The government of the United States, exposed as by far and away the worlds worst violator of human rights with its proven record of illegal and unilateral wars of invasion, bombing of schools, hospitals, and civilian residential neighborhoods and use of torture, has no moral or legal credibility when it accuses Cuba or any other nation of violating human rights.
It is true that in Cuba there are hundreds of political prisoners being tortured but not by Cubans. These victims of gross human rights violations are imprisoned in the illegally seized and militarily controlled territory of Guantanamo, where US soldiers and doctors routinely torture people of several nationalities captured and held without any formal legal proceedings.
The United States stands condemned by world public opinion as a rogue state.
Disregarding international law and ignoring world tribunals and treaties, it threatens all humanity with its weapons of mass destruction, even saying it may use some of them soon. It maintains more than 700 military bases in 132 countries. Conducting wars around the world, it routinely kidnaps, tortures, and disappears people, incarcerates political prisoners under barbaric conditions, and defends its aggressive state-sponsored terrorism under the
doctrine of pre-emptive war, a contest of good against evil, us against them.
In today"s context, the annual US-sponsored attempt to have the UN condemn Cuba helps maintain a long genocidal history of US state- sponsored terrorism and a baseless, mendacious propaganda against the
Cuban people and their legitimate government. This record is being
documented in the international civil society proceedings of the Benito Juarez Tribunal, to take place in Mexico City, April 24-27, 2005.
The context that this years UN Commission on Human Rights must take into account is not only the absurd US claim that Cuba is part of an axis of evil practicing terrorism. It is a very ominous context of a veritable declaration of war against the Cuban people in the name of freeing them, represented by the Powell Commission 440-page report of May 2004 calling for regime change in Cuba and backed up by a multi-million dollar increase in US funding and training of Cuban mercenaries, terrorists, and propaganda about human rights.
For decades US governments have sought to remove the example offered by Cuba to other Third World countries as an alternative to foreign-dominated capitalist development and to regain US control over Cuba. Now discoveries of oil underneath Cuban waters in the Gulf of Mexico have further whet the appetite of US imperialism (and of the oil, industrial, and financial companies behind it), much in the way Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Venezuela, Mexico and other countries abundant resources and key geographical locations have done in recent years.
The US government seeks to do the impossible: to break the spirit of an entire people in order to annex Cuba and return it to the conditions of virtual slavery Cubans experienced before launching their successful revolution of the 1950s. That slavery, as is well known, was one based on indecently low wages, racism, sexism, and military and police control, the kind of slavery now plaguing so many countries of Latin America, a region the Cuban patriot Jose Marti referred to as Our America. In Cuba, there are no disappeared, no extra-judicial executions or imprisonments, no mass unemployment, no extreme poverty, no malnutrition, and no hunger and all this despite an illegal economic siege of Cuba and its people that has lasted almost half a century and has included military invasions and the use
of biochemical weapons to destroy lives and crops.
Cuba is no utopia, to be sure. But, unlike the United States, it has never claimed to be one. Cuba does offer, with all its human failures, a political and social alternative to the exploitation and ecological degradation imposed by US imperialism and its globalization.
The annual UN Human Development Index has ranked Cuba among the worlds most advanced countries, with a lower infant mortality rate than the US one, a life expectancy at birth of 76.7 years, and an adult literacy rate of 96.9 percent (2002).
In Cuba, unlike the United States, almost everybody graduates high school and is eligible to complete a university education free of charge. Moreover, there is almost no functional illiteracy. Indeed, in terms of Human Development Indicators relative to GDP, Cuba puts the United States to shame.
Moreover, Cuba exports doctors and teachers, not bombs and armaments the way the United States does. Thousands upon thousands of Cubans doctors, teachers, dentists, technicians and workers from all walks of life- practice human solidarity in dozens of countries, in forms of internationalism without precedent in human history.
Five of these Cubans chose to defend their country and other peoples threatened by US-sponsored terrorists by gathering information on the plans of Mafioso Cuban-exile terrorists operating out of Florida. These five Cubans, two of them US citizens, were unjustly incarcerated for ridiculously long terms after a Miami jury trial not of their peers, under the false accusations of conspiracy to commit espionage or murder, while the terrorists upon whom they collected information in Miami people like Orlando Bosch considered by the US Department of Justice to be responsible for countless terrorist acts and the death of dozens of innocent persons
continued to enjoy full liberty and to appear next to President George W.Bush and other US government war criminals who treat them like heroes.
In truth, when one says US Government, one hears the echoes of genocide, and when one says Cuba, one hears simply dignity.
* Dr. James D. Cockcroft, Ph.D., Stanford University, is an online Internet professor for State University of New York and one of two American civil society judges among some 14 judges from different countries sitting on the Benito Juarez Tribunal hearing charges of US terrorism against Cuba. The other American judge is former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark. This article was written for a book being compiled by Atilio A. Boron to be published in 2005.
Published by www.cubanow.net
WASHINGTON - Amid all the criticism of the US's faulty intelligence-gathering, a new concern is surfacing about America's premier national-security agencies - their vulnerability to counterespionage.
Because the US has reached such lone, superpower status, government officials say, at least 90 countries - in addition to Al Qaeda - are attempting to steal some of the nation's most sacred secrets.
It's not only foes, like members of terror groups or nations that are adversaries of the US, but friends as well. The top five countries trying to snoop on US plans and cutting-edge technology, according to an official who works closely with the FBI on this issue, are China, Russia, Israel, France, and North Korea. Others running close behind: Cuba, Pakistan, and India.
"With the end of the Soviet Union, people stopped taking counterintelligence seriously," says Patrick Lang, former head of Middle East intelligence at the Defense Intelligence Agency. "Not enough attention has been devoted to keeping people from getting into our secret store of knowledge."
The issue is getting more attention now. The Silberman-Robb commission, the latest to scrutinize the intelligence capabilities of the US, harshly criticized the US's counterintelligence efforts across the 15 agencies and recommended major changes. During the same week, the Bush administration released its National Counterintelligence Strategy of the United States. And top counterintelligence officials participated in a conference at Texas A&M University earlier in March.
A chief concern, officials say, is that Al Qaeda or other terror groups may try to infiltrate US national security agencies. Paul Redmond, a former CIA counterintelligence official who spoke at the conference last month, said it is an "actuarial certainty" that foreign spies have again infiltrated US national-security agencies.
The CIA, according to a recruiter at the conference, has already flagged about 40 applicants who they think may have tried to be double agents. This would fit Al Qaeda's pattern, according to Michael Scheuer, a former top CIA counterterrorism official. Al Qaeda operatives, he says, have already penetrated several security agencies in Middle Eastern countries.
The US has long had trouble with double agents. During the cold war, essentially every component of the US's national- security apparatus - with maybe the exception of the Coast Guard - was penetrated, experts say. Moles working for adversaries of the US stole closely guarded secrets, including details on nuclear weapons programs, cryptographic codes, and information on how the US spies on its adversaries.
Moreover, intelligence officials and experts say, this is an area where the US has never gained an advantage overseas, and it's becoming more difficult to operate in an ever-changing world.
