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Redford writes: "When U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein recently released the Senate Intelligence Committee report on the U.S. use of torture, like many, I was both moved by her tenacity and shocked by the picture it painted of American democracy. America tortured people after 9/11 and here was the proof."

Actor and environmental activist Robert Redford. (photo: Contour/Getty Images)
Actor and environmental activist Robert Redford. (photo: Contour/Getty Images)


American Democracy and Torture

By Robert Redford, Reader Supported News

27 December 14

 

am conscious of my good fortune to have been born into a democratic society. As messy as it can get -- and messy it is these days -- there is nothing more precious than a healthy democracy. As this tumultuous year closes we would all be served well to stop for a minute and reflect on how much we need to cherish it, exercise the rights inherent in it and for heaven's sake, not take it for granted.

When U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein recently released the Senate Intelligence Committee report on the U.S. use of torture, like many, I was both moved by her tenacity and shocked by the picture it painted of American democracy. America tortured people after 9/11 and here was the proof. You can debate whether or not it "worked" but it appears in most cases we never tried anything else so we'll never know. You can't debate what a hit this is on the moral imperative inherent in American democracy.

It's no secret that former Vice President Dick Cheney has never been one of my favorites. And I will admit that when I saw him rise again on the Sunday morning shows and other television outlets around this torture report a few weeks back, my first reaction was "Why are they talking to him? Shouldn't he be on trial for violating international law?" So, of course he should have been there. We live in a democracy! And, as he sits square in the middle of this whole controversy I had to admit I was curious as to his reaction.

There he was in all his glory, in all his arrogance, defending torture, or rather enhanced interrogation techniques, such as waterboarding and rectal feeding -- which he said he believed was done for medical reasons. Really? He defended it all. I couldn't help but think that maybe it's time Vice President Cheney move from defending his actions on Fox News and Meet the Press, and be asked to defend it in a court of law.

Let's face it, turning this kind of microscope on our own actions brings with it a lot of controversy, calls that we are endangering or damaging the CIA, or opening a can of worms that is best left closed. The dilemmas of a free society are many, and this is one of them. And the dilemmas of a free society are messy. But we should never walk away from them because of that.

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+90 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2014-12-27 10:02
This is where Obama and Holder get to display if they are made of unwavering courage or unwavering fear.

Many years ago, I heard a wake up comment by Earl Nightengale:"th e only thing about a man that is a man is his mind. Everything else you can find in a pig or a horse." What will our country do? Use our beautiful minds to create justice or admit that some of us are no more of value than a pig or a horse? Maybe a pig or a horse has more value than a man without an honorable mind. How about that Bush/Cheney? Obama/Holder?

Further, when Obama made his public comment, "we tortured some folks" he put the shame and blame on "we" the American people. Which was a big outrageous lie. He did not say, Bush/Cheney tortured "some folks." I do not recall torturing anyone. Do any of you recall torturing anyone? No wonder I changed from the Democratic Party to a Progressive Independent.
 
 
+88 # ritawalpoleague 2014-12-27 11:04
Or, Eldon J., whether they are bought off and/or scared off pols..

And, Robt. Redford, I am sorry to have to say this to you, but it comes not only from me, but from the most excellent jurists, legal experts, pols. from any and all and no political persuasions, including a former U.S. Pres. Carter. Rule of Law has gone bye bye, essential constitutional rights have been quashed, and.....

THE U.S. IS NO LONGER A DEMOCRACY.
 
 
+78 # wantrealdemocracy 2014-12-27 11:08
Redford says, "We live in a healthy democracy." I disagree.
 
 
+15 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2014-12-27 22:14
Interesting that Obama would and did say, "we need not look back, but forward" as regards torture. Or words to that effect. Suppose, just suppose Lincoln would have said that about slavery. How long would slavery have continued? Lincoln took action. To not look back is looking forward to what? To not understand history is to repeat history. Obama taught constitutional law. Unfortunately for us, he is not practicing constitutional law.
 
 
+50 # wrknight 2014-12-27 10:11
"I am conscious of my good fortune to have been born into a democratic society. As messy as it can get -- and messy it is these days -- there is nothing more precious than a healthy democracy."

A democracy can't be healthy when people don't vote.
But in all other respects, you are right on.
 
 
+47 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2014-12-27 11:50
I find it interesting that we are still called a Democracy when so much effort is expended by those who fear Democracy. Find countless ways to make sure the citizens do not vote by "legal" means, fear and or intimidation.
 
