Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Coalitions support HIV World Bank whistleblower

by James Murtagh

The World Bank announced this month that it will significantly reform standards, and that it will further investigate disclosures involving the distribution of defective HIV/AIDS test kits, mass purchased as part of a health care project in India. Dr. Kunal Saha first informed the Bank's Department of Institutional Integrity (INT) that HIV kits distributed by the World back were defective.

Dr. Saha explained the World Bank corruption in a session of the International Association of Whistleblowers (IAW) May 16, 2008. He had gathered evidence that defective kits were purchased with World Bank funds and supplied by the Indian government to hospitals and blood banks across the country. The kits, distributed by Monozyme, Ltd., gave 'false negative' results: HIV-contaminated blood was not reliably detected by these kits and could therefore be accepted for use in transfusions.

The National AIDS Control Organization of India (NACO), which works with the Bank, stated to the Indian press:

"The documents cited by Dr. Saha have been reviewed by Dr. Robert Martin, associate Director, Coordinating Centre for Health and Information Services, Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, USA who is also of the view that there is no evidence of use of poor quality HIV test kits in India and his allegations have no basis."

This story did not hold up, and the World bank had to reverse itself:

"Dr. Saha's report should have raised red flags about a potential public health emergency in India," said Bea Edwards, International Program Director at The Government Accountability Project (GAP). "Rather than acting immediately to arrest the potential spread of HIV through the World Bank project, however, the Bank instead sought to use the CDC to conceal the fraud."

Despite the public release of the INT report in January, the World Bank's Kostermans told the Washington Post just last week that the HIV test kits were not faulty. At the same time the Bank issued a statement saying: "We take these indicators of fraud and corruption extremely seriously. Working with the Indian authorities, we will take action against those found responsible…" The Bank and the Indian Government, which for the past year have strenuously fought to conceal the fraud and the public health danger from the press, patients and the public, are now supervising the investigation into the corruption they tried to conceal and are assuming responsibility for disciplining those who are culpable.

"This pledge is not credible" said Edwards. "The Bank always seems to take corruption 'extremely seriously' when one of its projects is challenged. Unfortunately, it does not follow through and take action."

Edwards attacked the Bank-CDC relationship: "Now that all the information is in and we can see the whole picture, it appears that the World Bank used the CDC in a health project cover-up. How is it possible that the World Bank can so easily manipulate a flagship public health agency of the U.S. government to smear a medical expert and suppress news of a public health emergency?"

"The need for accurate testing for HIV is critical, especially today," stated health activist Dr. James Murtagh. "There are even pseudo-scientists attempting to convince the public that HIV does not cause AIDs! To release defective HIV kits only plays into the denial, and causes public health to lose credibility in the eyes of the public. We need true integrity, especially at the World Bank. That is why what Dr. Saha has done is so important, and deserves widespread support."

Dr. Saha's whistleblowing, together with the help of groups like the Government Accountabilty Project, are the best possible way to bring urgently needed reforms to the World Bank.

Murtagh is a doctor of pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine.- Murtagh's career combines both writing and science.- Dr. James Murtagh is a co-founder of the International Association of Whistleblowers (IAW), and of Washington Whistleblower Week.
~ Source: OpEd News ~

Special Counsel has hands full with FAA

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel is probing 32 separate disclosures made this year by employees at the Federal Aviation Administration that challenge the agency, suggesting the FAA's problems may run far deeper than it has acknowledged. The investigations include new allegations from Douglas Peters and Charalambe "Bobby" Boutris, the two FAA employees who revealed that agency managers last year allowed Southwest Airlines to fly planes that were overdue for mandatory safety inspections.

A spokesman for the Special Counsel discussed the number of investigations, which is far greater than previous reports indicated, following a presentation where Messrs. Peters and Boutris received public-service awards. Neither the two inspectors nor the Special Counsel -- an independent office that protects government whistleblowers from retaliation -- would discuss details of the new allegations.

James Mitchell, a spokesman for U.S. Special Counsel Scott Bloch, said his office received 33 disclosures of FAA wrongdoing from 2004 to 2007. After the high-profile validation of Messrs. Peters and Boutris this spring, a new wave of people has come forward raising questions about the FAA, nearly doubling the number of agency investigations under way.

"This is our premier problem right now," Mr. Mitchell said.

Some of the others challenging FAA practices are air-traffic controllers who say they faced retaliation for pointing out safety problems. Peter Nesbitt, a controller in Tennessee, says he suddenly was hit with negative performance reviews after speaking out against a controversial landing procedure in Memphis, Tenn., that was leading to near misses.

Melissa Ott, a controller in Ohio, says she continues to face what she calls an unwarranted internal security investigation since she spoke with the media about how a trainee's error in March led to a close call between two airplanes above Pittsburgh.

~ more... ~


Sabotage of the open mouth

An intermediate form of sabotage is that known as sabotage a' bouche ouverte (sabotage of the open mouth). It consists in the disclosure of conditions generally withheld from the public, such as conditions in hotel-kitchens and restaurants, methods of weighing and measuring in stores, practices followed by druggists, frauds resorted to by contractors and builders, etc.
Revolutionary Syndicalism, from Syndicalism in France by Louis Levi
~ From: Smygo ~

Bertrand Russell on 'The World As It Could Be Made'

 The reign of violence in human affairs, whether within a country or in its external relations, can only be prevented, if we have not been mistaken, by an authority able to declare all use of force except by itself illegal, and strong enough to be obviously capable of making all other use of force futile, except when it could secure the support of public opinion as a defense of freedom or a resistance to injustice. Such an authority exists within a country: it is the State. But in international affairs it remains to be created. The difficulties are stupendous, but they must be overcome if the world is to be saved from periodical wars, each more destructive than any of its predecessors. Whether, after this war, a League of Nations will be formed, and will be capable of performing this task, it is as yet impossible to foretell. However that may be, some method of preventing wars will have to be established before our Utopia becomes possible. When once men BELIEVE that the world is safe from war, the whole difficulty will be solved: there will then no longer be any serious resistance to the disbanding of national armies and navies, and the substitution for them of a small international force for protection against uncivilized races. And when that stage has been reached, peace will be virtually secure.

Court rejects Exxon appeal in human rights case

Exxon Mobil Corp. has failed to convince the Supreme Court to halt a human rights lawsuit against it.

The justices, without comment, on Monday rejected the energy company's appeal of a ruling on a 2001 lawsuit filed by International Rights Advocates on behalf of 11 villagers in Indonesia's Aceh province.

The suit, which did not seek a specific amount of damages, alleged that members of the Indonesian military committed rampant human rights abuses against the villagers while under Exxon's employ to guard a natural gas facility. The Indonesian government has been accused of brutally repressing separatist efforts in Aceh in the 1990s.

Lawyers for Exxon argued in a federal district court that the case should be dismissed because it involves issues of international relations that should be left to the executive branch.

The district court dismissed parts of the suit that relied on federal law, but allowed state-law claims to proceed. The lower court also dismissed claims against a natural gas firm owned by the Indonesian government.

Exxon sought to immediately appeal the district court's ruling, in order to have the entire suit dismissed, but a federal appeals court turned the company down in January 2007. The company then turned to the high court.

The Bush administration urged the Supreme Court to reject the appeal. Solicitor General Paul Clement wrote in a May brief that the lower court had sufficiently narrowed the case to avoid harm to the nation's foreign policy interests. Clement has since stepped down from his post.

Due to fears for their safety, the Acehnese plaintiffs in the suit against Irving, Texas-based Exxon Mobil are all named as John or Jane Does.

Justice Samuel Alito, who owns Exxon Mobil stock, did not take part in the decision. The case is Exxon Mobil v. John Doe, 07-81.

~ From Yahoo! Financial News ~


Mixed results against people trafficking in South-Eastern Europe

Countries in South-Eastern Europe have achieved varying levels of progress against people trafficking, going by the findings of the United States state department 2008 report to congress on people trafficking.

While some countries, including Croatia and Macedonia, were classified as having achieved "tier 1" status, meaning that they complied fully with minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, others were classed as tier 2, meaning that while they did not comply, progress was being made.

Croatia was described in the report, released on June 8 2008, as a source, transit, and increasingly a destination country, for women and girls trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation.

"Croatian females are trafficked within the country and women and girls from Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and other parts of Eastern Europe are trafficked to and through Croatia for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Croatian men are occasionally trafficked for forced labour. Victims transiting Croatia from Southeastern Europe are trafficked into Western Europe for commercial sexual exploitation," the report said.

The report said that the International Organisation for Migration had reported continued seasonal rotation of international women in prostitution to and from the Dalmatian coast during high tourist seasons, raising concerns about trafficking.

The government of Croatia fully complied with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, the report said. Croatia's government continued to pursue a comprehensive victim-centered approach in response to trafficking in 2007.

Croatia had doubled the number of trafficking convictions, significantly reduced its use of suspended sentences for convicted traffickers, continued its proactive law enforcement training, and initiated new public awareness raising projects during the reporting period.

The report recommended that Croatia seek to toughen sentences imposed on convicted traffickers, and continue efforts to enhance proactive identification of women in prostitution and of migrants who transit the country legally.

Greece, classified in the report as a tier 2 country, was a destination and transit country for women and children trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labour.

