• Friday, January 24, 2020

Shackles and Chains: America Leads the World Again

Discussion in 'World Affairs' started by SinoIndusFriendship, Aug 6, 2009.

  1. SinoIndusFriendship

    SinoIndusFriendship BANNED

    Messages:
    2,387
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2009
    Ratings:
    +0 / 1,573 / -0
    Shackles and Chains: America Leads the World Again :rofl::usflag::rofl:

    Written by Chris Floyd
    Tuesday, 04 August 2009 21:01

    We have often talked here about the American gulag -- not the far-flung prisons and "intense interrogation" chambers of the global militarist empire, where tens of thousands of captives languish, often without the slightest pretense of even a modicum of rights or legal process -- but the countless human holding pens that glut the highways and byways of the sacred Homeland itself, where not thousands but literally millions of people are incarcerated in a brutal system of retribution, abuse and moral atrocity: a system increasingly geared to corporate profit; a seedbed and training ground for gangs and extremists; a breaker and stigmatizer of generation after generation of Americans.

    Yes, once again, the latest annual rankings of the world's prison population are in, and, once again, 2008 found the good old US of A the winners by a country mile. No other nation in the world comes close to imprisoning more of its own people -- not in terms of raw numbers or by proportion of the population.

    As the Economist reports, the United States now has some 2,300,000 of its citizens behind bars -- or a whopping 756 out of every 100,000 people. China is the closest in sheer numbers, with 1,600,000 people locked up; but that's in a population more than four times larger than the United States, and in a state that is unashamedly authoritarian, as opposed to the incessantly self-proclaimed "land of the free." The closest competitor in proportion of caged citizens is Russia, with 629 per 100,000, and a hefty 800,000+ behind bars.

    After these three "great powers," the numbers drop off considerably. No one can even make half a million, not even teeming Brazil or even-more teeming India, which incarcerates a mere 33 out of every 100,000 of its people. Iran -- which as we know is the center of all demonic Islamofascist terrorist barbarian evil in the whole wide world -- doesn't even have 200,000 of its people locked up.

    It goes without saying that effete hellholes like France or Spain or Germany or Sweden or Canada don't even make the Economist's list of the Top 14. Nor does any nation in Africa -- with the exception of South Africa, with its long, proud lineage of colonial jurisprudence. (Even so, the South Africans are pikers compared to the Great Powers -- although they are ahead of Iran.) Nor does Burma, North Korea, Sudan -- or any Arab country -- make the list.

    It is truly astonishing that any nation that dares call itself "civilized" would have such a sweeping, punitive prison system. But this is just one of many shocking facts that no longer trouble the American conscience, which has been both deliberately and incidentally deadened by decades of empire, aggression, brutality and lies. It is also the mark of a deeply racist culture that has sought -- again both deliberately and unconsciously -- to punish, repress and break vast swathes of its own population: namely, its African-American citizens, the descendants of the people the nation once enslaved. (Can it be any accident that the first black president of the United States is not only half-white, but is also not descended from American slaves? He is not really, you see, one of them: those dark Others who have lived among us for so long as repositories for the white folks' guilt and fears.)

    The viral growth of the American punishment system is, of course, a hardy perennial for the very, very few people who give even the slightest damn about it. As I said, I've written about it for several years, as the new annual stats issue forth. Last year, Arthur Silber trained his considerable firepower on the subject, when a study revealed that not only were one in every 100 American adults now behind bars, but one out of every nine black males between the ages of 20 and 34 are now incarcerated. Silber noted the fact that "a high proportion of prisoners are non-violent drug offenders," and went on to say:

    You see, in the liberty-loving United States of America, your body does not belong to you. Surrender your delusion that you are an autonomous being, free to choose what to ingest for sustenance or entertainment. It is of no moment that you do not violate anyone else's rights. What matters is that you recognize your body belongs to the state. If you fail to follow the state's edicts as to how you must treat your body, off to prison you will go. All of this is trebly true if you are such a miserable being as to have failed to be born into the privileged class -- that is to say, if you are not affluent, white and male. (With regard to distinct but related issues, women obviously are also such miserable beings.)

