Kellia’s World – Recommended Reading

Challenging the assumptions we live by — Because I want to.

Posts Tagged ‘War crimes’

Cynthia McKinney: Pres. Obama – Don’t be complicit in their crimes!

Posted by kelliasworld on January 30, 2009

On Thursday, January 29th, I sent President Obama this message:

“Mr. President: The Bush Administration lied to the people in pursuit of war. As a result, at least one million Iraqis and thousands of U.S. soldiers are dead. Thousands more are maimed. The stature of the U.S. is severely damaged. The U.S. Constitution is in shreds after signing statements, wiretaps, and torture. Your obligation is to investigate and bring to justice those who violated U.S. and international law, such as the torture treaty. Failure to do so makes you complicit in their crimes.”

On Wednesday, January 28th, I sat in front of the television and I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.  Exactly what I’ve been saying, myself.  But it was coming from an unexpected source:  the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, Manfred Nowak.  I wrote down every word.  He said that the United Nations has proof that former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld knowingly approved of torture as a policy for the United States.  He said that President Barack Obama has a responsibility to investigate and prosecute those who condoned, conducted, or approved of torture.

Further, Jonathan Turley, in an MSNBC interview stated that if Obama fails to investigate or prosecute that he would be an “accessory.”

This is significant.  It means that all of us, sadly, were right to pursue impeachment of the key figures in the Bush Administration.  Impeachment was the Constitutional imperative; but the Constitution didn’t mean anything to either the Republican or Democratic national leadership.

And to think, on this day filled with impeachment news, Nancy Pelosi took impeachment “off the table” for this cast of villainous characters.  I never will forget watching Rocky Anderson, former Mayor of Salt Lake City, say on national television that Nancy Pelosi should be impeached for impeding impeachment.  But Nancy Pelosi isn’t the only one who obstructed justice.

In fact, how could Dick Durbin and Harry Reid, so voluble in standing up to Roland Burris because he was Governor Blagojevich’s pick for Obama’s vacated Senate seat, sit as quiet as church mice in the face of repeated calls for impeachment because of the reckless criminality of the Bush Administration?

And now, we have the United Nations tell us the equivalent of “Houston, we have a problem.”

Some of us knew all along, from the very beginning, that the Bush Administration was the quintessence of election theft, graft, corruption, and war criminality.  Some of us recognized early on that our struggle was “against principalities, against powers, . . . against spiritual wickedness in high places.”  It is impossible to “go along and get along” with illegal and immoral acts.  But that is exactly what the national leadership of this country asked us all to do, and that is exactly what they did.

Dr. King was confronted with the expediency of staying on the civil rights track, remaining with his friends in the civil rights movement, or doing what his conscience impelled him to do.  That’s when he made his famous statement, that popular chroniclers of Dr. King seem to have forgotten:

“When I first decided to take a firm stand against the war in Vietnam, I was subjected to the most bitter criticism, by the press, by individuals, and even by some fellow civil rights leaders. There were those who said that I should stay in my place, that these two issues did not mix and I should stick with civil rights. Well I had only one answer for that and it was simply the fact that I have struggled too long and too hard now to get rid of segregation in public accommodations to end up at this point in my life segregating my moral concerns.”

Dr. King had to leave behind some of his best friends in the movement when he decided to speak out against the Vietnam War.  Dr. King could have bowed to the pressure and stayed in his “civil rights” lane.  But he knew that the war was wrong and he had to use every fiber in his being to stop it.  Even his life, itself.

One of the first underreported acts of President Obama was to sign an order continuing the drone airstrikes, resulting in at least 22 killed so far.  For the dead children of Afghanistan or Pakistan or Gaza, it doesn’t matter to their parents if the bomb was dropped by Bush or Obama or the client state they support.  And President Obama has made it clear that the bombs will continue to drop; it is up to us–the people of the United States–to stop them.  That’s why it was on my birthday, in front of the Pentagon in 2007, that I declared my independence from every bomb dropped, every child killed, every veteran maimed in the name of U.S. wars.  I said it, and I meant it, and I knew I was going to have to do something I’d never done before if I was ever going to have something I’d never had before.  So I left the Democratic Party.

I don’t regret my decision one minute.  I draw my strength from Dr. King, who in his own way, did the same thing when he refused to segregate his moral concerns.

My neighborhood in Los Angeles, Watts and South Central, is already a police state.  Tonight, 25 to 30 young black men, standing handcuffed, outside the barber shop.  Every night, routine dehumanization is carried out in black and brown neighborhoods by LAPD.  I see it.  I never miss it.  It’s all around me.

Oscar Grant murdered in cold blood by law enforcement.  Robert Tolan, murdered in cold blood by law enforcement, for driving his father’s car, mistaken for stolen.

Filiberto Ojeda Rios assassinated by the U.S. government; I met his wife and heard the entire story of what happened as he was shot by the FBI and then bled to death.

Innocent black and brown and poor white men on death row.  How many Troy Davises and Mumia Abu Jamals will we allow to exist in our country?

Native Americans trying to survive despite genocide and ethnic cleansing, struggle against drug and alcohol abuse and poverty, and try to keep their culture alive.

And yet the likes of Harry Reid, Dick Durbin, Nancy Pelosi, and now Barack Obama say nothing about the pain I see on the mean streets and reservations across our country, and the miscarriages of justice that are its regular feature, but they allow Bush and company to get away with the highest of crimes, involving millions of deaths.

