Steve G.

Posts Tagged ‘Torture’

The Audacity of Hoping for Change: Barack Obama’s Broken Promises to America

In Barack Obama, Civil Liberties, Corruption, Democrats, Libertarian, Libertarian Politics, Media, Politics, Republican, War on June 15, 2010 at 11:16 pm

This article was written almost a year ago. I have not added to it or expanded on my concerns. I think that anyone who reads this can themselves think of the President’s stance on issues, his lack of actual leadership, his failures over the year and a half to give us any hope that things will be better by November, 2012.

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On March 26 [2009], only two months after Barack Obama had been sworn in as President, I wrote and posted an article on “Constitutional Oaths“. I also sent an email message to friends and family about the article with this message:

 “I proudly voted for Barack Obama for President of the United States. I never thought that I would so soon think that impeachment for violation of his Constitutional Oath of Office should be discussed. I feel sick and ashamed of my country.

https://lastfreevoice.wordpress.com/2010/01/30/constitutional-oaths-and-a-plea-to-president-obama-2/ 

“Right now I am feeling that there is no point in continuing giving a damn about any of it. I am about ready to unplug my TV, turn off my computer, crawl into my dark room and only come out to get a book, relieve myself and maybe eat. Our national evil has now passed to ANOTHER administration and I don’t know if I can take it.

“I do NOT want anyone to call me or pester me about talking about this. My own words in the past and the news are very clear and speak for themselves. I am tired and I literally want to vomit. I don’t think that this bridge can be unburned. Now, I just want the whole thing to collapse and get it over with. I am still waiting for that meteor to land on me and save me from all of it.

Yes, that was me back in March [2009], when I first believed it might be appropriate to investigate whether or not Obama should be impeached. Not for some far-right extremists cries for his head for any and everything he does… for even simply existing and holding the office of President; not for some lunatic conspiracy theories but rather for legitimate constitutional reasons. Was I the first Obama supporter to raise the issue of impeachment? I personally believe that when a candidate makes campaign promises they are creating an oral contractual agreement with their constituents… “You elect me and I will DO these things, and / or make my best EFFORT to accomlish these goals“. They don’t necessarily have to SUCCEED at what they promised but they DO have to at least fight for those things. I said in the 1990s that those Republicans who signed the ‘Contract With America‘ should have had class action lawsuits filed against them for BREACH of Contract. Until we hold our politicians accountable for what they say to us when they are running for office, what is their motivation to change their relationship with those that they ask for their votes?

I was watching The Daily Show tonight (because both Countdown and The Rachel Maddow Show were supplanted with non-stop crap about the death of Michael Jackson… big deal… NOT news) and Jon Stewart was talking about how Obama, a former teacher of Constitutional Law, thinks that it is appropriate to block access to information about Dick Cheney because HE MIGHT BE MADE FUN OF. (http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/thu-june-25-2009/cheney-predacted) After that, Stephen Colbert did his Word of the Day segment about Obama’s failure to keep promises that he made on gay issues… and his latest is being done almost exactly 40 years after New York’s Stonewall riots.  (http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/232014/june-25-2009/the-word—stonewalling)

I was going to list categories of Obama’s broken promises (on government transparency, on the ‘war’, on Guantanamo, on torture, abortion rights, on pretty much everything) but it would already fill a book to try to do so. Instead, I copied links to legitimate news stories (mostly, if not all, from the left or neutral positions). These stories are NOT by Obama haters. They are by people who supported him and are feeling betrayed or by neutral news sources. Here are some of them so that you can read them for yourselves:

 http://www.alternet.org/story/140507/obama’s_broken_promises/

 http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2009/06/06/sirota/

 http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/

 http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hRdIJDxVpdhYoXnxKGfPOn8lZJKAD991TH9O0

http://promises.nationaljournal.com/

http://www.democracynow.org/2009/6/17/despite_campaign_promises_president_obama_adopts

http://www.suntimes.com/news/sweet/1548444,obama-100-days-promises-kept-broken-042909.article

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=91286

http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2009/05/15/1933734.aspx

http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/election/1129-obamas-broken-promises-openness-ending-military-commissions

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0609/23915.html

Now, I want to take a slight shift here and lecture to those on the far right, the conservative extremists who hate Obama and would no matter what he does… especially Fox News and Rush Limbaugh. You have already made yourselves irrelevant to any but those who already agree with you. You spent eight years with your nose shoved up George Bush’s ass and, no matter what he did, you defended him. The problem with news in America is NOT bias. Bias itself is not bad… as long as it comes with honesty. I do not watch Kieth Olbermann because I agree with what he says. I watch Keith Olbermann because when he makes an attack on someone he backs it up with verifiable documentation as to when something happened, and what the context is. I would watch a conservative Olbermann as well, if there were one, but there isn’t. The far right media long ago abandoned honesty and integrity when they were on the side of those in power. Because of HOW they tried to defend Bush and attack his critics, they cannot be accepted as legitimate voices of opposition now. Opposition is NOT about blindy attacking who or what you hate, it is about journalistically showing why your opposition is valid. It is also about supporting what someone you are in opposition to does that is acceptable and ONLY attacking them when they are legitimately in the wrong. The far right has no concept of how to fulfill the necessary role of ‘loyal opposition’ so they simply attack blindly and maliciously in the simple hope of hurting… someone. What they don’t see is that they don’t have to make up ANYTHING because there are so many legitimate and supportable reasons to attack that all they are doing is showing how devoid of integrity or intelligence THEY are. All they have to do is investigate and tell the stories that they can back up and let the rest go.

I know that it is a mantra of the far right to hate Olbermann and the “liberal media“, but he backs his attacks up with who, what, where, when, why, and how… he gives names, dates and places to allow us, his viewers to verify what he is reporting to us.. The other thing that the far right misses is that most journalist on the left will not cover up for the side that they support when it is in the wrong. When Obama screws us all, the legitimate media which supported him will also openly and publicly denounce him when he is wrong. IT ISN’T ABOUT BIAS, IT IS ABOUT HONESTY!

I voted for Barack Obama as President. I did what I don’t do… I trusted a politician… and I trusted the Democratic Party to actually change things and push hard to the left in order to shift American back to the middle. I was not wrong to vote as I did. I voted for who I believed would be best as President. I voted for who I was willing to take a chance on but, unlike most people I know on the far right, I am intellectually honest enough that I will say when the emperor has no clothes… even the emperor I supported. The are many things that make politics in America the shame it is. One of them is when people put their own personal egos above honesty about those they support. What is important now is NOT how those who were in opposition to Obama criticize him, it is how those of us who supported him criticize him.

I could probably go forever about this but if my point hasn’t already been made and understood, more words won’t change that. To anyone who wants to comment on this article, this is NOT a forum for hit-and-run drive-by comments from the left OR the right. I don’t want to hear from anyone on the right making blanket attacks or smears saying that “lefties” or “libs / liberals” or “Democrats” are ALL like something and neither do I want to hear anyone from the left making blanket attacks saying that “right wingers” or “conservative nuts jobs” or “Republicans / Repubs” are all like something. I don’t want to hear anyone from either side making some ‘clever’ play on words, like “Repukes” to describe the other side. America needs both liberals AND conservative, Republicans AND Democrats. It isn’t whole sides who are to blame, it is specific, usually extremist ends of different ideologies that are what most people REALLY hate. And don’t attack those you disagree with JUST BECAUSE you disagree with them, attack or mock someone for being a moron, for writing something stupid that they can’t document or support. It is much more effective to challenge someone to prove what they make claims about that it is to just hate them. So, talk about specific promises he has broken or WHY you think it is good or bad that he broke a specific one; talk about the law and The Constitution; talk about… God, just talk like you have a God-damned brain in that head of yours.

Rhys M. Blavier

Romayor, Texas

“Truth, Justice and Honor… but, above all, Honor”

© Copyright 2009 by Rhys M. Blavier

Israel’s Biggest Theft of all Time.

In Children, Human Rights Abuses, Libertarian, Middle East, Minorities, Taxation, Terrorism, Torture, US Government, War on July 16, 2009 at 5:50 pm

I would like to start this by pointing out that when I refer to “Israel” in this piece. I am not referring directly to the people of Israel. I am referring to their government which acts in their name. Just like the American government spreads war around the world with the tax money they coerce out of me, Israel spreads war, death, poverty, inhumanity, and famine within throwing distance of it’s own inhabitants. Even though you might be an Israeli who does not care about the Palestinians or anything about them, please understand that this very second your government is actively killing, harassing, provoking, and starving these people who have a 60%+ unemployment rate in the territory they live in. They cannot rebuild from the last war with Israel because they cannot ship in basic building materials. They cannot seek good health care because Israel has damaged the biggest hospitals in Gaza. Palestinians have no certainty that they will still own the land they live on for any long period of time because of Israel’s illegal settlements that continue to spring up. The worst part of this situation is the theft of time. Palestinians must endure dozens of checkpoints which slow travel time and create hassles for these people on a daily basis.

I don’t think that I have to explain that ‘time’ is the most valuable resource. You can never get it back. It’s one of the most personal things you have. When man invests time into something then part of it becomes his. Time and effort have created all of the buildings and machines that make modern life possible. However, time is an extremely limited and valuable resource. Some spend it carelessly and achieve little in their lives. Some have it stolen through untimely death or imprisonment. Some try to maximize their time and create things to increase the efficiency and speed of the task they are trying to accomplish so that they will not have to spend excess time. Most people have a job or a trade that they do everyday. Your job is a trade-off of your time for money. When time is spent well then you can use it to enhance the life of yourself and your family. When your time is stolen then your death has come a few steps closer, but you take no steps toward your goals. Ultimately the theft of one’s time degrades their legacy.

This is the travesty that is performed by Israel and other governments everyday millions of times over.

I believe that the senseless death and destruction that Israel perpetrates daily can be broken down in to the amount of time and effort they destroy everyday. Every building they destroy in Gaza is the destruction of many people’s efforts. Every time they make a Palestinian wait hours at a checkpoint to go a few miles then they steal some of that Palestinian’s time. The theft is even more deplorable when kill and torture people at these checkpoints. Sometimes people are detained and strip-searched without reason. Young men are beaten without reason. After one is beaten or tortured then more time is stolen from that individual because they have to recuperate. Time is stolen when Palestinians are denied medical care in better Israeli hospitals. Some people die an untimely death because they did not have adequate medical care. Why would this situation be Israel’s fault? Because they destroy the hospitals that would enable the Palestinians to give themselves proper medical treatment.

