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Quote of the Day:
"The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them."
Subject: Bad things done in your name
Because we tend to forget, it's time to remember something. We should pause to remember the pictures of prisoner abuse by U.S. soldiers in Abu Ghraib, Iraq.
The acts committed in that prison were done in your name. Those acts, in the eyes of the world, are representative of what America does, what America believes, what America is. Like it or not, they are representative of you, and of me.
Sadly, we are about to look at another example -- new evidence from another case of another stain on our good name.
If we do not like this stain, then we must work to remove it -- to clean it away. It will take time. And we must start now, and work at it constantly, fully aware of what is at stake.
Our security is at stake, in addition to our good name.
How many Arabs and Muslims were radicalized on the day they saw those pictures from Abu Ghraib? How many moved a step closer? . . . Or are all the way, to becoming full-fledged Jihadists and enemies of America?
We must keep these questions in mind at all times as we listen to our elected leaders justify their actions on our alleged behalf in the name of a so-called war on terror.
Most Americans start out on the wrong foot when thinking about their government. They trust first, and doubt or question, only later -- if ever. This is the wrong way to think about a massive institution like our government, which has a monopoly over the power of coercion, and that acts in our name under cover of secrecy.
Our default position should always be distrust, and then, to paraphrase Ronald Reagan, we should verify.
Sadly, the verification will often turn out to be painful and disappointing.
We should remember that the Bush administration has advocated, and still advocates, aggressive methods of interrogation, without being willing to describe specific examples of what aggressive interrogation is, or is not.
We should remember that Senator McCain promised us military tribunal legislation that would protect fundamental rights and prohibit torture. Instead, we got legislation that winks at torture, and prohibits those detained in the name of the war on terror from challenging their detention in a court of law under the protection of due process.
All of this amounts to evidence piled upon evidence that we should distrust our government as a matter of first principles, because the verification that follows almost always serves to validate that distrust. Now, here comes more evidence . . .
Jose Padilla, AN AMERICAN CITIZEN
, was arrested in 2002 as a suspected terrorist. The government initially said he was involved in a dirty bomb plot. His trial is wrapping up now (August, 2007), and it seems relevant to note that he was never even charged with even minor involvement in such a plot.
Jose Padilla was detained in a military brig without due process of law for very nearly four years. Only with intervention by the U.S. Supreme Court was he transferred to the criminal justice system in 2006. For much of his time in the brig he was without access to an attorney or any member of his family. According to family and friends, he entered this captivity in sound mind. But his mind has now become unsound.
Jose Padilla shows signs of extreme abuse, or, what those not prone to unprincipled moral relativism would call torture.
Jose Padilla will not speak of what was done to him. He say it's a secret. He seems scared and mentally unbalanced. The judge in his case will not permit testimony or evidence about what was done to him during his detention. It's a secret, which if revealed would supposedly jeopardize national security -- or perhaps those in power.
Jose Padilla hints at dark consequences -- suicide
-- if he is returned to the brig after his trial. His family thinks he would prefer to be found guilty so that he could stay in a civilian prison. But the Bush administration is threatening to return him to the brig, under the military detention act, even if he is exonerated in a court of law!
It is important to remember . . .
Distrust. Verify. Repeat. And work constantly to remove the stain of the bad things done in your name.
- That nearly all the arrests of supposed terrorists, trumpeted loudly in the media, have turned out to be weak or non-existent cases
- It is important to remember Abu Ghraib
- It is important to remember those "disappeared" into foreign jails to be tortured
- It is important to remember all those detained in Cuba without due process of law
- It is important to remember the full record of government deceit, including the fraudulent case for war in Iraq
Tell Congress to repeal the military tribunals act and restore habeas corpus. Mention your concern about what may have been done to Jose Padilla. You can send your message
Also, please consider joining our "I am not afraid" campaign. 1,184 Downsizers have done so to date. You can do so here.
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