Jan 18 2008
Is the Associated Press another propaganda outlet for US wingnuts who justify state killing and don’t recognize Mexico’s sovereignty? Apparently. Tonight AP has a story that Mexico thwarts US death penalty cases because Mexico won’t extradite US fugitives unless the US signs on the dotted line that it will not execute them. This isn’t news. Mexico’s policy has been in place for thirty (30) years.
Well, maybe demanding an assurance that the extradited person won’t be killed is unusual? It isn’t.
Other countries, including France and Canada, also demand such “death assurances” [that the extradited person won’t be executed]. But the problem is more common with Mexico, since it is often a quick drive from the crime scene for a large portion of the United States. /snip
The Justice Department said death assurances from foreign countries are fairly common, but it had no immediate numbers. State Department officials said Mexico extradited 73 suspects to the U.S. in 2007. Most were wanted on drug or murder charges.
No, the point of the story isn’t the policy. It’s US exceptionalism and how Mexico should cave in to US barbarism and the death penalty and return fugitives
slaves for execution:
“We find it extremely disturbing that the Mexican government would dictate to us, in Arizona, how we would enforce our laws at the same time they are complaining about our immigration laws,” said Barnett Lotstein, special assistant to the prosecutor in Maricopa County, Ariz., which includes Phoenix.
“Even in the most egregious cases, the Mexican authorities say, `No way,’ and that’s not justice. That’s an interference of Mexican authorities in our judicial process in Arizona.” /snip
“If you can get to Mexico – if you have the means – it’s a way of escaping the death penalty,” said Issac Unah, a University of North Carolina political science professor. /snip
John Walsh, host of TV’s long-running “America’s Most Wanted,” … said the delays and death-penalty compromises needed to get fugitives returned can be heartbreaking for victims’ families
“It’s not about revenge. It’s not so much about closure. It’s about justice,” he said.
Lotstein, the prosecutor’s assistant in Phoenix, said the county has agreed to drop the death penalty in a number of cases: “The option we have is absolutely no justice, or partial justice.”
Is the point of the article that US justice is somehow were synonymous with state killing? Is the point of the article that Mexico is somehow obstructing US state killing?
No. Those are incidental points. The real point, the Britney Spears size point of the article is that the Marine who allegedly killed a pregnant Marine may have fled to Mexico after the crime and now prosecutors may have to agree not to kill him in exchange for having him returned to the US. I’m sorry. But this doesn’t seem to me to be unfair. Not in the slightest.
What would be unfair is allowing this alleged killer, or for that matter anyone else, to be executed.
Jan 15 2008
This is stark, and it is maddening. This NY Times article says it succinctly:
The Iraqi defense minister said Monday that his nation would not be able to take full responsibility for its internal security until 2012, nor be able on its own to defend Iraq’s borders from external threat until at least 2018.
Those comments from the minister, Abdul Qadir, were among the most specific public projections of a timeline for the American commitment in Iraq by officials in either Washington or Baghdad. And they suggested a longer commitment than either government had previously indicated.
Pentagon officials expressed no surprise at Mr. Qadir’s projections, which were even less optimistic than those he made last year.
President Bush has never given a date for a military withdrawal from Iraq but has repeatedly said that American forces would stand down as Iraqi forces stand up. Given Mr. Qadir’s assessment of Iraq’s military capabilities on Monday, such a withdrawal appeared to be quite distant, and further away than any American officials have previously stated in public.
This means: US troops in Iraq until at least 2018. That means: ten more years of Iraq occupation and ten more years of US troops in harm’s way and ten more years of death and maiming in Iraq.
Friday is another Iraq Moratorium Day. I hope you know what to do.
Jan 12 2008
Yesterday, both the US and Mexico publicly praised NAFTA while Mexican farmers begged for help. According to Reuters:
U.S. officials trumpeted an end to farm trade restrictions under NAFTA, the controversial North American trade deal, on Friday, while Mexican farmers vowed to take to the streets to protest liberalization they fear will run them into the ground. /snip
Mark Keenum, U.S. undersecretary for farm and foreign agriculture, said the agreement had been a win for farmers in both countries, “creating not only dramatic growth in two-way agricultural trade, but providing our farmers, ranchers and processors with the potential (for) new export opportunities.”
This is some kind of a malicious joke. NAFTA is no “win win”. It’s really a disaster for Mexican subsistence farmers, US immigration policy, and bio diversity. The only winner is US agribusiness.
Join me across the Rio Pequeno.
