30 June 2006

Crimes Against Humanity: Guantanamo Bay

The following is a segment from an article which is posted on Harper's.org. Falkoff is a lawyer to several Guantanamo Bay inmates. It was written by Ken Silverstein and is part of the Washington Babylon series.

Some of his clients, said Falkoff, “are beaten up and beaten down.” Falkoff met one of those he was referring to last April. “One of his eyes was swollen shut and the other was a sickening black and blue. He had contusions on his body and bumps on his head. We brought him food and he couldn't swallow it.” Falkoff said the client, whose name he asked me not to print, told him that the military had established a new rule that prohibited prisoners from crossing over a line painted down the middle of their cells when guards came to speak with them or to deliver food.

“A guard came one day with food and was speaking English to him. He doesn't speak English and without thinking crossed over the line to get the food. The next thing he knows there is an Emergency Reaction Team putting on full riot gear and chanting like a football team about to face its arch rival. He didn't even realize that he was the one they were coming for until they stopped in front of his cell. They sprayed him with pepper spray and beat the crap out of him.”

Falkoff said that during the April visit, this prisoner was considering suicide. “He was wondering—if you're not acting rationally, would God punish you for committing suicide? It was alarming because he had clearly not yet attempted to kill himself since he was worried about going to hell. And he was trying to convince himself that God wouldn't punish him if he did, because he was in exceptional circumstances.”

Here's a link to the original.

I don't know what to write really. I think that it is critically important that we know about this. We as a people in America need to know and understand what types of actions our government is taking. How can we stop our government from committing crimes against humanity?

27 June 2006

"Kill 'em All: Let God Sort 'em Out[?]"

[[edit: 28 June] — So say the "Operation Support Our Troops" people. The "Kill 'em All..." slogan's origin is mysterious to me. But the OSOTers flew their "Kill 'em All..." flag with an apparent sense of pride (see below). What does this say about the United States and its military mission in Iraq (and elsewhere)?]

But first, the "good guys"...
Peace Activists Banner for Lt. Watada and Other War Resistors at I-5 exit #119, (Near the Dupont Entrance to Ft. Lewis, WA State.)

"Special Forces: Mess With the Best, Die Like the Rest"

For me, this motto does absolutely nothing to inspire pride in America. It simply does not generate any sense of patriotism for me. Killing, in my mind is wrong, whether on a battlefield, or not. Some argument can be made for killing in self-defense. Unfortunately, due to the offensive nature of the United States' military action in Iraq, this excuse is inoperable.

Hence, Lt. Watada is right to refuse service in this illegal war.

"Kill 'em All..."

This motto is used in the military to justify the killing of innocent bystanders when attempting to eliminate an opposing guerilla fighting force. The killing of innocent Iraqi's is justified [rationalized] by the fact that "insurgents" might exist amongst the general populus.

This is unacceptable to me. Not to mention the fact that from a certain perspective the insurgents can be understood to be freedom fighters i.e. a force of resistance to an occupying and imperial military, one under the control of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, et al.

Do the American people stand firm in opposition to the use of our national military forces for the purpose of imperial conquest?

Bush's America is not my America.

p.s. check out this web video with Ehren Watada and more information about his position here, from thenation.com

26 June 2006

Refusing to Serve an Illegal Military Action

Lt. Ehren Watada has caused a stir by reporting for duty to Ft. Lewis (WA state) and refusing to deploy for service in Iraq with 4,000 of his fellow service members. Here is what Watada has to say about it;
“I refuse to be silent any longer. I refuse to be party to an illegal and immoral war against people who did nothing to deserve our aggression. My oath of office is to protect and defend America’s laws and its people. By refusing unlawful orders for an illegal war, I fulfill that oath today.”
- U.S. Army First Lt. Ehren Watada
Yesterday, a few Olympians gathered to celebrate Watada's refusal, and demonstrate our support of him.

Here's a picture:

photo courtesy of OMJP

Tomorrow, demonstrations are scheduled across the U.S. in support of the lieutenant and his courageous act of resistance to an ongoing illegal, unjust and immoral set of aggressive military actions (in Iraq.)

Locally, Watada supporters will gather at the Dupont/Steilacoom entrance to Ft. Lewis (the very place where Lt. Watada is currently stationed.) The location will be the overpass of interstate 5 associated with exit # 119.

Here's what it might look like tomorrow!

Thankyou Lt. Watada for your refusal to serve the ongoing unjustified, illegal and immoral military operation in Iraq.

18 June 2006

Washington's Hollow Echo in the Halls of Today's Congress

The constitution vests the power of declaring war in Congress; therefore no offensive expedition of importance can be undertaken until after they shall have deliberated upon the subject and authorized such a measure.
– George Washington
Here are some words from Gordon Prather regarding Iran's alleged purpose to gain nuclear weapons:
The Western media elite also repeatedly report that Iran’s alleged nuke program – if not actually on the agenda – is a hotly debated sideline topic at recent meetings of the Arab League, the Gulf Cooperation Council, the China-Arab Cooperation Forum, the Non-Aligned Movement’s Ministerial Meeting, the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the upcoming meeting of the Group of Eight.

But it’s not hotly debated.

On the contrary, Iran is acknowledged to be a principal defender of the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear weapons and a principal advocate of a "nuclear-weapon-free" zone in the Middle East. Most notably at the 2005 NPT Review Conference (made disastrous by Condi’s quasi-boycott), but also at the "high-level event" (savaged by Bonkers Bolton) that immediately preceded last year’s 60th Session of the UN General Assembly, by the address of their new President before the General Assembly last September, and in addresses made by high-level Iranian officials at quarterly meetings of the IAEA Board of Governors.
Either the US gov't and US media interests are blowing hot air - or the rest of the world is totally asleep at the wheel on this one. Why is there such a big story about Iran's purported aim to achieve nuclear weapons when all apparent indicators point to their disfavor toward the nuclear weapons establishment?

I think we owe it to ourselves to purchase some 5 or 6 hundred hearing aids for our Senators and Representatives... Anyone up for starting a fund?

In other words - It's time to start fulfilling your duties as congresspersons.

Will this fall on deaf ears? Or will it fall on the ears of those who are intent on service not to the greater good, to the people or to society (or indeed these days, the world) but to their own want of power and influence?
Let us hope for a miracle in the next election cycle. - Rob

16 June 2006

Back to North America

I made it back. I survived the crossing from Oahu to Vancouver Island and then Seattle. I am currently in decompression mode. I will have some photos to present, and maybe some stories, all sorted out sometime within the next couple of weeks.

Liar Liar

From Pike Place Market, Seattle.

14 June 2006

Diamond Head, Oahu

Asher and I went on a surfer's tour of Diamond Head this past May.

I didn't get to try surfing though. I am putting it on the list of things to do the next time I am on the Hawaiian Islands.