Category: crusaders


On March 20, 2003, I participated in a peaceful protest against the war. I was arrested, incarcerated, handcuffed, booked, fingerprinted, had mug shots taken, put on trial, convicted and sentenced. My conviction is currently under Appeal in the Vermont State Supreme Court. Courtroom procedure allows the condemned the Right of Allocution. This was the first time that I was allowed to speak freely and openly to the court. Below are my words, as I spoke them, to Judge David Suntag, in Vermont District Court, in Bennington, Vt., on October 7, 2004.

Your Honor, I would like to express my gratitude to you, the Prosecutor Mr. McManus, the members of the Bennington Police Department, to my family, especially Christine, to all those who support me, and especially to Mr. Saltonstall.

It is my profound respect for the Rule of Law that brought me to the 4 corners on March 20, 2003. At the precise moment of my arrest, the federal government of the United States was bombing civilians. The bombing of civilians is a violation of international law, a violation of U.S. treaties, a crime against humanity, and a war crime. Now that same government is sitting in judgment of many who have protested the war. Last week, in a court in Philadelphia, Lillian Willoughby, an 89-year-old deaf woman, in a wheelchair, was sentenced to prison. She had participated in a peaceful protest. Also in Philadelphia, Andrea Ferich, a 22 year old, was sentenced and she has just spent a week in solitary confinement. She also had participated in a peaceful protest. I have just been told that Michael Berg, father of Nick Berg, was arrested in a peaceful protest on Saturday, in Washington. All over this country, hundreds of those who have peacefully protested the war, are now condemned by the government. The way that this country is headed, eventually, all people of peace will be behind bars. I am in solidarity with them and all others who have resisted the government in the past, or will do so in the future.

Your Honor, it is with deep respect that I voice some concerns. How can it be that a nation, that is itself in violation of the law, can then hope to impose the rule of law on its citizens? I believe that either the rule of law applies to everyone, or else it applies to no one. Even a nation as powerful as the United States, can not have it both ways. The fact that the government of the U.S. is in violation of the law, is a fact that has been documented by many around the world. William Blum, one of the world’s leading historians, and also former member of the U.S. State Dept., has authored several books on the topic…even naming one of his books about US foreign policy, Rogue State.

I have here a copy of the Indictment of 19 charges against members of the government as compiled by former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark. [I held the documents up for all to see.] Also, here is a statement from a group of U.S. law professors. The statement is entitled “U.S. Lawyers Warn Bush on War Crimes.” Also, here is a report from an international human rights organization that is accredited by the United Nations. This report documents extensive U.S. war crimes in Iraq. This is just a small sample of information that is easily available. Can all of these experts be wrong? Also, I have here an Associated Press report that was released shortly before my arrest, stating that the U.S. was threatening to use nuclear weapons. That, too, is a war crime.

Your Honor, I believe that our government will not regain its legal and moral authority until it gives up its life of International Crime, and in the words of William Blum, is no longer a rogue state. It is important to say here, that the war in Iraq is not the first violation of human rights and International Law by the U.S. The abuse of people, people just like you and me, started back in 1492 and has been a consistent pattern ever since. Talk to some Native Americans, especially now that Columbus Day is upon us. Talk to our black brothers and sisters. Talk to the people of Diego Garcia or Panama or Hiroshima or Cuba….the list is endless.

As individual citizens, we all have rights and responsibilities. I believe that it is the responsibility of all citizens to resist any government, anywhere, anytime, when that government is slaughtering civilians. I, and many other protesters that I know, would gladly spend the rest of our lives in prison, if only the U.S. would stop bombing civilians.

I have always been opposed to any form of violence. Seeing the photographs of the bombed Iraqi children has changed my life and strengthened my commitment to working for justice for those children. I do not understand how anyone can stand by silently, while knowing that civilians are being bombed. If what I, and the many thousands of others who protested the war, did, was wrong…what then would be the right thing to do? If you saw a child being beaten up and murdered on Main Street by a gang of thugs, should you write a letter to the editor or call your congressman or write a book on how adults should interact with children? Of course not. When children are being killed, immediate, direct, and powerful intervention is called for. What the other protesters and I did should be criticized in only one area. We all did too little. To all of the people of Iraq, I would like to say, “I am sorry. I will try to do better in the future.”

I pray for the day when factory workers join with farmers, and police officers join with poets, and judges join with veterans in protesting the illegal acts of our government. Now is a time in history when silence is the greatest of all crimes.

What happens to me here today is not important. Since the day of my arrest, more than 13,000 Iraqi civilians, many of them children, have been killed. That IS important.

Rosemarie Jackowski is an advocacy journalist living in Vermont. She can be reached at dissent@sover.net.

Benazir Bhutto used to lecture the world press about being the first Muslim Woman to be elected into office. In a conservative Muslim society like Pakistan, that is a big statement of Democracy. Bangladesh out did her feet by electing two female Prime Ministers consecutively; again in a Muslim country, where women are alleged to be suppressed & disenfranchised by the western media & intellectuals alike. India did it with Indira Gandhi, the Brits’ with Thatcher, Canada elected Kim Campbell even Israel did it with Meir.