 
+22 # Radscal 2014-12-27 15:12
I think the most "successful" voter suppression/fra ud strategy has been convincing almost all of us that voting for alternatives to the duopoly is a "wasted vote."

With 2/3 to 3/4 of eligible voters not even voting, mostly because they believe that self-fulfilling prophecy, democracy has been effectively nullified.
 
 
+6 # wrknight 2014-12-28 13:28
Just think. If even HALF of those who didn't vote had voted for a third party candidate, THAT THIRD PARTY CANDIDATE WOULD HAVE WON HANDS DOWN.
 
 
+87 # turnoutthelights 2014-12-27 10:48
Very on-target views by Mr. Redford. It is not to late to place the war criminals on trial.
 
 
+39 # jussayin 2014-12-27 16:40
I would add that as long as we don't prosecute them we're inviting hostility towards us. As the Shrub himself said there's no distinction between terrorists and those who harbor them.

Putting them on trial and then putting them away may be the only way we'll ever have a chance of making peace with those we've terrorized. After all, bombing hospitals, schools, mosques, homes, first responders, power plants, water treatment and sewage treatment plants, etc. is terrorism. Supporting other countries that also do that is also supporting terrorism.

We have to keep reminding those attuned to the right wing echo chamber that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11.

Pretending 0UR war criminals shouldn't be prosecuted undermines our moral credibility and only serves to provoke and incense other countries. I realize that those who make money off war will instigate it, but the majority of the American people would like to live in a peaceful world where we can concentrate on fixing other problems, like global warming and inequality.
 
 
+54 # riverhouse 2014-12-27 11:10
As much as I want to see everyone who approved, designed, facilitated, and participated in this torture to be charged and prosecuted for war crimes, I do not believe it will originate in the US. I am hoping that another country - perhaps Germany - will bring the prosecutions forward in the Hague. The US, as signatory to the treaty against torture, is obligated to prosecute this but I don't believe it is possible to see one president prosecute a former president. I don't think that will ever happen.
 
 
+28 # Radscal 2014-12-27 15:14
Malaysia did hold war-crimes trials and found many of the Bush II Administration guilty. They even tried to put some of them on airliners to "rendition" them to Kuala Lampur to serve their sentences, causing the guilty to cancel their travel plans.

Considering that, it's amazing that nothing bad happened to Malaysia or its airline industry.

Oh... wait...
 
 
+14 # Pickwicky 2014-12-27 16:10
Riverhouse--
What needs a great deal more thought is: why is it not possible for a president to prosecute a former president, especially where that former president involved our country in war crimes? If that isn't a good reason to prosecute, what is? Are you implying that former presidents may commit any crime on the world stage--I'm not talking about bedroom trivia, I'm talking about war crimes--crimes against Humanity. Can't justice prevail at that level?
 
 
+41 # abourezk 2014-12-27 11:16
We live in a sick country. We have got to accept that democracy no longer exists in the US. Until we do, we will continue to die
 
 
+30 # reiverpacific 2014-12-27 12:00
Quoting abourezk:
We live in a sick country. We have got to accept that democracy no longer exists in the US. Until we do, we will continue to die


Last time Democracy -real ALL-INCLUSIVE Democracy- existed on this continent, was in the time of the Great Iroquois Six-Nations Confederacy, just before the founding fathers plagiarized it and made it into a Representative (Them) experiment in Republicanism.
Lest we forget, it's been an uphill battle for everybody else to even be enfranchised and chip away at the inherent power of White, property and slave-owning elites (to which it seems to be returning thanks to the current SCOTUS).
Yes, other countries commit crimes against their own people, some of which the US courts, others it selectively condemns as "Sponsors of terrorism" but the global, many tentacled reach of this country through it's military/corpor ate/NSA/Arms sales complex, gives it no place to point the finger at others, especially since the recent revelations (which those of us seeking admissions of power-abuse knew or strongly suspected anyway) under the guise of retaliation for 9-11 but in fact, invasion of the wrong countries based on lies and the subsequent murder, torture and degradation of anybody seemingly on a whim, at home or overseas, with sub-contracted nations to "Render" them to, can't be matched by any other nation I can think of.
Mr Redford is a well-meaning rich, famous guy but a bit naive -my opinion only.
 
 
+11 # martina 2014-12-27 14:39
many tentacled reach of this country through its military/corpor ae/NSA/Arms sales complex...and of course, the worst one of all, the CIA.
 
