All of the 184 Reports of human rights violations since 9/11 involve violations of rights and liberties under the U.S. Constitution Bill of Rights and Fourteenth Amendment; U.N Charter Article 55 and 56, and articles in the three human rights reporting treaties the U.S. ratified in 1992 and 1994: International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Convention on Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), and Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT).
3. Right Peaceably To Assemble and Petition the Government
After 9/11 Bush, Cheney, Ashcroft, et al., urged using the new Patriot Act to find and stop all “anti-government” comments everywhere. The FBI and Secret Service got busy teaching local police “new” methods of “crowd control”—wooden dowels, sting balls, concussion grenades, tear gas and huge “nets” to enclose groups of people for quick arrests. Also “Free Speech Zones” to prevent any real First Amendment “petition[ing] the government for a redress of grievances.”
Millions of men and women all across the U.S. disagreed about going to war and other Bush actions—U.S. citizens, veterans, long-time resident aliens, students, union members.
Some found dramatic forms of individual protest. Most joined massive peaceful demonstrations, recently at the Republican National Convention, where police arrested 1,800, detained them in unhealthy conditions, and only released them 24 hours after a court order.
Lawyers defended against the arrests. ACLU and others sued for an injunction against Free Speech Zones
FBI Arrested Peaceful Palestinian Protester for Deportation
(“Outcome of Amer Jubran’s final trial,” Amer Jubran Defense Comm., Nov. 24, 2003.)
Miami Police Used Federal Money Against Peaceful Union Demonstration: AFL-CIO, et al.
(“USWA Calls for Congressional Investigation into Police-State Assaults in Miami,” United Steelworkers, Nov. 24, 2003.)
Military Punished Soldier for Wife’s Antiwar Protests: Jari Sheese
(R. Gibson, “Vets for Peace on Veteran’s Day,” Free Speech Radio News, Nov. 11, 2003.)
More Arrests at 2004 Republican National Convention than at any Party Convention in U.S. History
(Sam Husseini, “Bush Accepts Nomination on Final Night of Convention Marked by Historic Protests and Dissent,” Democracy Now!, Sept. 3, 2004, National Lawyers Guild, New York City Office.)
4. Right To Equal Protection Regardless of Race or National Origin
After 9/11, discrimination on the basis of race and national origin increased markedly across the U.S. against “Arabs,” “Middle Easterners.” Attacks on “Latinos” and “Blacks” were under-reported.
Basic U.S. law forbids the denial of “equal protection” (U.S. Constitution Fourteenth (and by court decision, Fifth Amendment). It requires the U.S. “to promote...human rights...for all without distinctions...” U.N. Charter Articles 55 and 56, and CERD.
There were 751 active hate groups at the end of 2003, up from 471 in 1997, And U.S. Operation TARMAC caused the arrest of 700 “Latinos” but no terrorists.
The U.S. Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice and the U.S. Civil Rights Commission took no effective measures to stop these practices.
Racial Profiling of California Congressman and Others: Darrel Issa, et al.
(Nicole Davis, “The Slippery Slope of Racial Profiling,” Color-lines, Dec. 2001.)
Operation Tarmac Arrested 700 Latinos, No Terrorists: Southern CA and TX.
(“Operation Tarmac: Overkill?” The Austin Chronicle, March 14, 2003.)
Transportation Security Agency Screens Out 25, 000 Non-Citizens: Erlinda Valencia, et al.
(David Bacon, “Screened Out,” The Nation, May 12, 2003.)
Thousands of Workers File Discrimination Complaints with EEOC: Karim El-Raheb, et al.
(Race/Color Discrimination Statistics,” Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Jan. 6, 2004.)
U.S. Government Racism Plagues the Border: Ophelia Rivas, et al.
(“U.S. Border Patrol Mexico-Arizona Border Fencing Project: Facts about the Fence,” Latin American Working Group, 2003.)
U.S. Practices Deny Equal Protection to African Americans
(Sherrel Wheeler Stewart, “Blacks Deaths in Iraq War Exceeds Rate in Vietnam,” BlackAmericaWeb.com, March 17, 2004.)
5. Right To Equal Protection for Women
Since 9/11, women and girls in the U.S. or under U.S. jurisdiction have had a harder life. They continue to earn less than men, and the gap increased since 2000, although they pay the same prices. Every mother and grandmother knows she can’t afford to pay another woman to take care of her offspring with what she has to pay a plumber.
There is no record of action by the Women’s Bureau or the Civil Rights Division on these issues since 9/11.
The Fourteenth Amendment forbids the denial of equal protection based on race; the Nineteenth Amendment granted women the vote. UN Charter Articles 55 and 56 specifically forbid sex discrimination. So does the (ratified) ICCPR. Pres. Carter signed, but the Senate never ratified, the Convention on Elimination of Discrimination Against Women. Bush has said nothing about this.
Women Earning 76.6 percent of What Men Earn
(“Welfare: NOW Calls for Real Reform,” National Org. for Women, Sept. 30, 2003.)
U.S. Media Discriminating Against Women:
(J. Pozner, “Missing Since 9-11: Women’s Voices,” Common Dreams, Dec. 13, 2001.)
U.S. Troops Mistreating Women in Iraq
(ICRC director of operations, Pierre Krähenbühl, “Iraq: ICRC explains position over detention report and treatment of prisoners,” May 8, 2004, International Committee of the Red Cross/Red Crescent.)
6. Right To Free Exercise of Religion
The First Amendment is clear: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
UN Charter Article 55, and many articles in ICCPR and CERD repeat this right and spell out all types of forbidden discrimination.
After 9/11, Bush said the attackers were from Saudi Arabia. Many Americans did not know the difference between “Arabs,” “Muslims,” “Moslems,” “Shiite” and “Sunni Muslims.” So many attacked “the wrong people.”
In 2001, the Justice Department rounded up and imprisoned over 1,000 people without charges, access to lawyers, or notifying their families. In March 2003, Ashcroft authorized FBI agents and state and local police to make routine immigration arrests for the first time, with no training in this law. This illegally transformed immigration law into criminal law, but without jury trials, etc.
Ashcroft also began entering immigration data into the National Criminal Information Center (NCIC) database, formerly used only for criminal cases, and in March 2003 stopped requiring that such information be accurate and current. These acts violated the right to privacy (First and Ninth Amendments and ICCPR.)
DOD Detains U.S. Army Muslim Chaplain: James Yee
(Mike Barger, “All Charges Dropped, but Army Gags Yee,” Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Apr. 15, 2004.)
FBI Arrests U.S. Citizen, President of American Muslim Foundation: Abdurahman Alamoudi
(James Vincini, “FBI Arrests Man Linked to American Muslim Groups,” Reuters, Sept. 29, 2003.)
U.S. Muslims Feeling a “Chilling Effect”
(Executive Summary: The Status of Muslim Civil Rights in the U.S. 2004,” Council on American-Islamic Relations, Aug. 8, 2004.)
To be continued…
Berkeley resident Ann Fagan Ginger is a lawyer, teacher, activist and the author of 24 books. She won a civil liberties case in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in 1959. She is the founder and executive director of the Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute, a Berkeley-based center for human rights and peace law.
Contents excerpted from Challenging U.S. Human Rights Violations Since 9/11, edited by Ann Fagan Ginger (© 2004 Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute; Prometheus Books 2005). Readers can go to http://mcli.org for a complete listing of reports and sources, with web links.