Boot Boortz!

All right, the National LP deserves this. But I understand Boortz was booked at the last convention before this “democracy spreading” crap started.

If it’s any consolation, I believe I have given you a reason to have hope in the LP. It was you that we invited to our Illinois convention last year, not Boortz. I caught plenty of flack for that, similar to what you are stirring up. You left the LP, ran as a Republican, backed Pat Buchanan (who doesn’t exactly fit as a true libertarian either), and the 99.44% pure people scolded me for doing so. … However, most of the feedback forms we got rated your keynote as the best.

If you mention this one again, maybe you could consider mentioning the Illinois LP doesn’t have their heads up their asses.

Incidentally, changing ballot access laws is my full-time focus right now, and I think we have a shot at doing that in the next year. Why? Bush isn’t on the ballot in Illinois next year (yet), because of me. They have to change the law to get him on the ballot and that failed in our General Assembly last week. I may be doing more to keep Bush from re-election than the Democrats at this point as I’m the one who discovered the RNC Convention nomination was AFTER Illinois’ deadline to certify names for the ballot. Use their strict ballot access laws against them and see how they like it. If you are interested in that dilemma, I’ve got more at my blog.

In fact, this could make an interesting column for you. I’ve been equating Illinois election laws with the Iraq war. Are our soldiers fighting in Iraq for a “democracy” that will let the Sunnis make it 50 times harder for Shiites to run for office, or 5,000 times harder for Kurds to run for office? That’s the type of “democracy” we have in Illinois. Bush recently told Fidel Castro to open up Cuba’s elections to competition, while almost 40% of state and federal offices in Illinois had only one candidate because of ridiculous ballot access requirements for opposition parties. Bush’s foreign policy of spreading “democracy” is just another do as I say not as I do hypocrisy. Feel free to use any of this to piss Bush off.

Mocking his arrogance for expecting Illinois election laws to be changed to accommodate his lack of ability to follow the rule of law and calling him a hypocrite for wanting democracy in Iraq while allowing oppressive ballot access laws here in America is something I’d love to see. Whatever I can do to help with that I’d be glad to.

This is an opinion release I had on this back in May 03: “Illinois Style Democracy in Iraq?

Anyway, keep rocking the boat. I certainly appreciate it, and I think there are more like me in the LP than there are like Boortz.

~ Jeff Trigg, Executive Director – Libertarian Party of Illinois

Justin Raimondo replies:

Jeff, I was not talking about the Illinois LP: after all, they had the good sense to invite me as a speaker at their convention. Of course, I do indeed have hope in the LP, and perhaps I didn’t make this point as I should have in my column. That’s why I bothered to make the Boortz invitation an issue in the first place. You are doing great work – that’s fantastic about Bush’s ballot status: stick it to those bastards!

At least Boortz has enough guts to put a link to your page on his. You don’t. You are not a libertarian, why should you care about who they invite to their convention?

Obviously, you are just anti-Boortz. As well as anti-war. You probably think Americans have freedom because of the largess of the British and the Germans and the Russians, etc.

Quite frankly, your raving makes you pathetic, not intelligent.

~ Jim L.

Justin Raimondo replies:

1) I did indeed provide a link to Boortz’s site,

2) I am a libertarian (check out our “Who We Are” page, and

3) Americans have freedom (although much less than we used to) in spite of morons like yourself.

It is a true shame that you are attempting to limit free speech about any subject. You may not agree with Mr. Boortz, but you have no right to eliminate him from the national discussion.

~ Lori F.

Justin Raimondo replies:

Boortz has a right to stink up the airwaves with his ignorant rants. He has no right to befoul the Libertarian Party national convention with his blovations.

Neal may disagree with the party stance on the military abroad, but he has got to be the most eloquent speaker on behalf of the Libertarian party I, and many others, have ever heard. Just like the far left and far right, it is folks like Raimondo that make the Libertarian party look like a bunch of freaks and wackos. We need to appeal to the centrists in America, and in my opinion the Libertarian party is our best hope of that, but not if the radical elements of the party are allowed to hold any sway with its leadership or with its policies.

~ Alan Huskey, Woodstock, Georgia

Justin Raimondo replies:

So THIS is the kind of person that the Libertarian Party is now attracting? Amazing.

