2009 Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) President’s Reception – Welcome Remarks – Speech Notes – PDF

2009 CCR President’s Reception Speech Notes

CCR May 6 2009

Welcome you all to President’s reception—

Special time–to thank our supporters and honor a special few who have done extraordinary work with us

  1. One of our good friends came in from Detroit—I sure most of you member former legal director bill g-­At a critical period—after 9/11—insisted we take on the gitmo cases—

bill had that astonishing quote in nyt: “My job is to defend the Constitution from its enemies,” Mr. Goodman said. “Its main enemies right now are the Justice Department and the White House.”

  1. Of course Vince warren or ed is here with us–hear from him shortly—2 1/2 years—amazing—

I have no doubt that with Vince the moniker Cockburn once gave CCR “a splendid band of tigerish people”—will remain our essence–

  1. Also happy with us is our new legal director from new orleans—whom vince will introduce—excited would be an understatement for how I feel about having bill quigley at ccr—

Only one story about bill q–4 founders–bill k morty s a kinoy a 4th who died early from n.o. ben smith—

Bill q was his last clerk in n.o.—part of the unbroken chain going deep into our southern civil rights past-(and future)

  1. Thank an extraordinary staff at ccr–work all the time—take on the hardest issues of the day — a. Many not here today–in dc—secure facility—preparing for some gitmo habeas hearings–­Habeas hearing took us 7 years to win in sct—finally last june—

Some are preparing for a upcoming trial against shell oil for involvement in killing and drilling in Nigeria—ken saro-wiwa

  1. A few other milestones last year:

a. New cases against military contractors Blackwater, Titan (13) and Cad (Jeremy)

Blackwater changed name—xe—z

b. Big win on right to dissent: one of the wonderful activist daughters—of bill and Margie: Sarah Kunstler

Kunstler v NY—arrests of peaceful anti war protesters—2 million—

(movie coming disturbing the universe—change struggle and courage)

c. Arar—remember —Canadian rendered to Syria for torture—lost—in circuit—

  1. (en banc—all the judges–hope will change the result)
  2. we anticipated the struggle over accountability —

Early on took position —no compromise; no excuses -best interest or not politically feasible—crim invest. and pros ness—-

Put action to those words—Germany, France book “the prosecution of D Rumsfeld trial by book” Diane Wachtel—get it–

Once again—position thought exotic—impossible– traction—more advanced—proud

  1. Today—glad no more bush—

A decent president Obama—

But learn—no matter how good are still politicians

with all the pressures inside beltway etc—CIA pentagon

make them do the right thing—-

yes some good—more or less ending torture, closing secret sites ,release of the memos—go on read our 100 day scorecard–Vince —the good is mixed with bad—some setbacks—

all of you part of making him do the right thing–100 day activism–and more—

ordered to close Gitmo in a year–not just physical—but the illegality of that prison

here I am dismayed—last week gates 100 preventive detention–2 or 3—baskets

–dismayed–military commissions–
huge setbacks—

–dismayed thinks of crim invest of the torture conspirator as looking backward—forward

dismayed pundits saying going to pick a pragmatist sct—moderate—why right wing

so we have our work to do—we remain steadfast to our ideals—doing what is difficult but right—spending band oft people—