The idea of establishing a secret “drone court” modeled on the FISA court is an exceptionally bad one. Here in brief are some of my objections:
The court and its proceedings would be secret. It would be even worse than the infamous English Star Chamber. Even in the Star Chamber you had to be accused of doing *something*. As I understand it, the standard being articulated by the US administration now is “imminent danger”. Hello, “Minority Report” scenario anyone?
These death warrants would constitute a “Bill of Attainder” which is very expressly and categorically prohibited in the US Constitution Article I Section 9.
It is a fundamental and blatant violation of customary international law, in particular the 1923 Hague Convention. No you cannot bomb civilians. No you cannot bomb mosques and hospitals. No you cannot bomb people away from the battlefield.
Granted these prohibitions were blatantly ignored in the latter phases of WWII by all major participants. Nonetheless the principals in the German V-2 rocket program were tried for war crimes in the Dora trial of 1947. But they were acquitted of all charges and found refuge in the US, where their work became the basis of the US space and missile programs.
It is murder. It is lying. It is covert and unaccountable. It is a grim violation of international law and simple human decency. It is clearly unconstitutional.
Come on Congress and President Obama. Think about this. How hard can it be to see what is right?
Copyright © 2013 Henry Edward Hardy
On Junior High
I went to Roxboro Junior High in Cleveland Heights, Ohio from 1971 to 1974.
The first two years were the most interesting. Viet Nam was reaching it’s genocidal conclusion and the east side of Cleveland was a hotbed of radicalism. Cleveland had I think the fourth-largest SDS chapter at one time. Twenty six thousand people? That’s the membership number I remember. Never actually had any documentary evidence of it tho’ just word of mouth.
There had already been down-and-out fighting between some in the city’s black community of Hough and the police and 1600 National Guardsmen in the summer of 1966 (June 18-23, 1966). These were characterized as riots by the press and government but had some revolutionary characteristics. A Grand Jury investigation later found that , “The jury finds that the outbreak of lawlessness and disorder was both organized, precipitated and exploited by a relatively small group of trained and disciplined professionals at the business. They were aided and abetted, willingly or otherwise, by misguided people of all ages and colors, many of whom are avowed believers in violence and extremism, and some of whom are either members or officers of the Communist Party.”
There had been major tension in 1968 after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr, culminating in the “Glenville shootout” of July 23-28, 1968 in which seven people were killed (officially), including three police officers, and (officially) 15 were wounded.
On September 20, 1969, there was a demonstration at the Davis Cup tennis finals about a half mile from my house in which about 300 SDS’ers, including Bernadine Dohrn, were beaten and thrown in garbage trucks (the kind for fallen tree branches) They had marched around chanting, “Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Minh, Ho Chi Minh is going to win”. Mental facepalm once again. Nixon was supposed to come and they repaved all the roads from the airport right to the Clark courts (which was oddly on the Junior High grounds). But Nixon didn’t show. Officially 20 were arrested. I saw the whole thing from inside the stadium. News coverage, despite presence of the international media? None.
Later there were some bombings, popularly (and probably wrongly) attributed by the press to the Weatherman faction of SDS, in which things like one of Rodin’s “Thinker” (March 24, 1970) and the Shaker Heights police station (February 1, 1970) were blown up.
And then there was Kent State about 40 miles from us, where on May 4, 1970, Ohio national guardsmen shot and killed four unarmed students, wounding at least nine others. This led to a student strike by an estimated four million people.
Events are somewhat jumbled in my mind but I remember a lot of chaos (and fun) in that time. The school was essentially ruled by the AV club. They had keys to everything kept on a big keyring hidden in a false bottom of a “safe locker” (and spare sets). They held “trials” of students accused of stealing things without authorization or misusing access to the keys. Or losing them.
A key amnesty was used to turn in the worst malefactors and tighten up on key security. Some people also ran a pirate TV station, 1/4 watt, broadcasting Star Trek in black and white up to 5 hours a day on school days.
The AV crew also spent an inordinate amount of time figuring out how to write “Page Bites” in the most improbable places, including in invisible ink on a white sweater which became visible after drying poor Mrs. Page’s sweater.
Kids who were thought to be wimpy got a rough time. Beaten with wet towels, clothes stolen, locked in wet used towel box. I let several of these go. In those days nobody wanted to fight me as I was heavyweight intramural wrestling champion of my grade in 7th and 8th grade. Well I did get punched in the mouth in the library, which aggravated me and prompted me to tell them they should leave now. lol. “No fighting in the library”.
The worst malefactors were kept somewhat under control by quite rough treatment when we played “Bloodball” or rugby football. Some, who stole AV equipment or keys or who repeatedly tear-gassed Ms. Barber’s science class, were strongly encouraged to mend their ways after being subjected to drumhead student courts.