    We must note one further fact of immense significance. As I discussed in several essays from a few years ago, the prison system in the United States represents nothing less than the institutionalization of brutality and torture on a vast scale. (See "'They Don't Represent America'? Not Quite, Mr. President," "The Real Scandal," and the other essays listed here under the heading, "About Prison Abuse and Torture in the U.S., and in Iraq.") That system embodies the depravity and degradation of extreme cruelty to a degree that is close to ungraspable, and it corrupts everyone who works in it, as it corrupts our nation. When is the last time you heard the horrors of the U.S. prison system -- including not only the non-crimes for which hundreds of thousands are incarcerated, but the cruelties that are inflicted on them when they are unjustly imprisoned -- debated seriously and at length by our major politicians, including the leading candidates for president? That's right: you can't remember, because it doesn't happen.


    You should read the whole piece, and the links to the abovementioned essays, which you will find in the original post.

    Earlier this year we ran a long, detailed piece on how the private profits of an elite, politically connected few are helping drive the continued explosion in the American prison population. The piece centered on the long-running garden-variety corruption and backroom grease of one Lamar Alexander -- the feckless frat boy and Bush family factotum who now disgraces the state of Tennessee as its "senior U.S. senator." This article was apparently eaten in the latest hack job on this blog, but you can find it at one of our affiliated sites, Pacific Free Press: Prisons, Profits, and the Banality of Evil.

    Lamar was instrumental in the founding of the private prison industry, with his lucrative presence as the creation of the Corrections Corporation of America. But here I want to focus on some of the general background info from that earlier essay, taken from an analysis of America's private prisons by Global Research:

    Private prisons are the biggest business in the prison industry complex. About 18 corporations guard 10,000 prisoners in 27 states. The two largest are Correctional Corporation of America (CCA) and Wackenhut, which together control 75%. Private prisons receive a guaranteed amount of money for each prisoner, independent of what it costs to maintain each one. According to Russell Boraas, a private prison administrator in Virginia, "the secret to low operating costs is having a minimal number of guards for the maximum number of prisoners." The CCA has an ultra-modern prison in Lawrenceville, Virginia, where five guards on dayshift and two at night watch over 750 prisoners. In these prisons, inmates may get their sentences reduced for "good behavior," but for any infraction, they get 30 days added - which means more profits for CCA. According to a study of New Mexico prisons, it was found that CCA inmates lost "good behavior time" at a rate eight times higher than those in state prisons....

    Who is investing? At least 37 states have legalized the contracting of prison labor by private corporations that mount their operations inside state prisons. The list of such companies contains the cream of U.S. corporate society: IBM, Boeing, Motorola, Microsoft, AT&T, Wireless, Texas Instrument, Dell, Compaq, Honeywell, Hewlett-Packard, Nortel, Lucent Technologies, 3Com, Intel, Northern Telecom, TWA, Nordstrom's, Revlon, Macy's, Pierre Cardin, Target Stores, and many more. All of these businesses are excited about the economic boom generation by prison labor. Just between 1980 and 1994, profits went up from $392 million to $1.31 billion. Inmates in state penitentiaries generally receive the minimum wage for their work, but not all; in Colorado, they get about $2 per hour, well under the minimum. And in privately-run prisons, they receive as little as 17 cents per hour for a maximum of six hours a day, the equivalent of $20 per month. The highest-paying private prison is CCA in Tennessee, where prisoners receive 50 cents per hour for what they call "highly skilled positions."

    ....Thanks to prison labor, the United States is once again an attractive location for investment in work that was designed for Third World labor markets. A company that operated a maquiladora (assembly plant in Mexico near the border) closed down its operations there and relocated to San Quentin State Prison in California. In Texas, a factory fired its 150 workers and contracted the services of prisoner-workers from the private Lockhart Texas prison, where circuit boards are assembled for companies like IBM and Compaq...[Former] Oregon State Representative Kevin Mannix recently urged Nike to cut its production in Indonesia and bring it to his state, telling the shoe manufacturer that "there won't be any transportation costs; we're offering you competitive prison labor (here)."


