Member since: Thu Sep 25, 2008, 03:38 PM
Number of posts: 1,586
Number of posts: 1,586
Recently, Chris Hedges wrote a piece extolling Edward Snowden's moral courage and, in that piece, he mentions others who have exhibited what he considers to be moral courage. It is interesting to see what Hugh Thompson stated (in his own words) about how he was treated after his act of moral courage. There are parallels to how he was treated and how Edward Snowden has been treated:
Edward Snowden’s Moral Courage
Last Thursday Chris Hedges opened a team debate at the Oxford Union at Oxford University with this speech arguing in favor of the proposition “This house would call Edward Snowden a hero.” The others on the Hedges team, which won the debate by an audience vote of 212 to 171, were William E. Binney, a former National Security Agency official and a whistle-blower; Chris Huhne, a former member of the British Parliament; and Annie Machon, a former intelligence officer for the United Kingdom. The opposing team was made up of Philip J. Crowley, a former U.S. State Department officer; Stewart A. Baker, a former chief counsel for the National Security Agency; Jeffrey Toobin, an American television and print commentator; and Oxford student Charles Vaughn.
I have been to war. I have seen physical courage. But this kind of courage is not moral courage. Very few of even the bravest warriors have moral courage. For moral courage means to defy the crowd, to stand up as a solitary individual, to shun the intoxicating embrace of comradeship, to be disobedient to authority, even at the risk of your life, for a higher principle. And with moral courage comes persecution.
The American Army pilot Hugh Thompson had moral courage. He landed his helicopter between a platoon of U.S. soldiers and 10 terrified Vietnamese civilians during the My Lai massacre. He ordered his gunner to fire his M60 machine gun on the advancing U.S. soldiers if they began to shoot the villagers. And for this act of moral courage, Thompson, like Snowden, was hounded and reviled. Moral courage always looks like this. It is always defined by the state as treason—the Army attempted to cover up the massacre and court-martial Thompson. It is the courage to act and to speak the truth. Thompson had it. Daniel Ellsberg had it. Martin Luther King had it. What those in authority once said about them they say today about Snowden.
Here is page 27 of the abridged transcript of the Fall 2003 William C. Strutt Ethics lecture, given to the community of the US Naval Academy:
You said you felt a lot of negative peer pressure. While you were
acting that day, did you feel any sense of regret?
"No, I never felt any sense of regret. When I confronted the
lieutenant and trained the weapons on him, I do remember
thinking that you’re going to spend the rest of your life at
Leavenworth, and to me, I guess it was worth it, because I went
ahead and did it. It wasn’t something I planned to do. It was
something I had to do. Believe me, I had tried to help. I tried
talking. You know, I tried everything. I felt like a damn animal
in a cage, being pressed further in the corner. It was time
something had to be done.
After it broke in the United States, I was not a good guy. I was
sure not being invited to Annapolis or West Point or any other
university that I’ve been to since, because I was a traitor. I was a
communist. I was a sympathizer. I was neither one of those, I
didn’t think. I was very confused about why I was being treated
this way, because how wrong can it be helping a fellow human?
And I’m no pacifist either. You know, I’m not one of these
peacenik guys. So I was just very confused, and that went on for
about 30 years.
I became invisible. When it first broke, people thought
everybody was picking on Lieutenant Calley. Believe me,
Lieutenant Calley was very guilty. There is no way to get around
it. But we, being Americans, we cheer for the underdog, so that’s
what people were thinking. They thought the establishment was
picking on this little guy. The turmoil the United States was in
during this time was quite significant. We had demonstrations on
every campus in the United States except about three I can think
of, and I guarantee they were right outside your gate, because we
had been there too long. We were
nothing but a bunch of baby killers, you know, and it was just a
bad time for America. And Congress came after me real hard. A
very senior congressman made a public statement that if anybody
goes to jail in this My Lai stuff, it will be the helicopter pilot
That kind of treatment certainly seems familiar.
Posted by xocet | Wed Feb 26, 2014, 04:44 PM (10 replies)
The Dead Kennedys certainly had a lot to say:
I Am The Owl
I am your plumber / No I never went away / I still bug your bedrooms / And pick up everything you say / It can be a boring job / To monitor all day your excess talk / I hear when you’re drinking / And cheating on your lonely wife / I play tape recordings / Of you to my friends at night /
Posted by xocet | Mon Feb 24, 2014, 08:02 PM (1 replies)
If one identifies oneself with the Nazi's in the course of a discussion, does this act render one's own further statements irrelevant by some corollary of Godwin's Law? If so, Boehner self-godwins his own political analysis at 3:21 in the video:
Speaker Boehner: "...some of them I have to be the Gestapo...."
Posted by xocet | Sun Jan 26, 2014, 04:34 PM (2 replies)
Pepper-sprayed Occupy Portland protester Liz Nichols gets $7,116 payment demand from city
By Aimee Green, The Oregonian
That’s the message Portland is sending Elizabeth Evon Nichols -- to the tune of $7,116.