"Women are trafficked from Eastern Europe, the Balkans, and Africa for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labour. Source countries over the reporting period include Romania, Bulgaria, Russia, Lithuania, Moldova, Ukraine, Albania, Nigeria, and Sudan. Some Albanian men are trafficked to Greece for forced labour," the report said.

"Most children trafficked from Albania to Greece are subjected to forced labour, including forced begging and petty crimes; some are trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Reportedly, trafficking of Nigerian victims for the purposes of sexual exploitation continued to increase and some victims were forced to marry traffickers or their associates to 'legalise' their status in the country," the report said.

It said that the government of Greece did not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; but was making significant efforts to do so.

"While Greece continued to fund prevention programs in source countries, co-sponsor anti-trafficking training, and provide for domestic shelters in Greece, long-standing recommendations in previous reports concerning victim identification, victim protection, and punishment for traffickers remain unaddressed," the report said.

"Greece has yet to ratify a 2004 child repatriation agreement negotiated with Albania, shelters remain under-utilised, and convicted traffickers are not serving imposed sentences. Inadequate protection of both identified and potential trafficking victims remain serious concerns."

The report recommended that Greece continue collaboration with NGOs in victim identification; ensure better protection for children who are victims of trafficking, including ratification of the agreement with Albania; proactively investigate and prosecute as appropriate reports of law enforcement officials' complicity in trafficking; ensure traffickers serve time in prison, deterring exploitation of additional victims in Greece; ensure witnesses are provided with adequate protection and assistance throughout the investigation; and ensure prosecution of their traffickers.

Macedonia, classified as a tier 1 country, was a source, transit, and destination country for women and children trafficked for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation, the report said.

"Macedonian women and children are trafficked internally, mostly from eastern rural areas to urban bars in western Macedonia. Victims trafficked into Macedonia are primarily from Serbia and Albania. Macedonian victims and victims transiting through Macedonia are trafficked to South Central and Western Europe, including Bosnia, Serbia, Italy, and Sweden."

The Macedonian government fully complied with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and had made marked progress during the past year, the report said.

Macedonia had it improved its capacity to identify and protect victims, resulting in a greatly increased number of victims identified and significantly more victims offered and provided assistance. The government's aggressive prosecution efforts resulted in an increased number of traffickers convicted.

The state department report recommended that Macedonia needed to show "appreciable progress" in victim protection and assistance, including increased funding to the shelters for domestic victims and sustained assistance to NGOs providing victim services; proactively implement the new standard operating procedures on victim identification and the new reflection period for foreign victims; vigorously prosecute traffickers under the improved anti-trafficking legislation and sentencing guidelines, ensuring convicted traffickers receive adequate jail time; continue to vigorously prosecute any trafficking-related corruption; and expand demand reduction awareness efforts to educate clients of the sex trade about trafficking.

In January 2008, the Macedonian government amended its criminal code, adding harsher penalties for those who traffic or attempt to traffic minors and for those who use the services of trafficked victims, to address the full range of trafficking crimes and satisfy the requirements of the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in Persons.

In 2007, the Macedonian government prosecuted 55 cases related to trafficking, and convicted 70 traffickers involved in 30 cases, a significant improvement from 54 convictions in 18 cases the previous year.

Macedonia also refined how its judicial system addresses trafficking as part of an overall restructuring of its judiciary during the reporting period, including the creation of a new central office to coordinate all trafficking prosecutions nationwide and streamlining trafficking cases to a single court.

The government upheld on appeal in May 2007 sentences imposed on two policemen in 2006 for trafficking-related crimes. In March 2008, the government began prosecuting a January 2007 case involving five policemen and a ministry of justice official charged with complicity in smuggling.

The government of Macedonia considerably increased its efforts to identify trafficking victims and identified 249 victims — 152 foreign nationals and 97 Macedonian in 2007 — compared to 17 in 2006, the report said.

[ ... ]

The report classified Turkey was a tier 2 country, saying that it was "a significant destination, and to a lesser extent, transit country for women and children trafficked primarily for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation".

Women and girls were trafficked from Moldova, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Bulgaria, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Romania for sexual exploitation. Some victims are reportedly trafficked through Turkey to the area administered by Turkish Cypriots for the purpose of sexual exploitation.

The government of Turkey had significantly increased its law enforcement response in 2007 by convicting and punishing more traffickers, according to the report.

It further improved interagency and NGO co-operation and continued to institutionalise and implement comprehensive law enforcement training, the report said.

"In addition, the government of Turkey made efforts to address trafficking-related official complicity among law enforcement. However, a lack of secure and consistent government support for Turkey's trafficking shelters frustrated solid improvements in Turkey's anti-trafficking efforts," the report said.

The state department report said that Turkey should ensure consistent and sustained assistance for trafficking victims, including through sustained monetary assistance to shelters in Ankara and Istanbul; expand non-detention facilities for potential victims and other irregular migrants awaiting screening; strive to ensure that all potential victims are identified; address demand reduction and educate the clients of the commercial sex trade and forced labour in trafficking public awareness campaigns; vigorously investigate, prosecute, convict, and punish any official complicity in trafficking; and continue to improve the effectiveness of judicial co-operation with source countries.

~ Source: Sofia Echo ~


Investigation finds widespread abuse at US detention centre in Afghanistan

The eight-month McClatchy investigation found a pattern of abuse that continued for years. The abuse of detainees at Bagram has been reported by US media organisations, in particular the New York Times, which broke several developments in the story.

But the extent of the mistreatment, and that it eclipsed the alleged abuse at Guantánamo, hasn't previously been revealed.

Guards said they routinely beat their prisoners to retaliate for al-Qaida's 9/11 attacks, unaware that the vast majority of the detainees had little or no connection to al-Qaida.

Former detainees at Bagram and Kandahar said they were beaten regularly. Of the 41 former Bagram detainees whom McClatchy interviewed, 28 said that guards or interrogators had assaulted them. Only eight of those men said they were beaten at Guantánamo Bay.

Because President Bush loosened or eliminated the rules governing the treatment of so-called enemy combatants, however, few US troops have been disciplined under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and no serious punishments have been administered, even in the cases of two detainees who died after American guards beat them.

~ more... ~


Pentagon Papers leaker calls Iraq invasion 'supreme war crime'

 Filed by John Byrne

The man who leaked secret documents about the US war in Vietnam has a name for the invasion of Iraq.

"Supreme war crime."

He also has appellations for President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney: "domestic enemies of the Constitution" and "war criminals."

Speaking at a church in San Francisco Saturday, Daniel Ellsberg bemoaned the Administration's war and Iraq and cautioned about the dangers of a future war in Iran, according to a report in the local Golden Gate Express.

Ellsberg leaked a sheaf of documents that would become known as the "Pentagon Papers" in 1971, a secret history of the war in Vietnam in which the Pentagon conceded the war was unlikely to be won. At the time, Ellsberg worked as a Pentagon consultant.

Ellsberg used his talk this weekend to focus on how he feels the Administration has drifted from the constitution, the Express said. He attacked Congress, too, saying its 2002 authorization of force for the war was unconstitutional.

"We have gone far from the Constitution," he said. Staying true to constitutional values are "not synonymous with obeying the president."

Later, he assailed those who've ruled out impeaching Bush and Cheney. Both Democratic leaders in Congress -- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) have said they won't consider impeaching Bush.

"To rule impeachment off the table is very much like ruling the constitution off the table," Ellsberg said.

He also asserted that the Administration's use of torture was illegal under international law -- "not just waterboarding, but the whole slew of inhumane procedures that has gone on for seven years now."

Ellsberg compared the Administration's warrantless eavesdropping program to tactics used by the Nixon Administration after he leaked the Pentagon Papers to the press.

Nixon went so far as to break into his psychiatrist's office, using a dark unit known as the "plumbers."

Ellsberg also praised Lt. Ehren Watada, who refused return to Iraq in 2006 citing moral opposition to the war, and criticized any preemptive attack on Iran.

"Iran has not attacked us, and does not have a nuclear weapon," he said, adding that a pre-emptive attack on Iran would be "nothing but a crime against humanity and a crime against the people."

~ Source: The Raw Story ~


'Reprieve believes that the US has operated as many as 17 floating prisons since 2001'

One sordid revelation pursues another in the gradual unravelling of the Bush administration's "extraordinary rendition" programme. This is, perhaps, because "extraordinary rendition" is a newfangled phrase for an ancient crime - aggravated kidnapping. Hardly surprising, then, that each time something trickles out, the news is always bad.

Yesterday's disclosure - reported on the front page of the Guardian, based on the latest Reprieve report - involves the Bush administration's fleet of "prison hulks". The scheme is not so different from two centuries ago, when Charles Dickens opened Great Expectations on a hulk in the Thames. Then, as now, we transported prisoners around the world to little-known places. The US has injected a modern variation to the practice: even 200 years ago, there was a general insistence that prisoners be charged with and convicted of a crime before they could be condemned to the lower decks of an aging naval ship.

In one sense, the use of ships is wholly predictable, following the Guantánamo pattern: the Bush administration planned its secret prisons to be law-free zones, totally controlled by the US, far away from prying media eyes or annoying lawyers' writs. What better place, some White House strategist no doubt suggested, than a boat in the middle of the ocean?

Indeed, in this misguided American rendition experiment, an early example involved the detention and interrogation of a terror suspect aboard a US Navy vessel in the Adriatic. The man was later rendered to Egypt for torture and, ultimately, death.

