Bulletin N° 97



11 November 2003

Grenoble, France

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

The Grenoble Center for the Advanced Study of American Institutions and Social Movements has received much information concerning the deepening war in Iraq and the up-coming presidential elections.

There is a growing social movement in America not only against the war in Iraq, but against the incipiant police state which is presently being installed and threatens to illiminate traditional democracy in the United States.

Below, Mary Lagos (see item A.) has sent us the bad news from Iraq. Unreported American military attrocities are part of daily life in this militarily occupied country.

In item B., sent to us by our research associate Professor Richard Du Boff, is an article by another of our associates at the Grenoble Research Center, Professor Gabriel Kolko, who warns of the possible "Vietnamization" of Iraq.

Professor James Stevenson, also a research associate at the Grenoble Center, has sent us two articles from Washington Post which cover the pre-election activities of  the popular "MoveOn" organization, to which multi-billionaire George Soros (see item C.) has donated 5 million dollars in support their campaign to dump President Bush, and to whom Al Gore (see item D.) recently gave an address against the Bush administration and in support of the Democratic Party in the November 2004 elections.

Finally, item E. is a radio address by the contemporary equivalent of Mark Twain, Jim Hightower whose career as a political satarist began in Austin, Texas during the Vietnam War. Below is an excerpt from a talk Hightower gave in his weekly radio program, which is broadcast regularly through the Southwest. The issue last week was Bolivia, and the Bush administration's determined efforts to destroy the genuine democratic movement in that small country.

Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies/
Director of Research

from Mary Lagos
Subject: Iraq: Occupiers in Trouble
Date: Mon, 10 Nov 2003 23:59:10 +0000

We received the following article from A World to Win News Service.

Iraq: Occupiers in Trouble

Revolutionary Worker #1218, November 2, 2003, posted at rwor.org

October 20, 2003. A World to Win News Service. Everyone--maybe everyone but George Bush--knows the U.S. is in big trouble in Iraq. The occupiers are being slammed harder, more often, in more cities and by a wider circle of forces.
There's no denying that the war didn't end when Bush said it did, on May 1. Maybe it was just getting started. At this point, about as many U.S.-led coalition soldiers have died since May 1 as before. Roadside bomb and booby trap attacks on American troops are so common that the media hardly bothers to report them any more. On October 2, the Coalition commander told reporters that there were 15-20 attacks a day, about half of them involving face-to-face shootouts. The pace picked up sharply shortly after that.
The reason is simple: the Iraqi people want their country back. The more they demand it, the more the occupiers beat and shoot them, and the more oppression generates resistance.
American authorities like to claim that the resistance is coming from ex-Saddam regime forces. Even if that is an important part, why should Bush get to say who can do what in Iraq? Clearly very different Iraqi political forces are involved, and their military actions are guided by different political lines and goals. But no resistance could survive long without the backing of the people. No one but George Bush can deny that the resistance represents the will of millions upon millions of Iraqis. The hatred for the occupation is strongest not among the elite members of the old regime, who, except for a handful, are being offered a job by the Americans, but among the poor and downtrodden.
U.S. Troops Run Amok in Baiji
Here's a typical incident: Baiji, an oil refinery town north of Baghdad, has seen a growing back-and-forth spiral of fighting. Early in October, the U.S.-appointed police fired into a demonstration, wounding four people. The police said it was pro-Saddam protest. Even if that was one slogan, this only shows what kind of "democracy" has replaced him. Neighborhood people became so enraged that the police had to flee into a U.S. base north of the town. "U.S. troops have returned, with snipers on rooftops and armor in the streets, but they can control the town only by using military force," wrote the Independent . "This week a U.S. soldier was killed and another wounded when their armored vehicle hit a landmine."
One 14-year-old was shot dead while trying to fix a TV antenna on his roof. U.S. soldiers also killed a cleric who had gone out in the early morning to say his prayers before curfew was lifted.
A Swedish journalist told an Independent reporter that he had witnessed U.S. soldiers beating an elderly religious man almost to death. "Suddenly I saw the soldiers kick in a door and drag out an old man who screamed, `Me no shoot! Please, mister.' The soldiers shouted, `Shut the fuck up! Shut the fuck up!'
"They tied his hands behind his back, and then, as he lay on the ground, one said, `Keep his head still.' He slammed him on the head with his rifle butt again and again. Then the others kicked him. There was blood everywhere." The British news article continued, "U.S. officers later admitted that they were probably wrong about the old man, but said, `These things happen in the heat of action.' "
Clashes in Baghdad and Basra
In Baghdad former Iraqi soldiers demonstrated on October 4 to demand the $40 the occupiers promised them when they dissolved the Iraqi army and left them unemployed.
"It started when one man went to get a drink of water after we had been queuing for five hours," said a man interviewed in his hospital bed afterwards by the British Independent . "The U.S. soldiers wouldn't let him get back in the line and they beat him and us with long batons and electric cattle prods. Then we started throwing stones at them and they fired back." As protesters chanting "America, No! No!" moved from the former airport--now a U.S. base--toward the center city palace where the U.S. hand-picked Iraqi Governing Council sits, American helicopters fired on them. The authorities issued no report on casualties.
The city of Basra in the far South is under the occupation of the British, who like to think they are more sophisticated than the simply brutal Americans. During similar demonstrations the same day, UK troops fired on a crowd of people who had become restless after waiting in the sun for hours, killing one man. They also fired rubber bullets, whose use they perfected in shooting demonstrators and children in Northern Ireland.
Bush said that the Shia people would welcome the Americans as liberators. The vast Baghdad slums formerly known as Saddam City, home to four million people, were supposed to be especially receptive to the foreign troops who brought down Saddam. Now Saddam City, renamed Sadr City, is what the occupiers call a "red line area", a death trap for American troops.
On October 9, a bomb killed ten people at a police station in Sadr City. As the U.S. has tried to hire Iraqis to do their fighting and dying--mainly men who were formerly Saddam's police--attacks on them have been mounting steadily. American troops entering the neighborhood that night in three Humvees came under an attack U.S. authorities refused to explain. Apparently it involved a whole crowd of people, who are said to have lured the soldiers into leaving their vehicles and then opened fire on them with small arms and rocket-propelled grenades, killing two. The next day there was a funeral procession in Sadr City for two of the Iraqis killed in that firefight. Ten thousand people reportedly marched, some of them armed, and once again they clashed with U.S. troops.
Karbala, Kirkuk, and Falluja
In Karbala, a Shia holy city south of Baghdad, a firefight broke out when a U.S. military police patrol started shooting at men gathered around the offices of a Muslim cleric after curfew. The men fought back, some with automatic weapons and others with swords. They killed three U.S. soldiers and two of their puppet policemen. Among them was a lieutenant colonel, the highest-ranking American killed so far in this war. Five of the cleric's supporters were killed. The next day, October 17, U.S. troops returned to the scene and again there was fighting. The Polish troops who are supposed to be in charge of the area watched from a distance, apparently none too eager to die for Uncle Sam and George Bush. The city remains blocked by the occupiers.
Kirkuk, in Kurdistan, like Basra an area formerly described as "quiet" by the occupiers, now rings with automatic weapons and mortar fire. Resistance fighters mounted three hit-and-run operations in two hours October 7, firing mortar shells on a U.S. base and throwing a hand grenade into the U.S.-controlled city hall, and blew up a Humvee outside town. Residents report that a U.S. detention centre for Iraqi prisoners comes under mortar fire regularly. A plan to inaugurate a new police headquarters had to be cancelled. The police chief's home, a restaurant popular with GIs, and the offices of a Shia cleric allied with the U.S. were also attacked. Iraqis ambushed a U.S. patrol in Kirkuk and another in a nearby city October 19.
Unlike Karbala and Kirkuk, Falluja, north of Baghdad, has been the scene of constant fighting since U.S. soldiers murdered dozens of demonstrators in April. The occupiers have tried to cow the people through punishment raids and house demolitions. On October 19, a convoy of two Humvees and a tractor- trailer carrying missiles was blown up by roadside explosives set against a sign reading, "Welcome to Falluja." The soldiers in the lorry jumped into the Humvees and they all sped away. A gathering crowd doused the missile truck with gasoline and set it afire. A man explained to a reporter, "The Americans destroyed Falluja." As the vehicle exploded, young people danced in celebration and drivers honked their horns.
Several hours later, when the U.S. soldiers came back to save what they could and found nothing but wreckage, fighters opened up on them with rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons. "Shells were flying everywhere like fireworks," a shopkeeper told the Independent . American authorities detained two reporters without explanation--although humiliation and a thirst for revenge might explain it.
Low Morale Among U.S. Forces
What is the U.S. going to do? They say the resistance is a "low level war" they can handle, and it is true that the Iraqis are a long way from being able to kick the occupiers out. Even at four dead a day--as on October 16--the U.S. is not going to run out of young men and women to feed this war. But even under current conditions, they are having trouble sustaining the occupation.
GIs have already been told that they will serve a year instead of the promised six months because the U.S. has already thrown its reserves into combat and has few other combat troops left to relieve them. The Pentagon-funded newspaper Stars and Stripes --circulated almost exclusively to soldiers--ran a poll in which about half the troops rated morale in their unit as "low" or "very low." Almost a third said that the war was "not worthwhile." The U.S. Armed Forces acknowledge that 10 percent of its total casualties are suicides. The percentage of U.S. soldiers who are sick of the role they are being forced to play may actually be higher than admitted, but what is most significant about the survey is that it seems to represent a cry of alarm from within the military hierarchy itself.
Behind the UN Resolution
The recent UN vote to put its stamp of approval on the occupation was a crime, but was it really a victory for the U.S.? The U.S. went to the UN looking for a solution and all it got was an empty resolution. Instead of encouraging more countries to send troops, the U.S.'s biggest hope so far, Turkey, is hesitating. The only country willing to give any real money is Japan. In terms of the concrete support for the occupation the U.S. desperately sought, this move was a flop.
To a large degree, the UN resolution was a maneuver by the European powers to respond to the power of the U.S. by letting the Iraqi people weaken the U.S. in a way that they can't. Former Clinton foreign policy advisor James Steinberg explained, "These guys [the European governments] all think it's going to fail, but they don't want to be blamed. It's not that they're on board in any sense. It's just that this way, they can avoid becoming the whipping boys for U.S. failure."
"Vietnamizing" the War in Iraq
Currently the Pentagon is discussing how to "Vietnamize" the war. Just as the U.S. tried to have "Asians fight Asians" to reduce American casualties in Vietnam, so now it is counting on raising a mercenary army to fight for it in Iraq. The political goal is to counter Iraqi unity against the Americans and to turn this into a civil war.
According to the Washington Post October 19, transferring routine occupation duties to 18 American-led Iraqi battalions is one scenario U.S. military planners are looking at. Aside from this "best case," there is also the "mid case", in which "Iraqi troops prove unreliable," thwarting the goal of drawing down U.S. forces. The "worst case" (which the article links to increasing armed resistance from the Shias) would require an increase in American troops. But no leading American politician is calling for withdrawing the U.S. Armed Forces. On the contrary, the Pentagon says it is trying to downsize the occupation forces so that they can stay there indefinitely.