 
+3 # martina 2014-12-27 14:41
"many tentacled reach of this country through its military/corpor ae/NSA/Arms sales complex..."and of course, the worst one of all, the CIA.
 
 
+5 # martina 2014-12-27 14:41
"many tentacled reach of this country through its military/corpor ae/NSA/Arms sales complex..."and of course, the worst one of all, the CIA.
 
 
+5 # martina 2014-12-27 14:41
"many tentacled reach of this country through its military/corpor ae/NSA/Arms sales complex..."and of course, the worst one of all, the CIA.
 
 
+66 # sherryg 2014-12-27 11:19
How is this a democracy any more? The majority of citizens don't vote. The privileged can speak, the poor have no voice. This is an oligarchy masquerading as something else.
 
 
+28 # lobdillj 2014-12-27 12:45
Quoting sherryg:
How is this a democracy any more? The majority of citizens don't vote. The privileged can speak, the poor have no voice. This is an oligarchy masquerading as something else.


Electronic voting has destroyed the sanctity of the vote. Now wholesale election fraud has been enabled, and the only protection against it--a recount of paper ballots--has been eliminated.
 
 
+1 # brux 2014-12-27 11:34
>> Shouldn't he be on trial for violating international law?

Cheney is one of the most disgusting creatures alive, if you can call his cruel existence living .... BUT, while I would love to see him indicted and convicted under American law, it is not yet a good idea to submit the US to recognizing international law.

If we did that we might be force to recognize laws such as the one that condemned a father to death the other day in Iran for making a Facebook post that was interpreted as being anti-Mohammed.

If I had to guess, I'd say we are about 300-500 years away, given you present progress, towards making a real international legal system that is just and fair.
 
 
+11 # Activista 2014-12-27 22:17
America has lost the Highground. We torture people, we gave chemical weapons to Iraq to use on Iran we, overthrew Iran’s elected leader and put in our puppet....
Here in the USA we also arrest people who post on Facebook .. People Arrested For Facebook Posts - Business Insider
www.businessinsider.com/people-arrested-for-facebook-...
Business Insider
Jul 9, 2013 - One teen was even arrested for posting violent rap lyrics. Most of the time, the Facebook offenders are impulsive. They type before they think, ...
not excusing Iran government ... but at this time USrael is planning invasion, this is war propaganda ... destroying Iran will not make USA/World safer - just opposite ...
 
 
+61 # walt 2014-12-27 11:37
Well stated by Robert Redford.

The real travesty is that, to this day, nothing has been done to hold the culpable responsible. And even worse,as with the Vietnam War and the lies told to us to invade Iraq, it will probably be swept under the same old carpet.

We Americans lost 4500 of our own soldiers, have tens of thousands disabled, saw hundreds of thousands of Iraqis killed, and inherited a deficit of $2 to 5 trillion. We pay, but those responsible are not even held accountable. Therein lies our greatest shame!
 
 
+35 # James Marcus 2014-12-27 11:42
Problem: The Same Gang that Motivates/Contr ols Cheney...also Controls Our Courts,.... and News outlets. (and Banking System)
 
 
+36 # Helen Marshall 2014-12-27 11:49
There is some confusion here about democracy and the rule of law and international human rights. It is perfectly possible to have a political system that allows for majority rule, the meaning of democracy, without the slightest nod to international standards on conduct in peace or war. Recent polls suggest that the majority of the public supports these "enhanced interrogation techniques." This may be the result of governmental manipulation of the public through fear-mongering, or simple public ignorance as to what international law considers to be torture, among other explanations. But it would suggest that a democracy can happily torture, or approve starting a war, you name it. As we dumb down our schools (how many students know anything about the real history of the US in relation to other countries, beginning with the invasion of Mexico?) and turn our media into entertainment centers, while ensuring that any economic gains accrue only to the top one percent, is it any surprise that many of those who turn out to vote have no understanding of their fundamental interests? There has been no massive outcry about these tortures, and none about the massive violations of individual rights by the "national security state" in the US and abroad. "They are keeping us safe" appears to be the only consideration.
 
 
+25 # lobdillj 2014-12-27 12:54
You said,"But it would suggest that a democracy can happily torture, or approve starting a war, you name it."

You should have said, "A democracy can be twisted into a murderous fascist state by determined traitors without even a single shot being fired in the process."
 
