Tuesday, May 26, 2009

America Mourns Its Dead But Not Those They Abused, tortured , Bombed & Murdered

“Accept the proposition that America is freedom’s tribune, and it becomes a small step to believing that the ‘peace process’ aims to achieve peace, that Iraq qualifies as a sovereign state,and that Providence has summoned the United States to wage an all-out war against ‘terrorism.’”

from “The Limits of Power” by Andrew Bacevich, Boston University historian

The abuses & crimes committed in the name of America is a result of America's belief that it was Nation born not by mere men but by God's Will or Providence. America has always seen itself as superior to all other nations and that it is fulfilling some sort of Divine Plan. Its notions of Manifest Destiny is that its system of governance and its economic system is the ideal which must imposed upon the rest of the world one way or another by any & all means necessary. All of its failings its crimes against humanity have failed to teach America at least a bit of humility. When Obama dared to question American Exceptionalism he was attacked by many American conservatives & by much of the media. It is by fostering this notion of exceptionalism which allowed the Bush Regime to enter an illegal & unwarranted war with Iraq leading to the deaths of a million Iraqis. The War crimes committed are justified by the US government & its hyper patriotic fanatical press & media who claim that America has a Divine Right to do what is necessary for its own security and its interests .

Moreover the claim is that no other nation or international body has any right to judge America. All other nations may be bound by the rule of law or international agreements such as the Geneva Conventions but America is not. Its president whomever it is is supposed to carry on the American traditions of hyper militarism and to spread American ideas & its religion of Christian Evangelicalism to the rest of the world . It is in part this over-arching mythology which appears to be closing in on President Obama leaving him little room to maneuver even if he indeed wished to take the country in a different direction .

extended version
Keith Olbermann: Rightwinger Radio Host Waterboarded - Calls It "Torture"
MSNBC's Keith Olbermann: Right Wing Radio Host [Erich "Mancow" Muller] Waterboarded - Calls It "Torture" - 05/22/09

So few heroes that is those with a little integrity are left these days as so many merely follow their leaders & obey their orders unquestioning . It has been for the past twenty years at least since the advent of Reaganism & his voodoo economics & the rise of the Yuppies & their Neocon friends & the craven Neo-liberals that we are told that it is a matter of just playing the game to become successful to obtain more stuff than your neighbor, to rise to the top by any & all means necessary to stab friends & fellow workers in the back to get ahead in our pathological need to prove our worth & our superiority.. In this quest Americans and many in the West have lost any sense of human dignity or respect for the rights of those who are different from themselves and see the rest of the world as a source of cheap labor and cheap natural resources to feed our greed & avarice. Even our fellow citizens who are not as successful are described as losers & failures & low-lifes for not being as greedy and single minded as those who prosper. The motto today is let them starve in the streets & erect their tent cities as they line up at the Soup Kitchens and yet those in positions of power & privilige turn away from such sights for it might offend their " higher sensibilities " like Peggy Noonan who turns away from any painful sight from the homeless & the poor to the aabused and tortured detainees to the million dead Iraqis .

So Americans in general prefer the lies of Fox News & the lying & fear mongering of the Sean Hannities & Rush Limbaughs & Glenn Beck & Dick Cheney. Meanwhile those who were hopeful a few months ago now watch as President Obama proves he is in fact one of them who will support the status quo at any cost preferring to continue the Perpetual War on Terror while rewarding the financial wizards who mismanged themselves & their country into bankruptcy.

America celebrate Memorial Day yesterday & the media , the schools , the churches extolled the virtues of America and honored the dead whom they claimed in their hyped up propaganda fought for freedom though most died to expand the American Empire or to quell the restless natives of some foreign country who tried to get a better deal for themselves that is to control their own nation without America's interference. This is the major and unforgiveable sin for which they must pay in blood to their American overseers.

So a few judges & lawyers in Spain are trying to bring some token of accountability back into the public arena though for this they are accused of being enemies the United States & other criminal regimes such as China.

