonstrations with new heights of repressiveness, amounting to a pattern of unfounded arrests and abuses. Now, with an eye to the near future, they are pushing back. A look at the activist scene today reveals a number of challenges that together form a multipronged effort to free the streets. New Yorkers want their right to protest to be as firmly entrenched as the police presence will be come 2004.

------------------------------------------------------------------------


Fifteen activists were set to file a federal lawsuit July 1 claiming the NYPD trampled on their civil liberties at the massive February 15 anti-war demonstration near the United Nations. Accusing police of interference and abuse—including arbitrary arrests and blocked access to the rally—the complaint will seek damages and a declaration that police violated the constitutional rights of a potentially huge class of participants from the year's biggest protest.

The ranks of the wronged could include "everybody who was denied access to the demonstration site that day because police were blocking off the streets," says William Goodman, former legal director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, who represents the plaintiffs along with police brutality lawyer Jonathan Moore.

Police refused to issue a permit for a march past the UN, citing security concerns, and instead approved a stationary rally, ultimately located at 51st Street and First Avenue. But to get there, an estimated 100,000 to 400,000 people, of all ages and backgrounds, packed First, Second, and Third avenues, inching along in the frigid cold for hours. Cops wearing riot gear, at metal barricades, in the crowd, and on horseback, tried to shift bodies en masse, mostly away from the side streets. A great many who showed up that day complained of being unable to reach the rally site. Some 300 were arrested.

At minimum, Goodman argues, police robbed legions of their rights to assemble and express their views—through decisions ranging from the denial of the march permit to the handling of the crowds.

Then there are the folks like plaintiff Sara Parkel, a 31-year-old freelance artist from Brooklyn, who was arrested and held overnight, although, she says, "I wasn't doing anything wrong."

"I was always under the assumption that you would be arrested if you did something wrong, like threw a rock," says Parkel. "I wasn't even in the street." Knowing protesters were supposed to stay on the sidewalks, she says she was among the minority who managed to do so. But on a sidewalk on West 39th Street, "I was trapped," she says, when a small army of police pressed the throng around her against a building and began making arrests.

Parkel was locked up with 13 other women in the back of a paddy wagon for approximately four hours, she says. "People were peeing in the back of the truck," because "overloaded" police ignored their pleas to use the bathroom. They also ignored her three or four requests to use the phone once at the Seventh Precinct, where she was held overnight. "Around 1:30 or two in the morning, they called us all in individually," she says, to question the arrestees about their political affiliations and views. "I grew up knowing you're supposed to be read your rights, which we weren't, and you're supposed to be allowed one phone call, which we weren't."

None of the plaintiffs arrested that day was convicted. Says Goodman, "People were arrested in the hundreds, not as a method of legitimate law enforcement, but as crowd control."

The 40-page complaint mentions other wrongs, including people being injured by police horses, manhandled by cops, and denied food and water for many hours. Similar charges appear in a New York Civil Liberties Union report based on a much larger number of complaints from that day, over 300. NYCLU executive director Donna Lieberman knows of about 35 charges from that day that were dropped outright.

Says Parkel, "The arrests were a tactic to discourage people who were talking out against our government." She signed on to the class action "to fight against intimidation." Goodman hopes the lawsuit will make the NYPD more protest-friendly by convention time. "If they get away with it once, they'll do it again," he says.

But police blame the disorder of February 15 on the rally's organizers. The NYPD's Collins says leaders failed to adequately inform people how to get to the protest site and provided too few marshals to manage the crowd. Police acted well within reason, says Collins. "Thousands and thousands of people were not arrested," he points out, when asked about the legitimacy of the several hundred arrests.

------------------------------------------------------------------------


There is the possibility of another lawsuit by activists, however, which would accuse police of making questionable arrests to deal with demonstrators on yet another occasion.

On the morning of April 7, about 20 people purposely risked arrest by blocking the entrance to the midtown office of the Carlyle Group, a defense-industry investment firm with ties to the Bush administration, to dramatize their opposition to the war in Iraq. Across the street stood some 100 protesters who sought to support those engaging in civil disobedience through lawful means. According to a number of participants, those supporters kept to the sidewalk and left a path clear for pedestrians, as instructed by the First Amendment lawyers there to advise them.

Two of those lawyers told the Voice that a swarm of helmeted police—so many as to seem to outnumber the protesters—abruptly surrounded the group of supporters. Spurning the participants and lawyers, who said the crowd was willing to disperse, police reportedly would not let anyone leave and arrested approximately 80 people, ranging from teens to seniors.

Mark Milano, a longtime organizer with ACT UP/NY, the direct-action AIDS activist group, says, "One of the cops said it was really a preemptive strike, that they thought the people across the street might break the law."

Several arrested that day say they were questioned while in custody about their political views and associations, but they were not read their rights or permitted to speak with lawyers. They complain of being held as long as 12 hours without counsel. On the outside, one attorney, Joel Kupferman, went so far as to draft a writ of habeas corpus, get it signed by a State Supreme Court judge, and submit it to police officials to get detainees access to lawyers, who had been trying to see them all day.

