12/22/2004 Newsletter

Contents:

  • Boy's Defiant Words Draw Police Response
  • Cry Justice II Conference

END OF YEAR MEETING SCHEDULE
Since we meet on Saturdays, meetings through the end of the 2004 are cancelled.  We will resume meeting again on Saturday, January 8, 2005.  In the meantime, though, our hotline will remain fully staffed and available 24 hours a day.  Call 612-874-STOP for assistance or if you have questions.


HOLIDAY GATHERING A SUCCESS
Thanks to all who attended our holiday survivor/family/volunteer gathering.  We had a lovely time and ate a ton of delicious food.  Thanks to everyone who brought baked goods--the homemade sweet potato pie, cookies and brownies--yummy!  Thanks, too, to King Ruc for giving away a ton of wonderful Stop Police Brutality t-shirts, bumper stickers and buttons to everyone who attended.  Finally, thanks to all of our wonderful volunteers who have helped us all year long.  CUAPB is an all-volunteer organization.  Because of you, the work gets done and folks who need our support get it.  Thanks for another successful year of advocacy for the community and work to end police brutality.


THE BATTLES TO COME...
Va. Boy's Defiant Words Draw Police Response
Investigators Visit Home After Student Allegedly Wishes Harm on Americans
By Rosalind S. Helderman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 15, 2004; Page B01

When the two plainclothes Loudoun County sheriff's investigators showed up on her Leesburg doorstep, Pamela Albaugh got nervous. But when they told her why they were there, she got angry: A complaint had been filed alleging that her 11-year old son had made "anti-American and violent" statements in school.

She was aware of an incident at Belmont Ridge Middle School in which her son, Yishai Asido, was assigned to write a letter to U.S. Marines and responded, according to his teacher, by saying, "I wish all Americans were dead and that American soldiers should die." Yishai and Albaugh deny that the boy wished his countrymen dead.

Albaugh, a U.S. citizen, and her husband, an Israeli citizen who manages a Leesburg moving company, say the investigators' visit and the school's response were a paranoid overreaction in a charged post-9/11 environment. But law enforcement officials say the terrorist attacks and the Columbine school shootings require them to consider whether children who make threats might post a danger to their classmates. The case illustrates the balancing act that schools and law enforcement must find between the free speech of minors and community safety.

Albaugh described her son as a rambunctious student who has long opposed armies of any kind. He refused the Veterans Day assignment and told his teacher that the Marines "might as well die, as much as I care." Whatever was said, the words had been the source of anguished conferences, phone calls and, ultimately, a day of in-school suspension.

Albaugh thought the whole thing was resolved in school until Investigators Robert LeBlanc and Kelly Poland showed up last week. What followed, she said, was two hours of polite but intense and personal questioning.

They asked how she felt about 9/11 and the military. They asked whether she knows any foreigners who have trouble with American policy. They mentioned a German friend who had been staying with the family and asked whether the friend sympathized with the Taliban. They also inquired whether she might be teaching her children "anti-American values," she said.

Toward the end of the conversation, Albaugh's husband, Alon Asido, arrived home. Asido said the pair then spent another hour talking to him, mostly about his life in Israel and his more than four years in an elite combat unit there.

Before the investigators left, one deputy said their "concerns had been put to rest," Albaugh said.

"It was intimidating," she said. "I told them it's like a George Orwell novel, that it felt like they were the thought police. If someone would have asked me five years ago if this was something my government would do, I would have said never."

Loudoun County Sheriff Stephen O. Simpson confirmed that investigators visited the house. "Whenever there is a complaint that a child in a school is using language that is threatening or with violent overtones, we have an obligation to look into it," he said. "We can't ignore something like that and have something tragic happen down the road that we could have prevented."

Simpson declined to comment on details of the complaint or the kinds of questions investigators asked. "If you're looking at what [the school] said he said, I have to think you'd see where we came up with those questions," he said.

A schools spokesman declined to comment, other than to release, at Albaugh's request, a one-page letter from Yishai's file that explained his suspension.