For one thing, all 15 US intelligence agencies have ramped up their recruiting efforts - possibly opening the door to infiltrators - to support the government's policies in the war on terror. At the same time, the US has engaged in more information-sharing activities with allies - the coalition in Iraq, for example, and several other arrangements with foreign governments for strategic reasons.
The US shares critical technology and weapons programs with allies, like Israel. But in the past, and again more recently, the US has censured Israel for selling that technology to US adversaries, like China. Just last week, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld met with Israel's defense minister, Shaul Mofaz, and reportedly made it clear that Israel was to stop selling US-originated weapons systems, like the HARPY unmanned aerial vehicle, to China.
"We continue to raise these concerns with allies, friends, and partners and look for them to take a responsible approach to arms sales to China," says Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman.
But it is also difficult for Americans to become double agents and counter foreign spies because of cultural sensitivities. "We're never going to be as good at developing techniques and strategies [as] ... countries in opposition to us," says Peter Crooks, a 20-year veteran of the FBI's counterintelligence program.
He explains that countries like Cuba, former Soviet bloc countries, and several in the Middle East don't hesitate to use such tactics. But in the US, people find it distasteful, even dishonorable, to spy on neighbors or to try to turn them into informants.
Indeed, Mr. Lang tells the story of speaking on intelligence gathering at a recent conclave at Penn State. A South Korean in the audience, a member of that country's equivalent of the FBI, asked why the US is so bad at espionage.
Lang replied: "Well, we've got you here for two years, right? Wouldn't it be logical for us to put a couple of our guys next to you, recruit you, so that when you return home, you can provide us information from inside your government?"
The South Korean responded that would be perfectly appropriate: It's what other countries routinely do.
Lang says he paused a moment, smiled, then pointed out how uncomfortable the audience had become - most, he says, were squirming in their seats.
Yet experts like Lang and Crooks say that's exactly what needs to be done. The US needs to recruit members of the large immigrant communities in the US who travel back and forth to home countries and know the cultures.
The Silberman-Robb report called for more aggressive tactics, too. "Even as our adversaries - and many of our 'friends' - ramp up their intelligence activities against the United States, our counterintelligence efforts remain fractured, myopic, and marginally effective," the report states. "Our counterintelligence philosophy and practices need dramatic change, starting with centralizing counterintelligence leadership ... and taking our counterintelligence fight overseas to adversaries currently safe from scrutiny."
By Faye Bowers | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
© Christian Science Monitor
Japanese-owned businesses also came under attack during the march, which thousands of protesters joined. The protests come less than a week after China criticised Japan for approving new school books which it says gloss over Japanese atrocities. Protests on this scale are very rare in China's tightly-regulated capital.
Correspondents say the fact that Saturday's demonstration took place signals tacit acceptance, if not approval, by the authorities.
The protest is the largest in Beijing since 1999, when thousands marched on the US embassy after Nato planes bombed China's embassy in Belgrade during the Kosovo war. Japan's embassy in Beijing issued a warning to its nationals to avoid the protests and security was stepped up near the building.
Organisers spread the word of the rally on internet bulletin boards, which called for protesters to gather at a shopping centre in the north of the city.
Marchers chanted slogans and burned a Japanese flag, demanding a boycott of Japanese goods. "Japan doesn't face up to its history," Cheng Lei said, quoted by Reuters news agency. "We want to express our feelings so the Japanese government knows what we think."
Some smashed windows of a Japanese restaurant and others hurled bottles at a Japanese bank.
Hundreds of demonstrators threw rocks and bottles and shouted abuse at the residence of the Japanese ambassador to Beijing. Another protester told AFP news agency earlier that the demonstration was a "patriotic rally". "I am Chinese, I love China," Zhang Daili said.
"... [I]f you are a patriot then you must oppose Japan."
Public anger against Japan simmers very close to the surface in China, the BBC's Louisa Lim reports from Beijing. Many believe Japan has never apologised properly for its wartime atrocities, she says.
There has also been widespread Chinese unease at Japan's bid for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council, our correspondent adds. More than 25 million people have signed an online petition against the move. Recent protests in other Chinese cities have turned violent, with demonstrators scuffling with police.
China believes the newly approved Japanese school books underplay the country's military occupations of Asian countries in the first half of the 20th Century.
Tokyo says private companies, not the government, were responsible for the texts, and that it is up to individual school districts to decide which books they use.
Published: 2005/04/09 11:31:21 GMT
© BBC MMV
A two-year conflict between Sudanese pro-government Arab militias and black African rebels has left at least 180,000 people dead in Darfur.
The BBC's Jonah Fisher in Khartoum says reports speak of 17 people killed in the raid by militiamen riding horses and camels.
A joint statement by the UN and African Union said: "We condemn this senseless and premeditated savage attack." It said the militiamen "rampaged through the village killing, burning and destroying everything in their paths and leaving in their wake total destruction with only the mosque and the school spared".
The statement said the raid appeared to be in revenge for villagers allegedly stealing 150 cattle.
Mr Tijani had also accused a rival militia of failing to return the bodies of two of his men killed in an earlier raid, it said.
The organisations said the militia leader had previously threatened to destroy the village but the government had not taken steps to prevent it. The naming of Mr Tijani comes after the UN Security Council voted recently to refer those believed guilty of war crimes in Darfur to the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
That decision sparked protests in Khartoum. Sudan says it can bring war criminals to justice. The attack was the worst since a raid on the village of Hamada in January in which about 100 people died.
The Darfur conflict began in February 2003, when Sudanese rebels of African origin took up arms against the government.
Khartoum is alleged to have armed Arab militiamen to fight the rebels. The fighting has displaced about 1.8 million people.
Published: 2005/04/09 17:53:32 GMT
© BBC MMV
How many horror stories do you have of people with disabilities being misdiagnosed, dying from "medical errors" or just simple incompetence on the part of doctors? I have tons of them.
Merchants of Death
by Pat Figueroa
I am not one to urge others on a course of action. After all, I am an over-the-hill advocate now. More apt to follow than to lead. But in the course of the last few months I have become keenly aware of people who seem to be indifferent ("indifferent" may be an overly polite word) to our very existence.
I am speaking of the people who see those of us with disabilities as expendable, less than human, and not worthy of medical treatment or due process. I call these people the Merchants of Death: an unholy trinity of the medical field (with the pharmaceutical industry included), the media and the courts.
These are powerful forces. Once they take a position, an appeal or reversal is a near-death experience. Doctors think they are always right. The media is never wrong. And the courts? they're wrong at times; sometimes you can appeal decisions. Sometimes you can't.
As I look in retrospect at the Schiavo situation, as I watched the death of the Pope unfold on television, I see how the media relishes the death of people "who have suffered." The Pope, of course has been slowed by Parkinson's disease. So in some way he is one of us -- a person with a disability. He is also aged.
Although there are no court decisions in his case, the Pope, I understand, left explicit directions that no one was going to pull the plug on him. Hence no court, or conclave, or college of eager Cardinals ready to achieve history by burning ballots, and sending a puff of white smoke signifying the election of a new Catholic leader. No, no overeager Cardinal was going to hasten his elevation to Pope by pulling the plug on the respirator. This Pope, unlike Pope Paul I, was leaving on his terms. When he was nice and ready.
