"Illegal Combatants" My Ass!

Submitted by Bill St. Clair on Mon, 07 Jun 2004 12:00:00 GMT
From smith2004:
"If you were in prison and you had a 50% choice of lethal injection, a 45% chance of going to the electric chair and only a 5% chance of escape, are you likely to vote for lethal injection because that is your most likely outcome? If you continue to vote for the Democrats or the Republicans, you are committing political suicide." -- Michael Badnarik
"NAFTA and GATT have about as much to do with free trade as the Patriot Act has to do with liberty." -- Michael Badnarik

From tle:

"Conscription is both evil and stupid, which is why, I guess, there is bipartisan support for it." -- Chris Claypoole

# KeepAndBearArms.com - KABA has a new poll in their left-hand column. Have a look. I know who they're talking about, but I promised not to tell. [kaba]

# Jim Davies at Strike the Root - Nothing Learned in 60 Years - governments are still convincing young boys, and grown men, to go far from home and shoot at people they've never met who never did anything to them or anyone they know. How the world might be different, and radically better, had America and Great Britain stayed out of Germany's invasion of Poland. For one, there would be no D-Day to commemmorate on June 6. [root]

Absent that critically important trip-wire, it's then clear that Chamberlain would not have been obliged to declare war on Germans six months later. Nor, for sure, would the French then have done so. Thus, the German government would have been free to push East and conquer the Soviet Union; tragic, of course, for many Russians, but the net result would have saved tens of millions of lives while replacing one form of Socialism with another, arguably milder.

Had the UK stayed properly neutral, so then would the US; for even if FDR had provoked a war against Japan, he'd still have had insufficient excuse to wage one against Germany. World War Two, in other words, would not have taken place in at all the way it did, perhaps 50 million lives would have been saved, and June 6th would be just another pleasant Spring day.

But neutrality, the avoidance of war, is not the normal aim of governments. Governments are 100% useless appendages to any society, and have to work to justify their existence in the eyes of those they rule; one way to do so, proven effective by 5,000 bloody years of history, is to excite small boys--and adults with a juvenile perspective--with the idea of the glory of patriotism, warfare and conquest.

# L. Neil Smith at The Libertarian Enterprise - Be Ashamed ... Be Very Ashamed - of U.S. government torture of prisoners in Cuba. [tle]

In case you have been hermetically sealed in a cave somewhere--or simply been limited exclusively to watching and listening to the whorishly "embedded" American "news" media--you may not know that the United States government has been up to some astonishingly ugly business at its military base in Guantanamo, Cuba, and in other places.

Prosecuting its undeclared and illegal war in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere, it is holding several hundred individuals captive at that base, denying them due process on the ludicrous and self-serving grounds that they are not in the United States and, therefore, the protections afforded by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights don't apply.

Nor, insists the government, do its victims deserve status under international law as prisoners of war, because they are "illegal combatants", whatever that bit of Orwellian babble means. Some have been held there without charges or legal representation for over two years.


Be that as it may, every individual connected with these outrages--from the muscle at the bottom doing the dirty work, all the way up to George Bush--should be removed from office and tried for war crimes. Members of the "Extreme Reaction Force" should be publicly hanged by the neck until dead to emphasize the fact, established at Nuremberg after World War Two, that there are some orders--and certain animalistic impulses--that must never be obeyed, on pain of death.

But even more repulsive than what's happening at Guantanamo (and ultimately a worse sign for our civilization) are "patriots" on the Internet--the same kind of low, slimy, crawling, cowardly "good Germans" and authoritarian lickspittles who pretended not to smell the stinking chimneys of Buchenwald or Belsen, or to notice the fine gray ash of human flesh settling on their doorsteps--who not only take the side of the jackbooted thugs, but make fun of their helpless victims.

You know who you are.

# Jonathan Turley at The LA Times via Common Dreams - You Have Rights -- if Bush Says You Do - this "illegal combatant" concept stinks to high heaven. Qualifies as treason as far as I'm concerned; it turns the Bill of Rights on its head. Hang the bastards. Every fucking one. And that's being nice. [root]

In a moment of extraordinary and chilling honesty, Comey explained that Padilla had to be stripped of his civil liberties because, if he used them (including his right to remain silent or his right to a lawyer), he might have been able to win his freedom. Thus, the government had to keep him away from lawyers and judges at all costs. Gone was the pretense of legality or principle. The Justice Department had finally found its natural moral resting point: Civil liberties are tolerated only to the extent that they will not interfere with the government's actions. Meanwhile, Zacarias Moussaoui, a foreign citizen accused of terrorism, was presumably given his rights in federal court because, given the case against him, the government thought those rights would do him little good.

# C. Douglas Lummis at Counterpunch - Toward a Universal Declaration of Human Wrongs - a talk given in Barcelona, Spain on 12 May, 2004. Explains how the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights is not at all universal since it assumes the existence of police and prisons and of a system of work-for-wages, widespread in the world today, but certainly not universal and (hopefully, IMHO) won't be long-lived. Goes on to create a list of universal human wrongs, things that no human being should have to bear: slavery, colonialism, genocide, apartheid, and being classified an "illegal combatant": [root]

In 2001 the United States government tried to add another item to this list, and to unite the world under its own leadership in a War Against Terrorism.

It has failed in this and, ironically, seems on the verge of uniting world opinion in condemnation of its own negative example.