In each of these writings, I ask you, too, to write to the White House and let them know that you exist.  We didn’t recruit President Obama to run, so I am clear on the limitations of a White House letter writing campaign.  But trust me, our collective efforts will congeal into the movement for dignity, real peace, and true justice that we so desperately need for ourselves and the rest of the world.

http://lists.allthingscynthiamckinney.com/pipermail/updates-allthingscynthiamckinney.com/2009-January/000080.html

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In America, Speaking the Truth Is a Career-ending Event

Posted by kelliasworld on January 26, 2009


By Paul Craig RobertsJanuary 26, 2009 “Information Clearinghouse— – “The evidence is sitting on the table.  There is no avoiding the fact that this was torture.”

These are the words of Manfred Nowak, the UN official appointed by the Commission on Human Rights to examine cases of torture.  Nowak has concluded that President Obama is legally obligated to prosecute former President George W. Bush and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

If President Obama’s bankster economic team finishes off what remains of the US economy, Obama, to deflect the public’s attention from his own failures and Americans’ growing hardships, might fulfill his responsibility to prosecute Bush and Rumsfeld.  But for now the interesting question is why did the US military succumb to illegal orders?

In the December 2008 issue of CounterPunch, Alexander Cockburn, in his report on an inglorious chapter in the history of the Harvard Law School, provides the answer. Two brothers, Jonathan and David Lubell, both Harvard law students, were politically active against the Korean War.  It was the McCarthy era, and the brothers were subpoenaed. They refused to cooperate on the grounds that the subpoena was a violation of the First Amendment.

Harvard Law School immediately began pressuring the students to cooperate with Congress.  The other students ostracized them.  Pressures from the Dean and faculty turned into threats. Although the Lubells graduated magna cum laude, they were kept off the Harvard Law Review. Their scholarships were terminated. A majority of the Harvard Law faculty voted for their expulsion (expulsion required a two-thirds vote).

Why did Harvard Law School betray two honor students who stood up for the US Constitution?  Cockburn concludes that the Harvard law faculty sacrificed constitutional principle in order not to jeopardize their own self-advancement by displeasing the government (and no doubt donors).

We see such acts of personal cowardice every day.  Recently we had the case of Jewish scholar and Israel critic Norman Finkelstein, whose tenure was blocked by the cowardly president of DePaul University, a man afraid to stand up for his own faculty against the Israel Lobby, which successfully imposed on a Catholic university the principle that no critic of Israel can gain academic tenure.

The same calculation of self-interest causes American journalists to serve as shills for Israeli and US government propaganda and the US Congress to endorse Israeli war crimes that the rest of the world condemns.

When US military officers saw that torture was a policy coming down from the top, they knew that doing the right thing would cost them their careers.  They trimmed their sails.  One who did not was Major General Antonio Taguba.  Instead of covering up the Abu Ghraib prison torture scandal, General Taguba wrote an honest report that terminated his career.

Despite legislation that protects whistleblowers, it is always the whistleblower, not the wrongdoer, who suffers.  When it finally became public that the Bush regime was committing felonies under US law by using the NSA to spy on Americans, the Justice (sic) Department went after the whistleblower.  Nothing was done about the felonies.

Yet Bush and the Justice (sic) Department continued to assert that “we are a nation of law.”

The Bush regime was a lawless regime.  This makes it difficult for the Obama regime to be a lawful one. A torture inquiry would lead naturally into a war crimes inquiry.  General Taguba said that the Bush regime committed war crimes.  President Obama was a war criminal by his third day in office when he ordered illegal cross-border drone attacks on Pakistan that murdered 20 people, including 3 children.  The bombing and strafing of homes and villages in Afghanistan by US forces and America’s NATO puppets are also war crimes.  Obama cannot enforce the law, because he himself has already violated it.

For decades the US government has taken the position that Israel’s territorial expansion is not constrained by any international law.  The US government is complicit in Israel’s war crimes in Lebanon, Gaza and the West Bank.

The entire world knows that Israel is guilty of war crimes and that the US government made the crimes possible by providing the weapons and diplomatic support.  What Israel and the US did in Lebanon and Gaza is no different from crimes for which Nazis were tried at Nuremberg.  Israel understands this, and the Israeli government is currently preparing its defense, which will be led by Israeli Justice (sic) Minister Daniel Friedman.  UN war crimes official Richard Falk has compared Israel’s massacre of Gazans to the Nazi starvation and massacre of Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto. Amnesty International and the Red Cross have demanded Israel be held accountable for war crimes.  Even eight Israeli human rights groups have called for an investigation into Israel’s war crimes.

Obama’s order to close Guantanamo Prison means very little. Essentially, Obama’s order is a public relations event.  The tribunal process had already been shut down by US courts and by military lawyers, who refused to prosecute the fabricated cases.  The vast majority of the prisoners were hapless individuals captured by Afghan warlords and sold for money to the stupid Americans as “terrorists.”  Most of the prisoners, people the Bush regime told us were “the most dangerous people alive,” have already been released.
Obama’s order said nothing about closing the CIA’s secret prisons or halting the illegal practice of rendition in which the CIA kidnaps people and sends them to third world countries, such as Egypt, to be tortured.

Obama would have to take risks that opportunistic politicians never take in order for the US to become a nation of law instead of a nation in which the agendas of special interests override the law.

Truth cannot be spoken in America.  It cannot be spoken in universities.  It cannot be spoken in the media.  It cannot be spoken in courts, which is why defendants and defense attorneys have given up on trials and cop pleas to lesser offenses that never occurred.

Truth is never spoken by government.  As Jonathan Turley said recently, Washington “is where principles go to die.”

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