However this is a double bladed sword. They also waste the time of the Israeli people by keeping the illegal occupation of the Palestinian territories going. The men who enlist for the Israeli military waste their time occupying lands and harassing people who pose no threat to them. Israeli generals and bureaucrats pass down the orders that ensure conflict with the Palestinians. Israeli people die as a result of their government’s negligence. Israeli people who live in the settlements stay armed because they stay on land stolen from Palestinians. It’s land that they did not cultivate or plow. It’s land that their family did not grow up farming. Olive groves that could have provided food have been destroyed for illegal settlements. This situation  creates a blackhole that consumes the time of all the parties involved. This blackhole is controlled by Israeli officials who have never seen the bullets and carnage that they create. However they too are trying to make efficient use of their time and efforts. As long as they have radical neighbors then America stays motivated to keep money and weapons flowing to them. Israeli generals and bureaucrats keep fat pockets at the expense of their military personnel, the Israeli people, and the Palestinians.

Apparently the Israeli officials who makes these policies believe that their time is more important than their people’s and the Palestinian people’s time (and lives)…

Peace…

Why Taxes Enslave… Period.

In Austrian Economics, Civil Liberties, Constitutional Rights, Economics, Human Rights Abuses, Law, Libertarian, Taxation, Terrorism, Torture, US Government, War on June 22, 2009 at 3:22 pm

I often find myself in discussions with people. People who insist that the state is their best friend. People who believe that waging mass murder on the rest of the world is keeping us safe. People who believe that being a serviceman/woman does still serve the good of the world. People who believe that our support for the state is necessary for our well being and that of the world at large. Some people cannot be broken out of this infinitely flawed view. Some of these are the same people who can’t see that capitalism is not the culprit of the current economic crisis or that the same issues that caused alcohol prohibition to fail will be the same causes that make the “War on Drugs” fail.

Oddly, these same people are the ones who’ve never heard of the torture that we carry out at Guantanamo and other “black sights” around the world. They’ve never heard of the illegal detention and kidnapping of people around the world who were tortured, in some cases, and never had the chance to file for grievances with their captors. The daily killings of civilians in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan somehow escape their world view. What do these things have in common? The killing, detentions, torture, economic crises, and their continuation are made possible by you and I. Our tax money has not only turned life into a living HELL for other foreign people but it has also enabled the state to use our money to crack down on us. Taser’s, tanks, pistols, missiles, jets, and aircraft carriers are all bought and built with our money.

The money coerced out of me and you not only has resounding macro effects but it also has micro effects like the police state here in the US. Woman, children, and the disabled are being assaulted by cops who are paid by the very people they violate. How else can this occur other than in a state run system. Imagine a company who routinely violates it’s customers. This could not occur in a purely Free Market society because the victimized customers would quickly switch to the competitor and the aforementioned company would suffer great loses and possibly go out of business. Instead we are stuck with a system where the state has a monopoly on security which means that they can treat us any way they want without the risk of losing income. Other municipal systems operate this way too. Instead of water systems finding ways to maximize their water output or conserve they simply cut off water to their customers because they can. Of course in a free market one would be able to switch water companies or other technologies would be created to acquire water in other ways to keep water providers afloat.

So, as I’ve shown above taxes not only fuel wars, torture, monopoly’s, police states, and the war machine, but there are also many indirect consequences. For example the unlawful detention and torture of civilians in other countries creates resentment and hatred for the occupying power. When people are killed then you have others who want revenge against the occupying power (or invader) who committed the atrocity. As a result more enemies are created against the state (who took it’s people’s money (taxes) and used it to create war and mass murder in the foreign land). Some foreigners will want to take revenge on the people who enabled the occupying or invading state to carry out the attacks that killed their loved ones. The attacks that these people carry out in the homeland of the occupying/invading force will in turn be used by that occupying/invading force to justify it’s interventions in foreign countries and might be used to expand these operations. As a result more and more people are hostile toward the occupying/invading country. As a result the occupying/invading state is forced to crackdown more and more on it’s people to stem any attacks that might be carried out by it’s foreign enemies. Thus, the people who enabled their state to take their money for “security” are eventually the ones who the state has to keep itself safe from.

However, this is just one facet of the enslavement that taxes enable. The other facet is one that undermines private property. Certain things like your labor or property (that is acquired from another party) have nothing to do with the state yet they find it appropriate to come in and tax these things. The state has never owned or contributed to 100% of the property in it’s borders so how can it claim to be owed a taxes for 100% it’s use? Likewise, how can the state claim to have a stake in the income you receive from your job? Your labor never belonged to the state so how can they tax you when you trade it for private income (at your job)? The fact that you are taxed in these two ways means that the state feels that it owns us. You can never truly own private property because you must always pay taxes on it or the state will take it. Likewise, if you do not pay income taxes, even though they never owned the money or your labor, they will either take some of your money (a fine) or your time and labor (prison time). Does this sound like an entity “that’s for and by the people”? NO!

In-other-words the state makes freedom impossible for others and it’s own people. The state claims the right to wage mass murder in it’s people’s name while simultaneously taking it’s people’s rights. It creates monopoly’s in certain markets and undermines capitalism. It claims to provide security while being the biggest threat to it. It takes people’s money and converts it into death and destruction on foreign countries. It claims to own everything. It claims to be accountable to nobody.

Peace…

America… Spearheading the New Dark Age.

In Barack Obama, Civil Liberties, George Bush, Guantanamo, Human Rights Abuses, Iran, Iraq War, Libertarian, Middle East, Politics, Terrorism, Torture, US Government on June 1, 2009 at 1:34 am

I guess all of us should be happy to be alive during such interesting times as these. We have the internet, books, videos, and rapid dissemination of knowledge everywhere in the world almost instantly. We are alive when books like “1984” have been written where slavery is outlined, yet we still seem to be enslaved. In America and many other countries in the world our governments coerce our money (that we earned with our own personal time) out of us to commit atrocities around the world. Waterboarding, electric torture, torture of children, mass murder, torture with insects, torture with razors, kidnapping of innocent people without warrant, spying on military personnel on the phone with their wives overseas, and systematic beatings of detainees for no reason are just a few things that our “civilized” society engages in on a daily basis. It reminds me of historical accounts where people were tortured in medieval times for their crimes. It also reminds me of the witch trials where woman were tortured until they said that they were witches.

It seems that it only took one terrorist attack to plunge most of the Western World 300 years into the past.

I just wanted to outline a few recent atrocities that came to light in a recent article on AntiWar.com. The article is located here and it talks about a few instances of torture that have occurred in Guantanamo some of which have even occurred after Obama took office. The article outlines such outrages as smearing another inmate’s feces on an inmate’s face, shooting a high pressure water hose up a detainee’s nose, slamming detainee’s faces on concrete, the intentional breaking of noses and other appendages, shoving people’s faces into toilets and flushing them repeatedly, sexual assault, and deliberate cover-ups.

Here are a few excerpts below:

…When an IRF team is called in, its members are dressed in full riot gear, which some prisoners and their attorneys have compared to “Darth Vader” suits. Each officer is assigned a body part of the prisoner to restrain: head, right arm, left arm, left leg, right leg…

…IRF teams in effect operate at Guantánamo as an extrajudicial terror squad that has regularly brutalized prisoners outside of the interrogation room, gang beating them, forcing their heads into toilets, breaking bones, gouging their eyes, squeezing their testicles, urinating on a prisoner’s head, banging their heads on concrete floors and hog-tying them – sometimes leaving prisoners tied in excruciating positions for hours on end…

…Up to 15 people attempted to commit suicide at Camp Delta due to the abuses of the IRF officials…

…After 9/11, Deghayes was detained in Lahore, Pakistan, for a month, where he allegedly was subjected to “systematic beatings” and “electric shocks done with a tool that looked like a small gun…One day they took me to a room that had very large snakes in glass boxes. The room was all painted black-and-white, with dim lights. They threatened to leave me there and let the snakes out with me in the room. This really got to me, as there were such sick people that they must have had this room specially made…

…Deghayes was eventually moved to Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, where he was beaten and “kept nude, as part of the process of humiliation due to his religion.” U.S. personnel placed Deghayes “inside a closed box with a lock and limited air.” He also described seeing U.S. guards sodomize an African prisoner and alleged guards “forced petrol and benzene up the anuses of the prisoners.”…

…The IRF team sprayed Mr. Deghayes with mace; they threw him in the air and let him fall on his face … ” according to the Spanish investigation. Deghayes says he also endured a “sexual attack.” In March 2004, after being “sprayed in the eyes with mace,” Deghayes says authorities refused to provide him with medical attention, causing him to permanently lose sight in his right eye…

…On one of the ERF-ing incidents where Omar was abused, the officer in charge himself came into the cell with the feces of another prisoners [sic] and smeared it onto Omar’s face. While some prisoners had thrown feces at the abusive guards, Omar had always emphatically refused to sink to this level. The experience was one of the most disgusting in Omar’s life…

…The ERF team came into the cell with a water hose under very high pressure. He was totally shackled, and they would hold his head fixed still. They would force water up his nose until he was suffocating and would scream for them to stop. This was done with medical staff present, and they would join in. Omar is particularly affected by the fact that there was one nurse who “had been very beautiful and kind” to him to [sic] took part in the process. This happened three times…

…David Hicks, an Australian citizen held at Guantánamo, said in a sworn affidavit, “I have witnessed the activities of the [IRF], which consists of a squad of soldiers that enter a detainee’s cell and brutalize him with the aid of an attack dog … I have seen detainees suffer serious injuries as a result of being IRF’ed. I have seen detainees IRF’ed while they were praying, or for refusing medication…

The officer Smith was the MP sergeant who was punching him. He grabbed his head with one hand and with the other hand punched him repeatedly in the face. His nose was broken. He pushed his face, and he smashed it into the concrete floor. All of this should be on video. There was blood everywhere. When they took him out, they hosed the cell down and the water ran red with blood. We all saw it…

According to attorney Julia Tarver, one of her clients, Yousef al-Shehri, had a tube inserted with “one [IRF member] holding his chin while the other held him back by his hair, and a medical staff member forcibly inserted the tube in his nose and down his throat” and into his stomach. “No anesthesia or sedative was provided to alleviate the obvious trauma of the procedure.” Tarver said this method caused al-Shehri and others to vomit “substantial amounts of blood…

…According to Tarver, “Nasal gastric (NG) tubes [were removed] by placing a foot on one end of the tube and yanking the detainee’s head back by his hair, causing the tube to be painfully ejected from the detainee’s nose. Then, in front of the Guantanamo physicians … the guards took NG tubes from one detainee, and with no sanitization whatsoever, reinserted it into the nose of a different detainee. When these tubes were reinserted, the detainees could see the blood and stomach bile from the other detainees remaining on the tubes.” Medical staff, according to Tarver, made no effort to intervene…