I am a Libertarian Party (life) member, and when I found out that Neil Boortz was scheduled to speak at the L.P. National Convention in Atlanta next year (04) I immediately sent an e-mail to the convention organizers (it is actually Nancy Neale, the current LP chairman’s wife) explaining how dissatisfied I was with the selection of Mr. Boortz as a speaker, and that I was going to tell everyone I know in the LP to boycott the convention unless Mr. Boortz was dropped.

The e-mail I received back essentially stated that she (Nancy Neale) knows that Boortz differs with most LP members on the issues of war, especially the current war(s), but that he is speaking for “free”, and that since Atlanta is his home base, that he would be a potential draw for the convention. I told her that I believed that he is a liability as a speaker at the convention, and that he is bad publicity for the LP

Nancy (I think) hopes that we can pressure or persuade him to change his mind on the “war” issue. I don’t think either he or Thomas Sowell, or Larry Elder will change their minds, and I think their warmongering position excludes them from being libertarian.

I still believe that the LP is the best hope with a platform of peace from any of the political parties, so I disagree with Mr. Raimondo (as I think he believes) that the LP has sold out.

Thanks for publicizing this fact of Boortz speaking at the LP convention, and “petitioning” the convention organizers to get him out, as I was doing on my own.

~ Steve LaBianca

Thank you for your article on Neal Boortz. As a dues-paying Libertarian, I am shocked and amazed by the interventionist thinking of some who, like Boortz, have jumped on the Bush bandwagon of war. I have emailed Nancy Neale and promised to remove my membership if Boortz isn’t taken off of the National Convention speaker roster. I appreciate your columns, as well as Antiwar.com. Keep up the good work!

~ Jerry Dunn, Tehachapi, California

Why do you find common sense ideology threatening? Boortz, if you follow his program, points out why it is important to investigate individuals who are proactive in anti-American groups. “If these people are associated with violence and anti American organizations… shouldn’t we be keeping an eye on them?” Freedom to demonstrate peacefully is a right of every individual regardless of condemnation or support of the decision of this government. “If, however, these coalitions of antiwar and sometimes anti-American leftists serve as a breeding ground for violent plots against Americans or American targets, we need to know it.” Known parties or persons who are associated with violence or support illegal activities domestic or abroad they should be investigated. If you disagree with common sense practices you’re nothing more than a babbling idiot supporting terrorism by perverting liberty.

In addition you try to state that half of America doesn’t support this war. Where you obtained your statistics I have no idea but that is neither here nor there. My point is half of America doesn’t support the communist party, green (socialist) party, or pro-Saddam groups and are not a threat during war. Your suggestion that it is interpreted that any person/s against George Bush is anti-American is childish and irresponsible. I don’t know or care what political party you are associated with, however, I have a good idea. The comments sound very familiar to those extreme far leftists who have been left in the dust of this administration. Although I don’t support a great deal of this administration’s ideal (mainly big government and big spending) I believe like my peers that the president is going a great job in OUR war effort.

Grow up! You’re living in a fantasy.

~ Nancy Neal, Jamie L. Weaver

I‘m from Boortztown, aka Atlanta. In Neal’s defense, all of his stances aside from his warmongering are libertarian. I normally just shut the radio off when he starts going off on his war rants. But his defense of constitutional liberties, both personal and economic, are right on the money.

And in defense of the Libertarian Party – they’ve just got Neal to gain publicity, I’m sure. He’s a high-profile celebrity type, something we don’t have many of working for us. Politics is a dirty game, unfortunately, and the party is just using Neal to gain support and votes. He’s also vowed not to run for office, so the votes he gets for the LP will go for a candidate who most likely agrees with you and I about anti-interventionism, like a Harry Brown or a Ron Paul.

~ Synthea Dreamsinger

While, I consider myself a libertarian with a small “l”, national defense IS a legitimate function of government. I do not slavishly follow the Rothbardian mandate of non-aggression. As one trained in personal protection, I know the value of a preemptive first strike in a self defense situation. It IS a DEFENSE to hit first, and likely the ONLY way you will win the encounter.

As to the infiltration of the Antiwar movement, and the participants therein, the oath taken says “…to protect and defend the constitution against ALL enemies foreign and domestic.” Yes, many of the antiwar folks are associated with the Communist party and are domestic enemies and they do warrant scrutiny.