from Professor Richard DuBoff :
Subject: Iraq already looks like Vietnam . . .
The Age (Melbourne) November 10, 2003

Iraq already looks ominously like Vietnam
by Gabriel Kolko

There are great cultural, political and physical differences between Vietnam and Iraq that cannot be minimised, and the geopolitical situation is entirely different. But the US has ignored many of the lessons of the traumatic Vietnam experience and is repeating many of the errors that produced defeat.

In both places, successive American administrations slighted the advice of their most knowledgeable intelligence experts. In Vietnam they told Washington's decision-makers not to tread where France had failed and to endorse the 1955 Geneva Accords provisos on reunification.

They also warned against underestimating the communists' numbers, motivation, or their independent relationship to China and the Soviet Union. But America's leaders have time and again believed what they wanted, not what their intelligence told them.

The Pentagon in the 1960s had an uncritical faith in its overwhelming firepower, its modern equipment, mobility, and mastery of the skies. It still does, and Donald Rumsfeld believes the military has the technology to "shock and awe" all adversaries. But war in Vietnam, as in Iraq, was highly decentralised and the number of troops required only increased, even as the firepower became greater. When they reached half-a-million Americans in Vietnam, the public turned against the president and defeated his party.

Wars are ultimately won politically or not at all. Leaders in Washington thought this interpretation of events in Vietnam was bizarre, and they ignored their experts whenever they frequently reminded them of the limits of military power.

In both Vietnam and Iraq the public was mobilised on the basis of cynical falsehoods that ultimately backfired, causing a "credibility gap".

The Tonkin Gulf crisis of August 1964 was manufactured, as the CIA's leading analyst later admitted in his memoir, because "the administration was seeking a pretext for a major escalation". Countless lies were told during the Vietnam War but eventually many of the men who counted most were themselves unable to separate truth from fiction.

Many US leaders really believed that if the communists won in Vietnam, the "dominoes" would fall and all South-East Asia would fall under Chinese and Soviet domination. The Iraq War was justified because Saddam was alleged to have weapons of mass destruction and ties with al-Qaeda, but no evidence for either allegation has been found.

There are 130,000 American troops in Iraq now - twice the number Bush predicted would remain by this month - but, as in Vietnam, their morale is already low and sinking. Bush's poll ratings have fallen dramatically. He needs more soldiers in Iraq desperately and foreign nations will not provide them.

