Posts Tagged justice
“I now ask every American to respect the call for calm reflection from two parents who lost their young son” said Barack Obama a day after the verdict of “not guilty” in the George Zimmerman trial. “we are a nation of laws, and the jury has spoken.”
Attorney General Eric Holder assured the NAACP that he is concerned about the case, and that “the Justice Department has an open investigation into it.”
The message here is that we — those righteously outraged at the stalking death of a black youth being justified by a jury — should remain calm. And we are told to wait on justice at the hands of a system built on slavery, Jim Crow segregation, and the New Jim Crow of mass incarceration. Our protests are the problem, not the underlying injustice, particularly according to Democratic Party leaders, whose purpose is to keep us passive, while they appear to “handle” the problem.
Turning your attention back to 2009, Barack Obama took office in the wake of — and because of — the disaster of the Bush regime laying waste to whole countries, attacking civil liberties, and establishing a system of indefinite detention, black sites, rendition and torture which affected tens of thousands of prisoners. Obama famously said he wanted to “look forward, not backward,” and starkly disappointed people who were under the illusion that justice would be served on the Bush regime — or at least someone in charge of torture — by the new administration.
Obama and Holder did make some promises which turned out to be aimed at pacifying critics. The Justice Department “investigated” the CIA torture in Guantanamo, captured on videotape, allowing the perpetrators to get away with destroying the tapes. They decided not to release the photos of the military torture at Abu Ghraib. The Justice Department, presumably, looked into the legal justification, practice, and individual orders and responsibility for a wide range of illegitimate actions, known to be against international law, involving thousands of victims.
And then, snooze, they found nothing really wrong, or at least nothing they would prosecute. See Justice Department Ends Investigation on Alleged Use of Torture by CIA.
It’s the same old story. The rights of people under the empire don’t matter. And Trayvon Martin, to quote the 1857 Dred Scott Decision of the US Supreme Court, will likely be found to have “no rights the white man was bound to respect.”
I am not exaggerating here. WHEN has a federal investigation brought justice in a situation where crimes have been carried out, supported, or excused by government?
We indict the U.S. government. Example: For the mass incarceration of over 2.4 million people in the United States, mainly Black and Latino, a program with a genocidal impact against these groups, including torture, solitary confinement, and unjust executions.
Eight years ago today the Bush regime opened their detention center at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. It went on to become a notorious symbol of the torture and racism that people the world over associated with the U.S. “war on terror.”
As we mark this anniversary, many people hoped Barack Obama’s promise to close Guantánamo by Jan 22, 2010 would close that chapter. But there are 2 things in the way of that:
1) Regardless of the president’s expressed intention to close Guantánamo “in the interests of justice,” his administration is holding on to indefinite detention and even proposing preventive detention; killing more civilians with unmanned drones than Bush did; and expanding the Bush arguments for executive powers. The lunatics in Congress who say that “all terrorists are Muslim,” therefore, any repression is justified against whole countries have all the initiative and will not allow even a symbolic closing of one part of the US torture state.
2) If one wanted to stop the abuse it would be necessary to prosecute and hold accountable the crimes against humanity commited by the Bush regime, and Obama has said he will not.
At the same time, the torture, the cover-ups and the justifications of it are so heinous, and continue to create such outrage from the populations the U.S. occupations seek to pacify, that the spectre of scandal still looms over the whole enterprise of the so-called “war on terror.”
The righteous indignation — and opposition — of a people who says “no, not in our name!” expressed with visible, public determination could create a situation where more people see Obama’s Guantánamo as illegitmate. And that’s where we come in.