Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Mixer Day

That was the humorous segment of todays post, now for the not so funny stuff.


Pioneering Blackwater Protesters Given Secret Trial and Criminal Conviction

By Jeremy Scahill, AlterNet. Posted January 29, 2008.

Last week in Currituck County, N.C., Superior Court Judge Russell Duke presided over the final step in securing the first criminal conviction stemming from the deadly actions of Blackwater Worldwide, the Bush administration's favorite mercenary company. Lest you think you missed some earth-shifting, breaking news, hold on a moment. The "criminals" in question were not the armed thugs who gunned down 17 Iraqi civilians and wounded more than 20 others in Baghdad's Nisour Square last September. They were seven nonviolent activists who had the audacity to stage a demonstration at the gates of Blackwater's 7,000-acre private military base in North Carolina to protest the actions of mercenaries acting with impunity -- and apparent immunity -- in their names and those of every American.

The arrest of the activists and the subsequent five days they spent locked up in jail is more punishment than any Blackwater mercenaries have received for their deadly actions against Iraqi civilians. "The courts pretend that adherence to the law is what makes for an orderly and peaceable world," said Steve Baggarly, one of the protest organizers. "In fact, U.S. law and courts stand idly by while the U.S. military and private armies like Blackwater have killed, maimed, brutalized and destroyed the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis."

A month after the Nisour Square massacre, on Oct. 20, a group of about 50 activists gathered outside Blackwater's gates in Moyock, N.C. There, they reenacted the Nisour Square shooting and staged a "die-in," involving a vehicle painted with bullet marks and blood. The activists stained their clothing with fake blood and dramatized the deadly shooting spree. Some of the demonstrators marked Blackwater's large welcome sign -- with the company's bear claw in a sniper scope logo -- with red hand prints. The demonstrators believed these "would be a much more appropriate logo for Blackwater," according to Baggarly. "We're all responsible for what is happening in Iraq. We all have bloody hands." It took only moments for the local police to respond to the protest, the first ever at Blackwater's headquarters. In the end, seven were arrested.

The symbolism was stark: Re-enact a Blackwater massacre, go to jail. Commit a massacre, walk around freely and perhaps never go to jail. All seven were charged with criminal trespassing, six of them with an additional charge of resisting arrest and one with another charge of injury to real property. "We feel like Blackwater is trespassing in Iraq," Baggarly later said. "And as for injuring property, they injure men, women and children every day." The activists were jailed for five days and eventually released pending trial.

When their day in court arrived, on Dec. 5, the activists intended to put Blackwater on trial, something the Justice Department, the military and the courts have systematically failed to do. Their action at Blackwater, the activists said, was in response to war crimes, the killing of civilians and the fact that no legal system -- civilian or military -- was holding Blackwater responsible. The Nisour Square massacre, they said, "is the Iraq war in microcosm."

But District Court Judge Edgar Barnes would have none of it. So outraged was he at Baggarly, the first of the defendants to appear before him that day, that the judge cleared the court following his conviction. No spectators, no family members, no journalists, no defense witnesses remained. The other six activists were tried in total secrecy -- well, secret to everyone except the prosecutors, sheriffs, government witnesses and one Blackwater official. Judge Barnes swiftly tried the remaining six activists behind closed doors and convicted them all. It was as though Currituck, N.C., became Gitmo for a day.

It's not unusual for a judge to clear a courtroom when there is a disruption by the public. Nor is it rare for judges to try to prevent activists from turning the tables and attempting to put the government -- or in this case a mercenary company -- on trial. But witnesses that day report that there was no disruption -- and the defendants say they were immediately cut off when they strayed from the narrow scope of the trespass charge to discuss Blackwater's actions or the war. So why clear the courtroom? That may be a question for Judge Barnes in the end, but it's hard not to view his conduct through the same veil of secrecy that shrouds all of Blackwater's actions -- and the seemingly endless lengths to which the Bush administration will go to protect Blackwater.

That was certainly how the activists saw it. "He didn't want people influenced by our message," Baggarly said. "There have been hundreds of thousands of civilian casualties in Iraq. If we're going to speak about that, nobody is allowed to hear it."

The North Carolina chapter of the ACLU quickly stepped in, saying it knew of no similar action in any previous criminal trials in the state. "It's a clear violation of constitutional rights, not only of the defendants but the press and public," said Katy Parker, the group's legal director. "They have a right to a public trial, so any trial that goes on behind closed doors is a farce." She added, "We are very concerned about this reported disrespect for the laws of our land by a member of the judiciary, especially in a controversial and politically laden case such as this." The ACLU filed a complaint against Barnes with the North Carolina Judicial Standards Commission, asking it to investigate him.