…In January 2003, Sgt. Sean Baker was ordered to participate in an IRF training drill at Guantánamo where he would play the role of an uncooperative prisoner. Sgt. Baker says he was ordered by his superior to take off his military uniform and put on an orange jumpsuit like those worn by prisoners. He was told to yell out the code word “red” if the situation became unbearable, or he wanted his fellow soldiers to stop… They grabbed my arms, my legs, twisted me up and, unfortunately, one of the individuals got up on my back from behind and put pressure down on me while I was face down. Then he – the same individual – reached around and began to choke me and press my head down against the steel floor. After several seconds, 20 to 30 seconds, it seemed like an eternity because I couldn’t breathe. When I couldn’t breathe, I began to panic and I gave the code word I was supposed to give to stop the exercise, which was ‘red.’ … That individual slammed my head against the floor and continued to choke me. Somehow I got enough air. I muttered out: ‘I’m a U.S. Soldier. I’m a U.S. Soldier.’…

While the dominant media coverage of the U.S. torture apparatus has portrayed these tactics as part of a “Bush era” system that Obama has now ended, when it comes to the IRF teams, that is simply not true. “[D]etainees live in constant fear of physical violence. Frequent attacks by IRF teams heighten this anxiety and reinforce that violence can be inflicted by the guards at any moment for any perceived infraction, or sometimes without provocation or explanation,” according to CCR…

…In another incident after Obama’s inauguration, prisoner Khan Tumani began smearing excrement on the walls of his cell to protest his treatment. According to his lawyer, when he “did not clean up the excrement, a large IRF team of 10 guards was ordered to his cell and beat him severely. The guards sprayed so much tear gas or other noxious substance after the beating that it made at least one of the guards vomit. Mr. Khan Tumani’s skin was still red and burning from the gas days later…

http://original.antiwar.com/scahill/2009/05/16/obama-thug-squad-brutalizing-prisoners-at-gitmo/

Do these sound like the acts of a “Shining City on a Hill”? Do these sound like the acts of “The Leader of the Free World”? No, they don’t. They sound like the acts of a barbarous empire drunk on it’s own power. It sounds like people who have no respect for human life. Imagine the hopelessness that these people in Guantanamo and other black locations feel. They are stuck  torture dungeons unable to die or live. Merely a piece of meat kept alive for reason’s unbeknown to anybody. Your captors will never let you go and you will never have a chance to defend yourself in a court. You can be tortured at any time for no reason. You may never see your family or your wife again, and the worst part is that most of these men have never done anything wrong.

Is this the way you want you’re tax money to be spent? You want the money stolen from you to pay torturer’s and killers? Then stand up and let someone else know how their money is being spent. Don’t be apathetic. Don’t be complicit is the destruction of life at CIA black sites.

Peace…

Torture by any other name….

In Civil Liberties, Crime, History, Human Rights Abuses, Iraq War, Libertarian, Terrorism, Torture, US Government, War on May 17, 2009 at 10:14 pm

The April 19th edition of the New York Times Scott Shane summarizes the now infamous 2005 CIA memo on torture. Abu Zubaydah and Khalid Shaikh Mohammed were between the two of them waterboarded 266 times. Am I the only one who’s outraged by this? The same article conceeds:

A former C.I.A. officer, John Kiriakou, told ABC News and other news media organizations in 2007 that Abu Zubaydah had undergone waterboarding for only 35 seconds before agreeing to tell everything he knew.

So why the need to waterboard him after he confessed in the first 35 seconds? Why should he have been tortured in the first place? For a possible answer, three points:  first, a brief history of this form of torture; second, the effects of  torture on the human body; third, a look at how other countries have used and finally, some thoughts on why this issue doesn’t bother Americans.

Waterboarding has had many names over the many centuries that it has been used. A variation of it was used in the Spanish Inquisition under the name “toca“:

“The toca, also called tortura del agua, consisted of introducing a cloth into the mouth of the victim, and forcing them to ingest water spilled from a jar so that they had the impression of drowning”.William Schweiker claims that the use of water as a form of torture also had profound religious significance to the Inquisitors.”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waterboarding

The Dutch East India company used a variation of it as well. Pay special attention to the physical affects it had on the victim:

…Agents of the Dutch East India Company used a precursor to waterboarding during the Amboyna massacre, which took place on the island of Amboyna in the Molucca Islands in 1623. At that time, it consisted of wrapping cloth around the victim’s head, after which the torturers “poured the water softly upon his head until the cloth was full, up to the mouth and nostrils, and somewhat higher, so that he could not draw breath but he must suck in all the water”. In one case, the torturer applied water three or four times successively until the victim’s “body was swollen twice or thrice as big as before, his cheeks like great bladders, and his eyes staring and strutting out beyond his forehead”…

This next instance occured in more recent times in 1852 at Sing Sing prison:

…’hydropathic torture.’ The stream of water is about one inch in diameter, and falls from a hight [sic] of seven or eight feet. The head of the patient is retained in its place by means of a board clasping the neck; the effect of which is, that the water, striking upon the board, rebounds into the mouth and nostrils of the victim, almost producing strangulation. Congestion, sometimes of the heart or lungs, sometimes of the brain, not unfrequently [sic] ensues; and death, in due season, has released some sufferers from the further ordeal of the water cure…

And again in WWII by the “Evil Axis Powers”:

…During World War II both Japanese troops, especially the Kempeitai, and the officers of the Gestapo,[66] the German secret police, used waterboarding as a method of torture. During the Japanese occupation of Singapore the Double Tenth Incident occurred. This included waterboarding, by the method of binding or holding down the victim on his back, placing a cloth over his mouth and nose, and pouring water onto the cloth. In this version, interrogation continued during the torture, with the interrogators beating the victim if he did not reply and the victim swallowing water if he opened his mouth to answer or breathe. When the victim could ingest no more water, the interrogators would beat or jump on his distended stomach…

It sounds very barbaric but it’s still something that we “had to do” to get “intelligence” out of “high value detainees”. I will concede that we might not have stomped on the stomach’s of detainees when they could not swallow more water but we have done things just as bad or worse.

…In the memos, released Thursday, the Bush Administration White House Office of Legal Counsel offered its endorsement of CIA torture methods that involved placing an insect in a cramped, confined box with detainees. Jay S. Bybee, then-director of the OLC, wrote that insects could be used to capitalize on detainees’ fears…

…The memo was dated Aug. 1, 2002. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s children were captured and held in Pakistan the following month, according to a report by Human Rights Watch…At a military tribunal in 2007, the father of a Guantanamo detainee alleged that Pakistani guards had confessed that American interrogators used ants to coerce the children of alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed into revealing their father’s whereabouts…

http://rawstory.com/08/news/2009/04/17/bush-torture-memos-align-with-account-that-911-suspects-children-were-tortured/

A few of the effects of drowning on the the human body:

…A conscious victim will hold his or her breath (see Apnea) and will try to access air, often resulting in panic, including rapid body movement. This uses up more oxygen in the blood stream and reduces the time to unconsciousness. The victim can voluntarily hold his or her breath for some time, but the breathing reflex will increase until the victim will try to breathe, even when submerged.

The breathing reflex in the human body is weakly related to the amount of oxygen in the blood but strongly related to the amount of carbon dioxide. During apnea, the oxygen in the body is used by the cells, and excreted as carbon dioxide. Thus, the level of oxygen in the blood decreases, and the level of carbon dioxide increases. Increasing carbon dioxide levels lead to a stronger and stronger breathing reflex, up to the breath-hold breakpoint, at which the victim can no longer voluntarily hold his or her breath. This typically occurs at an arterial partial pressure of carbon dioxide of 55 mm Hg, but may differ significantly from individual to individual and can be increased through training…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drowning

When water enters the lungs

…If water enters the airways of a conscious victim the victim will try to cough up the water or swallow it thus inhaling more water involuntarily. Upon water entering the airways, both conscious and unconscious victims experience laryngospasm, that is the larynx or the vocal cords in the throat constrict and seal the air tube. This prevents water from entering the lungs. Because of this laryngospasm, water enters the stomach in the initial phase of drowning and very little water enters the lungs. Unfortunately, this can interfere with air entering the lungs, too. In most victims, the laryngospasm relaxes some time after unconsciousness and water can enter the lungs causing a “wet drowning”. However, about 10-15% of victims maintain this seal until cardiac arrest, this is called “dry drowning” as no water enters the lungs. In forensic pathology, water in the lungs indicates that the victim was still alive at the point of submersion. Absence of water in the lungs may be either a dry drowning or indicates a death before submersion…

…The brain cannot survive long without oxygen and the continued lack of oxygen in the blood combined with the cardiac arrest will lead to the deterioration of brain cells causing first brain damage and eventually brain death from which recovery is generally considered impossible. A lack of oxygen or chemical changes in the lungs may cause the heart to stop beating; this cardiac arrest stops the flow of blood and thus stops the transport of oxygen to the brain. Cardiac arrest used to be the traditional point of death but at this point there is still a chance of recovery. The brain will die after approximately six minutes without oxygen but special conditions may prolong this (see ‘cold water drowning’ below). Freshwater contains less salt than blood and will therefore be absorbed into the blood stream by osmosis. In animal experiments this was shown to change the blood chemistry and led to cardiac arrest in 2 to 3 minutes. Sea water is much saltier than blood. Through osmosis water will leave the blood stream and enter the lungs thickening the blood. In animal experiments the thicker blood requires more work from the heart leading to cardiac arrest in 8 to 10 minutes. However, autopsies on human drowning victims show no indications of these effects and there appears to be little difference between drownings in salt water and fresh water. After death, rigor mortis will set in and remains for about two days, depending on many factors including water temperature…

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed experienced this 183 times. You think he felt that we were a proverbial “Shinning City on a Hill”? No, instead a bet he felt like he’d been captured by savages. I’m personally ashamed and appalled that my taxes paid the CIA torture this man.  They used our tax money to kill, torture, and humiliate people who we don’t even know. They coerce the complicity from each one of us living in America and Britain.

Historically speaking, there have been many other people persecuted for war crimes. America has even persecuted other people for waterboarding.

