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Who’s afraid of the Big Bad Bush?

July 31, 2007

Civil Liberties? We don’t need any stinkin’ civil liberties!

Mr. C is pleased that somebody, other than he, is upset by the latest trampling of the Constitution by our beloved King George. In the Seattle Post Intelligencer, local peace activist Marie Marchand wrote a guest column titled “The president is threatening me“.

She, as all American citizens should be, is extremely concerned about the powers that the current residents at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue have given themselves. Combining the Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act of October 2006, and the recent slew of presidential executive orders, the state of freedom for average Americans is in a perilous state.

The undermining of our civil liberties by King George and Emperor Cheney, leads Mr. C to beg the question, who are the real terrorists? Is it the “Islam-O-Fascists” that hate Mr. C for his freedoms? Is it the King George /Emperor Cheney regime,that also hate Mr. C for his freedoms? Which group poses the greatest threat to Mr C’s personal safety, civil liberties, freedom and overall way of life?

Thankfully, Mr. C has never been the target of a terrorist act. However, by merely writing The Conservatard, he and his reader(s?) are certainly making themselves a likely target of Bush/Cheney regime! Frankly, Mr. C is more afraid of being abducted, imprisoned and tortured by his own government than falling victim to acts of terrorism. Mr. C knows who the greater threat to his person is, do you?

The president is threatening me

By MARIE MARCHAND
GUEST COLUMNIST

In case I get picked up and taken away under President Bush’s Military Commissions Act of October 2006, I want it on record that I am not a terrorist or an enemy combatant, and that the organization I run in Bellingham is not associated with any terrorist cell.

The Whatcom Peace & Justice Center works non-violently to end the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. It is committed to envisioning and creating a world for our children where diplomacy and friendship are the measuring stick for our foreign policy. We have never intended, planned or considered violence as a means to peace.

In case my assets, which are few, get seized and my hard drive gets robbed under Bush’s new executive order of July 17, 2007, I want you to know my name so that I am not disappeared. I have a 6-year-old son to raise, and, like so many intelligent, passionate peace activists, the world needs me to be a leader in ending my country’s imperial addiction to warfare.

The new executive order blocks property of certain people who undermine efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq. Its language leaves the door dangerously open to broad and flagrant interpretation that could label as a terrorist suspect anyone who holds a political viewpoint opposite that of the White House.

There’s no doubt that the administration preys on our civil liberties, and that the effects of unjust policies filter down to the local level. In 2003, a Quaker Meeting House in Florida was put under surveillance through the Pentagon’s domestic spying program and labeled a threat. But Quakerism is a religion of pacifism; naturally, they would be against war. The Department of Defense spying on a group of draft counselors? Come on.

In 2004, the FBI approached the Whatcom County Library in Deming with a grand jury subpoena demanding librarians turn over the names and contact information of every person who checked out “Bin Laden: The Man Who Declared War on America.” The library pursued legal action and the FBI eventually withdrew the subpoena. The director of the Whatcom County Library System, Jane Airoldi, received a human rights award for refusing to hand over patrons’ private information. “Libraries are a haven where people should be able to seek whatever information they want to pursue without any threat of government intervention,” Airoldi said.

When our government no longer equates terrorism with violence, but with the perceived threat of an unsubstantiated rumor of intent to “pose a significant risk of committing an act or acts of violence that have the purpose or effect of threatening the peace or stability of Iraq or the government”; or when non-violent pacifism is misconstrued as a tactic that undermines national security, no one is exempt from capture, detention and possible torture.

I perceive Bush’s July 17 executive order as a personal threat. When someone makes a threat, their intention is often to scare, isolate and subdue the other person into silence through fear.

I will not be silent.

Like millions of dissenters around the world, I want my name to be included among those who resisted those unjust policies and decrees. The American people must have the courage to resist. Otherwise, our friends and neighbors may begin to disappear, and we may not hear them being carted off in the middle of the night. As a patriotic American who holds steadfast to a belief in justice, I do not accept Bush’s threats to my constitutional and human rights passively. If I disappear, I disappear. But I will not go willingly, and I will not go unnamed.
Marie Marchand is executive director of Whatcom Peace & Justice Center in Bellingham.


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