"Ain't Gonna Study War No More"

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Location: Brooklyn, New York, United States

Right-To-Life Party, Christian, Anti-War, Pro-Life, Bible Fundamentalist, Egalitarian, Libertarian Left

Sunday, March 27, 2011

J.S. Bach: Mass in B minor "Agnus Dei" - Andreas Scholl

Ensemble Musica Nova, Codex Chantilly, Alma Polis Religio

At her attacker’s sentencing, 12-year-old victim looks on

N.H. judge gives defendant life in prison with no chance of parole

Jaimie Cates and her father, David Cates, sat in Hillsborough County Superior Court after the sentencing of Christopher Gribble, in Nashua, N.H. Gribble, who admitted he took part in a machete and knife attack on Jamie and her mother, was convicted of murder. (Don Himsel/AP) Jaimie Cates and her father, David Cates, sat in Hillsborough County Superior Court after the sentencing of Christopher Gribble, in Nashua, N.H. Gribble, who admitted he took part in a machete and knife attack on Jamie and her mother, was convicted of murder.

NASHUA — Twelve-year-old Jaimie Cates slipped silently into the courtroom yesterday to witness the sentencing of the man who murdered her mother and tried to kill her almost two years ago.

Cates, who was stabbed 18 times and lost part of her foot during the attack, watched quietly as a judge told Christopher Gribble that he would spend the rest of his life in prison. Superior Court Judge Gillian Abramson then turned to Jaimie, who sat next to her father, David Cates.

“I hope you know that this man and the other men involved in this terrible crime can never hurt you again,’’ Abramson said. “I hope you understand that, and I wish you better days.’’

The verdict and the girl’s surprising appearance capped the last trial in the murder and burglary case that shook Mont Vernon, a town of about 2,400 where Jaimie and her mother, Kimberly Cates, were brutally attacked in their isolated home.

“It will never go back to what it was before,’’ Mont Vernon Police Chief Kyle Aspinwall said after the verdict. “The sense of safety and security the community had has been irreparably damaged.’’

Kimberly Cates, 42, was stabbed 32 times by Gribble and his friend, Steven Spader, who wielded a machete. But it was Gribble who, with a small knife, worked to inflict the most damaging wounds, aiming for Kimberly Cates’s vital organs, then turning on the girl.

Jaimie Cates was on the witness list for both trials but did not want to testify, said Jeff Strelzin, senior assistant attorney general. She did not appear at Spader’s trial and has been shielded from the intense media attention surrounding both trials.

But it was important for her to see the sentencing of the last man tried for her mother’s murder, Strelzin said.

“She wanted to see the defendant taken away,’’ he said.

Spader, 19, and Gribble, 21, were the only men tried for the crimes. In November, Spader was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison plus 76 years. Quinn Glover and William Marks, who were part of the home invasion, each testified for the prosecution during Spader’s trial in exchange for lesser charges.

Glover will be sentenced on April 4. That same day, Marks is expected to plead guilty to several charges, including conspiracy to commit murder.

Gribble was given the same sentence as Spader: life in prison for Kimberly Cates’s murder, 26 years for other charges such as conspiracy to commit murder and burglary, and 50 years to life for the attempted murder of Jaimie Cates. The 50 years amount to “one year for every wound they inflicted on her and her mother,’’ Strelzin said.

Jaimie Cates walked into the Hillsborough County Superior courtroom with no visible limp. She smiled softly at the judge, her long, dark hair framing her face and partially hiding a scar on her cheek, one of the many she has from the attack.

Gribble showed little emotion when the foreman read the verdict after less than two hours of deliberation by the jury.

His lawyers had tried to argue that he was insane, a victim of various mental disorders that became too much for him to control. But prosecutors said that defense was another manipulation by a cunning, remorseless sociopath who knew exactly what he was doing when he helped plan the invasion, then tried to mislead police and hide evidence.

Jaimie entered the courtroom after her father read an emotional statement. David Cates was away on business during the home invasion, but he said both trials have forced him to experience the pain of that night.

