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Obstruction of Justice

Posted on Mar 30, 2009
AP photo / Kevin Wolf

Former University of South Florida professor Sami Al-Arian, right, leaves federal court in Alexandria, Va., with his attorney, Jonathan Turley.

By Chris Hedges

U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema is scheduled to issue a ruling in the Eastern District of Virginia at the end of April in a case that will send a signal to the Muslim world and beyond whether the American judicial system has regained its independence after eight years of flagrant manipulation and intimidation by the Bush administration. Brinkema will decide whether the Palestinian activist Dr. Sami Amin Al-Arian, held for over six years in prison and under house arrest in Virginia since Sept 2, is guilty or innocent of two counts of criminal contempt.

Brinkema’s ruling will have ramifications that will extend far beyond Virginia and the United States. The trial of Al-Arian is a cause célèbre in the Muslim world. A documentary film was made about the case in Europe. He has become the poster child for judicial abuse and persecution of Muslims in the United States by the Bush administration. The facts surrounding the trial and imprisonment of the former university professor have severely tarnished the integrity of the American judicial system and made the government’s vaunted campaign against terrorism look capricious, inept and overtly racist.

Government lawyers made wild assertions that showed a profound ignorance of the Middle East and exposed a gross stereotyping of the Muslim world. It called on the FBI case agent, for example, who testified as an expert witness that Islamic terrorists were routinely smuggled over the border from Iran into Syria, apparently unaware that Syria is separated from Iran by a large land mass called Iraq. The transcripts of the case against Al-Arian—which read like a bad Gilbert and Sullivan opera—are stupefying in their idiocy. The government wiretaps picked up nothing of substance; taxpayer dollars were used to record and transcribe 21,000 hours of banal chatter, including members of the Al-Arian household ordering pizza delivery. During the trial the government called 80 witnesses and subjected the jury to inane phone transcriptions and recordings, made over a 10-year period, which the jury curtly dismissed as “gossip.” It would be comical if the consequences were not so dire for the defendant. 

A jury, on Dec. 6, 2005, acquitted Dr. Al-Arian on eight of the counts in the superseding indictment after a six-month trial in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida. On the 94 charges made against the four defendants, there were no convictions. Of the 17 charges against Al-Arian—including “conspiracy to murder and maim persons abroad”—the jury acquitted him of eight and was hung on the rest. The jurors, who voted 10 to 2 to acquit on the remaining charges, could not reach a unanimous decision calling for his full acquittal. Two others in the case, Ghassan Ballut and Sameeh Hammoudeh, were acquitted of all charges.

The trial result was a public relations disaster for the Bush White House and especially then-Attorney General John Ashcroft, who had personally announced the indictment and reportedly spent more than $50 million on the case. The government prosecutors threatened to retry Al-Arian. The Palestinian professor accepted a plea bargain that would spare him a second trial, agreeing that he had helped people associated with Palestinian Islamic Jihad with immigration matters. It was a very minor charge given the high profile of the case. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida and the counterterrorism section of the Justice Department agreed to recommend to the judge the minimum sentence of 46 months. But U.S. District Judge James S. Moody Jr., who made a series of comments during the trial that seemed to condemn all Muslims, sentenced Al-Arian to the maximum 57 months. In referring to Al-Arian’s contention, for example, that he had only raised money for Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s charity for widows and orphans, the judge told the professor that “your only connection to orphans and widows is that you create them.”


Square, Site wide
I spent an afternoon with Dr. Al-Arian in his small apartment in Arlington, Va., on Friday. His lawyers have asked that he make no public statements about his case. But we talked widely about the Middle East, the new Israeli government, the siege of Gaza, our families and the changes he hopes will come with an Obama administration. He sat on a couch wearing an electronic monitoring bracelet on his ankle, thankful to be with his wife and children after being shuttled between jails across the South and kept for 45 months in solitary confinement during his five-and-a-half-year ordeal. But he remains perplexed, as are many, by the gross miscarriage of justice and the ferocity of the government’s campaign to smear him with terrorism charges.

The government originally sought a standard cooperation provision as part of the final plea agreement. Al-Arian objected. He refused to plead guilty if he had to cooperate with the Justice Department. The Justice Department—including lawyers from the counterterrorism section of Main Justice—then negotiated to take out the cooperation provision in return for a longer sentence on the one count. That was the deal. He was to have been held in jail until April 2007 and then deported. But that never happened.

Wages of Rebellion: The Moral Imperative of Revolt, By Chris Hedges, Truthdig Columnist and Winner of the Pulitzer Prize -- Get Your Autographed Copy Today Also Available! Truthdig Exclusive DVD of Chris Hedges' Wages of Rebellion Lecture The World As It Is: 
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By KDelphi, April 8, 2009 at 1:33 pm Link to this comment

Gulam—Wow! I seem to have struck a nerve, are you a rich Anglo male or something?

I shouldve included Jews, also.

But the facts remain that Af Ams, women, Latinos, etc, remain poorer, by stats, than Anglo and JUDEO_CHRISTIAN MALES. Thats just the facts.

But, you seem to have a particular problem with Jews. I have a problem with Zionists, but, that is not the same thing. I dont give a frick about political correctness. What, you you think I am a f*cking Democrat or GOP or something??

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By Gulam, April 8, 2009 at 12:58 pm Link to this comment

KDelphi, that is baloney. The names on this economic meltdown do not sound like anglo Americans to me, they sound like Jewish Americans. Yes, you have a few car company executives and a front man like Geitner is a gentile, so that he can take the heat, but look at the rest of the list, the banks and Federal Reserve. The Anglos are no more well represented than their percentage of the population, but Jews make up 1.7% of Americans but news of the financial collapse is has a much higher rate of Maddoffs, Goldmans, and Greenspans. This is something that you are not allowed to say, so instead you talk about the rich white Anglos, because that is politically correct.

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By KDelphi, April 8, 2009 at 10:44 am Link to this comment

AFriend—Indeed, what country would one compare it to? But, the president is one person. The facts remain that Af Ams make up a much larger proportion of the impoverished, as do women, and, further “down”. other minorities.

Rich, white Anglo males still run the show. Pres. Obama is too indebted to Wall St.

If you want stats on wealth and sex, race, etc, I can give them.

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By AFriend, April 7, 2009 at 7:13 pm Link to this comment

I maintain that the speed at which the United States went from a slave labor system to having her first negro president is unmatched in all of human history. In this context, the context of thousands of years of history, this extremely rapid change is astounding!

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By Folktruther, April 7, 2009 at 10:53 am Link to this comment

OK, Fadel, I misunderstood.  Gulam, no power system “solves” an enormous economic problem like slavery without a revolution of some kind.  that a speaker obfuscated the issue to justify the Iraq or Afghan wars is simply one of the myriad ways of deceptively justifying the unjustifiable.

Even after the slavery war African-Americans were subjected to exploitation, terrorism and systematically humliation for another century.  And its not over yet.

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By Fadel Abdallah, April 6, 2009 at 6:08 pm Link to this comment

By Folktruther, April 5 at 9:47 pm #

“Fadel- You agree that Americans make a mountain out of molehill about slavery?  I find this hard to believe. Ethnic cleansing of Indians and slavery of African-Americans decisively formed the ideology of the US, and, indirectly, Israel.  Racism did not lead to this barbarism, this barbarism led to racism.”
Folktruther, Dear Friend! No, I think there is a misunderstanding here! What I agreed on with Gulam was the issue that current official America, in general, tends to make a mountain out of a molehill when it serves their interests to justify criminal acts half way around the world. I wasn’t talking about the Civil War or slavery. In fact, I believe that the Civil War happened because, at the time, there were two Americas, with two ideological visions and the issue of slavery was a convenient political game in the hands of one of the two waring parties.

The issue of the ethnic cleansing of Indians and slavery of African-Americans is a big fact of history that no amount of revisionist history writing can alter it or even sugar-coat it.

If you reread my comment, I was, in fact, taking strong issue with Gulam who was trying to minimize the numbers of African slaves brought to America,and who was also saying that most African slaves ended in Egypt and Arabia proper. I think the misunderstanding resulted from trying to make my response short and limited to refuting one sweeping statement he made.

What I mean that the current official political establishment in America, in general, tends to make a mountain out of a molehill when it serves its empire interests to justify criminal acts half way around the world can be further understood if you read William Pfaff’s article-under Reports- entitled, “America’s Long War Will be as Bloody as Europe’s.” I also wrote a comment under that thread.