As I was writing this, the media was so eager for the end that Joe Scarboro was praying the Pope would die during his segment. What a scoop! I know they're taking bets on which Cardinals are the leading candidate. I wonder if they have a Zogby Poll on the leading candidates. Death is a serious matter, except for the media and their accomplices, the medical profession.
"Death wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't so permanent." This whole thing wouldn't be so sad if it wasn't so irreversible, permanent, and sad. Do you wonder about the quality of medical care the Pope received when a urinary tract infection was allow to spread so quickly? It is bewildering how Foley catheters have become such a standard procedure of post-surgery care. And why are there so many infections with the use of these catheters? Don't they sterilize these things?
Ask yourself this question: How many horror stories do you have of people with disabilities being misdiagnosed, dying from "medical errors," or just simple incompetence on the part of doctors? I have tons of them.
Remember the Hippocratic Oath: "I will apply dietetic measures for the benefit of the sick according to my ability and judgment; I will keep them from harm and injustice." At one time every doctor lived by it. It may surprise you how few do now.
In today's vernacular, an "oath" is nothing more than the irreverent use of a sacred name. Vows are made to be broken. "To have and to hold from this day forward" -- a vow presumably taken by Michael Schiavo -- hardly lasted as long as the paper it was written on.
Nowadays most lawyers adhere to a Code of Ethics of professional behavior when they enter practice. But it should be noted that not all physicians take the Hippocratic Oath when they enter practice, nor do all lawyers or judges adhere to a Code of Ethics.
Don Henley, the prophetic cynic musician, put it best in his anti-media song, Dirty Laundry. Here are some of the lines to that song:
I make my living off the evening news
Just give me something-something I can use
People love it when you lose,
They love dirty laundry.
Kick 'em when they're up
Kick 'em when they're down
Kick 'em when they're up
Kick 'em when they're down
Kick 'em when they're up
Kick 'em when they're down
Kick 'em when they're up
Kick 'em all around.
Can we film the operation?
Is the head dead yet?
You know, the boys in the newsroom got a
Get the widow on the set!
We need dirty laundry.
If we're going to stay around, a "culture of life" is not enough. I want a "culture of quality life." And we define the "quality."
Perhaps I am just a little behind the times. A little slow.
President Bush last Thursday urged the country to honor Terri Schiavo's memory by working to "build a culture of life". The Pope had spoken of a similar theme. Presumably "a culture of life" would promote, protect, and value life, irrespective of the quality of that life. But being a cynic, I say we're moving quickly to a "cult of life" -- one where the quality, the wealth, the economic standing of the individual all matter.
Why? Resources. The longer people live, whether on or off life-sustaining technology, the greater the cost to society.
Today, most states are struggling with rising Medicaid costs. If Medicaid services are not cut (cutting them would mean fewer people served, less money for doctors, etc.), states would be forced to cut other services. Usually education. Or the cost is passed to the tax payer in real estate taxes, or in some other way.
The media's angle on this issue? "a generation war." Medicaid for the old and disabled, or education for the young, and the future of our country? Even the EEOC agrees with employers who want to give younger workers better benefits than older or retired workers.
As Don Henley's song puts it,
We got the bubble-headed-bleach-blonde who
Comes on at five
She can tell you 'bout the plane crash with a gleam
In her eye
It's interesting when people die
The people who are going to be dying are us. The "the culture of life" notion is just more empty promises from the politicians and the Merchants of Death. Terri Schiavo and the Pope were just two of its newest victims. The disability rights movement has to shift direction and start focusing on this "cult of death" being pushed by the Merchants of Death.
I want to see the first bricks of the "culture of life" put in place. Soon. Like yesterday.
It is not a matter of not being dead yet. It's a matter of time and politics. If we're going to stay around, a "culture of life" is not enough. I want a "culture of quality life." No compromises. If you're pro-life, then you gotta be pro a life with quality.
And we define the quality.
Posted April 6, 2005
Longtime disability rights activist Pat Figureoa moderates the "mediatalk" email discussion list, where another version of this article originally appeared.
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We part at the crossroads,
You leave with your joys and problems,
I with mine. Alone, I look down the road.
Each one must walk one’s own path.
People’s paths come together all too briefly when sharing friendship, but that makes those times no less valuable. We must take advantage of support and sharing in a mutually beneficial way. Whenever we take from another, we should try to give back something. This is fundamental. No one should lean on anther person, or expect another to carry them a long distance down the road. Friends should walk side by side for as long as their journey cries them, without becoming dependent on one another.
There should be no obligation. If I can help someone do something, then I should do so without any hesitation or expectation of reward or debt. If there is something that I need to learn and my companion can show it to me, then I should accept it in humility. No one “owns” knowledge. It should be freely shared.
Parting is inherent in all meeting. Nothing lasts forever. Transience is what gives life poignancy. Every person is responsible for himself or herself. There is no road to walk but your own.
today's art is by Asha Mandal, entitled "Two Tigers"
for Jean, living in India while her kitties wait patiently in Denver
a reading list of books and interpretations of the Daodejing is available at
for a meditation sent to your email address each day, please write
’subscribe tao’ in the subject line and send to lisbeth at duckdaotsu
An Oregon National Guardsman asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday to halt his deployment to Afghanistan.
Emiliano Santiago, 27, an electronics technician and a helicopter refueler now living in Pasco, Wash., is fighting plans to ship him out because his eight-year service agreement expired last year. His lawyers told the court Santiago is the victim of a "backdoor draft."
Santiago on Friday was sent to Fort Sill, in Lawton, Okla., in preparation for deployment to Afghanistan, said Collette Belusko, a receptionist for Santiago's attorney, Steven Goldberg in Portland, Ore.
Goldberg on Friday did not immediately respond to a request for additional information.
On Wednesday, a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, sitting in Seattle, declined to halt his impending departure. On Thursday, the court declined to rehear the case with 11 judges.
Santiago "honorably performed his end of the bargain, completing his commitment to serve eight years in the nation's armed forces," his lawyers wrote in a filing with the Supreme Court.
Rather than rewarding Santiago for his service "the government now demands additional involuntary service abroad," the lawyers added in seeking an injunction in order to prevent Santiago's deployment.
No U.S. federal appeals court has sided with similarly situated military personnel fighting their deployments.
TORONTO, Apr 7 (IPS) - So far, only a trickle of U.S. soldiers are heading north to Canada to avoid serving in the U.S. military campaign in Iraq.
It is still relatively early in the conflict, which has not reached the level of the equally controversial U.S. military involvement in Vietnam three decades ago, says John Hagan, a professor of law and sociology at Northwestern University near Chicago.
”The scale of the American commitment in Iraq in terms of manpower is much smaller and the numbers of deaths are far smaller,” he told IPS.
But if U.S. President George W. Bush decides to bring back compulsory military service as the Pentagon finds it increasingly difficult to recruit volunteers, there could be a repeat of the exodus that occurred starting in the late 1960s, he added.
Back then, the existence of a military draft during an increasingly intense U.S. engagement in the Vietnam War caused thousands of young U.S. men to flee to Canada rather than be forced to experience combat, says Hagan, a former draft evader himself from that period and the author of ”Northern Passage: American War Resisters in Canada.”
During the Vietnam War, a draft evader could cross the border into Canada from the U.S and successfully ask for landed immigrant status. Now, a prospective immigrant to this country must make his or her request from the country of origin.