 
+20 # Helen Marshall 2014-12-27 14:32
Yes, you are right about that. I used to teach political science...I can't imagine doing so now. I'd be in jail in seconds.
 
 
+6 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2014-12-28 14:51
Your comment about public acceptance, torture. While I have not engaged in a scientific poll, I have asked several people what their thoughts were. Particularly some strangers while having a meal @ a local restaurant. Initially, I was optimistic thinking that most people would say "no" to torture. That is not what I experienced. Horrible as it sounds, I have not witnessed anyone against torture. One lady said, "I'm a military wife." Even when I mentioned to her that Washington and Eisenhower would not use it. She merely smiled with contempt on her face for me. As if I were not too bright for asking the question and walked away. Christ, what a frick'n country this is.

Those who are posting here. try asking your friends, neighbors, strangers about the U.S.military using torture. You might be surprised with the results.
 
 
+19 # steveannie 2014-12-27 14:41
"Recent polls suggest that the majority of the public supports these 'enhanced interrogation techniques.'"

Emphasis on "recent." The public did not support torture until they'd had years of the propagandists at Fox News and in the GOP telling them that torture had kept them "safe." The only thing torture ever accomplished - in hundreds of years - is to get people to admit to things regardless of whether it was true or not. I work for a West Point grad who was stationed in Germany for years. He used to have older men approach him on the street and express gratitude for having been POWs with the American military, rather than the Soviets, because the Americans treated them like human beings. Now my employer is embarrassed every time he has to go to Europe. It's all so sad and so worrying.
 
 
+9 # Anonymot 2014-12-27 14:41
I agree with much of what you say, however a Democracy requires more than just majority rule. Part of our "democratic" system is based on the party, in our case at the moment it's effectively a 2-party system. There is a responsibility placed on the parties to propose honest candidates who are competent and capable of managing the government. A government is, after all, merely a machine that makes decisions FOR THE GOOD OF THE PUBLIC, those who voted for it, against it, or did not, perhaps could not vote.

What we actually have in America has so completely failed on this score that this country cannot still be counted as a democracy - aside from the fact that less than half of the eligible population did not vote.

Most dictatorships have a semblance of voting. In the early Thirties, so did Germany. What we have veered to is our Germanic past - a democratic fascism where the party is the body to be served and its members reap the nation's rewards. Those who do not believe, those who do not serve the Party are left to rot. A militia takes care of dissidents and those cast out.

We've not yet gone the full toute, but we're certainly getting there.
 
 
+2 # Anonymot 2014-12-27 14:41
I agree with much of what you say, however a Democracy requires more than just majority rule. Part of our "democratic" system is based on the party, in our case at the moment it's effectively a 2-party system. There is a responsibility placed on the parties to propose honest candidates who are competent and capable of managing the government. A government is, after all, merely a machine that makes decisions FOR THE GOOD OF THE PUBLIC, those who voted for it, against it, or did not, perhaps could not vote.

What we actually have in America has so completely failed on this score that this country cannot still be counted as a democracy - aside from the fact that less than half of the eligible population did not vote.

Most dictatorships have a semblance of voting. In the early Thirties, so did Germany. What we have veered to is our Germanic past - a democratic fascism where the party is the body to be served and its members reap the nation's rewards. Those who do not believe, those who do not serve the Party are left to rot. A militia takes care of dissidents and those cast out.

We've not yet gone the full toute, but we're certainly getting there.
 
 
+4 # Anonymot 2014-12-27 14:41
I agree with much of what you say, however a Democracy requires more than just majority rule. Part of our "democratic" system is based on the party, in our case at the moment it's effectively a 2-party system. There is a responsibility placed on the parties to propose honest candidates who are competent and capable of managing the government. A government is, after all, merely a machine that makes decisions FOR THE GOOD OF THE PUBLIC, those who voted for it, against it, or did not, perhaps could not vote.

What we actually have in America has so completely failed on this score that this country cannot still be counted as a democracy - aside from the fact that less than half of the eligible population did not vote.

Most dictatorships have a semblance of voting. In the early Thirties, so did Germany. What we have veered to is our Germanic past - a democratic fascism where the party is the body to be served and its members reap the nation's rewards. Those who do not believe, those who do not serve the Party are left to rot. A militia takes care of dissidents and those cast out.

We've not yet gone the full toute, but we're certainly getting there.
 
 
+4 # steveannie 2014-12-27 14:41
"Recent polls suggest that the majority of the public supports these 'enhanced interrogation techniques.'"