Secret trials? WTF??? Could fascism be even more entrenched into American society than previously thought? Well I tell you what, January next year the Democrat elected needs to get right on the goon squads and put them back in hell where they came from.

Blogging from the house today, enjoying the liquid diet prep for the colonal invasion ahead tomorrow, fresh coffee in the corner and fruit juice on the side, dig in!



DEN said...

Alternet's server went down when I went back to read the rest of the story, probably those stinking fascists up to no good again, dang!

DEN said...

HEY WTF?? It's snowing here!!

Temps hovering around freezing.

Gerald said...

From the previous blog I have concluded that the triad of evil (Nazi America, Nazi England, and Nazi Israel) should be nuked by NATO.

A World That Has Gone Mad

Especially Nazi America sells 70% of WMD's for profit.

Gerald said...

It is truly ironic that NATO is being asked by a top general from the Clinton years to nuke countries with nuclear weapons. Hitler Reagan and Hitler Bush I gave nuclear secrets to China. Other presidents have given nuclear secrets to Pakistan and India and Israel. Hitler Bush II has given India additional nuclear secrets. Now NATO under the Nazi American leadership is being asked to nuke nations with nuclear weapons. If NATO wants to end this madness and proliferation of WMD's, nuke Nazi America and a halt to the spread of these weapons will be seriously curtailed.

Gerald said...

History teaches that war begins when governments believe the price of aggression is cheap.
– Ronald Reagan

Gerald said...

Reagan and Bush II must be the dumbest presidents.

Gerald said...

Norman is totally crazy

Gerald said...

The lunatics of both parties are running the asylums in Washington, D.C.

DEN said...

Speaking of BW brute force thugs:

Marshall Adame is a Democrat running for Congress in North Carolina's 3rd District, a jurisdiction along the Tar Heel state's low-lying eastern coast that is home to the U.S. Marine Corps' Camp Lejeune, Air Station Cherry Point, and Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, as well as Blackwater Worldwide's 7,000-acre corporate headquarters and training facility. Adame is an underdog in the congressional race, where he will likely face seven-term Republican incumbent Walter B. Jones—who brought the term "freedom fries" to Congress—in the general election. Jones has since become an opponent of the Iraq war, atoning for his vote to authorize the war by writing letters of condolence to the families of dead soldiers—a "mea culpa to my Lord," he says. But the incumbent and his Republican party are not the only obstacles Adame will have to overcome if he hopes to take over the 3rd District's congressional seat. He also faces tough opposition from Blackwater.

"People were writing in, and I was answering the questions," he says. "It just so happened that the first one was about Blackwater." He didn't mince words. "There is no place in the American force structure, or in American culture for mercenaries," he wrote on the blog. "They are guns for hire; No more, no less… Private Armies represent the very things we despise as a people. Servants to the highest bidder with true allegiance to no-one."

@ Mother Jones

Time for the mercenaries to go bye bye!

º¿carol said...

That State of the Union video was funny. I like that guy. He's a really good Bush.

Alan sent a link to a Bush ring tone. I sent it to my son. I wonder if he'll use it identify his mom calling. :)

Gerald said...

Here is another reason why NATO must nuke Nazi America

Gerald said...

Killing Kucinich

I was deeply troubled and worried because I plan on voting but who will receive my vote? Not a Nazi! Not Obama! If there is no one in the Independent, Socialist, or Green parties, I will write in Kucinich for my vote.

Gerald said...

Arrest warrants being issued by states

Gerald said...

The Psychopath

Gerald said...

"Nobody wants to be dependent on an America that talks loudly about how indispensable it is, yet stages coups, makes threats, overthrows governments, democratic or not, and kills many of the world's poorest people, to the amusement of some generals." Such is the state of our Union.

David B. Benson said...

Here is a good idea:

Action needed on home emissions

Houses and other buildings are rated A through G regarding their insulation and tightness...

Gerald said...

Resistance is the only stance worthy of a Christian

Gerald said...

Father John Dear is an American Gandhi

Gerald said...

A Pax Christi friend who attended the sentencing told me of the death in Iraq last week of a 21-year-old New Mexican. The entire town turned out for his funeral. The flags went up, the church was packed, and the priest spoke at length about the just war theory. He said this was a just war, that the young man died for a just cause. Everyone in town, except my friend, was relieved. Her sad story confirmed my determination to resist this ongoing unjust war, and to do so as a priest.

