Tattletales for an Open Society
Kindly add my name and the enclosed remarks to the fray. It seems to me that Mr. Ashcroft and others of the current administration are entirely too ready to trample on the freedoms enjoyed by our citizens, and thoughtful Americans should be outraged at what is happening in Washington.
I can be outspoken and in fact have a duty to be outraged at the actions of the Administration. These freedoms were bought and paid for by the blood of ordinary Americans who have served the nation in wartime.
I happen to fit in that group. I was a volunteer for the US Army Air Corps at age 18. I volunteered again when I answered the nation's call in 1948. I was an active paticipant in the Korean War, and was in the Vietnam War.
I'm almost 76 years of age now, but if needed will respond instantly.
GEORGE B JAMES JR.
Major, AUS, Retired
I am not an academic, yet I feel that I should include myself alongside those who have been included on your ACTA subversives list. My name is Frederick Gary Dyson and I work in the Health Industry as an administrator for several physicians. I chose to come to the USA in 1982 because of my desire to be able to speak and act in a free society that values liberty. I am a naturalized citizen (1987).
Over the last two years, and particularly since the announcement of the AG's plans and actions regarding the "war on terrorism", I have spoken out against the particular movement against individual liberties that has become more apparent since September 11.
In groups, over the Internet, in church classes, at work and with individuals I have expressed my love for America and the liberties granted to us, not by legislative fiat, but by the inspired Constitution. I have expressed my concern that there appears to be a movement towards reducing generally our protections under the First Amendment. I have also mentioned more particularly my perception that each individual who might agree with the need to stand and fight against terrorist acts but may disagree with the course undertaken by the Administration is in danger of being "dissappeared" as in the South/Central American "war against communist terrorists."
I am sure I can find some of my statements saved in the archives of discussion groups on the Internet, if you need them. I could also ask for affidavits from individuals and groups to whom I have spoken. Please let me know if you need more evidence against me.
Salt Lake City, Utah
I'm not a professional academician, and I'm a generally quiet person, but my friends and coworkers know me as a principled opponent of US military intervention in Grenada, Iraq and now Afghanistan.
As a fully participating consumer-worker-investor in the US economy I know that "money talks," and, following the example of our fine corporate citizens, exercise my right to this constitutionally protected form of speech as often as I can afford.
My numerous transgressions include over a decade of financial support of the American Civil Liberties Union; until we have a national ID card that includes a DNA sample for verifying my identity, my ACLU membership card will have to suffice. I also contribute to my alma mater, a fine liberal arts college that encourages critical thinking--thus I have indirect influence on the formation of young minds
Most recently, and of greatest concern to the ACTA, I donated my $300 tax refund that was he result of a foolhardy domestic policy to Help The Afghan Children Inc. (www.helptheafghanchildren.org), a small, independent humanitarian organization. To add insult to injury, I made this donation on the very same day that President Bush encouraged US children to send money for Afghan relief to a White House address.
Since it is unlikely that ACTA has the budget to monitor the classrooms of private high school teachers, I would like to fulfill my civic duty by reporting myself as one who has engaged in the apparently treasonous act of questioning the necessity and validity of the war in Afghanistan. Not only have I presented the pacifist point of view in a favorable light on a number of occasions, even going so far as to quote that villain among villains Mohandas K. Gandhi, but I have even questioned the motivations of our policy-makers in choosing a military response from among the available options at a time when our economy is suffering. I am a patriot, but I am one who believes that it is our civic duty to push our country in the right direction rather than simply rubber-stamping the bad decisions of our leaders. Hitting our children to teach them that hitting is wrong is a mistake that most parents have abandoned, yet we still need to learn this lesson on the national level. By doing what we are doing, we are reinforcing the idea that it is okay to be violent if you are "right," which justifies the violence of any group which believes in the rightness of its cause (and what group doesn't?). Violence begets violence in an endless cycle...only by dealing with terrorism in a civilized fashion will we be able to spread the civilized values we claim to cherish. If this type of speech is treasonous, I am guilty and deserving of punishment. I assure you, though, that these comments come only from a strong belief in the values which are at the foundation of our nation. I am an American, and I love America enough to tell her when she is wrong. It would be an honor to have my name added to your list.
BRAD NICHOLSON, teacher of history
Cheshire Academy, Cheshire, CT
Please add my name to the list of subversives, as my transgressions have been many. I'm afraid that I'm unable to provide dates for these activities, but a full accounting is in order.
I am a high school teacher in a self-contained classroom. After hearing news that the twin towers had been struck by an airplane my students and I watched with rapt interest the events unfolding before us. Even at that early date I counseled my students to be weary of any information that they were getting from the networks. I suggested that Osama bin Laden would almost certainly be named as the key suspect. I've spent many days addressing issues concerning military actions in Afghanistan, leading discussions in which I do not censure or stifle even the most "un-American" statements. I offer to my students information regarding the "war on terrorism" that they will not receive from newspapers or network/cable television. I instruct my students to question and remain critical of everything that they hear. I've also given a copy of the United States Constitution to each of my students and instructed them to weigh all political decisions against what they read in that document. This has lead to lively debates concerning the internment of hundreds of people without trial, military tribunals and the USA-Patriot Act.
Shortly after the attacks I submitted an article to our local newspaper in which I asked whether the United States would have the courage to do what's right and pursue a peaceful solution to the terrorist attacks. Of course, it was never printed. A later article was printed in which I defended the freedom of speech exercised by those who are against the war from a writer who stated that such people do not deserve the protection of the First Amendment. From the time of the attack until around December I've been involved in an e-mail debate with my brother, a supporter of the War on Terrorism. Many of my insights address the failures and the exploitative nature of American foreign policy in the world. I've even gone so far as to share these e-mails with friends and family.
Mostly, however, I do not seem to have learned from my actions. I intend to continue questioning and critiquing the official spin of the War on Terrorism. It is in this vein that I, Michael Andoscia, MA, respectfully request placement on ACTA's list of subversives. Thank you for your attention in this matter.
MICHAEL ANDOSCIA, teacher
Educational Enrichment Center, Fort Myers, FL
The American Council of Trustees and Alumni McCarthyite attack on professors as the "weak link" in the war on terrorism is an utter disgrace. We need more, not less, questioning of the government's policies--especially in the nation's classrooms--and ACTA's effort to curb this smacks of a form of tyranny.
Frankly, Ms. Cheney's role in this is to be expected, given her right-wing political views. But Senator Lieberman, a professed thoughtful Senator, owes us an apology for being part of a runaway, self-appointed group of anti-intellectuals and political "Talibans."
I am only sorry that I did not know in advance of Professor Sherwin's letter so that I might have affixed my signature to it. Meanwhile, I stand with him, and invite Ms. Cheney or Senator Lieberman to come to my classes at any time to listen to my questions about past and present nature of US foreign policy.
ARNOLD A. OFFNER
Cornelia F. Hugel Professor of History, Lafayette College