In Vietnam, president Nixon tried to "Vietnamise" the land war and transfer the burdens of soldiering to Nguyen Van Thieu's huge army. But it was demoralised and organised to maintain Thieu in power, not win the victory that had eluded American forces.

"Iraqisation" of the military force required to put down dissidents will not accomplish what has eluded the Americans, and in both Vietnam and Iraq the US underestimated the length of time it would have to remain and cultivated illusions about the strength of its friends.

The Iraqi army was disbanded but now is being partially reconstituted by utilising Saddam's officers and enlisted men. As in Vietnam, where the Buddhists opposed the Catholics who comprised the leaders America endorsed, Iraq is a divided nation regionally and religiously, and Washington has the unenviable choice between the risks of disorder, which its own lack of troops make likely, and civil war if it arms Iraqis.

Despite plenty of expert opinion to warn it, the Bush Administration has scant perception of the complexity of the political problems it confronts in Iraq. Afghanistan is a reminder of how military success depends ultimately on politics, and how things go wrong.

Rumsfeld's admission in his confidential memo of October 16 that "we lack the metrics to know if we are winning or losing the global war on terror" was an indication that key members of the Bush Administration are far less confident of what they are doing than they were early in 2003.

But as in Vietnam, when defence secretary Robert McNamara ceased to believe that victory was inevitable, it is too late to reverse course and now the credibility of America's military power is at stake.

Eventually, domestic politics takes precedence over everything else. It did in Vietnam and it will in Iraq. By 1968, the polls were turning against the Democrats and the Tet offensive in February caught President Lyndon Johnson by surprise because he and his generals refused to believe the CIA's estimates that there were really 600,000 rather than 300,000 people in the communist forces. Nixon won because he promised a war-weary public he would bring peace with honour.

Bush declared on October 28 that "we're not leaving" Iraq soon, but his party and political advisers are likely to have the last word as US casualties mount and his poll ratings continue to decline.

Vietnam proved that the American public has limited patience. That is still true.

The real lessons of Vietnam have yet to be learned.

Gabriel Kolko is professor emeritus of history at York University in Canada and the author of Anatomy of a War, a history of the Vietnam War.

from Professor James A. Stevenson :
© 2003 The Washington Post Company

Soros's Deep Pockets vs. Bush : Financier Contributes $5 Million More in Effort to Oust President
by Laura Blumenfeld
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 11, 2003

NEW YORK -- George Soros, one of the world's richest men, has given away nearly $5 billion to
promote democracy in the former Soviet bloc, Africa and Asia. Now he has a new project:
defeating President Bush.

"It is the central focus of my life," Soros said, his blue eyes settled on an unseen target. The 2004
presidential race, he said in an interview, is "a matter of life and death."

Soros, who has financed efforts to promote open societies in more than 50 countries around the
world, is bringing the fight home, he said. On Monday, he and a partner committed up to $5 million
to MoveOn.org, a liberal activist group, bringing to $15.5 million the total of his personal
contributions to oust Bush.

Overnight, Soros, 74, has become the major financial player of the left. He has elicited cries of foul
play from the right. And with a tight nod, he pledged: "If necessary, I would give more money."

"America, under Bush, is a danger to the world," Soros said. Then he smiled: "And I'm willing to put
my money where my mouth is."

Soros believes that a "supremacist ideology" guides this White House. He hears echoes in its
rhetoric of his childhood in occupied Hungary. "When I hear Bush say, 'You're either with us or
against us,' it reminds me of the Germans." It conjures up memories, he said, of Nazi slogans on the
walls, Der Feind Hort mit ("The enemy is listening"). "My experiences under Nazi and Soviet rule
have sensitized me," he said in a soft Hungarian accent.

Soros's contributions are filling a gap in Democratic Party finances that opened after the restrictions
in the 2002 McCain-Feingold law took effect. In the past, political parties paid a large share of television and get-out-the-vote
costs with unregulated "soft money" contributions from corporations, unions and rich individuals. The parties are now barred
from accepting such money. But non-party groups in both camps are stepping in, accepting soft money and taking over voter

"It's incredibly ironic that George Soros is trying to create a more open society by using an unregulated, under-the-radar-screen,
shadowy, soft-money group to do it," Republican National Committee spokeswoman Christine Iverson said. "George Soros
has purchased the Democratic Party."

In past election cycles, Soros contributed relatively modest sums. In 2000, his aide said, he gave $122,000, mostly to
Democratic causes and candidates. But recently, Soros has grown alarmed at the influence of neoconservatives, whom he calls
"a bunch of extremists guided by a crude form of social Darwinism."

Neoconservatives, Soros said, are exploiting the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, to promote a preexisting agenda of
preemptive war and world dominion. "Bush feels that on September 11th he was anointed by God," Soros said. "He's leading
the U.S. and the world toward a vicious circle of escalating violence."

Soros said he had been waking at 3 a.m., his thoughts shaking him "like an alarm clock." Sitting in his robe, he wrote his ideas
down, longhand, on a stack of pads. In January, PublicAffairs will publish them as a book, "The Bubble of American
Supremacy" (an excerpt appears in December's Atlantic Monthly). In it, he argues for a collective approach to security,
increased foreign aid and "preventive action."

"It would be too immodest for a private person to set himself up against the president," he said. "But it is, in fact" -- he chuckled
-- "the Soros Doctorine."

His campaign began last summer with the help of Morton H. Halperin, a liberal think tank veteran. Soros invited Democratic
strategists to his house in Southampton, Long Island, including Clinton chief of staff John D. Podesta, Jeremy Rosner, Robert
Boorstin and Carl Pope.

They discussed the coming election. Standing on the back deck, the evening sun angling into their eyes, Soros took aside Steve
Rosenthal, CEO of the liberal activist group America Coming Together (ACT), and Ellen Malcolm, its president. They were
proposing to mobilize voters in 17 battleground states. Soros told them he would give ACT $10 million.

Asked about his moment in the sun, Rosenthal deadpanned: "We were disappointed. We thought a guy like George Soros
could do more." Then he laughed. "No, kidding! It was thrilling."

Malcolm: "It was like getting his Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval."

"They were ready to kiss me," Soros quipped.

Before coffee the next morning, his friend Peter Lewis, chairman of the Progressive Corp., had pledged $10 million to ACT.
Rob Glaser, founder and CEO of RealNetworks, promised $2 million. Rob McKay, president of the McKay Family
Foundation, gave $1 million and benefactors Lewis and Dorothy Cullman committed $500,000.

Soros also promised up to $3 million to Podesta's new think tank, the Center for American Progress.

Soros will continue to recruit wealthy donors for his campaign. Having put a lot of money into the war of ideas around the
world, he has learned that "money buys talent; you can advocate more effectively."