Sometimes, I think many of you so-called Libertarians are actually anarchists. We do need some government and it does have some legitimate functions, national defense is one of them. WE were attacked on 11, September 2001 and the Iraqis were in it up to their elbows. This war (Congress again shirked its constitutional duty by not declaring war) is legitimate self-defense, declared or not.

~ Dave Bishop, Duluth, Georgia


Any Trade That’s Peaceful

Great story BUT I’m afraid that those “who talk about free trade but are really for managed trade that benefits corporate interest,” are the very people who control NAFTA and WTO. You are naive to believe otherwise.

~ Hal O’Leary

Alan Bock replies:

If I gave anyone the impression that I’m so naive as to believe that the WTO and NAFTA are more about genuine free trade than about managed and manipulated trade, I obviously didn’t express myself clearly. I do think both agreements have yielded marginally lower tariffs overall, which is a good thing, but there’s little question they’re more about managed trade than genuinely free trade. My preference would be for the U.S. to eliminate all its tariffs and barriers unilaterally with no concern at all for “we’ll-stop-punishing-our-consumers-only-after-you-stop-punishing-yours” reciprocity, which wouldn’t take thousands of pages of detailed and virtually incomprehensible small type.

The “Free Trade” brought to us by the WTO, Nafta, FTAA et al runs contrary to any notions I might have of national sovereignty, and of the right of citizens to govern themselves, since it gives our trading partners – or rather, certain foreign corporations living in the countries party to the agreement, the right to challenge our laws as unfair obstacles to trade. And
win. Take for instance, the “dolphin safe” label on American tuna. If ever there was a law made by the people, this one is it. I personally didn’t buy a can of tuna for 18 years – and I LOVE canned tuna (yeah I know, but it’s one of those comfort foods). Tuna companies capitulated. Laws were made, and you’d think that would be the end of it. Wrong – I have taken the following paragraph from Public Citizen/Global Trade Watch, “‘GATT-Zilla vs. Flipper’ Dolphin Case Demonstrates How Trade Agreements Undermine Domestic Environmental, Public Interest Policies“:

“Since 1992, the United States has been under orders to weaken the dolphin law in question after it was ruled to be an illegal trade barrier by an international tribunal operating under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, or GATT. Recently, Mexico has stepped up threats of WTO action if the law is not changed. The Bush administration action underscores the concerns raised by public interest activists about domestic policies being attacked by foreign nations as illegal trade barriers in secret WTO tribunals.”

Global Law has spoken! Our laws are “illegal” and we must conform. Just as we are forcing Canada to conform regarding logging of their own forests. Just as we are attempting to force Europe to market our genetically modified products – preferably unlabeled as that would prejudice Europeans – who don’t want to eat them. These wonderful “legal” bodies, enforcing corporate law upon us all, don’t care much for our environmental laws, and even less for any sentiment we may retain about purchasing goods made by children, prisoners (political or otherwise), or workers held in what can only be described as slavery. We have NO RIGHT under their rules to reject such goods, and little right to know how the stuff we buy is produced. So much for self-government.

The subject is TRADE – it is NOT the prisoner working without hope or the worker imprisoned by despair. The subject is not the small boy who makes bricks or knots rugs for fifteen hours, or twenty – no clocks there (nor schools or doctors, love or hugs) There is only TRADE:, triumphant and free. Or the little girl, who’s not the subject but the Object of TRADE – sold for her too-big eyes, her too-young, too-thin figure for whom Love and Hugs are the shackles of a life in TRADE which is – at long last – Free.

Once, TRADE was hailed as a Deity of Liberation – perhaps even by the Dissident Professor, now so weak and ill from torture and poor rations
in the prison factory where he crafts bright, mocking flowers and radios that never send for help and toys for the blessed children of the USA – still called Free (even if they aren’t the subject, which is TRADE) but who suck now the Blood of Slavery Prey in their games on the traded lives of children who never get to play or the mothers in rags, sewing silk, watching their babies waste away for TRADE – and only TRADE is Free.

These American kids, unknowing, breathe the poisoned air of unclean cells. Bounce multicolored balls of misery Play with lead-hearted dolls of prison make (the very best that Daddy can afford, now that he’s been down-sized and Mommy’s job went South). American kids – standing in the last, blazing rays of the American Century Dazzled by the Holy Light of Trade look unseeing into future darkness. What waits outside this pool of glare? a slum? a desert? or just an ordinary cell? Or does it matter – since the Subject, after all, is TRADE.

