July 4 2008: A Declaration For Our Times

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A group of so-called "rabble rousers" have placed an ad in today's New York Times... it's well worth a read...

“We the people of the United States,” the first words of the Constitution, make it clear that our government was established to serve the people. Our Constitution contains checks and balances to prevent abuses of power, and our Bill of Rights limits government in order to guarantee fundamental rights and liberties. Today the "War on Terror" undermines those crucial limits on power that our Constitution promises. Congress's complicity in this war has enabled constitutional violations of including warrantless surveillance, torture, indefinite detention, and preemptive war.

Fighting against one violation at a time fragments our movement. It is time to unite to face the common source of these problems.

See the video and the actual ad placed.

July 4, 1776 - 2008

When in the course of human events the government becomes destructive of the ends for which it was established, it is the Right of the People to alter it and demand restoration of those Constitutional Principles that have so long assured their Liberty, Safety, and Happiness. Therefore, on the anniversary of our Independence, we offer this new declaration for our times.

The history of this president is one of arbitrary usurpations of power, the effect of which is to establish tyranny through false promises of greater security.

He has created a multitude of secret programs and sent swarms of petty officers to spy on Americans in a misguided effort to combat foreign terrorism. He has invested these agents with sweeping new powers to monitor our conversations and ransack our personal papers and effects without judicial supervision or any reason to believe -- as the Constitution requires -- that a crime has been committed.

He has further claimed the power to disregard legislation that Congress has passed.

He has suspended the laws and treaties against torture, authorized the kidnapping of mere suspects, and transported hundreds of prisoners beyond seas so that no independent judiciary could question the legality of their mistreatment.

He and his supporters in Congress have granted amnesty to the officials who unleashed torture and humiliation upon helpless prisoners, to the disgrace of our nation.

He has denied these prisoners access to attorneys, family, and friends and has claimed the right to try them before military tribunals specifically designed to disregard the most basic principles of law.

He has imprisoned thousands of lawful immigrants for months without charges, under brutal conditions, until his agents, rather than independent courts, decide that they posed no threat.

He has wrapped his usurpations of power and his deprivations of liberty in thick cloaks of secrecy, thereby showing contempt for the rule of law and the proper functions of Congress, the courts, and the press.

At every stage of these oppressions we have sought redress, but our petitions have been answered only by repeated injury.

We, therefore, resolve to resist these usurpations by all lawful means at our disposal. We insist that the powers of our national government be shared by all branches of that government and not concentrated in one alone. And we call upon Congress, the courts, and the press to reassert their constitutional functions and restore the promise that is America.

To these ends, we mutually pledge our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.

The declaration is read by leaders in the movement to preserve and protect the Constitution. They are, in order of appearance:

* Buz EizenbergBuz Eisenberg is a civil rights attorney representing several Guantanamo detainees and the President of the International Justice Network, the only non-governmental organization currently providing legal representation to detainees held abroad in the “War on Terror.”

* Nancy Talanian is a co-founder and the founding director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee. Further, she is an experienced activist and professional writer who converted local successes in western Massachusetts into a national movement to restore Americans’ civil liberties.

* William Newman is a civil rights attorney in Northampton, Massachusetts who is currently representing a detainee at Guantanamo. He is the director of the Western Regional Office of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts and a member of BORDC’s Advisory Board.

* Christopher Pyle is the author of “A Declaration for Our Times” and a professor of politics at Mount Holyoke College.

* Barbara Haugen is the administrator of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee. She has worked previously as a Unitarian Universalist minister and as a legal aid attorney.

* Ben Grosscup is a campaign coordinator for the Bill of Rights Defense Committee. Before joining the BORDC, he worked for the Massachusetts chapter of the Northeast Organic Farming Association.

* Mohamed ElgadiMohamed Elgadi is a torture survivor from Sudan, a global human rights advocate, and a board member for both the Liberty Center for Torture Survivors and the Group Against Torture in Sudan (both of which are based out of Philadelphia).

* Juan Carlos Aguilar is the development officer for the National Priorities Project and a board member for the Commonwealth Center for Change. Recently, he initiated a program to provide English language classes to immigrants working in the United States.

This subversive "Declaration for our times" was signed by several hundred people from all over the country and supported by groups with such suspicious names as the "People's Campaign for the Constitution," the "Bill of Rights Defense Committee," the "Defending Dissent Foundation," and the "Electronic Frontier Foundation."

PDF of actual ad




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