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Fighting the Feds To Retrieve Liberty

The project builds sanctuaries for our liberties by helping cities express commitment to our Bill of Rights and opposition to anything which could undermine them.
Fighting the Feds To Retrieve Liberty

Here in Kansas City, and around the nation, grassroots activists work to stop the invasion of citizen power, which is enshrined in the first ten amendments to our Constitution, our Bill of Rights. When the authors of our Constitution finished the negotiations which made the document possible, objections were raised that there was no clear specification of important rights of the people. The authors promised immediate amendments, and they put them through. In the years since, the civil rights in our Bill of Rights have been praised and envied by people around the world. And there have been many struggles against government officials who feared that those rights might endanger their administration.

Today, various security-focused government agencies, such as the FBI, the CIA, and the Department of Justice, reach for every imaginable authorization which would expand their right to pursue any conceivable threat to civic order or governmental action. Sometimes they request - if not assume - powers which challenge, if not undermine, our Bill of Rights.

A focus of concern among people attuned to dangers to our civil rights is the USA PATRIOT Act. As many have suspected and some have experienced first hand, provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act attack our rights to protest (petition for redress of grievances) and organize (peaceably assemble) and “say it like it is” (freedom of speech).

The experiences of Americans who have protested in Seattle, or Washington, or Miami, or Cancun have shown that governments are quite willing to directly or indirectly authorize the police to prevent the use of those rights. While the USA PATRIOT Act did not give the authority to violate our freedoms unconditionally, it has encouraged authorities to use its provisions as justification for actions which do threaten - if not violate - our rights. Extensive information about these matters can be found at the web site of the American Civil Liberties Union (www..aclu.org) and at the web site of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee (BORDC) (www.bordc.org)

From the signing of the USA PATRIOT Act in November, 2001, until the present, many organizations have worked to inform the public about the threats and to get changes in that act. One of those ways was developed by BORDC, based on the belief that mobilizing and publicizing the views of responsible local and state officials who oppose the excesses of the Act could bring pressure on members of Congress to change it.

They persuaded a local city council to pass a resolution which reported the vigorous commitment of their community to the Bill of Rights and their opposition to anything which would undermine those rights. BORDC indicated that their community was a sanctuary for the Bill of Rights. They decided that having a large number of local and state governments do the same could bring a different kind of pressure from that represented by protesters in the streets.

Recently, the count of such resolutions indicated that 397 cities and counties had passed them, and eight states had done the same. The BORDC believes that that means that about 84,600,000 people now live in communities where the declaration of sanctuary has been made.

In the Kansas City area, a group known as the Sanctuary for Freedom/Civil Liberties campaign has been working to help communities in this area to join in proclaiming commitment to – and joining in the preservation of – our civil liberties. The group worked with leaders of the Kansas City, Missouri City Council to pass such a resolution, which the Council did. The group also worked with the Board of Commissioners of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kansas, which also passed such a resolution.

A group in Lawrence, Kansas, led the City Council there to pass a resolution. The members of the Sanctuary for Freedom/Civil Liberties campaign are approaching several other cities in this area.

But there are many other cities in this metropolitan area that have not been contacted. It would be possible to do so if some more concerned citizens of the community would join. If you think protecting our civil liberties – vital to our work as activitists – is something you would like to help with, contact Ira Harritt at 816-931-5256 or at iharritt (at) afsc.org

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No Fear of Neo-Fascist AETA!!

Let's Take It To Court!!

Following the passing of the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA), animal rights activists pledge to maintain resistance against animal rights abusers!!

My personal belief is that animal rights activists should (worth the risk to 'reputation') carry on non-violent protests against animal abusers as usual, the first court case that invokes the AETA will be challenged in court on the basis of a violation of freedom of speech..

Both thumbs down for psuedo-Democrat Diane Feinstein who joined up with right wing Republicans in revoking the freedom of speech of people throughout the U.S. with the introduction of the AETA. Both thumbs up to Dennis Kucinich for speaking up for protecting civil liberties by denouncing the AETA!!

"The AETA bill (S 3880) recently passed in the Senate on Sept. 30th, 2006, was introduced by Mr. Inhofe (R-OK), Mrs. Feinstein (D-CA), Mr. Thune (R-SD), and Mr. Isakson (R-GA).

Its counter-part is currently pending in the House (H.R. 4239) and will be voted on sometime in November after congress reconvenes from recess on November 9th.


• AETA risks having a chilling effect on First Amendment protected speech for everyone including law abiding citizens, who risk being tarnished a terrorist even if wrongfully charged. On the chance that a law-abiding citizen wins his/her case, the damage to their reputation will already be done. Appeals often take years."

read on @;


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