30 January 2006

Officer to Serve No Jail Time for Iraqi General's Death

Here's an example of what is wrong with our society and militarism. This decision essentially boils down to the justification of killing as a result of torturous interrogation proceedings. I want no part of this. As a citizen of the USA I demand accountability for those who murder and torture. Murder and torture are not acceptable.
FORT CARSON, Colo. (AP) — A military jury recommended a simple reprimand Monday for an Army officer who killed an Iraqi general by stuffing him headfirst into a sleeping bag and sitting on his chest during an interrogation.

As soldiers applauded in the courtroom, Chief Warrant Officer Lewis Welshofer Jr. hugged his wife after hearing the surprisingly light sentence, which will be reviewed by Fort Carson's commander, Maj. Gen. Robert W. Mixon.

The commander cannot order a harsher sentence, defense attorney Frank Spinner said.

Welshofer, 43, was charged with murder, but was convicted over the weekend of negligent homicide and negligent dereliction of duty that carried a penalty of up to three years and three months in prison, a dishonorable discharge, loss of pension and other penalties.

The murder charge carried a potential sentence of life in prison. Instead, Welshofer faces no jail time, the forfeiture of $6,000 in salary and what amounts largely to a restriction to his barracks for 60 days.

"I have the utmost respect for the decision the panel members came to tonight," Welshofer said. "I'm sure it was difficult for them."

Welshofer was convicted of putting a sleeping bag over the head of Iraqi Maj. Gen. Abed Hamed Mowhoush, sitting on his chest and using his hand to cover the general's mouth while asking him questions at a detention camp in 2003 in al Qaim, Iraq.

This article is linked in its entirety here.

29 January 2006

US Occupation Authority Court thus far a Failure. A Farce?

From Reuters:
human rights groups have criticized the former U.S. occupation authority's decision to try Saddam and his aides in Iraq rather than in an international court. They say subsequent events have reinforced their view that sectarian and ethnic conflict make a fair trial in Baghdad hard to achieve.

Also this AP story via Truthout.org:
Saddam Hussein's chief lawyer said yesterday that the deposed Iraqi president wants President George Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair tried for war crimes.

Khalil al-Dulaimi said Saddam wants to sue both leaders, along with US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, for allegedly authorizing the use of weapons such as depleted uranium artillery shells, white phosphorous, napalm and cluster bombs.

"We will sue Bush, Blair and Rumsfeld in The Hague for using such weapons of mass destruction," al-Dulaimi said in Jordan.

"To Defeat the Aggressors..." Ludwig von Mises

Another great quote from anti-war.com
To defeat the aggressors is not enough to make peace durable. The main thing is to discard the ideology that generates war.

Ludwig von Mises

28 January 2006

A Huxley "Absurd and Monstrous War" Quote

This is courtesy of the ever revolving quote line up at anti-war.com.
What is absurd and monstrous about war is that men who have no personal quarrel should be trained to murder one another in cold blood.

Aldous Huxley

26 January 2006

Who Lied Us Into War?

Ask George Tenet
Was the other George duped?
by Chris Moore
In Bob Woodward's 2004 book Plan of Attack, the famed Washington Post journalist details a pre-Iraq war conversation that allegedly took place between President Bush and then-CIA director George Tenet regarding whether or not Saddam Hussein truly possessed weapons of mass destruction.

According to the book's narrative, a hesitant and skeptical Bush asked Tenet: "George, how confident are you?"

"Don't worry, it's a slam-dunk," Tenet replied.

24 January 2006

Unfathomed Dangers in PATRIOT Act Reauthorization

By Paul Craig Roberts
A provision in the "PATRIOT Act" creates a new federal police force with the power to violate the Bill of Rights. You might think that this cannot be true, as you have not read about it in newspapers or heard it discussed by talking heads on TV.

Go to House Report 109-333 USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005 and check it out for yourself. Sec. 605 reads:

"There is hereby created and established a permanent police force, to be known as the 'United States Secret Service Uniformed Division.'"

This new federal police force is "subject to the supervision of the Secretary of Homeland Security."

The new police are empowered to "make arrests without warrant for any offense against the United States committed in their presence, or for any felony cognizable under the laws of the United States if they have reasonable grounds to believe that the person to be arrested has committed or is committing such felony."

23 January 2006

Out of the Woods and into the Mall!

