Hall of Shame - United States
Lt. Col. Shelton F. Lankford, US Marine Corps (ret.) “My mourning for the country I live in is not abstract, but real and very immediate. Since the unsolved crime of 9/11/01, I have seen our republic descend into darkness, as we used the lie of 9/11 to justify aggression abroad and repression at home. We have officially become a torture state. Accountability for egregious crimes at the highest levels is non-existent.” “September 11, 2001 seems destined to be the watershed event of our lives and the greatest test for our democracy in our lifetimes. The evidence of government complicity in the lead-up to the events, the failure to respond during the event, and the astounding lack of any meaningful investigation afterwards, as well as the ignoring of evidence turned up by others that renders the official explanation impossible, may signal the end of the American experiment. It has been used to justify all manner of measures to legalize repression at home and as a pretext for behaving as an aggressive empire abroad. Until we demand an independent, honest, and thorough investigation and accountability for those whose action and inaction led to those events and the cover-up, our republic and our Constitution remain in the gravest danger.”
In 1850 California was admitted to the United States as its 31st state. As with some other states, Native Americans were not seen as desirable inhabitants of the state.
For the first decade of its existence, the State of California carried on a series of privatized wars of extermination against the Native American population. California’s first governor, Peter Burnett, openly called for the extermination of Indian tribes.
The Act for the Government and Protection of Indians, April 22, 1850. Passed by the legislature of California, it allowed settlers to continue the Californio practice of capturing and using Native people as forced workers.
It also provided the basis for the enslavement and trafficking in Native American Native labor, particularly that of young women and children, which was carried on as a legal business enterprise. Raids on villages were made to supply the demand, the young women and children were carried off to be sold, the men and remaining people often being killed. This practice did much to destroy Native tribes during the California Gold Rush.
The California Indian Wars were a series of massacres, wars, and battles between the United States Army (or often the California State Militia, especially during the early 1850s), and the Indigenous peoples of California. The wars lasted from 1850, immediately after the acquisition of Alta California during the Mexican–American War became the state of California, to 1880 when the last minor military operation on the Colorado River that ended the Calloway Affair of 1880.
Whisteblower Chelsea Manning (formerly Bradley) is the US Army Private (Pfc) who leaked military and government documents to the online media outlet Wikileaks which became the basis for the Collateral Murder video, which showed the killing of unarmed civilians by a US Apache helicopter crew in Iraq.
Leaks made by Manning also resulted in the Afghan War Diary, the Iraq War Logs, and a series of embarrassing US diplomatic cables that became known as Cablegate.
The Guantánamo files are among hundreds of thousands of documents US soldier Bradley Manning is accused of having turned over to the WikiLeaks website more than a year ago.
In 2013, she was convicted by a military court or the disclosures and sentence to 35 years in prison. In 2017, in the last days of his presidency, President Barack Obama coummuted her sentence. She was released from prison in May of 2017.
In February 2019, Manning received a subpoena to testify in a US government case against WikiLeaks and Julian Assange. Manning condemned the secrecy of the hearings and announced she would avoid testifying, saying "we've seen this power abused countless times to target political speech. I have nothing to contribute to this case and I resent being forced to endanger myself by participating in this predatory practice." Manning also said she had provided all the information she had in 2013 during her court martial and that she stood by her previous answers.
On March 8, 2019, Manning was held in contempt of court and jailed in the women's wing of the federal detention center in Alexandria, Virginia, with the judge conditioning her release on her testifying or the grand jury concluding its work.
Manning was released on May 9, 2019, after the grand jury's term expired. She was immediately served with another subpoena to appear before a new grand jury on 16 May. On 16 May 2019, Manning again refused to testify before the grand jury investigating Julian Assange stating that she "believe[d] this grand jury seeks to undermine the integrity of public discourse with the aim of punishing those who expose any serious, ongoing, and systemic abuses of power by this government".
She was returned to jail for the 18-month term of the grand jury. In addition a fine was imposed of $500 for each day she spends in jail over 30 days and $1,000 for each day she spends in jail over 60 days.