“I’ve listened to the accounts of Kim’s murder one excruciating detail after the next, feeling in my body every strike of that machete and every stab of that knife,’’ Cates said.

“I’ve listened to my wife’s last breath. I have listened to my child’s screams. I have watched as Jaimie’s perfect little body was mutilated and tortured.’’

He said he and his daughter will move on, but it will be hard.

“Instead of Jaimie indulging in the joy of picking out her prom dress or stepping in her graduation gown or planning her wedding, my daughter will ache because her mom, her best friend, the most important woman in her life isn’t there beside her,’’ he said.

Jaimie, a seventh-grader, plays several sports, including field hockey, and is as athletic as her mother, who was a runner, Strelzin said.

“She’s not going to let this define her life,’’ said Jennifer Hunt, a victim advocate who has worked with the Cates family.

Last week, she baked the prosecutors chocolate-chip cookies.

“She was concerned about us and how hard we were working,’’ Strelzin said.

The prosecutors kept one cookie and wrapped it in a napkin. They placed it on the prosecution’s table, where it stayed for the duration of the trial, for good luck.

By Maria Cramer


Exiled Honduran president wins court ruling for return

A SUPREME court judge has dismissed three arrest warrants against the former Honduran president, Manuel Zelaya, allowing him to return to the country where he was deposed in a coup d'etat.

Justice Oscar Chinchilla's ruling did not dismiss corruption charges against Zelaya, 58, who was whisked to Costa Rica in his pyjamas by the military in June 2009 after he ignored court orders to drop a referendum on changing the constitution.

Zelaya's lawyer Anahim Orrellana said that, although his client could return and remain free, he is not happy with the ruling because it let stand charges which Zelaya claims are politically motivated.

"We want the charges to be dropped," Orrellana said. He has three days to consider lodging an appeal.

Zelaya, who was in Guatemala for a meeting of the Central American Parliament, an organisation of former presidents, could not be reached for comment about the court ruling.

But last week he said he still couldn't return to Honduras because of "remnants of the coup and because I have legal issues to resolve".

The warrants were originally issued a month after Zelaya was deposed.

The former president faced seven charges, including abuse of power and treason, five of which were dropped when Congress in January 2010 passed an amnesty covering certain acts leading up to the coup.

The remaining charges involve fraud and falsifying documents to withdraw some $3 million in cash.

His defence argued that Zelaya should not be prosecuted because his right to due process was violated when he was physically removed from office and from the country.

Zelaya sneaked back into Honduras in September 2009, only to be holed up for the rest of the year in the Brazilian Embassy, where Honduran authorities cut the power and water supply for a time and soldiers waited to arrest him.

Current president, Porfirio "Pepe" Lobo, 63, won a previously scheduled presidential election later in 2009.

He then allowed Zelaya to leave the country on taking office in January 2010, when Zelaya's term expired.

Even without the coup, Zelaya could not have run for re-election.

Zelaya, who does not recognise Lobo's government, has vowed to return to Honduras this year.

Lobo also has said he wants a legal solution that would allow Zelaya to return.

By Freddy Cuevas


Bartók - String Quartet No. 4 - Mov. 5/5

My Blueberry Nights - Cat Power - The Greatest

Another Evil Little War

Kosovo Repeated

Twelve years ago, Bill Clinton launched an evil little war in the Balkans, attacking what was then Yugoslavia because he could. The best indicator of that were the ever-changing pretexts for the war, from imposing a "peace" ultimatum and "protecting refugees" (created by the bombing) to stopping a (fictitious) "genocide." Four years later, when Bush the Lesser invaded Iraq, his pretexts were less humanitarian, but no less fictitious. The pattern was obvious even then. Today, the Nobel Peace Prize stands worthless as the Empire engages in yet another evil little war, this time in North Africa. Imperial policy has come full circle, with Barack Obama managing to combine the Clinton restoration with the Bush continuity.

