October 2006

Hello Mayor Bloomberg,

You are in a position to change the course of history! You have the opportunity to become a Hero in the eyes of the world. You know that as the Mayor of the greatest City in the United States you already have the eyes of the world upon you. We need your courageous leadership! Please consider this appeal?

Congress has just curtailed the Civil Liberties of the American People. The Military Commissions Act of 2006 will be know as the Permission to Torture Bill; it removes the centuries-old right of Habeas Corpus protection for those wrongfully imprisoned; it threatens to make “Enemy Combatants” or accomplices of every American dissenter to the policies of this administration. This Bill was just approved on September 29th by Congress. Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut was one of twelve Democratic Senators who approved the Bill.

People of our city, who are lovers of peace, plan to take to the busy streets on Thursday, October 5th! Our voices must be heard! We need for you to protect our rights to dissent! We are patriotic Americans who favor diplomacy over destruction. We favor an ethical response instead of one of revenge. We renounce Bush’s plan to bomb Iran as totally insane. This insanity must be stopped! Bombing civilian populations is a war crime! You know it! The world knows it! The eyes of the world are upon us, worrying that this will be allowed by the American People. They can’t see our bumper stickers!

New York City is still the symbolic target of those who hate the United States. We are now in more danger of terrorist attack because our inappropriate military response to 9/11 has generated more hatred rather than less. Worse still, is the revenge that will be wreaked upon New York City if the plan for bombing Iran proceeds.

There are two important points that we wish for you to consider:

  1. The terrorists will have accomplished their mission of “destroying” our country if the voices of the People are stifled. We Americans are proud of our heritage of freedom, and of our Bill of Rights that allows us “peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Do not allow those who hate us to have the satisfaction of having destroyed our Civil Liberties.

  2. There will be a “Nuremberg Trial” for the Leadership, the military and the People of the United States at some time in the future. We cannot pretend that “we didn’t know” or that we were “just following orders.” The Bush Regime is hell bent on starting World War Three by planning to punish Iran for not obeying its dictates. There are nuclear bombs. Someone will use them. New York City is still the prime target! Don’t let partisan politics and loyalty to the Republicans allow you to be silent. We need your help. The brave New York City Police are American citizens as well as our protectors. We need their help on this important day of October 5th. We deserve the right to march on Broadway and disrupt the traffic. Business-as-usual-just doesn’t get it! Celebrities, dignitaries, and corporations are given special treatment. They are not more important than the People!

Our request to use the busy streets was denied; we cannot fathom the rationale that went into such a strange denial. You have no right to hold the People hostage this way. We have a right to speak out. We are peace loving People. The assertion that “Homeland Security” is a consideration is total nonsense. If anti-peace, supporters of the war were to heckle us or even attack us, we would hope that the Police would protect our protest march. Peace Marchers have never been violent! We have occupied the full expanse of Broadway with a sea of Citizens without incident in previous years.

We invite the Police Department, rather than barricading us, penning us up, and preventing us from gathering together to have our voices heard, to walk with us to protect us in the street. This is contrary to current accepted practices called “crowd control.”

Mistakes can be made in high places, New York, Washington, it doesn’t matter where, but to perpetuate these mistakes is not very wise. We need wisdom. It is insane for mistakes to become entrenched, even ossified, in public policy, without ever examining the unintended consequences.

The Peace People of the World are angry at the Bush policy of using the military might instead of wisdom; the Peace People of New York are angry at the prevalent Bloomberg policy of allowing military might and corporate interests to take precedence over the long range wisdom of helping the People “peaceably to assemble.” We patriotic Americans will gather in the streets on Thursday, October 5th. Our voices must be heard! Help us! We are counting on you!
Thanking you in advance,

Beth K. Lamont, Humanist Celebrant, Non Governmental Organization
Representative for the American Humanist Association to the United Nations,
Member Council of Ethics Based Organizations at the UN
777 UN Plaza, Lobby Level, New York, NY 10017

Also in behalf of: The World Can’t Wait!, Not In Our Name, International Action Center, Students Against the War, Grannies Against the War, Veterans Against the War, (these last three are categories, not titles) and many other concerned organizations and citizens.

Dilemma: How shall we 16 Protestors Plead in court? Who is Guilty of What?

The reason that I’m writing to you is to ask your advice. Those of us who were arrested at the United Nations when Bush was speaking, (there are 16 of us) are trying to decide how to get the most mileage publicity-wise out of our situation. Most of us are charged with the offense #240.20 (6), which I believe is disorderly conduct. Admittedly we went to 44th Street across from the U.N. for the purpose of performing Civil Disobedience by challenging the police blockade, with our signs and chants, saying that Bush is a war criminal and that he should be arrested. We were waving copies of the 51 page verdict delineating the Crimes Against Humanity Committed by the Bush Administration, to call attention to the findings of fact gathered by testimony at the International Commission of Inquiry, published on September 13, 2006. We were told to remove our hands from the barricade that we were trying to open; we refused!

Three of us are additionally charged with resisting arrest which is totally absurd, inasmuch as we all went there to be arrested. Most of us are to appear in the Centre Street court on October 18th. We discussed the options for several hours this evening at John Jay in a room provided by Father Luis Barrios, the Episcopal Priest, who is also charged with assaulting an officer…a totally bogus charge; they were brutalizing him, instead. With us was disabled Iraq Vet, Geoffrey Millard, who was manhandled as well.