    As I said, I have been writing, sporadically, on this national shame for many years. I'll close with an excerpt from a piece I wrote back in 2006:

    [Although the prison population has risen dramatically during the Bush administration] Bush is merely standing on the shoulders of giants – such as, say, Bill Clinton, who once created 50 brand-new federal offenses in a single draconian measure, and expanded the federal death penalty to 60 new offenses during his term. In fact, like the great cathedrals of old, the building of Fortress America has been the work of decades, with an entire society yoked to the common task. At each step, the promulgation of ever-more draconian punishments for ever-lesser offenses, and the criminalization of ever-broader swathes of ordinary human behavior, have been greeted with hosannahs from a public and press who seem to be insatiable gluttons for punishment – someone else's punishment, that is, and preferably someone of dusky hue...The main engine of this mass incarceration has been the 35-year "war on drugs": a spurious battle against an abstract noun that provides an endless fount of profits, payoffs and power for the politically connected while only worsening the problem it purports to address – just like the "war on terror." The "war on drugs" has in fact been the most effective assault on an underclass since Stalin's campaign against the kulaks... It was launched by Richard Nixon, after urban unrest had shaken major American cities during those famous "long, hot summers" of the Sixties. Yet even as the crackdowns began, America's inner cities were being flooded with heroin, much of it originating in Southeast Asia, where the CIA and its hired warlords ran well-funded black ops in and around Vietnam. At home, criminal gangs reaped staggering riches from the criminalization of the natural, if often unhealthy, human craving for intoxication. Ronald Reagan upped the ante in the 1980s, with a rash of "mandatory sentencing" laws that can put even first-time, small-time offenders away for years. His term also saw a new flood -- crack cocaine – devastating the inner cities, even as his covert operators used drug money to fund the terrorist Contra army in Nicaragua and run illegal weapons to Iran, while the downtown druglords grew more powerful. The American underclass was caught in a classic pincer movement, attacked by both the state and the gangs. There were no more "long, hot summers" of protest against injustice; there was simply the struggle to survive... Under Reagan, Bush I and Clinton, the feverish privatization of the prison system added a new impetus for wholesale, long-term detention. Politically-wired corporations need to keep those profit-making cells filled, and the politicians they grease are happy to oblige with "tougher" sentences and new crimes to prosecute.

    ...A nation's true values can be measured in how it treats the poor, the weak, the damaged, the unconnected. For more than 30 years, the answer of the American power structure has been clear: you lock them up, you shut them up, you grind them down – and make big bucks in the process.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  2. gambit

    gambit PROFESSIONAL

    Messages:
    24,694
    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2009
    Ratings:
    +142 / 22,417 / -8
    Country:
    United States
    Location:
    United States
    Yeah...Life is so terrible in the US that Americans are leaving in droves to 'land of the free' Cuba or North Korea.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  3. SinoIndusFriendship

    SinoIndusFriendship BANNED

    Messages:
    2,387
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2009
    Ratings:
    +0 / 1,573 / -0
    And it gets worse: Not only are Blacks in America racially profiled and targeted, we now have another group that is being oppressed and incarcerated at alarming rates (even more than Africans) ---- and they are Latinos.

    Latinos, Blacks, and Arabs (and muslim/arab looking, such as Pakistanis & Hindus) are THE largest racial profiling groups - bar none!
     
  4. SinoIndusFriendship

    SinoIndusFriendship BANNED

    Messages:
    2,387
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2009
    Ratings:
    +0 / 1,573 / -0
    QUOTE:

    Silber noted the fact that "a high proportion of prisoners are non-violent drug offenders," and went on to say:

    You see, in the liberty-loving United States of America, your body does not belong to you. Surrender your delusion that you are an autonomous being, free to choose what to ingest for sustenance or entertainment. It is of no moment that you do not violate anyone else's rights. What matters is that you recognize your body belongs to the state. If you fail to follow the state's edicts as to how you must treat your body, off to prison you will go. All of this is trebly true if you are such a miserable being as to have failed to be born into the privileged class -- that is to say, if you are not affluent, white and male. (With regard to distinct but related issues, women obviously are also such miserable beings.)

    We must note one further fact of immense significance. As I discussed in several essays from a few years ago, the prison system in the United States represents nothing less than the institutionalization of brutality and torture on a vast scale. (See "'They Don't Represent America'? Not Quite, Mr. President," "The Real Scandal," and the other essays listed here under the heading, "About Prison Abuse and Torture in the U.S., and in Iraq.") That system embodies the depravity and degradation of extreme cruelty to a degree that is close to ungraspable, and it corrupts everyone who works in it, as it corrupts our nation. When is the last time you heard the horrors of the U.S. prison system -- including not only the non-crimes for which hundreds of thousands are incarcerated, but the cruelties that are inflicted on them when they are unjustly imprisoned -- debated seriously and at length by our major politicians, including the leading candidates for president? That's right: you can't remember, because it doesn't happen.
     
