Betreff: Protecting Whistleblowers, Roe v. Wade, and more
Von: ACLU Online
Datum: Thu, 27 Jan 2005 14:12:28 GMT

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In This Issue

ACLU Leads Efforts to Stop Government Silencing of Whistleblowers

Info Uncovered in ACLU Torture FOIA Case Continues to Make Headlines

High Court Affirms That Government Cannot Indefinitely Detain Mariel Cubans

On the Anniversary of Roe v. Wade the ACLU Asks "Whose Moral Values?"

Federal Judge Orders Georgia School District to Remove Evolution Disclaimers


Refuse to Surrender Campaign - A Resounding Success

Baltimore Sun Profiles ACLU Clients

ACLU Sponsors Lewis Black Performance

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Refuse to Surrender Campaign – A Resounding Success
>From November to January, more than 90,000 people took the ACLU's "I Refuse to Surrender My Freedom" pledge. The pledge campaign was a resounding success, helping to build the reach of the ACLU's online advocacy program by attracting over 50,000 new participants to the ACLU's Action network. If you took the time to take the pledge or were one of the thousands of people who asked their friends to take the pledge, thank you!

There's still time to get involved. On Inauguration Day, President Bush vowed "to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." You can help the ACLU hold the President accountable to his oath by telling your Senators and Representatives: "I Refuse to Surrender My Freedom."

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Baltimore Sun Profiles ACLU Clients
In July, Nigel Simon and Alvin Williams became one of nine gay couples challenging the Maryland law that bars same-sex marriage. The plaintiffs are represented by the ACLU, which is working with the advocacy group Equality Maryland to educate the public and organize political support for the lawsuit.

The Baltimore Sun recently ran a story about Nigel Simon and Alvin Williams' story and the ACLU's efforts to overturn the Maryland same-sex marriage ban. You can find the complete story here. **New users will have to register to read the article - registration is free.**

ACLU Sponsors Lewis Black Performance

This Saturday, January 29, 2005, the ACLU is proud to sponsor a sold-out performance by comedian Lewis Black at San Francisco's Warfield Theater. A regular on Comedy Central's "Daily Show with Jon Stewart," Black performs hundreds of shows a year on college campuses nationwide, including a sold-out show in November at Ohio State University for the ACLU's 2004 College Tour: Stand Up for Freedom.

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Jan 27, 2005 

Refuse to Surrender Your Freedom: Take action to hold the President to his oath of office.

The ACLU believes that government employees who risk their careers to expose deception and misconduct are true American patriots, and is reaching out to national security whistleblowers across the country.

On Wednesday, together with the ACLU, an unprecedented group of national security whistleblowers and family members of 9/11 victims gathered to demand that the government stop silencing employees who expose national security blunders, and called on Congress to investigate the government's actions against them.

"The government is taking extreme steps to shield itself from political embarrassment while gambling with our safety," said Ann Beeson, Associate Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union. "The government has fired whistleblowers, retroactively classified public information and used special privileges not to protect us but to cover-up mistakes."

The ACLU is urging the D.C. Court of Appeals to reinstate the case of Sibel Edmonds, a former FBI translator who was fired in retaliation for repeatedly reporting serious security breaches and misconduct in the agency's translation program. Fourteen 9/11 family member advocacy groups and public interest organizations filed a friend-of-the-court brief this month in support of Edmonds. Many of them joined her Wednesday at a news conference in Washington, along with national security whistleblowers Michael German, Coleen Rowley, Manny Johnson, Robert Woo, Ray McGovern, Mel Goodman and Bogdan Dzakovic, among others.

Read more about the ACLU’s efforts.

The ACLU has set up a complaint form for whistleblowers who feel they have been retaliated against for exposing misconduct or corruption, the form can be found online here.

Investigative files released on Monday, January 24th by the American Civil Liberties Union suggest that the Army failed to aggressively investigate allegations of detainee abuse. Some of the investigations concern serious allegations of torture including electric shocks, forced sodomy and severe physical beatings.

"Government investigations into allegations of torture and abuse have been woefully inadequate," said ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero. "Some of the investigations have basically whitewashed the torture and abuse. The documents that the ACLU has obtained tell a damning story of widespread torture reaching well beyond the walls of Abu Ghraib."

The release of these documents follows a federal court order that directed the Defense Department and other government agencies to comply with a year-old request under the Freedom of Information Act filed by the ACLU, the Center for Constitutional Rights, Physicians for Human Rights, Veterans for Common Sense and Veterans for Peace. The New York Civil Liberties Union is co-counsel in the case.

Find the full ACLU press release on this story here.

Read the New York Times story on these latest revelations. **New users will have to register to read the article - registration is free.**

Take Action! The ACLU is continuing to press the government to disclose more documents and will return to court if necessary to ensure that all relevant documents are released.

Urge your senators to oppose voting on the nomination of Alberto Gonzales until the Bush Administration agrees to full disclosure of torture-related documents and Gonzales commits to appoint an outside special counsel to investigate the use of torture and relevant policies.

Click here for more information and to take action!

The Supreme Court ruled 7-2 on January 12, 2005 that the government violated the law by indefinitely detaining "Mariel" Cubans who cannot be deported because Cuba will not allow their return.

"Once again, the Court has rebuked the administration for claiming the authority to indefinitely imprison immigrants," said Judy Rabinovitz, a senior staff attorney with the ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project and an author of the ACLU's friend-of-the-court brief who has successfully argued against such policies in the lower courts. "Today's ruling is a vindication of the ACLU's position that the government has been violating immigrants' rights in disregard of the Supreme Court's 2001 decision prohibiting indefinite detention."

Find out more about the Supreme Court's ruling.

Following one of the closest and most contentious elections in recent memory, pundits across the country identified "moral values" as the social fault line dividing America. Two and half months later, as President Bush begins his second term and as we celebrate the 32nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade - the landmark Supreme Court decision recognizing abortion as largely a private matter - we would do well to revisit the question of abortion and more broadly of women's reproductive health care and ask, "Whose moral values?" For just as reproductive health care is much broader than abortion, the assaults on reproductive rights reach far and wide and play no part in a moral nation.

Read the full essay by Louise Melling, Director of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project.

A federal judge recently ruled that placing disclaimer stickers warning that evolution is "a theory, not a fact" in public school science textbooks is an unconstitutional government intrusion on religious liberty.

The ruling comes in response to a lawsuit against the Cobb County School District brought by the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia on behalf of five local parents. The parents argued that the disclaimer stickers would send the message to their children that they should reject the scientific theory of evolution in favor of religious viewpoints on origin.

"The school district gave evolution second-class status among all scientific theories and, at the same time, gave advantage to a specific religious viewpoint that rejects evolution," said Maggie Garrett, an ACLU of Georgia staff attorney who argued the case.

Read more about the Georgia school district case.

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