The Chinese Exclusion Act was a United States federal law signed by President Chester A. Arthur on May 6, 1882, prohibiting all immigration of Chinese laborers. Building on the 1875 Page Act, which banned Chinese women from immigrating to the United States, the Chinese Exclusion Act was the first law implemented to prevent all members of a specific ethnic or national group from immigrating.
The act followed the Angell Treaty of 1880, a set of revisions to the U.S.–China Burlingame Treaty of 1868 that allowed the U.S. to suspend Chinese immigration. The act was initially intended to last for 10 years, but was renewed in 1892 with the Geary Act and made permanent in 1902. It was repealed by the Magnuson Act on December 17, 1943, which allowed 105 Chinese to enter per year. Chinese immigration later increased with the passage of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, which abolished direct racial barriers, and later by Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which abolished the National Origins Formula.
Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 310 (2010), is a landmark United States Supreme Court case concerning campaign finance.
The Court held that the free speech clause of the First Amendment prohibits the government from restricting independent expenditures for political communications by corporations, including nonprofit corporations, labor unions, and other associations.
10 Ways Citizens United Endangers Democracy
- “Independent” Spending Farce Leads To SuperPACs
- Legal Money Laundering Increases Secret Spending
- Corporate Money Distorts Democracy
- Court is Blind to Reality of Corruption
- Citizen Voices are Drowned Out
- Money Is Still Not Speech
- Open Season on Remaining Money in Politics Protections
- Increases Corporate Power
- Unlimited Corporate Spending is Bad for Business and Shareholders
- Risks Reducing Respect for the Supreme Court
On December 18, 1979, the United Nations approved The Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). As of 2020, 187 nations out of the 194 member nations of the UN have approved this convention or treaty. The United States is one of only seven nations that has not yet approved it. The United States stands together with Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, Iran, and two small Pacific islands, Tonga and Palau in failing to ratify CEDAW.
The use of torture has persisted at the U.S. military-run Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba despite it being banned by both U.S. and international law, according to information obtained by a top United Nations human rights investigator.
These allegations come nearly a decade after the U.S. banned so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques"—torturous practices approved by the George W. Bush administration in the wake of 9/11.
Torture also remains illegal by international law. "This is one of the most fundamental norms of international law, and its violation is listed among the most serious international crimes, including crimes against humanity and war crimes," Melzer said. "No circumstances, however exceptional and well argued, may be invoked to justify torture."
Melzer claimed the U.S. is in "clear violation" of international law for "failing to prosecute the crime of torture in CIA custody," adding, the U.S. has sent "a dangerous message of complacency and impunity to officials in the US and around the world."
The 759 Guantánamo files, classified "secret", cover almost every inmate since the camp was opened in 2002. The files depict a system often focused less on containing dangerous terrorists or enemy fighters, than on extracting intelligence.
There are 41 men being held at Guantanamo Bay—26 have never been charged with a crime, and five continue to be held despite being cleared for release, according to a March 2017 report from the American Civil Liberties Union. It costs roughly $7 million per year to hold one detainee at the U.S. military-run detention center. Since it opened in January 2002, Guantanamo Bay—also known as Gitmo—has seen nearly 800 men pass through.
Due to the ugly practices linked to Guantanamo Bay, it has been widely cited as a recruiting poster for terrorism. Jihadist media and propaganda have frequently mentioned the prison.
The Kent State shootings (also known as the May 4 massacre or the Kent State massacre), were the shootings on May 4, 1970, of unarmed college students by the Ohio National Guard at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio, during a mass protest against the bombing of neutral Cambodia by United States military forces.
Twenty-eight National Guard soldiers fired approximately 67 rounds over a period of 13 seconds, killing four students and wounding nine others, one of whom suffered permanent paralysis.
Some of the students who were shot had been protesting against the Cambodian Campaign, which President Richard Nixon announced during a television address on April 30 of that year. Other students who were shot had been walking nearby or observing the protest from a distance.