  5. gambit

    gambit PROFESSIONAL

    Messages:
    24,694
    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2009
    Ratings:
    +142 / 22,417 / -8
    Country:
    United States
    Location:
    United States
    So what we have here is a drug addict who simply rant nonsensical because he is not allowed to ingest illegal hallucinogenic substances.

    8f7f8f5c1360b2a92758c308aa56e7b1.jpg

    Piss Christ - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Tell me...Where would you rather live, in a land where you are free to blaspheme religions and politicians, or in a land where the authority will leave you to mob justice for blasphemy?

    If we give aspiring immigrants to the US a choice of prison, either for insulting Christianity or for taking illegal drugs, which do you think these people would swear not to violate?

    It is the nature of the laws that make US better than your China or Cuba or North Korea or Saudi Arabia or Iran. You read that right -- BETTER. Am willing to bet you are embarrassed that the average Chinese have far less human rights accorded to him that the only thing you can do is to seek out silly rants by disgruntled drug addicts about how terrible life is in the US in a feeble attempt to rehabilitate China's image.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 7
  6. gpit

    gpit SENIOR MEMBER

    Messages:
    3,953
    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2007
    Ratings:
    +0 / 3,055 / -0
    It is a fact that US tops any country in the world in numbers of murderers, felonies and other criminals.

    Trying to use human rights abuse in China to justify human rights abuse in USA is hallucinatory and insane behavior!
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 2
  7. S-2

    S-2 PROFESSIONAL

    Messages:
    4,210
    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2007
    Ratings:
    +0 / 2,509 / -0
    "It is a fact that US tops any country in the world in numbers of murderers, felonies and other criminals."

    Not because you'd like to believe so but because it's true?

    Provide the link, please, that we may compare the rated nations and those not included.

    Gotta admit, though, you guys are probably the runaway leaders in murder by beheading.:lol:
     
  8. gambit

    gambit PROFESSIONAL

    Messages:
    24,694
    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2009
    Ratings:
    +142 / 22,417 / -8
    Country:
    United States
    Location:
    United States
    It is a fact that common criminalities do not qualify as state sanctioned human rights abuses, like the kind in China.
     
  9. gpit

    gpit SENIOR MEMBER

    Messages:
    3,953
    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2007
    Ratings:
    +0 / 3,055 / -0
    d7b596432ccb88acba0972386fad4e1f.png

    The United States has the highest documented incarceration rate,[3][4] and total documented prison population in the world.[3][5][6] As of year-end 2007, a record 7.2 million people were behind bars, on probation or on parole. Of the total, 2.3 million were incarcerated.[7] More than 1 in 100 American adults were incarcerated at the start of 2008. The People's Republic of China ranks second with 1.5 million, while having four times the population, thus having only about 18% of the US incarceration rate.[8][9]

    Incarceration in the United States - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 2
  10. gpit

    gpit SENIOR MEMBER

    Messages:
    3,953
    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2007
    Ratings:
    +0 / 3,055 / -0
    Conscientious Objector Faces Court-Martial: The Case of Augustín Aguayo

    by Prof. Marjorie Cohn

    On March 6, the court-martial will begin in Germany for Army Specialist Augustín Aguayo, who faces up to seven years in prison for refusing to deploy to Iraq for a second tour of duty. His petition for habeas corpus was denied by a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals on February 16. Judges Sentelle and Randolph were the same jurists who recently upheld the provision of the Military Commissions Act that strips habeas corpus rights from Guantánamo detainees.

    ...

    In his statement to the Court of Appeals, Aguayo wrote: "In my last deployment, I witnessed how soldiers dehumanize the Iraqi people with words and actions. I saw countless innocent lives which were shortened due to the war. I still struggle with the senselessness of it all – Iraqi civilians losing their lives because they drove too close to a convoy or a check point, soldiers' being shot by mistake by their own buddies, misunderstandings (due to the language barrier) leading to death. This is not acceptable to me. It makes no sense that to better the lives of these civilians they must first endure great human loss. This, too, is clear and convincing evidence to me that all war is evil and harmful."