At his home in Westchester, N.Y., he raised $115,000 for Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean. He also supports
Democratic presidential contenders Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.), retired Gen. Wesley K. Clark and Rep. Richard A. Gephardt

In an effort to limit Soros's influence, the RNC sent a letter to Dean Monday, asking him to request that ACT and similar
organizations follow the McCain-Feingold restrictions limiting individual contributions to $2,000.

The RNC is not the only group irked by Soros. Fred Wertheimer, president of Democracy 21, which promotes changes in
campaign finance , has benefited from Soros's grants over the years. Soros has backed altering campaign finance, an aide said,
donating close to $18 million over the past seven years.

"There's some irony, given the supporting role he played in helping to end the soft money system," Wertheimer said. "I'm sorry
that Mr. Soros has decided to put so much money into a political effort to defeat a candidate. We will be watchdogging him

An aide said Soros welcomes the scrutiny. Soros has become as rich as he has, the aide said, because he has a preternatural
instinct for a good deal.

Asked whether he would trade his $7 billion fortune to unseat Bush, Soros opened his mouth. Then he closed it. The proposal
hung in the air: Would he become poor to beat Bush?

He said, "If someone guaranteed it."

from Professor James A. Stevenson :
Subject: Fwd: Gore's call to fight for Freedom
© 2003 The Washington Post Company

The following is an example of what some of us think might by the increasingly perceptive criticism of the "loyal opposition" in America. It comes from an email sent by the liberals in the Democratic Party in the Move On organization.

Yesterday, former Vice President Al Gore spoke to a packed audience of almost 3,000 MoveOn supporters about the Bush administration's attacks on our basic freedoms. Not mincing words, Mr. Gore said,
"I want to challenge the Bush Administration’s implicit assumption that we have to give up many of our traditional freedoms in order to be safe from terrorists.
Because it is simply not true.
In fact, in my opinion, it makes no more sense to launch an assault on our civil liberties as the best way to get at terrorists than it did to launch an invasion of Iraq as the best way to get at Osama Bin Laden.
In both cases, the Administration has attacked the wrong target.
In both cases they have recklessly put our country in grave and unnecessary danger, while avoiding and neglecting obvious and much more important challenges that would actually help to protect the country.
In both cases, the administration has fostered false impressions and misled the nation with superficial, emotional and manipulative presentations that are not worthy of American Democracy.
In both cases they have exploited public fears for partisan political gain and postured themselves as bold defenders of our country while actually weakening not strengthening America."
The full text of this remarkable speech is attached below.

With this speech, the groundswell of opposition to the Patriot Act, that has erupted through local resolutions in thousands of cities across the nation, has now leapt to the national stage. This is not a partisan issue. This is about defending the very fabric of our nation. Americans are fed up with politicians who use fear to consolidate power, leaving our institutions and traditions in tatters.

You can view a webcast of the speech at:


The speech was covered by major media outlets -- AP, New York Times, Washington Post. We need to continue the drumbeat.

If we can raise $160,000 to the MoveOn.org Voter Fund, the Voter Fund will develop these ads today and get this campaign launched.

The setting -- Constitution Hall in Washington DC -- was perfect for this speech. And the crowd was just as inspiring as the speech. Thanks to all who attended and thanks for your support of this crucial campaign.


--Carrie, Eli, James, Joan, Noah, Peter, Wes, and Zack
The MoveOn.org Team
November 10th, 2003

MoveOn.org co-sponsored this event with the American Constitution Society. ACS is a national organization of law students, lawyers, academics, judges, and policymakers committed to restoring the values of human dignity, individual rights and liberties, equality, and access to justice to their rightful, central place in American law. Visit ACS at: www.acslaw.org


As Prepared for Delivery
Remarks by Al Gore
November 9, 2003


Thank you, Lisa, for that warm and generous introduction. Thank you Zack, and thank you all for coming here today

I want to thank the American Constitution Society for co-sponsoring today's event, and for their hard work and dedication in defending our most basic public values.

And I am especially grateful to Moveon.org, not only for co-sponsoring this event, but also for using 21st Century techniques to breathe new life into our democracy.

For my part, I'm just a "recovering politician" -- but I truly believe that some of the issues most important to America's future are ones that all of us should be dealing with.

And perhaps the most important of these issues is the one I want to talk about today: the true relationship between Freedom and Security.

So it seems to me that the logical place to start the discussion is with an accounting of exactly what has happened to civil liberties and security since the vicious attacks against America of September 11, 2001 -- and it's important to note at the outset that the Administration and the Congress have brought about many beneficial and needed improvements to make law enforcement and intelligence community efforts more effective against potential terrorists.

But a lot of other changes have taken place that a lot of people don't know about and that come as unwelcome surprises. For example, for the first time in our history, American citizens have been seized by the executive branch of government and put in prison without being charged with a crime, without having the right to a trial, without being able to see a lawyer, and without even being able to contact their families.

President Bush is claiming the unilateral right to do that to any American citizen he believes is an "enemy combatant." Those are the magic words. If the President alone decides that those two words accurately describe someone, then that person can be immediately locked up and held incommunicado for as long as the President wants, with no court having the right to determine whether the facts actually justify his imprisonment.

Now if the President makes a mistake, or is given faulty information by somebody working for him, and locks up the wrong person, then it's almost impossible for that person to prove his innocence -- because he can't talk to a lawyer or his family or anyone else and he doesn't even have the right to know what specific crime he is accused of committing. So a constitutional right to liberty and the pursuit of happiness that we used to think of in an old-fashioned way as "inalienable" can now be instantly stripped from any American by the President with no meaningful review by any other branch of government.

How do we feel about that? Is that OK?

Here's another recent change in our civil liberties: Now, if it wants to, the federal government has the right to monitor every website you go to on the internet, keep a list of everyone you send email to or receive email from and everyone who you call on the telephone or who calls you -- and they don't even have to show probable cause that you've done anything wrong. Nor do they ever have to report to any court on what they're doing with the information. Moreover, there are precious few safeguards to keep them from reading the content of all your email.

Everybody fine with that?

If so, what about this next change?

For America's first 212 years, it used to be that if the police wanted to search your house, they had to be able to convince an independent judge to give them a search warrant and then (with rare exceptions) they had to go bang on your door and yell, "Open up!" Then, if you didn't quickly open up, they could knock the door down. Also, if they seized anything, they had to leave a list explaining what they had taken. That way, if it was all a terrible mistake (as it sometimes is) you could go and get your stuff back.

But that's all changed now. Starting two years ago, federal agents were given broad new statutory authority by the Patriot Act to "sneak and peak" in non-terrorism cases. They can secretly enter your home with no warning -- whether you are there or not -- and they can wait for months before telling you they were there. And it doesn't have to have any relationship to terrorism whatsoever. It applies to any garden-variety crime. And the new law makes it very easy to get around the need for a traditional warrant simply by saying that searching your house might have some connection (even a remote one) to the investigation of some agent of a foreign power. Then they can go to another court, a secret court, that more or less has to give them a warrant whenever they ask.

