<$BlogRSDUrl$> The Cyberactivist

Behind the scenes of the fight for the protection of animals and workers and the preservation of the environment - my experiences as a Tyson slaughterhouse hanger/killer turned activist. Exposing the evils of factory farming, by Virgil Butler. If you have arrived here looking for the Tyson stories, view the early archives. Some of them are now featured on the sidebar for easy searching.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003


Today's post is somewhat of a departure
from my normal topics on this site. But,
I am so angry that I just have to say
something about this.

As most of you know, I am a combat
veteran of the Army. Anyone who has
ever been in the military will always have
a piece of it in them. It never really goes
away and there is a bond between veterans
that can't be understood by those who
have not had such experiences.

As may be evident from my email address
and list of blogs I read, I am still quite
interested in what happens with regard to
our armed forces.

I read an article about some other veterans
who I believe are being completely shafted
by this administration.

These 17 former prisoners of the former
Iraqi regime during the Gulf War went to
court and won a settlement from the Iraqi
government under a 1996 law allowing
people to bring lawsuits against foreign
governments designated as sponsors of
terrorism. The theory is that governments
would be less likely to sponsor terrorism
if they are held responsible for its effects.

Also, this decision in the victims' favor was
quite validating to those who suffered. They
are feeling betrayed by the administration's
unwillingness to hand over the money, and
there is a worry that other countries will see
this as not holding Iraq responsible for these
torturous actions, thereby spawning more.

These guys suffered tortures at the hands of
the Iraqi regime like:

...beatings, burnings, starvation, mock
executions and repeated threats of castration
and dismemberment.

Lt. Col. Dale Storr, whose Air Force A-10 fighter
jet was shot down by Iraqi fire in February 1991...
says his captors...beat him with clubs, broke his
nose, urinated on him and threatened to cut off
his fingers if he did not disclose military secrets.

David Eberly, a retired Air Force colonel whose
F-15 fighter was shot down over northwest Iraq
said his interrogators repeatedly pointed a gun at
his head and pulled the trigger on an empty chamber.

Here is the extremely offensive, not to mention
extremely attempt by the administration
to explain their callous decision:

"No amount of money can truly compensate
these brave men and women for the suffering
that they went through at the hands of a truly
brutal regime. It was determined earlier this
year by Congress and the administration that
those assets were no longer assets of Iraq, but
they were resources required for the urgent
national security needs of rebuilding Iraq."

Basically, their line of reasoning is that since no
amount of money can make this okay, they
might as well not get any. Well, I don't know
about you, but a good chunk of money would
make me feel at least a little bit better about
the torture that I suffered and help me feel
that my endurance of the horrid conditions
and patriotic duty were appreciated by my
country and my President.

The article goes on to also explain that:

President Bush had signed an executive order
in March, on the eve of the American invasion
of Iraq, that confiscated Iraqi assets and
converted them into assets of the United States
government. In May, after Mr. Hussein was
ousted, Mr. Bush issued a declaration that
effectively removed Iraq from a list of countries
liable for some court judgments involving past
rights abuses and links to terrorism.

In a sworn court filing in the case for the
former prisoners, L. Paul Bremer III, the
American administrator in Iraq, said the money
won by the former prisoners had already been
"completely obligated or expended" in
reconstruction efforts.

"These funds are critical to maintaining peace
and stability in Iraq," he said. "Restricting these
funds as a result of this litigation would affect
adversely the ability of the United States to
achieve security and stability in the region."

Is this administration trying to say that these
fine people would be unpatriotic to accept their
rightful judgment? Do they really think that the
American people are going to believe that giving
these people what is rightfully theirs is going to
adversely affect operations? Yeah, I can just see
ol' Sanchez saying, "Well, Mr. President, since I
don't have that money, we are going to lose this
war. We might as well pack up and go home."

Yeah, right. Every time I think that the current
administration can get no more cold and greedy,
they go and pull something like this.

By the way, did you know that Texas Governor
George W. Bush's largest-single campaign
contributer in 1992 was poultry magnate Bo
Pilgrim, who served as Bush's finance chairman
and stuffed more than $50,000 into Bush's
campaign fund? There is a whole article about
the huge amount of money and the power of
the industry I read here.
It was discussing how the big corporations are
getting bigger and richer while the guys lower
down the line are bearing the brunt of the work.

There are too many policies being made right
now to benefit large corporations at the expense
of everything else - the land, the air, the water,
the health of the citizens, as well as their ability
to earn a living wage. Wealth is being way too
concentrated and corporations are basically
running countries and dictating policy. Their
money decides who gets elected and their
financial control of media sources decides how
information will be relayed to the masses.

If only the masses would rise up and "vote"
with their dollars to reward only those companies
with responsible and fair business practices,
we could change the trend. These huge
corporations could not get that way if we did
not let them by giving them our money.

Shop responsibly. And support our veterans.
Let's take back our country. It is ours, after all.
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