Nichols is the Occupy Portland protester whose image became widely known for being blasted in the face with pepper spray by a Portland police officer in fall 2011. She sued the city for excessive force but lost after a four-day trial in August in U.S. District Court in Portland.
She had sought $30,000, noting the excruciating pain of pepper spray in her eyes and throat -- and the ensuing nightmares, depression and worsening eczema.
Posted by xocet | Thu Jan 23, 2014, 09:34 PM (9 replies)
Liberal Deputy Julie Bishop 'jeopardising' security over passport claim
Michael Harvey, Herald Sun, May 26, 2010 12:00AM
JULIE Bishop should be cut loose by Tony Abbott after accusations she jeopardised national security in claims Aussie intelligence agencies used forged passports, the Government says.
Foreign Minister Stephen Smith today demanded Abbott disavow his deputy.
“She has broken a long-standing convention, she has put our national security at risk,'' Mr Smith told ABC Radio.
Ms Bishop has been accused of jeopardising national security with her claim that Australian intelligence agencies have used forged passports.
...calls out the kettle:
Julie Bishop lashes Snowden on US visit
Summary: Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has lashed out at Edward Snowden, accusing the US intelligence leaker of 'unprecedented treachery' after he unveiled Canberra's efforts to spy on Indonesia.
By AAP | January 23, 2014 -- 00:48 GMT (16:48 PST)
On a visit to Washington, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop praised cooperation with Washington and reserved harsh words for National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden, whose revelations led Indonesia to halt work with Australia to stem people smuggling, a key priority for new conservative Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
Shortly before a meeting with US Vice President Joe Biden, Bishop said that Snowden "continues to shamefully betray his nation while skulking in Russia".
"This represents unprecedented treachery; he is no hero," she added, in a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies on Wednesday.
One should remember that this situation is not about Snowden, it is about the NSA's overreach and the general and possibly continuing acceptance (to at least some extent) of said overreach by all three branches of the US government.
Posted by xocet | Thu Jan 23, 2014, 02:48 PM (0 replies)
Transcript of President Obama’s Jan. 17 speech on NSA reforms
Published: January 17
President Obama delivered the following remarks on changes to National Security Agency programs Jan. 17 at the Justice Department in Washington. Transcript courtesy of Federal News Service.
And yet, in our rush to respond to a very real and novel set of threats, the risk of government overreach, the possibility that we lose some of our core liberties in pursuit of security also became more pronounced. We saw in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 our government engage in enhanced interrogation techniques that contradicted our values. As a senator, I was critical of several practices, such as warrantless wiretaps. And all too often new authorities were instituted without adequate public debate.
I suppose that both waterboarding and warrantless wiretaps start with W - nevertheless, that was both quite a leap and quite a smooth transition.
It was torture that was practiced: it was not merely the euphemistically labeled "enhanced interrogation techniques." "Not looking backwards" is not a sufficient replacement for prosecuting the officials who were involved with committing the crime of torture.
Here is a report from Human Rights Watch (http://www.hrw.org/home) which is quite clear on the issue of torture:
Here is a report from The Constitution Project (http://www.constitutionproject.org/) that addresses torture:
Here is the leaked report from the International Red Cross that addresses detainee treatment:
Neither torture nor condoning torture should be allowed to be American values. To that end, Bush et al should be prosecuted.
Posted by xocet | Sat Jan 18, 2014, 06:13 PM (6 replies)
This is an old article, but it does clearly point out how then-prominent US conservatives regarded both apartheid and Nelson Mandela:
Tuesday, Aug 1, 2000 03:00 AM CDT
Dick Cheney is relying on our cultural amnesia to wipe away his record on South Africa.
“Whitewashing” is the only word to describe the weak explanations offered by Dick Cheney about his votes on South Africa during the apartheid era. Ever since the peaceful advent of democracy in Pretoria, politicians like Cheney who habitually coddled the old racist regime have escaped accountability for their actions. And he is still relying on our customary national amnesia to wave away the questions raised by his vice presidential nomination.
For American conservatives who misused their influence to defend apartheid, the controversy over Cheney’s congressional voting record actually presents an opportunity to own up to their terrible mistakes. Unfortunately, however, Cheney and his supporters have prevaricated and obfuscated rather than admitting forthrightly that they were on the wrong side. This disingenuous response is a poor start for a man who boasts that he and George W. Bush will restore straight talk and integrity to the White House.
Contrary to his sentimentalized recollection of that period, some people were indeed in favor of keeping Mandela behind bars and keeping South African blacks in bondage. The roster of infamy begins with Ronald Reagan, who upon becoming president in 1981 immediately reversed the Carter administration’s policy of pressuring the Afrikaner minority toward democracy and human rights. In an early interview with CBS newsman Walter Cronkite, Reagan called South Africa a “friendly nation” whose reliable anticommunism and wealth of strategic minerals justified stronger ties between Washington and Pretoria.
Overtly and covertly, the Reagan administration moved to strengthen the apartheid regime. Jeanne Kirkpatrick, then the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, fought every attempt to impose sanctions. The late William Casey, as director of the Central Intelligence Agency, intensified cooperation with the South African Bureau of State Security and military intelligence agencies. He went so far as to secretly visit Pretoria to confer with the racist murderers who ran those agencies.