Meanwhile, only a small number of the half million mostly working-class men and women who joined the U.S. military and then deserted rather than serve in Vietnam ended up in Canada, says Hagan.
”The deserters tend to be less highly educated than the draft resisters were. They often come more on the spur of the moment, with a short decision time. So they haven't been able to prepare, they don't have the resources in the first place,” he adds.
What also discouraged U.S. deserters from coming to Canada during the Vietnam War was the possibility that they could be handed back to U.S. authorities under a Canada-U.S. agreement, says Laura Jones, a Toronto photographer and filmmaker who is working on a documentary about the latest generation of U.S. war resisters.
A former U.S. citizen who came with her then-husband, a draft evader, to Canada during the Vietnam War and is now a Canadian citizen, Jones has also discovered that many of the current U.S. military deserters are choosing to stay home and perhaps hide out for a while in their home country.
During a series of videotaped interviews with young deserters and their families in Fayetteville, North Carolina, also the site of a huge military base, Fort Bragg, she found ”no consideration of coming to Canada.”
Jones encountered both ”surprise” and ”sympathy” in Fayetteville with the high-profile case of Jeremy Hinzman, a former paratrooper for the 82nd U.S. Airborne Division at Fort Bragg who now works in Toronto as a bicycle courier.
Last month, the 25-year-old Hinzman lost his bid for refugee status in Canada. The country's Immigration and Refugee board declined to consider Hinzman's argument that he would be committing war crimes as a U.S soldier participating in an illegal intervention in Iraq.
Nevertheless, the U.S. military has chosen not to hunt down and prosecute the approximately 5,000 to 6,000 soldiers who are AWOL unless someone reports on their whereabouts, Jones told IPS.
Another young man who had left his post at Fort Bragg told Jones that if he stayed underground for six months, things would work out fine. Eventually, she says, ”he would be discharged, (although) getting a job after that would be very difficult because of his dishonourable discharge.”
At the moment, anti-war sentiment appears surprisingly strong in Fayetteville, a traditional military community populated by 131,000, where at least 60 soldiers have been killed in Iraq.
Jones interviewed women living on the Fort Bragg military base who are open about their peace sympathies even as their husbands serve in Iraq. ”The women are actually going around and speaking to different groups against the war,” Jones said. ”I asked one of them how the other wives (on the base) treated her. And she said they treated her fine.”
However, if the Iraq war continues to drag on and more U.S. soldiers head north, a support system awaits them in Toronto, where many of the Vietnam-era war resisters ended up settling in the 1960s, says Michelle Robidoux, a spokesperson for the War Resisters' Support Campaign.
The local War Resisters' Support Campaign lobbies the Canadian government to allow the U.S. dissidents to stay in Canada and works to provide clothing, food and accommodation for those already here.
The fact that Canada declined to participate in the U.S military assault in Iraq and its citizens still actively oppose the current U.S. role in that country should ”translate into some kind of support for these war resisters,” Robidoux told IPS.
Another former U.S. draft evader from the 1960s, Toronto lawyer Jeffrey House, says there are about eight young soldiers in similar circumstances to Jeremy Hinzman who have deserted the from U.S. military and sought legal refugee status in Canada. He estimates that there may be about 100 U.S. deserters in this country.
The Toronto lawyer suggests that other U.S. military deserters headed south of the border. ”I happen to know that some of them are in Mexico because there is a significant number of Mexican Americans who thought they'd get their papers (regarding their status in the U.S.), but did not reckon with the war in Iraq.”
As Hinzman's attorney, House is ”optimistic” that his client will get a more receptive hearing in an appeal of the refugee board's decision before the Federal Court of Canada -- which could also refuse to hear the case.
Nevertheless, if Hinzman exhausts all of his legal options, the Canadian government may find it difficult to deport him to the U.S. in the current political climate.
”The image of Jeremy Hinzman or somebody else being handed over to the Americans to face a pretty near certainty of imprisonment -- when you get to that moment, I think it will be a little different,” Hagan said. (END/2005)
by Paul Weinberg
“Yo supe en ese momento que yo no podía ir a Irak”, Webb le explicó a la audiencia en la Iglesia Calvario aquí el 28 de marzo.”Yo no quería ser parte de la maquinaria de matar en una agresión poco ética e ilegal estadounidense”.
Sin decirle nada a nadie, Webb dejó al Ejército, donde fue un enfermero por 12 años. El pasado enero, Webb recibió un correo electrónico del Fuerte Hood diciéndole que estaba en la lista como un desertor.
Él cree que el programa “stop loss” es ilegal porque obliga a los soldados servir en Irak más allá de tiempo estipulado en sus contratos.
“Con más de 1.500 soldados estadounidenses muertos y más de 10.000 heridos en Irak, las Fuerzas Armadas estadounidenses tienen dificultades reemplazando sus filas”, dijo Webb. El número de reclutas para la Guardia Nacional bajó 40 por ciento. Reclutadores militares están agresivamente detrás de estudiantes de escuela superior en las comunidades negras y latinas”.
Webb está entre los más de 6.000 militares en la lista de desertores y puede recibir una condena de hasta cinco años en prisión. Durante tiempo de guerra, desertores pueden ser ejecutados. Aunque no han cumplido con esta ley desde la Segunda Guerra Mundial, pero puede ser usada en cualquier tiempo, aunque ahora mismo el Ejército no tiene suficiente personal para buscar y arrestar a los desertores.
Webb dijo que él no cree que los políticos jamás van a terminar esta guerra. La solución es crear un movimiento antiguerra tan fuerte que el gobierno no tendrá ninguna alternativa que traer las tropas a casa. “Necesitamos un movimiento contra el reclutamiento inmediatamente”, Webb dijo.
“Los reclutadores le prometen cualquier cosa a la juventud para que se alisten. Los jóvenes ven entrar a las Fuerzas Armadas como otro trabajo excitante o como una manera de conseguir dinero para la universidad o beneficios de salud”, él dijo. “Ellos en realidad no piensan de la guerra o de que es la guerra”.
Él le sugiere a los padres pedir que no se permita darle información a los reclutadores militares sobre sus niños, ni que les hablen. Los padres deben apoyar programas que le informe a la juventud sobre las realidades de la guerra y el servicio militar obligatorio. Ellos pueden reclamar que estos grupos tengan acceso a las escuelas superiores igual como lo tienen los reclutadores militares.
“Hay señales de que iniciarán el servicio militar obligatorio en el futuro”, dijo Webb. “El Servicio Selectivo está montando oficinas en los estados individuales”.
Al preguntarle porqué él no se registró como objetor por conciencia, Webb dijo, “A la mayoría de los soldados que aplican se lo rechazan y pueden enfrentarse a un juicio militar por negarse a obedecer una orden”. Él le dio las gracias a los que lo ayudaron y animó a todos a apoyar a los que resisten la guerra como una forma de poner fin al conflicto en Irak.
Archive Recent Editions 2005 Editions Apr 9, 2005
Author: Rosita Johnson
People's Weekly World Newspaper, 04/07/05 14:00
SAN FRANCISCO -- For the second time in as many days, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has denied a Pasco soldier's challenge to the military's "stop-loss" policy that extends enlistments during war.