When a priest says Iraq is a just war, I am reminded of G.K. Chesterton's words, "The greatest stumbling blocs for Catholicism are Catholics." Catholic clerics must locate their moral compasses.

Gerald said...

Moreover, only a psychopath would pump his fist, as if kicking a game winning field goal, just moments before announcing that he had given the order to send America's sons and daughters into harm's way in Iraq. "Feels good," Bush said.

What the psychopath didn't know, however, was that the other psychopath, Saddam Hussein, was making his own plans for Bush's invasion. He ordered the reproduction of "more than three thousand copies of the film, Black Hawk Down" - the film documenting the chaos in Somalia that caused American forces to flee from that country. Saddam had the copies distributed "among senior figures in the military, the Baath, the Mukhabrat, and a new home guard, the Fedayeen Saddam." The tape was accompanied by some very simple instructions: "Create chaos." [Geoffrey Perret, Commander in Chief, p. 352]

Shortly after the invasion, Senator Biden questioned Bush's smug optimism about events in Iraq: "Mr. President, how can you be so sure when you don't know the facts?" Bush put his hand on Biden's shoulder and responded: "My instincts. My instincts."


Gerald said...

There is mounting evidence that Hitler Bush is insane!!!!!

DEN said...

This is something new?

They are all lizard people trying to gain the Earth for themselves. The killing has just begun for them.

Their shapes shifting abilities keep them human-like, but believe me they have no plans for us in their world.

They must be defeated at all costs or ourselves face annihilation.

We have seen our military fighter jets escorting them through our airspace(Texas) they are here now and have been for quite some time.

Why would I risk divulging this now? So others too may know the danger ahead. They seek to divide us and make us enemies with each other enough to bring on the final war amongst ourselves.

By getting us to kill each other it saves them the trouble.

DEN said...

Van Halen is touring again, the end is near.

º¿carol said...

Rove Passes Up Commencement Speech at Choate After the Students Object

At a meeting last week, a clear majority of the graduating class of about 230 said it opposed Mr. Rove’s invitation, students who were at the meeting said.

Scores of students banded together on the social networking Web site Facebook to protest Mr. Rove’s appearance. On Choate’s 450-acre campus, dotted with Georgian-style dormitories, students whispered about walking out on graduation, turning their chairs around when Mr. Rove took the podium or wearing T-shirts with a message protesting the speech.

Oh, goody. Those kids are the future and THEY get it!

Anonymous said...

Bootboy here: Not feelin to good today, had to shot my ol saddle horse Fred. He had been in a hurtin way for some time now so I put a 45 slug in his brain, I will wait a bit until he gets stiffined up then i'll plant him over by the main gate. He always wanted to go down the road fer sure. I have not read up on yer blog for some time, and boy you people need some sleep. Gerald do you remember the words 'LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT", an airoplane ticket will get ya down the road in a real hurry. Hope the ol ford tractor will start, bout time to plant ol Fred, he's stiffined up good by now I'd quess.

DEN said...

Bootboy: Our condolences on your loss from DWF, be sure to plant him head east so he can see the sunrise every morning and warm his hindquarters in the evening.

Dorothy in Kansas said...

Kansas governor's son creates prison-themed board game, 'Don't Drop the Soap'

TOPEKA, Kan. - The son of Gov. Kathleen Sebelius is peddling a board game titled "Don't Drop the Soap," a prison-themed game he created as part of a class project at the Rhode Island School of Design.

John Sebelius, 23, has the backing of his mother and father, U.S. Magistrate Judge Gary Sebelius. The governor's spokeswoman, Nicole Corcoran, said both parents "are very proud of their son John's creativity and talent."

John Sebelius is selling the game on his Internet site for $34.99, plus packaging, shipping and handling. The contact information on the website lists the address of the governor's mansion. Corcoran said the address will change when John Sebelius moves.

"Fight your way through 6 different exciting locations in hopes of being granted parole," the site says. "Escape prison riots in The Yard, slip glass into a mob boss' lasagna in the Cafeteria, steal painkillers from the nurse's desk in the Infirmary, avoid being cornered by the Aryans in the shower room."

The game includes five tokens representing a bag of cocaine, a handgun and three characters: wheelchair-using 'Wheelz," muscle-flexing "Anferny" and business suit-clad "Sal 'the Butcher."'

