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Sitcha Alert Action * Nuclear Option One-Party-Rule

18 April 2005 - Part 1

"We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality,
tied in a single garment of destiny.
Whatever affects one directly,
effects all indirectly."

Martin Luther King, Jr.

1) Countdown to Deportation - Richard Sitcha Update
- - Richard Sitcha grassroots campaign update
2) Nuclear Option for One Party Control
3) "Our Country Has Been Overtaken By Murderous Thugs"

- - Negroponte Confirmed By Senate Committee
- - Bush Eliminating 19-year-old International Terrorism Report
- - A Most Dangerous Message
- - Space Peace Abolition NYC April 29-May 1st
- - Iraq's Oilworkers Unionize to Defend the Country's Oil
4) Monday C-Span Covering David Ray Griffin 9/11 Report Omissions

Editor's Notes:

Item 1 opens with a critical update on the case of Richard Sitcha. I met with Richard twice at the Franklin County Jail. He pleaded with me to understand why the USA would do this to him. To arrest him with no crime involved, and after his being granted political asylum. Why is he being treated this way? I hope you will take part in calling Senator John Kerry this week to help find a safe and honorable land for Richard Sitcha to live. A community is arising for this man. Please take part, and make a difference in " inescapable network of mutuality.."

Item 2 is super critical. If the judicial nuclear option destroys the filibuster, it would enable the Republicans to further aid the occupation of the White House with hoodlums. If you read item 3 you will understand a mom's criticism. "Our Country Has Been Overtaken By Murderous Thugs" is the transcript of a passionate and eleoquent speech by Cindy Sheehan, co-founder of Gold Star Families For Peace. The brutal honesty of this mother-protecting-spirit is something to behold. Please note peace and disarmament events in NYC April 29-May 1st listed in a subsection of this item. Item 4 is about C-Span covering David Ray Griffin and 9/11 Truth Talk at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, which will be taped this Monday, 18 April 2005. And on a related note, a 9/11 questions group is meeting to screen the film: "The Oil Factor: Behind the War on Terror" and discuss issues regarding 9/11 this Tuesday, 19 April 2005 at the Media Education Foundation on Masonic Street in Northampton, MA, at 7:00 pm.

Please take time and support Richard Sitcha by calling Senator Kerry and others for their assistance in this emergency situation. (The US Congressional telephone switchboard # is 202-224-3121.) Thank You!

"Call and Answer" by Robert Bly

Tell me why it is we don't lift our voices these days
And cry over what is happening. Have you noticed
The plans are made for Iraq and the ice cap is melting?

I say to myself: "Go on, cry. What's the sense
Of being an adult and having no voice? Cry out!
See who will answer! This is Call and Answer!"

We will have to call especially loud to reach
Our angels, who are hard of hearing; they are hiding
In the jugs of silence filled during our wars.

Have we agreed to so many wars that we can't
Escape from silence? If we don't lift our voices, we allow
Others (who are ourselves) to rob the house.

How come we've listened to the great criers–Neruda,
Akhmatova, Thoreau, Frederick Douglass–and now
We're silent as sparrows in the little bushes?

Some masters say our life lasts only seven days.
Where are we in the week? Is it Thursday Yet?
Hurry, cry now! Soon Sunday night will come.

1) Countdown to Deportation - Richard Sitcha Update

- - Richard Sitcha grassroots campaign update

- - Countdown to Deportation
Published by the Valley Advocate - April 14, 2005
The court pushes a Cameroonian refugee closer to a dangerous repatriation.
by Maureen Turner -


Richard Sitcha: Would deportation be a death sentence for him?

Time might be running out for Richard Sitcha, a political refugee from Cameroon whom the U.S. government has targeted for deportation. On March 31, U.S. District Court Justice Michael Ponsor dismissed a petition filed by Sitcha that sought to overturn the deportation order. The Department of Homeland Security is now preparing to send Sitcha back to Cameroon. That, he and his friends fear, would amount to a death sentence at the hands of the Cameroonian government, whose human rights violations are well documented, including by the U.S. State Department.

