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Crimes of State

recorded 1/2/08

1) 2:48 Radio Essay - Mp3

                                         Crimes of State
                         {col. writ. 1/2/08} (c) '08 Mumia Abu-Jamal
 
 
   A president is charged with violating the law and constitution of
his country.
 
   He is charged with opening the money pits of the nation to his cronies.
 
   He is charged with approving the torturing of people in the name of
a 'war on terror', listening to the phone calls of countless citizens
and unleashing his hordes of malevolent minions against critics,
journalists and opponents of his virtually imperial rule.
 
   Am I describing a recent novel? For surely -- surely -- this
can't be a real president, in a real country, facing real charges.
 
   And yet, it is.
 
   But not here.
 
   It's in Peru, where Alberto K. Fujimori (once affectionately
nicknamed 'El Chino' for his Asian features) faces a slew of criminal
charges stemming from his years in power as president.
 
   The former president faces charges from his 10 - year reign over
Peru's version of a "dirty war" against virtually all opponents of the
State. From armed combat against Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) and
the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (known as the Tupamaros), to
massacres of students and leftists by secret government death squads,
the former president left behind him a legacy of blood.
 
   In the twenty years of this long internal war, some 70,000 people
lost their lives, according to the findings of a Peruvian government
commission in 2003.
 
   If convicted for his role in the carnage, Fujimori, now 69, faces 30
years in prison.
 
   Why is this surprising?
 
   Because, here, in the US, we see so much government immunity that
the very notion of trying our presidents for war crimes, violations of
international law, or even violations of the Constitution, seems the
stuff of fiction.
 
   The closest we have come, was at the resignation of Richard M. Nixon
from the presidency, after impeachment was imminent. Not to worry. His
successor, President Gerald R. Ford, granted him a pardon -- /before he
was even charged!/ And his crimes, which culminated in the Watergate
scandal, are all but forgotten.
 
   I saw a foreign news broadcast today (from China) which reported
that a million people -- /1 million people/ -- had died in Iraq since
the US invasion and occupation. /A million people/.
 
   And yet, no crime. No impeachments. Indeed, there isn't even serious
rap about either possibility. At the very hour of victory, when a
so-called 'democratic' majority was granted majority power by an
energized, and angry electorate, House Speaker, Rep. Nancy Pelosi
(D.Ca.) announced, "Impeachment is off the table." And so it has remained.
 
   Immunity.
 
   What can the world's sole remaining superpower learn from a
relatively small, relatively poor, predominantly Indian nation on Latin
America's west coast?
 
   Apparently, not a damned thing.
 
--(c) '08 maj
 
[Source: Romero, Simon, "Ex-President Stands Trial In Edgy Peru," New
York Times, Mon., Dec.10, 2007, p.A6.]

 

[Mr. Jamal's recent book features a chapter on the
remarkable women who helped build and defend
the Black Panther Party: *WE WANT FREEDOM:
A Life in the Black Panther Party*, from South
End Press (http://www.southendpress.org); Ph.
#1-800-533-8478.]
===============================


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[Check out Mumia's latest: *WE WANT FREEDOM:
A Life in the Black Panther Party*, from South
End Press (http://www.southendpress.org); Ph.
#1-800-533-8478.] 

"When a cause comes along and you know in your bones that it is
just, yet refuse to defend it--at that moment you begin to die.
And I have never seen so many corpses walking around talking about
justice." - Mumia Abu-Jamal

For additional information and to order Mumia's new book We Want Freedom,

visit: southendpress.org

Check out Mumia's NEW book:
"Faith of Our Fathers: An Examination of the Spiritual Life of African and African-American People" at www.africanworld.com