Where are these ships and what are they up to? The US government has admitted that prisoners were held aboard the USS Peleliu and the USS Bataan, both of which have been sighted in the vicinity of the UK Indian Ocean territory of Diego Garcia. Reprieve believes that the US has operated as many as 17 floating prisons since 2001.

If President Bush read a few history books, he would not be condemned to repeat so many of history's mistakes. He would know, for example, that prison hulks were one of the horrors of the American revolutionary war, when more American POWs died in British prison ships than in every battle in the war combined.

While it may take years for the US courts to reunite all the ghost prisoners with the rule of law, the issue is far clearer for the authorities in Europe: it is entirely illegal for the UK or any other European state to provide any support for kidnap ships. Indeed, in the waning days of the Bush administration, any wise European government will distance itself as rapidly and as publicly as possible from such repellent practices.

~ From The incredible hulks ~


The price of dissent: 1st Lt. Watada's future still a mystery

In the past several months the name of 1st Lt. Ehren Watada has seen very little press time. That's a major change from last November when the JA officer's name was a frequent presence in both the mainstream and Japanese American press.

It was seven months ago that a federal judge blocked the U.S. Army from conducting a second court-martial of Watada for refusing to deploy to Iraq with his unit in June of 2006.

U.S. District Judge Benjamin H. Settle ruled that a second trial would violate Watada's constitutional rights, essentially agreeing with the officer's attorneys who argued double jeopardy - that a person could not be tried twice for the same crime.

Although the Army had indicated its intention to file paperwork to prevent the federal judge's injunction from becoming permanent, no paperwork has been filed to date.

It's left the 30-year-old Hawaii officer in a state of limbo.

"I kind of think it's like Guantanamo - just hold him ," said the officer's father Bob Watada in an interview with the Honolulu Advertiser.

Ehren Watada - the first commissioned officer to refuse deployment to Iraq - continues to work in an administrative position at Fort Lewis in Washington.

Harvard’s Gitmo Kangaroo Law School - The School for Torturers

By Francis Boyle
Monday, June 16, 2008

Not surprisingly, the January 2007 issue of the American Journal of Imperial Law--otherwise known as the self-styled American Journal of International Law but founded and still operated by U. S. State and War Departments' apparatchiks and their professorial fellow-travelers-- published an article by Harvard Law School's recently retired Bemis Professor of International Law Detlev Vagts (who only taught me the required course on Legal Accounting) arguing in favor of the Pentagon's Kangaroo Courts System on Guantanamo despite the fact that they have been soundly condemned by every human rights organization and every human rights official and leader in the entire world as well as by the United States Supreme Court itself in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld (2006).

I am not going to bother to recite here all the grievous deficiencies of the Gitmo Kangaroo Courts under International Law and U.S. Constitutional Law. But suffice it to say that the Gitmo Kangaroo Courts constitute war crimes under the Laws of War, the Four Geneva Conventions of 1949, and even the U. S. Army's own Field Manual 27-10, The Law of Land Warfare (1956). Field Manual 27-10 was drafted for the Pentagon by my Laws of War teacher the late, great Richard R. Baxter, who was generally recognized as the world's leading expert on that subject, which is precisely why I voluntarily chose to study International Law with him and his long-time collaborator Louis B. Sohn, and not with the bean-counter Vagts. For the entire post-World War II generation of international law students at Harvard Law School, Louis Sohn shall always be our real Bemis Professor of International Law and never the False Pretender to that Throne known as Detlev Vagts.

Since those student days I have personally appeared pro bono publico in five U.S. military courts-martial proceedings involving warfare that were organized in accordance with the Pentagon's Uniform Code of Military Justice (U.C.M.J.)--which still does not apply to the Gitmo Kangaroo Courts despite the ruling by the U. S. Supreme Court in Hamdan that the U.C.M.J. should be applied in Guantanamo--on behalf of five U. S. military personnel who each acted as matters of courage, integrity, principle, and conscience at great risk to their freedom:

U.S. Marine Corps Corporal Jeff Paterson, the first U.S. military resister to President Bush Sr.'s genocidal war against Iraq; Army Captain Doctor Yolanda Huet-Vaughn, the highest ranking U. S. commissioned officer to be court-martialed for refusing to participate in President Bush Sr.'s genocidal war against Iraq; Captain Lawrence Rockwood, who was court-martialed by the U. S. Army for trying to stop torture in Haiti after the Clinton administration had illegally invaded that country in 1994; Army Staff Sergeant Camilo Mejia, the first U. S. military resister to be court-martialed for refusing to participate in President Bush Jr.'s war of aggression against Iraq; and Army First Lieutenant Ehren Watada, the first U.S. commissioned officer to be court-martialed for his refusal to participate in President Bush Jr.'s war of aggression against Iraq.

As I can attest from my direct personal involvement, each and every one of these five courts-martial under the U.C.M.J. were Stalinist show-trials produced and directed by the Pentagon that predictably and readily degenerated into travesties of justice. These five U.C.M.J. courts-martial involving warfare each proved correct the old adage attributed to Groucho Marx that military justice is to justice as military music is to music. By comparison, the Gitmo Kangaroo Courts will not even be run in accordance with the U.C.M.J. despite the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Hamdan that they should be.

Whenever they are up and running the Gitmo Courts will constitute Stalinist Show Trials as well as Kangaroo Courts, and their preliminary proceedings have already proven them to be Travesties of Justice. Even worse yet, fully-functioning Stalinist Gitmo Kangaroo Courts will quickly become conveyor-belts of death for alleged and already tortured terrorist suspects along the lines of the Texas execution chamber operated by George Bush Jr. when he was the "governor" of that state and tortured to death 152 victims by means of lethal injection. Gitmo will become America's Death Camp. But today under the Four Geneva Conventions of 1949, executing persons detained as a result of armed conflict without a fair trial before a regularly constituted court constitutes a grave war crime. To be sure, under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution Professor Vagts has the freedom to advocate war crimes so long as he does not participate in their commission, or incite them, or aid and abet them.But precisely where is that line to be drawn for law professors?

In this regard, the Harvard Law School Faculty currently has at least five professors who have advocated torture and war crimes:

Vagts himself, who supported abusing the then recently captured President of Iraq Saddam Hussein despite his being publicly acknowledged to be a Prisoner of War by the Bush Jr. administration itself and thus absolutely protected by the Third Geneva Convention of 1949 and the Convention against Torture; the infamous Alan Dershowitz, a self-incriminated war criminal in his own right. Dersh publicly acknowledged being a member of a Mossad Committee for approving the murder and assassination of Palestinians, which violates the Geneva Conventions and is thus a grave war crime; the Neo-Con Con Law non-entity known as Richard Parker;
Another one of my teachers, Waco Phil Heymann. Previously Waco Phil had been Deputy to U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, the Butcheress of Waco. Reno ordered the Waco Massacre, while Heymann orchestrated its cover-up and thus earned his well-deserved sobriquet of Waco Phil. All those incinerated women and children!

The war criminal Jack Goldsmith who while working as a lawyer for the Bush Jr. administration at both the Pentagon and later its Department of In-Justice did much of the legal spade-work designing, justifying and approving the hideous human rights atrocities that the Bush Jr. administration has inflicted on everyone after 9/11. Goldsmith and his co-felon legal colleague from the Bush Jr. administration Professor John Yoo--now desecrating Berkeley's Law School where my friend and colleague the late, great Dean Frank Newman had taught Human Rights--are functionally analogous to Nazi Law Professor Carl Schmitt, who justified every hideous atrocity that Hitler and the Nazis inflicted on anyone.

Despite my best efforts to prevent it, the Harvard Law School Faculty and Deans hired the war criminal Goldsmith right out of the Bush Jr. administration knowing full well that he was up to his eyeballs in the Gitmo Kangaroo Courts, torture, war crimes, enforced disappearances, murder, kidnapping, and crimes against humanity, at a minimum. And when Goldsmith's proverbial "smoking-gun" Department of In-Justice Memorandum was published by the Washington Post, Harvard Law School's Dean Elena Kagan contemptuously boasted in response about how "proud" she was to have hired this notorious war criminal. Previously Kagan had also publicly bragged that the future of International Legal Studies at Harvard Law School would be in the "good hands" of their resident war criminal Goldsmith. How tragically true! The Neo-Conservative Harvard Law School Faculty and Deans deliberately set out to hire this Neo-Nazi legal architect of the Bush Jr. administration's bogus and nefarious "war against terrorism" because they fully support it together with all its essential accouterments of torture, kangaroo courts, war crimes, murder, kidnapping, enforced disappearances, crimes against humanity, and Nuremburg crimes against peace.

By contrast, after the terrorist bombing of the Murrah Federal Building by Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols in alleged revenge for the Waco Massacre and Cover-up by Janet Reno and Waco Phil Heymann, to the best of my recollection I do not remember that the Neo-Conservative Harvard Law School Faculty and Deans advocated kangaroo courts, torture, war crimes, and racist profiling for America's White Judeo-Christian Males. Yet after 9/11 the fundamentally White Racist Harvard Law School Faculty and Deans have no problem with inflicting torture, kangaroo courts, war crimes, and racist profiling upon Muslims/Arabs/Asians of Color, which is exactly why they hired the war criminal Goldsmith to teach such criminal practices to their own law students and thus someday turn them into racist U. S. governmental war criminals in their own right. This is because for the most part the Harvard Law School Faculty and Deans have always been viscerally bigoted and racist against Muslims/Arabs/Asians and other People of Color since at least when I first matriculated there in September of 1971.