Jan 09 2008
Another disgrace. On January 2, I wrote that dozens of Mexican farmers had blocked a lane of the border bridge from Ciudad Juarez to El Paso for 36 hours to protest the removal of Mexico’s last tariffs on US and Canadian farm goods. And now Mexico’s President, Felipe Calderon, has responded to the protests by saying that there’s no problem, NAFTA’s good for Mexican workers. He has to be joking, right?
Join me across the Rio Pequeno.
Jan 07 2008
Distracted by the primaries? Here’s something from the New York Times that’s scary:
In what is being called a serious provocation, Iranian Revolutionary Guard boats harassed and provoked three U.S. Navy ships in the strategic Strait of Hormuz, officials said Monday.
U.S. forces were on the verge of firing on the Iranian boats in the early Sunday incident, when the boats ended the incident and turned and moved away, said a Pentagon official.
”It is the most serious provocation of this sort that we’ve seen yet,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the record.
The incident occurred at about 5 a.m. local time Sunday as a U.S. Navy cruiser, destroyer and frigate were transiting the strait on their way into the Persian Gulf.
”Five small boats were acting in a very aggressive way, charging the ships, dropping boxes in the water in front of the ships and causing our ships to take evasive maneuvers,” the Pentagon official said.
My question: does anybody believe this story?
Jan 05 2008
cross posted in part at The Dream Antilles
“Cuando Jesús nació en Belén de Judea en días del rey Herodes, vinieron del oriente a Jerusalén unos magos diciendo: ¿Dónde está el rey de los judíos, que ha nacido? Porque su estrella hemos visto en el oriente y venimos a adorarle. Oyendo esto, el rey Herodes se turbó, y toda Jerusalén con él. Y convocados todos los principales sacerdotes, y los escribas del pueblo, les preguntó dónde había de nacer el Cristo. Entonces Herodes, llamando en secreto a los magos, indagó de ellos diligentemente el tiempo de la aparición de la estrella; y enviándolos a Belén. Ellos, habiendo oído al rey, se fueron. Y al entrar en la casa, vieron al niño con su madre María, y postrándose lo adoraron; y abriendo sus tesoros, le ofrecieron presentes: oro, incienso y mirra. Pero siendo avisados por revelación en sueños que no volviesen a Herodes, regresaron a su tierra por otro camino.” (San Mateo 2, 1-12).
(This is easy to read, even if you have only the most basic Spanish or other Romance Language, it’s Matthew 2, 1-12. It’s also great in English.)
January 6 is Three Kings Day (Tres Reyes Magos or Epiphany). The holiday commemorates the day the Three Kings from the East, after following the star for twelve days, arrived in Bethlehem to find the child in the manger and to give symbolic gifts of frankincense, myrrh and gold. Three Kings Day is the day on which gifts are traditionally given throughout Central and South America.
Only relatively recently has globalization and commercialization brought Santa Claus and Christmas trees and gift giving on Christmas Day. Before that, the Three Kings came with the gifts only on January 6, twelve days after Christmas. According to this Wiki:
In Spain, Argentina, and Uruguay, children (and many adults) polish and leave their shoes ready for the Kings’ presents before they go to bed on the 5th of January. Sweet wine, nibbles, fruit and milk are left for the Kings and their camels. In Mexico, it is traditional for children to leave their shoes on the eve of January 6 by the family nativity scene or by their beds. Also a letter with toy requests is left and sometimes the shoes are filled with hay for the camels, so that the Kings will be generous with their gifts. In Puerto Rico, it is traditional for children to fill a box with grass or hay and put it underneath their bed, for the same reasons. In some parts of northern Mexico the shoes are left under the Christmas tree with a letter to the Three Kings. This is analogous to children leaving mince pies or cookies and milk out for Father Christmas in Western Europe.
If you consider the Three Kings Story from a mythic, rather than a religious perspective, it’s a very important allegory about the wise, eastern Kings’ faithfully following their instinct and knowledge across the desert to the place it led them (did they know where they were going?) and when they reached the destination giving their gifts to those they found who should receive them. I really like that. I like to think about the kind of courage and understanding one would need to have to play the role of the kings (the wise men) in the story. Would I follow my star? Would I persist for 12 days? Would frustration, despair, fear stop my journey? Would I realize when I had arrived? Would I know what gifts to give and to whom?
Feliz Dia de Reyes!
Jan 04 2008
Seldom have we seen a politician who so relished and justified the grisly business of state killing. Mike Huckabee actually brags about his willingness to kill. And justifies it by talking about Jesus.
This from the
reactionary conservative Washington Times:
Mike Huckabee has started to cite the 16 executions he oversaw as Arkansas governor in his presidential campaign, pointing to them as a type of experience no other candidate in the Republican race can claim.
It’s a grisly claim to make, but Huckabee is trying to counter Mitt Romney’s attacks that he is soft on crime.