Three weeks ago, in a speech at FBI Headquarters, President Bush went even further and formally proposed that the Attorney General be allowed to authorize subpoenas by administrative order, without the need for a warrant from any court.

What about the right to consult a lawyer if you're arrested? Is that important?

Attorney General Ashcroft has issued regulations authorizing the secret monitoring of attorney-client conversations on his say-so alone; bypassing procedures for obtaining prior judicial review for such monitoring in the rare instances when it was permitted in the past. Now, whoever is in custody has to assume that the government is always listening to consultations between them and their lawyers.

Does it matter if the government listens in on everything you say to your lawyer? Is that Ok?

Or, to take another change and thanks to the librarians, more people know about this one the FBI now has the right to go into any library and ask for the records of everybody who has used the library and get a list of who is reading what. Similarly, the FBI can demand all the records of banks, colleges, hotels, hospitals, credit-card companies, and many more kinds of companies. And these changes are only the beginning. Just last week, Attorney General Ashcroft issued brand new guidelines permitting FBI agents to run credit checks and background checks and gather other information about anyone who is "of investigatory interest," - meaning anyone the agent thinks is suspicious - without any evidence of criminal behavior.

So, is that fine with everyone?

Listen to the way Israel's highest court dealt with a similar question when, in 1999, it was asked to balance due process rights against dire threats to the security of its people:

"This is the destiny of democracy, as not all means are acceptable to it, and not all practices employed by its enemies are open before it. Although a democracy must often fight with one hand tied behind its back, it nonetheless has the upper hand. Preserving the Rule of Law and recognition of an individual's liberty constitutes an important component in its understanding of security. At the end of the day they (add to) its strength."

I want to challenge the Bush Administration's implicit assumption that we have to give up many of our traditional freedoms in order to be safe from terrorists.

Because it is simply not true.

In fact, in my opinion, it makes no more sense to launch an assault on our civil liberties as the best way to get at terrorists than it did to launch an invasion of Iraq as the best way to get at Osama Bin Laden.

In both cases, the Administration has attacked the wrong target.

In both cases they have recklessly put our country in grave and unnecessary danger, while avoiding and neglecting obvious and much more important challenges that would actually help to protect the country.

In both cases, the administration has fostered false impressions and misled the nation with superficial, emotional and manipulative presentations that are not worthy of American Democracy.

In both cases they have exploited public fears for partisan political gain and postured themselves as bold defenders of our country while actually weakening not strengthening America.

In both cases, they have used unprecedented secrecy and deception in order to avoid accountability to the Congress, the Courts, the press and the people.

Indeed, this Administration has turned the fundamental presumption of our democracy on its head. A government of and for the people is supposed to be generally open to public scrutiny by the people while the private information of the people themselves should be routinely protected from government intrusion.

But instead, this Administration is seeking to conduct its work in secret even as it demands broad unfettered access to personal information about American citizens. Under the rubric of protecting national security, they have obtained new powers to gather information from citizens and to keep it secret. Yet at the same time they themselves refuse to disclose information that is highly relevant to the war against terrorism.

They are even arrogantly refusing to provide information about 9/11 that is in their possession to the 9/11 Commission -- the lawful investigative body charged with examining not only the performance of the Bush Administration, but also the actions of the prior Administration in which I served. The whole point is to learn all we can about preventing future terrorist attacks,

Two days ago, the Commission was forced to issue a subpoena to the Pentagon, which has -- disgracefully -- put Secretary Rumsfeld's desire to avoid embarrassment ahead of the nation's need to learn how we can best avoid future terrorist attacks. The Commission also served notice that it will issue a subpoena to the White House if the President continues to withhold information essential to the investigation.

And the White House is also refusing to respond to repeated bipartisan Congressional requests for information about 9/11 -- even though the Congress is simply exercising its Constitutional oversight authority. In the words of Senator Main, "Excessive administration secrecy on issues related to the September 11 attacks feeds conspiracy theories and reduces the public's confidence in government."

In a revealing move, just three days ago, the White House asked the Republican leadership of the Senate to shut down the Intelligence Committee's investigation of 9/11 based on a trivial political dispute. Apparently the President is anxious to keep the Congress from seeing what are said to have been clear, strong and explicit warnings directly to him a few weeks before 9/11 that terrorists were planning to hijack commercial airliners and use them to attack us.

Astonishingly, the Republican Senate leadership quickly complied with the President's request. Such obedience and complicity in what looks like a cover-up from the majority party in a separate and supposedly co-equal branch of government makes it seem like a very long time ago when a Republican Attorney General and his deputy resigned rather than comply with an order to fire the special prosecutor investigating Richard Nixon.

In an even more brazen move, more than two years after they rounded up over 1,200 individuals of Arab descent, they still refuse to release the names of the individuals they detained, even though virtually every one of those arrested has been "cleared" by the FBI of any connection to terrorism and there is absolutely no national security justification for keeping the names secret. Yet at the same time, White House officials themselves leaked the name of a CIA operative serving the country, in clear violation of the law, in an effort to get at her husband, who had angered them by disclosing that the President had relied on forged evidence in his state of the union address as part of his effort to convince the country that Saddam Hussein was on the verge of building nuclear weapons.

And even as they claim the right to see the private bank records of every American, they are adopting a new policy on the Freedom of Information Act that actively encourages federal agencies to fully consider all potential reasons for non-disclosure regardless of whether the disclosure would be harmful. In other words, the federal government will now actively resist complying with ANY request for information.

Moreover, they have established a new exemption that enables them to refuse the release to the press and the public of important health, safety and environmental information submitted to the government by businesses -- merely by calling it "critical infrastructure."

By closely guarding information about their own behavior, they are dismantling a fundamental element of our system of checks and balances. Because so long as the government's actions are secret, they cannot be held accountable. A government for the people and by the people must be transparent to the people.