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By Gulam, April 5, 2009 at 9:13 pm Link to this comment

That is what I meant Folktruther, America makes so much out of having fought the Civil War to end slavery that it makes the perfect model for succeeding wars. All they need do is claim to be liberating someone, and, like Napoleon, this gives them carte blanche to walk all over anyone. I still maintain that the South would have solved its slavery problem eventually anyway, because it was no longer a viable system, and killing people on that scale is never the answer. I heard a sermon at the American Cathedral in Paris in the early summer of 2008 in which a direct parallel was drawn between the Wars in Iraq and in Afghanistan to the American Civil War, complete with a line from the Battle Hymn of the Republic. He regarded these wars as a holy crusade. The American Civil War was the model for all of the greatb American crusades, and it showed the clumsy and brutal way in which the industrial machine would fights its wars. Those who get on their high-horse about the evils of slavery are generally the same ones who think they are helping Afghan women by going along with Obama on his war on Afghanistan and Pakistan. Yes, it was good to end slavery, but the example that it set, the model it provided for self satisfied aggression has cost the world a lot more than it helped black Americans. You have made a mountain out of the Civil War as a positive morel example, when it was not even a mole hill, it is a valley of death that the still sucks in the stupid.

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By Folktruther, April 5, 2009 at 6:47 pm Link to this comment

Fadel- You agree that Americans make a mountain out of molehill about slavery?  I find this hard to believe. Ethnic cleansing of Indians and slavery of African-Americans decisively formed the ideology of the US, and, indirectly, Israel.  Racism did not lead to this barbarism, this barbarism led to racism. 

The stealing of half of Mexico from Latinos, the putting a hundred thousand Japenese residents in concentration camps, the Wall against Mexicans, the routine massacres of millions of non-whites in foreign countries, was all part of the history against non-White peoples in the US.  And the current War against Muslims.  What on earth are you thinking of?

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By AFriend, April 5, 2009 at 10:57 am Link to this comment


Basic premises I find helpful to, and in, others: Clarity, brevity, humility and, most of all, honesty.

As one matures one often finds each of these characteristics helpful in their travels.

For example: It’s often amazing how genuine listening, coupled with thoughtful questions, can gain us a great deal more than frantic and desperate attempts at displaying how smart we think we are.

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By Noah, April 4, 2009 at 5:29 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I know many Americans hate Muslims, but the truth is that they are morally far superior to most Americans.  They actually have deep-seated beliefs that murder and greed are evil, whereas these things are celebrated in American culture.  Most Americans live for the moment, running away in terror from the past, the future, and all forms of knowledge and wisdom.  At least Muslims acknowledge that there are consequences in the afterlife for evil deeds during one’s life.

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By KDelphi, April 4, 2009 at 11:18 am Link to this comment

ITW—I hate to say it, but, in many parts of the Deep South, the only thing that HAS changed is legalized human ownership (physical). The share-cropping that still goes on , is basically legalized slavery. The Stars and Bars seem to have continuous problems with doing its own labor…

The Deep South is where the neo-cons were born. They are respnsible for Blue Doggery,(no offense to those southerners who would be offended), driving down minimum wage and sweat shop laws, and bringing down more liberal Dems attempts at the EFCA, single payer health care and constantly pushing for “entitlement privitization”.

The sad part is that, a very large part of the young workforce there ends up fighting corporate and contractor wars (with the alternative being non-unionized Wal Mart—even in China, they are unionized)
. Then, when they return, it will be the GOP and Blue Dogs who vote to NOT give them benefits they deserve, for fear they will LEAVE THE MILITARY! This is where most of the Abu Gharib soldiers were from , (again, no offense to good people in Arkansas or W Va.), although the guys at the top shouldve payed a much bigger price. So far, they have paid none at all.)

Thats why I was excited about hearing that (I thought) that John Yoo was indicted. I did not mean that it “harmed me” or something! Jeez, people…I had to think a bit, then, I remembered April 1st…so what…people are so touchy here anymore.

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By Inherit The Wind, April 4, 2009 at 4:51 am Link to this comment

Because of this differing view of slaves in the English colonies vs the Iberian ones, it made the English colonists MORE resistant to ending slavery. 

Think about it:  Slaves were capital equipment that had to be trained and maintained.  While on the surface, this seems FAR more humane than the Spanish simply working them to death and getting more, after all, they would receive food, clothing, shelter, medical care, and even retirement pensions (of a sort), there was nothing humane about it.

Think of today’s manufacturing factory: The ownership resists EVERY attempt to force more green use of resources and of ending pollution.  There are a million excuses and millions spent on lobbying, just to fight being forced to DO THE RIGHT THING—because it cuts into profit.

Think of today’s gun owners—willing to let yesterday’s Binghamton or the other recent shootings happen just to make sure THEY have access to their Glocks and Barettas and Smith&Wessons; and their CCPs so they can walk around everywhere armed and ready to kill someone.

THIS is the true model of the Ante-Bellum slaveowners—selfish, greedy, paranoid, and writing laws to defend their turf, giving them more and more property ownership rights over other humans, and, ultimately, committing the greatest treason in our nation’s history—the secession.  They even started the War—firing on a Federal military establishment, Fort Sumter.

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By Inherit The Wind, April 4, 2009 at 4:38 am Link to this comment

Gulam, April 3 at 11:00 am #

Americans tend to make a mountain out of a mole hill regarding slavery in the South. Only 15% of slaves leaving Africa at the height of the American trade moved West; the vast majority went to Egypt and Arabia and beyond. Of the 15% that did go West, only 15% of those went to what is now the USA. That is 2.25% of all of the slaves taken from Africa were going to the US. Yes, the south had slaves, but not everyone did; there were significant numbers only in coastal counties. The numbers seem greater, because in the South they survived in greater numbers than on British plantations in the Caribbean. By the end of the 19th century slavery had died out in all but isolated areas like Arabia and the Sudan, so it would have happened in the US South soon anyway, since it was becoming economically unworkable. The Civil War was obviously not necessary, but a lot of people make a lot of money from it, and industry took control once and for all of the United States. The Civil War was the classic experience where they learned to use the rhetoric of liberation as a cover for occupation and domination. The USA has been using this formula ever since. In Vietnam Americans were liberating the locals from Communism. Today Americans pretend to be liberating Iraqis from a secular dictator and Afghans from religious leaders. It is all purpose baloney, this Enlightenment nonsense on which America is founded, and together with fear mongering it can be twisted to suit any situation.

This is the kind of phony historical BULLSHIT that pisses me off!  It’s usually promoted by Southerners defending the right to post the Stars’n'Bars.

In fact, in the 1840’s and 1850’s Southern states were going just the opposite way—weaving a web of laws to perpetuate slavery. They felt threatened. They were well aware that most European nations had outlawed slavery, that importing slaves had been outlawed and there was a growing movement in the rest of the country to get rid of slavery.  The secession happened BEFORE Lincoln became President and Buchanan let it happen.

In fact, the South was seeking to ensure slavery into perpetuity and there was NO movement there to end it at all.  There is no indication that it EVER would have or could have ended until the great crop failures of the 20th century, when growing too much cotton had burned out the soil.

As for the slave trade, Fadel is probably correct—most of the slaves “Black Pearls” as they were seen for their financial value, came to the New World.  But most went to Spanish or Portuguese lands and died because they were seen as consumable supplies—as opposed to the English colonies where they were seen as capital equipment, therefore to be maintained.

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By cyrena, April 4, 2009 at 2:31 am Link to this comment


An academic can always differentiate between facts and opinion, and you’re absolutely correct that we are all entitled to our opinions. It’s like they say, Opinions are like assholes, and everybody has one.

Facts however are facts, and they don’t change, only your denial of them. Had you taken the time to read the facts, you would know them, and then you could offer your own interpretation of what they meant, and that would be respected as your opinion. Just not the facts.

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By AFriend, April 3, 2009 at 3:06 pm Link to this comment


I only know enough to repeat what I wrote in response to a couple of glaring inaccuracies.

To suggest that slavery was the “only” form of economic development is astoundingly incorrect. Long before slavery young America was already heavily trading around the world.

In the context of thousands of years in human history (the U.S. is a very young nation) the Antebellum Southern States, very briefly, relied on the inhumane practice of slavery. And, just as quickly, the United States permanently tossed away those shackles.