 

France the epitome & propagator of democracy trashed Segolane Royale, the only female candidate in the Presidential last year to elect a scoundrel, attention craver like Sarkozy. Now it is America’s turn to dump Hillary Clinton from her high horse of even hinting at the idea of trying to rule over ‘democracy & equality’ preaching men. Will America vote for a woman to be elected into the highest office in the WORLD? – (as claimed by the US media). I think she’ll barely get the ticket to run for the Presidential. The role of vice-president suits her like a cashmere coat, though. A dynamite character like Obama could hardly stomach the role of playing second fiddle to her.

 

America just like her sister, in liberty, France is still shying away from the taboo of electing a woman to the highest office. Why we wonder. The Muslims & Jews let their mothers & daughters run, despite the taboo in their scriptures. Is it that westerners are more appreciative of Women being their playthings & hardly capable of performing in such a pivotal role? There have been previous attempt of the fairer sex trying to run for President of the United States of America; all unceremoniously fell flat on their faces. I anticipate nothing less for Mrs. Clinton even with the Lewinsky lover in her pocket.

 

There are tremendous amounts of Hillary bashing going across the media spectrum of the US of A. The traditional foes of her party – the Republican are salivating at the prospect of her running against them to catch an easy bus to the White House, cashing in at the women hater’s club. Its looking ominous for ‘Liberty’ to be even passed the torch at the polls let alone holding it up for all to see. Their founding father’s never hatched the thought of a black man running for President but they were darn sure that a woman was highly unlikely to succeed at reaching that summit. A truly sad day for Liberty, if that is to be the case.

SYNDICATED
by makeprofilelink(“Pam Spaulding”); Pam Spaulding · 8/24/2007 02:00:00 PM ETmyCount

I watched the third part of CNN’s documentary with Christiane Amanpour, “God’s Warriors” and it will have the fundies hopping mad. Parts one and two dealt with extremist movements in Judaism and Islam. Last night’s installment took a look at religious fundamentalists in the U.S., the “Christian” right wing. The transcript is here.

Amanpour conducted the last TV interview with Rev. Tinkywinky at Liberty University the week before Falwell died. He again recanted the apology he made for saying “the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians” were responsible for 9/11. He calls his young Liberty University scholars “pit bulls for Christ;” his goal is to graduate as many fundie lawyers as possible, to infiltrate and influence the judicial system in favor of God’s law.

Michael Jensen has a great piece up at AfterElton about this part of the doc series. A snippet:

It would be hard to imagine a documentary examining the impact of Christian fundamentalists on American culture that didn’t include a look at the part played by gay issues. Fortunately, God’s Christian Warriors doesn’t disappoint and the result is a fascinating and often frightening look at the religious right that any progressive — but especially any gay progressive — would be well advised to watch.

…While watching Amanpour interview some of these fundamentalists, I hoped she would ask just what would happen to gay people should they get their way: stoning to death, as suggested in Leviticus? After all, fundamentalists claim the Bible should be the foundation upon which America is built and that would be the logical conclusion.

…If looked at through the prism of understanding what the religious right wants for America, however, then the documentary can be considered a success if even only a few Americans — especially gay ones — wake up to what these Christian fundamentalists aspire to. And for anyone paying attention for the last twenty years, no explanation is needed as to what it is the religious fundamentalists want for America.

As God’s Christian Warriors makes amply clear, their goal is an America that is governed by biblical principles; principles that leave no room for gay people to co-exist in any meaningful way except by going deeply back in to the closet.

CNN has done a fine job on this series; I am curious how the documentary is being received by fundamentalists, considering it is quite harsh (but accurate) about the violent history of the religious right regarding abortion activity, showing the shootings of doctors and bombings of clinics — acts Falwell condemned when the topic was raised by Amanpour. I’d venture a guess that being lumped in with extremist factions of Islam and Judaism is going to cause a massive uproar in the fundie press shortly.

Oh wait…take a look at the drivel already up at WingNutDaily.

What are your thoughts on CNN’s documentary series, ‘God’s Warriors’?

And the headline of the related story, which has all of the expected hysteria:
CNN airs ‘one of the most distorted programs’ ever
Documentary compares Jews, Christians to Muslim terrorists

CNN will proabably re-air all three parts over the weekend. Check listings.

Pattani, Thailand- Unknown assailants attacked an Islamic
boarding school and mosque with war weapons in Yala province, part of
Thailand’s troubled deep South, in a dawn assault that left 16
injured, police said.
Police said the unknown assailants used M-79 rocket-propelled
grenade launchers to fire on the school in Yaha district of Yala, 760
kilometres south of Bangkok, an area that is already under curfew.

The attack injured 16 people, most of whom were teenage students,
said a Yaha police officer who asked to remain anonymous.

A grenade was also fired on a nearby mosque shortly after the
school attack, but no one was injured.

Yaha has been under a night to dawn curfew since last month, when
suspected Muslim militants attacked a passenger van in broad
daylight, killing eight Thai-Buddhists, including three women, but
spared the life of the driver, a Thai-Muslim.
Continue reading

 

Key historical dates:

 

1390-1902

 

Independent sultanate of Patani, comprising the present-day provinces of Patani, Yala, Narathiwat, and parts of Songkhla, ended when the

Kingdom of
Siam formally incorporated the sultanate.

