Dave Dellinger

Democracy Now (again) has a very moving piece on the life-long non-violent protester Dave Dellinger, who just died. Remarkably, it appears that Dave’s books are out of print and difficult to find. One seller apparently still has a few copies of his autobiography, From Yale to Jail.

Jimmy Massey

Democracy Now came through with a great interview of Marine staff sergeant Jimmy Massey today. Massey discusses how his platoon quite routinely killed innocent civilians at checkpoints, and the effect this had on him. If you can’t listen to the link, you can also read the transcript.

The rain has finally arrived here in Juneau, just in time for my new gardens. Check out the clouds at the new weather link at the bottom right of the page.

What would Jesus do?

From the latest torture news in the Washington Post (expletives reinserted):

“Do you pray to Allah?” one asked. “I said yes. They said, ‘Fuck you. And Fuck him.’ One of them said, ‘You are not getting out of here health[y], you are getting out of here handicapped. And he said to me, ‘Are you married?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ They said, ‘If your wife saw you like this, she will be disappointed.’ One of them said, ‘But if I saw her now she would not be disappointed now because I would rape her.’ ”

He said the soldiers told him that if he cooperated with interrogators they would release him in time for Ramadan. He said he did, but still was not released. He said one soldier continued to abuse him by striking his broken leg and ordered him to curse Islam. “Because they started to hit my broken leg, I cursed my religion,” he said. “They ordered me to thank Jesus that I’m alive.”

The detainee said the soldiers handcuffed him to a bed.

“Do you believe in anything?” he said the soldier asked. “I said to him, ‘I believe in Allah.’ So he said, “But I believe in torture and I will torture you.’ ”

Rumsfeld and gang have said that the Geneva Conventions are outdated and “quaint.” My guess is they don’t like this part:

Article 3

In the case of armed conflict not of an international character occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties, each party to the conflict shall be bound to apply, as a minimum, the following provisions:

1. Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria.

To this end the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons:

(a) Violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;

(b) Taking of hostages;

(c) Outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment;

(d) The passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.

Bequeathing Democracy

Editorial cartoonist and commentator Ted Rall has been penning some pretty strong cartoons since the torture scandal broke out. I can appreciate the guy’s moral outrage, especially when newspapers want to go ho-hum on page three about every atrocity we commit, like our latest wedding slaughter, a mere 45 human beings killed by your tax dollars.

On the home front, much more peaceful. Bought three yards of topsoil for the garden, and will wheelbarrow it around back later. My neighbor remarked that my raised bed frames look like large coffins right now, and she’s right.

Hersh exposes Rumsfeld

I just have to join every blog in the universe and point to today’s new Seymour Hersh article in the New Yorker:

The roots of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal lie not in the criminal inclinations of a few Army reservists but in a decision, approved last year by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, to expand a highly secret operation, which had been focussed on the hunt for Al Qaeda, to the interrogation of prisoners in Iraq. Rumsfeld’s decision embittered the American intelligence community, damaged the effectiveness of élite combat units, and hurt America’s prospects in the war on terror.

Not that I care that Rumsfeld‘s decision hurts our “effectiveness,” but it’ll be good if all this news can reaffirm the international illegality of torture.

Kurt

I’ve always enjoyed reading Vonnegut, though I haven’t read a novel of his in years. At 81 the guy still makes me laugh. His latest article is worth a look.

I know now that there is not a chance in hell of America’s becoming humane and reasonable. Because power corrupts us, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Human beings are chimpanzees who get crazy drunk on power. By saying that our leaders are power-drunk chimpanzees, am I in danger of wrecking the morale of our soldiers fighting and dying in the Middle East? Their morale, like so many bodies, is already shot to pieces. They are being treated, as I never was, like toys a rich kid got for Christmas

Here in the Mendenhall Valley, another gorgeous clear day. Still not too many bugs, temperatures in the mid sixties. Perfect for my daughter’s seventh birthday party, and perfect for picking dandelions. I helped a friend the other day pick some of the ten quarts of dandelions he wanted to make five gallons of dandelion mead.