There was a significant national response to the shootings: hundreds of universities, colleges, and high schools closed throughout the United States due to a student strike of 4 million students. The event further affected public opinion, at an already socially contentious time, over the role of the United States in the Vietnam War.
On Monday, May 13, 1985, a Pennsylvania State Police helicopter dropped two bombs on a Philadelphia house where members of the MOVE black liberation organization lived. The resulting fire grew out of control, resulting in the deaths of 11 people, including five children, and the destruction of 65 area homes. An independent investigation of the event heaped criticism on the city’s administration and at least for a time earned Philadelphia an unwanted reputation as “the city that bombed itself.”
The Port Chicago disaster was a deadly munitions explosion that occurred on July 17, 1944, at the Port Chicago Naval Magazine in Port Chicago, California, United States. Munitions detonated while being loaded onto a cargo vessel bound for the Pacific Theater of Operations, killing 320 sailors and civilians and injuring 390 others. Most of the dead and injured were enlisted African American sailors. A month later, unsafe conditions inspired hundreds of servicemen to refuse to load munitions, an act known as the Port Chicago Mutiny. Fifty men—called the "Port Chicago 50"—were convicted of mutiny and sentenced to 15 years of prison and hard labor, as well as a dishonorable discharge. Forty-seven of the 50 were released in January 1946; the remaining three served additional months in prison. During and after the trial, questions were raised about the fairness and legality of the court-martial proceedings. Widespread publicity surrounding the case turned it into a cause célèbre among certain Americans; it and other race-related Navy protests of 1944–45 led the Navy to change its practices and initiate the desegregation of its forces beginning in February 1946.
In 1994, the Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial was dedicated to the lives lost in the disaster.
On June 11, 2019, A concurrent resolution sponsored by Representative Mark DeSaulnier was agreed upon by the 116th congress. The resolution recognized the victims of the explosion and officially exonerated the 50 men court-martialed by the Navy.
Our friend and fellow activist for peace, Rachel Corrie, 23 years old, was crushed to death on Sunday, March 16, when she was run over by an Israeli-driven, U.S.-made Caterpillar D9 bulldozer.
She, nonviolently, was trying to prevent the Israeli military from demolishing a Palestinian doctor’s home in the Rafah area of the Gaza Strip.
Rachel was in Rafah as a volunteer with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) a Palestinian-led movement of both Palestinians and internationals working together for an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
The ISM uses nonviolent, direct-action methods and principles to challenge and resist Israel’s brutal 36-year military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, and to campaign for the implementation of U.N. resolutions and international law.
In response to the international community’s failure to offer Palestinians an international protection force, Rachel Corrie and other ISM activists actively have confronted Israel’s policy of home demolition, and international apathy toward this policy, by living with families whose homes are threatened and by refusing to leave them, or areas threatened with demolition.
The ISM believes that its presence slows the process of destruction and hopes that the international community ultimately will act to support the daily nonviolent struggle of normal Palestinian families to exist.
In 1835, a few self-appointed representatives of the Cherokee nation negotiated the Treaty of New Echota, which traded all Cherokee land east of the Mississippi for $5 million, relocation assistance and compensation for lost property.
To the federal government, the treaty was a done deal, but many of the Cherokee felt betrayed; after all, the negotiators did not represent the tribal government or anyone else.
“The instrument in question is not the act of our nation,” wrote the nation’s principal chief, John Ross, in a letter to the U.S. Senate protesting the treaty. “We are not parties to its covenants; it has not received the sanction of our people.”
Nearly 16,000 Cherokees signed Ross’s petition, but Congress approved the treaty anyway.
By 1838, only about 2,000 Cherokees had left their Georgia homeland for Indian Territory. President Martin Van Buren sent General Winfield Scott and 7,000 soldiers to expedite the removal process.
Scott and his troops forced the Cherokee into stockades at bayonet point while whites looted their homes and belongings. Then, they marched the Indians more than 1,200 miles to Indian Territory. Whooping cough, typhus, dysentery, cholera and starvation were epidemic along the way, and historians estimate that more than 5,000 Cherokee died as a result of the journey.
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