His parents said the boy's words were those of a confused adolescent, whose views of the world are still being formed. They believe that authorities were called partly because he has a foreign-sounding name and accented English from years of living abroad. The family lived in India, Europe and Israel before moving to the United States in 2000. The couple have four children, with both U.S. and Israeli citizenship, enrolled in Loudoun schools.

Albaugh said that Yishai is not violent and that the school could have used the classroom incident as a "teachable moment," helping him learn to say what he was feeling in a less offensive manner.

Instead, Yishai said he has learned that it is not worth challenging authority. "At the end of the day, you lose," he said, adding: "All of these freedoms and things they're supposed to uphold, they bash them."

The Columbine shootings, in which a teacher and 12 students were killed by two other students in Colorado in 1999, has changed the way schools view violent words uttered by their students, said Ronald D. Stephens, executive director of the National School Safety Center. In this case, he noted, no one was arrested, no charges were filed and the case was closed.

"Sometimes the questions might be somewhat uncomfortable. But the final outcome was that [the investigators] got there and realized there was no 'there' there," he said. "We should give credit where credit is due."

Georgetown law professor David Cole said Yishai's statement in class is protected by the Constitution.

"There's no indication from the student making an anti-American statement that violence to the school would follow," he said. "The FBI and government officials should be investigating real terrorists, not children who criticize the United States."

2004 The Washington Post Company


...AND ONE WAY TO TAKE THEM ON
CUAPB is cosponsoring this conference and will be presenting as part of the Grassroots Organizing workshop.  We hope to see you there.

Cry Justice! II
Don't Mourn - Organize!
Activism, Organizing, and Civil Liberties
January 8-9, 2005
University of Minnesota Law School
U of M West Bank, Minneapolis

Join us for two days of education, coalition building, fun, and community.
Check for schedule & activity updates at www.cryjustice.org

Cry Justice! was conceived as a conference for activists committed to confronting the current neo-conservative administration's crusade against civil rights and civil liberties. This January, Cry Justice! Returns to provide hands-on training as a call to action to respond to the changing challenges.

Never before has America faced such a serious degradation of our democratic heritage and cherished freedoms. The USA PATRIOT Act was passed on October 26, 2001, directly attacking the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. Now the Justice Department is presenting PATRIOT Act II (the Domestic Security Enhancement Act) which will even further erode our rights. We face the possibility of Supreme Court packing with neoconservative lifetime appointees. The fight for the 2004 election is ongoing, and we face a struggle for fair elections in 2006 and beyond.

No matter what issue you advocate for, no matter what your cause, we face in common a threat to our right to advocate, to organize, and to exercise our Civil Liberties.  Join us for two days of education, coalition building, fun, and community.

Cry Justice! II Workshop Schedule (subject to change)   

SATURDAY
Conference Registration at 8:30 am

Legislative Organizing   9:30 am
Effective organizing on the state legislative level requires frequent contact with lawmakers, broad-based coalition building, accurate information dissemination, and an ability to act quickly and exercise patience, depending on the situation. This panel brings state lawmakers together with individuals who have experience with activism and lobbying for an informative, skill-building session in legislative organizing just in time for the 2005 session.

Working Under Bush   9:30 am
The Bush administration has not provided a hospitable environment for workers. Changes in overtime pay, outsourcing, union-busting, continued attacks on immigrant workers, and difficulty obtaining health insurance are all urgent issues that need to be addressed immediately. This panel will discuss some of the recent changes in laws affecting workers and weigh options for asserting worker rights over the next four years.

Working With, Around, & Against the Media   11:15 am
Effective use of media (corporate or alternative) is critical in activism. Working with corporate media requires a keen understanding of its internal politics and bias, as well as technical skills in PR. Alternative media is often not used to its best advantage, or is overly relied upon. Similarly, art, theater, and other creative methods of getting the message can are overlooked. This panel is designed to help activists effectively plan and carry out media plans.

Grassroots Organizing for Peace & Justice   11:15 am
Do you want to start a peace and justice group?  A social justice group?  Organize around an issue? What are effective organizing means and strategies?

Direct Action & Civil Disobedience   2:00 pm
The words direct action and civil disobedience get thrown around a lot among activists but what do they mean? Direct action and civil disobedience both come from the point of leaving theory and discussion behind and putting oneself into action to physically create change. Yet this leaves open a wide range of views and ethics as to what actions to take. Within America we have along tradition of DA and CD: these actions have ranged from mass protest to work sabotage to strikes to candlelight vigils to armed struggles. We need this critical dialog to move forward in our struggles.

U.S. Foreign Policy, Empire, and Peace & Justice Organizing   2:00 pm
What organizing strategies have been used by peace and justice groups around international issues? What strategies need to be used in the next four years to counter empire and endless war?

Know Your Rights   3:45 pm
Under the Bush regime, dissent has been met with increased surveillance, infiltration, threats, arrest, and even violence. Concern has also been growing with regard to call-ups from the ready reserve and the likelihood of a draft as the Iraq conflict drags on. This workshop will feature hands-on legal information for dealing with both situations.

Civil Liberties Under the Second Bush Administration   3:45 pm
Having gotten away with pushing through the USA PATRIOT Act, renaming and resurrecting unpopular programs like TIA and CAPPS, and using terrorism as an excuse for torture and charges of terrorism against voices of dissent, the Bush regime is set for a series of draconian follow-up measures. What can the People do to fight back and defeat a seemingly endless stream of legislative and executive actions curtailing civil liberties?

SUNDAY
Returning Politics to the People   9:00 am
Strategies and tactics to empower individuals to take action in their communities, influence government policymaking, and win elections. How to do this while having fun will be an important part of the discussion.

Countering Spin: Taking Back Language & Agenda from the Far Right   9:00 am
The Right has followed a highly effective strategy for setting the national debate, agenda, and even political language. This workshop examines how this was possible, how far it has permeated, and effective strategies in rewriting the national discourse.

Election Fraud & Fair Elections   10:45 am
As evidence has mounted that the 2004 election was stolen, people are organizing nationwide. What is black box voting and what is its impact on the election? Did any election fraud take place in the Upper Midwest? What organizing is being done in Minnesota? What is the status of the Green Party filing for a recount in Ohio? What can each of us do to ensure secure elections?

Legal Observing   10:45 am
Legal observers are attorneys, law students, and legal workers specially trained to observe and record government conduct during mass actions. They are able to provide critical testimony and other support in preserving the people's right to public speech. This workshop is intended primarily for trainees in the National Lawyers Guild's legal observer program, but is open to other attendees who wish to learn more about observation and its role.

We Do Not Concede Coalition   1-3 pm
We do not concede to fraudulent elections, to endless war and murder of civilians, to the bankrupting of America, to a regime of lying and fear-mongering, to new nuclear build-up and continued devastation of the environment, to corrupt moneyed interests controlling world affairs while human needs go unmet. We will no longer be silent and conduct business as usual while democracy is stolen from us and the world's wealth passes ever more quickly to the elite. Five days after the election, seventy-five people came together to begin planning for a new day. Our coalition self-selected itself into the following action circles: media and visibility, moral framework, anti-war/anti-empire, election fraud, resisting corporate power, electoral strategy for 2006 and 2008, and growing the movement. We invite you to join us in an existing action circle or create your own.

ADVANCE REGISTRATION

Name ______________________________________________________________________________

Organization (optional)_________________________________________________________________

Mailing address______________________________________________________________________

City, State, Zip_______________________________________________________________________

Email address_______________________________________________Phone___________________

Conference Registration Fee - $20 general admission / $5 for students and low income (less than $10,000/yr)

Make checks payable to NLG Minnesota with Cry Justice! in the memo line.
Mail to: Cry Justice!, c/o NLG Minnesota, 1360-F University Ave. W #173, St. Paul, MN 55104.
If you have questions, please call 651-221-1082 or email info@cryjustice.org.


Communities United Against Police Brutality
3104 16th Avenue S
Minneapolis, MN 55407
Hotline 612-874-STOP (7867)


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