~ Adrien E.

Alan Bock replies:

I‘m fascinated by the depth and the emotional commitment of those who profess to see great damage and danger in free trade.

To be sure, those who are inclined to be critical of free trade or to see calls for more free trade as sneaky ways to cloak the desire of oppressors and manipulators to oppress and manipulate further have one valid thing going for them. We do not have free trade now, and we have never had anything resembling “pure” free trade. GATT, NAFTA and the WTO have contributed to an overall reduction in tariffs and other trade barriers, and many free traders defend them as the best instruments available, given international political reality, for achieving lower tariff barriers. But they are flawed instruments at best, essentially instruments of managed trade subject to considerable political pressure.

Furthermore, no country in the world (most specifically including the United States) provides a model of laissez-faire free-enterprise capitalism. The differences among countries like North Korea and South Korea, for example, while significant, are differences of degree. Some economies are more liberal than others, more open to foreign trade and investment, but no country is a pure example of unfettered capitalism.

Since what we have is a mixed bag in terms of freer trade, numerous opportunities to attribute problems to too much freedom rather than too much management exist. Sorting out cause and effect is never easy in complex human activities. But it still seems to me that in terms of human welfare the burden of proof should be on those who advocate more political controls over human activity than on those who advocate fewer, to demonstrate that benefits will ensue.

It’s important to remember that a real trade is a mutually voluntary action that would not occur unless both parties believed they would benefit. I have lots of bananas and you have shoes you have made, and each of us decides we can give up a little of what we have to get some of what the other guy has and is willing to give up. If such a transaction is coerced in any way it is not a trade, by definition. Trades across borders may be more complex than that, but from an analytical point of view they’re the same.

If that’s what a trade is, it’s difficult to see what right a third party has to intervene in the situation and forbid the transaction, dictate the terms of the transaction, or dictate that the transaction can take place only if the third party gets a cut. Being able to participate in voluntary transactions seems to me a fundamental human right, in part because it is only by working or trading that human beings can survive; even on a tropical island with an ideal climate some effort is required to pick the fruit that we will assume is there in abundance. Allowing specialized activities and the right to trade among specialists is the first step toward moving beyond subsistence-level survival, and interfering with it deters such development; indeed it can be viewed quite literally as an enemy of civilization.

At the very least, there should be a high burden of proof on somebody who would assert the power to regulate the trading activities of others, because at the conceptual level, interfering with an activity that two free and independent human beings undertake because each of them believes it is beneficial looks like doing harm not only to the freedom of those people, but to their well-being.

Enough of the theory. What about practice? Does freer trade make poor people poorer? Do tariffs or other barriers to “protect” the economies of poorer countries from “assaults” by greedy corporate SOBs in richer nations benefit those who live in the poorer countries? Johan Norberg’s book is full of statistics and arguments that to my mind refute such assertions, and I had opportunity to quote only a few, so I’ll bring up a few more now.

From independence to 1966, with a largely socialist economic structure, the percentage of Indians living in poverty increased from 50 percent to 62 percent. India began a process of reform, still imperfectly implemented and with some backsliding, in the 1970s. In 1991 tariff levels were reduced from 87 percent to 27 percent and numerous economic regulations were repealed or reformed, making it easier and less time-consuming to start a business. Barriers against foreign investment were reduced. Since that time economic growth has been running at 5 to 7 percent a year, and the percentage living in poverty has fallen to 32 percent. Life expectancy has doubled since independence, with the increases most dramatic since the economic reforms. Economic growth in some of the southern states that have liberalized their economies more drastically, have approached 15 percent. All this is undermining the caste system more swiftly than legislation was ever able to do.

Does economic growth lead to increased inequality? In a sense, it’s a question of dubious relevance if economic growth is occurring, since somebody whose income has increased is not made any worse off if somebody else’s income has increased more. But “the Norwegian Institute for Foreign Affairs investigated global inequality by means of figures adjusted for purchasing power. Their data show that. Contrary to conventional wisdom, inequality between countries has been declining since the end of the 1970s. This decline was especially rapid between 1993 and 1998, when globalization really gathered speed.”

As is the case throughout the world, the faster a country’s economic growth, the faster it reduces poverty, infant mortality and illiteracy. To a westerner grinding poverty in a Third World country might look “authentic” or in harmony with nature. Most of those who have to live in such conditions welcome economic growth that makes life less miserable, even if that means they have to put up with a McDonald’s here and there.