    "I also oppose war," Aguayo added, "because I have seen first-hand the direct result of deployments to war zones. As a result of Operation Iraqi Freedom II, I have seen many veterans whose lives have been shattered. Many men came back with missing parts, and countless physical and emotional scars, such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I have personally seen my comrades come back to commit suicide, drink themselves to death, and develop a strong addiction to drugs. It is obvious to me that these men’s lives were destroyed by war. What participation in war does to our own soldiers is another reason why war is fundamentally immoral and wrong."

    Aguayo received positive recommendations from the chaplain and Capt. Sean Foster, who held Aguayo's conscientious objector hearing in Tikrit , Iraq . They both found Aguayo's beliefs to be sincere and recommended he be granted conscientious objector status.

    But the Court of Appeals sided with four officers who recommended Aguayo's petition be denied. None of the four interviewed Aguayo. The appellate court mentioned that Aguayo was agnostic and cited a report that said Aguayo lacks a "religious foundation" to be a conscientious objector.

    Aguayo, who was born in Mexico , is a naturalized U.S. citizen. On February 23, the Mexican legislature condemned the military proceedings pending against Aguayo. Senator Silvano Aureoles called Aguayo "a prisoner of conscience and one more victim of president George W. Bush's militaristic eagerness."

    ...

    Conscientious Objector Faces Court-Martial: The Case of Augustín Aguayo

    ========

    Let me add one more line: US prisoners also include Conscientious Objectors.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  11. gpit

    gpit SENIOR MEMBER

    Messages:
    3,953
    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2007
    Ratings:
    +0 / 3,055 / -0
    Camilo Mejia, 1st GI to Publicly Resist Iraq War, Appeals Bad Conduct Discharge

    Camilo Mejia is the first GI who served in Iraq to have publicly resisted the war. He was imprisoned for refusing to return. Today, he is appealing his bad conduct discharge from the military. We speak to Mejia along with his attorney, Anjana Samant of the Center for Constitutional Rights. [includes rush transcript]
    --------------

    AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to turn now to Camilo Mejia. I think he knows exactly how Victor feels right now. Camilo is the first GI who served in Iraq to have publicly resisted the war and was imprisoned for refusing to go back for almost a year. Camilo Mejia is the chair of Iraq Veterans Against the War. He has written a memoir called The Road from Ar Ramadi: The Private Rebellion of Camilo Mejia.

    Today Camilo joins us from Washington, DC, on his first day of the Veterans for Peace conference in College Park, Maryland.

    We’re also joined here in our firehouse studio by Camilo’s attorney, Anjana Samant from the Center for Constitutional Rights. She is filing an appeal today regarding Camilo Mejia’s bad conduct discharge from the military.

    We welcome you both to Democracy Now! Camilo, I know you just flew in to Washington. What is it exactly that you are asking for today in this appeal? And your thoughts as you listen to Victor? It sounds like you were in a similar position a while ago.

    CAMILO MEJIA: Yes, Amy. We find ourselves in the same situation as, you know, 2003 and 2004, when I took my stands, having returned from Iraq. And that’s basically—you know, I mean, you had Jeremy speak about the situation in Iraq and how we continue to use mercenary forces there and how we continue to act with absolute impunity. And I think that, you know, when you have the commission of war crimes and torture and other war atrocities, and you prosecute people who blow the whistle on that, you’re actually encouraging that behavior to continue to happen. And I feel that it’s necessary not only for GIs to continue to take stands in the way that Victor is doing today, but also for people to continue to support war resisters and to continue to fight, you know, our battles, in the courtroom as well as, you know, in the battlefields and the military bases.

    AMY GOODMAN: Anjana, can you explain what it is you’re filing in court today and where you’re filing it?

    ANJANA SAMANT: Absolutely. We’re filing an appeal with the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces. The court-martial, which took place in 2004, was the first trial level of the process. After the panel members, which is the jury in a court-martial, convicted Camilo, there was an intermediary appeal that was filed. That court affirmed the conviction and the sentence.

    At this point, we’re going to be asking the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, which is a five panel judge court—five panel judges—in Washington, DC, to review the actual trial and certain rulings by the judge for error. And specifically, the issues that we’re concerned about is the fact that the military judge did not permit Camilo to launch a full defense, based on his argument that in light of the orders that he was given, in light of the conduct that he was asked to commit, the actions that he was required to do with respect to Iraqi detainees and as part of carrying out his combat duties, those actions violated international law. Those actions violated international law as embodied in Army Field Manual 27-10. And this is one of the strongest defenses we felt that Camilo had, which is that when he left his unit, when he refused to redeploy, he did so because, based on his firsthand inexperience, based on his knowledge of what he would be asked to do when he goes back, would violate international law.