The administration is justifying the collection of all this information by saying in effect that it will make us safer to have it. But it is not the kind of information that would have been of much help in preventing 9/11. However, there was in fact a great deal of specific information that WAS available prior to 9/11 that probably could have been used to prevent the tragedy. A recent analysis by the Merkle foundation, (working with data from a software company that received venture capital from a CIA-sponsored firm) demonstrates this point in a startling way:
· In late August 2001, Nawaq Alhamzi and Khalid Al-Midhar bought tickets to fly on American Airlines Flight 77 (which was flown into the Pentagon). They bought the tickets using their real names. Both names were then on a State Department/INS watch list called TIPOFF. Both men were sought by the FBI and CIA as suspected terrorists, in part because they had been observed at a terrorist meeting in Malaysia.
· These two passenger names would have been exact matches when checked against the TIPOFF list. But that would only have been the first step. Further data checks could then have begun.
· Checking for common addresses (address information is widely available, including on the internet), analysts would have discovered that Salem Al-Hazmi (who also bought a seat on American 77) used the same address as Nawaq Alhazmi. More importantly, they could have discovered that Mohamed Atta (American 11, North Tower of the World Trade Center) and Marwan Al-Shehhi (United 175, South Tower of the World Trade Center) used the same address as Khalid Al-Midhar.
· Checking for identical frequent flier numbers, analysts would have discovered that Majed Moqed (American 77) used the same number as Al-Midhar.
· With Mohamed Atta now also identified as a possible associate of the wanted terrorist, Al-Midhar, analysts could have added Atta's phone numbers (also publicly available information) to their checklist. By doing so they would have identified five other hijackers (Fayez Ahmed, Mohand Alshehri, Wail Alsheri, and Abdulaziz Alomari).
· Closer to September 11, a further check of passenger lists against a more innocuous INS watch list (for expired visas) would have identified Ahmed Alghandi. Through him, the same sort of relatively simple correlations could have led to identifying the remaining hijackers, who boarded United 93 (which crashed in Pennsylvania)."
In addition, Al-Midhar and Nawaf Alhamzi, the two who were on the terrorist watch list, rented an apartment in San Diego under their own names and were listed, again under their own names, in the San Diego phone book while the FBI was searching for them.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but what is needed is better and more timely analysis. Simply piling up more raw data that is almost entirely irrelevant is not only not going to help. It may actually hurt the cause. As one FBI agent said privately of Ashcroft: "We're looking for a needle in a haystack here and he (Ashcroft) is just piling on more hay."

In other words, the mass collecting of personal data on hundreds of millions of people actually makes it more difficult to protect the nation against terrorists, so they ought to cut most of it out.

And meanwhile, the real story is that while the administration

manages to convey the impression that it is doing everything possible to protect America, in reality it has seriously neglected most of the measures that it could have taken to really make our country safer.

For example, there is still no serious strategy for domestic security that protects critical infrastructure such as electric power lines, gas pipelines, nuclear facilities, ports, chemical plants and the like.

They're still not checking incoming cargo carriers for radiation. They're still skimping on protection of certain nuclear weapons storage facilities. They're still not hardening critical facilities that must never be soft targets for terrorists. They're still not investing in the translators and analysts we need to counter the growing terror threat.

The administration is still not investing in local government training and infrastructures where they could make the biggest difference. The first responder community is still being shortchanged. In many cases, fire and police still don't have the communications equipment to talk to each other. The CDC and local hospitals are still nowhere close to being ready for a biological weapons attack.

The administration has still failed to address the fundamental disorganization and rivalries of our law enforcement, intelligence and investigative agencies. In particular, the critical FBI-CIA coordination, while finally improved at the top, still remains dysfunctional in the trenches.

The constant violations of civil liberties promote the false impression that these violations are necessary in order to take every precaution against another terrorist attack. But the simple truth is that the vast majority of the violations have not benefited our security at all; to the contrary, they hurt our security.

And the treatment of immigrants was probably the worst example. This mass mistreatment actually hurt our security in a number of important ways.

But first, let's be clear about what happened: this was little more than a cheap and cruel political stunt by John Ashcroft. More than 99% of the mostly Arab-background men who were rounded up had merely overstayed their visas or committed some other minor offense as they tried to pursue the American dream just like most immigrants. But they were used as extras in the Administration's effort to give the impression that they had caught a large number of bad guys. And many of them were treated horribly and abusively.

Consider this example reported in depth by Anthony Lewis:

"Anser Mehmood, a Pakistani who had overstayed his visa, was arrested in New York on October 3, 2001. The next day he was briefly questioned by FBI agents, who said they had no further interest in him. Then he was shackled in handcuffs, leg irons, and a belly chain and taken to the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn. Guards there put two more sets of handcuffs on him and another set of leg irons. One threw Mehmood against a wall. The guards forced him to run down a long ramp, the irons cutting into his wrists and ankles. The physical abuse was mixed with verbal taunts.

"After two weeks Mehmood was allowed to make a telephone call to his wife. She was not at home and Mehmood was told that he would have to wait six weeks to try again. He first saw her, on a visit, three months after his arrest. All that time he was kept in a windowless cell, in solitary confinement, with two overhead fluorescent lights on all the time. In the end he was charged with using an invalid Social Security card. He was deported in May 2002, nearly eight months after his arrest.

The faith tradition I share with Ashcroft includes this teaching from Jesus: "whatsoever you do unto the least of these, you do unto me."

And make no mistake: the disgraceful treatment suffered by many of these vulnerable immigrants at the hands of the administration has created deep resentments and hurt the cooperation desperately needed from immigrant communities in the U.S.and from the Security Services of other countries.

Second, these gross violations of their rights have seriously damaged U.S. moral authority and goodwill around the world, and delegitimized U.S.efforts to continue promoting Human Rights around the world. As one analyst put it, "We used to set the standard; now we have lowered the bar." And our moral authority is, after all, our greatest source of enduring strength in the world.

And the handling of prisoners at Guantanomo has been particularly harmful to America's image. Even England and Australia have criticized our departure from international law and the Geneva Convention. Sec. Rumsfeld's handling of the captives there has been about as thoughtful as his "postwar" plan for Iraq.

So the mass violations of civil liberties have hurt rather than helped. But there is yet another reason for urgency in stopping what this administration is doing. Where Civil Liberties are concerned, they have taken us much farther down the road toward an intrusive, "Big Brother"-style government toward the dangers prophesized by George Orwell in his book "1984" than anyone ever thought would be possible in the United States of America.

And they have done it primarily by heightening and exploiting public anxieties and apprehensions. Rather than leading with a call to courage, this Administration has chosen to lead us by inciting fear.

Almost eighty years ago, Justice Louis Brandeis wrote "Those who won our independence by revolution were not cowards. . . . They did not exalt order at the cost of liberty." Those who won our independence, Brandeis asserted, understood that "courage [is] the secret of liberty" and "fear [only] breeds repression."

Rather than defending our freedoms, this Administration has sought to abandon them. Rather than accepting our traditions of openness and accountability, this Administration has opted to rule by secrecy and unquestioned authority. Instead, its assaults on our core democratic principles have only left us less free and less secure.

Throughout American history, what we now call Civil Liberties have often been abused and limited during times of war and perceived threats to security. The best known instances include the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798-1800, the brief suspension of habeas corpus during the Civil War, the extreme abuses during World War I and the notorious Red Scare and Palmer Raids immediately after the war, the shameful internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, and the excesses of the FBI and CIA during the Vietnam War and social turmoil of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

But in each of these cases, the nation has recovered its equilibrium when the war ended and absorbed the lessons learned in a recurring cycle of excess and regret.