Posted by xocet | Sun Dec 8, 2013, 02:30 PM (0 replies)
The iconicity of “peaceful resistance”
by Three Fingered Fox on December 6, 2013
Before it falls down the memory hole, it should be noted that the online US edition of the New York Times marked the sad passing of the great Nelson Mandela with this odd headline: “Nelson Mandela, South African Icon of Peaceful Resistance, Dies”. (They’ve since changed it to “South Africa’s…Moral Center”, which sounds like a place FIFA could have held business ethics conventions during the last World Cup.)
“Icon of Peaceful Resistance” makes it sound like Mandela was an advocate and practitioner of nonviolence. He wasn’t. Apartheid was above all a socioeconomic system of structured viciousness: the whites were not going to give up their advantages without a fight. The struggle against Apartheid was necessarily bloody. The symbolic force of an “icon”, no matter how noble its martyrdom, could not have defeated Apartheid. It had to be defeated at the cost of lives. Mandela always knew this.
Mandela founded and ran Umkhonto we Sizwe, the paramilitary wing of the ANC, which carried out armed resistance and a bombing campaign. The bombings mostly targeted high-profile pieces of property, but were nevertheless responsible for many civilian deaths. Umkhonto we Sizwe also executed collaborators.
History from the site South African History Online (http://www.sahistory.org.za/)
uMkhonto weSizwe (MK)
On 16 December this year, it will have been 50 years since Umkhonto weSizwe (MK) was launched as an armed wing of the African National Congress (ANC).
To mark this anniversary, SAHO will be updating this feature, specifically, the organisation’s history in exile; focusing on its activities in numerous countries in Southern Africa. Countries that will be covered in this series include Angola, Lesotho, Swaziland, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Tanzania.
The presence of MK in countries like Angola and Lesotho has been covered in some detail in the past, so it was easy to start off this series of histories with these 2 countries. Our challenge is now to develope material on those exile histories that have not been covered in detail. If you have any information that you feel should be added to this feature, from names of unsung heroes to information about certain campaigns and camps.
It is interesting what is forgotten.
US embarrassment at terror list inclusion
Saturday, December 07, 2013
In 2008, just before his 90th birthday, the United States gave Nelson Mandela a special present, striking him from a decades-old terror watch list and ending what US officials called “a rather embarrassing matter”.
In the 1980s however, late Democratic US senator Ted Kennedy drafted legislation with senator Lowell Weicker that would eventually become one of the global catalysts leading to the collapse of the apartheid system.
President Ronald Reagan sought to bury their 1986 anti-apartheid bill aiming to impose economic sanctions on South Africa, by imposing his veto, saying he believed it would only lead to more violence and repression for black South Africans.
But for the first and only time that century, Congress rebelled and overrode Reagan’s veto on a foreign policy issue, passing legislation that slapped sanctions on Pretoria, snapped direct air links and cut vital aid.
Here is the US government record of the US Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986 and some of its legislative history:
Latest Title: Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986
Sponsor: Rep Gray, William H., III (introduced 5/21/1986) Cosponsors (106)
Related Bills: H.RES.478, H.RES.548, H.R.997, H.R.1098, S.2701
Latest Major Action: 10/2/1986 Became Public Law No: 99-440.
5/21/1986 Introduced in House
6/11/1986 House Committee on Banking, Finance and Urban Affairs Discharged by Unanimous Consent.
6/13/1986 Reported to House (Amended) by House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Report No: 99-638 (Part I).
6/16/1986 Reported to House (Amended) by House Committee on Ways and Means. Report No: 99-638 (Part II).
6/18/1986 Passed/agreed to in House: Passed House (Amended) by Voice Vote.
8/15/1986 Passed/agreed to in Senate: Passed Senate in lieu of S. 2701 with an amendment by Yea-Nay Vote. 84-14. Record Vote No: 252.
9/12/1986 Resolving differences -- House actions: House Agreed to Senate Amendments by Yea-Nay Vote: 308 - 77 (Record Vote No: 381).
9/12/1986 Cleared for White House.
9/15/1986 Presented to President.
9/26/1986 Vetoed by President.
9/29/1986 Passed House over veto: Passed House Over Veto by Yea-Nay Vote: 313 - 83 (Record Vote No: 425).
10/2/1986 Passed Senate over veto: Passed Senate over veto by Yea-Nay Vote. 78-21. Record Vote No: 311.
10/2/1986 Became Public Law No: 99-440.
Note: Public Law enacted over veto.
Posted by xocet | Sat Dec 7, 2013, 03:55 PM (0 replies)
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX): "(time index 36:20)... Because if we don't, we will slip down the slide of history into the dustbin of history, and people will only be able to look back and say what an amazing country that once was. I'm here in Congress because I believe we have the chance to salvage this great country and get back our international leadership we once had and stand for freedom of religion in the world and in America, but God help us if we don't. Mr. Speaker, I yield back."
Rep. Louie Gohmert is a shining example of American exceptionalism.
Posted by xocet | Fri Dec 6, 2013, 04:26 PM (6 replies)