Wednesday, February 16, 2005
We sure hear a lot from the pro-Bush faction about American values and how people who oppose the administration’s policies don’t have any. Here are some articles that reflect directly on how core American values are being perverted by Bush’s
This first piece seems to be a ray of sunshine. The Senate is finally going to investigate wrongdoing in the CIA. Good, they should. Time will tell if anything comes of it. But what about secret prisons run by the Pentagon? What about torture and renditions being carried out by the Defense Department? When will that be ‘reviewed’?
Open government: The Senate intelligence committee is moving toward adoption of a plan to conduct a formal inquiry into the CIA's handling of suspects captured in the
The inquiry would be the first by Congress to address the CIA's conduct in what has remained a shadowy corner of
One of the most disquieting trends in the post-911 world is the privatization of military functions, giving coercive powers to private organizations that work without even the minimal oversight of governmental bodies. This is a decision that will come back to haunt us.
Rule of law: There are new allegations that heavily armed private security contractors in
They worked for an American company named Custer Battles, hired by the Pentagon to conduct dangerous missions guarding supply convoys. They were so upset by what they saw, three quit after only one or two missions.
"What we saw, I know the American population wouldn't stand for," says Craun.
They claim heavily armed security operators on Custer Battles' missions — among them poorly trained young Kurds, who have historical resentments against other Iraqis — terrorized civilians, shooting indiscriminately as they ran for cover, smashing into and shooting up cars.
"These aren't insurgents that we're brutalizing," says Craun. "It was local civilians on their way to work. It's wrong."
Isn’t simple justice a core American value? Aren’t we supposed to be known for our ideals of fairness and our support for the underdog? When did that change?
Compensation for injuries received: The latest chapter in the legal history of torture is being written by American pilots who were beaten and abused by Iraqis during the 1991 Persian Gulf War. And it has taken a strange twist.
The Bush administration is fighting the former prisoners of war in court, trying to prevent them from collecting nearly $1 billion from
A crucial American value is that we are a country ruled by laws, not men. Everyone is subject equally to the law. This story is from
Equality before the law: Opponents of the invasion of
At their trials, district judges refused to hear the war crimes defence. The high court was asked to rule on this. Maurice Mendelson QC, representing 14 Greenpeace activists, told Lord Justice Waller and Mr Justice Jack that it had been wrong to rule the defence "non-justiciable" on grounds it related to policy decisions that were a matter for the government, not the courts.
The high court was asked to rule on this. Maurice Mendelson QC, representing 14 Greenpeace activists, told Lord Justice Waller and Mr Justice Jack that it had been wrong to rule the defence "non-justiciable" on grounds it related to policy decisions that were a matter for the government, not the courts.
"It is crystal clear that crimes under the International Criminal Court Act are justiciable in the English courts, whether or not those crimes are committed pursuant to defence or foreign policy," he said. To argue otherwise would in effect "grant the executive immunity from the criminal law".
Freedom of speech. Freedom of the press. The free flow of information. An informed electorate. Aren’t these core American values?
A free press:
According to reports in the
With a regular audience of between 35 and 50 million, al-Jazeera is the most popular source of news in the Arab world. It is a rare beacon of uninhibited reporting and free expression in a region where strict state control of the media is the norm.
But it has rarely been profitable and relies on an estimated $100m (£53m) annual funding from its government sponsor. Assuming privatisation goes ahead, the station is likely to be listed on
Add Your Voice. Speak Out.
Will not fade away: The day itself has now become history. Two years ago today, somewhere between one and two million people marched in central
Neither their actions, nor those of like-minded people in cities as far apart as
The decision to go to war was divisive then, and remains so today. The arguments may have shifted with events - the anti-warriors protest against the presence of foreign troops, while proponents talk of democracy instead of WMD - but the commitment, especially on the anti side, shows little sign of fading.
Make your voice heard: Hundreds of people opposed to the US-led war in
The event, organised by the Stop The War Coalition and Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), will mark the second anniversary of a huge anti-war march, which attracted more than one million people to the British capital in an ultimately futile bid to stop the March 2003 invasion to topple Saddam Hussein.
In addition, the organisers plan to hold another demonstration in