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ACTION ALERTS: Stop Illegal Detentions & Honor the Rule of Law


September 14, 2006
Center for Constitutional Rights & People for the American Way

George W. Bush wants the power to arrest anyone without charges and hold them in jail indefinitely. Call your Senators to protect the fundamental right of habeas corpus. The White House argues that the rule of law – and the Constitution – threatens our safety. The "terror card" has been used to justify repeated attacks on civil liberties and the principle of checks and balances since 2001. S. 2453, S. 2455, H.R. 5825 would give the White House near-dictatorial powers.

ACTION ALERT: Stop US Authorization of Indefinite Detention
Vincent Warren / Center for Constitutional Rights

Will the US authorize indefinite detention – without any possibility of judicial review – for anyone labeled an "enemy combatant"? Even if those people are actually innocent?

Please take a moment to call your Senators first thing this morning at 202-224-3121, especially if they are on the Armed Services Committee (see the list at the bottom of this email), and send a fax through our website.

We’re in a brutal legislative fight over two bills proposed by President Bush and Senator Warner to legislate military commissions. However problematic the commissions are, they’re a distraction from the really dangerous provisions that would strip detainees of their right to challenge the legality of their detention.

The bottom line is, if either bill passes as currently written, it would prevent anyone taken into US custody – anywhere in the world, past, present or future, innocent or not – from ever having their case heard. This goes against every principle this country was founded on.

Every person detained by our nation must receive a fair hearing. After all, wouldn’t we demand that right for our soldiers and civilians if they were captured by our enemies abroad?

We need your help urgently in order to stop this legislation!

Last week the President admitted to detaining men in secret CIA facilities and transferred 14 of them to Guantánamo: since it has become embarrassingly clear from the military’s own documents that most of the men at Guantánamo have nothing to do with terrorism and were often given over to the US for bounty when they were caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, the Administration’s strategy was to move a handful of actual high-level detainees there so they could push through this legislation.

Here are some talking points for your calls. The military commissions bill pending in Congress would:

... authorize the lifelong detention of more than 400 men imprisoned at Guantánamo Bay – men who have never been charged with a crime or received a fair hearing – many of whom our military admits never took up arms against the US

... give President Bush and Secretary Rumsfeld absolute discretion to lock up farmers and humanitarian aid workers for life – based on their exclusive determination that these men are “enemy combatants” – and subject these men to whatever treatment they themselves deem appropriate and legal.
... prevent any accountability for torture or abuse of detainees, rendering the McCain Amendment prohibiting torture unenforceable.

PLEASE CONTACT YOUR SENATORS IMMEDIATELY. Tell them that the American people will not tolerate indefinite detention in our name – at Guantánamo or anywhere else in the world. Tell them that executive detention must be subject to judicial review. No military commission bill should limit the most fundamental of all rights – habeas corpus.

Vincent Warren is the Executive Director of the CCR.

• For more information, visit our website at www.ccr-ny.org.

• To call your Senator, dial (202) 224-3121 and ask for your Senator's office.
Please keep your call brief and to the point. Identify yourself as a constituent (and a donor if you have donated money in the past), and ask to speak with the aide who deals with issues such as the military commissions bill. After identifying yourself, tell the aide what you think of the bills. Finally, ask for your Senators' position on the issue.

The Senate Armed Services Committee:
The Senate Armed Services Committee:
John Warner (R – VA) (202) 224-2023
John McCain (R – AZ) (202) 224-2235
James Inhofe (R – OK) (202) 224-4721
Pat Roberts (R – KS) (202) 224-4774
Jeff Sessions (R- AL) (202) 224-4124
Susan Collins (R – ME) (202) 224-2523
John Ensign (R – NV) (202) 224-6244
James Talent (R – MO) (202) 224-6154
Saxby Chambliss (R – GA) (202) 224-3521
Lindsey Graham (R – SC) (202) 224-5972
Elizabeth Dole (R – NC) (202) 224-6342
John Cornyn (R – TX) (202) 224-2934
John Thune (R – SD) (202) 224-2321
Carl Levin (D – MI) (202) 224-6221
Edward Kennedy (D – MA) (202) 224-4543
Robert Byrd (D – WV) (202) 224-3954
Joe Lieberman (D – CT) (202) 224-4041
Jack Reed (D – RI) (202) 224-4642
Daniel Akaka (D – HI) (202) 224-6361
Bill Nelson (D – FL) (202) 224-5274
Benjamin Nelson (D – NE) (202) 224-6551
Mark Dayton (D – MN) (202) 224-3244
Evan Bayh (D – IN) (202) 224-5623
Hillary Clinton (D – NY) (202) 224-4451



ACTION ALERT: Defend the Rule of Law
People for the American Way

The White House is cranking up its fear and smear machine again. President Bush and his political allies exploited the 9/11 anniversary with yet another round of media appearances equating dissent with support for terrorists. They’re trying – one more time – to smear and intimidate anyone who objects to Bush administration policies that run roughshod over our Constitution.

Thousands of you have responded to our calls to take a stand against administration propaganda and to stand up for the Constitution. We need you to answer the call again.

The administration’s propaganda blitz was not only about exploiting fears of terrorism for the fall elections. It was also about building support for a new push in Congress to give the Bush administration political and legal cover for policies that violate basic constitutional principles like due process.

The idea that the rule of law – and even the Constitution itself – threatens our safety has been used to justify repeated attacks on civil liberties and the principle of checks and balances since 2001. And now Congress is about to consider new legislation that would further bloat the power of the executive branch by removing crucial judicial and congressional oversight.

Please help us NOW to stop three awful bills that are taking shape in congressional committees, before it’s too late and election-year momentum makes our job any harder.

S. 2453 (Sen. Specter), S. 2455 (Sen. DeWine) and H.R. 5825 (Rep. Wilson) would essentially codify Bush’s illegal domestic spying program despite the facts that the full scope of the program is still a secret and a federal court in Michigan recently ruled the program unconstitutional.

• Help us stop these bills at all costs. Click here to e-mail or fax your representative and senators now and tell them to reject these dangerous bills and all legislative whitewashes that would give the executive branch immunity from the judicial and congressional oversight so vital to our system of checks and balances.

Thank you for your activism!

Bring Back the Rule of Law
GOP members of Congress in the Senate and House have renewed their efforts to rubber stamp the Bush administration’s illegal eavesdropping!

S. 2453 (aka the Cheney-Specter bill), S. 2455 (by Sen. DeWine) and H.R. 5825 (by Rep. Wilson) would essentially codify Bush’s illegal domestic spying program and give the executive branch immunity to the judicial and congressional oversight so vital to our system of checks and balances – this, despite the facts that the full scope of the program is still a secret and a district court in Michigan recently ruled the program unconstitutional.

Help us stop this assault on due process and our civil liberties by taking action today. E-mail or fax your representatives in Congress and urge them to reject all legislative whitewashes of executive branch lawbreaking.

Take Action: Send a Letter
Text of the sample letter:

Current efforts to codify the Bush administration’s illegal wiretapping of Americans are a threat to our democratic system of checks and balances, as well as the civil liberties of all Americans.

Please reject S. 2452, S. 2455, H.R. 5825 and any other bills that offer legislative “fixes” to the law that would whitewash the executive branch’s eavesdropping. The program has been ruled unconstitutional by one district court already and the Bush administration has continued to keep secret from Congress details about the true nature of the program.

This is unacceptable. I urge you to protect the Constitution, as you have sworn to do, and provide a check against this abuse of executive power.

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