From my research proposal (a work in progress):
Modern society is a cacophony of distractions; whirring sounds, flashing images, and advertising schemes designed to bend the consumer’s will into an insatiable appetite for the marketplace.

I the paper I will extemporize upon the problems associated with the removal of nature, (i.e. natural ecosystems / wilderness,) from the daily lives of the majority of us.

Some of these problems are a lack of physical, emotional, mental development. Other problems which may be associated with this growing tendency toward "indooredness" might be increased domestic violence, obesity, (and associated diseases - diabetes, heart disease) - a wide array of immunodeficiency disorders - maybe even cancer (at least as it relates to the toxification of our every day lives...

Ideas and questions are welcome.

22 January 2006

War in Iraq: Internecine, Immoral and Illegal

From the BBC:
"The United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has told the BBC the US-led invasion of Iraq was an illegal act that contravened the UN charter."

When pressed on whether he viewed the invasion of Iraq as illegal, he said: "Yes, if you wish. I have indicated it was not in conformity with the UN charter from our point of view, from the charter point of view, it was illegal.""

21 January 2006

Congressional Ethics After Abramoff

by Ralph Nader
To take one example of note: the Washington Post reported on December 31 how Jack Abramoff helped arrange the payment of half a million dollars from textile firms in the Mariana Islands in the Pacific, to a front group controlled by Tom DeLay. In exchange, they "solicited and received Rep. DeLay's public commitment to block legislation that would boost their labor costs, according to Abramoff associates," the Post reported. Textiles made in the Mariana Islands may be labeled "Made in the USA," the factories there are exempt from U.S. labor law, and working conditions are appalling.

Farmer to join Loney's team

Peacemaker headed to Iraq
Trip will be third for 70-year-old
Allan Slater figures that the old have been sending the young off to perish in wars since time immemorial, and maybe it's time for old men to help stop them.

That's why the dairy farmer from Tavistock is heading this Friday to Iraq, where he'll bolster a Christian Peacemaker Team in Baghdad depleted by the abduction of four members on Nov. 26, including Toronto's James Loney. Fear is not a factor for Slater. Nor is age.
At 70, Slater will do his third tour of duty in Iraq with the ecumenical group. "The people there have the same hopes and aspirations as Canadians," he says. "There are 25 million people in Iraq and the vast majority are not car bombers or terrorists, and most will survive this terrible state of affairs."

But the danger of this long-planned mission hit home when Loney, 41, and three other CPT members were abducted. There has been no word from them since a Dec.10 deadline, but Slater is confident they are alive.

"When they are released, as I am sure they will, they will need all the help and support they can get," says Slater, who considers Loney a friend.

19 January 2006

What's Happening

Lately I haven't had much going on in the way of this blog. I haven't been taking a whole lot of pictures. I am starting (something, which I forgot about while I was just making popcorn.)

Anyway, it's raining right now, and it's cold outside. There is a fire in the wood stove, I can hear it crackling away. I have a lot of homework to do.

I am taking an Environmental Studies course and have a lot of work to do to get my individual project going. The question I want to ask is: How does the environment, and our relationship with the environment (speaking primarily of ecology here) affect us as individuals, and as a society more broadly? I can certainly admit to bias as far as this question goes. Speaking of my personal and subjective experience; I am deeply and profoundly affected by my environment - whatever I can sense. Noise, light, smell, the forest, the city, a marvellous specimen of fungus, or - a half clothed homeless person completely passed out (and possibly dead) laying face down on cold concrete in the financial district of an urban core. These all have had an effect on me in recent times.

Has the field of eco-psychology as yet emerged from of the fringes of the social sciences?

Every day dawns anew, and it's a miracle to be alive.

For now, I am going to enjoy the heat and sounds of wood crackling, the taste of fresh popcorn and consider going for a brief walk in the rain.

15 January 2006

Anti-Trident (nuclear warhead capable missile delivery system) non-violent direct action

Happy Birthday MLK!

The vigil had a clear purpose.

Activists took to the queue to better inform those waiting to enter the base about the purpose and mission of the action.

Overall the event was a success, with seventeen arrestees and an estimated 83 participants overall. Cooperation with law enforcement was excellent, the message was delivered and amazingly enough, I didn't see any one person express any considerable amount of anger.

There was a palpable sentiment of hope in the air. And the atmosphere even graced us with the righteous nuclear (fusion) produced rays of the Sun!

12 January 2006