Shifting the Goalposts

Following the 1999 war, which ended with the NATO occupation of the Serbian province of Kosovo, the Empire hired an "independent commission" to whitewash the endeavor as "illegal but legitimate." In actuality, it was both illegal and illegitimate. The war clearly violated the UN Charter, the NATO charter and the U.S. Constitution. Empire’s principal claim to the war’s legitimacy — alleged Serb atrocities against Albanian rebels — was exposed as exaggerated propaganda relatively quickly. Adding insult to injury was the wholesale campaign of ethnic cleansing by the Albanians, which started the moment NATO troops arrived in the province and went on for years with absolute impunity.

Even today, however, criticism of the Kosovo War takes on a "yes, but" form, in which the principal points of NATO propaganda — Serb atrocities, the alleged ethnic cleansing plan, 10,000 dead Albanian civilians, etc. — are taken as unimpeachable facts rather than tailor-made fiction. All that remains of the argument against the war then is that it was "too expensive" and "took too long." So, if the Empire promises and delivers a faster and cheaper war, that would make it all right?

Except there is no such thing, of course. Supposedly limited engagements have a way of turning into full-scale wars, simply because once the forces are deployed, it becomes more about prestige than anything else. Just watch for when generals and politicians start talking about "credibility" being at stake.

Arguing that Empire’s bloody adventures were unsuccessful doesn’t do any good, either. The Empire simply moves the goalposts to define success as it sees fit. Once it becomes clear there were no WMDs in Iraq, the war becomes about "regime change." Kosovo morphs from "destroying the Serbian military" to "bringing democracy to Serbia" to "giving Albanians independence." Libya started out as a no-fly zone to "protect civilians," almost immediately becoming close air support for the rebels, and is rapidly turning into a "regime change" operation.

With Friends Like These

Empire loves "regime change." Tell the people that X, ruling over country Y — which few can find on the map, and fewer still have any knowledge of — is an evil dictator, Hitler of our time, killing his own people who want nothing but peace and democracy (i.e. to be like Americans), and the war is on. Needless to say, X is usually someone who refuses to conform to Empire’s view of the world, divided into servants and victims.

No one stops to think that killing the people of Y to "liberate" them from being killed by X defies all logic. Besides, when the Empire kills that is "liberation." When others do it, it’s an atrocity, war crime, even genocide. And since it is a sacred mission of the U.S. to stop genocides, they somehow keep occurring all over the planet, at convenient times.

The other part of the equation is the group being "helped." In Iraq, the Empire ended up killing hundreds of thousands of people while a few exiles who helped bring the war about pocketed a fistful of dollars. In Kosovo, it was the KLA, a network of organized crime cartels who waged a war of terrorism against the police and civilians and lost — only to be bailed out by NATO at the last moment. Under NATO protection, they have engaged not just in ethnic cleansing, murder and mayhem, but also grisly practices such as harvesting organs from captives.

When bombs failed to effect "regime change" in Serbia, the Empire resorted to subterfuge. Intelligence services and the National Endowment for Democracy trained, paid and supported a legion of cheerleaders to develop a template for "popular revolution," used in many other places since. Yet these supposed "democrats" and "liberals" have been nothing of the sort, wallowing instead in corruption, tyranny, treason and even casual racism.

Then there are the Libyan rebels, who don’t even have a figurehead leader, and prefer posturing for news cameras to actual fighting. It is almost as if their sole purpose was to create a pretext for Imperial intervention; those who argued against it have since been drowned out by the chorus of bomb-seekers. The Western public is somehow supposed to believe these rebels are all about "diversity" (though they very clearly are not). Also, the U.S. intelligence agencies swear that the rebels have no terrorist ties. Just as they swore that Saddam Hussein did. For that matter, one of the "diverse" rebels profiled recently by the Washington Post had fought the U.S. in Iraq, his brother was a suicide bomber who killed U.S. Marines, and another brother is an al-Qaeda leader in Afghanistan. But Abu Sultan declares his undying devotion to the ideals of liberal democracy — so that’s all right, then.