The Harvard Law School Faculty and Deans are no longer fit to educate Lawyers, Members of the Bar, and Officers of the Court. They are a sick joke and a demented fraud. Groucho Marx would have had a field day with them: Harvard is to Law School as Torture is to Law. The Harvard Law School Faculty and Deans torture the Law. Do not send your children or students to Harvard Law School where they will grow up to become racist war criminals! Harvard Law School is a Neo-Con cesspool.

Francis A. Boyle holds a J.D. Magna Cum Laude (1976) from Harvard Law School, and an A.M. 1978) and Ph.D. (1983) in Political Science from Harvard University. He taught for two years as a Teaching Fellow in the Harvard College, and as also an Associate at Harvard's Center for International Affairs 1976-78). He practiced tax and international tax with the Boston law firm of Bingham, Dana & Gould (1977-78). He joined the Faculty of the University of Illinois College of Law in 1978, where he currently teaches courses on Public International Law, International Human Rights, the Constitutional Law of U.S. Foreign Affairs, and Jurisprudence, having previously taught courses on Criminal Law, International Organizations, World Politics and International Law, and Latinos and the Law. He is the author of eleven books including his latest "Protesting Power:War, Resistance and Law" (Rowman & Littlefield Inc.:2008) and Breaking All The Rules: Palestine, Iraq, Iran and the Case for Impeachment" (Clarity Press: 2008).

War and the common good


This talk was delivered at the Future of Freedom Foundation's conference on "Restoring the Republic: Foreign Policy and Civil Liberties," on June 7, 2008, in Reston, Virginia.

We are used to hearing discussion of political issues boiled down to a conflict between the individual and the greater good. Nearly anyone's pet project for government can be sold as a way to promote the common, or general interest – a mission so compelling that the interests of mere individuals must be sacrificed.

Before relating this to war, it is important to consider what it means to take the individual's side on such questions. It is not to be atomistic, to believe humans do not need to cooperate with one another and form groups, social organizations and institutions of law. Far from it. Those who favor individual rights simply believe that out of a respect for the dignity and rights of the individual come community, business, society, religious groups and all the other crucial organizations of social life. We thrive on social cooperation and indeed individualists are its great defenders. We see compulsion against the individual as a great threat to civil society. We believe that when coercion replaces voluntarism, the very basis of civilization is in jeopardy. Thus do we favor the market and community and family – it is only that we see these groups as being at their best when they respect the dignity of the individual. While we understand that, in terms of human progress, the group is indeed, in a sense, more than the sum of the parts, losing sight of the freedom of each individual involved undermines the strength and humanity of such groups. We see no conflict between individual rights and the common good; rather they are inextricably intertwined.

Furthermore, we argue that private, individual selfishness, whether benign or destructive, can never be abolished by the public sector. The state only elevates flawed, selfish human beings to a position of unchecked, lawless authority over others.

And indeed, the focus on individual dignity and rights has been a focus of our culture, of America, of the West, going back many centuries. It pervades our relatively liberal culture and is seen on both the right and left. Prolifers focus on the dignity of the individual life of the unborn. Prochoicers stress the importance of the personal right to choose of the individual woman. Whether the issue is guns, drugs, taxes, or the freedom to worship, most Americans are somewhat receptive idea that the individual is the premier unit in society, on whose freedom rests the greater good of society as a whole.

At the same time, the conservatives who defend individual freedom as it concerns economics attack the left for being carried away with the personal liberty of individuals in the social context. They see calls for social tolerance as always an excuse for selfish, libertine behavior. Leftists respond that conservatives are shilling for greedy and rich CEOs, who care more about their own pocketbooks than the good of humanity. It is not so much that either group is devoid of an individualistic impulse; they only apply the principle that the individual good leads to the social good in different contexts, and inconsistently.

But there exists a strong streak throughout our society of believing in individual rights. There exists a resistance to the extreme forms of coerced collectivism that have plagued totalitarian nations, and much the rest of the world. And while much of the last century was a story of violently competing forms of collectivism, there is certainly a form of civil individualism that has survived, even improved in ways, and to this we owe the blessings of our civilization.

As it concerns the issues of empire, of national defense, of the military state, however, there appears to be a double standard. Those who most loudly condemn collectivism as it relates to domestic policy are often among the loudest in support of war collectivism. Consider many of the outspoken followers of Ayn Rand. Rand did some crucial work in battling the modernist, collectivist zeitgeist of her time. She was certainly no blind follower of the idea that the greater good trumps the rights of the individual. And yet she was not immune to a severe blind spot as it regarded war. In her famous novella Anthem, the first-person protagonist, living in a collectivist dystopia, comes upon an ethical and philosophical epiphany when she discovers the word, "I." She and her society had been conditioned to only use the word "we" – by discovering the word "I," she discovered the idea of the individual. This is a powerful book in imparting the lesson that the very conception of individual rights is itself largely a cultural phenomenon.

And yet, how did Rand discuss matters on questions of foreign policy? Often in terms of "we." Even when she criticized the Vietnam war, it was mainly from a vantage point of lamenting the fact that "we" must sacrifice our treasure and blood to liberate and socially reform "them" – "them," who were not deserving of our individualist culture. At her worst, she said that the oil under Arab land was properly "ours" and that "they" had stolen it.

Many of her followers have taken this much further. They saw 9/11 as an attack of "them" against "us." And so "we" must retaliate – not just against the individual attackers, many of whom, incidentally, died in the suicide mission. No, "we" must remake the whole Middle East in "our" image. Americans become indistinguishable from one another and from their government. So do Arabs and Muslims. The act of living in an oppressive nation alone means you have to sacrifice you rights to the great crusade for democracy. And total democracy, which many individualists have taken up as a sort of end in itself, is, in reality, of course not the same as ethical individualism.

Belligerent nationalism has for centuries been a particularly odious and destructive form of collectivism. It ranks up there with communism in its capacity to create human misery by dispensing with the lives of mere individuals. In fact, even communism benefited greatly from nationalist impulses throughout the world. And surely, not only the egoistical individualists like Rand's worst followers are currently enthralled by it. Much of the conservative movement, and certainly the Republican establishment, have signed on to the imperialist cause, willing to throw the individual under the collectivist warfare state bus. Much of the Christian Right has forgotten about the central tenets of their faith concerning the dignity of the individual; for them, the American nation state is what most deserves defending. The left, too, when it talks about the war often sees it not in terms of individual rights so much as in terms of national priorities, a tragedy for the country, underfinanced collectivist projects at home and disrespect for the American nation-state from the international community. They sometimes attack the idea that corporate fat cats profit off the war more than the war itself.

But what is lost in the fog of war is the dignity and freedom of the individual, something of such importance that, as the conservatives understood it when we were talking about communism, its absence means the breakdown and collapse of civilization, of the common good, of the well-being of society at large. Let us look at what the empire means for the individual, for only then can we even grasp what it means for the greater good.

Let's start with the beleaguered taxpayer. The empire and war on terror are costing each American taxpayer thousands of dollars a year. Before going further, we must reflect on just this cost. To varying degrees, classical liberals, libertarians and conservatives have long stood up for the rights of the individual not to be taxed for governmental social services. By what right can a bureaucrat seize someone's hard-earned income, even for a good cause? This is crucial, because even if liberating foreigners is a good cause that can be done by the government, so would be the feeding of foreigners, or the feeding and housing of the domestic poor. But the free marketers have for years shown that, in practice, an agency that confiscates wealth with the threat of imprisonment cannot properly be termed an agency of compassion. In practice, because of its institutional nature, the welfare state does not succeed in eliminating poverty. And yet how can an agency that takes wealth from people who earn it, and threatens them with time in a cage if they resist, be any more an agency for liberation, for rights protection, than it is for compassion? It would seem that the same practical and ethical arguments against seizing a man's income for welfare would apply to warfare as well.

Some libertarians will defend warfare state taxation. Ayn Rand certainly did. But let us remember that the American Revolutionaries who seceded from the British were not rebelling against Social Security taxes, or taxes that went to the welfare state. They were protesting relatively low taxes to fund empire, some of which was being sold as being in their best interest.

Of course, much of the taxation is indirect. It comes in the form of credit expansion, inflation and thus a weakened dollar, leading to higher prices. The corporate state is empowered, the little guy's priorities are pushed to the side. This process, incidentally, also leads to malinvestment and the business cycle, which are horrific for the economy and the greater good.

The beleaguered taxpayer is forgotten in the midst of war. For some reason it is considered trivial to mention this. It is wrong to focus on what a taxpayer would have chosen to spend his money on if it weren't taken away, even as the left dreams about what the government could have spent it on if not on war.

Consider what the taxpayer could have done with that money if it were not taken at all. He could help secure his retirement, send his kids to a better school, spend more time with the family, start or strengthen a business, give to charity, or do a hundred things that bolster civil society and the productive economy, rather than feed the military-industrial complex and finance mass killing abroad. If it were really in his interest to finance national defense, he would do so freely on his own. When the choice is stripped from him, we should not be surprised that the loot lines the pockets of corporate interests and fails to bring about international peace.