One more example, relating to multinational companies establishing factories in poor countries. No doubt there are true anecdotes of exploitation, but the Organization for Economic Cooperation and development did a fairly systematic study of “export zones.” It found that in countries like the Philippines and in Central America America, foreign factories not only increased job opportunities (remember that for many the alternative is subsistence farming) but paid higher wages than were available in the rest of the country. Most small economic zones had the same labor laws as in the rest of the country, and they were applied more consistently.

“In addition, more and more free zones are observing that cheap labor is not the full recipe for successful competition, and are encouraging firms to invest in and educate their work forces.”

Not all foreign firms behave well, by any means, but in almost every country (including advanced countries like the United States) foreign firms pay higher wages than native firms, and the differences are usually quite dramatic in poorer countries.

Demanding that poorer countries adopt the same kinds of labor and environmental laws that apply in more developed countries short-circuits the usual process of economic development and essentially dooms poor people in those countries to continued poverty. It may be sad, but it’s a fact of human nature that people start to care about the environment enough to minimize or mitigate damage when they get wealthy enough to move beyond subsistence. Adopting regulations prematurely means more poverty and more environmental damage.

That’s enough for now.


Go F*ck Yourself, Mr. President

This is the most intolerant, hateful, piece of utter trash I have read tonight. Please leave the United States and move to France where sissy boys reside. Aren’t you ashamed of yourself, probably not. Liberals thinking with their hearts and not their heads. See the big picture, join the real world, bury your hate, love one another as he has loved you. We are at WAR support and defend the country or leave.

~ Robert Reichardt

Justin Raimondo replies:

Yeah, you’re so right. Love one another – and kill everyone while we’re at it.

Put down the crack pipe, foolio.

First of all, thanks a lot for your excellent homepage, covering “the other side” of the war – from the US. A rarity these days, where the large American networks,seems to brain wash the American population, in a very scary (but effective) way.

You wrote:

“We must act, even if the threat is nonexistent – because of the potential danger. If ‘self-defense’ consists of necessary ‘preemption,’ then what would happen if we started acting on this Bushian principle domestically? After all, killers, robbers, and rapists don’t announce their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike. Why not just jail them before they have a chance to commit a crime? This principle, if applied within the US, would lead straight to totalitarian rule. Applied abroad, it means perpetual war.”

Imagine that this “logic” was used by (any) other country in the world on the United States of America. It would be seen as a declaration of war – nothing less.

And try to “play with the idea” (and maybe write an article about it), that American citizens were held somewhere in the world, under the same conditions as the US government keeps the “illegal combatants” in Guantanamo. It would have been on all news broadcasts since day one, and he special forces would have been send in a long time ago.

~ Peter Sindrup, Denmark

Isn’t is being disrespectful of the ‘office of the presidency’ to use obscenities, no matter how bad the person holding the office is deserving? I like your column. But you are not going to change any minds, and risk alienating the fence-sitters, by using language like that.

~ Steve Greene, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

I‘ve been trying to work up some enthusiasm for the approaching holiday, amidst the world’s chaos, it’s a tough challenge. It’s hard to muster up an appetite when you know innocent people are dying every day and all because of a trumped up war but when I woke up this morning and read your column: “Go F*ck Yourself, Mr. President,” I found my “holiday” spirit! (That just happens to be one of my favorite expression’s and I often mumble it to myself, aloud, when I read the mainstream tripe concerning this administration’s policies. It’s a versatile expression and you can substitute a wide array of names and still be quite effective: Go F*ck Yourself Mr. Rumsfeld, Go F*ck yourself Mr. Wolfowitz, Powell, Perle, Rice. It also translates well into other languages and is easily understood by other cultures. Another one of my favorites is: Go F*ck yourself Mr. Sharon. (That one has actually become my daily mantra.)

Anyway, I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for your most excellent words of wisdom and also for your moral courage. (To show my appreciation, I’ll be making another contribution to ANTIWAR.COM.) You made my holiday!

~ Donna J. Volatile, Truchas, New Mexico


America’s New Agenda

If America continues to pursue the arrogant, venal and idiotic neojacobin agenda in the Middle East, America will not only be a malevolent superpower but an international superpariah.

~ Scheherazade

Paul Roberts replies:

I agree.