Deeply Immoral, Period

Another way interventionists typically rebuff their critics is by labeling them "isolationists" or "pacifists," or even accusing them of "supporting X" (whoever X is at the time). If they respond by denying support for X, they only help bolster the Empire’s claims that X is an "evildoer" and must be stopped.

The dichotomy between pacifism — renouncing all violence, including self-defense — and interventionism, which redefines "defense" as invading anyone, anywhere, is clearly a false one. Libertarians have consistently opposed Imperial interventions, and the Empire itself, because of their belief in not initiating force. One major failing of the statist morality is that it applies a different standard to certain actions, depending on whether they are committed by private individuals or by the government. Both libertarians and statists would agree that blowing up someone’s house to "help" with a domestic dispute is immoral and insane. And it certainly doesn’t amount to supporting either side in the dispute, either. Yet only libertarians argue that this ought to apply to "humanitarian" bombings as well.

As for "isolationism," if that means taking the advice of the Founders that America ought not "go abroad in search of monsters to destroy," then so be it.

Aggressive wars, against conjured monsters halfway across the world, are clearly unconstitutional and ought to be profoundly un-American. Then again, the Empire shredded the Constitution years ago. Perhaps the best way to stop the current evil little war, and prevent more, is to rectify that particular tragedy first.

By Nebojsa Malic


81 Reasons Why Gaza has the right to Self Defense

Seventy-nine of them can be found in United Nations Security Council Resolutions “directly critical of Israel for violations of U.N. Security Council resolutions, the U.N. Charter, the Geneva Conventions, international terrorism, or other violations of international law.” (1)

Number 80 can be found in the Goldstone Report (2), the recommendations of which have yet to implemented some 18 months after its submission to the Human Rights Council, and Paragraph 1912 of which stresses “all States parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 12 August 1949 have in addition the obligation, while respecting the United Nations Charter and international law, to ensure compliance by Israel with international humanitarian law as embodied in that Convention."

Has that happened? Clearly not. (3)

The most compelling reason number 81, can be found in the United Nations Charter, Article 52 which states: “Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security.” (4)

There would also be a Reason 82, but for the United States power of veto exercised in the Security Council in February 2011. (5)

If the international community has abandoned its responsibilities towards Palestinians, and particularly towards Gaza, as the above examples over the last 63 years plus this map of Palestinian territories so graphically illustrate, what else is left to Gaza but self-defense?

Click for bigversion

Israel and its chorUS disingenuously cite Israel’s right of “self-defense” to justify not only Israel’s disproportionate military response to Gaza - and Palestinians’ - genuine right to self-defense, but also to attempt to disguise Israel’s blatant land-theft from existing citizens.

Contrast the “newcomers” in Israel, for example, to many of those who in recent years have arrived in Australia. The latter have been considered illegal immigrants and incarcerated in off-shore islands or desert detention camps –the subtle distinction being that (i) those latterly arriving in Australia sought refuge from repressive regimes whereas the Israeli immigrants came from European and North American democracies…(enough said, perhaps) and (ii) unlike Australia’s (and New Zealand’s) immigrants, who now accept the existing population’s rights to their existing property, culture and citizenship, Israel’s immigrants bulldoze and destroy the homes of existing residents to build their own in their place, not only rendering thousands homeless but also destroying historic, economic and culturally-important sites such as religious buildings, olive groves, farms, and cemeteries – and now legislating that they also be of the jewish religion in order to have citizenship.

Is not our perception of the wrongness of such actions why New Zealanders, for instance, just spent thirty years redressing such wrongs in their own country, through the Waitangi Tribunal? Is not our perception of the wrongness of such discrimination why we all fought to end similar structural apartheid in South Africa?

