Book by John Maxwell
How to Make Our Own News: A Primer for Environmentalist and Journalists
* * * * *
George Bush is Not God
Circuit Courts of Appeal are slowly but surely bringing an
element of reality into the Bush/Rove/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Wolfowitz
War on Terror.
This week the Second
Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the President of the United
States has no power to deprive US citizens of their basic rights
as citizens. This ruling means that the United
States of America is still “One Nation under God” and not
“One Nation under George Bush”
It seemed for a moment
that things might have been going the other way. Since December 2000
when the US Supreme Court installed George Bush into the
presidency of the US it was beginning to seem that the
Republican Party and its PR managers could do things to the
Constitution of the United States against which the Constitution
itself offered no protection. That little adventure now
appears to be coming to an end.
The Sky is Falling?
.Jose Padilla is the
American citizen, who nearly two years ago, was arrested at
Chicago’s O'Hare airport on suspicion of plotting to explode a
"dirty bomb" in the United States. He was arrested by
the FBI but transferred quickly to military custody. The
military has held him for more than a year and a half in
solitary confinement. Padilla has not been charged with any
crime and has not been allowed to see an attorney.
The US administration
has attempted to make the Padilla case seem to be an horrific,
unprecedented threat to the safety and security of the United
States. Time described Padilla as “incarnating
the sum of our fears …” when Attorney General John
Ashcroft, on a visit to Moscow, made everyone’s blood run cold
as he described Padilla as determined to atomize some large
portion of the American population. The reality – which
soon became apparent, was somewhat different.
Making Padilla its
“person of the Week” in a sarcastic touch Time
magazine wrote: “According to the government's account, he
approached [Al Qaeda] with the idea of detonating a "dirty
bomb" in a U.S. city, and they obliged by teaching him to
wire a bomb. The impression, in the government's own account, is
of a former street hoodlum desperate to join a new gang — and
being kept at arm's length.”
The Al Qaeda
leadership, or whomever he saw, did not apparently laugh at
Padilla, but seems to have told him to go and do something a
little closer to his limited capacities.
On his return to the
United States he was arrested and has been in solitary
confinement since then.
In a telling but
understated remark on Thursday night, the CNN’s Aaron Brown
remarked that although he and CNN had tried very hard, they
could not find a single conservative lawyer prepared to defend
the Bush administration’s position in the Padilla case.
Turley, a conservative legal expert, explained that there was
simply no defence for the government’s position. The
government’s position, put crudely, is that the
President has the authority to override the constitution
whenever his judgment told him to do so and to justify it by the
allegation that the US is at war.
This contention has
been challenged by a combination of legal experts from the left
and the right of the US political spectrum. All of them,
whatever their leaning, recognise that the Bush contention is a
challenge to the very existence of the United States itself. If
the US is to be a government of laws and not men, a government
of free men and not of tyrants, there is no escape from the duty
to challenge Bush and his cabal.
The American Civil
Liberties Union argues that Jose Padilla is entitled to the full
set of rights enjoyed by any other American, including the right
to know who his accusers are, what he is accused of and the
right to a public trial. In contrast, the Bush administration
considers Padilla an “unlawful combatant” a newly
minted category unknown to US or international law. By
calling him an “unlawful combatant” the President has
somehow stripped him of all his rights and dignities as a human
being and an American citizen. The description challenges the UN
charter itself, and the UN Declaration of Human Rights which
says that no one may be deprived of his citizenship. It also
challenges common sense, since Padilla was at no time at war in
a legal sense, with the US.
The US government
believes Padilla betrayed his country by conspiring with Al
Qaeda. Instead of charging him with treason – the correct
course in such a case, they have instead chosen a route
which will deny him the rights he would have if he had been
charged as a traitor. The administration apparently believes
that Padilla has important information about Al Qaeda and that
if they keep him in their unmerciful custody they can soften him
up sufficiently to make him disgorge that information. Unlike
several alien enemies of the US, he cannot be exported to
Turkey, Syria, or Egypt where professional torturers would soon
reduce him to jelly. He has to be kept in US custody.