The warfare state is, on net, a huge drain on the economy. It has not made us richer. We live in a comparatively rich nation because of the relatively free market, to which the warfare state is always and everywhere a premier threat. Indeed, the Progressive Era, New Deal and Great Society never did nearly the violence to the free market, ushering in central planning, than the great wars in American history. The New Deal itself was simply a domestic version of Wilson's World War I economic policies, with many of the same institutions resurrected under different names and many of the same personalities, as Robert Higgs has shown.

The loss in hard-earned wealth is only the beginning. The warfare-security state endangers individual liberty like no other threat. It destroys the privacy of the individual. It supplants the free economy with central planning. Sometimes it brings on rationing and a fullblown command economy. Dissent is no longer a protected right. The freedom of an individual to travel, to speak his mind, to work and live in private liberty is thrown aside completely in the march of war.

Those accused of threatening the security of the collective have virtually no rights at all. He can be detained indefinitely in a dungeon on the outskirts of the empire. He can be cruelly interrogated. His guilt is presumed.

Habeas corpus emerged in medieval England, largely as a tool of some courts to assert jurisdiction over others. The individualist principle that one could not be detained without cause, and that all imprisoned subjects had at a minimum access to a judge was born in the midst of competing and overlapping jurisdictional conflicts. Eventually, the writ of habeas corpus – which originated in the King's own royal courts – were turned against the King himself. The American revolutionaries demanded it as a constitutional safeguard, at which point it took on a modern, individualist character. After hundreds of years of struggle, a crucial mechanism for protecting the individual against unjust imprisonment was claimed.

And this is vital in every way. Committing a crime against the state, or society, or an individual has been taken to be very serious. But what about the crime of the state in detaining an innocent person? Think of what it would be like to be detained indefinitely, knowing you're innocent. This was the case for many in Guantanamo, many of whom have finally been freed. I can't imagine it. But as true individualists, we must respect the dignity of every peaceful person held inside a cage. To paraphrase Augustine, a greater good that rests upon unjust imprisonment is no greater good at all.

This principle has been turned back on its head. Once again, habeas corpus is the executive's prerogative. Alberto Gonzales claimed there was no right to it in the Constitution. People have been rounded up, detained, shipped around the globe, shoved in torture cells in Guantanamo and elsewhere – all in the name of collective security, in the name of the greater good. Many detainees have been tortured. The idea in vogue is that sometimes you have to completely strip an individual of his humanity in order to save humanity. This is the path toward barbarism and savagery. It is the road to the same mentality that allowed the Stalinists and Nazis to have their way.

But this compromise of individual rights has yielded no successes for the nation as whole. It has only eroded our culture's commitment to the rights of the individual. It has led to the demonization of the "other" – the other who lives outside our collective. It also helped bring about the fantastically disastrous Iraq war, as some of the key pre-war intelligence – if we are to call it that – came out of torture. If you forget about the individual dignity, the intrinsic humanity of the prisoner you have before you, you have already failed to see the forest, and the trees, and they will all burn down in the heat of war collectivism.

The very idea of weighing individual liberty against national security is an egregious collectivist notion we must reject. There is no national security, no collective worth preserving, where we are not safe against unjust detention and oppression by the state.

As bad as all this is, the worst attacks on the individual come with war itself. Nation-building, occupying foreign countries to instill American values and institutions – all this is utopian central planning on the scale of the 20th-century socialists and modernists. And the conservatives, of course, have near infinite faith in it. But a new modern man cannot be created through command and control at home. A whole nation cannot be built abroad with curfews, bombs and razor wire.

Bombing has got to be among the most barbaric practices in modern life. "This is war," we are told. And so people must die. Individuals do not count, they are only aggregates, only numbers, and the Pentagon doesn't even care about the statistical side of the equation. Lost completely is any sense that these are human beings being destroyed.

When a bomb hits a neighborhood, civilians are killed. This happened even when the domestic police in Philadelphia bombed an apartment complex back in 1985, and we can go on and on about how militarism has displaced any sense of individualism in domestic policing. But in foreign affairs, mass killing is a matter of policy.

In the 20th century, the century of gulags, concentration camps, mass conscription and centrally planned workers paradises, America emerged as the most bomb-happy regime in world history. While, at least intellectually, the crimes of fascism and communism have imparted some lessons, there is no comparable understanding of the significance of 20th-century strategic bombing. In Japan, 60 cities were destroyed. In Germany, the number was more than 100. In the Korean war, Truman pinpointed civilian dams and devastated the country with thousands of tons of ordnance and millions of gallons of napalm. In Vietnam, between one and three million individuals were killed by US bombing campaigns. That's about as many people as Pol Pot killed in Cambodia. For much of the post–World War II 20th century, the US built up its nuclear weapons cache, the mere existence of which should dispel any myths that ours is a government overly concerned with the rights of the individual.

These were individuals who were slaughtered by a program of systematic civilian-killing. They had families, and lives, and passions. They had their favorite music, they had their faith, they had their dreams and futures. They, just like the victims of Communism and fascism, were victims of mechanized, modernist mass murder. I do think one day people will look back at the 20th century as, in part, the era when the US government murdered millions of people from the air.

In today's world, there is less support for strategic bombing as a matter of policy. There were barbaric calls after 9/11 for nuking the Middle East. Conservatives did say that the way to save face in Iraq was to pull out, but not before killing many thousands with a nuclear blast in the Sunni triangle. This murderous policy prescription must be seen in the full moral light in deserves, or else we will not evolve much as a species.

But there has been some change. I don't think Americans would be too happy if Bush nuked Iraq or Iran like Truman did Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This is all to the good.

However, the underlying premise that killing innocents abroad is acceptable has persisted. The trade sanctions against Iraq claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of children. In our society, killing one child is seen as an unforgiveable act. A child is the most precious thing in this world. And of course women and men have the right not to be killed, too. But the 1990s sanctions are seen as, at most, a sort of error in policy planning. They didn't work, we sometimes hear. Unfortunately, they worked all too well at the only murderous purpose they could possibly serve in the real world. They worked in killing hundreds of thousands of innocent children, each one as precious as an American child.

Shock and Awe made me sick to my stomach. Baghdad was a city with a culture, with civil life, with some degree of liberalism even. Of course, most important, there were human beings there. The best thing Michael Moore has ever done was to show footage of Baghdad before and after bombing. Right-wingers hated this scene, because it forced Americans to confront the faces of some of the people their political leaders killed. It's ironic that these same conservatives stress all the supposed good things happening in Iraq that the media won't cover, while they seem completely unwilling to discuss the many good things happening in Iraq before Shock and Awe. Many of those good things happened to people who are not alive today.

And while Shock and Awe was in some ways a more precision bombing than Dresden, it was still mass murder. It was still totally immoral in every respect. Had Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, had he even been best friends with Osama, had he been involved in 9/11 it would still not excuse the dispensing of the individual lives of men, women and children – none of them in any way the enemy – who just happened to live in Saddam's neighborhood.

If bombing a neighborhood in retaliation could be excused, so too can terrorism in countless forms. The terrorism of September 11, insofar as it was a response to US aggression in the Middle East – and, as we know, there was plenty of it for decades – would be considered legitimate by the logic of the defenders of bombings. Surely, Iraq has been more a victim of the US than vice versa – does this mean Iraqis are allowed to do to American civilians what the US did in Afghanistan and Iraq? Of course not. American individuals had a right not to be murdered on 9/11, despite the evils of their government. This principle must be universal. Dropping bombs in a way that predictably leads to innocent deaths is nothing short of deliberate homicide, no matter what your home address.

This brings me to a particularly ghastly collectivist concept, the idea of "collateral damage." The idea is that the innocent people killed in a bombing are not the target, and so the bombing can be an act of self-defense. But this principle surely does not hold in civil life. If a neighbor of yours has trespassed on your property, even caused violence against you and your family, you have no right to kill his kids, no right to attack his neighbor, no right to lift a finger against anyone but the aggressor. The right to self-defense is fundamental, but is grounded in property rights. Practicing it, just like practicing any other right, does not absolve you in your violations of the rights of third parties. Being threatened does not give you a blank check on other people's life and liberty. "Collateral damage" is simply a euphemism for mass murder.

There are some theorists who posit that it is sometimes acceptable to kill the innocent in bombings because of the so-called human shield analogy. If an aggressor is about to kill you, and he has taken a hostage, and the only way to shoot him first is to kill the hostage, do you not have a right to do it? The warmongers say without the right to inflict collateral damage, we would be overtaken by an enemy with tanks covered with babies.

Now, this is quite an irony. Our individual ethic against killing civilians is unrealistic, they say, because in the real world you are always confronted with a human shield, or a ticking time bomb, or an invading army with babies strapped to their tanks. Of course, the real world is nothing like that. And surely invaders and aggressors will still hesitate to embrace such a strategy regardless of our lifeboat ethics, because they know people, when pressed, will even violate their principles to save their lives.

In principle, I believe the human shield retains the right not to be shot. But even if not, this question is divorced from reality. They try to personalize the question of bombing civilians by bringing it down to the individual level. But we are not talking about the odd incident when an individual is confronted with a choice between violating his principles or death. Many of us might cave to survive. We might lie, steal, even kill, if forced into the lawless environment of a Hobbesian world. And, generally speaking, people are more forgiving, even of those who trespass against them, when there are very extreme circumstances.