In other words; America moved very rapidly away from such practices to having it’s first negro president. The mere speed at which this has happened is truly something to witness and take note of.

The rot is not in America today. Short thinking is where I see the rot.

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By Gulam, April 3, 2009 at 2:28 pm Link to this comment

AFriend you may well have better knowledge on the subject of slavery. A few years ago en route to Mozambique for the UN I read a book that I bought in the Johannesburg Airport about Africa. A large, seemingly literate volume, that did contain those statistics, concerning the relatively small percentage of the slave trade flowing to America. I would be curious to know how much is really known about all of that. It is, however, clear that the full blown and murderous civil war of Mr. Lincoln was more about domination and economic conquest than about liberating black Americans, just as the Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghan wars have little to do with emancipation and freedom.

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By AFriend, April 3, 2009 at 1:44 pm Link to this comment

An academic that can’t differentiate between “facts” and “opinions”?

You were suspicious of the John Yoo story but, “Needless to say”, this MADE YOUR DAY?????

cyrena—It’s best we ignore each other. I apologize for commenting on your shortcomings. While I find you unhelpful in every way, you’re entitled to you opinions.

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By cyrena, April 3, 2009 at 11:42 am Link to this comment

By AFriend, April 3 at 8:21 am

•  “Your opinion on slavery in America and the John Yoo alert were so harmful and off the wall I felt compelled to respond. Rest assured I won’t make the same mistake.”
A non-Friend,

First of all, my comments on slavery in America are NOT ‘OPINION”, they are FACT. As for the John Yoo alert, I found myself suspicious of it when I first read it, specifically because the link that had been provided, (reuters) came up blank.  So as an academic, I made it a point to check multiple other sources before posting that alert. I found SEVERAL, but I wasn’t convinced entirely until I found the same information posted in THE NEW YORK TIMES.

Now I have always pretty much trusted the NYT as at least a secondary reference in my work, if it is something that pertains to my work. This did.

And, at the time that I posted that information, I included that link, (and several others) as a reference.

So you can in fact blame me for being ‘fooled’ by this MAINSTREAM MEDIA information, although the truth of the matter is that John Yoo and his former partners in the crime of TORTURE are still being investigated as a Spanish Court considers extradition.

You claim that this alert was ‘so harmful’ but I find that pretty lame considering the HARM of TORTURE. Shall we try it on you, to see which is more harmful?

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By Fadel Abdallah, April 3, 2009 at 10:34 am Link to this comment

By Gulam, April 3 at 11:00 am #

“Americans tend to make a mountain out of a mole hill regarding slavery in the South. Only 15% of slaves leaving Africa at the height of the American trade moved West; the vast majority went to Egypt and Arabia and beyond.”
Though I am on agreement on the essence of your comment, I find it necessary to take issue with your statistics on the issue of the numbers of slaves who went here or there. I happened to have studied and wrote a scholarly paper on the issue of slavery within the context of Africa and its relation to Arabia when I was in graduate school.

First, I would kindly ask you to cite references on these percentages you cite that you seem to be so sure about!

Second, as to your saying that the “vast majority of African slaves went to Egypt and Arabia” I find it necessary to take strong issue with this sweeping statement. In fact, my research showed that almost all of the African slaves in Egypt and Arabia were employed as domestic servants in the homes of the few rich merchants and the ruling elite as well as entertainers and musicians in the courts of few rulers.

At the height of the slave trade from Africa neither Egypt nor Arabia were known to have industries or large scale agricultural plantations requiring large scale of slave labor to work in these areas. And whatever small scale agriculture or manufacture that existed in these two geographical areas was done by the local poor masses of families that worked as share croppers.

Moreover, the present absence of large numbers of people of African descent in Arabia and Egypt is a proof that there was never a large scale African slavery moving from Africa towards Egypt and Arabia.

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By Gulam, April 3, 2009 at 8:00 am Link to this comment

Americans tend to make a mountain out of a mole hill regarding slavery in the South. Only 15% of slaves leaving Africa at the height of the American trade moved West; the vast majority went to Egypt and Arabia and beyond. Of the 15% that did go West, only 15% of those went to what is now the USA. That is 2.25% of all of the slaves taken from Africa were going to the US. Yes, the south had slaves, but not everyone did; there were significant numbers only in coastal counties. The numbers seem greater, because in the South they survived in greater numbers than on British plantations in the Caribbean. By the end of the 19th century slavery had died out in all but isolated areas like Arabia and the Sudan, so it would have happened in the US South soon anyway, since it was becoming economically unworkable. The Civil War was obviously not necessary, but a lot of people make a lot of money from it, and industry took control once and for all of the United States. The Civil War was the classic experience where they learned to use the rhetoric of liberation as a cover for occupation and domination. The USA has been using this formula ever since. In Vietnam Americans were liberating the locals from Communism. Today Americans pretend to be liberating Iraqis from a secular dictator and Afghans from religious leaders. It is all purpose baloney, this Enlightenment nonsense on which America is founded, and together with fear mongering it can be twisted to suit any situation.

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By AFriend, April 3, 2009 at 5:21 am Link to this comment


Please understand when I tell that I will never read anything from you that is six parts in length. In fact after the first few of your posts I largely stopped reading your opinions (you peddle nonsense). From time to time, however, I do find myself seeing your briefest posts when following a thread.

Your opinion on slavery in America and the John Yoo alert were so harmful and off the wall I felt compelled to respond. Rest assured I won’t make the same mistake.

I offer two hints for you so that you can grow out of adolescent behavior. 1. Refrain from demonizing anyone who disagrees with you. 2. Blessed is the man, who having nothing to say, abstains from giving wordy evidence of the fact.

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By cyrena, April 3, 2009 at 1:52 am Link to this comment

1 of 6
OK An Enemy,
I’ve done a little bit of the work for you, enough to keep you busy until we give you the really hard cold facts that so display your ignorance.


“The Constitutional Topics pages at the site are presented to delve deeper into topics than can be provided on the Glossary Page or in the FAQ pages. This Topic Page concerns Slavery. Slavery is mentioned in two main places in the Constitution; in Article 1, Section 2 Clause 3, and the 13th Amendment. Also see the Not in the Constitution entry.

Primary source material for this essay include The Origins of American Slavery by Betty Wood (Hill and Wang, New York, 1997), Jim Crow Guide - The Way It Was by Stetson Kennedy (Florida Atlantic University Press, Boca Raton, 1990), and The History of Jim Crow. Population figures from census data were found at The University of Virginia. Quotes from the Founding Fathers concerning slavery were taken from George Washington’s will can be found at The University of Virginia.

•  Introduction
•  The Origin of Slavery
•  The Founding Fathers and the Constitution
•  Jim Crow
•  Postscript
Slavery is a prominent part of United States history. Slavery has existed for thousands of years in many cultures, but in the United States, the institution seemed to have been perfected. It also came at a time of enlightenment, when many began to see slavery not as the necessity that many felt it was, but as an evil exploitation of men.

From the time that Christopher Columbus arrived in the New World, slaves were as much a part of the settlement and economy as the settlers and the crops. But this was the normal state of affairs for much of the Western world. The African slave trade, which started in the 15th century, was begun by the Portuguese, but slavery among African tribes was common, as it was among the Native Americans that Columbus encountered in Hispaniola. The biggest difference between native slavery and the slavery brought by Europeans to Africa and the Caribbean was the scope and scale.

Going further back, ancient Rome is said to have been more dependent upon its slave labor than any society before or since. Some estimates place the slave population in Rome in the 1st century to be about a third. Slaves came mostly from conquered peoples. To a lesser degree, the children of slaves were also slaves. Kidnapping and piracy, as well as cross-culture purchase are also seen as likely sources. Finally, self-sale, slavery for debt, and slavery as punishment for crimes were also in place.
Lastly, as was often mentioned by American supporters of slavery, slavery is mentioned in the Bible. Therein, while it is not encouraged, it is acknowledged, and it is regulated.

Slavery, then, has a long, if ugly, history. In 21st century America, it is easy for us to look at our past and be disappointed, even disgusted, by slavery. In fact, it is right to do so. However, it must be understood in the historical context.
The Origin of Slavery
When examining the American slave trade, a “why” must first be determined. Why were the slaves brought from Africa, and not from, say, the Caribbean or South America? There are two schools of thought on this topic. The first is purely racial - that the color of skin of the African made him a target for the European traders. The other is that race had little to do with the beginning of the trade, but that pure economics dictated the source. Race, when it eventually did become a factor, came afterwards.

