Saturday, December 19, 2009

New York State Confronts Guantanamo

(Jump direct to quick links: NY members of Congress on Guantanamo.)

New York is distinguished by being both the target of the 9/11 attacks, and the venue of upcoming trials of several alleged terrorist leaders.

The Response was screened in New York City in fall, 2009. A major screening is scheduled for Columbia University School of Law for January 20, 2010. (For updates on specific time and venue, and associated events, see the Facebook event page.)

It is lost on no one that it is tough to be a New Yorker and still maintain objectivity on the issues surrounding the War on Terror. And yet studies have shown that people in New York are as likely to keep a level head about these legal issues as people in other places in the country.

Several New York congressmen have issued strong statements on Guantanamo and the associated issues:

Congressman Steve Israel (D, 2nd) has said, "[M]ost Americans, I believe, will have an inuitive and plain understanding of where we must end-up. Designing a system that keeps us safe without having to change our national character. Creating a process that allows us to kill and capture terrorists without having to surrender our values to them." ( . . . more . . . )

Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D, 8th) has applauded the plan to try suspects in federal court, but criticized the military commissions: "I am disappointed that the Attorney General has decided to pursue cases against other Guantanamo detainees in military commissions. While Congress has reformed some aspects of that system, the military commissions are no substitute for trials in our federal courts or through courts-martial. We must ensure that these commissions are not simply used as a lesser vehicle for cases in which the evidence is not sufficient." ( . . . more . . . )

Congressman Jose Serrano (D, 16th) has been a long-time advocate of closing Guantanamo, calling its closure "a vital first step toward a return to our nation’s best traditions." ( . . . more . . . )

Congressman Eliot Engel (D, 17th) is an outspoken opponent of the military commissions: "I strongly opposed, and voted against, the Military Commissions Act of 2006 . . . . The Military Commissions Act and its repeal of habeas corpus allowed people to sit in prison for years without being charged for any crime, depriving them of even the most basic due process rights, the hallmark of our judicial system. The bill allowed people to be convicted of crimes without giving them any opportunity to review the evidence against them." ( . . . more . . . )

Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D, 22nd) is another outspoken critic of the processes used at Guantanamo. In July, 2007, his office announced a censure resolution against the administration of then-president Bush: "Among other things, the censure resolution will formally condemn the administration for launching the illegal NSA warrantless surveillance program; instituting and following extreme policies on torture, the Geneva Conventions, and detainees at Guantanamo Bay; the politically-motivated firings of U.S. Attorneys and the refusal to legitimately submit to congressional oversight of the matter; and the issuing of presidential signing statements that amount to an excessive abuse of executive power." ( . . . more . . . )

At least one of New York's Republican congressmen oppose current Obama administration efforts to resolve Guantanamo problems. Congressman Peter King (R, 3rd) has demanded "both a classified briefing and a full Committee hearing on the Obama Administration’s decision to import Guantanamo Bay detainees to Thomson Correctional Center, a state maximum-security prison in Thomson, Illinois." ( . . . more . . . )

Contact your representative and urge them to attend the Columbia University screening.

Information on how to contact your representative, and on their Guantanamo positions, is shown below.

(Don't know who your representative is? Look him/her up by zip code

(Don't know how what to say? Suggestions for getting started here.)

Ackerman, Gary L. D5thContact
Arcuri, Michael A. D24thContact
Bishop, Timothy H. D1stContact
Clarke, Yvette D. D11thContact
Crowley, Joseph D7thContact
Engel, Eliot L. D17thContactOn Gitmoabove
Hall, John J. D19thContact
Higgins, Brian D27thContact
Hinchey, Maurice D. D22ndContactOn Gitmoabove
Israel, Steve D2ndContactOn Gitmoabove
King, Peter T. R3rdContactOn Gitmoabove
Lee, Christopher John R26thContact
Lowey, Nita M. D18thContact
McCarthy, Carolyn D4thContact
McMahon, Michael E. D13thContact
Maffei, Daniel B. D25thContact
Maloney, Carolyn B. D14thContact
Massa, Eric J. J. D29thContact
Meeks, Gregory W. D6thContact
Murphy, Scott D20thContact
Nadler, Jerrold D8thContactOn Gitmoabove
Owens, William L. D23rdContact
Rangel, Charles B. D15thContact
Serrano, José E. D16thContactOn Gitmoabove
Slaughter, Louise McIntosh D28thContact
Tonko, Paul D21stContact
Towns, Edolphus D10thContact
Velázquez, Nydia M. D12thContact
Weiner, Anthony D. D9thContact

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