The human shield analogy is really a way to obscure the real issue. We are not talking about an individual fighting back for dear life, and accidentally or incidentally killing an innocent person. We are talking about the warfare state, about aggressive invasions, about airmen far above cities and dropping flaming death upon little babies, not out of immediate self-defense in any sense at all. The attempt to apply emergency individual ethics to the military, a socialist institution, should raise flags for the true individualist. For the individual is accountable to his victims and their heirs, as well as to public opinion. The state, by definition, is not. It is above the law. It is its own judge so long as it garners public legitimacy and blind loyalty. Insofar as it is successful at this, the state is a lawless machine. If an individual violates someone's property rights in an emergency, there is some recourse, some real chance for making amends and getting forgiveness. The warfare state is a totally different animal.

And, in practical terms, if we want to avoid these Hobbesian cruelties of the battlefield, we should stay the hell out of war.

Sometimes even opponents of war forget about the methodological individualist analysis. In a sense, the true individualist is also the most empathetic to the individual soldier. Yes, he is morally responsible for all of his actions, and yet he too has an individual human dignity that must not be forgotten. Even in a terrible war, some soldiers do defensible, even heroic things. They serve as medics. They defend individual rights in isolated instances. And many of them don't even want to be there, but they are being forced to finish their term of service. The warfare state is, by the way, the one enterprise where the rights of the individual worker are completely thrown aside. He has no right to quit. We have indentured servitude in the military. The philosophy of individual, inalienable rights is the only one that truly stands up for the soldier who, in good conscience, wants to walk away from the horrors in which he finds himself. And so, if we respect the individual soldier, we should champion his right to quit his job.

The individualist ethic has been twisted to defend the warfare state and modern American imperialism. It is, however, to be delivered through collectivist means. This is the giveaway. This is how we know it's a bankrupt argument. Liberating individuals cannot be justly done at the expense of violating the rights of others.

For a while, individualism helped to curb the empire. A desire not to be taxed for the benefit of foreigners constrained the warfare state.

Conservatives and objectivists, among others, were well versed in the America First argument against global intervention.

But with 9/11 we saw the limits of this ethic. Individualists felt threatened and became collectivists at once. They ironically saw the American state as the collective most protective of individualism, and so favored an expansion of that collectivism to protect themselves.

But a purely egoistical ethic, much like a nationalist orientation in non-intervention, is perhaps not enough. We need to move beyond it to respect individuals abroad. The individual slaughtered in Iraq is no less an individual, no less entitled to his rights, than an individual in America taxed or regulated out of business, or thrown in jail for consuming illegal drugs. The sacrifice of foreign lives to an American imperial agenda, along with the sacrifice of American lives, freedoms and wealth, is a practice and program wholly at odds with the natural law ethic of individual liberty and dignity on which Western Civilization, and indeed all of human society, so precariously rests.

Thus do I urge us to take all the arguments we would make against communism, fascism and domestic coercive collectivism in all its forms, and apply them with equal vigor and moral courage to the issues of war and peace. It is true that we do, indeed, believe in a greater good, in public vibrancy, in civil society and in community. We are not individualists at the expense of society, but indeed see a good society itself as a function of respecting the individuals who compose it. Our arguments on economics demonstrate we are not blind to the social good that emanates from our individualist ethic. Without some sense of goodness for the individual, in fact, it is hard even to determine what a good society is. And this ethic, if it is being trampled anywhere, it is in the realm of foreign policy and the warfare state.

Communism failed because it broke too many eggs and never made an omelette. The worker's paradise constituted the total destruction of the worker as individual, the total negation of his dignity, the total trashing of his individual rights. Thus did the whole plan fail, and thank goodness.

We are seeing a similar crumbling of American society, a degeneration of civil life and cultural mores, a lowering of moral standards. We are seeing decay and cultural corruption, and while I never badmouth the market, there is a sense in which materialism has threatened to overtake cultural reflection. The greatest traditions in law and individualism itself are under attack.

We are seeing our economy stagnate and our personal freedoms lost day by day. The partisans of empire are struggling to keep alive global American hegemony, but they are on the losing side of history.

But we do want things to go as painlessly and peacefully as possible. We do not want Americans to have to suffer a shock or global markets to be tossed into disarray.

I believe the key is to reclaim, refine and always strengthen our understanding of what it is that has led to the success story of Western civilization, the Industrial Revolution and the American experience: It is respect for the dignity and humanity and rights of each individual. Insofar as this country has wavered, it has been disastrous and oppressive. Insofar as it championed these principles, humanity, culture and all we take for granted have flourished.

The warfare state is the greatest of all threats to the individual in our time. It is a threat materially, philosophically, spiritually, culturally and intellectually. It displaces all the voluntary, civil associations we champion – the family, community, church and honest business. It is the total negation of the dignity of the individual, the rights of all men and women to live their lives in liberty. It is a mixture of cold, anti-libertarian modernism and barbarism, the worst remnants of the Middle Ages combined with a new callousness and technocratic fervor. It is the most persistent form of American collectivism. It is an unparalleled threat to world peace. It is the greatest enemy of humanity and individual liberty in our midst.

One day the modern warfare state will be looked upon the way we look upon the failed socialist experiments of a past time, the way we look upon chattel slavery, the way we look upon the gravest and most universally reviled episodes of the individual being dispensed with to make way for the march of collectivism and institutional inertia.

The first step is similar to the step Ayn Rand described in Anthem, although I don't think she applied it consistently. It is to understand that the individual is the principal component of human society, and that all individuals, wherever they live, have by their nature certain rights that no government is permitted to violate. It is to realize that dispensing with this principle is to dispense with our chance at having a greater good whatsoever. It is to understand that with war come bombings, standing armies, conscription, surveillance, inflation, censorship and taxation – any of which is an affront to the dignity of the individual.

It is to understand that the warfare state, like totalitarianism, is incompatible with the individualist ethic on which society depends. Such an understanding helped prevent communism from taking root in this nation, sparing Americans the suffering so many others endured to learn the lessons of fullblown economic central planning. The American empire cannot last forever in its current state. But only by championing the rights of the individual and opposing the warfare state out of principle can we hope to see the empire crumble with as little pain as possible for those caught underneath. Only by embracing the principle of individualism – the principle that truly guards the common good and is the most damning of all indictments of the militaristic warfare state – can we hope to see the empire die and never return.

June 17, 2008

Anthony Gregory [send him mail] is a writer and musician who lives in Berkeley, California. He is a research analyst at the Independent Institute. See his webpage for more articles and personal information.

~ From Lew Rockwel ~


Smugglers had design for advanced warhead

An international smuggling ring that sold bomb-related parts to Libya, Iran and North Korea also managed to acquire blueprints for an advanced nuclear weapon, according to a draft report by a former top U.N. arms inspector that suggests the plans could have been shared secretly with any number of countries or rogue groups.
The drawings, discovered in 2006 on computers owned by Swiss businessmen, included essential details for building a compact nuclear device that could be fitted on a type of ballistic missile used by Iran and more than a dozen developing countries, the report states.
The computer contents -- among more than 1,000 gigabytes of data seized -- were recently destroyed by Swiss authorities under the supervision of the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency, which is investigating the now-defunct smuggling ring previously led by Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan.
But U.N. officials cannot rule out the possibility that the blueprints were shared with others before their discovery, said the report's author, David Albright, a prominent nuclear weapons expert who spent four years researching the smuggling network.

"These advanced nuclear weapons designs may have long ago been sold off to some of the most treacherous regimes in the world," Albright wrote in a draft report about the blueprint's discovery. A copy of the report, expected to be published later this week, was provided to The Washington Post.

Bush threatens Iran with military action

George Bush has warned Iran that military action is still "on the table" if it fails to respond to tightening diplomatic pressure to abandon its nuclear weapons programme.

The EU is planning to announce the freezing of all overseas assets of the main bank in Iran. Sanctions are also to be tightened on gas and oil exports by Iran.

But the US President's remarks on the last leg of his "farewell tour" of Europe raised fears at Westminster that Mr Bush is determined to take action against Iran before he leaves office in January if the sanctions fail to force Tehran to abandon its nuclear weapons ambitions.

Standing alongside the President after more than an hour of talks in Downing Street, Gordon Brown surprised EU council officials by announcing that the EU intends to intensify its sanctions on Iran, including freezing the billions of euros in overseas assets of the Melli Bank of Iran.

But Mr Bush left no doubt that the US is holding military action in reserve. Thanking Mr Brown for keeping together the European alliance "so that we can solve this problem diplomatically", Mr Bush said: "That is my first choice. The Iranians must understand that all options are on the table, however."

The EU foreign policy chief Xavier Solana delivered a more generous offer to the Iranian regime at the weekend and is now awaiting its reply. It includes help in developing civil nuclear power and extending economic assistance if Iran stops enriching uranium to produce weapons-grade plutonium. Ali Larijani, the Speaker of the Iranian Parliament, promised to "carefully study the package".

~ more... ~


Protesters clash with police in attempt to storm Whitehall

Police wielding batons clashed with protesters last night when a demonstration against George Bush's farewell visit to Britain turned violent a few hundred metres from where the US President was dining with Gordon Brown.

