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Published on Wednesday, November 28, 2001
Ari the Evader by Russell Mokhiber...
Ari & I
White House Press Briefing with Ari Fleischer
Wednesday, November 28, 2001 2:30 PM
by Russell Mokhiber
  Mokhiber: Ari, two questions.

A group of family members of victims of September 11 are marching this week from the Pentagon to New York to protest the war. They were here on Monday in front of the White House.

One of them is Amber Amundson, who is the 28-year old widow of Craig Amundson, who died at the Pentagon.

She wrote a letter to the President in which she said:

"When we buried my husband, an American flag was laid over his casket. My children believe the American flag represents their dad. Please let that representation be one of love, peace and forgiveness. I am begging you for the sake of humanity and my children to stop killing. Please find a non-violent way to bring justice to this world."

They want to meet with the President. Is the President willing to meet with them?

Ari Fleischer: Russ, you asked me a similar question about a month ago about the same family. If there is any meeting, I will of course keep you posted -- about any meetings that the President has.

The President and I think most Americans understand that the purpose of this campaign is to save lives, not to take lives. That's why the President is so determined to defend our country.

He also is very respectful from the messages he has received from these families. He understands their thoughts that are heartfelt. He understands them, he respects them, he differs.

He believes that this mission is saving lives.

Mokhiber: Second question.

In the New York Times, William Safire charges that the President has seized dictatorial power by replacing the rule of law with military kangaroo courts that can conceal evidence, make its own rules, and execute the accused with no review by a civilian court. He says these are similar to courts in the Soviet Union and the current Communist China.

In your view, how are they different from those kangaroo courts?

Ari Fleischer: The President obviously completely disagrees and so too do many people who take a look at this issue. And I dare say, based on something I heard on National Public Radio this morning, so too do an overwhelming number of Americans disagree with that assessment.

So, the President, as I've told you before, and you've heard it from the President himself, believes it is a helpful option to preserve this right to have a military tribunal, just as Franklin Delano Roosevelt did in World War II, for those cases where the President thinks it will help again to protect lives, to protect jurors, and to maintain the need of the government to have secrets as the campaign against terrorism is carried out.

Any information that would be brought to light at trial, for those cases of people that are deemed to be terrorists.



-Thanks to Russell Mokhiber

White House reporter Russell Mokhiber is the editor of the Washington, D.C.-based Corporate Crime Reporter - He co-authors the weekly Focus on the Corporation column with Robert Weissman which Common Dreams publishes. He can be reached at:


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