The entire panel of the San Francisco-based court yesterday declined to hear a motion for an injunction by Sgt. Emiliano Santiago to keep him from being sent to Afghanistan. On Wednesday, a three-member court panel in Seattle denied his appeal seeking release from the Army.
Santiago, 27, a refueler with the Oregon National Guard's 113th Aviation Battalion, is challenging the military's "stop-loss" policy that extended his eight-year enlistment.
Santiago signed up in 1996 at age 18 while a junior in high school, and expected to be released June 27, 2004. He was retained, however, under Defense Department rules that allow the president to extend enlistments during war and national emergencies. The policy already affects thousands of U.S. soldiers who serve in Iraq and Afghanistan after having fulfilled original enlistment terms.
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER STAFF AND NEWS SERVICES
Peter Phillips, the director of Project Censored, will be speaking about the group's work and "New American Censorship" at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in Harlen Adams Theatre.
The speech will address how media consolidation has made the media more dependent on corporate and government sources for the news they provide and how this has affected coverage.
Phillips, the sociology department chair at Sonoma State, said a decline in investigative reporting has turned the corporate media into stenographers for the people in power and keeps important news from being reported. One fear the press has is losing an important source.
"If you're writing a critical story about the Pentagon, you risk (losing) continued access," Phillips said.
Another concern is the amount of space that's taken away from hard news by stories like the Scott Peterson trial, the Michael Jackson trial or Congress investigating steroids in sports.
None of that is covered in "Censored." Instead it covers 25 stories ranging from President Bush's censorship of science, to Arnold Schwarzenegger's meetings with Ken Lay, to Wal-Mart's spread of low prices and low standards of living to the rest of the world. Later chapters update stories from previous editions and what has been done.
"Usually about a third of our stories go on to get some kind of national coverage," Phillips said.
Another focus is called "media democracy in action," or what independent media sources are doing throughout the country on the Internet, television and radio. These smaller sources focus on filling the gaps that corporate media are ignoring.
A critical focus for the next edition, due out in September, is the 9/11 attacks and certain inconsistencies in the 9/11 Report. These include stock options, pre-warnings and discrepancies in photos of the plane that hit the Pentagon. The most troubling inconsistency, Phillips said, was the collapse of Building Seven in the vicinity of the World Trade Center.
Building Seven was a 42-story building that was one block away from the twin towers. It was farther away than Building Five and Building Six. All three buildings caught fire after the center collapsed. Five and Six had the worst fires, while Seven only had smaller fires on the 13th and 14th floors.
Building Seven, however, was the only one to collapse. News reporters at the time said it looked like a demolition, but there is no record of one being ordered. This left engineering experts baffled.
"They can't explain why a steel structure with a small fire collapsed," Phillips said, "other than it was detonated and brought down deliberately."
Another instance that troubled Phillips was the 80 million people who didn't vote in the last election.
He said, "They choose not to vote, literally -- because it's very easy to register and actually vote."
Phillips said the media steered clear of important issues in the campaigns and chose to focus their attention on how the candidates looked and what they did in Vietnam.
"I put this on the head of the corporate media," Phillips said, "They didn't even talk about the draft until the last month."
The draft issue was critical in Phillips' opinion because there was an actual increase in funding to the Selective Service program and the boards were filled so the government would be ready in case a draft was needed. This, Phillips said, is one reason why the media needs to be monitored and is the purpose of Project Censorship.
He said, "(Being) without a valid media keeping us informed of the world is a threat to democracy."
Kyle Buis can be reached at
Praise for Project Censored:
"Buy it, read it, act on it. Our future depends on the knowledge this collection of suppressed stories allows us."-San Diego Review
"Devastating evidence of the dumbing down of mainstream news in America. . . . . Required reading for broadcasters, journalists, and well-informed citizens."-Los Angeles Times
"A terrific resource."-Library Journal
"A distant early warning system for society's problems."-American Journalism Review
Project Censored highlights the year's 25 most important underreported news stories, alerting readers to deficiencies in corporate media. And this year, for the first time ever, Censored 2005 will add some original reporting of its own, breaking a major news story in its pages. Censored 2005 additionally features essays by Stephanie Dyer, Ph.D., (on cross-ownership of U.S. broadcast media), and Normon Soloman (on the state of media in the US).
Peter Phillips, director of Project Censored, is an associate professor of sociology at Sonoma State University. He is known for his op-ed pieces in the alternative press and independent newspapers nationwide, including Z Magazine and Social Policy. He frequently speaks on censorship and various sociopolitical issues on radio and TV talk shows, including Talk of the Nation, Public Interest, World Radio Network, and Democracy Now!. He lives in rural Sonoma County, California.
Project Censored, founded in 1976 by Carl Jensen, has as its principal objective the advocacy for and protection of First Amendment rights and the freedom of information in the United States.
George F. Kennan’s “Containment” Policy Was Ignored
arton Gellman’s brilliant “appreciation” of George F. Kennan (who died Mach 17th) appeared in Washington Post’s Style Section on Saturday, March 19th. It should be mandatory reading for all members of the Bush Administration.
Gellman recalled that “Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said Kennan came "as close to authoring the diplomatic doctrine of his era as any diplomat in our history." While Kennan’s “containment” policy toward the Soviet Union has been long and widely heralded by countless policy mavens including Henry Kissenger, Kennan’s “containment” policy was not in fact pursued in the way he defined it. In fact, his concept in its execution by others was largely ignored.
As Gellman notes, “Kennan's containment was not a military endeavor. In lectures at the National War College, he spoke not of "counterforce" but "counterpressure." Containment's primary instruments, as Kennan saw them, were political and economic. As early as 1948, he took vehement exception to the creation of NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, predicting that it would cement the division of Europe into opposing military blocs. He bitterly opposed development of the hydrogen bomb, which multiplied the destructive power of atomic weaponry. And he despised the Truman Doctrine, which called for military support to governments threatened by communist insurrection, liberally defined, anywhere in the world. Later he became an early critic of the Vietnam War, called for abolition of nuclear weapons and disparaged President Bush's war in Iraq.”
Now we are finding the key point of his ignored wisdom, that of using our economic power and more political and moral suasion to win friends and neuter enemies has been squandered and disabled by years of mismanagement at the top, particularly since 9/11.
e find that our military forces are under a huge strain. The Washington Post’s front page March 18th story reports,
“Two years after the United States launched a war in Iraq with a crushing display of power, a guerrilla conflict is grinding away at the resources of the U.S. military and casting uncertainty over the fitness of the all-volunteer force, according to senior military leaders, lawmakers and defense experts.
The unexpectedly heavy demands of sustained ground combat are depleting military manpower and gear faster than they can be fully replenished. Shortfalls in recruiting and backlogs in needed equipment are taking a toll, and growing numbers of units have been broken apart or taxed by repeated deployments, particularly in the Army National Guard and the Army Reserve.”
hat sort of talk means we are likely talking about instituting a new draft, Folks. Remember Selective Service? And wait til Rumsfeld’s new pre emptive strike plans are codified in the Defense Department’s reorganization. As I stated in a recent OP ED, “let’s understand the clear new thrust of US “defense” policy since 9/11. Or should we call it an “offense” policy. It certainly sounds like Rumsfeld is readying to undertake further military actions in other countries.” So America will need many more young bodies to send out to get killed and maimed, while our military’s killing of innocent civilians engenders more hate for the US.