There's also a soapdish parole card holder.

Corcoran said John Sebelius sought legal advice to be sure he followed proper requirements, and he even took out a loan to pay for the production of his work.

"This game is intended for mature audiences - not children - and is simply intended for entertainment," Corcoran said.

© The Canadian Press, 2008

David B. Benson said...

You're not in Kansas anymore, Toto...

Jeanne said...

People actually still like Bush. My mom's dental hygienist was really impressed that Bush didn't have to look at his notes or anything. We have sunk in to the ooze in this country.

Anyway, hmmm, the house just cracked again. We got another cold snap. This after a thaw. Lot's of ice in the cracks. Duluth has two inches on the roads and they're at -9.


carey said...


The computer was down. I've been seriously busy too.

Den had a you-know-what? Oy vey.

How about that two-power-packed-punch of a Kennedy co-endorsement yesterday? That was quite something.

Again, you've got to say it, that was history-making. And very interesting.

Still, my sister Winke agrees with Micki on this point. Boomers have had, what, all of two presidents, Clinton and Bush, dumber? Just cause one did really, really badly, that's the only chance we get??? We're just going to spring on by our generation?

carey said...

Hi Jeanne! Yes, I'm discovering that myself. There are still plenty of people out there who continue to like Bush.

Hello to Bootleg and sincere condolences on Fred's passing. But we don't want Gerald going anywhere.

Den, that was an excellent suggestion for Fred's final resting place, quite touching.

Going to go watch the tube to see what's happening. Or maybe I'll just sit back and watch my birthday DVD from Carol.

Oh, I forgot, David, that article about home emissions, I've got to come back to that.

David B. Benson said...

SOTU speech reaction:


Carey said...

The co-Kennedy endorsement of Obama eclipsed the silly SOTU and its coverage. Yea!

Den, I do believe your system took a beating today. I felt the effects of that rotgut for a week.

micki said...

So, let's see what it is I say that will piss off the Obama Fever ward.

Yup. SOTU. Big effin' yawn. Spot on, Dr. B.

Jeanne, I guess your mom's dental hygienist has never heard of that brand, spankin' new invention that first went into service on December 4, 1950 -- the TelePrompter! (Invented by Irving Kahn, it was first used by CBS television on a soap opera, "The First Hundred Years" as an alternative to cue cards.) I know you were just having fun with that, but isn't that just like a bushie supporter to think he'd be looking at his crib notes on SOTU night. Holy mackerel, they're nuts!

About Governor Sibelius (D-KS), however, who endorsed Mr. Obama today, after her (YAAAAAAWN) response to the SOTU -- she's a BIG question mark, IMO. It's been reported that she's seeking ways to *discretely* cooperate with COAL INTERESTS because Big Coal wants to build two new coal-fired power plants in Kansas. Huh? And she's being rumored as a possible running mate with Obama? (Or maybe he just suckered her into the endorsement because he wanted to make political hay in Kansas where his grandparents used to live, before they left many, many years ago to move to Hawaii. Whatever.) But the coal plants? For godsakes! This is change? Well, maybe she'll change her mind.

But, yikes, that son of her's -- he's 23-YO, get an apartment or get a postal box or a Mailboxes, etc. address, but please don't use the Governor's mansion for your game sales, especially when you're *joking* about prison rape. Tacky. Tacky. Whatever happened to Kansas? I looked at the website for the game -- black men's faces all over the board. Disgusting. I'll give Obama the benefit of the doubt. He probably didn't know that the Governor has a son who mocks black people for fun and (possibly) profit.

Oh, I just remembered...it looks like Obama's spokesman, Bill Burton, has royally annoyed the CITIZENS of Florida who took time to vote today. They are as annoyed as the voters -- i.e. THE CITIZENS -- of Michigan who got marginalized in their primary. At least Hillary Clinton decided that each citizen's voice should be heard.

That Caroline Kennedy and Senator Edward Kennedy endorsed Obama is noteworthy, but it will be forgotten in the coming days. The most important endorsements are from state legislators, somewhat from members of the House, but mostly from local politicians, local community leaders, and community activists -- that's where things get done.

Oh, and BTW, the timing of Senator Kennedy's endorsement was perfecto for Obama's "spotlight" (halo effect?) -- it was timed so that, at the SOTU, the networks would keep panning the cameras over to Barack with Teddy, for maximum exposure. Not faulting them -- in fact, if it was going to happen, what a great time to take advantage of FACE TIME on national TeeVee. Free!