…McCain is referencing the Tokyo Trials, officially known as the International Military Tribunal for the Far East. After World War II, an international coalition convened to prosecute Japanese soldiers charged with torture. At the top of the list of techniques was water-based interrogation, known variously then as ‘water cure,’ ‘water torture’ and ‘waterboarding,’ according to the charging documents. It simulates drowning.” Politifact went on to report, “A number of the Japanese soldiers convicted by American judges were hanged, while others received lengthy prison sentences or time in labor camps…

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2007/dec/18/john-mccain/history-supports-mccains-stance-on-waterboarding/

Remember that they killed Saddam’s sons and one of their “justifications” was that they tortured Iraqis. This is ironic because we’re the ones torturing Iraqis now and nobody has been executed for it yet. This page outlines Saddam’s “Crimes Against Humanity”. It’s funny how we use these slogans against everyone except Americans even when our government commits the same crimes. Carl Clauberg experimented on over 300 woman and sterilized many of them. He was sentenced to 23 years in prison. Doihara Kenji was sentenced to death for his part in the Pearl Harbor incident. There are many other war criminals that can be found here.  Why no American presidents are on this list?

We want to believe that the American government is incapable of torturing people even though it’s exactly what we’re doing. Does the government have that much of a hold on the media?  They play word games  to cloud our view. They say that we’re in a “credit crunch” when we’re in a “recession“.  When they admit to  “recession,” we’re really  in a “depression“. They played the same game in Iraq. According to the news we were dealing with a few “foreign fighters” when it was an “insurgency”.  Called it “insurgency” when it was really a “civil war“.   Now that Baghdad has been separated among sectarian lines we’ve declared victory. Likewise they now call “harsh interrogation” what is “torture”.

I want  to remind people of the horrors of torture. When McCain was caught and tortured then sang like a bird but torture is only successful at getting the captor to say what he thinks the torturer wants him to say. Torture inevitably gives the torturer incorrect intelligence because the tortured just wants the pain to stop. It is also a double-sided sword  because the enemy becomes emboldened by the barbarism of the side that uses this disgraceful tactic. It reminds them of the immoral and merciless nature of their enemy and only makes them fight harder. In the case of religious fanatics they are emboldened even more when they see that their brethren are being tortured by people of a different faith.

So I think we just need to endorse Peace and do away with states who carry out atrocities in the name of all the people that live within its borders.

Peace…

PART I: An Introduction to American Involvement with War Crimes Trials

In Activism, Corruption, Courts and Justice System, Crime, George Bush, Guantanamo, History, Human Rights Abuses, Law, Libertarian, Libertarian Politics, Military, Personal Responsibility, Politics, Terrorism, Torture, US Government, War on May 12, 2009 at 11:27 pm

If certain acts and violations of treaties are crimes, they are crimes whether the United States does them or whether Germany does them. We are not prepared to lay down a rule of criminal conduct against others which we would not be willing to have invoked against us.

 

Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of The United States
Robert H. Jackson

 

Justice Jackson was asked by President Truman to represent The United States in establishing the process for trying German war criminals after Germany’s surrender in World War II. The above quote was made by him in 1945 during the negotiations of The London Charter of The International Military Tribunal (IMT) which established the legal justifications and basis for the trials. He later acted as the Chief Prosecutor for the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials (IMT) of the major war criminals.

 

I was probably only 12 years old when I first saw the movie ‘Judgment at Nuremburg‘ (based on the Judges’ Trial of the twelve subsequent Nuremberg Trials held after the one for the major war criminals). Even at that age, several things about the trials didn’t make sense to me. I didn’t have much more of an understanding of law or philosophy than that of any other child of my age, but I have always had a very natural understanding of logic… especially in my ability to recognize what ISN’T logical. The main question I have always had about the Nuremberg Trials is: “Why didn’t the losers get to file any charges against the winners?” That, to my mind, would be the primary aspect of a war crimes trial which would keep it from being simply ‘victors’ justice’

 

As I got older, more questions came to my mind about the Nuremberg Trials. The two most prominent of these questions are:

 

(1) We judged that those who were indicted and tried should have resisted or refused to obey laws and/or orders which they thought were immoral. However, what about those who did not have personal moral objections to those laws and/or orders? If they agreed with them but had no hand in giving or enacting them, weren’t they operating both within the law AND within their own moral codes and, if that was the case, then why weren’t they protected from prosecutions such as those at Nuremberg?; and

 

(2) If we wanted to establish that “I was just following orders” is NOT a valid defense, why doesn’t The United States put procedures and practices into place for our own soldiers and citizens who hold such objections to laws and/or orders which they are expected to follow and for which they would face court-martial and/or civil prosecution if they did refuse to obey.

 

In World War II, while there were several localized instances of American War Crimes which could be truthfully judged to be individual aberrations which could be properly, adequately and legally dealt with internally through courts-martial (the Biscari massacres, the Chenonge massacre, and the Dachau massacre, to name just three), there were no attempts to try larger scale incidents against any of the Allies for potential war crimes which originated at a command level or higher. Examples of these would include: the Dresden fire bombings of a non-strategic civilian city for the psychological effect it would have throughout Germany; the re-designation by the Allies of some German POWs (who were protected by The Geneva Conventions) to ‘disarmed enemy forces‘ (who, allegedly, were NOT protected he Geneva Convention) and their subsequent use as forced (i.e. – slave) labor by the French to clear minefields in France and The Low Countries (while this was provided for by the Armistice, the French government conceded that the practice was ‘perhaps‘ not in accordance with The Geneva Conventions. By December of 1945, the French government estimated that 2,000 German prisoners were being killed or maimed each month in accidents); and American food policy in post-war Germany which directly and indirectly caused the unnecessary suffering and deaths, from starvation, of large numbers of civilians and POWs in occupied Germany in violation of Article 43 of the 1907 Hague Rules of Land Warfare.

 

As we look at the debates our nation faces today about war crimes, it is ironic that, at the end of World War II and during the post-war period, it was The United States which took the lead in demanding legal actions and prosecutions to establish both guilt of those who would be punished AND legal precedence for the future. As early as December 1941, British Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill, was a vocal advocate for summary executions of war criminals, even to the point of being willing to use Acts of Attainder to circumvent any legal obstacles. It was leaders in The United States who eventually dissuaded him from this stance.

 

In 1943, at the Tehran Conference, Stalin proposed summarily executing 50,000 – 100,000 German Staff Officers. President Franklin Roosevelt tried to lighten this attitude with the suggestion that maybe only ‘49,000’ would need to be executed. Churchill followed this up by denouncing the “cold-blooded executions of soldiers who fought for their country”. In 1945, America’s Secretary of War, Henry L. Stimson, and his staff at The War Department drafted a plan for the ‘Trial of European War Criminals‘, which was strongly approved by President Truman. This plan formed the basis for negotiations of The London Charter.

 

While there may have been legitimate criticisms of the Allied war crimes trials, including by at least three other members of The United States Supreme Court… Chief Justice Harlan Stone (who called the Nuremberg trials “a fraud” and a “high-grade lynching”), Associate Justice William O. Douglas (who said that the Allies were guilty of “substituting power for principle” and that “law was created ex post facto to suit the passion and clamor of the time”), and Associate Justice Frank Murphy (who said, in protest of the war crime trial of Japanese General Masaharu Homma, “Either we conduct such a trial as this in the noble spirit and atmosphere of our Constitution or we abandon all pretense to justice, let the ages slip away and descend to the level of revengeful blood purges.”), it was The United States of America which led the path to the establishment of norms of public international trials for war crimes. Now we face showing ourselves as a nation of hypocrites who are quick to judge others but unwilling to have judgment turned on our own.

 

The war crimes trials of World War II may have utilized ex post facto laws and rules to judge and condemn Axis war criminals but, thanks in large part to The United States, they establish the precedent for holding accountable those at any and all levels of military, political, civilian AND economic structures for both actions AND decisions which lead to the systematic rule of brutality, terror and violence of both the German and Japanese regimes.

 

The United States considered such trials so important that after growing differences between the four major Allied Powers made additional international trials under the International Military Tribunal impossible, that they held 12 subsequent trials on their own at Nuremberg. Under Control Council Law #10, which empowered any of the occupying authorities to try suspected war criminals in their respective occupation zones, The United States alone, between December 1946 and October 1948, conducted:

 

01.) The Doctors’ Trial (Medical doctors and Nazi officials)

 

War Crimes: Performing medical experiments, without the subjects’ consent, on prisoners of war and civilians of occupied countries, in the course of which experiments the defendants committed murders, brutalities, cruelties, tortures, atrocities, and other inhuman acts. Also planning and performing the mass murder of prisoners of war and civilians of occupied countries, stigmatizated as aged, insane, incurably ill, deformed, and so on, by gas, lethal injections, and diverse other means in nursing homes, hospitals, and asylums during the Euthanasia Program and participating in the mass murder o concentration camp inmates.

 

Crimes Against Humanity: For performing those same acts on German nationals.

 

02.) The Milch Trial (Field Marshall of the Luftwaffe, Erhard Milch)

 

War Crimes: Knowingly committed war crimes as principal and accessory in enterprises involving slave labor and having also willingly and knowingly participated in enterprises involving the use of prisoners of war in war operations contrary to international convention and the laws and customs of war. Also, knowingly and willfully participated in enterprises involving fatal medical experiments upon subjects without their consent.

 

Crimes Against Humanity: For slave labor and fatal medical experiments, in the same manner as indicated in the first two counts, except that here the alleged victims are declared to be German nationals and nationals of other countries.

 

03.) The Judges’ Trial (German jurists and lawyers)

(Held responsible for implementing and furthering the Nazi “racial purity” program through the German eugenic and racial laws)

 

War Crimes: Abuse of the judicial and penal process, resulting in mass murder, torture, plunder of private property.


Crimes Against Humanity: The same grounds, including slave labor charges.

 

04.) The Pohl Trial (Employees of the SS Economics and Administrative Department)

(Held for active involvement in and administration of the “Final Solution”; they also handled the procurement for the Waffen SS and the administration of the SS ‘Totenkopf’Divisions)


War Crimes: Administration of concentration camps and of extermination camps, and the mass murders and atrocities committed those camps.

 

Crimes Against Humanity: The same grounds, including slave labor charges.

 

05.) The Flick Trial (high-ranking directors of Flick’s group of companies)

(Charges centered on slave labor and plundering, but Flick and the Otto Steinbrinck, were also charged for their membership in the “Circle of Friends of Himmler”, a group of influential German industrialists and bankers for the purpose of giving financial support to the Nazis. Its members “donated” annually about 1 million Reichsmark to a “Special Account S” in favor of Himmler.)


War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity: Participating in the deportation and enslavement of the civilian populations of countries and territories under the belligerent occupation of or otherwise controlled by Germany, and of concentration camp inmates, for use as slave labor in Flick mines and factories.

 

War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity: Plundering and spoliation of occupied territories, and the seizure of plants both in the west (France) and the east (Poland, Russia). Crimes Against Humanity: participation in the persecution of Jews and the ‘aryanization’ of their properties.