Had we been spending commensurate sums on the kind of “containment” Kennan envisioned, even for as short a time as since the end of our Vietnam folly, the Soviet Union would have collapsed in any case and the prestige and posture of America in the world would be totally different than now. Even if we had taken a different stance after 9/11, the majority of the world, including most of Islam would have been on our side.
Now with oil prices soaring, the Middle East in turmoil, the budget deficits and trade balances out of control as far as the eye can see, and our overseas credibility completely shot, the core of Kennan’s wisdom reverberates in the heads of anyone who is listening. But that doesn’t include our leaders. They are too busy jamming “democracy” and “freedom” down the throats of people of Islamic faith, who see this Bible thumping cabal as the Christian crusade incarnate.
One of my Pakistani friends tells me that one in three of new boy babies born there is named “Osama”. Another, a long time American of Iranian birth tells me, “Iran is now a wonderful place to live. Only the Mullahs are crazy.” He goes back home to visit his family about 3 times a year.
Iran’s capacity to deliver a nuclear bomb is really tied to its “need” to do so. Need is based on fear. Let’s understand that in not too many years the world will likely be full of nuclear club nations. Seems to me our best course is to try to reach all people of good will, of which 1.2 billion are Muslim, so that leaders everywhere perceive us as trying to bring peace, not war—trust, not fear.
Sane people all over the globe are afraid of nuclear annihilation and would work with people they feel they could trust to provide the kind of intelligence network that would seek to eliminate transfer of such devices to terrorist elements. Our leaders constantly talk about the need to train up more Arab speaking spies, which may be a good idea, but most Arab speaking Middle Easterners certainly would not see the wisdom in a nuclear exchange. Some nuclear weapon transfers to bad guys will likely occur, but better cooperation from the vast majority of Arab peoples comes from trust, not the threat of more pre-emptive invasions by an arrogant U.S.
Gellman’s final quote from Kennan is truly incisive:
“I sometimes wonder whether . . . democracy is not uncomfortably similar to one of those prehistoric monsters with a body as long as this room and a brain the size of a pin...Kennan doubtless understood that “his native habitat” was Planet Earth.
"He is slow to wrath — in fact, you practically have to whack his tail off to make him aware that his interests are being disturbed; but, once he grasps this, he lays about him with such blind determination that he not only destroys his adversary but largely wrecks his native habitat."
Commentary by Donald A. Collins April 6, 2005
Collins, a DC free lance writer, often writes for the Dispatch on policy issues.
© Copyright 2004 The Washington Dispatch
Lawyers Defend Ruling that Guantanamo Tribunals are Unconstitutional
Apr 8 - The debate over whether the US government can use its highly criticized military tribunal system to try detainees captured in the war on terror and held at Guantánamo Bay continued yesterday in a federal appeals court. In court yesterday, lawyers for the Bush administration defended the tribunal system, appealing a previous ruling by a lower court that had ruled the system unconstitutional as applied to at least one detainee. Though that ruling had only addressed the case of Salim Ahmed Hamdan, the decision had triggered a halt to all of the scheduled criminal tribunals.
At yesterday's hearing, the Bush administration argued that US judges should give the president wide latitude and refrain from interfering in an ongoing military operation. Conversely, lawyers for Hamdan, argued that the lower court had correctly perceived that their client's civil and human rights had been violated.
At issue was the Bush administration's designation of the Guantánamo detainees as "enemy combatants," a label the Defense Department claims exempts the prisoners from protections granted by the Geneva Conventions. Whereas prisoners of war have specified rights under the Convention, the rights of so-called "enemy combatants" are not addressed.
US District Judge Robertson's previous ruling, which the Bush administration was appealing yesterday, disregarded the government's assertion that the president can decide who is and who is not a prisoner of war. Instead, Robertson found that a "competent tribunal" must be convened to determine the matter and that unless such a commission decides Hamdan is not a prisoner of war, he must be afforded all relevant rights of a person protected by the Conventions.
Online sources used in this news brief:
- Chicago Tribune: "U.S. attorney defends prosecution of Guantanamo detainees"
- The NewStandard [previous]: "Judge Thwarts Guantanamo Tribunals; Rights Groups Cheer"
- The NewStandard [previous]: "Guantanamo Prisoner First to Challenge Military Tribunals"
ynthia Keeler and Jilan Hassan had their adolescent years shattered by the power struggles of the grown up world. Twelve year old Cynthia is looking for answers. Her father was killed on 9/11. She posted an article on an Islamic website asking how some people of the Middle East consider the attackers of 9/11 as heros. Cynthia said “ I wanted some kind of closure to the pain I’m feeling. I wanted to know why one of their “heros” killed my father. How can a hero hurt so many people?”
Fourteen year old Jilan had her world destroyed right in her face. Jilan and her four younger brothers and sister were in the back of a car driving home in Iraq. Jilan’s father and mother were in the front seat. Foreign soldiers opened fire on the car. Bullets paid for by every taxpayer to the U. S. Government blew her parents’ bodies apart and splattered the blood over six children in the back seat of the car. A reporter photographed the horror or the tragedy would have not been even noted as a statistic. The military policy is “We don’t do body counts.”
All taxpayers should look at those pictures and see what they are paying for.
Jilan was quoted recently saying “If it were up to me I’d kill the Americans and drink their blood” Whose sorrow do you think burns more, Cynthia’s or Jilan’s? Jilan must see that her parents did not just die for oil power greed.This young child must not carry a burden of hate her whole life. The only thing that will fill the void in Jilan’s soul is Justice.
Crimes Against Humanity
Nuremberg Principles Articles VII and VII make it a Crime Against Peace and a Crime Against Humanity to Conspire to Engage in, Wage or Be Complicit in the waging of a War of Aggression. The Iraq war was plotted and hatched with lies and deceptions so it is evil in nature. The war was instigated because Bush browbeat and deceived the world into having a war. The death of Americans including Cynthia’s father on 9/11 was used as the justification to invade an oil rich country and the subsequent slaughter of thousands of innocent human beings in Iraq who had nothing to do with 9/11.
The good people of the world need to stand united and tell Jilan “Every Body Counts” and each person’s life is important. Show Jilan that her parents do count. Demand Justice for Jilan and all others whose lives were destroyed in Bush’s war.
Americans have the responsibility to record the names and dates of birth and death of every one who was killed in this illegal war. Don’t you want humanity to stand for something? Show the world civilians are in charge. Insist that the United Nations do a body count. Don’t let no one be held responsible and the excuse for an illegal war be that the intelligence was “dead wrong.” There are over one hundred thousand people dead and that is wrong. Bush plotted and ordered a War of Aggression. He must answer for the victims to the United Nations War Crimes Tribunal at the Hague.
Jilan should be allowed to face and accuse in court the one who is responsible over all others for the death of her parents. Jilan’s burning thirst for Justice will carry her on. The invasion of Iraq was illegal and the foreign soldiers had no right to be shooting people in her country. Jilan must see and hear Bush charged with the war crimes of Conspiring to Engage in and Waging a War of Aggression. Jilan be given the chance to say to the War Crimes Tribunal “My parents and over 100,000 of my people died violently because Bush incited an illegal war with deceptions and fabrications.” Jilan should be allowed to put the pictures of her brothers and sister covered in their parents’ blood right before Bush’s face for all the world to see. All good people should stand united and say to the U.N. War Crimes Tribunal “Justice for Jilan.”
