!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN"> Rolla Peace Newsletter, January 19, 2016

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Rolla Peace News

January 19, 2016


Dear Friends:

          In this newsletter is:

3. THE MISFIT MATHEMATICIAN (Tom's column, http://tomsager.org)
          a) More On Opening Up the Prisons to Them That Are Bound
          b) More On They Poisoned the Water as They All Thought They Ought To
          c) To Deliberatly Inflict Maximum Suffering On a Civilian Population



We vigil for peace in front of the Rolla Post Office THIS THURSDAY, JANUARY 21, 2016, (and all subsequent Thursdays until peace is established) from Noon to 1:00 PM. Please try to join us. The temperature is predicted to be in the 30s. If you do not feel comfortable standing with us in front of the Post Office, please consider driving by and showing your support for our message by honking your horn and flashing a peace sign.


The hopeful thing about this article is that it was written by an 8th-grader. She is very aware that she and her peers are going to inherit the mess that we have failed to clear up, and she is up for the job. Her view of the world is perhaps incomplete, not surprising for a young teenager, but on the issues she discusses, her analysis of what's wrong and what needs to happen is right on. She says, “Those who deny that we face these challenges are standing in the way of solutions that we sorely need.” I hope there are lots more young people like Talia Remba. Dr. King would be proud!

Meanwhile, in conservative Birmingham, Alabama, Bernie Sanders' MLK Day rally drew a crowd of 7,000, overflowing Boutwell auditorium. Bernie spoke about Martin Luther King's vision of what life in America could be like, and how he planned to help fulfill that dream. Sanders is hopeful that drawing that kind of crowd in a right-wing state means that people are starting to think about who really has their interests at heart. I hope so, too!

3. THE MISFIT MATHEMATICIAN (Tom's column, http://tomsager.org)
          a) More On Opening Up the Prisons to Them That Are Bound
          b) More On They Poisoned the Water as They All Thought They Ought To
          c) To Deliberatly Inflict Maximum Suffering On a Civilian Population


I won't quote Isaiah 61:1-2 to you again this week. If you wish you can follow the link. But here's a powerful article by Chris Hedges on the USA “prison state”. If you don't want to read the whole article, here are a few highlights:
“If you are poor, you will almost never go to trial—instead you will be forced to accept a plea deal offered by government prosecutors. If you are poor, the word of the police, who are not averse to fabricating or tampering with evidence, manipulating witnesses and planting guns or drugs, will be accepted in a courtroom as if it was the word of God. ... if you are poor, because you don’t have money for adequate legal defense, you will serve sentences that are decades longer than those for equivalent crimes anywhere else in the industrialized world.”

“Once you are charged in America, whether you did the crime or not, you are almost always found guilty.”

“The reality is that almost no one who is imprisoned in America has gotten a trial. There is rarely an impartial investigation. A staggering 97 percent of all federal cases and 95 percent of all state felony cases are resolved through plea bargaining.”

“The Innocence Project has kept detailed records on the 337 cases across the [United States] where prisoners have been exonerated as a result of DNA testing since 1989. The group’s researchers found that false confessions were made in 28 percent of all the DNA-related exonerations, a striking proportion in itself. But when you look only at homicide convictions—by definition the most serious cases—false confessions are the leading cause of miscarriages of justice, accounting for a full 63% of the 113 exonerations.”

“If all of the accused went to trial, the judicial system, which is designed around plea agreements, would collapse. And this is why trial sentences are horrific.”

“It is a two-tiered system. One set of laws for us. Another set of laws for them. Wall Street’s fraud and looting of the U.S. Treasury, the obliteration of our privacy, the ability of the government to assassinate U.S. citizens, the revoking of habeas corpus, the neutralizing of our Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches and seizures, the murder of unarmed people in the streets of our cities by militarized police, the use of torture, the criminalizing of dissent, the collapse of our court system, the waging of pre-emptive war are rendered ‘legal.’”

I hope I've whetted your appetite enough to read the entire article .

Our own Donna Hawley was railroaded into this system and eventually, after four long years, acquitted; but she had a lot going for her that most of the 2.2 million prisoners in the USA don't have. She is white and educated; stubborn enough to refuse to plea bargain, even when her original attorney (David Mills) withdrew from the case. In addition, she had an excellent public defender (Matt Crowell) and a fair and impartial jury (Texas County) and judge (Bill Hickle) presiding at her trial.

Even so, the criminal injustice system tormented her and made her life miserable for four years.

Three weeks ago I wrote on our criminal injustice system and asked: “Tell me why we should not follow the prophetic words of Isaiah and proclaim ‘the opening of the prison to [ALL] them that are bound;’” I have received only one response. One reader writes in, “Awesome work, sir.”


After writing last week about how Michigan governor Rick Snyder and his cronies deliberately poisoned the water supply of Flint, Michigan, I looked up this article by Thomas Nagy detailing how after Gulf War I, the United States deliberately degraded Iraq's water system to the point where 5,000 Iraqi children under five years old, above what would have been expected, were dying of diarrheal disease directly traceable to unsafe water.

This led to a famous exchange between reporter Leslie Stahl and Bill Clinton's secretary of state, Madeleine Albright:
Lesley Stahl on U.S. sanctions against Iraq: “We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?”

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright: “I think this is a very hard choice, but the price–we think the price is worth it.”

60 Minutes (5/12/96)
At the time, if people were not swayed by the horrendous moral sin of deliberately killing 1/2 million children, I argued, usually to deaf ears, that if we allow our leaders to get away with poisoning the water in Iraq, it will not be long before they poison our water too.

So once again I argue, If we allow our leaders to get away with poisoning the water in Flint, Michigan, it will not be long before they poison the water in other communities too — maybe even our own Rolla, Missouri.

Incidentally, after 16 years, the Veterans for Peace Iraq Water Project is still going strong, making a small down-payment on the trillions of dollars that the United States owes to the Iraqi people for the almost total destruction of their country.

Last week, I posed a question, “How many cities have had their water supplies deliberately poisoned by the Islamic State?” So far I've received no answers.


The two snippets above are examples of deliberately inflicting maximum suffering on a civilian population — both domestic and foreign. Here's a third:

Recently declassified documents show that our cold war strategy against the Soviet Union included not only nuking military and industrial targets; but also population centers in order to “so reduce the morale of the enemy civilian population through fear—of death or injury for themselves or loved ones, [so] that they would prefer our terms of peace to continuing the struggle, and that they would force their government to capitulate.”

This strategy has been called “shock and awe” in Iraq. Clearly it is counter-productive and did not work in Iraq as planned.


Rolla Peace News is distributed by email once a week on Tuesday evenings (except on rare occasions) and is posted on the web at http://tomsager.org (click on Grassroots Rolla: top of rightmost column).

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Wage peace,

helenm (at) fidnet.com