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By cyrena, April 3, 2009 at 1:49 am Link to this comment

2 of 6
Initial colonization of the New World by England came in the Caribbean, such as on St. Kitts, and in Virginia. The primary concern of the English in the use of these lands was as a source of income.

Tobacco was discovered and became wildly popular, and its cultivation became a priority. Tobacco agriculture requires lots and lots of land, and, in turn, lots of labor to work the land. The first workers were recruited servants from England itself. Lured by the promise of land at the end of their term of service, many indentured servants came. In the islands of the Caribbean, however, land was not limitless, as it seemed to be in Virginia to the north.

Settlers branched out from one island colony to another, with some inhabitants and workers moving from other islands and some coming from Britain.

Similar colonization was happening with the French, whose laws did not permit indentured servitude to fill labor needs. The Dutch slave traders stepped in with a ready source - enslaved Africans. The English were quick to adopt this model for labor, and by the 1650s, the source of labor had switched from voluntary to involuntary. On Barbados, where tobacco failed as a crop, but where sugar cane and cotton grew well. Based on the Portuguese model in Brazil, Africans were brought in to work the crops such that by 1660, the slave-to-free ratio was about 50-50.

The Africans were slaves in fact and, eventually, in law. They did not have an end to their term of service as indentured servants did. There was no loss in profit when a number of years ran out. In addition, the wage levels for indentured servants had a strong upturn in the 1640s. The economics of slavery were obvious to the plantation owners.

This plays into slavery into America because by the mid-1660s, proprietors of the North American lands, from Virginia on south, were looking to profit from their lands just as had been done in the Caribbean. They wanted to attract settlers from England, but more so, they wanted to attract settlers from the Caribbean, who had already worked successful crops and were used to the climate. Certainly, they promoted the religious freedoms of the colonies, and the extension of English rights and liberties, but they also guaranteed property rights. And by this time, African slaves were property. As planters moved from Barbados to the Carolinas, they brought their slaves with them.

In Virginia, in the meantime, the cultivation of tobacco became of paramount importance. Over objections of the King to smoking, and over warnings concerning single-crop agriculture, the lure of profit fixated the settlers. Once they were able to take all the land they wished from the native Indian tribes, they were left with vast amounts of land to work. Indians proved too scattered and resistant to enslave in large numbers. Indentured servants were brought over from England, and they formed the backbone of Virginia labor until the 1680s. The thinking is that indentured servitude continued to be the more profitable way of acquiring labor - an African slave was simply more expensive. Some of the same forces that influenced the shift to African labor in the Caribbean came to Virginia. Though it came later, by 1710 the slavery system was so firmly established that it was a fully developed area of the law.

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By cyrena, April 3, 2009 at 1:47 am Link to this comment

3 of 6

In 17th century Massachusetts, slavery was much less an important part of the economic structure, but it was, nonetheless, an important part of the social structure. The Puritans saw slavery as authorized by the Bible, and a natural part of society. However, the Puritans were also governed by a code of biblical conduct whereby slaves had some rights, and whereby the masters were presumed to be responsible not only for a slave’s physical but also spiritual well-being. These factors made the life of a slave only slightly less onerous that those in Southern states. But the form of agriculture used in Massachusetts is probably more responsible for the relative lack of slaves in the North. Small farms, not large plantations, were the norm, and it was common to find the farmer working the fields alongside slaves. The tide would eventually turn, however, and by the time of the Constitutional Convention, Massachusetts had outlawed slavery.
The Founding Fathers and the Constitution
By the time of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, slavery in the United States was a grim reality. In the census of 1790, there were slaves counted in nearly every state, with only Massachusetts and the “districts” of Vermont and Maine, being the only exceptions. In the entire country 3.8 million people were counted, 700,000 of them, or 18 percent, were slaves. In South Carolina, 43 percent of the population was slave. In Maryland 32 percent, and in North Carolina 26 percent. Virginia, with the largest slave population of almost 300,000, had 39 percent of its population made up of slaves.

In the Articles of Confederation, the nation’s first constitution, there is not mention of slavery. The states were represented in Congress by state, with each state picking its own representatives, so population, which became critical in the future House of Representatives, was not relevant. Also, because fugitive slaves, and the abolition movement, were almost unheard of as late as the 1780s, there is no mention of this issue in the Articles. The closest thing to be found is the Fugitive Clause in Article 4, but even that is more geared toward convicts.

There was no great movement in America to abolish slavery in the 1780’s, then the Constitutional Convention met. To be sure, there were opponents of slavery, on a philosophical level, but the abolition movement did not appear until the 1830’s, when the American Anti-Slavery Society was founded with William Lloyd Garrison writing the organization’s nascent statement of principles. Prior to the Convention in 1787, many “Founding Fathers” expressed opinions that condemned slavery.

John Jay, great supporter of the Constitution after its creation and an author of The Federalist wrote in 1786, “It is much to be wished that slavery may be abolished. The honour of the States, as well as justice and humanity, in my opinion, loudly call upon them to emancipate these unhappy people. To contend for our own liberty, and to deny that blessing to others, involves an inconsistency not to be excused.”

Oliver Ellsworth, one of the signers of the Constitution wrote, a few months after the Convention adjourned, “All good men wish the entire abolition of slavery, as soon as it can take place with safety to the public, and for the lasting good of the present wretched race of slaves.”

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By cyrena, April 3, 2009 at 1:44 am Link to this comment

4 of 6
Patrick Henry, the great Virginian patriot, refused to attend the Convention because he “smelt a rat,” was outspoken on the issue, despite his citizenship in a slave state. In 1773, he wrote, “I believe a time will come when an opportunity will be offered to abolish this lamentable evil. Everything we do is to improve it, if it happens in our day; if not, let us transmit to our descendants, together with our slaves, a pity for their unhappy lot and an abhorrence of slavery.”

Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, which, famously, declares that “all men are created equal,” wrote, “There must doubtless be an unhappy influence on the manners of our people produced by the existence of slavery among us. The whole commerce between master and slave is a perpetual exercise of the most boisterous passions, the most unremitting despotism on the one part, and degrading submissions on the other. Our children see this, and learn to imitate it; for man is an imitative animal. This quality is the germ of all education in him.” Alas, like many Southerners, Jefferson held slaves, as many as 223 at some points in his life. His family sold his slaves after his death, in an effort to relieve the debt he left his estate in.

In a letter to the Marquis de Lafayette, George Washington wrote, “[Y]our late purchase of an estate in the colony of Cayenne, with a view to emancipating the slaves on it, is a generous and noble proof of your humanity. Would to God a like spirit would diffuse itself generally into the minds of the people of this country; but I despair of seeing it.” Washington and his wife held over 300 slaves. He wrote in his will that he’d wished to free his slaves, but that because of intermarriage between his and Martha’s slaves, he feared the break-up of families should only his slaves be freed. He directed that his slaves be freed upon her death. His will provided for the continued care of all slaves, paid for from his estate.

The great American scientist and publisher Benjamin Franklin held several slaves during his lifetime. He willed one of them be freed upon his death, but Franklin outlived him. In 1789, he said, “Slavery is such an atrocious debasement of human nature, that its very extirpation, if not performed with solicitous care, may sometimes open a source of serious evils.”

Other examples of anti-slavery messages abound from the late 1700’s. They illustrate the feelings of some, but those feelings cannot be seen in the product of their works at creating a government.

Despite the freedoms demanded in the Declaration and the freedoms reserved in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, slavery was not only tolerated in the Constitution, but it was codified.*

*Did ya get that part? Not only was it TOLERATED, but it was CODIFIED.