In his article, Roberts uses the analogy of Napoleon’s attempt to conquer Russia. Personally I find the analogy of him crushing Germany much more instructive.

At the time Napoleon attacked Germany it wasn’t really a country, instead it was a dead empire ruled not by the (powerless) emperor but his independent nobles…. Germany was like a patchwork-carpet – hundreds of independent little or larger secular and clerical realms. Napoleon crushed all that.

He completely reformed the territories, unified the little realms into larger ones and thoroughly modernised and unified Germany by introducing the code napoleon and the metric system. This brought Germany a huge leap further, it would have been unable to achieve this from inside.

However, this came at a price. The Germans weren’t happy to be occupied, they took the blessings of modernisation, but continued to resent the occupiers. With occupying Germany Napoleon also caused resistance, as he looted the countries and relied on German troops to fight in his tours of conquest, as proxies and cannon fodder.

The result was the emergence of a feeling of German national identity, that resulted in the resistance against Napoleon, and eventually the national mobilisation against him, even though the achievements of the popular struggle have been vastly exaggerated for a bit of glory.

What I aim on is that: the US administration, in their recently declared policy to crusade the Middle east for liberty and democracy might end up like Napoleon in Germany.

The Arabs, as they have done half the century, will take the modernisation, thanks, but resent US influence…. While freedom and liberty are sure good crowd-pullers, especially in the US where some people still believe what Bush tells, it leads away from the actual problem: The willful ignorance of the heresy that the Iraqis might have a right and also the will to have a word on how their country shall be ruled. …

This could well sweep away the corrupt and repressive regimes in the regime (who are supportive to the US) to replace them with islamist ones, or maybe even in a grand Arab country. Bush could end up as the tragic fool trying to “do good” while starting a development that is absolutely contrary to his intentions.

~ Norbert Schulz, Germany.

An excellent article from Paul Craig Roberts. As Mr Roberts states, America’s occupation of Iraq will be untenable in the long-term unless the USA resorts to brutal tactics. At the same time, the occupation of Iraq is stoking resentment of the USA throughout the Muslim world. This is an area where America and its values were highly regarded for many years. Unfortunately, this good will has been almost entirely dissipated by the Bush administration. The US government should listen to commentators like Mr Roberts and remember the principles on which the USA was founded over 200 years ago.

~ M. Grant, London, UK


By Way of Deception

I am writing to inform you that in the article … there are several of the important links which lead nowhere, especially in the following paragraph:

“Those numbers are bound to get worse as news of the latest Israeli caper hits the headlines. It really wasn’t such a hot idea for the Mossad to recruit Palestinians into a phony Al Qaeda cell in Gaza. It was too easy to trace the cell-phone calls and emails back to Israel, as well as Germany and Lebanon. Aside from that, however, there was something a little fishy about their recruitment methods, such as this message cited by ABC News (via Reuters)….”

All the links in red (5 of 7!) either do not work or lead to blank pages. In the case of the ABC links they lead to a page that says: “This content is not available. We apologize for the inconvenience.” It then redirects to the main page of ABC News.

I suggest that if you seriously want to retain credibility that you link to pages that exist.

~ David Sketchley

Justin Raimondo replies:

The problem is that webmasters often change the location of links, without, of course, informing us. They either move the article we refer to, or else delete it altogether. There is, alas, no way around this.

Eric Garris replies:

Of course most of the links don’t work, it is a year-old article.


Nicholas Moore’s backtalk

“A demilitarized Palestine, what kind of Nation has no Military!?”

Costa Rica. Last I checked, still a nation.

~ Jeremy Sapienza


Hogtied and Abused at Fort Benning

Kathy Kelly has shown, again, that despite violent repressive measures, at home and abroad, she remains committed to nonviolence. It takes great courage to be Kathy Kelly whether in exposing US brutal invasion of Iraq or the training of assassins in the School of the Americas. I salute that courage.

I share with her the question she raised: what country do we live in now? Within the span of a few days, we witnessed the unprecedented paramilitary brutality in Miami and the response to this protest at Fort Benning. In both cases it became increasingly clear that the chickens has come home to roost. Miami responded as a banana republic would, using the tactics taught at the School of the Americas. I am afraid that until we have a regime change at home, this will only be the beginning.

~ Dr. Tony Sayegh

As far as I am concerned you are no longer US Citizens.