"'Universal Jurisdiction': Spain's Judges Target Torture:High-Ranking US Officials Among Targets of Inquiries ' by Craig Whitlock The Washington Post, may 24,2009

MADRID -- Spanish judges are boldly declaring their authority to prosecute high-ranking government officials in the United States, China and Israel, among other places, delighting human rights activists but enraging officials in the countries they target and triggering a political backlash in a nation uncomfortable acting as the world's conscience.

Judges at Spain's National Court, acting on complaints filed by human rights groups, are pursuing 16 international investigations into suspected cases of torture, genocide and crimes against humanity, according to prosecutors. Among them are two probes of Bush administration officials for allegedly approving the use of torture on terrorism suspects, including prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The judges have opened the cases by invoking a legal principle known as universal jurisdiction, which under Spanish law gives them the right to investigate serious human rights crimes anywhere in the world, even if there is no Spanish connection.

International-law advocates have cheered the developments and called the judges heroes for daring to hold the world's superpowers accountable. But the proliferation of investigations has also prompted a backlash in Spain, where legislators and even some law enforcement officials have criticized the powerful judges for overreaching, as well as souring diplomatic relations with allies.

...Another judge announced Thursday that he would charge three U.S. soldiers with crimes against humanity, holding them accountable for the April 2003 deaths of a Spanish television cameraman and a Ukrainian journalist. The men were killed when a U.S. tank crew shelled their Baghdad hotel. Judge Santiago Pedraz said he would pursue the case even though a National Court panel, as well as a U.S. Army investigation, recommended that no action be taken against the soldiers.

(Not surprising that the US army investigation was another white wash because heaven forbid America should ever have to face up to its War Crimes & Crimes Against Humanity. After all most Americans since 9/11 see themselves as the real victims and therefore all the blood they shed all the people guilty or innocent they abuse and torture is just a matter of payback to let the world know not to screw with America cause America will decimate your country kill your men women & children cause God is on America's side.

" The Day of the Dead " by Cindy Sheehan, Truthout , May 25, 2009

I can guarantee what you won't see this holiday weekend are images of the over one million Iraqi dead. Say we assign, in an arbitrary way for purely illustrative purposes, an average height of five feet for every person killed in Iraq and then line those people up from head to toe. That gruesome line would stretch from Los Angeles to Portland, Oregon... 950 driving miles up Interstate 5. If we count the Iraqis who have been forced to flee, we would have to go back and forth between Los Angeles and Portland another four times.

There are obscene amounts of people who have been slaughtered for the US Profit Driven Military Empire who do not count here in America on any day. People in Vietnam are still dying from the toxins dumped on their country by the US, not to mention the millions who died during that war. Let the carnage escalate in Afghanistan while we protect our personal images by turning a blind eye to Obama's war crimes. Are you going to feel a lump of pride in your bosom when the coffins start to be photographed at Dover for this imperial crime of aggression? Will you look at those flag-draped boxes of the lifeless body of some mother's child and think: "Now, I am free." Is it better to be dead when Obama is president?

...However, we do not need another day here in America to glorify war that enables the Military Industrial Complex to commit its crimes under the black cloak of "Patriotism."

From Palestine to Africa to South America, our quest for global economic domination kills, sickens, maims or oppresses people on a daily basis, and about 25,000 children per day die of starvation. I am not okay with these facts and I am not proud of my country.

I will spend my reflective time on Memorial Day to mourn not only the deaths of so many people all over the world due to war, but mourn the fact that they are the unseen and uncared for victims of US Empire.

Meanwhile Obama continues to move further & further to the right which Americans claim to be centrist which really means maintaining the status quo & not rocking the boat unless necessary. So those who committed War Crimes & Crimes Against Humanity were merely following orders and those at the top President Bush as we have learned was following orders given to him directly out of God's mouth so how can anyone criticize his decisions since it was all a matter of Providence & God's Will.

Obama Betrays The Liberals by Sherwood Ross, at Media With Conscience (MWC) May 25, 2009

America’s liberals stand betrayed. Their new president, the one they sweated to elect----a brilliant, charismatic leader with a professional background in constitutional law---has transmogrified himself from the champion who denounced in his campaign the illegalities of the Bush White House into a president bent on their perpetuation.