And he can’t be
taken to Guantanamo Bay because he was arrested in the US and is
a citizen. In the case of other unlawful combatants, the US is
claiming that Guantanamo Bay is outside the jurisdiction of the
US courts, because Guantanamo Bay is not "US soil."
But in its adverse dealings with Cuba, the US has duplicitously
argued that it has a perpetual lease on Guantanamo Bay, which
makes it, for all juridical purposes, a part of the US. In fact,
military and other offences at Guantanamo Bay were formerly
tried in US courts, a fact the government has conveniently
chosen to forget. although American servicemen recently accused
of spying and other offences at the base are to be tried in the
worthlessness of the US case can be no better illustrated than
by Paul Wolfowitz’ interview with Jane Clayson on
June 11, 2002. In that interview, published in
“Washington File” on the State Department’s Web Site
(usinfo.state.gov) Wolfowitz was asked
“How worried should
we be about the potential for someone to use a so-called dirty
bomb in the US.?
WOLFOWITZ: We've got
to be very concerned about a whole range of weapons of mass
destruction. The president has pointed this out over and over
again. This particular individual, Mr. Padilla, Mr. Muhajir,
whatever you prefer to call him, was in the very early stages of
his planning. I don't think there was actually a plot beyond
some fairly loose talk and his coming in here obviously to plan
CLAYSON: So it was
WOLFOWITZ: The general
problem is something --
CLAYSON: -- beyond
WOLFOWITZ: Oh, he was
definitely working on trying to do it. But it's not as though
this was a plan that was on the verge of being executed. The
point, though, that the president has made over and over again
is that there are countries that have weapons of mass
destruction who work with terrorists, and that is really the
greatest danger to the United States.
Wolfowitz makes it
perfectly clear that Padilla is simply a pawn in the grand
design to frighten Americans out of their wits – about
external threats –countries with weapons of mass destruction
He makes that point
even more explicit later in the interview when Jane Clayson
asked him about Padilla’s contacts with Al Qaeda
CLAYSON: So how much
contact did this man have with Al-Qaeda? And was he taking
orders directly from them?
WOLFOWITZ: A great
deal of contact, and clearly taking a great deal of instruction.
If I might, though, just point out to your viewers where we are
today; we're at the site of the Pentagon where the plane crashed
in on the morning of September 11th. We made such extraordinary
progress in rebuilding the building that we're about to lay the
last piece of limestone in the building. And today we're going
to put this time capsule in that's going to honour the men and
women who made the ultimate sacrifice that morning.
It's also a way of
honoring the incredible determination and resolve of the workers
who put this building back together so quickly. I think it's
symbolic of the resolve of the American people to prevail over
people like Padilla and Abu Zubaydah and their like.
In this exchange,
Wolfowitz makes it perfectly plain that Padilla is a person of
no real importance. In the middle of speaking about this
potential mass murderer, Wolfowitz distracts himself to admire
the rebuilding of the Pentagon, not the enormity of the threat
to destroy a large number of Americans by means of a dirty bomb.
The hypocrisy and
cynicism could not be clearer, especially a little later
when Clayson, determined to return to the subject of Padilla,
asks Wolfowitz how long could Padilla, as an American citizen,
be held without charge:
CLAYSON: And the fact
that he's an American citizen, does that give him the right to a
fair and speedy trial?
WOLFOWITZ: He is an
enemy combatant. Enemy combatants, whether they are American
citizens or not American citizens, are subject to the same
provisions of the laws of war.
CLAYSON: Are there
other suspects, either in this country or overseas, who are
working with this man?
WOLFOWITZ: He clearly
had associates. And one of the things we want to ask him about
is who those associates were and how we might track them down.
What does Wolfowitz
mean by "the laws of war"? He obviously cannot
be referring to the Geneva Conventions.
It boggles the
imagination that a routine police function could be the instance
of a major challenge to the Constitution of the United States by
the very people whose essential, constitutional
obligation, function, responsibility, and duty it is
to defend the integrity of the United States of America.