Within the shadow of the Houses of Parliament, officers dressed in riot gear skirmished with several hundred demonstrators who had been attending a rally organised by the Stop the War Coalition.

The Metropolitan Police said 25 protesters were arrested. In some cases, squads of police in riot gear had swooped upon individual demonstrators , picking out their target then barging through the crowd to detain them.

Police drew batons and truncheons in an attempt to push back a crowd which at 6.20pm moved from the rally on Parliament Square to try to gain entry to Whitehall. A squad of riot officers and horses were later sent to reinforce the barricade as protesters chanting "George Bush, terrorist" and "Bush go home" repeatedly tried to break through the reinforced crowd barriers and concrete blocks.

The decision to close Whitehall while Mr Bush and his wife, Laura, dined with Mr Brown and his wife, Sarah, was condemned by campaigners and the Liberal Democrats as an example of civil liberties being curtailed at the request of a foreign government.

The clashes were in stark contrast to Mr Bush's arrival in London at the end of a week-long tour expected to be his last in Europe before he leaves office.

A grand total of 28 protesters from the Stop the War Coalition gathered at Windsor, where Mr Bush had tea with the Queen.

Iqbal Siddiq, 26, a student at the Windsor protest, said: "The message is good riddance. He's still the mass murderer-in-chief. But ... he's yesterday's man. Everything he did to engineer the war in Iraq still makes me angry but it is fast becoming history. We've got to concentrate on the next guy and the mess Bush has left behind."

~ more... ~


Bolivians protest U.S. granting of asylum to two accused of crimes against humanity

More than 7000 Bolivian workers, farmers and others demanded justice in front of the US Embassy in La Paz today. They are outraged over the US granting political asylum last week to former Defense Minister Carlos Sánchez Berzaín who has been accused of crimes against humanity relating to a massacre in October 2003. Berzain fled the country during the wave of government directed violence against protesters.

The protest at the embassy also demanded punishment for former Bolivian President Sánchez de Lozada for his involvement in the action.

Luis Ramos, an official of the Federation of Neighboring Boards, told Prensa Latina that protesters were upset with the decision of Washington to shelter criminals that supported the police massacre five years ago where 68 people died and more than 400 were injured.

Below is a partial list of those killed on the orders of Berzaín and the former Bolivian Presdient.

Constancio Quispe M. (43) Puente Rio Seco bullet impact (abdomen)
Felix Javier Quispe (23) Rio Seco bullet impact(abdomen)
Teodocia Morales M. (38) Rio Seco (ex – tranca) bullet impact(abdomen)
Carmelo Mamani P. (47) Senkata bullet impact(back)
Nicolas Morales C. (24) Av. Bolivia bullet impact(chest)
Luis F. Quelca (16) Av. Julian Apaza bullet impact(chest)
Juan Cosme A. (44) Warisata bullet impact (chest)
Marlene Nancy Rojas Ramos (7) Warisata bullet impact (chest)
Sergio Vargas C. (19) Warisata bullet impact (chest)
Efrain Mita Q. (22) Extranca Senkata bullet impact(face)
Narciso Colque M. (26) Rosaspampa bullet impact(face)
German Carvajal V. (36) bullet impact (head)
Marcelo H. Cusi V. (21) Apaña bullet impact (head)
Ramiro Vargas A. (22) Av. 6 de Marzo (El Alto) bullet impact (head)
Luis R. Cusi. Q. (22) Av. Julian Apaza bullet impact(head)
Victor Arcani Ticona (36) Ballivian (El Alto) bullet impact (head)
Roxana Apaza Cutipa (19) Final Los Andes bullet impact(head)
Alex Llusco M (5) Rosas Pampa bullet impact (head)
Juan C. Barrientos (32) San Julian (Santa Cruz) bullet impact (head)
Marcelo Chambi M. (NS) Rio Seco bullet impact(hip)
Arturo Mamani V. (48) Apaña bullet impact (leg)
Maximo Vallejos M. (21) Puente Rio Seco bullet impact(leg)
Damian Luna P. (30) Villa Ingenio bullet impact( neck )
Roberto Huanca P. (34) Villa Ingenio bullet impact(neck)
Filomena Leon M. (36) Patacamaya bullet impact (spinal column)
Jaime V. Quispe Z. (30) Chasquipampa bullet impact(stomach)
Wilson H. Chuquimia D. (32) Puente Elizardo Perez bullet impact(stomach)
Lucio S. Gandarillas A. (33) Senkata bullet impact(stomach)
David Salinas M. (29) Senkata (El Alto) bullet impact(stomach)
Marcelino Cuti M. (NS) Ventilla bullet impact(stomach)
Diego Mamani M. (32) Apaña bullet impact(thorax)
Francisco Ajllahuanca (43) Av. Julian Apaza bullet impact(thorax)
Manuel Yanarico J. (35) Ballivian bullet impact(thorax)
Marcelino Carvajal L. (59) Final Los Andes bullet impact(thorax)
Jose Miguel Perez C. (40) Plaza Ballivian bullet impact(thorax)
Feliz Bautista Paco (26) Puente Elizardo Perez bullet impact(thorax)
Jose Macias Quispe (30) Puente Elizardo Perez bullet impact (thorax)
Richard Charca C. (23) Puente Elizardo Perez bullet impact(thorax)
Damian Larico M. (22) Puente Rio Seco bullet impact(thorax)
Juan Ticona M. (68) Puente Rio Seco bullet impact(thorax)
Enrique H. Marin L. (40) Rio Seco bullet impact(thorax)
Jhonny Suñavi Q. (28) Rio Seco (ex – tranca) bullet impact(thorax)
Demetro Coraca C. (62) Sorata- Ilabaya bullet impact(thorax)
Simael Marcos Quispe (22) Warisata bullet impact (thorax)
Vidal Pinto Blanco (21) Zona Panoramica bullet impact(thorax)
Rosendo Riolobos A. (43) San Francisco (La Paz) bullet impact (heart)
Eduardo Hino P. (35) Senkata bullet impacts (heart)
Augusto Hilari P. (50) Puente Rio Seco bullet impact(body)
Jacinto bernabe R. (61) Apaña bullet impacts (legs)
Benita Ticona (38) gas station Rio Seco burned in gas station explosion
Braulio Callisaya D. (38) gas station Rio Seco burned in gas station explosion
Florentino Poma M. (34) gas station Rio Seco burned in gas station explosion
Jose L. Atahuichi (41) Ventilla grenade explosion
Walter Huanca C. (25) Ballivian (El Alto) impact by tear gas
Serapio Arnada C (40) Ceja (El Alto) impact by tear gas
Edmundo Charcas C. (41) Final Los Andes suffocation by tear gas
Wiler Ortiz Cordova (35) Munaypata bonebreak by militar car
Edgar Lecoña A. (20) Apaña

In the US, the International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law School, along with other human rights lawyers, has filed two lawsuits charging former Bolivian President Gonzalo Daniel Sánchez de Lozada Sánchez Bustamante and former Bolivian Minister of Defense Jose Carlos Sánchez Berzaín for their roles in the killing of civilians during popular protests against the Bolivian government in September and October 2003. The case will be heard in Miami.

The suits, which seek compensatory and punitive damages under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS) and the Torture Victim Protection Act (TVPA) charge Sánchez de Lozada and Sánchez Berzaín with extrajudicial killings and crimes against humanity for their roles in the massacre of unarmed civilians, including children. In particular it charges the two with ordering Bolivian security forces to use deadly force, including the use of high-powered rifles and machine guns, to suppress popular civilian protests against government policies.

Legal experts say the case, filed by a group of 10 victims' family members, marks the most notable civil suit against a foreign former head of state residing in the United States since legal action was brought against former Philippines president Ferdinand Marcos in the 1980s

Each of the ten plaintiffs, who are Aymara natives of Bolivia, are survivors of individuals who were killed by forces under Sánchez de Lozada's and Sánchez Berzaín's command. The ten plaintiffs include among them: Eloy Rojas Mamani and Etelvina Ramos Mamani, whose 8-year-old daughter was killed in her mother's bedroom when a single shot was fired through the window; Teofilo Baltazar Cerro, whose pregnant wife was killed after a bullet was fired through the wall of a house, killing her and her unborn child; Felicidad Rosa Huanca Quispe, whose 69-year-old father was shot and killed along a roadside; and Gonzalo Mamani Aguilar, whose father was shot and killed.

"We would prefer to see Sánchez de Lozada and Sánchez Berzaín sent back to Bolivia to stand trial, but if that does not happen, the U.S. courts are the best alternative. We hope that the judiciary in the United States will give a fair trial for the victims and defendants. We are asking for justice," said Plaintiff Juan Patricio Quispe Mamani.

"Violators of human rights no longer have any refuge. They will be judged and held accountable. This is the case for Sánchez de Lozada and Sánchez Berzaín, who will answer to a court of law, either in the United States or Bolivia," said Harvard Law School Clinical Professor and Executive Director of the Human Rights Program James Cavallaro

The Bolivian Supreme Court has approved a formal extradition request for Sanchez de Lozada and two of his ministers to face trial in their home country on similar charges.

One of Sanchéz Berzain's US lawyers is Gregory B. Craig. Craig is a senior foreign policy advisor to presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama

The following article is from Reuters News Service.