 

06.) The Hostages’ Trial

(Regarding the taking of civilian hostages; wanton shootings of hostages and ‘partisans’)


War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity: Mass murder of hundreds of thousands of civilians in Greece, Albania, and Yugoslavia by having ordered hostage taking and reprisal killings.

 

War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity: Plundering and wanton destruction of villages and towns in Greece, Albania, Yugoslavia, and Norway.

 

War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity: Murder and ill-treatment of prisoners of war, and arbitrarily designating combatants as “partisans”, denying them the status of prisoners of war, as well as killing them after such a designation.

 

War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity: Murder, torture, deportation of, and sending Greek, Albanian, and Yugoslav civilians to concentration camps.

 

07.) The IG Farben Trial (directors of IG Farben)

(IG Farben was a large German civilian industrial conglomerate of chemical firms)


War crimes and crimes against humanity: Through the plundering and spoliation of occupied territories, and the seizure of plants in Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Norway, France, and Russia.

 

War crimes and crimes against humanity: Through participation in the enslavement and deportation to slave labor on a gigantic scale of concentration camp inmates and civilians in occupied countries, and of prisoners of war, and the mistreatment, terrorization, torture, and murder of enslaved persons.

 

08.) The Einsatzgruppen Trial (Officers of SS mobile Death Squads)

 

Crimes Against Humanity: Through persecutions on political, racial, and religious grounds, murder, extermination, imprisonment, and other inhumane acts committed against civilian populations, including German nationals and nationals of other countries, as part of an organized scheme of genocide.

 

War Crimes: For the same reasons, and for wanton destruction and devastation not justified by military necessity.

 

09.) The RuSHA Trial (Various SS officials of various political and administrative

                  departments)

(For implementation of the ‘pure race’ program [RuSHA])


Crimes Against Humanity: Implementing “racial purity” programs; kidnapping children; forcing ‘non-Aryan’ pregnant women to undergo abortions; plundering; deportation of populations from their native lands in occupied countries and resettling of so-called Volksdeutsche (‘ethnic Germans’) on such lands; sending people who had had ‘interracial’ sexual relationships to concentration camps; and general participation in the persecution of the Jews.

 

War Crimes: For the same reasons.

 

10.) The Krupp Trial (Directors of the Krupp Group)

                  (The Krupp Group was a collection of large German civilian industrial companies)


Crimes Against Humanity: Participating in the plundering, devastation, and exploitation of occupied countries; participating in the murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, imprisonment, torture, and use for slave labor of civilians, German nationals, and prisoners of war who came under German control.

 

11.) The Ministries’ Trial (officials of various Reich ministries)

(Charged for their participation in or responsibility for atrocities committed both in Germany and in occupied countries during the war)


Crimes Against Peace: Planning and waging aggressive war against other nations and violating international treaties.


War Crimes: Being responsible for murder, ill-treatment and other crimes against prisoners of war and enemy belligerents.


Crimes Against Humanity: Committing atrocities and crimes against German nationals on the grounds of political, racial, or religious discrimination.


War crimes and crimes against humanity: Participating in or being responsible for atrocities and crimes committed against civilians in occupied countries; plundering and spoliation of occupied territories; participation in the enslavement, deportation for slave labor, and ill-treatment of civilians in both Germany and occupied countries, and of prisoners of war.

 

12.) The High Command Trial (Senior Flag Officers of the German High Command)

(Charged with having participated in or planned or facilitated the execution of the numerous atrocities committed in countries occupied by the German forces during the war)


Crimes Against Peace: Waging aggressive war against other nations and violating international treaties.

(The tribunal considered all of these accused to be not guilty of this charge, stating that they were not the policy-makers and that preparing for war and fighting a war on orders was not a criminal offense under the applicable international law of the time.)


War Crimes: Being responsible for murder, ill-treatment and other crimes against prisoners of war and enemy belligerents. Crimes Against Humanity: participating in or ordering the murder, torture, deportation, hostage-taking, etc. of civilians in occupied countries.

 

All of the judges for all twelve of these trials were American, as were all of the prosecutors. As a result of these trials, 142 out of 185 total defendants were found guilty of at least one charge. Out of the 142 guilty verdicts, those convicted received 24 death sentences, 20 life sentences, and 98 other prison sentences of varying lengths. In addition to the 35 of the accused who were acquitted, 4 were removed from the trials due to illnesses and 4 others committed suicide during the trials. All of these trials also included charges of conspiracy to commit the various crimes and to initiate and engage in wars of aggression but those charges were mostly dropped either because of poor wording in the orders which provided the legal justification the tribunals or because of beliefs among many of the judges that consideration of those charges was outside of their scope of authorization, or various other concerns. Any future war crimes trials would have to be aware of these difficulties so that they could adequately justify including conspiracy charges in those trials.

 

The United States has prosecuted our vanquished opponents in war for war crimes at least since the trial of Henry Wirz, Commandant of Camp Sumter, the Confederate prisoner of war camp at Andersonville. We also had a history going back just as long of denying full justice and fair trials to those we have accused while, at the same time, have not held our own accountable to the same standards of justice we have condemned others for. A large part of the problems at the Andersonville Prison, for example, occurred because the Union ended the policy it had with the Confederacy of exchanging prisoners in an effort to cause hardship for the Confederacy, which resulted in the massive overcrowding and food shortages at Camp Sumter (which, at its maximum occupation, held enough Union prisoners to make it the 5th largest city in The Confederacy).

 

In 1902, the Lodge Committee in the United States Senate was supposed to investigate allegations of American war crimes committed in The Philippines, which had been building until they eventually ignited when Brigadier General Jacob Smith remarked to a reporter from The Manila News that he “intended to set the entire island of Samar ablaze” and would probably wipe out most of the population of the island. At Nuremberg, Karl Dönitz Commander In Chief of the Kriegsmarine, was charged, tried and found guilty of violating the Second London Naval Treaty (1936) which prohibited unrestricted submarine warfare even though Admiral Chester A. Nimitz stated that The United States also conducted unrestricted submarine warfare in the Pacific Theatre from the first day we entered the war (Great Britain had also violated the treaty itself).

 

During the Vietnam War, The United States used Agent Orange and other defoliants in Operation Ranch Hand, even though the use of poison agents as weapons in war has been banned since World War I, and initiated The CIA’s Phoenix Program, which was designed to identify and ‘neutralize’ (via infiltration, capture, terrorism, or assassination) the civilian infrastructure supporting the National Liberation Front (NLF) of South Vietnam (or Viet Cong) insurgency. In addition, the files of The Vietnam War Crimes Working Group, a Pentagon task force created to detail endemic war crimes, compiled documentary evidence which confirmed 320 incidents committed by U.S. forces (NOT counting the massacre at My Lai), including seven massacres from 1967 through 1971 in which at least 137 civilians died; 78 other attacks on noncombatants in which at least 57 were killed, 56 wounded and 15 sexually assaulted; and 141 instances in which U.S. soldiers tortured prisoners of war or civilian detainees.

 

These examples show how The United States has not been consistent in its pursuit of international justice regarding war crimes investigations or trials, especially when such investigations or trials should focus ON Americans. However, WE established the precedents at Nuremberg that any and everyone within a nation is accountable to the world for their belligerent actions and intentions against other nations and that, once a nation has acted ON those intentions and engaged in such actions, they are also accountable to the world for their actions regarding how they treat their own nationals, citizens and those within their own borders during such international actions. The United States has also set its own precedents for the legality of removing persons who it considers to be criminals in violation of its own laws, most notably with our invasion of Panama and the forcible removal of Manuel Noriega from his own country to The United States to stand trial under our laws and then be imprisoned in our jail system. This case also demonstrates very nicely our own view that being a head of state is not a protection against international justice.

 

It seems to me that war itself is a crime not ONLY because of what one nation does to another nation and its people in the course of war but also because of what it inevitably causes any warring nation to do to its own people while it is in preparation for and engagement of such wars. This would seem to make the investigation and prosecution of war crimes to be a domestic civil necessity as well as an international criminal one. In 1945, in his opening statement before the IMF during the Nuremberg Trial of the major war criminals, Justice Robert Jackson, in his role as Chief Prosecutor said:

 

Any resort to war – to any kind of war – is a resort to means that are inherently criminal. War inevitably is a course of killings, assaults, deprivations of liberty, and destruction of property. An honest defensive war is, of course, legal and saves those lawfully conducting it from criminality. But, inherently criminal acts cannot be defended by showing that those who committed them were engaged in a war, when war itself is illegal. The very minimum legal consequences of the treaties making aggressive war illegal is to strip those who incite or wage them of every defense the law ever gave, and to leave war-makers subject to judgment by the usually accepted principles of the law of crimes.

 

The United States of America has not demonstrated itself to be deserving of the trust of its own citizens or of the world in examining our own for potential war crimes. Nor would it seem that we could be trusted conducting trials for such crimes internally. Since World War II, the prosecution of war crimes has become, of necessity, an increasingly international matter. The United States needs to cooperate with the international community to investigate and try such crimes. Part II of this article topic will cover the rise of and legal justification for international courts for conducting war crimes trials.

 

Rhys M. Blavier
Romayor, Texas

 

“Truth, Justice and Honor… but, above all Honor”

 

© copyright 2009 by Rhys M. Blavier

 

 

The accused and trial results of the Nuremberg Trial (IMT) of the major war criminals were:

 

Martin Bormann: Nazi Party Secretary

(Bureaucrat)

            Sentence: Death

 

Karl Dönitz: Commander-in-Chief of the Kreigsmarine / Hitler’s successor as President of Germany

            Sentence: 10 years

 

Hans Frick: German Law Leader and Governor-General of Poland.

            Sentence: Death

 

Wilhelm Frick: Minister of the Interior and Reich Protector of Bohemia-Moravia

(Authored the Nuremberg Race Laws)

            Sentence: Death

 

Hans Fritzsche: Radio Commentator and Head of Nazi Propaganda Ministry’s news divisions. (Tried in place of Joseph Goebbels who had committed suicide)

            Sentence: Acquitted

 

Walther Funk: Minister of Economics and head of the German Reichsbank.

            Sentence: Life

 

Hermann Goring: Reichsmarshall

(Second highest Nazi official after Hitler)

            Sentence: Death

 

Rudolf Hess: Hitler’s Deputy until 1941

(Flew to Scotland in 1941 to try to broker peace)

            Sentence: Life

 

Alfred Jodl: Wehrmacht Generaloberst

(Military leader)

            Sentence: Death

 

Ernst Kaltenbrunner: Chief of the central Nazi intelligence agency.

