May 2007 Newsletter

24 May 2007

Enclosed you will find some worthwhile reading: a summary just prepared for us by our former Program Coordinator Emile Schepers (now operating from the Washington D.C. area as an independent analyst/journalist) of the current Senate bill on immigration – replete with issues of civil liberties and social justice. We are grateful to Emile for his diligent research and donation of this valuable update.

Recent board meetings have been preceeded by briefings on civil liberties topics to which we invite our members and supporters. Locke Bowman, head of the MacArthur Justice Center at Northwestern University, briefed us on Burge report lawsuits seeking to hold Mayor Daley and Prosecutor Devine accountable for their failure to acknowledge and stop police torture of suspects. (Later, CCDBR advisory board member Attorney Larry Kennon spoke eloquently on the Burge report to a massed cluster of media at a press conference held just outside City Hall.)

Michael Deutsch, attorney for Mohammed Salah, provided a gripping account of the Salah case, in which a Chicago jury rejected the U.S. government’s claim that U.S. citizen Salah, who had been subjected to torture in Israel, was a terrorist conspirator. CCDBR has joined in the effort to persuade U.S. judge St. Eve not to impose an undue sentence on Mr. Salah for the very minor charge on which he was convicted.

Civil liberties challenges facing the Muslim community in America were the subject of another special briefing by Christina Abraham, civil rights coordinator of the Chicago chapter of CAIR: Council on American Islamic Relations, itself an organization under threat for daring to speak up for the rights of Muslims. So impressed was the board by Christina’s presentation that we asked her to consider joining our advisory board; and I am happy to report that she has accepted. This is an important step in broadening CCDBR’s reach into the full range of Chicago area communities.

At the 22 May 2007 Board meeting, we agreed to express our positions on various issues to appropriate recipients: (1) to Representative Jan Schakowsky commending her for co-sponsoring a resolution to impeach Vice President Cheney; (2) to Senators Durbin and Obama urging them to support the Leahy bill restoring the right of habeas corpus which was “trashed” by the Military Commissions Act; (3) to the Russian Embassy requesting that they transmit to their government our concerns about the threatened repression of a gay/lesbian rights march in Moscow scheduled for 27 May; (4) to members of Congress urging support of the resolution of no-confidence in Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

We have received confirmation from University of California/Berkeley scholar Trevor Paglen (co-author of the new book Torture Taxi) of the participation of Boeing Corporation in CIA rendition/torture flights, further strengthening our determination to hold Boeing – headquartered in Chicago – to account.

As always, we thank you for your financial support and welcome any contribution you can make. A CCDBR membership form can be downloaded from our website.

Bob Clarke