Sitcha fled to the U.S. in 2001-- after being arrested and tortured, he says, for his role in organizing protests after government security forces murdered nine young men in his native village of Bepanda (see "No Safe Haven," July 22, 2004,

Sitcha settled in Hartford, found a job and applied for political asylum, which was granted in 2003. A few months later, however, the government reopened the case, saying new evidence raised doubts about the credibility of his story. An immigration judge revoked his asylum and, under a new, post-September 11 policy, he was immediately arrested.

Sitcha spent time in a Connecticut prison, where he was attacked by a cellmate, and eventually landed in the Franklin County jail in Greenfield. After failing to meet an earlier deadline to appeal -- due, in part, to a dispute with his then-attorney -- Sitcha filed the petition recently rejected by Ponsor. In his ruling, Ponsor said that the court could not allow Sitcha's petition, which was filed after he'd missed his appeal deadline, because it would essentially create an alternate appeals route for any alien facing deportation.

"It is not possible to conclude this memorandum, however, without recognizing the painful human reality behind this litigation and the possible serious consequences of today's decisions," Ponsor wrote. "The petitioner appears to be an intelligent, law abiding and sympathetic man, with many well wishers who passionately desire to support him here, and who fear the consequences for him if he returns to Cameroon."

Those well-wishers aren't giving up without a fight.

Sitcha -- who earlier this month was moved from Greenfield to Plymouth Correctional Facility -- has 30 days from the date of Ponsor's ruling to file an appeal. His allies, including Valley activists and friends from his church in Hartford, are now seeking an attorney to represent him. They're also asking supporters to call Sens. John Kerry and Ted Kennedy to ask them to intervene on his behalf. For more information, see or

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- - Richard Sitcha grassroots campaign update
by Andrew Cohen ~

Some new information:

1) We have more information about the alleged prisoner abuse that occurred when Richard was being transferred to Plymouth County House of Correction. [email to request file for account of the abuse as reported by Richard to Lorena Dutelle, one of Richard's best friends (and most ardent supporters) in the United States. We plan on filing an abuse claim with Bruce Chadbourne, the regional director of BICE (Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement) in New England.

2) We are still looking for a lawyer to pursue Richard's appeal of Judge Ponsor's decision.


3) Please write to Richard in Plymouth:

Richard Sitcha
B51 RM 101
ID # 39823
Plymouth County Correctional Facility
26 Long Pond Rd.
Plymouth, MA 02360

Despite everything that is going on at this moment, Richard has remained in relatively good spirits. Still, I am certain that he would love to receive letters of support.

Also, please call the offices your Massachusetts Senators and congress-people to apply political leverage. Tell them that you are a supporter of Richard Sitcha, a political refugee who is in imminent danger of being deported back to Cameroon. If he is returned to Cameroon, Richard will most certainly be killed by Cameroon's repressive government.

Ask them to please do something to halt the deportation process, or at least deport him to a different country…If he is deported to Cameron, the United States government will have Richard's blood on its hands.

Telephone numbers for MA senators:
John Kerry: 617-565-8519
Ted Kennedy: 617-565-3170


Calling the offices of Senators/congress-people from other states might also help out. Do not hesitate to call!!! Whenever I call the political offices, I always receive surprisingly warm responses—they are almost always willing to speak with constituents.

Andrew Cohen

Note: The Congressional telephone switchboard # is 202-224-3121

2) Nuclear Option for One Party Control

- -

The filibuster is a tool created by Senate rules that allows senators to block a nominee or a piece of legislation until 60 Senators agree to end debate. It is an important part of our system of checks and balances. It prevents any one party from having too much power.

Both parties have used the filibuster to prevent action on bills or block nominations that generate strong opposition. On important issues, it encourages compromises that can get broad support from senators from both parties. But now Senate leaders are threatening to misuse their majority power and change the rules to weaken the Senate's checks and balances. They are angry that Democratic Senators have used the filibuster to block a handful of President Bush's most controversial judicial nominees – even though more than 95 percent of President Bush's judges have been approved by the Senate.