Questions and Answers
Cynthia can only get peace from answering one question “Who made the 9/11 enemies for the American People?” The answer is the arms export industry and the federal government that approved distribution of weapons to dictators and power factions in the Middle East. America is a government of the people. Americans make enemies for themselves by weapons profiteering and malicious interference in other countries. What are the people of the rest of the world supposed to think? U.S. arms makers make billions of dollars exporting military weapons that cause conflict, oppression and great suffering to poor people. Americans pay taxes that give power to dictators in other countries and look away from the human misery their arms export business causes.
In the eyes of those suffering under the burden of the weapons industry, the world is letting them down with no hope.
Cynthia should ask herself why George Washington was considered a hero, what was he considered by the foreigners in power, and what would have happened to him if he had been captured. Closure for 9/11 must include an end to the export arms industry and a return to American soil of military personnel and equipment. It must include the judgment of Bush at the War Crimes Tribunal. The people of Iraq never did anything to the people of America to deserve over one hundred thousand people killed in a War of Aggression.
Cynthia’s and Jilan’s parents’ tragic deaths would have more meaning if their daughters’ broken hearts stirs the conscience of the world. This means the United Nations implementing means a Middle East peace free from foreign intervention and imposing a worldwide embargo on the export of weapons.
Foreigners have invaded Iraq to divide and conquer the country.
It is illegal under international law to hold an election in an occupied country. The Carter Center refused to monitor the elections because they could not be guaranteed as free and fair. The recent Iraq elections are widely believed to have been rigged to favor the occupiers. The Iraq elections were set up to divide the people and leave the elected officials dependent on the presence of foreign soldiers to keep power. The very act of Iraqis going into the foreigner’s Green Zone military fortress to meet and deal is collaborating with occupiers. Leaders who have to agree to foreign occupation to stay alive are in reality puppets of their foreign masters. All a government dependent on foreign soldiers will guarantee is sectarian fighting, repressive laws, arbitrary arrests and bigger torture prisons. The people of Iraq must see through the divide and rule goal of the occupiers and not let foreigners convince them that is a good thing to kill their own people. The occupiers must leave, not stay and be the cause of continuing mayhem and carnage.
Here is an outline that offers reasonable ways of preventing the Iraq people from fighting over oil money and disputes from unfair and corrupt elections:
In Iraq, a cease fire is declared by the United Nations. All foreign soldiers and mercenaries leave Iraq. Then Iraqi people can relax and find real peace. The day the last foreign soldier leaves will be a day of great jubilation. For the future of their children the Iraq people should have a Day of Forgiveness of blood feuds and revenge killings, a day of absolutely wiping the slate clean. The Iraq people need to gather in peace, shake hands and throw their weapons on junk plies People of Iraq stop killing each other. Just sit down and everybody take it easy.
New open elections can be held when the soldiers and mercenaries are gone from Iraq. Let groups of 100 citizens of Iraq gather in peace, register and vote for a Representative. Let the people talk about the way they would make Iraq better, then vote for one Representative. It should be a paper ballot vote for one person to be the group’s representative. Votes are placed in a ballot box then each vote is held up for a public count. The chosen Representatives meet in groups of 100 and vote for a Representative, most votes wins, tie flip a coin. Continue the process until last 100 selected make up the Legislature. When it gets to the last hundred the one who gets the most votes is named Prime Minister for a year. The Iraq Bill of Rights should be premised on the principle “All citizens have the right to think for themselves.” Anyone who has been held in prison without being charged with a crime must be released.
The U.S. Government should give the amount of money it already spent and budgeted for the war as compensation to the people of Iraq. 50% of money should be paid out equally to all citizens of Iraq and 50% to compensate for people killed, maimed and crippled. All of Iraq’s future oil royalties should be paid 50% equally to all citizens, 25% to regional governments on a per capita basis and 25% to the Federal Government, primarily for health care.
The memory of Cynthia’s and Jilan’s parents will mean something more to those young girls if their personal tragedies bring peace and prevent more kids from such inconsolable suffering.
Americans must look in a mirror and answer with an open mind “Who made the 9/11 enemies for the American people?” Truth and peace must triumph over a War of Deceptions. Some day when it’s all over Cynthia and Jilan can meet in a spirit of friendship and have a nice cup of tea and console each other. With understanding and wisdom and forgiveness Cynthia will find closure and Jilan will find healing from her unspeakable grief. Justice, peace, love and hope are all that can ease their heartaches.
John Mackesy PO Box 55 Middletown California USA 95461 707-987-2921
One In Seven Female Military Students Assaulted
April 1, 2005
The first-ever survey of sexual misconduct on three military academy campuses found that one in seven women has been sexually assaulted, and one in two has experienced some kind of sexual harassment on campus. It also found that few incidents of harassment and just one-third of the assaults were reported.
The survey of 4,200 cadets and midshipmen at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, the Naval Academy in Annapolis and the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs was conducted in March and April of 2004 for the U.S. Department of Defense. It included 3,200 women and 1,000 men, and covered incidents that occurred from 1999 to the time of the survey.
Two hundred sixty-two female students reported 302 sexual assaults, including 94 alleged rapes, in the survey. Most assaults occurred in barracks or dormitories. Just 96 of these incidents were reported to authorities, and most women who did not report the incidents said it was because they were afraid of disclosure, ridicule or ostracism.
Male students reported 55 incidents of sexual assault during the same period, with some eleven percent of male students saying they had experienced some kind of sexual harassment at school.
In releasing the survey results, the Department of Defense announced new policies designed to make it easier for victims to report assaults. They include allowing victims to receive medical care, counseling and access to victim advocacy without immediately triggering an investigation. The goal is to encourage victims to seek help while assuring their privacy. The new policy will take effect in June.
“Although the Department would prefer complete reporting of sexual assaults to activate both victim services and accountability actions, we believe our first priority needs to be for victims to be protected, to have them treated with dignity and respect, and to receive the medical treatment, care and counseling that they deserve,” Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness David S.C. Chu told the New York Times.
[ on conscientious objectors facing repression ]
08 April 2005
TURKEY: Conscientious objector Mehmet Tarhan arrested
Turkish conscientious objector Mehmet Tarhan (TK14724) has been arrested
today at 5am in the morning in a hotel in Basmane, a district of Izmir,
where he went to work at a book fair. He was taken to a police station
and held there until the military recruitment office opened. He was then
brought to the recruitment office, and asked to sign papers to be sent
to a military unit. Mehmet Tarhan replied: "You brought me here by
force. I am a conscientious objector and won't sign anything." He was
subsequently asked to write a statement that he is a conscientious
objector. He replied: "I will not write or sign anything. You brought me
here by force and you should solve the problem you created yourself." As
a result, the former protocol was extended with a supplementary
protocol, stating that he refused to sign both of them. In addition, the
recruitment officers called for their superiors.
