Republican National Convention Protest Rally – Speech Notes – PDF

2004 RNC Rally Speech Notes

CCR/nlg—in thick of things—detentions/torture/muslims/ufpj

One could be pretty pessimistic—clique running the Whitehouse is making a terrible world —here and abroad—end of the enlightenment—dark ages—lawlessness order of the day–an administration gone wild; you are living in the heart of an empire—

You know most of it: bombing and killing in Iraq; bombing and killing in Afghanistan; supporting Israel in its annexation of the west bank; destroying the UN and the Charters prohibitions on the use of force; destroying constitutional and international protections prohibiting torture, disappearances and indefinite arbitrary detentions; targeting Muslims and those of Arabic ethnicity—

Making us less safe; not more safes—gitmo and iconic

And destroying our constitution at home—particularly our right to protest and dissent—dissent very essence of liberty—destroy that and destroy liberty

Not happenstance—feb 15 2003 no demon; august 29th no demo in the park—CCR Powers that be understand—and fear—the power of the people in the streets—Police state—limit dissent and no check on executive by courts

All in the name of the war on terror

That is the pessimistic view—but there is another view—and it is happening here in NYC-Its exciting; people are energized—taking to the streets—in every conceivable form—bicycles, marches, banners; tabling, leafleting, lectures—a huge protest party—but serious purpose

As nyt said about the massive outpouring on Feb 15—second superpower—the peoples of the world hitting the streets

Confident we can change things—more massive; more protests—our world depends on us—this is the beginning—

Today—describe some of what I see from my perspective as ccr—deep in the legal struggles on every front—struggles that cannot and will not be won without massive protests—

But in fact in some of these cases—we are winning—amazing —the truth will out

Could keep you here all day—attacks in every area—on every fundamental protection CCR’s Banner: Rewriting our Nation’s Constitution—

They are doing that-1 speech and religion 2, 4—searches and wiretapping 5 due process fair trials 6 counsel and jury trials 8—cruel and inhuman treatment 14 -protection

Second amendment

  1. Whenever I talk about civil liberties must also talk about war—can’t regain lost liberty without changing what we do abroad

Can’t keep bombing the hell out of people, expand empire and have democracy at home

Chris Hedges gave a wonderful talk, quoting Thucydides, about the end of democracy in Athens:

“Read how Athens expanding empire saw it become a tyrant abroad and then a tyrant at home. How the tyranny the Athenian leadership imposed on others it finally imposed on itself. This Thucydides wrote, is what doomed Athenian democracy; Athens destroyed itself. For the instrument of empire is war and war is a poison.”

War is a poison and we can see those effects here–

III. Two poisons or features I want to focus on—consider among the most dangerous—exec detentions/trials/ — torture-

  1. Executive detentions—what are they—no review–disappearances

Post 9/11 arrests


US citizen detainees

Gitmo and Other detention camps—all over the world

CCR first out there to represent gitmo detainees—worst of worst—no one else

How picked up; who there

Govt position

There forever

Lost and lost again—closed–

2 years later—finally more support

My talks-1215

Moderate SCT—john at Runnymede

Tipton —met them—false confession

Struggle not over—govt digging in

Gitmo play/book—dodged one bullet but many more

Adjunct are the trials—no relationship—military commission

Kangaroo—now going on—

Most serious—detention without trial and genuine court review is a hall mark of a

police state

  1. Torture—filling papers every day

Abu ghraib stunned many Americans; and angered billions in the rest of the world—Yet before Abu Ghraib reports of torture had surfaced—bagram and gitmo—no one paid attention—it was the pictures—and only low level military guy who got them out

Blamed 7, but now clear not true all the way up—

How do we know this?

Memos—begins with 2001-02 war in–Afghanistan and gitmo:

First background: Geneva applies—red cross

Grave breach provision—inhuman treatment

US war crimes statute–

1.Gonzales to the president—should not apply them

Why? Someone in the future may prosecute and best way to avoid say not apply

(Powell opposite position) —book

So already knew use illegal cruel interrogation techniques

2, cat—avoid that:

President not bound

Redefine torture

So they set it up:

Then—these reports: try and exonerate Rumsfeld—leadership failure—supervision—

misunderstanding; what might be allowed in gitmo not in Iraq

Rumsfeld: list of techniques gitmo—read those

Rest case—it should be over

Over in Gitmo

Led directly to Iraq

Rums not resigning—aid our enemies—not enough

This was not an aberration—part and policy of who this govt is and how perceived

Break gitmo; break the insurgency

Slowly unraveling—continue to expose

Not rest until criminal indictments


To extent any moral authority—human rights reports—none—

Verge of change; years of repair;

People ask me what we should do

  1. Citizens a special obligation—most vulnerable
  2. Reach out to rest of world—part Muslims
  3. What we are doing now—except more

—book and ccr website and tipton report; the play–