As you can imagine, some folks are glad to see these judges denied lifetime seats on powerful federal courts; others want these judges confirmed. But the threat to do away with the filibuster is a bigger issue – it would change the role of the Senate and leave the country open to abuse of power by whoever happens to be in the majority.

Fortunately, common sense Republicans and Democrats understand that it is important to preserve our system of checks and balances. If you are one of those people, we encourage you to get in touch with your Senator before there's a vote on the rule changes.

Link to sign the petition, and to learn more about the filibuster.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

- - From - "Progress Report"

JUDICIARY - No Nukes! The battle over judicial nominations is heating up, with the Senate right wing getting louder about detonating the "nuclear option" in order to push through President Bush's radical, activist judicial nominations. In the latest furor, conservatives are trying to overturn the tactic known as the filibuster, which has been in the Senate rules since the early 1800s. The filibuster has a long history in the Senate. As John Dean writes, the filibuster exists "to ensure that the majority party's nominees have sufficient bipartisan appeal." Even Orrin Hatch, the former chairman of the Judiciary Committee, has said the filibuster is "one of the few tools that the minority has to protect itself and those the minority represents." It's also designed to force compromise. Going nuclear is dangerous maneuver which would overturn the basic power of checks and balances.

GOING NUCLEAR: If at least 41 senators strongly oppose a bill or nominee, they can decide to indefinitely extend debate, blocking a final vote on the issue. That's a filibuster. All it takes is 60 senators to vote the debate is over, and the bill/nominee is sent to the floor. What's the "nuclear option"? Right-wing senators want to change the long-standing rule so a simple majority can end the debate (meaning they could easily stop all filibusters). To change Senate rules, however, you have to have two-thirds of your colleagues behind you. (This ensures one party can't politicize Senate procedure.) In this case, the right wing doesn't have the required 67 senators on its side. Thus, it's time for procedural trickery known as the "nuclear option." Once the next filibuster is set in motion, probably over one of the more extremist judicial nominees, a right-wing senator wanting to activate the "nuclear option" would object, "claiming that the filibuster cannot be used on a judicial nomination." The Senate leader would rule in his favor. That ruling would be appealed, and only a simple majority would be needed to uphold that ruling which, in effect, would change the rule itself. Procedure averted, rule changed, and it all happens without needing two-thirds on your side. (Thanks to People For The American Way for the explanation.)

IT'S ADVISE *AND* CONSENT: The Constitution says the president "shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate shall appoint" judges. The right wing is looking to strip the "consent" from that process. President Bush is already complicit in this attempt: when the Senate fails to confirm his nominees, he simply renominates them. Even worse, he has a history of bypassing the Senate altogether and simply installing judges on the bench during a recess.

Conservatives in the Senate would strip their role in checks and balances. Claims that moderates and liberals in the Senate are being obstructionists, however, are belied by the record: the Senate has confirmed 204 of the president's 214 trial and appellate judicial nominees.

THE FIRST PRECEDENT: Many conservatives claim using a filibuster to block a judicial nominee is unprecedented. They may need to consult their history books. In fact, as the Los Angeles Times points out, "In fact, in 1968, Senate Republicans used a filibuster to block President Johnson's nomination of Abe Fortas to be Supreme Court chief justice."

THE FRIST PRECEDENT: Speaking of precedents, Senate Leader Bill Frist himself took part in an attempt to filibuster a judicial nominee. On 3/9/00, Frist took part in a filibuster of Richard Paez, President Clinton's nominee to the Ninth Circuit. (He tried to spin this vote last year, claiming the filibuster was for "scheduling" purposes, but a press release by former Senator Bob Smith titled "Smith Leads Effort to Block Activist Judicial Nominees" exposed his disingenuousness.) In reality, conservatives led at least six filibusters during the Clinton years.

For posted article and linked resources, see:

For items 3 and 4, see: MurderousThugs * NuclearAbolition * C-Span911

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