As the jury considered whether Mr. Moussaoui, the only person to be charged in an American courtroom with the Sept. 11 plot, was involved in it enough to serve as a proxy for the 19 hijackers who died that day, no one mentioned an obvious issue. What about the involvement of those who gave testimony about the plot who are in American custody? Why aren't they on trial?
The answer, not shared with the jury, is that those Qaeda officials, who include another financier and the man who was supposed to be the 20th hijacker, are being held overseas in the Central Intelligence Agency's secret prison system and have been subjected to interrogation techniques that would make it difficult to bring them to trial.
How are "we" any different from "they," if our "legal" rituals permit torture and unverified "evidence"? Not that different, just slower, more punctilious, at least in public.
My musings on current events, current projects, current anxieties and current delights.
I started this under the Bush regime when any grain of sand thrown into the gears of the over-reaching imperial state seemed worthwhile.
I have worked to elect more and better Democrats -- and to hammer the shit out of them once we get them in office so they do the things their constituents want and need. It's a big job.
It's mighty uncomfortable, getting by in a declining empire where elites maintain their power by massaging our mean streaks and mobilizing our resentments. This country and this "civilization" may be on their way out, but there's nothing else to do except try to make them as humane as possible along the way. That and to celebrate the extraordinary love that sometimes accompanies our species' bumbling way.
And the end hasn't come til it comes, ever.
Visitors will find a lot of commentary on books I'm reading here. I am very intentionally reading more offline these days because when it feels hard to find direction, it's time to learn something new.
I'm a progressive political activist who runs trails and climbs mountains whenever any are available. I've had the privilege to work for justice in Central America (Nicaragua and El Salvador), in South Africa, in the fields of California with the United Farmworkers Union, and in the cities and schools of my own country. I'm a Christian of the Episcopalian flavor; we think and argue a lot. For work, I've done a bit of it all: run an old fashioned switch-board; remodeled buildings and poured concrete; edited and published periodicals, reports and books; and organized for electoral campaigns. I am currently an independent consultant to organizations seeking "help when you have to make a fight."