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By cyrena, April 3, 2009 at 1:42 am Link to this comment

5 of 6
The Constitution has often been called a living tribute to the art of compromise. In the slavery question, this can be seen most clearly. The Convention had representatives from every corner of the United States, including, of course, the South, where slavery was most pronounced. Slavery, in fact, was the backbone of the primary industry of the South, and it was accepted as a given that agriculture in the South without slave labor was not possible. Though slaves were not cheap by any measure, they were cheaper than hiring someone to do the same work. The cultivation of rice, cotton, and tobacco required slaves to work the fields from dawn to dusk. If the nation did not guarantee the continuation of slavery to the South, it was questioned whether they would form their own nation.
Slavery is seen in the Constitution in a few key places. The first is in the Enumeration Clause, where representatives are apportioned. Each state is given a number of representatives based on its population - in that population, slaves, called “other persons,” are counted as three-fifths of a whole person. This compromise was hard-fought, with Northerners wishing that slaves, legally property, but uncounted, much as mules and horses are uncounted. Southerners, however, well aware of the high proportion of slaves to the total population in their states, wanted them counted as whole persons despite their legal status. The three-fifths number was a ratio used by the Congress in contemporary legislation and was agreed upon with little debate.
In Article 1, Section 9, Congress is limited, expressly, from prohibiting the “Importation” of slaves, before 1808. The slave trade was a bone of contention for many, with some who supported slavery abhorring the slave trade. The 1808 date, a compromise of 20 years, allowed the slave trade to continue, but placed a date-certain on its survival. Congress eventually passed a law outlawing the slave trade that became effective on January 1, 1808.
The Fugitive Slave Clause is the last mention. In it, a problem that slave states had with extradition of escaped slaves was resolved. The laws of one state, the clause says, cannot excuse a person from “Service or Labour” in another state. The clause expressly requires that the state in which an escapee is found deliver the slave to the state he escaped from “on Claim of the Party.”

It has been said that the seeds of the Civil War, which was fought, despite revisionist theory to the contrary, over the issue of slavery, were sown in the compromises of the Constitution on the issue. This is probably true. Slavery, which was started in violence in the kidnapping, shipment, and commerce of human chattel, needed violence to bring it to an end. After the devastation of the Revolutionary War and the unrest in the U.S. under the Articles, a time of peace and recovery was needed to strengthen the nation to a point where it could survive a civil war. The greatest tragedy is that in the nearly 100 years between the start of the Revolutionary War and the end of the Civil War, millions of slaves served, suffered, and died so that the nation could prosper.
Jim Crow
With the demise of the institution of slavery, it was the hope of many that blacks would quickly rise in their citizen status. However, there were several problems with this hope. The first was the bitterness the South felt about the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation, the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments, and the Radical Republicans. The second was basic prejudice. For centuries, most blacks had been relegated to a sub-human status, and that feeling, even among many Northerners, was not going to go away with slavery.

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By cyrena, April 3, 2009 at 1:40 am Link to this comment

6 of 6

Once the Southern states regained control of their own governments again, following Reconstruction, the Black Codes were quickly enacted.

The 14th and 15th Amendments were actually national reactions to Black Codes enacted in the South just after the Civil War. Legally, constitutionally, blacks were equal. Many of the Black Code provisions were illegal under the new amendments, and black voters, and even legislators, gained power in the immediate aftermath. But to counter the freedoms gained, eventually new Black Codes were enacted, most of which aimed to deny blacks the vote by means that did not rely on race on their face, but which relied on race at their root. Organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan also rose, intimidating black voters from exercising their new suffrage rights. Poll taxes, literacy tests, and other tactics, both legal and extra-legal, were used to deny blacks the vote. With no voice in the government, the rate of black voters, and any sign of black legislators, quickly disappeared.

Following the Plessy v Ferguson decision in 1896, where the Supreme Court ruled that while blacks had equal right under the law, but that separation of the races was legal as long as facilities were equal, throughout the South, and elsewhere, more laws were enacted to keep blacks on one side and whites on the other. These laws, known as Jim Crow laws, affected every aspect of the lives of blacks.
The term “Jim Crow” comes from popular minstrel shows around the time of the Civil War. The Jim Crow character was a stereotypical black man. The term was picked up to describe laws which segregated whites and blacks in everyday personal life, and to describe laws aimed at denying blacks the vote. By 1910, each state that had been a part of the Confederacy had a complex and complete system of Jim Crow laws in place. This legal separation continued to be buttressed by extra-legal acts, such as widespread lynchings and other terrorist acts committed upon any one who spoke out, or, often, on random blacks for the sake of pure terror.

The unfairness of the “separate but equal” doctrine seems obvious to us today, and the effects of the Plessy case on the lives of ordinary blacks seems to be very direct and incontrovertible. But it took 60 years before the courts were ready to part with the Plessy case. In that time, numerous people were killed, millions were denied the right to vote, some blacks being born and dying without even having voted, and segregation dug its claws ever deeper into American society.

For example, a 1958 Alabama law stated that “It shall be unlawful for white and colored persons to play together ... in any game of cards, dice, dominoes, checkers, pool, billiards, softball, basketball, football, golf, track, and at swimming pools or in any athletic conference.” Prejudice extended past the law into the jury box, too.

According to the Jim Crow Guide, “three white youths who confessed to a Christmas Eve rape of a 17-year-old Negro girl at Decatur, Georgia, were nevertheless acquitted by the DeKalb County jury.”
Read the rest at the link below.

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By cyrena, April 3, 2009 at 12:44 am Link to this comment

An Enemy,

Unfortunately I was unable to locate the syllabus for the course that I took from Prof Park about a year ago, which would have been very helpful to anyone who wants to understand how crucial slavery was to the founding of this country, and the inclusion of racism actually written into the founding documents. (One hint is that for representatives purposes, Blacks/Slaves were only counted as 1/3rd of a human)

However, since he’s still around, I’ll make it a point to check with him next week, since he is teaching a similar course this quarter, for which I have provided a brief description below.

INT94DN: Race and American Law

Day: Wednesdays
Time: 5:00-6:00 p.m.
Location: MANZ

This course surveys major cases in American law that refer to race and racial categories. We will review the legal status of slaves and freedmen, Chinese immigrants and Native Americans, and white racial identity in legal definitions of American citizenship. We will also review major civil rights cases since World War II, as well as post-civil rights cases dealing with desegregation and affirmative action.

Professor John Park, Asian American Studies, is an Associate Professor of Asian American Studies, Law and Society, and Sociology, and he also serves as an Assistant Dean in the College of Letters & Science. He publishes articles and books about immigration law and policy, Asian American history, Anglo American jurisprudence, and theories of race. Thankfully, he avoided becoming a lawyer.”

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By cyrena, April 3, 2009 at 12:24 am Link to this comment

My Opinion? If you are an American; the United States deserves a great deal more of your pride. If that’s impossible for you perhaps you could refrain from spreading falsehoods about it’s history. Is that too much to request?

Yes Enemy of America,

I am indeed an American, and an Indigenous America with multiple degrees in the Humanities, including the History of the country from the very beginning. Sad to say that I was ignorant to the the beginnings of this country,  because we were never taught the real story back in the days of my elementary education, or even in my private high school.

So it is you my enemy, that is totally ignorant to the founding of this nation state, and I would ordinarily be more than happy to share that information with you, or at least give you some resources. But you would never appreciate them, because of your own demented ideology. Still, when I have time, I’ll look for my old syllabus on Law and Racism, since racism is actually built into the Constitution.

Meantime, you might want to google Prof. John Park, who taught that very excellent course. If I remember correctly, the syllabus was on line, so it should be easy enough to find. I won’t do it for you, but for anyone else who might actually be interested in knowing the truth of that founding.

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By KDelphi, April 2, 2009 at 2:23 pm Link to this comment

Its not very funny to the families of dead people, whoever came out with this one.

When I read the headline, I actually did perk up. Optimism about these basterds being charged is too hard to find, to play with this…

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By KDelphi, April 2, 2009 at 2:21 pm Link to this comment

Well, is it fricking true or not, someone??

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By KDelphi, April 2, 2009 at 2:20 pm Link to this comment

If it is a “spoof”, its not a very funny one…it SHOULD have happened, if it has not.

“John Yoo Arrested?

April 1, 2009
A number of websites are carrying a story claiming that John Yoo, former Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the United States, was arrested in Milan, Italy, and is being held “for possible extradition to Spain, where he and five other retired officials who served under former President George W. Bush are expected to be indicted by a Spanish court for violations of the Geneva Conventions, the Convention Against Torture, and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.”

It is said this news was covered by Reuters. A Google News search produces no matches on the text supposedly carried by the corporate media news service

It appears the news story is a spoof, although as noted above a number of websites are passing it off as legitimate, including the World Prout Assembly.”