There are reasons for concern this time around that what we are experiencing may no longer be the first half of a recurring cycle but rather, the beginning of something new. For one thing, this war is predicted by the administration to "last for the rest of our lives." Others have expressed the view that over time it will begin to resemble the "war" against drugs -- that is, that it will become a more or less permanent struggle that occupies a significant part of our law enforcement and security agenda from now on. If that is the case, then when -- if ever does this encroachment on our freedoms die a natural death?

It is important to remember that throughout history, the loss of civil liberties by individuals and the aggregation of too much unchecked power in the executive go hand in hand. They are two sides of the same coin.

A second reason to worry that what we are witnessing is a discontinuity and not another turn of the recurring cycle is that the new technologies of surveillance -- long anticipated by novelists like Orwell and other prophets of the "Police State" are now more widespread than they have ever been.

And they do have the potential for shifting the balance of power between the apparatus of the state and the freedom of the individual in ways both subtle and profound.

Moreover, these technologies are being widely used not only by the government but also by corporations and other private entities. And that is relevant to an assessment of the new requirements in the Patriot Act for so many corporations -- especially in the finance industries -- to prepare millions of reports annually for the government on suspicious activities by their customers. It is also relevant to the new flexibility corporations have been given to share information with one another about their customers.

The third reason for concern is that the threat of more terror strikes is all too real. And the potential use of weapons of mass destruction by terrorist groups does create a new practical imperative for the speedy exercise of discretionary power by the executive branch -- just as the emergence of nuclear weapons and ICBMs created a new practical imperative in the Cold War that altered the balance of war-making responsibility between Congress and the President.

But President Bush has stretched this new practical imperative beyond what is healthy for our democracy. Indeed, one of the ways he has tried to maximize his power within the American system has been by constantly emphasizing his role as Commander-in-Chief, far more than any previous President assuming it as often and as visibly as he can, and bringing it into the domestic arena and conflating it with his other roles: as head of government and head of state -- and especially with his political role as head of the Republican Party.

Indeed, the most worrisome new factor, in my view, is the aggressive ideological approach of the current administration, which seems determined to use fear as a political tool to consolidate its power and to escape any accountability for its use. Just as unilateralism and dominance are the guiding principles of their disastrous approach to international relations, they are also the guiding impulses of the administration's approach to domestic politics. They are impatient with any constraints on the exercise of power overseas whether from our allies, the UN, or international law. And in the same way, they are impatient with any obstacles to their use of power at home -- whether from Congress, the Courts, the press, or the rule of law.

Ashcroft has also authorized FBI agents to attend church meetings, rallies, political meetings and any other citizen activity open to the public simply on the agents' own initiative, reversing a decades old policy that required justification to supervisors that such infiltrations has a provable connection to a legitimate investigation;

They have even taken steps that seem to be clearly aimed at stifling dissent. The Bush Justice Department has recently begun a highly disturbing criminal prosecution of the environmental group Greenpeace because of a non-violent direct action protest against what Greenpeace claimed was the illegal importation of endangered mahogany from the Amazon. Independent legal experts and historians have said that the prosecution under an obscure and bizarre 1872 law against "sailor-mongering" appears to be aimed at inhibiting Greenpeace's First Amendment activities.

And at the same time they are breaking new ground by prosecuting Greenpeace, the Bush Administration announced just a few days ago that it is dropping the investigations of 50 power plants for violating the Clean Air Act -- a move that Sen. Chuck Schumer said, "basically announced to the power industry that it can now pollute with impunity."

The politicization of law enforcement in this administration is part of their larger agenda to roll back the changes in government policy brought about by the New Deal and the Progressive Movement. Toward that end, they are cutting back on Civil Rights enforcement, Women's Rights, progressive taxation, the estate tax, access to the courts, Medicare, and much more. And they approach every issue as a partisan fight to the finish, even in the areas of national security and terror.

Instead of trying to make the "War on Terrorism" a bipartisan cause, the Bush White House has consistently tried to exploit it for partisan advantage. The President goes to war verbally against terrorists in virtually every campaign speech and fundraising dinner for his political party. It is his main political theme. Democratic candidates like Max Cleland in Georgiawere labeled unpatriotic for voting differently from the White House on obscure amendments to the Homeland Security Bill.

When the Republican leader in the House of Representatives, Tom DeLay, was embroiled in an effort to pick up more congressional seats in Texas by forcing a highly unusual redistricting vote in the state senate, he was able to track down Democratic legislators who fled the state to prevent a quorum (and thus prevent the vote) by enlisting the help of President Bush's new Department of Homeland Security, as many as 13 employees of the Federal Aviation Administration who conducted an eight-hour search, and at least one FBI agent (though several other agents who were asked to help refused to do so.)

By locating the Democrats quickly with the technology put in place for tracking terrorists, the Republicans were able to succeed in focusing public pressure on the weakest of the Senators and forced passage of their new political redistricting plan. Now, thanks in part to the efforts of three different federal agencies, Bush and DeLay are celebrating the gain of up to seven new Republican congressional seats in the next Congress.

The White House timing for its big push for a vote in Congress on going to war with Iraqalso happened to coincide exactly with the start of the fall election campaign in September a year ago. The President's chief of staff said the timing was chosen because "from a marketing point of view, you don't introduce new products in August."

White House political advisor Karl Rove advised Republican candidates that their best political strategy was to "run on the war". And as soon as the troops began to mobilize, the Republican National Committee distributed yard signs throughout Americasaying, "I support President Bush and the troops" as if they were one and the same.

This persistent effort to politicize the war in Iraqand the war against terrorism for partisan advantage is obviously harmful to the prospects for bipartisan support of the nation's security policies. By sharp contrast, consider the different approach that was taken by Prime Minister Winston Churchill during the terrible days of October 1943 when in the midst of World War II, he faced a controversy with the potential to divide his bipartisan coalition. He said, "What holds us together is the prosecution of the war. No…man has been asked to give up his convictions. That would be indecent and improper. We are held together by something outside, which rivets our attention. The principle that we work on is, 'Everything for the war, whether controversial or not, and nothing controversial that is not bona fide for the war.' That is our position. We must also be careful that a pretext is not made of war needs to introduce far-reaching social or political changes by a side wind."

Yet that is exactly what the Bush Administration is attempting to do -- to use the war against terrorism for partisan advantage and to introduce far reaching controversial changes in social policy by a "side wind," in an effort to consolidate its political power.

It is an approach that is deeply antithetical to the American spirit. Respect for our President is important. But so is respect for our people. Our founders knew -- and our history has proven -- that freedom is best guaranteed by a separation of powers into co-equal branches of government within a system of checks and balances to prevent the unhealthy concentration of too much power in the hands of any one person or group.

Our framers were also keenly aware that the history of the world proves that Republics are fragile. The very hour of America's birth in Philadelphia, when Benjamin Franklin was asked, "What have we got? A Republic or a Monarchy?" he cautiously replied, "A Republic, if you can keep it."