    AMY GOODMAN: Camilo, for viewers and listeners who are not familiar with your case, go back in time. Explain the time you served in Iraq and what happened when you returned.

    CAMILO MEJIA: Yes, Amy. This was in the very beginning. We arrived in—well, actually, we arrived in the Middle East, and in the beginning of March, we first served two months in Jordan. And then we went to Iraq at the end of April of 2003.

    And the first mission we had there was to run a POW camp in a place called Al Assad. And at this place, our job was basically to, quote-unquote, “soften up” prisoners for interrogation. And the way that we did that was by utilizing certain psychological torture techniques to keep them sleep-deprived for periods of up to four days, and we did that by performing mock executions and using explosion-like sounds to scare the prisoners and just inflicting fear in their hearts in order to keep them awake.

    AMY GOODMAN: You did this, Camilo?

    CAMILO MEJIA: We did some of that; we didn’t do all of it, not because we objected to it enough to refuse, but because we didn’t have the equipment. For instance, we didn’t have the nine-millimeter pistols to perform the mock executions. But we did use the sound, and we did use the sleep deprivation and lie deprivation. We deprived them of a sense of space. And we were trained on how to do certain things in order to basically break their notions of just every—just about every psychological notion, in order to break down their morale and, you know, through exhaustion, you know, get them to do whatever it was we wanted them to do.

    AMY GOODMAN: When did you decide this wasn’t the right thing to be doing?

    CAMILO MEJIA: When I came home. This mission was followed by more intense combat missions. I was an infantry squad leader, a staff sergeant in Iraq. So we, unlike Victor, you know, we were out there, you know, doing missions, raiding homes, and doing things like that. And the environment was so intense that it was really difficult to take stances, you know, morally or philosophically, because you were just really concerned with survival.

    But once I came home and, you know, had a little bit more time to think about everything that happened and also, you know, carrying my political opposition from before deployment, I just realized that I had to make a choice between obeying my commanders or obeying my conscience. And in the end, you know, I decided that I could not in good conscience continue to be a part of the war.

    AMY GOODMAN: So, two things. You offered to testify before Congress about what you saw in Iraq, and you also went underground?

    CAMILO MEJIA: I did went—I did go underground in the beginning, because I was very afraid of what the military would do to me. And at that time, the antiwar movement was deactivated largely, I think. We were all very demoralized by the fact that over ten million people took the streets, and yet we invaded. So there wasn’t really a whole lot of support in the beginning, other than my family’s support and a few organizations that were coming together. I had moral and intellectual clarity on what path I should follow, but I was very afraid of what the Army would do to me. So it took me five months to go public, and once I did, you know, I felt really empowered to do so. And I have no regrets about it.

    I’m sorry, I forgot the second part of your question.

    AMY GOODMAN: You offered to testify before Congress?

    CAMILO MEJIA: Yes, part of my case was that we tried to bring my conscientious objector claim into the evidence. And part of that was actually a detailed account of what we did in Al Assad in terms of torture of prisoners. And we offered Senator Clinton, at the time, the evidence and my testimony before Congress, and, you know, they declined. They said that, no, that they would wait for the military to conduct their own investigation.

    AMY GOODMAN: And how long did you serve, and where did you serve time in jail, in the brig?

    CAMILO MEJIA: I was given a twelve-month sentence, but I only did nine months, or just eight months and about a little bit over three weeks in Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

    AMY GOODMAN: Camilo, you’re now the chair of the board of Veterans for Peace. It’s having its annual convention at University of Maryland, College Park?

    CAMILO MEJIA: The chair of the board of Iraq Veterans Against the War.

    AMY GOODMAN: Iraq Veterans Against the War, sorry. The numbers of soldiers who are resisting right now—can you put your experience, Victor’s experience, in context? What are the numbers? Thousands of people?

    CAMILO MEJIA: Tens of thousands of people. It’s difficult to put a real number to it, because you don’t really know what happens to them. You don’t know if they go back to the military and then get, you know, re-sent to Iraq or Afghanistan, or if they get administratively discharged. Obviously, it doesn’t look good for the military to discharge, you know, forty or fifty thousand conscientious objectors or send forty to fifty thousand people to jail. So it’s really hard to, you know, put a hard number on it.