I am speaking particular about the recent news of torture and sexual humiliation perpetrated against prisoners by American military jailors in Iraq. I have no direct evidence, but I suspect that this may have generated more worldwide revulsion than even the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York. We all knew that people can be killed and we knew that they can be tortured. But for many, what was done to the prisoners at Abu Graib Prison was beyond imagination.

One must understand that what happened there happened within a context established by U.S. government policy. U.S. President George W. Bush has said, "Such practices do not reflect our values." Of course this is true. What they reflect is some very widespread American vices. More importantly, they reflect very directly the policies of the Bush Administration.


On 13 November, 2001, just two months after the September 11 attacks, the U.S. President issued a Presidential Decree stating that people determined to be "illegal combatants" (i.e. "terrorists") could be tried by special military tribunals, which do not have to follow ordinary legal procedures. Of course, there is no basis in the U.S. Constitution or in U.S. law for such tribunals. This was never debated in the Congress; the President simply announced it. His authority for doing so seems to have been conjured out of thin air.

So these people have neither the rights of POWs nor the rights of criminal suspects. They have no right to meet lawyers, no right so see what evidence the U.S. government may have against them, no right to know who are the witnesses (if there are any witnesses) who have testified against them, no right (if a trial should be held) to an open trial, no right of appeal. More frightening still, they are deprived of what is perhaps the most fundamental of all fundamental human rights--the right to know what, if anything, they are alleged to be guilty of. They are in the position of Joseph K in Kafka's The Trial. They are told, "You are charged with being guilty. Defend yourself as best you can."

The newspapers reported that a human rights lawyer in the U.S. went to court seeking a writ of habeas corpus: an order from the judge stating that the authorities holding these men (and it seems they are all men) must either show what crime they are charged with or let them go. The judge refused to give the order, for the reason that the prisoners are in Cuba, where U.S. law, and the judge's authority, do not apply. From this we could understand why Cuba was chosen. U.S. law does not apply there. Of course Cuban law cannot be enforced on the U.S. base there. And international law does not apply either, as they are not held as POWs. So they have been placed in a space where there is no law at all. It is as if they had been thrust back in time to some ancient age before human rights had been invented. They are a new category of rightless persons.


I propose as a candidate for Item #1 on the Universal Declaration of Human Wrongs: It is wrong to establish a category of human beings who have no rights.

Slavery, colonialism, the Holocaust, and apartheid were all founded on the establishment of such a category. And when we rejected them, we were saying that such a category should never be allowed. It seems strange that we need to affirm this once again, but evidently we must. Let us hope that this time the affirmation will be universal.

# Alan R. Weiss at The Libertarian Enterprise - Dear Mike Badnarik Supporters, Friends, and Future Friends - Mr. Weiss is "just a little excited" about Mike Badnarik's presidential run. [tle]

# Chris Claypoole at The Libertarian Enterprise - A Stable Platform - suggestions for issues for Michael Badnarik to to stress in his run for president: no war, no draft, no taxes. [tle]

I have a button that says, "Taxation is theft. Conscription is slavery. War is murder. Any questions?" I can think of no more succinct way of stating what I wish Michael Badnarik's campaign to emphasize.

The war in Iraq is, by any objective standard, the elephant in the living room. It is the monster issue right now, and (barring some rabbit-from-the-hat miracle) will remain so throughout the presidential campaign. President Bush the Younger has forgotten a major rule of politics (and life), to wit: When you find yourself in a hole, STOP DIGGING! He and his neocon advisors (to use a polite euphemism for handlers or puppeteers) have misread the situation from the beginning, and for a variety of reasons. Hubris, bad intelligence, being duped by disinformation, and lack of understanding of the main cultures of Iraq are just the tip of the iceberg, the most visible reasons for the mess over there. Incidents like the shameful activities at Abu Graib prison are symptoms of these "illnesses."

# "Scheduled for a Summer 2004 launch, The Libertarian Yellow Pages is being created to help Libertarian businesses and professionals reach, and be reached by, Libertarian leaning customers. Though initially focusing on the U.S, The Libertarian Yellow Pages will also accommodate Libertarian businesses and customers worldwide." Listings will be free during 2004, then they'll charge $8 or $15 per year for regular and premium listing, respectively. Use will always be free. From their Press Release: [tle]

The brainchild of Mark Augustyn and Maria Kessler-Reaves, the online database is set to become the single largest business resource within the Libertarian movement. The Libertarian Yellow Pages concept is profoundly simple: give Libertarian minded people a place to find and support Libertarian businesses and or professionals. According to co-founder Mark Augustyn, "We chose the tag line 'Support Your Own' because those three simple words explain exactly what we are trying to do; if your going to pay anybody to do anything for you, why not try and direct that business to someone who shares your Libertarian political perspective."

"You don't even have to be an official Libertarian to register or use the site. The site will welcome Libertarian party members, supporters, sympathizers and even people and businesses who are just fed up with the present two party mess. As the Libertarian Yellow Pages evolves, we certainly see the site becoming the premier online community for Libertarian minded people to come and support each other in business and ideas. Eventually we want to see the site grow into the "mecca" for all things Libertarian; whether you are looking for Libertarian businesses, professionals, organizations, candidates, politicians, merchandise sites, discussion forums, college organizations, or just ANYTHING Libertarian, we want you to be able to find it on the Libertarian Yellow Pages," founder Maria Kessler Reaves says.

Add comment Edit post Add post