On Thursday, October 5th, we will be in the streets again protesting the imminent and insane bombing of Iran. We hear that October 9th will begin the “October Surprise,” and that warships are moving into position. This actually dominated our conversation tonight; no wonder we couldn’t focus on how we are going to plead when we get to court. We’re not finished getting arrested yet!

So, here’s my question: several other lawyers are already involved, Siegel, Stolar and Upton, all of whom gave differing and non-spectacular advice to their clients, so far. The 16 of us sat around a table this evening and each had a different idea of how to proceed. Ultimately, we did decide that we would stick together and try to make a media event of whatever we do, which was the whole point in the first place. We will all wear We Will Not Be Silenced black T-shirts to court, for one thing, but how we plead is the dilemma. Here are the options that we discussed:

  1. Just plead guilty and take our lumps, whatever that may be. Some really objected, saying that of course, we are not-guilty of any real crime. The law is the crime: the police are guilty of thwarting our right to peaceably assemble, etc. and exercise our right to free speech, etc. Those few felt that they just couldn’t say “guilty.” We discussed the difference between morally and legally, etc. Those who favored “guilty” felt that we must turn the charge around, using that same word in referring to the Bush regime and its war crimes…like, we would each make the very same statement to that effect in court. We would probably be further charged, with contempt of court for giving the wrong answer? At least we might get the publicity that the issues deserve, plus, we 16 would go out with a bang, instead of a whimper. And, the other options discussed were:

  2. All plead not-guilty and be postponed, coming back again and again, etc. Probably eventually to be dismissed. If that isn’t a whimper, I don’t know what could be worse, and wasting a perfect opportunity to make a valid point. There was the suggestion that if you promise not to get into trouble for 6 months you can be released. Most rejected that, saying “no way, we plan to be visible and vocal! This is our patriotic duty!” We probably will get arrested again on the 5th, because we want to gather at the U.N. on 47th Street at Noon, after speeches for an hour or so, start up the march onto Second Avenue heading south. We want to turn onto 42nd Street and go to Broadway, then down Broadway to 14th Street where we will have a speakers platform, and ending maybe 4 PM or so. The police say we have to stay on Second Avenue all the way to 14th. This is absurd. We might as well stay in the pen at 47th Street for all the notice and participation we would get on quiet Second Avenue. I’m asking for your advice because I value your courage and your judgment. How do you think we can make the maximum impact in this situation? Will you please be our advisor?

Or maybe just suggest the best way for us to get the media attention about the Real crimes initiated by the Bush regime that are going on, like torture, and bombing civilian populations.

Hugs from Beth. I’m now officially part of the Grannie Peace Brigade, and “The U.N.-16, who will not be silenced,” as well as speaking in behalf of the Humanists, The World Can’t Wait!, Not In Our Name, and International Action Center…and other groups as well. We hear that many student groups are planning come out on the 5th. That’s one thing that this country needs lots of: informed young people who are activists! Hoping to hear from you.

Best wishes to you and family. May there be peace!


Militarism, exploitation, usurpation, arrogance, inequities and vengeance all abound, endangering our survival as a species, and actively prevent the development of a respectful, lawful, equitable, compassionate and care-taking Culture of Peace.

I am concerned about this danger and, as an individual, I have the power to raise my own voice in protest. I value Life, I love my own Family and the larger family of Humankind. I revere the Human Species, and believe in the right to peaceful pursuit of individual and societal happiness. I pledge to support the ideals of a Culture of Peace, and hope to encourage others to do likewise. I, therefore, pledge to promote the following Human Survival Principles:

I, personally, and as a representative of my own ethical perspective, life stance or faith, pledge to act with courage, in all ways short of violence, to renounce and thwart the various adverse forces that have gained the power to dominate Earth and its inhabitants. I renounce all systems of repression, whether by government or economic control. I support only systems that are in the best shared-interest of all of Earth’s Peoples and of Earth itself.

I, personally, renounce violence and vengeance as an option to redress grievances for wrongs done to me, my people, or my ancestors. I pledge to seek justice and compensation, never before feasible, through pursuit of new lawful means, consistent with the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the United Nation’s Responsibility to Protect, and the newly established International Criminal Court. These new tools must be fostered and ultimately established, for all times, to promote the pursuit of justice in every village, in every community, in every nation, I will do my best to support this goal.

I agree that technology, medicine, science and biology must be harnessed to serve only the best interests of all Humankind, whether it be our means of communicating freely with each other in the pursuit of truth and democracy, and the sharing of information regarding our common interests, or for the creation of power sources that do not damage Earth’s ecosystem or harm living things. Biotechnology must not modify or claim ownership of Earth’s bounty, and the benefits to Humankind in all of these areas must not be tied to a corrupt and capricious profit motive enslaving the many and ignoring the most needy.

I pledge to work in behalf of the survival and betterment of Humankind right here and now, because I believe in the basic goodness of other human beings. I will willingly join with them in order to help to create a Culture of Peace, regardless of any known traditional beliefs that aspire to “other worlds” or any belief in “end times” scenarios. I will not allow my name or my belief to be used to endorse actions that are contrary to my own personal beliefs. I will not allow my faith to be conscripted or construed in order to justify support for actions that are harmful to others, such as seeking retaliation and vengeance, or to justify terrorist acts or making war against alleged and illusory enemies, with whom I have no quarrel. If there is a Heaven elsewhere, I will have earned my place in it as a Peacemaker. Meanwhile,….

I will do my best to help make Peace on Earth, and to keep my pledge in behalf of the Human Survival Principles

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