    But to put this in context, you know, when I first came back from Iraq, there were only twenty-two cases of desertion from the war effort, and that number had risen to 500 by the time I surrendered myself five months later, and to 5,500 by the time I got out of jail some ten months later or eleven months later. And now it’s in the tens of thousands. So resistance has grown a great deal; it’s just not being reported.

    AMY GOODMAN: And your message—the same question I asked Victor—to US soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan and here at home on bases all over or even soldiers who are AWOL right now?

    CAMILO MEJIA: The same that Victor just said, you know, that I cannot—I could not agree more with Victor that following one’s conscience is, you know, the greatest thing that you could do, is the greatest way to assert your freedom as a human being. And if you follow your path, whatever that path is, you can’t—you just can’t go wrong.

    For Victor, that meant, you know, taking a stance at Fort Hood and say no and not applying for conscientious objection. For me, it took a little bit more time. It took me five months to come to terms with my fear and take a public stance. And my route was conscientious objection, because I do object to all wars. But whatever the case may be, I think that once you follow your conscience, you assert your freedom in a way that you can’t by following orders that you disagree with.

    AMY GOODMAN: And are you surprised you’re doing this during this new administration? I mean, you were punished under the Bush administration. Victor is doing this under President Obama.

    CAMILO MEJIA: I’m not surprised at all. I think that Victor said it, you know, before, that Obama said that he was going to increase our presence in Afghanistan, but also because the promise of hope, at least in my opinion, has been very—has been quite superficial. For GIs, the situation has not really changed, in terms of the care that we are receiving, in terms of the repeated deployments, you know, the lack of time in between deployments, all of these things. It’s a little bit harder to fool GIs into believing in real change, when the reality does not change for us. So, for us, there’s not been a real promise of change. And I agree with Victor. I could not agree more with him that if we want real change to happen, it has to be effected from the bottom up.

    AMY GOODMAN: Camilo Mejia, I want to thank you for being with us. Anjana Samant, thank you, from the Center for Constitutional Rights. The case will be filed—the appeal—today in court here in New York. Camilo Mejia, going off to the University of Maryland, College Park campus for the annual meeting of Iraq Veterans Against the War. He’s chair of the board. His book is called The Road from Ar Ramadi: The Private Rebellion of Camilo Mejia. Our break will be the music of Camilo’s father, Mejia Godoy, known as the musician of the Sandinista revolution.

    Camilo Mejia, 1st GI to Publicly Resist Iraq War, Appeals Bad Conduct Discharge
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  12. gpit

    gpit SENIOR MEMBER

    Messages:
    3,953
    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2007
    Ratings:
    +0 / 3,055 / -0

    I want to see any fact-denial clowns to deny once more the facts!

    US jail could be fattened by another tens of thousands of Conscientious Objectors.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2009
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  13. S-2

    S-2 PROFESSIONAL

    Messages:
    4,210
    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2007
    Ratings:
    +0 / 2,509 / -0
    "I want to see any fact-denial clowns to deny once more the facts!"

    Your numbers look good to me. I think Kings College was reporting a slightly higher number for Russia but America looks about correct.

    What explains this, do you believe?
     
  14. Spitfighter

    Spitfighter SENIOR MEMBER

    Messages:
    1,443
    Joined:
    May 30, 2009
    Ratings:
    +0 / 900 / -0
    Country:
    India
    Location:
    United States

    ^^ Efficient law enforcement.

    There's bound to be some degree of prejudice or misconduct, but by and large the cops here are extremely professional.
     
  15. S-2

    S-2 PROFESSIONAL

    Messages:
    4,210
    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2007
    Ratings:
    +0 / 2,509 / -0
    You seem to believe I'm a "fact-denying clown" for requesting a link to your data. Hardly. I'm appreciative.:)

    I'm still eager to read your thoughts on our incarceration rate.

    "US jail could be fattened by another tens of thousands of Conscientious Objectors."

    Let's not get carried away with ourselves, please.:D It's still an all-volunteer army in a war that most here feel is a justified fight. You'd need a draft and an entirely different social climate to even approach your outlandish contention.

    ...and just when you were developing a grain of credibility...:disagree: