1/7/2004 Newsletter


  • Happy New Year! Now Let's Get Busy!
  • CUAPB Statement on Selection of William Mcmanus as Police Chief
  • Bush & Co. Bring You Patriot Act II
  • Protesters Wary of New Tactic by Feds
  • At American Borders: Smile; You're on File

2003 was a banner year for some very sweet people's victories and some longer-term projects were also started last year that should bring even more success in the future. It is through our collective efforts that these victories are possible. While you are getting the year started and figuring out your new year's resolutions, please consider ways you can contribute to our collective ongoing success:

COURT WATCH: If you are a retiree, student or otherwise have at least some daytime hours available, this is a great way to have a direct impact on the justice system. In a number of cases, our presence in the court has made all the difference between a person being treated as just another case number or getting true justice. Court watch is also very interesting, highly educational and often entertaining.

AFFIDAVIT GATHERER: We launched a multi-class class action lawsuit against the Minneapolis Police Department last summer, to bring about badly needed policy and practice changes that will reduce police brutality. There are currently nine classes in the suit and we need hundreds of people to tell their stories and become part of the suit. After running a series of ads in community papers, many people have come forward. Now we need to take affidavits from them. You don't need to be a lawyer to do this. You just need to be willing to meet with people, document their stories on the appropriate form and have them sign. We will train you to do this work.

OFFICE WORK/DATA ENTRY: We have an ongoing need to enter information into our database and to do other types of data entry so that we can analyze trends and conduct studies. We also need help preparing data for our website. Some of this work can be done in your home if you have Word or Excel on your home computer. Otherwise, it can be done in our office. You need to be familiar with computer work but will be given training on the tasks.

FUNDRAISING: This is always an area of need for our all-volunteer, grassroots organization. We get so busy doing the work to end police brutality that we forget that this work takes money. Raising the funds to maintain the hotline and office/meeting space are a must. We also have to pay for costs associated with the lawsuit and our other efforts. You can help in two ways: Help us organize fundraising events/campaigns AND/OR become a regular contributor yourself.

IF YOU CAN HELP WITH ANY OF THESE AREAS, please call our hotline at 612-874-7867 and we'll hook you up. You'll feel great knowing you are bringing the gift of justice to our community.

We've issued the following statement on the selection of William McManus as possible next chief of police for Minneapolis. While we don't want to tell anyone what to think, if you care about who the next chief will be, please call your city council member. This is turning out to be a very contentious appointment and your calls to council members will make a very big difference. Contact info on council members: http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/council/

There will be a public hearing TODAY (January 7) on the McManus appointment at 1:45 p.m. in the city council chambers at City Hall, 3rd Floor, 350 S 5th Street in downtown Minneapolis. The city council will vote on this appointment on January 16th.

Communities United Against Police Brutality looks to the changing of the guard at the Minneapolis Police Department with great hope. The past nine years under the previous chief have been a time of little supervision and oversight of police officers, with a resulting high level of brutality and abuse of authority. We have researched the history and reputation of Mr. William McManus and he seems well qualified to serve as chief. He banned racial profiling, with some effectiveness, and took other actions to ease racial tensions in an almost completely segregated city. He also banned shootings from and into moving vehicles, which had been common practice.

The most important task of any police chief is to develop and maintain the culture of the department. From the onset of the search for Minneapolis police chief, we have recommended that an outside candidate could best reform the brutal, lawless Minneapolis Police Department culture. William McManus meets this criterion and has a successful history as a reformer. Further, he is a skilled and able administrator. We would regard Mr. McManus' appointment to the position of police chief as a positive step for the community and encourage the City Council to confirm him.

Needless to say, we will be monitoring Mr. McManus' performance closely as he establishes his leadership within the Minneapolis Police Department. We will continue to demand accountability and high standards of professionalism from the Minneapolis Police Department and its chief.

Just in case you didn't get enough the first time around, Bush & Co. bring you Patriot Act II. While you're dealing with our subzero weather, here's something else to chill your bones.

[Feb. 10, 2003] - Special Feature
Prof. David Cole, Georgetown Univ. Law Center

The Bush Administration's draft Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003 would radically expand law enforcement and intelligence gathering authorities, reduce or eliminate judicial oversight over surveillance, authorize secret arrests, create a DNA database based on unchecked executive "suspicion," create new death penalties, and even seek to take American citizenship away from persons who belong to or support disfavored political groups.

Here are a few highlights:
1. Secret Arrests. Section 201 would authorize secret arrests, overturning a federal court decision requiring the government to disclose the identity of persons it has detained in the September 11 investigation. This provision would mandate that all arrests in connection with "international terrorism" investigations be secret until an indictment is filed. Never before in our history have we permitted secret arrests.

2. Ending Consent Decrees Against Illegal Police Spying. Section 312 would automatically terminate any consent decree governing police spying abuse that was entered before September 11, 2001, no matter what the basis of that decree. It would essentially eliminate consent decrees for the future with respect to police spying, and place substantial restrictions on judicial injunctions.

3. Unchecked Deportation Authority. Section 503 would give the Attorney General unchecked power to deport foreign nationals, including lawful permanent resident aliens, whenever he determines that their presence is inconsistent with our "national security," which is defined to include economic interests or foreign policy. The D.C. Circuit has already held that courts cannot review what actions violate our foreign policy, and therefore this would give the Attorney General license to deport any foreign national of his choosing.

4. Stripping Citizenship for Political Associations. Section 501 would seek to strip citizenship from persons for their political associations. It would provide that even activity that is currently legal to engage in--such as belonging to or supporting the lawful acttivities of a group designated "terrorist" by the Attorney General--would be presumptive grounds for losing one's citizenship.

5. Bypassing Judicial Oversight. Section 103 would authorize the Attorney General to bypass the courts altogether for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act [FISA] searches and wiretaps whenever Congress has authorized the use of force. Section 128 would allow government to bypass grand juries for subpoenas in terrorism investigations. Section 126 allows government to bypass courts or grand juries in seeking access to credit reports.

6. DNA Database for "Suspected" Terrorists. Section 301-306 would authorize creation of a DNA database on "suspected terrorists," expansively defined to include mere association with suspected terrorist groups, and noncitizens suspected of everyday crimes or of having supported any group designated as terrorist.

7. Eliminating Privacy Protections for U.S. Citizens. Section 107 would eliminate protections in the current FISA law for U.S. persons (citizens and lawful permanent residents). It would allow the government to get pen registers on U.S. persons for any foreign intelligence investigation, without regard to any criminal or terrorist nexus.

8. Collapsing Distinction Between Domestic and International Terrorism Investigations. Section 121 eliminates the distinction between international terrorism and domestic terrorism. The reason for that distinction has been that domestic terrorism is a crime, and should be treated as a criminal matter, while international terrorism is both a crime and a matter of foreign intelligence. As a result, international terrorism investigations have used broader surveillance under looser restrictions than domestic terrorism investigations, which are subject to the traditional restrictions that apply to all criminal investigations. This bill would eliminate that distinction, treating wholly domestic criminal acts and conspiracies as subject to the same authorities that extend to foreign intelligence gathering.

9. Access to Credit Reports Section 126 would give federal law enforcement authorities access to credit reports on the same basis as private companies. Historically, law enforcement access has been more limited, because of concerns that law enforcement is more susceptible to serious abuse than private companies. This provision would eliminate that distinction.

10. Secrecy. Section 128 and 206 impose gag orders on persons subjected to terrorism investigations. Section 204 would presumptively give the government authority to make secret presentations to courts in criminal cases related to the Classified Information Procedures Act.

11. New Death Penalties. Section 411 creates new death penalties for certain terrorist offenses.

12. Extradition Without Treaty. Section 322 authorizes extradition even where there is no treaty authorizing and setting criteria for extradition.

13. Expedited Removal for "Criminal Aliens." Section 504 has nothing to do with terrorism whatsoever. It creates an "expedited removal" process, radically limiting judicial review, for any foreign national convicted of a wide range of minor and major crimes, irrespective of when the crime was committed. This simply exacerbates the already harsh immigration laws governing those who have committed a crime, and seeks to deprive them of any meaningful judicial review, without any connection to terrorism or national security.

Protesters Wary of New Tactic by Feds
By Joe Garofoli
The San Francisco Chronicle
Tuesday 30 December 2003

Obscure 1872 law cited in case against Greenpeace.

Bay Area nonprofits and anti-war leaders are fuming about what they see as an attempt by the Justice Department to clamp down on peaceful dissent by filing criminal charges against a group for the nonviolent actions of its followers.

Local activists are closely watching a case winding through the federal courts in Miami. There, a federal prosecutor has dusted off a 19th century law designed to prevent bar owners from luring sailors ashore with booze and prostitutes to file charges against Greenpeace in connection with an April 2002 case in which two activists tried to hang an anti-President Bush banner on a container ship headed into port.

The sign-hangers and four other Greenpeace activists pleaded no contest last year to misdemeanor charges and were sentenced to time served. Now it's their 32-year-old parent organization's turn in court.

If convicted of conspiring to illegally board a ship, Greenpeace could be sentenced to five years' probation and a $10,000 fine, and be required to allow federal probation officers to oversee certain parts of its organization.

While it's not uncommon for individuals to be charged in such cases, activists say this is the first time an advocacy organization has faced criminal penalties for its followers' actions. With 2004 promising to be a huge year of street activism -- from the presidential political conventions to the anti-war movement to the re-energized abortion debate -- advocacy groups from Operation Rescue to the American Civil Liberties Union say the Justice Department is using this tactic to chill criticism of the government.

They're particularly puzzled that prosecutors invoked an 1872 "sailor mongering" law from an era when whorehouse and tavern owners would jump aboard ships illegally to lure sailors onto shore with promises of women and booze. Until the Greenpeace case, the statute had been used only twice, the last time in 1890. A Justice Department spokesman said a trial could begin in May.

"The problem is that the Bush administration is responding to political criticism with criminal prosecution," said David Bookbinder, an attorney with the Sierra Club in San Francisco, one of the progressive heavy hitters to file a court brief in support of Greenpeace. "People are going to be real, real leery about exercising their First Amendment rights."

Federal officials say there was no political motivation behind the decision by U.S. Attorney Marcos Jimenez to prosecute. "Politics plays no part in our prosecutorial decisions," said Matt Dates, special counsel for public affairs for the U.S. attorney's south Florida office. "We base our decisions solely on the facts of the case."

On April 12, 2002, two Greenpeace activists boarded the APL-Jade as it entered the Port of Miami-Dade, believing it was carrying 70 tons of mahogany illegally imported from the Amazon. The activists were arrested before they could unfurl a banner that read, "President Bush: Stop Illegal Logging." Greenpeace alleges that the mahogany was eventually delivered to a South Carolina port. Federal officials had no comment.

Fifteen months later, a Miami federal grand jury indicted Greenpeace on one count of illegally boarding the ship and another of conspiracy to commit that act.

What most frightens activists on both sides of the political spectrum are the penalties that could be invoked, ranging from stripping the organization of its tax-exempt status to allowing federal officials to view its records -- including everything from membership rolls to internal communications.

"It's always a concern when there's a concerted effort by the government to curb peaceful political protest," said Troy Newman, president of the anti- abortion group Operation Rescue West, which has not filed a friend of the court brief. "Greenpeace and Operation Rescue may not be on the same page philosophically, but we use some of the same tactics. . . . I plan on following Howard Dean or whoever the Democratic (presidential) nominee is around the country (in a truck featuring photos of aborted fetuses), and I don't want to be inhibited."

'A dangerous precedent'

While the legal fees won't be onerous to an organization like Greenpeace, which had $21.7 million in revenue in 2002, experts say a long court fight could sink smaller organizations.

"This is setting a dangerous precedent when you're politicizing a law for a purpose for which it is never intended," said Stephen Zunes, an associate professor of history at the University of San Francisco and an expert on social movements. "It's (also) somewhat of a stretch to be using a law that hasn't been used for 100 years.

"If the federal government is going to do that, it has a chilling effect, as people are going to wonder what obscure law they're going to dust off next."

That chill is spreading to advocacy organizations across the political spectrum. Major actions are planned this year at everything from national political conventions in Boston and New York to a June biotechnology conference in San Francisco. Abortion-related demonstrations will be held in Washington, D.C., and anti-war demonstrations will mark the one-year anniversary of the start of the Iraq war.

It's chilliest at Greenpeace. Organizers there haven't canceled any events or curbed their criticism of the Bush administration, but are keeping a low profile lately.

"We're erring on the side of caution," said Greenpeace spokeswoman Nancy Hwa. "(The case) is casting a shadow over our activities. We don't want to do anything that the prosecution is likely to use against us."

Anti-war organizers such as Richard Becker of San Francisco, whose International ANSWER was at the forefront of coordinating peace demonstrations over the past 18 months, called the Miami prosecution "part of the crackdown on dissent that's been going on after Sept. 11." The group has called on the FBI to release internal memos concerning what it suspects was federal surveillance of Oct. 25 demonstrations that drew 100,000 in Washington, D.C., and 20,000 in San Francisco. Last week, California Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer wrote a letter to FBI director Robert Mueller saying the agency's "Joint Terrorism Task Force should not be used to collect intelligence on the lawful activities of American dissenters."

Prosecution could backfire

Julian Bond, an advocate of nonviolent civil disobedience from his days as a civil rights leader, said prosecuting organizations such as Greenpeace could backfire on the federal government.

"When you force out the moderate leadership of a movement, you often get a more radical one in its place," Bond said. "This is an important case. If there was no civil disobedience in this country, we would still be sitting in the back of the bus, still not allowed to sit at lunch counters."

The Miami case is leading some activists to move more covertly -- and remain unaffiliated -- when committing civil disobedience. Some are opting for the guerrilla tactics used by Direct Action to Stop the War, the shadowy network that coordinated thousands of activists who paralyzed downtown San Francisco in March after the United States invaded Iraq.

Bay Area Direct Action activists were among the key organizers in street protests at last month's Free Trade Area of the Americas meeting in Miami, where they were met by more than 40 law enforcement agencies.

But if federal prosecutors tried to go after Direct Action itself, "there would be nothing there," said organizer Patrick Reinsborough. "We don't have an office or an organization or anything. We're individually targetable, that's about it.

"Still, this is scary," Reinsborough said, "because if the federal government is willing to go after Greenpeace, they're willing to go after anybody."

At American Borders: Smile; You're on File
By Pascal Riche
Tuesday 06 January 2004

Since yesterday, the majority of foreigners who land at American airports are entered into police files. They stand in front of a round digital camera that takes their picture; they put one index finger, then the other, on an orange glass shelf, and their fingerprints are taken electronically. The intelligence collected is immediately compared to the FBI’s terrorist suspects’ list: in a few seconds, the computer clears the visitor or identifies a suspect. In the second case, the person is interrogated by the FBI in an airport room. In this first stage at least, nationals of twenty-eight countries, including France, are exempt from these controls.

This new procedure, baptized US-Visit (for United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology), had been decided upon by Congress two years ago, while the feelings created by the September 11, 2001 attacks were still running high. After an initial investment of $380 million and a test period in the Atlanta airport, the program was launched yesterday on a wide scale for those arriving at 115 airports and 14 ports. It will soon be put in place at 50 Mexican and Canadian border crossing posts. Over a full year, 24 million visitors with visas will have to submit to these controls. At the end of 2004, visitors will also have to signal their departure from American territory: they will have to scan their prints at electronic boundaries again.


Yesterday morning at the Atlanta airport, Homeland Security Secretary, Tom Ridge, "proudly" presented the launch of a program that will, he said, help to "keep our borders open to visitors and closed to terrorists." He specified that fingerprinting would be fast and "without ink", as though that were the principal subject preoccupying freedoms’ defenders. He went on to assure that the information collected would be protected by American privacy law and that only Federal agents would have access to it.

During the several weeks of testing in Atlanta, 20,000 people were controlled. According to Tom Ridge, the computer picked out 21 of those, who were wanted by Federal authorities for "drug trafficking, rape, or violation of immigration law." However, public freedoms’ defenders and immigration specialists worry: "The problem is the reliability of the information contained in the Federal data base. Lots of people are in there by mistake, and, once they’re there, it’s very difficult to get them out. Since September 11, the FBI can put anyone in there as seems best to them. I would not be surprised if people are unjustly sent back at the border," comments Crystal Williams, spokesperson for the American Immigration Lawyers Association, in Washington. Moreover, the program’s effectiveness in the anti-terrorist struggle is questioned by certain experts. The new system will certainly permit deterrence of known criminals from entering the United States, but, as M.J. Gohel, a security expert at the London Asia-Pacific Foundation, emphasized yesterday on CNN, "terrorists are often young men of good family, with an education and no police record."

The new system has at least one merit: it has allowed a partial elimination of the humiliating procedure put in place by the Justice Department after September 11 which required nationals from twenty-five "at risk" (i.e. Muslim) countries to come and register themselves every year with the Federal authorities.


The sharpest reaction to US-Visit came from Brazil. This country does not appreciate the treatment America accords its nationals one bit and has asked to be added to the list of "secure" countries. In the meantime, in the name of reciprocity, it was decided last week to photograph and fingerprint (with ink, in this case) all Americans landing at Sao Paulo. According to the Brazilian border police, Americans appear to be extremely aggravated by the procedure--up until they are informed that the same treatment is applied to Brazilians arriving in the United States.

"When a cause comes along and you know in your bones that it is just, yet refuse to defend it--at that moment you begin to die. And I have never seen so many corpses walking around talking about justice."
- Mumia Abu-Jamal

Communities United Against Police Brutality
2104 Stevens Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55404
Hotline 612-874-STOP (7867)

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