And even in the midst of our greatest testing, Lincoln knew that our fate was tied to the larger question of whether ANY nation so conceived could long endure.

This Administration simply does not seem to agree that the challenge of preserving democratic freedom cannot be met by surrendering core American values. Incredibly, this Administration has attempted to compromise the most precious rights that Americahas stood for all over the world for more than 200 years: due process, equal treatment under the law, the dignity of the individual, freedom from unreasonable search and seizure, freedom from promiscuous government surveillance. And in the name of security, this Administration has attempted to relegate the Congress and the Courts to the sidelines and replace our democratic system of checks and balances with an unaccountable Executive. And all the while, it has constantly angled for new ways to exploit the sense of crisis for partisan gain and political dominance. How dare they!

Years ago, during World War II, one of our most eloquent Supreme Court Justices, Robert Jackson, wrote that the President should be given the "widest latitude" in wartime, but he warned against the "loose and irresponsible invocation of war as an excuse for discharging the Executive Branch from the rules of law that govern our Republic in times of peace. No penance would ever expiate the sin against free government," Jackson said, "of holding that a President can escape control of executive powers by law through assuming his military role. Our government has ample authority under the Constitution to take those steps which are genuinely necessary for our security. At the same time, our system demands that government act only on the basis of measures that have been the subject of open and thoughtful debate in Congress and among the American people, and that invasions of the liberty or equal dignity of any individual are subject to review by courts which are open to those affected and independent of the government which is curtailing their freedom."

So what should be done? Well, to begin with, our country ought to find a way to immediately stop its policy of indefinitely detaining American citizens without charges and without a judicial determination that their detention is proper.

Such a course of conduct is incompatible with American traditions and values, with sacred principles of due process of law and separation of powers.

It is no accident that our Constitution requires in criminal prosecutions a "speedy and public trial." The principles of liberty and the accountability of government, at the heart of what makes Americaunique, require no less. The Bush Administration's treatment of American citizens it calls "enemy combatants" is nothing short of un-American.

Second, foreign citizens held in Guantanamo should be given hearings to determine their status provided for under Article V of the Geneva Convention, a hearing that the United Stateshas given those captured in every war until this one, including Vietnamand the Gulf War.

If we don't provide this, how can we expect American soldiers captured overseas to be treated with equal respect? We owe this to our sons and daughters who fight to defend freedom in Iraq, in Afghanistanand elsewhere in the world.

Third, the President should seek congressional authorization for the military commissions he says he intends to use instead of civilian courts to try some of those who are charged with violating the laws of war. Military commissions are exceptional in American law and they present unique dangers. The prosecutor and the judge both work for the same man, the President of the United States. Such commissions may be appropriate in time of war, but they must be authorized by Congress, as they were in World War II, and Congress must delineate the scope of their authority. Review of their decisions must be available in a civilian court, at least the Supreme Court, as it was in World War II.

Next, our nation's greatness is measured by how we treat those who are the most vulnerable. Noncitizens who the government seeks to detain should be entitled to some basic rights. The administration must stop abusing the material witness statute. That statute was designed to hold witnesses briefly before they are called to testify before a grand jury. It has been misused by this administration as a pretext for indefinite detention without charge. That is simply not right.

Finally, I have studied the Patriot Act and have found that along with its many excesses, it contains a few needed changes in the law. And it is certainly true that many of the worst abuses of due process and civil liberties that are now occurring are taking place under the color of laws and executive orders other than the Patriot Act.

Nevertheless, I believe the Patriot Act has turned out to be, on balance, a terrible mistake, and that it became a kind of Tonkin Gulf Resolution conferring Congress' blessing for this President's assault on civil liberties. Therefore, I believe strongly that the few good features of this law should be passed again in a new, smaller law -- but that the Patriot Act must be repealed.

As John Adams wrote in 1780, ours is a government of laws and not of men. What is at stake today is that defining principle of our nation, and thus the very nature of America. As the Supreme Court has written, "Our Constitution is a covenant running from the first generation of Americans to us and then to future genera­tions." The Constitution includes no wartime exception, though its Framers knew well the reality of war. And, as Justice Holmes reminded us shortly after World War I, the Constitution's principles only have value if we apply them in the difficult times as well as those where it matters less.

The question before us could be of no greater moment: will we continue to live as a people under the rule of law as embodied in our Constitution? Or will we fail future generations, by leaving them a Constitution far diminished from the charter of liberty we have inherited from our forebears? Our choice is clear.

from Jim Hightower :
November 5, 2003
Hightower & Associates
On Air Archives | Rado Affiliates

                        U. S. ON THE WRONG SIDE, AGAIN

                        The next time some warmongering politico or puff headed talk-radio
                        pontificator asks why rebel groups of the world seem to "hate"
                        America, say one word back to them: Bolivia.

                        Bolivia is a country rich in resources, yet its majority Indian population
                        is mired in unemployment and abject poverty. This is because the
                        Europeanized elites who've ruled the country, have long joined foreign
                        corporate exploiters in plundering Bolivia's resources and people.

                        This year, however, the people have risen up, thrown their elitist
                        president out of office, and asserted themselves as the new
                        democratic power. They rebelled not merely against the president, a
                        millionaire mining executive and diehard proponent of the free-market
                        globalization that has devastated Bolivia's economy – but specifically
                        against bullying U. S. corporations and our government's consistent
                        siding with the elites.

                        A central focus of their rebellion has been a U. S. backed plan to build
                        a pipeline to ship Bolivia's natural gas to our country, while people
                        there go without fuel. Many Bolivians see the U. S. as literally waging
                        war against them, determined to keep the Indian majority powerless
                        and impoverished.

                        Yet, even after the people's successful rebellion and their assertion of
                        the very democratic ideals that our own USofA was founded on – the
                        Bush government sided not with Bolivia's fledgling democracy
                        movement, but with the old elites. Our state department, which had
                        aggressively lobbied other Bolivian political leaders to retain the
                        despised president, then went out of its way after he was deposed to
                        praise the old coot for his "commitment to democracy." Our
                        government even flew him to Miami, granting him a "public interest
                        pardon," at the same time it said it "regretted" the way he was removed
                        by the people.

                        Well, pardon me, but I regret our corporatized leaders are against
                        people around the world who are striving for democracy.

"Bolivia's New Leader Takes Over, Asks For Help," Austin American-Statesman, October 19, 2003.
"Coca Culture", New York Times, October 15, 2003.
"Bolivian Peasants' 'Ideology of Fury' Still Smolders", NewYork Times, October 20, 2003.
"EPA deregulates dioxin in fertilizer", Cedar Rapids Gazette, October 18, 2003.
"Embattled Bolivian Leader Submits Letter of Resignation", New York Times, October 18, 2003.