The Watch

The Watch is concerned about the increasing pressure towards feudalism in the United States from corporations, social regressives, warmongers, and the media. We also are concerned with future history concerning our current times, as non-truths which are “widely reported” become the basis for completely false narratives.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Kangaroo Court

Kangaroo Court Watch

When the US military captured Saddam Hussein, the Bush Administration embarked on a grandiose scheme to have Saddam convicted and executed by an Iraqi court. They figured that this way, they could control the court, ensure that only information that painted the US in a good light was released, and make sure that Saddam was convicted and executed in a rapid manner.

Unfortunately – like so many other Bush Administration schemes – the kangaroo court that they envisioned has seriously backfired.

First off, no Iraqi court can possibly satisfy all three major ethnic groups in the country. The oppressed Kurds and Shiites hate Saddam, and the Sunnis were the ruling party under his leadership and generally revere him. It seems impossible that a judge from any one of these groups could possibly be impartial -- yet this is the plan that the US concocted.

In the approximately three months since the trial started:

Two defense lawyers were assassinated;

The chief judge inappropriately commented on Saddam’s demeanor and attitude, saying that he appeared defeated and morose;

A judge resigned after learning that he may be related to one of Saddam’s victims;

The chief judge resigned, right in the middle of the trial;

The replacement chief judge kicked a defense lawyer out of the court;

When the rest of Saddam’s lawyers protested, they were also replaced – against the will of Saddam;

The remaining judges tried to remove the replacement chief judge;

Saddam has been allowed to speak whenever he wants;

Saddam has been able to claim that the US soldiers imprisoning him have abused him (Not that anyone would possibly believe such a wild, unlikely, incredible, and far-fetched claim – soooooo similar to evidence of abuse in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo);

Saddam has been prevented from seeing or knowing the identity of his accusers; they are hidden behind a shower curtain;

Judges have complained that the US is interfering in the trial (on the prosecution side);

Critical witnesses have gone “walkabout” on religious pilgrimages when they were supposed to be at trial.

Any of these would be more than sufficient grounds for a mistrial, yet – oh so surprisingly – none have been declared. Although I hold no love for Saddam – the golem created by Reagan the Just’s and Bush the First’s presidencies – justice will not be served by having him executed by a kangaroo court. Such a move will only inflame the Sunnis, make a martyr out of Saddam, and lead to greater civil war.

Indeed, former US attorney general Ramsey Clark, who is advising Saddam on his defense, has called for the trial to be abandoned, saying “There's too much violence in the country, there's too much division and too much pressure on the court. The project ought to be abandoned. It was a creature of the United States in the first place.”

Given the utter disaster that the Saddam trial has become, a mistrial should be declared and the trial should be moved to The Hague, where a real trial can be held, with real impartial judges and real defense attorneys. Only then, will there even be an appearance of fairness.

-John Locke

Censorship Watch

According to New York Times reporter, Andrew Revkin, the Bush Administration has been censoring scientists within NASA and NOAA. Not that this should be a surprise, because they have also muzzled the FDA and other governmental agencies; quotes from his article follow:

“The top climate scientist at NASA says the Bush administration has tried to stop him from speaking out since he gave a lecture last month calling for prompt eductions in emissions of greenhouse gases linked to global warming.

The scientist, James E. Hansen, longtime director of the agency's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said in an interview that officials at NASA headquarters had ordered the public affairs staff to review his coming lectures, papers, postings on the Goddard Web site and requests for interviews from journalists.

Dr. Hansen said he would ignore the restrictions. "They feel their job is to be this censor of information going out to the public," he said.

In several interviews with The New York Times in recent days, Dr. Hansen said it would be irresponsible not to speak out, particularly because NASA's mission statement includes the phrase "to understand and protect our home planet."

The fresh efforts to quiet him, Dr. Hansen said, began in a series of calls after a lecture he gave on Dec. 6 at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco. In the talk, he said that significant emission cuts could be achieved with existing technologies, particularly in the case of motor vehicles, and that without leadership by the United States, climate change would eventually leave the earth "a different planet."

The administration's policy is to use voluntary measures to slow, but not reverse, the growth of emissions.

After that speech and the release of data by Dr. Hansen on Dec. 15 showing that 2005 was probably the warmest year in at least a century, officials at the headquarters of the space agency repeatedly phoned public affairs officers, who relayed the warning to Dr. Hansen that there would be "dire consequences" if such statements continued, those officers and Dr. Hansen said in interviews.

The fight between Dr. Hansen and administration officials echoes other recent disputes. At climate laboratories of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, for example, many scientists who routinely took calls from reporters five years ago can now do so only if the interview is approved by administration officials in Washington, and then only if a public affairs officer is present or on the phone.

Unbelievable, yet somehow… not. We are living in a country where our civil liberties are slowly yet inexorably being sucked away by this corrupt Republican administration and government.

-John Locke


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