~ L. Orassoc

Eric Garris replies:

Thank God you are not in charge of revising the Constitution.

Thank you for your work for peace. As a prior military policeman I can only say that you meet all types in the service, and unfortunately it is very easy to bring out the worst in people, especially when such behavior is condoned and encouraged by those in charge. Don’t forget, when interacting with these military personnel they are for the most part following training and orders that do not differentiate between peaceful and hostile protesters, and once you took your hand off the wall that’s all that was needed for them to take it to the next level. Also, it’s a wonderful opportunity sow the seeds of peace. Any one of those people could be your coworkers in peace at some time in the future (granted, some must be just plain fanatics who would have to be right at home at the SOA). I applaud, and I am encouraged by, your bravery. Please accept my apology for not being there with you.

~ Guadeloupe Gary

We live in a country that is being ruthlessly divided between critical thinkers and people who believe who believe that being “right” gives one the right to use a big stick. And sadly, very sadly, the Bush administration is taking maximum advantage of the difference. If they keep it up, they will divide this country in a way that will take generations to heal.

~ High Q.

Right now, US soldiers are packaged as heroes, or at worst, hapless victims of vicious policy. Kelly’s experience shows how inaccurate this perception is.

We should make it clear that the people who torture are not heroes. They are not protecting freedom. They are not helping this country. Just as we should be telling troops and cannon-fodder-to-be about depleted uranium and dangerous vaccinations, we should make clear that torture is torture, no matter who does it, for what reason.

These military police at Fort Benning should be ashamed of themselves. I hope that the matter does not end with this article but with prosecution of these monsters in training.

~ M. Rush

Just a line to express admiration and respect for the courage and principles of people like yourself. A complete, all-round human in contrast to the animals who abused you. But in the end, you will win. Because eventually their kind will become as you. But you could never descend to being one of them.

~ Jim Hogan, Sligo, Ireland


Predictions from South Africa

We predict that opposition to Bush is about to be restricted and demonized in the run-up to presidential elections. The war taken out to the Iraqi theatre is coming home – to a street corner near you. Like a wounded animal, the Bush administration is going to strike out viciously at local opposition.

Under the apartheid ‘Christian National’ South African government, protest was always heavily (often brutally) policed, infiltrated with spies, smeared by ‘dirty tricks’ and false flag operations and officially quashed with draconian ‘detention without trial’ laws.

As veterans of that time, we had a disturbing sense of deja vu when we saw that happened in Miami recently. ‘Freedom-loving’ Americans are about to be shaken out of their comfort zones if they want to preserve their civil rights. Beware of the Psych-ops so blatantly employed by your politicians and media : ‘one vial, one canister … be scared, very scared and remember only we can protect you…’ Wake up – these are old jackboot tactics. They only work when you consent to be cowed by them.

~ Jake Tau and Mark Veere, Johannesburg, South Africa


Superman vs. the War Party

Really loved your article!

I’m a huge comic collector, and I’ve noticed a distinct anti-Iraq war message in the comics, and comics have long taken political stands. Now, as I am completely against the war in Iraq, I think that’s just nifty, but whatever.

Primarily I’m writing to draw your attention to a recent issue of “Formerly the Justice League” (#5).

At the end of the story there is a news report: “the President is certain that Saddam Hussein was behind today’s apparent alien invasion. When asked why Saddam would choose to invade Metropolis with a flying saucer, a White House spokesman replied ‘Because we say so!'”

Gave me a hearty chuckle, I tell you, but then, I’m Canadian.

~ DJ


American, Israeli Hawks Worried Over Peace Moves

I don’t know, but this seems your only article about the Geneva Accord.

Libertarians, you should be championing this process! A group of citizens from two warring factions has, more-or-less against the wishes of their respective governments, negotiated a peace agreement. The negotiating teams are now distributing the text throughout their respective communities.

The Accord has received mixed reviews in Palestine and Israel and the US. Those interested, see http://www.monde-diplomatique.fr/cahier/proche-orient/a10414 for the text and two maps of the Accord. And see “The Geneva Accord” with many linked assessments from Israelis with varying opinions. …

Especially for Libertarians, it should be fascinating to see if Palestinians and Israelis can generate enough public support for this initiative to actually make their war-bent governments irrelevant. Is this something Antiwar.com should try with the Bush administration? I am looking forward to Ran HaCohen’s thoughts.