Three higher officers appeared on the scene. While Mehmet Tarhan was
until then allowed to sit in the garden and to smoke, he was now
"attached" to a recruit, who was told that his service would be
nullified if Mehmet Tarhan would escape.
The recruitment office also called the police, and requested a squad to
guard Mehmet Tarhan. Three police were assigned to that task.
Later gendarmes (military police) were summoned to take over Mehmet
Tarhan and to bring him to a military training unit in Tokat, to which
he was hurriedly reassigned (he had originally been assigned to a
military unit in Samsun). Mehmet Tarhan refused to cooperate, and was
handcuffed and pushed into a car.
It is not clear where he will be brought. Mehmet Tarhan declared that he
is now on hunger strike.
War Resisters' International is concerned about the treatment of Mehmet
Tarhan, and fears for his health and safety. He is at risk of physical
abuse by the military police.
War Resisters' International calls for letters of protest to the Turkish
authorities, and Turkish embassies abroad. Protest emails should be sent
to the General Staff, email email@example.com . A protest email can be
sent at http://wri-irg.org/co/alerts/20050408a.html .
War Resisters' International calls for the immediate release of Mehmet
War Resisters' International
Conscription and Conscientious Objection Documentation
War Resisters' International
5 Caledonian Road - London N1 9DX - Britain
tel +44-20-7278 4040 - fax +44-20-7278 0444
email firstname.lastname@example.org http://wri-irg.org
Support War Resisters' International! Donate today!
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Speak Out to the Senate on Indecency - No Individual Performer Fines!
TAKE ACTION to encourage the Senate to protect First Amendment free speech rights by carefully considering the ramifications of dramatically increased indecency fines.
The Senate is poised to vote on its own version of legislation purportedly intended to curb indecency on the airwaves. The Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act (S. 193) currently does not contain fines on individual performers and announcers, nor does a similar bill aimed at broadcast violence sponsored by Senators Rockefeller (D-WV) and Hutchison (R-TX). We must act now to make sure those individual fines don't get added.
The version of the bill passed by the House dramatically increases the fines for "perceived" broadcast indecency on individual citizens nearly fifty-fold (from $11,000 to $500,000 - the same amount as that levied against large multi-million dollar broadcast corporations). The House also added first offense fines, eliminating the existing warning. This dramatic fine increase on individual Americans raises profound and serious First Amendment issues. Due to uncertain, vague, and changing definitions of indecency, this disproportionate fine would have a significant chilling impact on free and creative discourse and programming over the American airwaves.
While we made some headway in mitigating the House bill, AFTRA has always held the core position that performers and announcers who appear on the air or before the microphone are rarely, if ever, responsible for making programming decisions. Although AFTRA does not support the abrogation of personal responsibility, clearly it is the broadcast licensees and networks who not only determine whether and when particular content will be aired, but also reap the financial reward of airing such content. In many instances because of tape delay or voice tracking the programming isn t even aired live.
The public understands that free speech is fundamentally threatened when standards are vague and penalties are both excessive and misdirected. Given the fact that the Federal Communications Commission has never fined an individual performer or announcer, this legislation codifies a striking shift away from the FCC s long-standing policy that holds the broadcast licensee responsible for programming decisions.
Moreover, with the move away from localism and towards corporate programming created by deregulation, community standards unfortunately no longer enter into the broadcast licensee s content decisions.
In the interest of fundamental fairness, the full Senate should reject this or any indecency proposal that foists the financial responsibility for programming decisions made by licensees onto individual performers or announcers. The threat to First Amendment freedom of speech posed by half million dollar ($500,000) fines on individual citizens is too great. The increased fines on broadcasters in S. 193 will be sufficient to achieve the Senate's goal of curbing indecency on the airwaves by penalizing the responsible party.
Send a letter to the following decision maker(s):
Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
Below is the sample letter:
Subject: Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act
Dear [decision maker name automatically inserted here],
I am writing to request that you carefully consider the implications of passage of the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act (S. 193), or similar legislation, currently before you. This bill, particularly in the form passed by the House (H.R. 310), represents a direct threat to one of America's most basic values - free speech.
Although neither the Senate version of the bill nor the Rockefeller-Hutchison bill on media violence currently contains fine increases for individuals, the potential inclusion of dramatic fine increases on individuals raises profound and serious First Amendment issues. Due to uncertain, vague, and changing definitions of indecency, this disproportionate fine would have a significant chilling impact on free and creative discourse and programming over the public airwaves.
As you know, the version of the bill passed by the House dramatically increases the fines for "perceived" broadcast indecency on individual citizens nearly fifty-fold ( from $11,000 to $500,000 - the same amount as that levied against large multi-million dollar broadcast corporations). The House also added first offense fines, eliminating the existing warning. To the extent you deem an increase in the fines necessary, please continue to support the current version of the Senate bill, which assesses fines for broadcast decency violations against the broadcast licensees rather than against the individual performers and announcers.
It is important to keep this issue in perspective. Most Americans agree with President Bush, that parents - not the government - are in the best position to monitor and assess what is appropriate for their children. The "outrage" appears to emanate primarily from a single group - the Parent's Television Council - with a censorship agenda that does not reflect the views of most citizens.
Given the fact that the Federal Communications Commission has never fined an individual performer or announcer, this legislation codifies a striking shift away from the FCC's long-standing policy that holds the broadcast licensee is responsible for programming decisions.
It has always been a cost of doing business for the broadcast licensee to take on the potential risk of provocative and mature programming in seeking to maximize profits. The licensee assumes the FCC obligations, reaps the benefits, chooses the programming and has the option to eliminate any risk by using a delay. To the extent the profits flow to the licensee, so should the responsibility for fines that are levied. The fine increases on individuals contained in the House version of the bill are the equivalent of the EPA fining individual employees for the lax environmental standards condoned by their employer.
Thank you for your consideration and your courage. It is easy to be swept up in the tide of the current outrage and much harder to stand up and question the cost of the solution to our ba sic American principles. In this case - with free speech at issue - the solution comes at too great a price.
What's At Stake:
Encourage the Senate to carefully consider the ramifications of legislation that increases fines for broadcast "indecency."
Campaign Expiration Date:
May 16, 2005
| || |
One thousand miles from home, I open the same
Some nights it was only obligation; tonight,
it is comfort.
It’s best to be patient and persevering. Devotion may sometimes seem to be pure drudgery. Away from home, its possible to gain a new outlook. Taken from its usual context, our commitment can stand out all the more brilliantly. Something that may have been like a bit and bridle may now be warm and comforting. That is why one should master one’s emotion, and use discipline to even out the ups and downs of impulse.
When traveling, we are away from our usual surroundings, including those elements that suppress and restrict us. Nearly all of us have fears, frustrations, and inhibitions that we have acquired in the past' time and distance help us to assess them more clearly. To overcome them takes courage and initiative. How can we do it if our very problem is fear and timidity? That is when we need a friend to help and encourage us. They can give us the guidance and support to face our fears. Although they can neither live our lives nor solve our problems outright, they can provide an invaluable presence just when we most need it.
Within ourselves, our daily devotions are the way to encourage ourselves to persevere. With others, encouragement is the way to be compassionate.
today's art is by Aripana Mithelshwari Karn, no bio is available
for Susan, and the love of her children: thank you
a reading list of books and interpretations of the Daodejing is available at
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