Liberals are stunned by Obama’s plan to “restart Bush-era military tribunals” for some Guantanamo detainees, reviving what the Associated Press pointed out, is “a fiercely disputed trial system he once denounced.”(May 15). Liberals are appalled by Obama’s May 21st proposal to hold terrorism suspects in “prolonged detention” inside the U.S. without a trial. “Such detention,” Senator Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) wrote him, “is a hallmark of abusive systems that we have historically criticized around the world.”

If liberals chaffed over Obama’s centrist cabinet choices, they were dismayed by his decision not to release photographs depicting the sadistic tortures the Bush Gang inflicted on prisoners during a so-called “War on Terror” that was nothing but terror itself. A typical reaction comes from Joe Kishore, writing on the World Socialist Website (May 22): “Whatever verbal warnings Obama may make about the erosion of democracy in the United States, the actions of his administration facilitate and escalate its breakdown.”

Obama’s latest policy reversals come as liberals are still reeling from his April 16th speech to the CIA, ignoring its documented history of 60 years of overthrows and assassinations, and reassuring the Agency of its “right” to continue “covert activities,” as if such conduct was not prima facie illegality in the eyes of law-abiding nations. Earlier, Obama’s pledge not to prosecute CIA torturers that followed orders likely brought relief to the throne room in Langley that is a throbbing heart of the Dark Side. Obama calls upon the nation to “look forward” as he ignores his presidential obligation to prosecute those who, like Bush and Cheney, trampled the Constitution when they ordered torture in violation of international laws that by treaty are America’s laws as well.

"If Obama Cedes Ground on Torture to Cheney, We'll All Pay a Heavy Price"
By acknowledging recent crimes while refusing to pursue the criminals, the president has made his position untenable " By Gary Younge "The Guardian" May 25, 2009

In short, by acknowledging the crimes while refusing to pursue the criminals he has promised to rectify America's grim recent history without ever ­reckoning with it.

Events over the past few weeks have shown just how ethically and politically untenable this situation really is. His first term looks as though it may be ­consumed by these issues anyway - and not on his terms. Having released the torture memos, Obama then reversed his position on releasing photographs that accompanied them on the grounds that to do so would endanger US troops. Having opposed trying Guantánamo prisoners under military commissions, he now supports it. His decision to close Guantánamo has been delivered a huge blow by the Senate, which voted 90-6 to deny the funds necessary to do so. Now he has proposed that suspects who cannot be tried in a federal court because evidence against them was obtained under torture could be held in "prolonged detention" in the US ­without trial.

In essence, he would transfer the legal architecture of Guantánamo to the mainland, as though the problem were one of geography rather than principle. So much for core American values.

On one level we should not be surprised. Obama was elected by Americans to represent American interests - which, in turn, are informed by American political realities. And the reality is that, with a few notable exceptions, the Democrats have consistently failed to provide an unswerving, principled opposition to torture whenever they have had the power to do so, for fear of being branded unpatriotic. Like their spinelessness over the Iraq war, this complicity in the name of pragmatism ultimately makes them more vulnerable to political attack, rather than less.

...But in the absence of moral leadership the national conversation has morphed seamlessly from human rights to national security, where the issue of torture and detention is debated not on the grounds of morality but efficacy.

With the former vice-president Dick Cheney leading the charge, the right has managed to mount a spirited defence of torture in which America's rights as the potential, abstract victim of terrorism supersede detainees' rights as actual victims of torture.

...There is not one shred of evidence any intelligence obtained as a result of torture has been used to prevent further attacks. The best intelligence the Bush administration ever had was a month before 9/11, when it rec­eived a memo entitled "Bin Laden determined to attack inside the US" from the FBI, warning of "patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings". No torture was involved; no action was taken.

Conventions are devised precisely to set boundaries in moments of crisis – in periods of relative harmony there is not much need to refer to them. The Geneva convention, in particular, was devised to establish the rules of engagement during times of war. If the very fact of being at war is reason enough to discard it, then it has no meaning.

And finally, if showing the world what America has done would inflame anti-American sentiment then maybe America shouldn't do it in the first place.

The Obama administration's desire to concentrate on the future is understandable. But the past has a legacy and the present has consequences. By ceding the principle to Cheney now we will all pay for it later.

and so it goes,

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