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By AFriend, April 2, 2009 at 11:02 am Link to this comment


“the FOUNDATION of the US (and included in our Constitution) was built on Slavery as its only form of economic development. I’d say that is pretty much the core, and there’s no denying the rot that it represents.”

I must be blunt here. The rot is in your understanding of American History. You hold a clear disdain for the U.S., fine, but why not take the time to learn what it is you hold such disdain for? You honestly could not be more misinformed.

First: To suggest that slavery was the “only” form of economic development is astoundingly incorrect. Long before slavery young America was already heavily trading around the world.

Second: In the context of thousands of years in human history the Antebellum Southern States, very briefly, relied on the inhumane practice of slavery. And, just as quickly, the United States permanently tossed away those shackles.

Again, in the context of thousands of years of human events, in a world that still practices slavery on much of the globe, America moved very rapidly away from such practices to having it’s first negro president.

My Opinion? If you are an American; the United States deserves a great deal more of your pride. If that’s impossible for you perhaps you could refrain from spreading falsehoods about it’s history. Is that too much to request?

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By Gulam, April 1, 2009 at 7:13 pm Link to this comment

I searched the internet for “jewish ivy league.” The first url on the list was on the site of The Jewish Student Press Service, an article titled Ivy League Makeover by Franci Levine Grater. The reader should bear in mind that Jewish Americans are 1.7% of the population. This figure came from Google, which gave the CIA as its source. The following is from Ms Grater’s article:

It may not be surprising that Jewish enrollment at Princeton, with its preppy atmosphere and a history of anti-Semitism, is the lowest of the Ivies. Jewish students account for only 10% of Princeton undergraduates, compared to between 25% and 35% of undergraduates at Harvard, Yale, University of Pennsyvania, Cornell, Columbia and Brown. Only Dartmouth, tucked away in Hanover, New Hampshire, has comparably low numbers of Jewish students. But Princeton is not merely plagued with low Jewish enrollment. Of even greater concern are the numbers’ recent plunge; undergraduate enrollment was 11-12% last year, and as high as 15-18% only five years ago. The drop has not gone unnoticed by Jewish students at Princeton who, in cooperation with the CJL and the admissions office, have recently mobilized to change the perception among prospective students that Princeton is not hospitable to Jews.

It is not surprising that Dartmouth should have a low Jewish enrolment, of only 10%, since it is in a state that is .9% Jewish.

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By Archie1954, April 1, 2009 at 5:44 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You know the case can’t end with the good Dr.‘s exoneration. Those who obstructed justice, including the original judge should be investigated, charged and tried and if found guilty of such obstruction or misfeasance be bound over to the penal system for their just desserts.

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By everynobody, April 1, 2009 at 4:24 am Link to this comment
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By AFriend, April 1 at 7:05 am #;

Isn’t she though. Can’t find a thing.

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By AFriend, April 1, 2009 at 4:05 am Link to this comment


If nonsense is what you’re peddling you’re doing a wonderful job.

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By cyrena, March 31, 2009 at 9:07 pm Link to this comment

OK folks, this just in (my email box) from one of the many activists groups associated with Progressive Democrats of America, this one from the Justice and Accountability forum. I’ve copied it directly from the email, but noticed that the reuters link doesn’t work. (maybe they snatched it off real quick).

Anyway, the body of the message is still intact. John Yoo has been arrested in Italy, (along with 5 or 6 other former torture thugs) for violation of the Geneva Conventions. They can hold him for up to 90 days for extradition to Spain.


Seen this???  Check out this arrest photo:

Former U.S. Official Arrested in Italy

Tue Mar 31, 2009 11:58 pm EDT

By P.V. Maro

ROME (Reuters) - John C. Yoo, a former Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the United States, was arrested on Tuesday in Milan, Italy, and is being held for possible extradition to Spain, where he and five other retired officials who served under former President George W. Bush are expected to be indicted by a Spanish court for violations of the Geneva Conventions, the Convention Against Torture, and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

Yoo, 41, is a visiting professor of Law at the Chapman University School of Law in Orange County, California, on leave from the University of California Berkeley School of Law.  He served in the Office of Legal Counsel in the U.S. Department of Justice from 2001 to 2003.  Yoo authored memos permitting the use of torture.  Torture is banned by both U.S. law and international conventions.

Milan prosecutor Andrea Spolini released a statement indicating that Yoo can be held for up to 90 days awaiting an indictment in Spain under the international standard of “Rompi Testiculo.”

(Edited by Antonio Gramsci)


Needless to say, this MADE MY DAY!!! smile

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By De Rinzy Ulster, March 31, 2009 at 8:13 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Come on, read the scriptures of both Israel (the Old Testament with its ethnic cleansing of the peoples of Canaan; plus the Talmud with its hate of Yeshua and his followers), and of Islam (strike off the heads of the disbelievers, and Jews are all corrupt and killable, and Christians have twisted Allah’s laws) !
What’s going on in Palestine, and spilling out around the world, are two old religions and cultures trying to convince us that each one OWNS Palestine.  Both religions have shaky man-made scriptures, and neither can really make deep-down peace with the other. For more than 50 years world leaders and even the protagonists have been thinking up peace plans and accords. The only fair way is for outside powers to STOP ARMING both sides, and for the country to be divided sensibly 50-50, with each getting half of the water and half of the arable land, and then being compensated for the thousands that would have to shift from where they are. All other schemes are unlikely to succeed, because their religions tell them to hate all other religions. Remember, there were THREE Jewish terrorist gangs in the Palestine Mandate area, so all that the Muslims have done is add the WICKED tactic of deceiving followers to become suicide bombing terrorists.

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By AFriend, March 31, 2009 at 5:57 pm Link to this comment


I’m talking about a world at war in a litigious society. A pathology like none in human history.

Denying that the world is at war in over 90 countries is a serious debilitation. I’m talking about how prosecutions in such a state of war is extremely difficult. Mistakes will be made. Such as they are in all wars.

To ignore this reality in the 21st Century, as Mr. Hedges does, is to disconnect all context. Attempts to demonize a single regional entity, as Mr. Hedges is prone toward the United States, is helpful to no one. His particular focus solely on the U.S. courts displays an extreme narrowness of understanding of world events.

I simply believe he could do a great deal more to first educate himself and, in the end, his readers.

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By msgmi, March 31, 2009 at 4:52 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This has to be a Tale of Two Worlds: reality v illusion; understood only by the delusional ideologues.

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By KDelphi, March 31, 2009 at 1:46 pm Link to this comment

Another War Lost? by William Lind via (posted by samsonsworld, via commondebate,

William Lind is a former Marine Corps officer who is usually far to the right of me politically. But, he is a very astute writer on military affairs, so I usually read his columns. This one is a very nice analysis of what’s wrong with Obama’s plan to ‘win’ the Afghan war. But, its this last bit about politics right at the end that struck me. So, this is the view of rather conservative ex-military officer ....(samson)  the report:

“Here we see how little “change” the Obama administration really represents. The differences between the neo-liberals and the neocons are few. Both are militant believers in Brave New World, a globalist future in which everyone on earth becomes modern. In the view of these ideologues, the fact that billions of people are willing to fight to the death against modernity is, like the river Pregel, an unimportant military obstacle. We just need to buy more Predators.

Meanwhile, the money is running out. The ancien regime syndrome looms ever larger: we not only maintain but increase foolish foreign commitments, at the same time that debt is piling up, those willing to lend become fewer, and we are reduced to debasing the currency. Historians have seen it all before, many, many times. It never has a happy ending.

It appears Afghanistan will be the graveyard of yet another empire.”

Yes, I posted this elsewhere.

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By cyrena, March 31, 2009 at 1:33 pm Link to this comment

By dihey, March 31 at 9:16 am #
“Severely tarnished”?
How can one “severely tarnish” an institution that has been rotten to the core for numerous decades already?


Well Dihey,
You sure got this one right. It’s been a bit longer than numerous decades though…try numerous centuries. Bottom line, the FOUNDATION of the US (and included in our Constitution) was built on Slavery as its only form of economic development. I’d say that is pretty much the core, and there’s no denying the rot that it represents.

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By KDelphi, March 31, 2009 at 12:55 pm Link to this comment

ender—Yes, a tactic. It is futile—except for the death machine industry and private contractors.

But certain classes of people have never had to bleed and die, or even LOOK at the deaths that are produced. So, naturally, they are all for it.