In the past week, Israel has killed at least 10 people and seriously wounded scores more in in Gaza in sustained military attacks with sophisticated weaponry targeted at civilians, a week in which so-called ‘rocket’ attacks from Gaza (into traditional Palestinian territory) have not caused any Israeli deaths, or physical injury. Yet Israel on Wednesday threatened “After barrage of rocket and mortar fire, Vice Premier Shalom says Israel may have to consider wide operation in Gaza; Minister Limor Livnat: Operation Cast Lead 2 may be in order.” (6)

After a cosy telephone chat to US President Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu on Thursday said from Moscow that “Israel’s reaction to rocket attacks will be measured” (7) – but by what, is the question...caesium, perhaps?

US Secretary of Defense Robert now waits in Israel for Netanyahu’s return, discussing with his Israeli counterpart Barak how to ensure Israel maintains its ‘qualitative military edge’ in ‘a period like now when Israeli-US security relations were so strong.’ (8)

Obama in South America while his troops hammer Libya, insisting that the US role will be minor, Netanyahu in Moscow proclaiming the same for Gaza…this arms’ length war-mongering to give an appearance of moderation makes me very suspicious – to paraphrase Shakespeare, “Methinks they doth protest too much.”

A quick glance at the map reveals US, British and EU troops in the midst of massive military operations in oil-rich Libya from the west, Israel launching sustained military attacks against a potentially-unified Gaza/Palestine from the east and north – and slap bang in the middle, a very desirable waterway in the middle of a country which recently overthrew its USrael-friendly president, but which has yet to establish a categorically different regime…and whose military rulers have not opened the Rafah Crossing into Gaza, but today reiterated their prior commitment “ to Egypt's international treaties in an early message to reassure Jerusalem and the United States,” according to the Jerusalem Post’s reporting of Thursday’s meeting in Cairo between Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Elaraby, and Rafi Barak, a senior Israeli Foreign Ministry official.

Yes, on any reading of the situation, Gaza certainly does have good cause for concern about their security and territorial integrity.

In the face of continuing military attacks against civilian targets and the absence of any meaningful and/or enforceable UN Security Council Resolution to protect them, and of any meaningful assistance from the international community in preventing Israel's ongoing use of force, they have every legitimate reason to resort to self-defense, under Article 52 of the UN Charter.

References (1) http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2010/01/27/rogue-state-israeli-violations-of-u-n-security-council-resolutions/

(2) http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/docs/12session/A-HRC-12-48.pdf

(3) Amnesty International UK et al (2008) The Gaza Strip: A Humanitarian Implosion http://www.oxfam.org.uk/resources/policy/conflict_disasters/downloads/gaza_implosion.pdf, and Amnesty International UK et al (2010) Dashed Hopes: Continuation of the Gaza Siege http://www.oxfam.org.uk/resources/policy/conflict_disasters/downloads/dashed-hopes-continuation-gaza-siege-301110-en.pdf Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (2010) The illegal closure of the Gaza Strip: Collective Punishment of the civilian population http://www.pchrgaza.org/files/2010/Illegal%20Closur.pdf UNICEF, UNRWA and Minister of Education and Higher Education (2010) Palestinian children deprived of basic rights to education http://www.unicef.org/media/media_56025.html ; UNDP (2010) One Year After GAZA Early Recovery and Reconstruction Needs Assessment http://unispal.un.org/pdfs/GazaRecovery0510.pdf; OCHA (2010) Farming without Land, Fishing without Water: Gaza Agriculture Sector Struggles to Survive http://www.ochaopt.org/documents/gaza_agriculture_25_05_2010_fact_sheet_english.pdf

(4) Charter of the United Nations Chapter V11 Article 52 http://www.un.org/en/documents/charter/chapter7.shtml

(5) http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=37572&Cr=palestin&Cr1

(6) http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/netanyahu-israel-will-continue-to-operate-against-terrorists-in-gaza-1.351331

(7) http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/netanyahu-israel-s-reaction-to-rocket-attacks-will-be-measured-1.351658

(8) http://www.jpost.com/DiplomacyAndPolitics/Article.aspx?id=213706

By Julie Webb-Pullman