(Highest surviving SS official)

            Sentence: Death

 

Wilhelm Keitel: Head of the Wehrmacht command structure

(Military leader)

             Sentence: Death

 

Baron Konstantin von Neurath: Foreign Minister and Protector of Bohemia and Moravia (Resigned in 1943)

            Sentence: 15 years

 

Franz von Papen: German Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor under Hitler, Ambassador to Austria, and Ambassador to Turkey

(Politician and Diplomat)

            Sentence: Acquitted

 

Erich Raeder: Commander-in-Chief of the Kreigsmarine (before Karl Dönitz)

(Resigned in 1943)

            Sentence: Life

 

Joachim von Ribbentrop: Ambassador-Plenipotentiary and Minister of Foreign Affairs

(Politician and Diplomat)

            Sentence: Death

 

Alfred Rosenberg: Party Ideologist, later Minister of Eastern Occupied Territories

            Sentence: Death

 

Fritz Sauckel: Plenipotentiary of slave labor program

            Sentence: Death

 

Hjalmar Schacht: Banker and economist

(Admitted violating the Treaty of Versailles)

            Sentence: Acquitted

 

Baldur von Schirach: Head of the Hitler Youth and Gauleiter of Vienna

(Retired in 1943)

            Sentence: 20 years

 

Arthur Seyss-Inquart: Various political positions and instrumental in the Anschluss

(Political functionary and Diplomat)

            Sentence: Death

 

Albert Speer: Architect and friend of Hitler, later Minister of Armaments

            Sentence: 20 years

 

Julius Streicher: Gauleiter of Franconia, and the publisher of a weekly pro-Nazi newspaper

            Sentence: Death

 

 

Thank you for reading this article. Please read my other articles and let me know what you think. I am writing them not to preach or to hear myself think but to try to create dialogs, debates and discussions on the nature of our government and how we can build upon and improve it based on what we have seen and learned over the course of the 225 years of The American Experiment.

Obama Represents “Real” Change… In America’s Perception…

In Barack Obama, Corruption, Human Rights Abuses, Iran, Iraq War, Law, Libertarian, Lies and the lying liars who tell them, Middle East, Terrorism, Torture, US Government, War on April 20, 2009 at 4:36 pm

There might have been a short time when I considered myself democrat or republican. That was a long time ago. Just like people don’t allow themselves to be duped to many times by the same trick; I decided not to be suckered in by the false rhetoric of these (allegedly) different parties. Bush supporters dug their grave so deep the last 8 years that they had to stick with his false allegations of Iraq’s WMDs to the very end. They suffered through the surprise of Bush when he tried to clean his hands by saying “I never said Saddam was responsible for 9/11“. He managed to assert and insinuate his way at his goal (gaining popular support to attack Iraq by associating it with 9/11).

There’s a new guy in town now. One who’s suppose to “change” everything. This is old news, however there have been some new developments worth noting that point out the solidarity of the Bush regime with that of Obama’s. Firstly, there the fact that Obama is not pulling out of Iraq at all. Secondly, he’s expanding the war in Afghanistan even though it has no clear goals. Thirdly, he is not seeking legal action against the those who sanctioned torture in the previous regime. Fourthly, he’s allowing torture under his own watch.

When Obama first started running for office he promised the voters that he would start pulling out troops from Iraq within 6 months. He later extended this time frame. Then extended it again. Some people believe that the reason he extended the time frame was because he became privy to some “secret presidential” information that made him change his mind, but I argue that this “secret” information is nothing special. We’ve just gotten through with 8 years of lies (oops), secret information and see where it got our foreign policy? What makes the above different from what any other politicians do? Am I to believe that even though he lied to the American people that deep down inside he wants to do different than Bush’s agenda????

When we first went into Afghanistan (on the heels of 9/11) we were suppose to be capturing Osama Bin Laden. Instead we just ended up staying there to die like all other great empires have done. Obama isn’t going to “Change” this situation either. Instead we will put more people there. Since when was an occupation necessary to capture one man in a country? Assuming that you think we went there without intentions of staying forever (which I don’t), then you have to wonder why we’re still there. We’ve overthrown their government, installed a new government, defeated the Taliban, and trained their new Army and Police. Why didn’t we leave after this was accomplished? Osama was already known to be in Pakistan by this time. Why didn’t we send in small strike teams to capture him and bring him back? Instead the policy shifted to occupying Afghanistan indefinitely while using RC planes to piss off the Pashtuuns on the other side of the border. Obama must have realized the futility of this military occupation by now. What does he expect to take place of the Taliban even if he kills them all? Another Taliban? Because that’s all he’s going to get.

One of the reasons that so many voters voted for Obama was because he said that he was going to restore America’s global image. This hinted that the human rights abuses of the previous regime were over.  It also hinted that there would be some justice. Instead he has actively shielded them from prosecution. His narrative on this has been “We must look forward not backwards”. According this slogan anybody should be forgiven, even Iran and the Palestinians, because we are looking ahead not backwards to what they’ve done in the past. However, this slogan has proven to be selective. You see we can’t forgive Iran for seeking Nuclear power because they had a weapons program in the past. Likewise, we cannot forgive the Palestinians because they’ve used terrorist tactics to try to push Israel out of Palestinian territory. Instead we should forgive the Bush regime and it’s accomplices for torture and the murder of 1 million plus civilians. Likewise, we will have to forgive Obama for the mass killing he has already commited according to this slogan. However, there can be no forgiveness for the drug user who’ll be locks in prison on felony charges. No, these crimes are too bad…..

Recently a detainee from Guantanamo was able to call out to Al Jazeera while making his 1 allowed phonecall. He was able to confirm that he was still being tortured even after the Obama regime had taken power. If fact he said that the treatment had intensified under the Obama presidency.

Is this really change?

No. It’s not.

What this presidency has done is change the American perception. Obama seems to have campaigned so effectively in the run up to the election that most people think that he’s incapable of doing anything wrong. I would like to remind people not to bury themselves too deeply with Obama. Remember that all people are just that “people”. Nobody is perfect or more than human. The moment that you put 100% of your faith in a president is the same moment you’ll be disappointed. As for myself… the government is illegitimate anyway so nobody will get my vote except for someone willing to stay out of Washington.

Peace….

Christopher Hitchens: “Believe Me, It’s Torture”

In Libertarian, Torture on July 16, 2008 at 2:53 pm

From http://www.vf.com.

How does it feel to be “aggressively interrogated”? Christopher Hitchens found out for himself, submitting to a brutal waterboarding session in an effort to understand the human cost of America’s use of harsh tactics at Guantánamo and elsewhere.

Of course, Hitchens underwent waterboarding only under very controlled conditions, knowing that he was not in actual danger, and it still gives him nightmares.  Does anybody here actually think interrogators give suspects a code word or metal objects to drop, in case the sensation of drowning becomes too intense?  Of course they don’t.  Yet as this video shows, Hitchens couldn’t endure it more than a few seconds, even doing it voluntarily and knowing that he was perfectly safe. 

Hitchens also wrote an article for Vanity Fair (August 2008 issue) about waterboarding.  Here is an excerpt:

Here is the most chilling way I can find of stating the matter. Until recently, “waterboarding” was something that Americans did to other Americans. It was inflicted, and endured, by those members of the Special Forces who underwent the advanced form of training known as sere (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape). In these harsh exercises, brave men and women were introduced to the sorts of barbarism that they might expect to meet at the hands of a lawless foe who disregarded the Geneva Conventions. But it was something that Americans were being trained to resist, not to inflict.

Exploring this narrow but deep distinction, on a gorgeous day last May I found myself deep in the hill country of western North Carolina, preparing to be surprised by a team of extremely hardened veterans who had confronted their country’s enemies in highly arduous terrain all over the world. They knew about everything from unarmed combat to enhanced interrogation and, in exchange for anonymity, were going to show me as nearly as possible what real waterboarding might be like.

It goes without saying that I knew I could stop the process at any time, and that when it was all over I would be released into happy daylight rather than returned to a darkened cell. But it’s been well said that cowards die many times before their deaths, and it was difficult for me to completely forget the clause in the contract of indemnification that I had signed. This document (written by one who knew) stated revealingly:

“Water boarding” is a potentially dangerous activity in which the participant can receive serious and permanent (physical, emotional and psychological) injuries and even death, including injuries and death due to the respiratory and neurological systems of the body.

As the agreement went on to say, there would be safeguards provided “during the ‘water boarding’ process, however, these measures may fail and even if they work properly they may not prevent Hitchens from experiencing serious injury or death.”

Click here to read the entire article.

What positions does Bob Barr support?

In Congress, Libertarian, Libertarian Convention, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, Libertarian Politics 2008, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Torture, War on May 14, 2008 at 8:10 pm

In politics, you can tell a lot about a candidate based upon the positions they champion. This is true whether they support the positions directly, or indirectly.

Bob Barr’s PAC raises money under his signature, and he supported a number of Republican Congressmen and Senators during the current election cycle. Supporting the campaign is the same as supporting the positions the Congressman or Senator takes, obviously.

The fact of the matter is that nine of ten Congressman Bob Barr supported oppose leaving Iraq, and support military kangaroo courts. Eight out of ten Congressmen he supported want Uncle Sam in your hospital bed, a’la Ms. Schiavo. Eight of ten Congressman he supported are in support of warrantless wiretaps, and want to ban flag burning. A majority support torture.

Here is a listing of ten Congressmen Barr has supported during the current election cycle, after Barr joined the LP. The numbers beside their names indicate their extremely unlibertarian votes in Congress; specifics are below.

CONGRESSMEN
Gingrey Georgia 1 2 3 4 5 6
Ros-Lehtinen Florida 1 2 3 5 6
Jeff Flake Arizona 1 2 3 4
Robin Hayes North Carolina 2 3 4 5 6
Jeb Hensarling Texas 1 2 3 4 5 6
Jack Kingston Georgia 1 2 3 4 5 6
Pryce for Congress Ohio 1 2 3 5 6
Rehberg for Congress Montana 1 2 3 4 5 6
Walter Jones North Carolina 5 6
Christopher Shays for Congress Connecticut 1 2 3

(1) Vote 836: S 1927: The bill gives U.S. spy agencies expanded power to eavesdrop on foreign suspects without a court order. Civil liberties and privacy advocates argue the bill jeopardizes the Fourth Amendment privacy rights and allows for the warrantless monitoring of virtually any form of communication originating in the United States.

(2) 7/12/07 Vote 624: H R 2956: This bill would require the president to begin reducing the number of U.S. troops serving in Iraq 120 days after its enactment and would require most troops to be withdrawn by April 1, 2008.