“war on terror , like the “war on drugs” is actaully war on the poor. Everything is about MONEY. Its capitalism!

Sorry, I forgot. There are no poor people in the US—there are only those “striving for middle class(ness)”.

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By ender, March 31, 2009 at 12:42 pm Link to this comment

I’m not quite sure what afreind’s point was, but I think he was suggesting that any action by our gov’t against anyone we call an enemy is justified. 

The problem with that logic is the War on Terror doesn’t exist.  Terror is a tactic.  Not an enemy.  Just as Iraq became our enemy without being terrorist but Iraqis fighting an illegal invasion of their nation are always branded terrorist.

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By KDelphi, March 31, 2009 at 12:11 pm Link to this comment

AFriend—YOu leave me thinking, “what info is he talking about”? Why dont you put some link here or something, so I know what you are talking about.

There is alot of good info on these posts, but, maybe due to all the propaganda I never have the feeling that I am getting the real story.

Does anyone know of links or refs. where there is not such a Zionist or Democratic Party bias? I had a few when teh invastion of Gaza started, but, honestly they have been shut down. Or, my browser “wont access hate sites”—thats what it says.

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By Folktruther, March 31, 2009 at 10:13 am Link to this comment

Great inforamtion and analysis, Prole. 

The campaign manager of Al Gore in the 2000 election was Peretz, the publisher of New Republic, a zionist neocon-neolib magizine that supports the Dems.  Peretz married Singer Sewing machine money and is a right wing Zionist, but in the Dem party.  So Muslims, caught between two conservative and racist parties, often chose the Gops, since the Jewish population is mostly Dem.

Obama has been captured by Zionists who support neoliberalism and the War on Terrorism.  And the War on Terrorism includes arbitrary imprisonment, torture, preventing and hassling people from flying on airplanes, preventing foreign travel, and increasing restrictions on communication.  The thought control bill gutting the Internet passed the House overwealmingly, led by Zionism and their agent Jane Harman.

But that doesn’t negate the need for the defense of Muslims attacked by Bush, and who will continued to be attacked by Obama.  Just as the air controllers who support Reagan were all fired by Reagan once he got elected, Obama is turning on progressives who helped put him in office.  As Prole suggests, the war against Muslims will be continued by Obama, continuing the policies of Bush.

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By clockkicker, March 31, 2009 at 8:52 am Link to this comment

liked this article.  was a bit tired of mr. hedges writing moral diatribes instead of digging deep for truth in current events and presenting that to us, like he used to do so well.

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By dihey, March 31, 2009 at 6:16 am Link to this comment

“Severely tarnished”?
How can one “severely tarnish” an institution that has been rotten to the core for numerous decades already?

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By AFriend, March 31, 2009 at 6:10 am Link to this comment

Mr. Hedges,

If you had written a few words on the difficulty of waging a war vs relying on the legal system, I would think you were being realistic and expansive in your analysis. But, again, you missed a great opportunity to inform the public.

It seems you did some real research this time but, why did you omit the volumes of information you came across that actually supported the governments cases in these matters?

You could be doing a great deal more to inform those who are daily busy working, feeding their families, paying the bills or trying to find a job and, have not the time you do for research.

You have the format to inform here and in print. Why not use it to the benefit of all? You could actually stand out and apart in your profession.

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By thebeerdoctor, March 31, 2009 at 5:46 am Link to this comment

re: prole

Reading your significant comments, I am reminded of the movie “Mephisto” where the actor who decides to go along with the Nazi regime, later tries to pull a departmental string, only to be told: “Who do you think you are? We could crush you like a beetle!”
Such is the fate of former Arab Bush supporters who have outlived their usefulness.

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By prole, March 31, 2009 at 1:52 am Link to this comment

How ironical that Sami Al-Arian should “become the poster child for judicial abuse and persecution of Muslims in the United States by the Bush administration”. Given the fact that this blog is not so much concerned with digging for truth as it is in partisan propagandizing for the Democratic Party, it’s perhaps not surprising thar Hedges should use this profound “miscarriage of justice” to insinuate all the blame belongs to Republicans and now the “tarnished” judicial system can at last regain “its independence after eight years of flagrant manipulation and intimidation by the Bush administration”. What Hedges conveniently forgets to mention however, is that Al-Arian was an enthusiastic supporter of Bush in his 2000 campaign and may even have helped him win the election that year. Al-Arian and his family were even photographed with Bush during a campaign stop in Tampa that year, perhaps an appropriate photo to put on the “poster child’s” poster. Bush, at the time, was actively courting Muslim voters and even denounced the immigration laws that detained - and ultimately deported - al-Arian’s brother-in-law, Mazen al-Najjar. Al-Arian,in return, campaigned vigorously for the Republicans at mosques and Islamic cultural centers in Florida, the state that ultimately delivered the White House to Bush by a razor-thin margin. Robert McKee, a former attorney for Al-Arian in Florida conjectured, ‘‘As close as the election in Florida was, Sami may have put him over the top. He got out the vote in the Muslim community in Florida”. And it really shouldn’t come as a great surprise that Muslims might support Republicans, not only because of cultural conservatism, but also because historically the Democratic Party has been even closer to Israel. George W. was the first Republican president to actively court Jewish voters - as he felt his father lost his re-election bid, at least in part due to The Lobby -  and ultimately they came to have much more influence over him, and Muslims and goyim have paid the price for that. So Bush soon forgot about his old supporter Al-Arian and did nothing to help him later on when he needed it, in return for his past political support. But then again, neither have any prominent Democrats. Where’s Nancy Pelosi or Barny Frank or Ted Kennedy or Hillary or the other great Democratic liberals and Israel toadies? And where’s the Great One himself? Obama could solve this whole “cause celebre” with a stroke of his pen and issue a presidential pardon for Al-Arian. But he’s no more likely to cross his zionist handlers than Bush was. In fact, during the campaign last year someone put up a blog post about Al-Arian on the official MyObama website under the title ‘We Are All Palestinians Now’. In it, Al-Arian’s circumstances were related and it was asserted he was an “internationally recognized political prisoner” and that he “has come to symbolize the current struggle for human rights.” After complaints from zionist bullies who labeled the post, “racist, anti-Semitic and pro-Palestinian rhetoric”, it was quickly removed by Obama campaign officials. So don’t expect the American Jew-dicial system to regain much of its “independence after eight years of flagrant manipulation and intimidation by the” bipartisan zionist cabal.

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By KDelphi, March 30, 2009 at 5:54 pm Link to this comment

Ask The Obama Administratin to overturn the Patriot Act II, which adds to the “time” a person has to do if “convicted” of “terrorist” crimes.

Also, indict Bush, Rummy. Cheney, etc. Sure.

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By diamond, March 30, 2009 at 4:56 pm Link to this comment

You’re basically right on Galloway Fadel Abdallah but you’ve left out the reason the right hates him so much. He was hauled up before the US Congress accused of having traded in oil with Saddam Hussein. He treated these false charges with the absolute contempt they deserved and also pointed out that he had been to Iraq twice, exactly the same number of times as Donald Rumsfeld. The difference, he said, was that Rumsfeld was there to supply Saddam Hussein with weapons and to give him maps ‘the better to target those weapons’. I can still remember Norm Coleman’s face: the truth hit him like a punch in the mouth and he was dazed and uncomprehending. They don’t hear the truth much in that place. The second thing is that Galloway was thrown out of the British Labour Party for pointing out that the invasion of Iraq was unlawful and just plain mad. Mr. Galloway will not be welcome in Canada as long as there’s a conservative government in power. But, in fact, they all hate him, left, right and centre: he’s a truthteller and truthtellers are used to being treated this way. I think Mr. Galloway actually gets a kick out of it, it stirs his Celtic blood.

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By Bubba, March 30, 2009 at 2:52 pm Link to this comment

The treatment of Al-Arian has been a disgrace.  Americans should be embarrassed and ashamed of themselves for allowing this travesty to go on for so long.  Thank god for Brinkema.