Emphasis on "recent." The public did not support torture until they'd had years of the propagandists at Fox News and in the GOP telling them that torture had kept them "safe." The only thing torture ever accomplished - in hundreds of years - is to get people to admit to things regardless of whether it was true or not. I work for a West Point grad who was stationed in Germany for years. He used to have older men approach him on the street and express gratitude for having been POWs with the American military, rather than the Soviets, because the Americans treated them like human beings. Now my employer is embarrassed every time he has to go to Europe. It's all so sad and so worrying.
 
 
0 # steveannie 2014-12-27 14:41
"Recent polls suggest that the majority of the public supports these 'enhanced interrogation techniques.'"

Emphasis on "recent." The public did not support torture until they'd had years of the propagandists at Fox News and in the GOP telling them that torture had kept them "safe." The only thing torture ever accomplished - in hundreds of years - is to get people to admit to things regardless of whether it was true or not. I work for a West Point grad who was stationed in Germany for years. He used to have older men approach him on the street and express gratitude for having been POWs with the American military, rather than the Soviets, because the Americans treated them like human beings. Now my employer is embarrassed every time he has to go to Europe. It's all so sad and so worrying.
 
 
+3 # Anonymot 2014-12-27 15:08
Soory about the dupes that seem unerasable.
 
 
+1 # steveannie 2014-12-27 16:21
Ditto!
 
 
+34 # seeuingoa 2014-12-27 11:57
Is USA a democracy?!

Indefinite detention,
Extra judicial killings,
Money in politics,
Total surveillance,
Innocent people in Guantanamo,
Corporate fascism,
Death penalty/ Prison population/
Cop violence/ all in "favour" of
black people.

Free (?) election alone doesn´t make
a democracy
 
 
+10 # cunegonde 2014-12-27 12:57
Sorry, seeuingoa, but free election is exactly what makes a country a democracy. Democracy isn't a panacea for all ills; Hitler was democratically elected. The real lesson to be learned from all the problems you've listed is that democracy isn't enough; virtue is more important.
 
 
+6 # guomashi 2014-12-27 15:59
Quoting cunegonde:
Sorry, seeuingoa, but free election is exactly what makes a country a democracy. Democracy isn't a panacea for all ills; Hitler was democratically elected.


Hitler was not elected.
Neither was Bush II for that matter.
Otherwise, the analogy is apt: both states embrace(d) fascism.
Do we have the brains or the will to get out of it before it destroys US too?
 
 
+4 # lfeuille 2014-12-27 16:24
Quoting guomashi:
Quoting cunegonde:
Sorry, seeuingoa, but free election is exactly what makes a country a democracy. Democracy isn't a panacea for all ills; Hitler was democratically elected.


Hitler was not elected.
Neither was Bush II for that matter.
Otherwise, the analogy is apt: both states embrace(d) fascism.
Do we have the brains or the will to get out of it before it destroys US too?


Hitler was elected.
 
 
-3 # cunegonde 2014-12-27 20:35
So was Bush II, at least the second time around.
 
 
+2 # Anonymot 2014-12-27 21:40
Torture may be the hot-button word of 2014, but it worries me far less than the CIA's other activity: giving erroneous political advice that leads ignorant presidents and their advisors into war. Ever since Korea America has been involved in wars on CIA recommendations . We have proceeded to lose every single one. Vietnam broke our spirit while Afghanistan and Iraq broke the bank, cost unknown numbers of lives and triggered the religious war that will dominate the rest of the 21st Century. Behind their suit & tie uniforms, their American language, and their ordinary facade these men and women only differ in style from the tools of every dictator in history. Lying, torturing, and killing "for the good of the state" is standard op 101.0. Beyond that lies the question of efficiency, of competence, of who they really serve. On these points the CIA and their cohort agencies like NSA, Brennans clones such as Clapper, Rice, etc. and those who preceded them under Bush, Clinton, the old Bush, etc. have proven their incompetence and their 21st Century resemblance to their German, Russian, Chilean, Iraqi, etc. counteparts. Espionage may be necessary, but the American-style Gestapo is but slop in a pig's trough and a disgrace to the very idea of a "democratic" government.f course Hitler was elected and as of 1930 the Nazis were the largest party in their parliement.

How Bush stole the election was more blatant than the Nazis.

Google it.
 