Thousands of Bolivians protest at U.S. embassy

LA PAZ (Reuters) - Thousands of supporters of leftist president Evo Morales protested outside the U.S. Embassy in La Paz on Monday, demanding the United States send home for trial two right-wing Bolivian politicians.

The protest followed comments by former Defense Minister Carlos Sanchez Berzain, who told a local radio station last week that a U.S. court had granted him political asylum.

The protesters blame Sanchez Berzain and former President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada, who also lives in the United States, for the deaths of 60 people and wounding of hundreds more in an army clampdown on anti-government protests in 2003.

"We want Bolivia to be free, not a Yankee colony," shouted the irate protesters, most of whom were Bolivian Indians.

Hundreds of policemen in riot gear struggled to keep rock-throwing demonstrators away from the fortress-like embassy building and ended up firing tear gas to disperse them.

Morales, a leftist, often criticizes Sanchez de Lozada for his pro-business policies when in office and for being too close to the U.S. government.

Sanchez de Lozada stepped down as president during the political upheaval of 2003 and fled to the United States 13 months into his second term as president of the poor South American country.

"The government of George Bush has decided to give refuge to the butcher Sanchez Berzain, and also I suspect to the genocidal Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada ... we cannot tolerate (that)," protest leader Roberto de la Cruz told a local radio station.

The U.S. Embassy in La Paz has neither confirmed nor denied if Sanchez Berzain has been granted political asylum, saying that his immigration status is his private matter.

In September Bolivia's top court asked the government to start extradition proceedings against Sanchez de Lozada. But U.S. Ambassador Philip Goldberg was quoted as saying by Bolivian daily La Razon on Monday that Bolivia has not made a formal extradition request.

Like his ally Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, Morales is a fierce critic of U.S. foreign policy, which he often describes as "imperialistic."

(Writing by Eduardo Garcia; Editing by Fiona Ortiz and Eric Walsh)
~ From: Infoshop News ~

EU in bed with hunger profiteers : Dying for money

The farmers organisations and social movements CPE, COAG and Seattle to Brussels Network staged a symbolic action in Brussels on Fiday the 13th of June, 2008, to denounce the EU involvment in the corporate profit over the food crisis.

Last week in FAO conference on food security, the EU promoted more free-trade by concluding the Doha Round, fuelling cars instead of feeding people and more pesticides and fertilizers.

Over the last years, these so-called « solutions » have lead to more profits for the big agribusiness corporations and more poverty and hunger for the people.


These figures are for just three months at the beginning of 2008.

Number of hungry people:

+ 100 million people, reaching one billion hungry people in the world (1/6 of the world total population)

Grain Trading:

Archer Daniels Midland (ADM): Gross profit: $1.15 billion, up 55% from last year

Cargill: Net earnings: $1.03 billion, up 86%

Bunge: Consolidated gross profit: $867 million, up 189%.

Seeds & herbicides:

Monsanto: Gross profit: $2.23 billion, up 54%.

Dupont Agriculture and Nutrition: Pre-tax operating income: $786 million, up 21%


Potash Corporation: Net income: $66 million, up 185.9%

Mosaic: Net earnings: $520.8 million, up more than 1,200%

Meanwhile, local markets are being destroyed and land, water and seeds are being privatized, preventing peasants and small-scale farmers to supply their communities with appropriate food.

Small-scale food producers are able to produce healthy food for everybody. They supply local markets all over the world, while cooling down the earth and protecting biodiversity. For them to continue to do so and prevent further food crisis, we need market regulation and agrarian reform, we need food sovereignty.




Seattle to Brussels Network: Tom Kurschaz +34 619949053

CPE: Morgan Ody +32 486888845

More information:
~ Source: La Via Campesina ~

Family Day in Texas

State of Emergency: The US in the final six months of the George W. Bush administration

by Lewis Seiler and Dan Hamburg

In short, we are living in an on-going state of emergency whose exact limits are unknown, on the basis of a controversial deep event — 9/11 — that is still largely a mystery.
- UC Professor Emeritus Peter Dale Scott

Unhindered by a neutered Congress and a compliant Court, President Bush has six months remaining to pursue his agenda of expanding the war in the Middle East and ensuring the continuation of the Global War on Terror (GWOT) beyond his tenure in office.

The current administration has taken unto itself unprecedented, nearly hegemonic powers since the events of 9/11. On that day, George W. Bush issued his "Declaration of Emergency by Reason of Certain Terrorist Attacks" under the authority of the National Emergencies Act. This declaration, which can be rescinded by joint resolution of Congress, has instead been extended six times. In 2007, the declaration was strengthened with the issuance of National Security Presidential Directive 51 (NSPD-51) which gave the president the authority to do whatever he deems necessary in a vaguely defined "catastrophic emergency" including everything from canceling elections to suspending the Constitution to launching a nuclear attack.

Despite time constraints, there are clear signs that the president, the vice-president and their neocon collaborators are not finished. The constant saber-rattling toward Iran, with strong support from Israel, should send a chill down the spine of any peace-loving American. Military chiefs who oppose the president are "retired," as observed most recently with the March dismissals of CENTCOM commander Admiral William Fallon and 6th Fleet commander Vice-Admiral John Stufflebeem. Public opinion counts for nothing. In a March 24 interview with ABC's Martha Raddatz, vice president Dick Cheney responded to a question about the war weariness of Americans with a languid "So?"

According to J. Scott Carpenter, former deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs, Cheney pushed hard for airstrikes against Iranian Revolutionary Guard bases last summer. He was deterred by Pentagon officials who insisted that retaliation might be difficult to contain. Now, with Cheney ally General David Petraeus poised to take over Fallon's command, a significant obstacle has been removed.

It seems clear that there is a deadly struggle going on within the US government, a struggle that could well determine not only the election of the next president, but the survival of the republic. On one side are the neocons, the fanatics who led us into Iraq and who believe they alone possess the strategic acumen to usher in a "new American century." On the other is the Republican Party old guard ostensibly led by Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Gates was brought into the administration at the end of 2006 to replace the disgraced and despised Donald Rumsfeld, and generally to ride herd over the neocons.

The conflict between these factions has broken into the open over the past eight months. The first public signal came in October of last year, when the sixteen US intelligence agencies issued a consensus National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) that cut the legs out from under the administration's argument that Iran was on the verge of developing a nuclear weapon. The NIE stated that the Iranians had stopped work on the project in 2003.

Just before Labor Day last year, a B-52 Stratofortress bomber carrying six cruise missiles armed with nuclear warheads flew an unauthorized mission from Minot AFB in North Dakota to Barksdale AFB in Louisiana. Due to anonymous, high-level tips to the Military Times, the warheads were recovered. After several seemingly inconclusive investigations of the incident, Pentagon chief Gates fired Air Force Chief of Staff Michael Moseley and Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne last week, without revealing the role either man played in the nuke heist. Given the volume of evidence that this unprecedented transfer of live nuclear weapons was not an accident, the question remains: what individual or individuals within the government have the authority to commandeer nuclear bombs?

Conservative pundit Patrick J. Buchanan recently suggested that the neocons might be tempted to go to war with Iran in order to improve John McCain's chances of winning the presidency. As audacious as that seems, we want to go one step further. We believe that this administration is so zealous, so determined to hold onto power, that they may well stage a "false flag" attack, creating just the kind of "catastrophic emergency" to which NSPD-51 refers.

On April 29 of this year, CIA veteran Roland V. Carnaby was shot dead by police officers after a high speed chase through the streets of Houston. Carnaby, who had been the CIA's Chief of Station for the Southeast Region headquartered in Houston, was involved in conducting security surveys of the Port of Houston and had discovered that the Department of Homeland Security was tolerating gaping holes in port security. Carnaby and Houston intelligence and law enforcement personnel were also investigating the presence of "Middle Easterners" who were conducting surveillance of the Port of Houston. The "Middle Eastern" designator is the term used by the FBI for Israelis (typically Mossad agents) in order to avoid "political" problems with superiors.

Former National Security Agency analyst and naval intelligence officer Wayne Madsen has been in Houston investigating the Carnaby case at great personal risk. Madsen believes Carnaby was involved both in heading off a potential war with Iran (by leaking Mossad plans to assassinate Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah just days before Carnaby himself was killed) and in trying to forestall a potential terrorist attack on the port.

According to Madsen, "federal agents in Houston fear that 'another 9/11-type part false flag' attack is imminent, perhaps as early as July 4." Such an attack along the twenty-five-mile Houston Ship Channel, site of more explosive materials, toxic gases, and deadly petrochemicals than anywhere else in the country, could create an environmental and economic catastrophe that would dwarf 9/11.

How will the struggle within this administration be brought to an end? Will courageous military men like Adm. Fallon speak out before the next national tragedy befalls us? Will Congress act decisively to remove the president's emergency powers, challenge NSPD-51, and defend the Constitution? Will Defense Secretary Gates hold the line?

With just a half year left in what many believe has been the worst presidency in American history the possibilities are many, and some of them are truly frightening. As citizens of this country, we must do everything in our power to ensure that there is no expansion of war in the Middle East, no "false flag" attack at the Port of Houston or anywhere else, and a peaceful and constitutional succession to a new administration.

Lewis Seiler is president of Voice of the Environment, Inc. Dan Hamburg, a former US representative, is executive director.

~ From Common Dreams ~


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