It boggles the mind
that high officials of the government which proudly describes
itself as the greatest democracy on Earth, should care so little
about the intrinsic importance of their fundamental law that
they are prepared to sacrifice it so that they can intimidate
some small time hoodlum whom even his co-conspirators obviously
did not take seriously.
In my view, this case
illustrates, more clearly than anything else, the intellectual
incapacity and dishonesty of those who now rule the only
superpower on Earth, the land of the free and the home of the
brave. And it also demonstrates, more clearly than anything
else, what uncivilised cowards they are.
The capture of Saddam
Hussein, whether by US troops or by the Kurds, whether by
treachery, luck or science, is not a major factor in the future
In relation to law,
the Americans are on very fragile ground, because the war which
allowed them to capture Saddam was itself illegal and their
occupation of Iraq is illegal. However, the main purposes of the
war were said to be (a) to find the weapons of mass
destruction allegedly concealed by Saddam and (b) to rid
Iraq of Saddam himself on humanitarian grounds .They have found
no WMD. Hans Blix now believes that whatever WMD existed
were destroyed after the Gulf War in 1991. And now that Saddam
is in their hands, the US could claim “Mission
Accomplished” and leave the Iraqis to decide for themselves
whatever they wish to decide. But as events continue to prove,
those were never the real reasons for the war.
The American chief of
general staff, Richard Myers says his troops will be in Iraq for
several more years. Their aim, which has not been officially
revealed, is quite simple:
that the Iraqi Shia do not combine with the Iranian Shia to
produce an Islamic superstate.
that the Iraqi Sunnis and Shias do not combine to produce
an Iraq united against American and Israeli imperialism.
that the oil wealth of Iraq is yoked to the US market and that
Iraq remains tied to the dollar bloc, not the Euro-bloc.
the profitability of big US capital for as long as possible.
questions are simple:
Can Saddam get a fair
trial when Bush keeps bawling for him to be hanged?
Would Saddam be
allowed his day in court to expose the other war criminals
(Americans and others) who helped him murder his own and other
Somehow, I wouldn’t
bet on Saddam surviving long enough to face any court.
As we say in this
country – "Jack Mandora, me no choose none!" which
for centuries has been the closing line of all good Anancy
Copyright 2003 John Maxwell
* * *
Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in
By Melissa V.
According to the
author, this society has historically exerted
considerable pressure on black females to fit into one
of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the
Matriarch or the Jezebel. The selfless
Mammy’s behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to
white folks’ domestic concerns, often at the expense of
those of her own family’s needs. By contrast, the
relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable
temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as
an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the
characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television
shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.
points out how the propagation of these harmful myths
have served the mainstream culture well. For instance,
the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for
black females to feel a maternal instinct towards
As for the source
of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their
own bodies during slavery given that they were being
auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless,
it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate
the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate
* * *
Sex at the Margins
Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry
By Laura María Agustín
This book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work, that migrants who sell sex are passive victims and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case against these stereotypes, arguing that the label 'trafficked' does not accurately describe migrants' lives and that the 'rescue industry' serves to disempower them. Based on extensive research amongst both migrants who sell sex and social helpers, Sex at the Margins provides a radically different analysis. Frequently, says Agustin, migrants make rational choices to travel and work in the sex industry, and although they are treated like a marginalised group they form part of the dynamic global economy. Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice. "Sex at the Margins rips apart distinctions between migrants, service work and sexual labour and reveals the utter complexity of the contemporary sex industry. This book is set to be a trailblazer in the study of sexuality."—Lisa Adkins, University of London
* * * * *
The White Masters of the
The World and Africa, 1965
By W. E. B. Du Bois
W. E. B. Du Bois’
Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization
* * *
Ancient African Nations
* * * * *
If you like this page consider making a donation
* * * * *
Negro Digest /
Browse all issues
* * * * *
The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan
The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll
Only a Pawn in Their Game
Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for
George Jackson /
* * *
The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg
Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804
January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of
* * * * *
* * *
update 16 June 2008