 
+7 # lfeuille 2014-12-27 16:23
Quoting cunegonde:
Sorry, seeuingoa, but free election is exactly what makes a country a democracy. Democracy isn't a panacea for all ills; Hitler was democratically elected. The real lesson to be learned from all the problems you've listed is that democracy isn't enough; virtue is more important.


Yeah, but free elections implies that all eligible have the opportunity to vote and have their vote counted. Voter suppression has made that a thing of the past in this country. And it is not just an academic issue. It most likely changed the results of several elections. So, at this point, what we have does not qualify as "free elections" ergo, no democracy.
 
 
+34 # PABLO DIABLO 2014-12-27 12:02
PROSECUTE them. The law REQUIRES it.
 
 
+8 # motamanx 2014-12-27 12:04
I suppose it would be OK to pardon Cheney for his unpardonable, treasonous actions, but not before he faces an independent jury in open court.
 
 
+7 # lobdillj 2014-12-27 12:57
You should have added, "and receives a conviction and a life sentence."
 
 
+23 # medusa 2014-12-27 12:08
Of course they say that torture supplied us with useful and necessary information. But what example is there however remote that any of these captives told us anything useful--or that they even knew anything. And after two or three years in Guantanamo, their knowledge wouldn't be current, or even coherent.
--The international law against torture was passed in the aftermath of World War II. It was not written and proclaimed by people who were daydreamers, people who knew nothing about atrocity and torture.
A country that sells its own honor for the shadow of a demon.
 
 
+14 # lobdillj 2014-12-27 13:06
"They" say this in the face of hundreds of years of irrefutable proof that torture produces whatever testimony is required by the torturers. This is not a debatable issue, let alone a fact that requires no proof.

How "they" get away with this blatant lie is something we need to question carefully. The answer may reveal a horror that is presently hidden.
 
 
+31 # politicfix 2014-12-27 12:20
Taking the "high road" is admirable. I was sick watching Dick Cheney's blithering attempt to justify the "hall of horrors" that he, Bush and Rumsfeld set into action. Cheney seems to have been the architect, who can't believe anyone is questioning his plan. How Bush, a born again Christian, can justify his behavior is his to explain. Intoxicated by power & money, most politicians tend to believe they're exempt from the law and any responsibility for their actions. Obama did nothing upon taking office, and he's even less likely to do anything now. Once you're in the "President's Club", they seem to protect one another with some unwritten law as history has illustrated. The Congress relentlessly went after the Clintons over a barrage of legal issues (all of which the people paid for)and ended with a little blue dress and an impeachment. If they can be that concerned about moral failure and a little blue dress, it would seem that they would certainly be outraged to investigate the Bush administration thoroughly on the torture reports, especially with Interpol still having indictments out on Cheney, Bush, and Rumsfeld. We have an obligation to address the issue of torture on the world stage. We can't expect other countries to do what we are unwilling to do, which in this case, is follow the law as outlined in the Geneva convention. Our credibility is damaged & we've opened ourselves up to extortion and beheadings. We can't expect something we're unwilling to do... Stop torture.
 
 
+9 # elkingo 2014-12-27 12:49
So many 'right-on' comments. If this country ever was a democracy,(it wasn't since the Iroquois, that sounds right)it isn't now, but rather a corporate oligarchy. Not my words, but Gore Vidal's. "International law" is a contradiction in terms, sovereign nations pass their own laws by definition. Know what? Countries, i.e. the nation state, has gotta go, along with capitalism. This country is the Great Hypocrisy. Espouses democratic and humane values, practices neither. Historically, since the dawn of Protestantism, "Whitey" goes around the world fucking up everything for the sake of the culturally sociopathic chase for money.
 
 
+8 # cicciuzzu 2014-12-27 16:06
Apropos the Iroquois it interesting to note that it was women who voted in their "democracy." Their theory of government reasoned that women, as mothers of the chiefs, should have the vote. (I hope I am correct about this as I am recalling this from memory of long ago; I am 88 now.)
 
 
+3 # elkingo 2014-12-27 12:57
As for not voting, and I know this will outrage many right-thinking folks, I don't vote as a matter of conscientious political choice because the "machine" presents us with no substantive choice: other than "chocolate" or "vanilla". Capitalism allows for no real political spectrum in this country. The implicit regime is supported, nay, defended by its victims.
 
 
-1 # wrknight 2014-12-28 13:36
And I'm sure you don't vote in the primaries where you can have chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, raspberry, lemon, lime and many other flavors. It's not because you are limited to two flavors that you don't vote, it's because you would rather bitch than fight.