(3) 9/29/06 Vote 508: S 3930: Military Commissions Act

(4) 12/14/05 Vote 630: H R 2863: Supported a ban on cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of detainees held by U.S. forces

(5) 6/22/05 Vote 296: H J RES 10: This vote approved the proposal of a Constitutional amendment to ban the desecration of the American flag.

(6) 3/21/05 Vote 90: S 686: Gave federal courts jurisdiction in the Terri Schiavo dispute.

Since 2007, Barr’s PAC supported nine U.S. Senators. Every one of the Senators he supported has voted to allow warrantless wiretapping and monitoring of virtually every form of communication in America; and every one of them voted to reauthorize the Patriot Act when it expired. Eight of nine voted for war funding. Seven of nine voted against an antiwar withdrawal motion. Every one of them voted for a Constitutional Amendment to ban flag burning. Six of nine voted to advance a constitutional amendment against gay marriage.

Again, supporting the Senator is showing agreement with the positions the Senator takes. How can Bob Barr claim to be a libertarian, when he supports so many Senators who vote for such incredibly un-libertarian stances?

SENATORS
Saxby Chambliss Georgia 1 2 3 4 5 6
Arlen Specter 1 2 3 4 6
Norm Coleman Minnesota 1 3 4 5 6
Larry Craig Idaho 1 2 3 4 5 6
Lindsey Graham South Carolina 1 2 3 4 5 6
Hagel for Senate 1 2 4 6
Jeff Sessions Alabama 1 2 3 4 5 6
Gordon Smith for US Senate Committee 1 2 4 5 6
Team Sununu New Hampshire 1 2 3 4 6

(1) Vote 309: S 1927: This amendment to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 passed 60-28 on August 3. Civil liberties and privacy advocates argue the bill jeopardizes the Fourth Amendment privacy rights and allows for the warrantless monitoring of virtually any form of communication originating in the United States.

(2) 5/24/07 Vote 181: On the Motion: Fund the war. This $120 billion dollar package was passed in the Senate by an 80-14 vote on May 24.

(3) 3/29/07 Vote 126: H R 1591: This $122 billion war spending bill calls for combat troops to begin withdrawing from Iraq this summer.

(4) 6/27/06 Vote 189: S J RES 12: This vote would have given Senate approval to a proposed constitutional amendment that would give Congress the authority to ban “desecration of the American flag”.

(5) 6/7/06 Vote 163: On the Cloture Motion: A Senate cloture vote on the gay marriage amendment failed, effectively killing the amendment.

(6) 3/2/06 Vote 29: H R 3199: Reauthorized a slightly modified version of the 2001 USA Patriot Act.

With the above in mind it is completely reasonable – based upon Barr’s own record in Congress and his continuing support of Congressmen and Senators who take those positions – to assume Bob Barr would vote in the same manner if he were still in Congress, despite his claim to have converted to libertarianism. After all, he has been supporting people making extremely un-libertarian decisions, even as he sat on the LNC and pondered seeking the LP’s presidential nomination. To believe otherwise would be to close one’s eyes to the painfully obvious truth, which is that we can put a hat on this Republican pig and call him Tillie, but that still won’t make him a Libertarian.

Gravel announces Libertarian presidential run

In Congress, Global Warming, Guantanamo, Health, Iran, Libertarian Party-US, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Science, Taxation, Torture, US Government, Veterans, War on March 26, 2008 at 4:59 pm

Mike Gravel

A Personal Message from Mike

I wanted to update you on my latest plans before news gets out. Today, I am announcing my plan to join the Libertarian Party, because the Democratic Party no longer represents my vision for our great country. I wanted my supporters to get this news first, because you have been the ones who have kept my campaign alive since I first declared my candidacy on April 17, 2006.

The fact is, the Democratic Party today is no longer the party of FDR. It is a party that continues to sustain war, the military-industrial complex and imperialism — all of which I find anathema to my views.

By and large, I have been repeatedly marginalized in both national debates and in media exposure by the Democratic leadership, which works in tandem with the corporate interests that control what we read and hear in the media.

I look forward to advancing my presidential candidacy within the Libertarian Party, which is considerably closer to my values, my foreign policy views and my domestic views.

Please take a moment to make your most generous donation to my presidential campaign today. $10, $20, $50 — whatever you feel you can afford.

I want to thank you all for your continued support.

_______________________________

So, what are Gravel’s views on the issues? Here are some issue statements from his website:

The War in Iraq Senator Gravel’s position on Iraq remains clear and consistent: to commence an immediate and orderly withdrawal of all U.S. troops that will have them home within 120 days. The sooner U.S. troops are withdrawn, the sooner we can pursue aggressive diplomacy to bring an end to the civil war that currently consumes Iraq. Senator Gravel seeks to work with neighboring countries to lead a collective effort to bring peace to Iraq.

One of the leading opponents of the Vietnam War, Senator Gravel was one of the first current or former elected officials to publicly oppose the planned invasion of Iraq in 2002. He appeared on MSNBC prior to the invasion insisting that intelligence showed that there were indeed no weapons of mass destruction, that Iraq posed no threat to the United States and that invading Iraq was against America’s national interests and would result in a disaster of epic proportions for both the United States and the Iraqi people.

Today, more than four years into the invasion, the death toll of U.S. troops has climbed over 3,300 with over 50,000 more permanently maimed, some having lost limbs, others their sight. Tens of thousands more are afflicted with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and urgently need psychological care. The Iraqi civilian death toll nears three-quarters of a million, and still there remains no end in sight to the bloodshed.

As President, Senator Gravel will call for a U.S. corporate withdrawal from Iraq and hand over reconstruction contracts to Iraqi businesses which will empower Iraqi nationals to reconstruct their own country.

The National Initiative for Democracy Mike fully supports the National Initiative for Democracy. The NI4D is a way to bring legislative power back to the people. In many states, citizens can put measures on the ballot and Mike believes as citizens of the United States we should all have that power.

Iran and Syria Senator Gravel opposes a military confrontation with Iran and Syria and advocates a diplomatic solution to the current situation.

Global Warming/Climate Change Senator Gravel believes that global climate change is a matter of national security and survivability of the plant. As President, he will act swiftly to reduce America’s carbon footprint in the world by initiating legislation to tax carbon at the source and cap carbon emissions. he is also committed to leading the fight against global deforestation, which today is second only to the energy sector as a source of greenhouse gases. However, any legislation will have little impact on the global environment if we do not work together with other global polluters. China, India, and under-developed nations all work together fighting climate change can only be effective if it is a collective global effort. As President, Senator Gravel will see that the U.S. launches and leads a massive global scientific effort, integrating the world’s scientific and engineering community, to end energy dependence on oil and integrate the world scientific community in this task.

Progressive Taxes – A fair Tax Senator Gravel’s Progressive Fair Tax proposal calls for eliminating the IRS and the income tax and replacing it with a national sales tax on new products and services. To compensate for the tax on necessities, such as food, lodging, transportation and clothing, there would be a “rebate” to reimburse taxpayers. This would be paid in a monthly check from the government to all citizens. The focus on taxing new goods would also help tackle the global climate change problem.

Healthcare Senator Gravel advocates a universal healthcare system that provides equal medical services to all citizens, paid for by a retail sales tax (a portion of the Progressive Fair tax). Citizens would pay nothing for health benefits.

Reproductive Rights Senator Mike Gravel supports a woman’s right to decide if and when to have children. He also supports a woman’s right to make the difficult decision about abortion without interference by government authorities. Comprehensive, age-appropriate sex education, including accurate information about contraception, can always be provided in order to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and abortions. Parity in health insurance and access to specialized family health care services, including family planning education, would also benefit the health and welfare of infants and children, who need and deserve to be wanted and loved.

Immigration Senator Gravel favors protecting our borders and monitoring the flow of immigrants into our country. He also favors a guest worker program and setting up naturalization procedures that would fairly bring immigrants into legal status. America must address the root cause of illegal immigration. Any discussion of immigration must include NAFTA and the concept of “free trade.” The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has been a disaster for the working class of both the U.S. and Mexico and a boon to the international corporate interests. A study by the Economic Policy Institute found that over 1 million U.S. jobs were lost as a result of NAFTA, a third of them manufacturing jobs. In Mexico, 1.3 million farm workers lost their jobs in the same period. This has led to a wave of immigrants looking for work in the U.S. Reforming unfair trade policies spawned by measures like NAFTA will stimulate job growth on both sides of the border.

LGBT Rights Senator Gravel supports same-sex marriage and opposes the Defense of Marriage Act. He supports expanding hate-crime legislation and opposes laws that allow discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or one’s gender identity or expression. Senator Gravel strongly opposes the military’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” legislation on the grounds that it is unconstitutional, as it restricts the rights of gay Americans. He opposes any state or national constitutional amendment that restricts the rights of the gay community.

Social Security Senator Gravel wants to put real money, rather than borrowed money, in the Social Security Trust Fund. He advocates investing it properly and identifying the interests of individual beneficiaries so they can know what their retirement fund is and leave surplus funds to heirs.

Education Access to public education is a bedrock American value. Why is it then that the United States ranks 49th in literacy and that an estimated 30% of our students don’t graduate from high school? Investing in education provides a pathway to a thriving national economy, to individual and family economic opportunity, and to the reduction of poverty. A successful education system requires the commitment of families, the community, and government. It’s time to re-order our national budget priorities in order to improve the American education system. Parent education and access to preschool programs such as Head Start need to be expanded so that children from low income families are equally ready to benefit from elementary school. Universal pre-kindergarten would also enhance readiness. Encouraging our students to be the best they can be will require flexibility from the federal and state governments, within school systems, and from groups with a stake in educational success. Flexibility may mean extended school days and summer learning opportunities or extended school years. It may mean online and broadcast courses to provide access to highly qualified teachers. It may mean charter schools to address the needs of local communities, smaller classes, enrichment programs for students at risk, and vocational options. One thing we know for sure: No Child Left Behind has left too many children behind. It needs to be reformed and adequately funded. It needs to acknowledge the need for a fuller curriculum that encourages critical thinking-not just math and science test-taking. A high school diploma should be the minimum goal for all students; without it, our children will be condemned to a substandard economic existence.

Veteran’s Affairs As President, Senator Gravel would ensure that veterans receive full funding for their most important needs, including healthcare that is indexed to the increasing cost of care and medicine. He would make sure that all soldiers receive a full medical diagnosis to assess what their individual needs would be. He would also make sure that the VA system is fully financed and has sufficient well-trained personnel to provide the finest care that is available. As the Senator says, “We can do no less and we will do much more.” Mike Gravel is the only military veteran in the democratic race.

