LATEST MINUTES FROM NJ COALITION MEETING:
Just a quick update on what happened at the September 17th meeting of the NJ Coalition Against War on Iraq. We covered the following major areas:
1) White Paper -- The Coalition agreed to work on creating and releasing a White Paper sometime during the week of October 15th. The White Paper will focus on the whole pattern of lies and deceptions leading up to the invasion of Iraq. Madelyn Hoffman, Director of NJ Peace Action, will coordinate the efforts to write the White Paper. It was agreed that we would contact sympathetic professors to draft/review the White Paper. The Rev. Bob Moore, Director of the Coalition for Peace Action, agreed to coordinate logistics for the press conference. The press conference will be held in Trenton and will also be used to publicize the October 25th March on Washington, D.C.
2) October 25 -- We agreed to organize as many buses as possible to travel to Washington, D.C. on Saturday, October 25th. At the end of this e-mail is information about reserving a seat through NJ Peace Action. The Coalition for Peace Action is also arranging buses. For complete information about opportunities to take buses to Washington, D.C. please check out our website: nowarnj.org. We will bring our large NJ Coalition Against War on Iraq banner with us on the 25th and designate a meeting location for the NJ contingent, acknowledging that it is often very difficult to keep everyone together. However, it was agreed that we would try to coordinate our efforts once down in Washington, D.C.
3) Lobbying -- We agreed to lobby our Senators and members of Congress on the following issues:
a) unconditional opposition to the $87 billion supplemental the administration is seeking for on-going operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. The $87 billion breaks down in the following manner: $1 billion for "reconstruction" in Afghanistan; $20 billion for "reconstruction" in Iraq; $66 billion for military/intelligence/security in Iraq. We decided AGAINST endorsing the MoveOn.org petition drive, not because we don't support the firing of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and an end to the U.S. occupation, but because we wanted to make our opposition to the $87 billion supplemental UNCONDITIONAL.
b) support from our members of Congress and U.S. Senators for Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-CA)ís H.Res. 307 which creates a select committee to investigate the misuse of intelligence on Iraq and report its findings by October 2003. Peace Action favors this approach because a select committee would resurrect the congressional oversight function that Congress has largely abandoned on Iraq, restoring a balance between the executive and legislative branches of government. More importantly, a select committee is more accountable to the American people because Members of Congress selected to serve on the committee must answer to their constituents. As of August 12th, H.Res.307 had over 40 cosponsors, but not a single cosponsor from New Jersey!
c) opposition to U.S.A. Patriot Act II and repeal of U.S.A. Patriot Act I. Currently, some local organizations are working with the ACLU to initiate campaigns in their towns or counties to pass resolutions opposing U.S.A. Patriot Act I. If you are interested in obtaining any of the ACLU's materials -- sample resolutions or background documents -- please contact the NJ Peace Action office.
In addition, we have copies of sample petitions in opposition to Patriot Act I and also in support of S.1507 (Library, Bookseller, and Personal Records Privacy Act) and S. 1158 (Library, Bookseller Protection Act of 2003). These petitions are addressed to Senator Frank Lautenberg and specifically offer provisions which nullify Section 215 of the U.S.A. Patriot Act -- the provision which authorizes the FBI to secretly obtain bookstore and library records that reveal what books a person has purchased or read as well as records of what he or she has viewed on a library's computers. Please contact the NJ Peace Action office if you are interested in obtaining any of this information.
4) Mark your calendars for the 3rd Annual Peace Train, March and Rally on December 6th. Our theme this year will be "End the Occupation: Bring the Troops Home!" Last year, over 750 people marched in Newark and close to 1000 people participated in some part of the day's events. We urge people to begin their planning now and to let us know that you will be participating.
The basic timetable for events on that day will be as follows:
a. Local groups hold a press conference or rally at their local train station between 9:30am and 10:30am on Saturday, December 6th.
b. Local groups board a train that will bring them into Newark's Penn Station between 12:30pm and 1:00pm.
c. All groups hold a rally at Peter Francesca Park in Newark (diagonally across from Newark's Penn Station) between 1:00pm and 1:30pm.
d. Those gathered walk down Market Street in Newark, stopping on the sidewalk in front of Senator Corzine and Senator Lautenberg's offices at 1 Gateway.
e. Those gathered continue to walk down Market Street to Broad Street and walk to Newark's City Hall for a rally on the steps of City Hall.
NJ Peace Action will take care of obtaining permits.
In addition, the Central Jersey Coalition for Peace and Justice handed out a petition to Congress entitled "Bring the Troops Home Now! For more information about their campaign, please contact the NJ Peace Action office or visit the Central Jersey Coalition's website at http://www.NJpeace.org
The next meeting of the NJ Coalition Against War on Iraq will be on Wednesday night, October 15th at 7:30pm, location to be announced. Please stay tuned for updated information.
Thanks for all you do!
Director, NJ Peace Action
89 Walnut Street
Montclair, New Jersey 07042