 

1909

 

Anglo-Siamese Treaty recognized Siamese control over Patani and drew a border between Patani and the Malay states of Kelantan, Perak, Kedah and Perlis. The local aristocracy was deposed in favour of officials who spoke only Thai and reported exclusively and directly to
Bangkok.

 

1932

 

Constitutional monarchy was introduced with a parliamentary government.

 

1938

 

Regime of Phibun Songkhram came to power and it followed a policy of forced assimilation into mainstream ‘Buddhist Thainess’ aimed at creating the monolithic character of the state.

 

1940s

 

Emergence of Patani People’s Movement (PPM), a separatist movement fighting for an independent Patani

 

 

1948

 

250,000 Thai Malays petitioned the UN to oversee the accession of Patani, Narathiwat and Yala to the new Federation of Malaya.

 

 

28 April 1948

 

Dusun-nyor riot: clashes between Muslim villagers and police and military forces, led by religious leader, Haji Abdul Rahman, resulted in the deaths of some 400 Muslims, thousands more fled to Malaysia

 

 

1950s

 

Expansion of Malay resistance was accelerated by formation in Malaya of the Gabungam Melayu Patani Raya (GAMPAR, the Greater Patani Malayu Association), an organization set up to incorporate Thailand’s four majority Muslim provinces into Malaya and the Patani People’s Movement, a Thailand-based organization with the same goal.

 

1959 Continue reading

 

Time reports on ‘America’s broken-down Army’

RAW STORY
Published: Thursday April 5, 2007
 


 

President Bush’s rush to send thousands of additional troops into combat in Iraq has pushed the US Army to the point of crisis, according to an article by Mark Thompson in Time.

As a result of the increased pressure to add more troops on the ground in Iraq, soldiers are receiving inadequate training, leaving them less equipped to handle combat. Time writes of one soldier, Matthew Ziemer, who was killed just two hours after taking up his combat post in Iraq, having been in Iraq only a week. Prior to deployment, Zeimer received nine weeks of basic training but was forced to miss the standard 4 weeks of pre-Iraq training that troops deployed previously received.

“Instead, Zeimer and about 140 other members of the 4,000-strong brigade got a cut-rate, 10-day course on weapon use, first aid and Iraqi culture,” writes Thompson. “That’s the same length as the course that teaches soldiers assigned to generals’ household staffs the finer points of table service.”

According to Thompson, that lack of training may have contributed to Zeimer’s death. “Zeimer’s mother was unaware of the gap in her son’s training until TIME told her about it on April 2,” he writes. “Two days later the Army disclosed that Zeimer may have been killed by friendly fire.”

The Army has been stretched thin in other critical areas as well. “Disintegrating” equipment, lack of armor, and more frequent deployments with shorter breaks have led retired Army general and former Secretary of State Colin Powell to declare the active Army “broken.”

Gear and equipment is now left in the war zone for use by newly arriving troops, which “grinds the equipment into scrap up to 10 times as fast as in peacetime,” Thompson writes. “The lack of guns and armor back home has a boomerang effect: many of the troops training in the U.S. are not familiar with what they’ll have to depend on once they arrive in Iraq.”

Extended deployments with shorter breaks are leading to a decrease in morale and an increase in cases of suicide, desertion, and post traumatic stress disorder.

“Ever since the war started, they’d be saying all they wanted to do was to get back to their buddies in Iraq to keep on fighting,” one retired general said of wounded soldiers he visited at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. “Now it’s more about getting out and wondering about civilian jobs. There’s very little chatter about rejoining the unit.”

Excerpts from the article follow…

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A volunteer Army reflects the most central and sacred vow that citizens make to one another: soldiers protect and defend the country; in return, the country promises to give them the tools they need to complete their mission and honor their service, whatever the outcome. It was Bush, on the eve of the 2000 election, who promised “to all of our men and women in uniform and to their parents and to their families, help is on the way.” Besides putting Powell at State, the President reinforced his Administration with two former Defense Secretaries: Vice President Dick Cheney and, in the job for a second time, Donald Rumsfeld.

So it is no small irony that today’s U.S. Army finds itself under the greatest strain in a generation. The Pentagon made that clear April 2 when it announced that two Army units will soon return to Iraq without even a year at home, compared with the two years units have traditionally enjoyed. One is headed back after 47 days short of a year, the other 81. “This is the first time we’ve had a voluntary Army on an extended deployment,” says Andrew Krepinevich, a retired Army officer who advises his old service. “A lot of canaries are dropping dead in the mine.”

The main consequences of a tightly stretched Army is that men and women are being sent into combat with less training, shorter breaks and disintegrating equipment. When those stories get out, they make it harder to retain soldiers and recruit them in the first place. “For us, it’s just another series of never-ending deployments, and for many, including me, there is only one answer to that—show me the door out,” wrote an officer in a private e-mail to Congressman Steve Rothman of New Jersey.

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LINK TO FULL TIME ARTICLE