The War on Drugs The War on Drugs has been a failure. It is time to end prohibition and start treating addiction as a public health problem. This has ravaged our inner cities, and we are losing an entire generation of men and women to prisons. We must regulate hard drugs for the purpose of treating addicts, which would emphasize rehabilitation and prevention over incarceration. We must decriminalize minor drug offenses and increase the availability and visibility of substance abuse treatment in our communities as well as in jails and prisons. The United States incarcerates more people and at a higher rate than any other industrialized nation in the world. Some 2.3 million Americans are now behind bars. This tragedy must end.

Net Neutrality Net Neutrality aims to keep the Internet free from large companies, which are trying to limit the number of web sites their customers can view and the speed at which they can view them. Senator Gravel guarantees a free and open Internet with unlimited access to all sites. He will do this by supporting legislation and regulation that keeps you in control of your Internet usage and promotes free speech.

Human Rights Senator Gravel is adamantly opposed to torture, indefinite detention, and the deprivation of lawyers/speedy trials. He opposes the Military Commissions Act, flagrant ignorance of the Geneva convention, and Guantanamo.

My Lai Massacre remembered by survivors

In Activism, Crime, History, Human Rights Abuses, Military, Obituaries, Terrorism, Torture, US Government, War on March 16, 2008 at 5:20 pm

My Lai Massacre MY LAI, Vietnam – Forty years after rampaging American soldiers slaughtered her family, Do Thi Tuyet returned to the place where her childhood was shattered.”Everyone in my family was killed in the My Lai massacre — my mother, my father, my brother and three sisters,” said Tuyet, who was 8 years old at the time. “They threw me into a ditch full of dead bodies. I was covered with blood and brains.”More than a thousand people turned out Sunday to remember the victims of one of the most notorious chapters of the Vietnam War. On March 16, 1968, members of Charlie Company killed as many as 504 villagers, nearly all of them unarmed children, women and elderly.

When the unprovoked attack was uncovered, it horrified Americans, prompted military investigations and badly undermined support for the war.

Sunday’s memorial drew the families of the victims, returning U.S. war veterans, peace activists and a delegation of atomic bombing survivors from Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

On that morning 40 years ago, Tuyet and her family were getting ready to go to work in the fields when members of Charlie Company burst into their house and herded them outside at gunpoint.

They were pushed into a ditch where more than 100 people were sprayed with bullets, one of which hit Tuyet in the back, paralyzing the right side of her body.

Her parents, three sisters and a brother were slaughtered. The oldest child was 10, the youngest just 4.

“I was here when the shooting started,” Tuyet said, sitting by a family altar in the replica of her simple two-room home. “The troops rounded us up and took us to the ditch.”

Her 4-year-old brother, who was eating breakfast when the troops came, died with his mouth full of rice, Tuyet said.

You can read this entire disturbing article here.

LP gets mainstream press coverage in Philadelphia Inquirer

In Christine Smith, Civil Liberties, Daniel Imperato, George Phillies, Iraq War, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Media, Mike Jingozian, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Republican, Taxation, Torture, War, Wayne Allen Root on March 14, 2008 at 11:47 pm

Philly.com logoThe following article from the Philadephia Inquirer seems to place the LP in a positive light in the mainstream media, and they even got their information right. The only error I see is that Dr. George Phillies is an MIT-educated Physicist, not a chemist. On the other hand, the writer does seem to pick up on the strangeness which is Daniel Imperato, by listing him as a “self described” Papal Knight and Knight of Malta.

Good job and many thanks to Sam Wood at the Inquirer!

LIBERTARIANS HOLD CONVENTION IN PA

By Sam Wood, Inquirer Staff Writer

There’s a joke making the rounds that the Libertarian Party would like to dispel.

Q: What is a Libertarian salad?

A: Lettuce alone!

Libertarians prize individual rights, say party leaders. But really, the emphasis on “individual” ends there. They’re tired of being alone. They’d love to make more converts.

In fact, Libertarians are aggressively pursuing voters in the region, seeking to raise the profile of their party’s presidential candidates. (There’s at least 8.)

This weekend in Malvern, Libertarians from Pennsylvania and New Jersey will hold a joint convention scheduled to run three days at the Desmond Hotel and Conference Center.

“Everyone’s invited,” said James C. Babb, a small Main Line businessman and organizer of the weekend gathering, which begins tomorrow. “Saturday is the best day for someone who is not already a party member.”

The confab will give regional Libertarians an opportunity to size up eight presidential candidates before the party’s May 22 national convention in Denver, Colorado. About 200 delegates are expected to attend the Malvern event.

Babb said he’s routinely asked why the Libertarians even bother to run a presidential candidate.

“People say, ‘Gosh, you’re never going to win. Isn’t it a wasted vote?’

“But voters are really disappointed with the Democrats and the Republicans right now,” Babb said. “This is an opportunity to make a statement.”

The Libertarian party platform, Babb said, reflects the values of the Founding Fathers.

Babb said the party stands for a humble foreign policy, a sound currency, protection of individual rights, the elimination of taxes, an end to the war on drugs, no torture and no wiretapping.

He said the Republican Party had used bait-and-switch tactics to win the White House for the past eight years.

“They promised no nation building and invaded Iraq. They promised fiscal conservatism and they brought us a $3.1 trillion budget. And that’s just one year’s worth of squandering.”

Democrats, he said, haven’t done much better.

“They swept the House of Representatives promising to get us out of Iraq, but they’ve continued to fund the war and they’ve failed to protect civil liberties.”

Bill Redpath, the national party chairman, will also attend.

Among the candidates wooing voters in Malvern this weekend include:

Bob Jackson, 68, born in Woodbury, NJ and a 1961 graduate of Lehigh University. An inventor and engineer now based in Michigan, Jackson operates import-export businesses Triax Inc. and Jackson International.

Michael Jingozian, 48, an Oregon entrepreneur and founder of Angelvision Technologies, an internet marketing firm.

Alden Link, 76, businessman and entrepreneur from White Plains, New York. He owns Sundance Industries, the nation’s leading manufacturer of wheat grass juicers.

George Phillies, 61, M.I.T. trained chemist, former Libertarian congressional candidate, ACLU activist, and resident of Worcester, Massachusetts.

Wayne Allyn Root, 47, a Las Vegas-based sports oddsmaker, author, self-made millionaire and television personality.

Daniel Imperato, 50, of West Palm Beach, Fla. Businessman and self-described former semi-pro hockey player, Papal Knight and Knight of Malta.

Christine Smith, 31, a humanitarian activist from Golden, Colorado and author of A Mountain In The Wind – An Exploration of the Spirituality of John Denver.

For more information, see the state party websites at www.lppa.org and www.njlp.org or the national party website at www.lp.org.

And the propaganda machine keeps spinning …..

In Corruption, Crazy Claims, George Bush, Guantanamo, Human Rights Abuses, Military, Terrorism, Torture, War on July 20, 2007 at 2:48 pm

Road To GuantanamoAccording to this article, we’re supposed to believe that prisoners being held at Gitmo are being treated as if they’re merely guests of the goverment, while the only real abuse is directed at the guards.

However, it’s far more likely that the government is sending military members back to the states with strict orders to report that all is well at Gitmo. It’s easy to get them to do that, after all, especially if the person in question is an officer with a pension on the line, as with the person who gave the information for this story. It’s even easier when the military member knows that they, too, can be declared an enemy combatant and simply disappear if they dare to speak the truth about the atrocities they have witnessed. There is also the fear that they will be discharged due to a nonexistent “personality disorder”, and thus shamed and stripped of the civilian benefits of having served voluntarily and honorably in the armed forces.

That’s nothing new, incidentally. The military was discharging soldiers on the basis of alleged preexisting personality disorders in the early 1980s, when I served in Air Force Intelligence Operations. Those airmen were not mentally ill, and in fact were extraordinarily good at their specialties; however, they had committed the unspeakable crime of not remaining silent against what they perceived to be wrong, and branding them mentally deficient is the military’s way of silencing them. Once they are so categorized, the military can easily discount anything they may later say against the military’s interest. But, I digress.

Like so many in the current administration, this Brigadier General (for those unfamiliar with military ranks, that’s a one-star General) believes it’s acceptable to hold people in a lawless prison environment long-term with no charges, and no hearing, because they’re “enemy combatants” …… and he really and truly thinks there’s a difference between enemy combatants and prisoners of war, which causes Geneva Convention protections to not apply to enemy combatants. Yet the only real difference is that prisoners of war are captured while engaging in war, while enemy combatants are, for all intents and purposes, kidnapped. In other words, while he is willing to toe the military line and is quite successful in that position, in the civilian world his brainwashing would render him, for all intents and purposes, useless.

If prisoners at Gitmo are specifically classified as not being prisoners of war, for whom torture is forbidden under the Geneva Convention, does the government actually expect us to believe that these men are not being tortured? It’s quite obvious that the only reason to classify them differently is so that they can be tortured without violating the Convention.

What’s most sickening about this particular article, beyond the brainwashing aspect, is that it is being distributed and touted as truth on a discussion list for paralegals, who should definitely know better than to mindlessly accept what the government says. Or maybe, just maybe, these particular paralegals know just enough to be dangerous. Read the rest of this entry »

George Phillies: “Torture is a crime against civilization”

In George Phillies, Torture on July 16, 2007 at 5:00 pm

George Phillies At the South Carolina debate, Republican candidates were asked if they would torture prisoners. Some of them thought torture was just fine.

What is the libertarian answer to the torture question? It’s the American answer, the answer the American people have already given. Torture is a crime against civilization, reviled by all patriotic Americans.

Let’s take it from the top.

First, there is nothing for a President to decide.

Inside the United States, torture is a felony. If you are anywhere in the United States, and you torture someone, you are committing more crimes than I care to list. There is no exception in those laws for government officials.

If you are an American abroad and torture someone, it’s a felony. If your victim dies, you have earned the death penalty. There is no exception in those laws for government officials.

Second, those laws reflect the wisdom of the American people. Torturers are the filth of the earth, properly grouped with child molesters and mercenaries. We need not ask what the founding fathers and their fellows thought of mercenaries. Their position is enshrined in the third verse of The Star-Spangled Banner:

“And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave,”

Third, there are people who get their jollies from snatching people off the streets, hustling them off to remote places, and inflicting great pain and degradation on them. These people have their enablers: television producers and actors who portray torturers as heroes and patriots. Torturers and their advocates are perverts, shunned by decent human beings.

Finally, thoughtful Americans should find it hysterically funny to watch the same gaggle of Republican Presidential candidates first say they would torture a defenseless prisoner, and then pander to the Republican Christian Right. The required depth of hypocrisy surpasses all belief. Read the rest of this entry »