A.N.S.W.E.R. Press Release
PRESS RELEASE on June 1 Emergency National Anti-War Conference
June 2, 2002
600 ANTI-WAR ACTIVISTS ATTEND JUNE 1 EMERGENCY NATIONAL ANTI-WAR CONFERENCE IN NEW YORK CITY Over 600 activists with International A.N.S.W.E.R. met yesterday in New York City and announced plans for a mass June 29 demonstration at the FBI’s Washington D.C. headquarters to protest John Ashcroft’s domestic espionage program that targets political organizations, mosques and community groups.
A.N.S.W.E.R. — which stands for Act Now to Stop War & End Racism — was one of the central forces behind the 100,000-strong March for Palestine April 20th in Washington, D.C. The activists who planned this demonstration came from around the country Saturday for an all-day, anti-war conference opposing Bush’s war policies that threaten Iraq, Colombia, and the Philippines, back genocide against Palestinians, and take money from people’s needs and funnel it to the Pentagon.
A special section on the conference’s Opening Plenary entitled “Emergency action plan to fight back against the FBI and Ashcroft” featured Mara Verheyden-Hilliard and Carl Messineo, attorneys and co-founders of the Partnership for Civil Justice. “Today we have launched a national fightback movement to stop John Ashcroft and the FBI from bringing back the very worst features from J. Edgar Hoover’s reign over domestic intelligence,” stated Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, also a member of the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition steering committee.
“Ashcroft’s changes have been presented as an innocuous update of FBI procedures,” said Verheyden-Hilliard. “This has become the preferred method of presentation by Ashcroft as the Justice Department shreds the First Amendment and the Bill of Rights.
“These changes, however, are much more insidious than simply allowing the FBI to surf the web,” Verheyden-Hilliard continued. “They are a full-scale revival of Cointelpro, the notorious government infiltration program which reached its peak in the 60s and was aimed at Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement.”
“Ashcroft is facing a growing and powerful anti-war, anti-racist movement that won’t be easily intimidated,” said Larry Holmes, co-director of the International Action Center, also with A.N.S.W.E.R. “We’re not going to let Ashcroft, the FBI, Bush and his right-wing gang — with the complicity of the Democratic Party and Congress — tear up the constitution, open up a war on political dissent, and stop the very necessary movement against his war-mongering, pro-rich madness.”
Later in the day — after a reportback from A.N.S.W.E.R.’s medical and legal delegation that just returned from the West Bank and Gaza — conveners announced plans this summer for mass public inquiries entitled Commission of Inquiry hearings on U.S.-backed Israeli war crimes against the people of Palestine.
Details of the A.N.S.W.E.R. Action Plan will be released in the coming days.
The conference included a wide array of speakers on many topics, including:
– Elias Rashmawi, Free Palestine Alliance
– Larry Adams, President, Mailhandlers Local 300; New York City Labor Against the War
– Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, attorney and co-founder, Partnership for Civil Justice
– Larry Holmes, Co-Director, International Action Center
– Yoomi Jeong, Korea Truth Commission
– Chuck Kaufman, Nicaragua Network
– Jennifer Wager, IFCO/Pastors for Peace
– Arturo Garcia, Bayan International
– Carl Messineo, attorney and co-founder, Partnership for Civil Justice; member of A.N.S.W.E.R. delegation to Palestine
– Dr. Hillel Cohen, public health doctor and epidemiologist; delegate for 1199 Health and Hospital Workers Union; member of A.N.S.W.E.R. delegation to Palestine
– Randa Jamal, Al-Awda NY-NJ, Free Palestine Alliance
– Sara Flounders, International Action Center; member of A.N.S.W.E.R. delegation to Palestine
– Brenda Stokely, President, AFSCME District Council 1707; New York City Labor Against the War
– Williams Camacaro, member, Venezuela Civic Center, NYC
– Teresa Gutierrez, Committee to Stop the U.S. War in Colombia
– Ben Dupuy, Co-Director, Haiti Progres; Secretary General, National Popular Party in Haiti
– Mahmoud Ahmed, Free Palestine Alliance–Chicago
– Richard Becker, Western Regional Coordinator, International Action Center; member of A.N.S.W.E.R. delegation to Palestine
– Gloria La Riva, President, Typographical Sector of the Northern Calif. Media Workers Union; National Committee to Free the Five Cuban Political Prisoners Held in the U.S. – Leslie Feinberg, author and lesbian/gay/bi/trans rights activist
– Brian Becker, International Action Center
– Renee Washington, volunteer organizer, All People’s Congress
– Doreathea Peacock, coordinator, Boston Women’s Fightback Network
– Sharon Ceci, Baltimore A.N.S.W.E.R.
– William Guerrero, IAC
– David Sole, Pres., Auto Workers Local 2334, Detroit
– Ed Childs, chief shop steward, Local 26 HERE (Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees), Boston
– Lyn Meza, Vice-President, IUE-CWA Local 201
– Mike Gimball, NYC AFSCME progressive caucus, local 375, delegate to NYC Central Labor Council
– Trudy Rudnick, organizer, AFT (American Federation of Teachers) Local 3882 in NY
– Andre Powell, trustee, AFSCME Local 119, Baltimore
– Dave Welsch, retired Vice-President, National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC)
– Andy Thayer, Chicago Coalition Against War & Racism
– Roger Wareham, Aug. 17 Millions for Reparations march
– Subash Kateel, DRUM (Desis Rising Up and Moving)
– Khadouri Al-Kaysi, Committee in Support of the Iraqi People
– Ismael Kamal, Sudanese American Society
– Deirdre Griswold, Workers World newspaper
– Peta Lindsay, youth and student coordinator, A.N.S.W.E.R.
– Daniel Keesler, student, School Without Walls high school
– Ayman El-Sawa, IAC
– Deirdre Sinnott, A.N.S.W.E.R. organizer
– Alicia Jrapko, Int’l Action Center–SF
– Cherrene Horavuk, CISPES (Committee in Support of the People of El Salvador)
– Bob Marsh, Iraq Sanctions Challenge
– SOA Watch representative
– Dan Wilson, Philippine Forum, Network in Solidarity with the People of the Philippines
– Tom Burke, Colombia Action Network
– Rebeca Toledo, Committee to Stop the U.S. War in Colombia
– John Parker, International Action Center–LA
International A.N.S.W.E.R., Act Now to Stop War & End Racism http://www.internationalanswer.org
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