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By AWM, March 30, 2009 at 2:48 pm Link to this comment

Fadel Abdallah is right that this evil is spreading around the western world. while Canada has barred a human rights activist from our country We have allowed the JDL an organization that has been labeled a violent extremist Jewish organization by the FBI to espouse it’s hate over our airwaves.This very same government has prosecuted anyone that says anything they consider hateful to Jews. The hypocrisy is stunning but consistent with western governments blind support for the Zionists. Several prominent Jewish Canadians signed a letter condemning Israels occupation of Gaza but many of the same msms that give time to the JDL have refused to publish it

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By Fadel Abdallah, March 30, 2009 at 1:30 pm Link to this comment

Dr. Sami Amin Al-Arian’s case can be summarized as a case of an outspoken activist of Palestinian background, who was doing the Jihad of the tongue and the pen in defense of his original homeland, under Israeli terrorist occupation for sixty years. The case against him was initiated and concocted by evil Zionists to ruin his life and curb his right to freedom of speech.

And it seems to me that evil plotting Zionists never run out of evil schemes to silence the voices of truth. The latest case is that of George Galloway whose recent visa of entry to Canada, as a speaker on an event, was revoked under pressure from a Zionist group. The Jewish Defense League, the same criminals who were responsible for the bombing death of ADC Director Alex Odeh years ago in the US, are now bragging about how they were successful in getting Galloway’s visa to Canada revoked.

If you don’t know who is George Galloway, let me just tell you, in brief, that he’s British Member of Parliament, known for his support of the Palestinians and his moving speeches against Israeli crimes.

Imagine this! The country that has opened its doors to the immigrants of the world, and, at one time, even offered cold hard cash to people who would immigrate to Canada has banned an elected official of its mother country based on Zionist wishes and demands!

So now the American Zionist political-military-industrial complex can find some consolation upon finding that their counterparts to the north are joining them in their regression movement against freedom of speech, human rights, truth and justice.

And now again, the Zionists can celebrate the fact that not only they control official political America, but their control is expanding to Canada, and possibly soon to Mexico to the south, bringing all North America under their yoke! 

Though my activism pales in comparison to Al-Arian and Galloway, I imagine myself, among others, being on the watch list of the Zionist witch-hunt, and it’s a matter of time when, how, and who will be the next target!

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By Val, March 30, 2009 at 11:56 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I read with amusement that a friend “agrees with everything you say, except for the fava beans.”

Now since Silence of the Lambs is—well, pretty low on my list but still up there in the top ten—one of my favorites; I don’t know what that meant. But rest assured, if you meant that Bush’s fellows-in-crime should be served up whole with apples in their mouths, (or, deep-fried in more unrecognizable pieces) I myself have had occasion to wish (a) that Dr. Hannibal Lecter was indeed real, and that (b) he only ate people who he conceived were unjust, miserable, and had hurt him in some way.

Even with such a culinary “expert” as Dr. Lecter on board with them—I too could do without the fava beans.

Though, not without the Chianti…!

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By Folktruther, March 30, 2009 at 10:47 am Link to this comment

Potoshock is quite right. American justice has always been racist and still is.  What is new is the Zionist racism against Muslims. It was initiated by the Bushite War on Terrorism and is continuing under Obama.

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By Robert Wales PhD, March 30, 2009 at 10:18 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Abolishing the law is the only hope we have left for our country. The practice of law has outlived its usefullness to our society. All that remains is a perverted notion of justice, a system of human usury,and a complete alienation of citizens. We all know lawyers energize the ideal(l)of justice with words but do not work towards sober reasonable outcomes. We have an adversarial system that serve practitioners-not people. So long as it remains this way, we will continue to see the slide towards annihilation we are now witnessing. Triggered by law, the economic crisis spurs on our downfall. Law stands in the way of you and proper healthcare, you and a better banking system, you and your actual freedom. Law allows a handful of ‘leaders’ to wage wars and sign documents that exempt themslves from culpability. Better we should fail than continue to live under the illusion of justice. Justice enslaves, bankrupts, incarcerates and ruins people, puts guns on the street then arrests people for using them,on and on it goes. It is all wrong and I, for one, am ok watching the failures of our society come to a head and perhaps to an end-our end. I don’t say this with glee nor with remorse or from a defeatist position. But, it is disheartneing to witness law speak of itself as though it were a true guiding force towards a better society when, in fact, it is the number one viral issue that is restricting and terminating this country and the principles upon which it was founded. But, that’s ok.

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By AWM, March 30, 2009 at 8:10 am Link to this comment

The day is coming when the Bushites will not be able to leave the US for fear of prosecution. Sadly I fear they will never face the American legal system unless some day America elects a real agent for change. If this were to occur I hope that they receive fairer treatment than Dr Al-Arian and others. I say this because without fair treatment before the courts all you end up with is retribution. Retribution is hollow and fleeting while justice is restorative and long lasting. The victims of their heinous crimes and treasonous acts deserve no less

By the way Purple Girl I agree with every thing you wrote except the fava beans

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By Thomas Mc, March 30, 2009 at 7:45 am Link to this comment

“look capricious, inept and overtly racist”
Ah, if it only LOOKED that way…

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By photoshock, March 30, 2009 at 7:33 am Link to this comment

Mr. Hedges is spot on in his commentary of the shrub’s administrations ideological attitude and bent.
We are the recipients of an ideological war, not a war of justice or for the retribution for any actions that have transpired since the inception of the British Mandate after World War I.
Yet, Mr. Hedges, you forget the history of the judicial system in America. It has always been racist and always will be until, we the people demand change and force change upon the White Anglo Saxon Protestant elite, who have taken the lead in making law, and administering those same laws.
You must needs consider many decisions of the Supreme
Court to see that racism is an ingrained part of the American psyche and judicial ethic. One such decision
is the Dred Scott decision, which declared that African-Americans were only 3/5 of a person, which person was to be counted in the census for Congressional District seats.
Mr. Bush and his cronies, the neo-cons, have made it a point, to smear and ensnare any who disagree with the true administration of justice in this country.
Hopefully Judge Brinkema decides that enough is enough and sanctions the government for their blatant
attempts at overkill in the case of Sami El-Arian.
We the people, must demand justice be done, raise your voices and stop the inquisition of Muslims in this country. Do not stop until all are treated equally under the law, this includes those who while in office commit the most heinous of crimes, all in the name of protecting the people. 
We must have justice for the people, or this country will slide into fascism, a slide which is occurring at a much faster rate than ever before. Change can happen, but it will only happen, when the people demand and act for the change. Change will not happen
because the president says so, it will only happen when the people, the true government of the US decide
to stand up to the elite and moneyed class, and work towards true change, the type of change that is happening in South America, wherein the people are the arbiters of change and not the elite and ruling classes.

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By skulz fontaine, March 30, 2009 at 6:12 am Link to this comment

Okay, let’s all sing the ‘persecution song’! Back to the days of Torquemada. Back to the age of darkness. Burn the witches and heretics then, slaughter all their children. Blessed be the ignorance and who needs judicial light. We’s gonna kill them ‘Aye-Rabs’ just because it’s right! You know, in that jingoistic sense.
What the hell has Eric Holder got to say about this Star Chamber dynamic?

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By Purple Girl, March 30, 2009 at 5:55 am Link to this comment

The Tyranny of the Bush years proved the points those ‘Jihadist’ recruiters have been making.And theBushies know that full well. But when your gaol is to perpetuate conflict as a profit making venture- divide & conquer is the most effect means to your desired end.
How can an admin attack a country that had nothing to do with 9/11 and still be hugging, kissing and holding hands with the leaders (Royals) of a country who spawned the majority of attackers?
Come on even afghanistan was nothing more than the place for ‘higher education’ for saudi’s native sons- merely the College campus- Not the initiating indoctrination epicenter.
Bush Perpetuated this idea of a ‘holy War’ by using the word ‘Crusade’- no that’s not inflammatroy at all. Bushies were intentionally throwing excelerant on this Staged conflict.
There is no need of proof of Detonation of the WTC to prove Conspiracy- follow the money, the Oil and review the hisotrical record of what came before and after 9/11!Shit just follow the careers of Cheney,Rumsfeld and Wolfie- Military Industrial Complex.These men have been committing High Criems for Decades!These three and their cast of minions and puppet characters are the real Terrorists of humanity.
9/11 was reciprocation for the aid & comfort provided him and his ‘Afghani Freedom Fighters’ during the war with the USSR.Big surprise he wasn’t willing to sacrific himself or his family was allowed to be the only plane out on 9/12. I have no doubt McCain would know how to catch Binny- he’s been to his place for Drinks with Dick.I want to delight the prosecution of these three Traitors and savor their punishment with a bottle of chianti and some fava beans

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