What you are saying is bullshit. If HALF of the non voters voted for a third party candidate, that candidate would win hands down.
 
 
+13 # conspiro 2014-12-27 13:04
It is insane how the US thinks it is a world leader with communist behavior..
It shames me as a US veteran...
http://conspiro.net/2014/12/american-democracy-and-torture/

This should have never been done,a complete failure in leadership
 
 
0 # wrknight 2014-12-28 13:39
How can you possibly equate our government to the communists? They at least provided free education and health care to everyone. It may not have been gold plated, but everyone had access.
 
 
+15 # raisingtaxescreatesjobs 2014-12-27 13:18
Torture: Exactly what 405,000 Americans and a lot of my dads friends died for fighting the Nazi's and Axis during WW2 . And what has become of our country and media try to defend torture. It's a recognized crime and not OK. Wake up and speak up true Americans and Christians.
 
 
+6 # reiverpacific 2014-12-27 21:21
Quoting raisingtaxescreatesjobs:
Torture: Exactly what 405,000 Americans and a lot of my dads friends died for fighting the Nazi's and Axis during WW2 . And what has become of our country and media try to defend torture. It's a recognized crime and not OK. Wake up and speak up true Americans and Christians.


Only "Christians"?
And what's a "True American"? -Some of the most egregious and even proud killers and torturers are overtly Chrstians who act in the exact opposite of the teachings of the founder of their Church.
My favorite examples; the former Nouveau Crusaders Blackwater, The 700 Club and the C Street "Kill the Gays" fomenters in Uganda "Family" to name but a very few.
 
 
+3 # wrknight 2014-12-28 13:49
Quoting reiverpacific:
Only "Christians"?
And what's a "True American"? -Some of the most egregious and even proud killers and torturers are overtly Christians who act in the exact opposite of the teachings of the founder of their Church.
My favorite examples; the former Nouveau Crusaders Blackwater, The 700 Club and the C Street "Kill the Gays" fomenters in Uganda "Family" to name but a very few.


And what is a Christian? I find there is no better description of modern Christianity than that expressed by Mahatma Ghandi when he said "I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ".
 
 
+1 # reiverpacific 2014-12-29 11:32
Quoting wrknight:
Quoting reiverpacific:
Only "Christians"?
And what's a "True American"? -Some of the most egregious and even proud killers and torturers are overtly Christians who act in the exact opposite of the teachings of the founder of their Church.
My favorite examples; the former Nouveau Crusaders Blackwater, The 700 Club and the C Street "Kill the Gays" fomenters in Uganda "Family" to name but a very few.


And what is a Christian? I find there is no better description of modern Christianity than that expressed by Mahatma Ghandi when he said "I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ".


The Mahatma also said, when asked what he thought of Western Civilization, "I think it would be good idea".
A ready wit -a ready, ready wit and presciently right on the bullseye too!
 
 
+2 # scumbag 2014-12-29 03:19
Dear reiverpacific.I do agree with you,most of the time.Thank god,I'm not religious but intolerant.What about another spoonful of copper vitriol? Ambrose Bierce made the following description in his book:"The Devils Dictionary"=Chr istians,mighty subtribe of the hypocrites.Main line of business,murder and fraud.What they like to call,war and trade.
The truth may hit everybody.
 
 
+3 # Starheart 2014-12-27 14:58
Well said.

If it were even to come to a trial, in this country, for the criminally insane acts of torture, murder, and treason, in what has not been publicly disclosed YET as well, can you imagine the public reaction to a grant of amnesty or a pardon by the President for these crimes?
 
 
+11 # anarchteacher 2014-12-27 15:29
http://archive.lewrockwell.com/burris/burris39.1.html

War Crimes, the Holocaust, and Today’s National Security State

"As I strongly supported impeachment procedures against George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, as well as Barack Obama and Joe Biden, I fully support in addition their indictment as war criminals before the respected international tribunal established since Nuremberg for this purpose under international law, the International Criminal Court.

Indictment of Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell, John McCain, Hillary Clinton, Lindsey Graham, John Kerry (as well as other supporters of pre-emptive wars of aggression and crimes against humanity) for aiding and abetting in the commission of war crimes against the Afghan and Iraqi peoples should also be undertaken by these international jurists.

The murderous tyrant Barack Obama has continued (and enhanced) the fascist Bush policies of waging aggressive, undeclared and unconstitutiona l pre-emptive wars abroad, murdering untold numbers in vicious drone attacks.