~ Doug Barrett, Edmonton, Canada


Iraq appoints US citizen as its American envoy

I read with some incredulity the article that you reference in this morning’s Telegraph, announcing that Rend Rahim Francke, a US citizen has been appointed Iraqi ambassador to the USA.

I know quite a few people who have at some time held both UK and US passports, and I had always understood that the USA does not allow its adult citizens to have dual nationality. If you wish to be a US citizen you have to renounce all other nationalities, which implies that from the US official point-of-view she cannot be an Iraqi citizen as well. (I am aware that some countries, notably the UK often ignores the renunciation of its citizenship, so adult dual-nationality is possible. However maintaining it as an adult involving lying to the US Immigration Service.)

I have also know, because it applies to my niece, that citizens who do have dual-nationality must use their US passport, and not any other country’s passport, to enter and leave the USA. So will Ms Francke have to use her US rather than her Iraqi diplomatic passport to enter the USA? What if she is declared Persona Non Grata? Where does she get deported to?

This really has moved from the sublime to the ridiculous.

~ Ian Miller


FBI Eye on the Antiwar Guy

There is a long history of police initiation of violence at anti-globalization protests, and of bending or breaking the law to preemptively detain organizers on manufacture pretexts days before the event. And these local Gestapo tactics have been used with heavy support and aid from federal law enforcement – not to mention regular military assets, in violation of the spirit of posse comitatus. The feds were quite panicked by the forms of decentralized activism made possible by the Internet, even before the Seattle WTO protests: David F. Ronfeldt et al. The Zapatista Social Netwar in Mexico MR-994-A (Santa Monica: Rand, 1998).

One of the most creative of the local jackboots was Philadelphia Police Commissioner John Timoney, who preemptively arrested protest organizers on trumped-up charges (spurious fire-code violations, puppets as deadly weapons, gaspacho as “homemade pepper spray,” etc.) in the days before the August 2000 GOP convention. Timoney was one of the most hysterical enemies of the “international anarchist” post-Seattle movement, and had called for using the RICO statutes and the FBI to break it. John Ridge, the Pennsylvania governor at the time, provided political aid and comfort.

We all know where Ridge ended up. But did you know Timoney was widely rumored in Oct. 2001 to be slated for a top advisory position in Homeland Security?

Paul Rosenberg. “The Empire Strikes Back: Police Repression of Protest From Seattle to L.A.” LA Independent Media Center 13 August 2000, at http://www.r2kphilly.org/pdf/empire-strikes.pdf.

~ Kevin Carson, Mutualist.org


Conscription – The Terrible Price of War

God Bless Ron Paul! His best column yet. Makes me proud to have sent his campaign a contribution last month even though he is not in my District. What a patriot – what a great American. I have 17- and 18-year-old sons who have no desire at all to fight a neocon war. Why does Ron Paul stand nearly alone as a voice of truth and reason in those hallowed halls of Congress, as Senator Robert Byrd stands alone in the Senate? What is happening to America? Are we a nation gone mad? As a conservative (and probably former Republican) I am thankful for Ron Paul, just as I am thankful for Patrick Buchanan, Charley Reese, Justin Raimondo and the true American Patriots who have the courage to stand up for righteousness and for the interests of America and Americans.

Will somebody please run against Bush in the Republican primaries? Four years of either Bush or Dean could be disastrous for our country.

~ Steve H., Dallas, Texas

Marvelous essay opposing another draft – that most totalitarian of laws!

~ Murray Polner, former draftee, US Army

There is something that we can do if people would take the time and effort.

The site that was up for the application for becoming a selective service system board member was taken down. There is another one on the sss web site. It is: https://www4.sss.gov/localboardmembers/bminquiry.asp.

…You may wish to think about applying and if accepted you can make a difference by allowing deferments to those who do not wish to be drafted. When I was drafted 31 years ago, I was not allowed a hearing. If you are on the draft board, you can give others the same opportunity not to serve in the regular army as our commander in chief, vice-president, and his advisors were given during the Vietnam-era by their draft boards. Just fill out the form on the site above and you’ll receive the packet. You can make a difference. Pass this info to others that will be affected. Stories are already circulating about if Bush wins next year, the draft will start by July of 2005. He is running out of fodder. Thank you for your time. I have already applied.

~ Just Sam

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