I guess I would consider myself to be a liberal then. I refused to boycott school, and said we should Occupy instead. I did not participate in any of the big fights, like when about 200 people put the beatdown on some gangsters who had come looking for one of our brothers. Mr N_____ who was a former Marine Corps Sergeant, saved them from being beaten unconscious or worse. Or when the Nazi’s were invited to speak to the 9th grade Humanistic Curriculum program and ended up leaving abruptly pursued by a student version of the basic Frankenstein’s monster chasing mob. With baseball bats, knives and a machete in place of pitchforks and torches.
There were frequent bombings in the school, ranging from strings of firecrackers, to M-80′s, to toilet bombs, homemade incendiaries, and finally the bombing of the administration offices, which left them a burnt out shell and did more than a quarter million dollars worth of damage. All other kinds of monkeywrenching and Anarchist Cookbook stuff was done. Such as the old wrap a wet sponge with rubber bands tightly, let it dry hard, take off bands and flush it down the toilet. I didn’t do that I found it annoying as well as not in accord with my nonviolent principles, even moreso annoying when the toilets were actually exploded.
The Paris Peace Accords of Jan 27, 1973, changed the revolutionary ardor of the students completely. We had won the right to make a Student Union, but after the war “ended” only one person (and me) ever showed up to another meeting and it fell apart. The war of course was not over for the Vietnamese. What changed was US American student’s older brothers were no longer being drafted and coming home insane or in a box.
I was more inspired by the Yippie’s pranksterism. I remember in the Humanistic Curriculum getting the teachers to agree that we should study bipedalism by going around on quasi all fours like apes one day and the traditional school teachers and administrators being quite disconcerted as we ran around on all fours eating bananas and pant-hooting at them. The Yippies continued to be a presence up through the end of high school in 1977. But basically the antiwar movement, which pretended to such high ideals, was dead, its leaders dead, imprisoned, underground, or exiled and the self-interest in avoiding the draft gone as a major motivating factor. That year after 9th grade they re-keyed the entire school at a cost of 60 thousand dollars and brought in security guards/police to “monitor” the halls.
Then came high school where the real fun began.
Copyright © 2012 Henry Edward Hardy
I’ve been watching the coverage of Barak Obama’s Innauguration. I took notes as the pundits tonight on CBS said,
5:52 PM listening to the pundits on TV “a golden day for Barak Obama”
“Millions came to Washington… I’m glad I got to see it”
5:53 PM “The people were speaking to us and it would be prudent to listen to them”
5:54 PM “Washington can be a very corrupting place, I hope this signals a new era of honesty and authenticity”
Bob Schieffer said he had seen 12 Inaugurations and never seen one like this, “this was something special”.
Even the stolid Francis X. Clines of the New York Times was taken by the levity of the crowd:
‘Is there a problem in the nation? Hear ordinary Americans chant: “O-ba-ma!” One tedious, serpentine line outside the Mall, its restlessness surfacing, suddenly was prodded into happiness when teenagers broke into song: “We’re off to see Obama — the wonderful president of ours!”
Later in the article the ever-serious Cline’s joy starts to show through:
‘The Obama speech patterns became a separate source of celebration, the way John F. Kennedy imitators used to do “vi-gah” salutes. After the speech, a man happily walking a bridge back to Virginia as the best way home suddenly tried an Obama riff on his friends. “We must walk the bridge built by our ancestors! We will find it long and hard! And we will confront Exit 10 C — wherever it leads!” His friends laughed and shared the pleasure of having heard firsthand President Obama in his opening hour.’
But what brought tears to my eyes:
Actress Cicely Tyson, asked her reaction, bursting out with the words of the 118th Psalm: “This is the day which the LORD hath made: and we *will* rejoice and be glad in it.”
Communist folk singer Pete Seeger, 89 years old, belting out the words of “This Land is Your Land” on the steps of the Lincoln memorial with five hundred thousand people on the Mall singing along in such spontaneous, profound joy.
Pete Seeger Bruce Springsteen Obama Inauguration [Google Video]
Guardian Editorial, 20 January 2009: This week, the 89-year-old Seeger stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial singing Guthrie’s This Land is Your Land with Springsteen at the pre-inauguration concert. Seeger’s judgment on politics and music has not always been right, but he is a man of his times and he has been the troubadour of the American left for more than half a century. His return to the spotlight is another sign that things are changing for the better in America this week. In praise of … Pete Seeger
Rick Warren: “We know that today, Dr. King and a great cloud of witnesses are shouting up in heaven.”
cf. Hebrews 12:1 (KJV): “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset [us], and let us run with patience the race that is set before us…”
Aretha Franklin, whose fabulous hat looked like she was wearing a grey, diamond-studded clipper ship, testifying to all our hopes and dreams with her breathless rendition of “My Country ‘Tis of Thee”.
“From every mountainside
Let Freedom Ring!”
Copyright © 2009 Henry Edward Hardy