Via executive orders and presidential kill lists, he has vastly centralized presidential executive authority by claiming the extra-constitut ional power not merely to detain citizens without judicial review and legal counsel but to assassinate them.

Actions have consequences. Let these war criminals bear the full weight of their heinous behavior and conduct."
 
 
+7 # Underledge 2014-12-27 15:38
I am pretty sure "America tortured people after 9/11" and way before.
 
 
+2 # reiverpacific 2014-12-29 11:44
Quoting Underledge:
I am pretty sure "America tortured people after 9/11" and way before.


Are you kidding?!
The History of the US (and all preceding Empires) is one of torture, scorched earth and brutalization of any opposition, since the Puritan settlers who would never have survived for the forbearance of the eastern seaboard indigenous peoples who were then turned upon and exploited by those to whom they gave succor.
Just familiarize yourself with the Washita dawn raid, the Sand Creek Massacre or Wounded Knee (1) and subsequent genocidal attempts on the native peoples of the Great Plains and Western states, not to mention the many mockeries they called "Treaties", not one of which was kept or taken seriously!
They have certainly had plenty of practical application and practice of physical and mental degradation of "The Other" and their own citizens and residents before 9-11.
And that's just the tip of the iceberg!
 
 
+7 # Jason 2014-12-27 21:20
I'm always amazed to learn that people who are with it are surprised by the information that the Senate Intelligence Committee released. This information has been out there for years. In 2005, the New Yorker did an article titled, "Outsourcing Torture." In 2006, CBS News did a report on a Canadian man who was falsely accused of terrorism and was shipped to Syria by the CIA to be tortured. In 2011, my novel came out, "I'm Not Muhammad," about the extraordinary rendition of an innocent man. Etc., etc. The information has been out there since 2004. Americans as a people have amnesia. In another decade, we'll be learning about this stuff again--for the first time.
 
 
+2 # samjcr 2014-12-28 13:42
From John Lennon's "Imagine":
Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today...
Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace...
You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one
Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world...
You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one
 
 
+1 # anarchteacher 2014-12-28 14:45
Here is what John Lennon himself said about his legendary anthem:

“The song ‘Imagine,’ which says, Imagine that there was no more religion, no more country, no more politics is virtually The Communist Manifesto, even though I am not particularly a communist and I do not belong to any movement. You see, ‘Imagine’ was exactly the same message, but sugar-coated. Now ‘Imagine’ is a big hit almost everywhere; anti-religious, anti-nationalis tic, anti-convention al, anti-capitalist ic song, but because it is sugar-coated it is accepted. Now I understand what you have to do.”

There you have it from the man himself. So the idea that Imagine was based on The Communist Manifesto cannot be written off as a paranoid, right-wing conspiracy theory. It’s a fact.

Several poems from Yoko Ono’s 1964 book Grapefruit inspired Lennon to write the lyrics for “Imagine” — in particular, one which Capitol Records reproduced on the back cover of the original Imagine LP titled “Cloud Piece”, reads: “Imagine the clouds dripping, dig a hole in your garden to put them in. Lennon later said the composition “should be credited as a Lennon/Ono song. A lot of it—the lyric and the concept—came from Yoko, but in those days I was a bit more selfish, a bit more macho, and I sort of omitted her contribution, but it was right out of Grapefruit.”
 
 
+2 # Skyelav 2014-12-28 14:00
Mr. Redford begins but goes just short of the real point which is abusing another human being for any reason is detestable and must somehow be outlawed not justified. We lost our moral center when we turned to the right and began repeating verses of the bible taken out of context and forgetting the larger context of the Christian religion altogether. We are beginning to see a lot of nuanced TV shows these days, "24" "Scandal" "How to Get Away With Murder," and "Damages." Each of these shows asks, "How far should we go for a cause?" Until we begin to see that "torture" against another being is at the core of human immorality, we might be inadvertently encouraging torture.
 
 
+2 # Corvette-Bob 2015-01-03 17:09
Unfortunately, this is not an isolated event. When Reagan was President we conducted a war on rebels in central America and South America on behalf of those he called, "freedom fighters." We would chain the rebels together and fly them out over the ocean in C-5 planes and dump them out into the ocean. I new special forces vets who said when sneaking up on rebel camps if they came across a group of children playing they would kill them all so that they could not alert the rebels. Life is cheap, when you close your eyes to it.
 

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