The NYPD's Collins said he lacked enough specific knowledge of the April 7 arrests to comment on them. But asked about the traditional practice of giving demonstrators notice and opportunity to disperse, he said, "We generally try to warn protesters that they are violating the law before arresting them. However, that can't always be done, if they're taking actions that pose an immediate risk." Activists in this case deny they were taking any such actions.

Many charged on April 7 are too angry to take the administrative dismissals that are often offered to resolve minor disorderly conduct charges and vow to fight their cases in court. At least two have gone to trial so far and been acquitted. Center for Constitutional Rights staff attorney Nancy Chang says the organization is seriously considering a class action suit against the city, pending the resolution of all the cases.

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Still another battle to protect activists' rights targets the NYPD's use of its newly won power to investigate lawful political activity.

After September 11, the department claimed it needed that power to root out potential terrorists, who might masquerade as law-abiding New Yorkers. In March 2003 a federal judge agreed to radically weaken a long-standing ban, known as the Handschu agreement, on police investigations of lawful, constitutionally protected activity—a remedy to the politically motivated FBI and police probes of the 1960s and 1970s.

Since then, hundreds of arrestees from various protests have reported being quizzed, some under duress, on their political views and group memberships. In April, it was revealed that a police intelligence officer had created a "demonstration debriefing form" and computer database to compile such information. Public outcry led the NYPD to destroy the forms and database.

But the scandal has prompted a team of civil rights lawyers to challenge the lifting of the old ban on political probes. "That change was based on concerns about investigating terrorism," says Martin Stolar, one of the attorneys. "Now we find out they used [the new powers] on low-level First Amendment protest." The lawyers, who won the original ban on political surveillance in 1985 in an activists' class action suit against the city, want internal police investigation guidelines to be made enforceable through the courts.

Political questioning "takes us back to the days of the old Red Squad, where police are keeping dossiers on noncriminal citizens," says Stolar. "If people know they'll end up in a police file, they won't participate in demonstrations." A judge is expected to rule soon.

Also pending are at least 70 individual grievances that protesters made this year to the Civilian Complaint Review Board, the independent agency that investigates NYPD misconduct. CCRB spokesperson Ray Patterson says the number of protest-related complaints is unusually high. With most, "excessive force was alleged, like use of horses."

A handful of individuals have filed their own civil suits against the city on protest-related claims.

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The spate of complaints by activists may signal not necessarily that police tactics have become harsher, but that more people are being exposed to them.

Unjustified arrests and rough treatment were always to be found at anti-police-brutality rallies and events like Harlem's Million Youth March, claims activist Wol-san Liem. She and some 80 members of a racially diverse group were arrested this May during three days of planned civil disobedience, dubbed Operation Homeland Resistance. In shifts, they blocked the entrance to 26 Federal Plaza, which houses immigration authorities, in an effort to highlight "the war at home" against the undocumented.

"It's interesting to hear white, middle-class protesters talk about how unbelievable it is to them that they were not treated humanely. People of color daily deal with police brutality, and they resist it routinely—that's what the Diallo protests were about," she says.

Indeed, the city's protester population has recently burgeoned with additions from across the political spectrum. The numbers promise a rowdier convention than the several Democratic gatherings the city has hosted in the past.

"Back then, we were pretty laid-back," says Miami police chief John Timoney, who commanded NYPD operations during the 1992 Democratic convention. He notes that nothing like the September 11 attacks haunted police then, and the issues and the candidate were less controversial. There was no preemptive war on Iraq, no suspicions of political lies about weapons of mass destruction, and there was no great anxiety over losing civil liberties to a White House-led war on terrorism.

The traditional convention-protest area, Eighth Avenue between 31st and 33rd streets, holds a maximum of about 5,000 bodies, says Timoney. Bush policies have propelled hundreds of thousands into city streets this year.

"People are going to be as angry or angrier about the Bush administration as they are now. The fact that there is some possibility of getting rid of this guy will draw a lot of people," predicts Leslie Cagan, lead organizer of United for Peace and Justice. Accused by police of not planning its February 15 anti-war demonstration far enough in advance, UFPJ has already submitted two permit requests for a march and a rally during convention week.

The NYCLU asked the police a month ago to begin negotiations for convention protest, says executive director Lieberman, and a meeting is expected as early as July. She says the NYPD's response to current criticism of its protest tactics is a key indicator. "The refusal to acknowledge mistakes will be the single biggest cause for pessimism as we move ahead."

The mass arrests and political questioning have already had a chilling effect, according to some activists. Liem says immigrants, especially, find themselves weighing their desire to demonstrate against the risk of detention and even deportation, to themselves and, by association, family and friends. No one, says ACT UP/NY's Milano, should have to "be afraid just to come out to a street protest."

From the Village Voice

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