“The 16 people I carried out execution on in Arkansas would hardly say I’m soft on crime,” Huckabee told supporters while campaigning in Indianola, Iowa, over the weekend.
Last week he made a similar statement to voters in Pella, telling them, “Ask the 16 people on which I carried out executions.”
The implication is this: Huckabee is tough and will kill. Romney is weak. He has not killed as governor.
If this were isolated tough talk it would be disgraceful enough. But, in fact, it’s part of Huckabee’s long willingness to act as executioner.
More across the jump.
Jan 03 2008
Dozens of Mexican farmers blocked a lane of the border bridge from Ciudad Juarez to El Paso for 36 hours to protest the removal of Mexico’s last tariffs on US and Canadian farm goods. The protest ended today.
Activists lifted a blockade at the U.S.-Mexico border on Wednesday, ending a 36-hour protest against the removal of Mexico’s last tariffs on U.S. and Canadian farm goods.
Mexico abolished its last protective tariffs on basic crops like corn, beans and sugar on Tuesday, under the terms of the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA. Mexican farmers have complained they won’t be able to compete with U.S. farmers who can sell cheaper products because they receive government subsidies.
Mexico’s Roman Catholic Church has warned that the changes could spark an exodus to the U.S.
“It is clear that many farmers will have a difficult time competing in the domestic market, and that could cause a large number of farmers to leave their farms,” the archdiocese said in a statement issued on New Year’s Day.
More across the Rio Pequeno.
Jan 01 2008
cross posted at The Dream Antilles
The caracol (a snail) is a Zapatista symbol for free government entities (juntas). It’s a link between the present and the Mayan past. And it’s a reminder of a time when the world moved much more slowly. When there was time for thinking and time for thoughts. When there was less rushing. When there was deliberation.
And so the caracol is my wish to you for 2008. May all of your minutes have 60 seconds. May there be time to reflect. May there be time to step off the treadmill. May there be a pause. May there be time for you. And may time gift you with abundant delight, joy, happiness, satisfaction, peace, comfort, safety and health.
Y prospero año nuevo!
Dec 28 2007
Did I dream this New York Times story up? Is this really April Fool’s Day? Am I having hallucinations?
Mike Huckabee used the volatile situation in Pakistan Friday to make an argument for building a fence on the American border with Mexico and found himself trying to explain a series of remarks about Pakistanis and their nation.
On Thursday night he told reporters in Orlando, Fla.: “We ought to have an immediate, very clear monitoring of our borders and particularly to make sure if there’s any unusual activity of Pakistanis coming into the country.”
On Friday, in Pella, Iowa, he expanded on those remarks.
“When I say single them out I am making the observation that we have more Pakistani illegals coming across our border than all other nationalities except those immediately south of the border,” he told reporters in Pella. “And in light of what is happening in Pakistan it ought to give us pause as to why are so many illegals coming across these borders.”
What The Huck? Nevermind, as the Times points out, that “far more illegal immigrants come from the Philippines, Korea, China and Vietnam, according to recent estimates from the Department of Homeland Security.”
Am I dreaming? Wake me up. Please. Is this a flashback from Midsummer’s Night Dream?
I have had a most rare
vision. I have had a dream, past the wit of man to
say what dream it was: man is but an ass, if he go
about to expound this dream. Methought I was–there
is no man can tell what. Methought I was,–and
methought I had,–but man is but a patched fool, if
he will offer to say what methought I had. The eye
of man hath not heard, the ear of man hath not
seen, man’s hand is not able to taste, his tongue
to conceive, nor his heart to report, what my dream
It doesn’t get any crazier, does it? This guy is really off the hook.
Dec 27 2007
As 2007 draws to a close, it’s again time for the annual data about executions in the US. From my abolitionist’s perspective, this year’s statistics are better than last year’s and are trending in the right direction. But the numbers are especially troubling because they show a concentration of state killing and a continued enthusiasm for it in Texas.
Join me across the wall for the 2007 wrap up.
Dec 24 2007
On December 22, 1997, a decade ago, paramilitary forces attacked the village of Acteal in Chiapas, Mexico. The attack became known as the Acteal Massacre. 45 people, mostly women and children, who were attending a prayer meeting were killed. The victims, including children and pregnant women, were members of the pacifist group Las Abejas (“The Bees”).
While the Las Abejas activists professed support for the goals of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), they had renounced violence. Many suspect their affiliation with EZLN was the reason for the attack. Following the murders, there were charges of government involvement and complicity. Soldiers at a nearby military outpost didn’t intervene during the attack, which lasted for hours, and the following morning, soldiers were found washing the church walls to hide the blood stains. Wiki.
Join me across the jump.