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Sunday, May 02, 2004

I Support The Whistleblowers and Conscientious Objectors

In the coming days, the unspeakable torture that took place in Abu Ghaib prison will be portrayed as an isolated incident. Today, the president responded that he "didn't like it one bit", and that those responsible will be held accountable. "That's not the way America does business", he says.

Actually, Mr. President, that's exactly the way America does business. Torture is a matter of top-down policy in the United States. These actions are the product of a misguided, amoral "might makes right" philosophy, and it's done more to discredit our country than anything else in my lifetime. Publicly, you condemned it, but for years, policy has condoned it. from the School of the Americas to the Sands of Egypt, when people think of America, they don't think of freedom anymore, they think of torture, CIA sponsored coups and occupation.

According to Amnesty International, “From September 1991 to December 1993 the U.S. Commerce Department had issued over 350 export licenses worth more than $27 million for saps (bludgeons), thumb-cuffs,thumb-screws,leg-irons,shackles and handcuffs, specially designed implements of torture, straight jackets, plastic handcuffs, and police helmets and shields"

Why do we send them all this great stuff? Well, first of all, it's good business, and secondly, that's what it means to be our allies in the "War on Terror"--you do the torturing for us!

The Guardian reports:

The US has been secretly sending prisoners suspected of al-Qaida connections to countries where torture during interrogation is legal, according to US diplomatic and intelligence sources. Prisoners moved to such countries as Egypt and Jordan can be subjected to torture and threats to their families to extract information sought by the US in the wake of the September 11 attacks.


Seymour Hersh of the New Yorker writes the most popular article in the blogosphere today:

"...The abuses became public because of the outrage of Specialist Joseph M. Darby, an M.P. whose role emerged during the Article 32 hearing against Chip Frederick. A government witness, Special Agent Scott Bobeck, who is a member of the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division, or C.I.D., told the court, according to an abridged transcript made available to me, “The investigation started after SPC Darby . . . got a CD from CPL Graner. . . . He came across pictures of naked detainees.” Bobeck said that Darby had “initially put an anonymous letter under our door, then he later came forward and gave a sworn statement. He felt very bad about it and thought it was very wrong.”

Thank you, Specialist Darby, for having the courage to stand up for what's right.


Carlos Mejia is a conscientious objector national guardsman currently facing hard time in Florida...

"I'm prepared to go to prison," Mejia said just before he turned himself into his unit in suburban Miami. "This is an oil-driven war, and I don't think any soldier signs up to fight for oil."

Mejia, a student at University of Miami when he was called to active duty, said he was particularly upset over an incident in which he and others were ambushed and innocent civilians were hit in the ensuing gunfire.

He applied for conscientious objector status and turned himself in to his suburban Miami armory last month, but the Army is pressing on with the desertion charge because he was missing for five months".


Thank you, Mr. Mejia, for listening to your conscience, rather that the clucking of the chickehawks.

The "my country, right or wrong folks", will undoubtedly consider these men turncoats and cowards, but to me, they're heroes standing up for higher principles than reflexive nationalism.

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