Home Grown

By DeusExMacintosh

selectivetermination2

From Little Green Footballs:

As we noted last Sunday, when murder suspect Scott Roeder was arrested, the phone number of Operation Rescue was discovered on a Post-It note in his car.

Now it turns out that this wasn’t just the phone number of the Operation Rescue office, but of a specific person: Cheryl Sullenger, the senior policy adviser for Operation Rescue — who was herself convicted in 1988 of conspiring to bomb a California abortion clinic, and served two years in prison.

Sullenger’s name even appears on the Operation Rescue press release about the murder of Dr. George Tiller.

So now we learn that one of the senior officials for Operation Rescue (who are spinning like crazy to portray themselves as a non-extremist group with no connections to violence or to Scott Roeder) is a convicted felon in an abortion clinic bombing plot. Isn’t that lovely?

It’s going to be a little harder to convince people that the perp is a lone gunman when one of your organisation’s three authorised spokespeople has been acting as a spotter for the sniper.

Having had some time to think about it, the murder of Dr Tiller is starting to look more and more like terrorism. I wouldn’t for a moment compare the planned assassination of a single surgeon to the massed Islamist spectaculars that apply massive explosions to crowded flesh, or airplanes to architecture. Whilst the motivating factors for both examples are roughly based in religion, the damage being done by the ‘pro-lifers’ (not all life obviously, just some life) follows a model of harassment, assaults and murder that has more in common with the activities of animal rights activists. Yes, all three can be properly described as terrorism as one of the major motivations of all these campaigns is to frighten opponents into submission, but the targets of pro-life and animal rights tend to be more specific.

As an Oxford University student, Skepticlawyer has had a front row seat while protestors have attempted to stop the construction of a new animal research laboratory they’d already prevented being built at rival Cambridge University. No one has yet been killed by animal rights people (though there have been a couple of beatings that verged on attempted murder and they do use firebombs). Perhaps the most positive legacy of Dr Tiller’s assassination is that US authorities will have to re-think their response in similar ways and be forced to acknowlege that the pro-lifers can pose a serious threat.

British police have only recently begun to realise that domestic terrorism (non-islamic) needed to be taken much more seriously and major changes to the law have been required to give victims appropriate protection. Significantly, however, successful prosecutions against animal rights campaigners have been for traditional criminal offenses (blackmail and arson) without recourse to the newer ‘anti-terrorist’ powers.

Violent anti-abortion protests in the US were successfully curtailed for many years in the 80s and 90s using the Racketeer-Influenced and Corrupt Organisations (RICO) Act and patient access was supposedly guaranteed by the Freedom of Access to Clinical Entrances (FACE) Act in 1994 which makes offenses against abortion premises a federal matter. Subsequent supreme court challenges have used the First Amendment to undermine the application of RICO powers and as this MSNBC video points out, the actual effectiveness of FACE is entirely reliant on the willingness of the current Federal Administration to mount prosecutions.

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

With the recent news that an elderly white supremacist has killed a security guard in an attack on the US Holocaust Museum in Washington DC, Dave Bath raised an interesting question @148 on the Selective Termination thread.

NOW the compare and contrast between the murders of Johns and Tiller gets interesting.

“Joseph Persichini, assistant director in charge of the Washington FBI field office, said the shooting was being investigated as a possible hate crime or a case of domestic terrorism.”

Does anybody know if the murderer of Tiller is being investigated in a similar manner, or if there are politically-motivated kid gloves being used? And what of the press in the US?

Good question. Answers anybody?

33 Comments

  1. Posted June 12, 2009 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    Top post, DEM, thanks.

  2. Posted June 12, 2009 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    Since 50% of conceptions naturally end in a spontaneous abortion (miscarriage) and God is responsible for nature, I’m wondering why the Christian Right nutters don’t go gunning for the big bearded burbler in the sky?

  3. Posted June 12, 2009 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    The analogy with the animal libbers is spot on — and I’ll say that as a member in good standing of Pro-Test (the Oxford University group who worked bloody hard to fight off the nutters in SPEAK).

    I spent a year watching these people carry on when I was living in College premises that happened to be on the same street as the half completed Oxford animal lab. There was the harassing of scientists, with a peculiar and obsessive focus on women; the same placards depicting imagery that was designed to revolt or offend; gradually escalating attacks, first on property and then on people; the sort of moral certainty that allows this kind of behaviour to be excused.

    BTW the MSNBC video appears to have vamoosed.

    [NOW FIXED -DEM]

  4. Posted June 12, 2009 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    DEM: Thanks. Glad you liked my question

    [email protected]
    30 yrs old lecture recall here, so don’t beat me if i’m wrong…
    I think it’s a much higher figure than 50, unless you are not including (a) preimplantation, ie blastula (b) stillbirths &death within a few mins of birth, eg main cardiac vessels round the wrong way, L.Ventricle to lung, R.Ventricle to aorta. I think that takes it to about 80%, with a higher failure rate for males.
    But your argument is sound either way.
    Guess that proves it, higher male intrauterine death rate (more m than f conceived tho because tadpoles swim faster with a tiny Y rather than a big X), given foreskins but instructed to cut then off straight away… God is a woman.

  5. Posted June 12, 2009 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    Also note an animal rights nutter killed the Dutch pollie Pim Fortuyn.

  6. conrad
    Posted June 12, 2009 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

    “I spent a year watching these people carry on when I was living in College premises that happened to be on the same street as the half completed Oxford animal lab”
    .
    I’m amazed at how crazy these people are. In animal labs in English speaking countries, you have massively tight ethical standards for animal experiments. Alternatively, if you go to your local farm, you’ll see things like chickens and pigs in cages where they can’t move. If these protestors really want to target those causing the most cruelty to animals, they should start targeting farmers, people buying food from supermarkets, and those of us that live in big places that cause environmental habitat loss.

  7. Posted June 12, 2009 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

    Yep it must be link spam, whatever the heck that is 😉

  8. Posted June 12, 2009 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

    Mel&Dave, I don’t think that the actual beliefs driving this kind of violence are really relevant, and that’s been the tack taken in the UK where prosecutions for domestic terrorism have been based on their criminal activities.

    Or are you suggesting that having a really good and convincing reason DOES justify violence?

    Personally I’d hoped that the UK government had learnt their lesson from the attempt to apply ‘special’ terrorism regulations to the violence in Northern Ireland, but given the existence of legal obscenities like the Terrorism Act 2006 which was introduced in response to the 7/7 bombings in London I guess not.

    The 2006 Terrorism Act (we have several others *headdesk*) is best known for massively extending the time suspects can be held for questioning without charge. ‘Normal’ criminal suspects still face the traditional 72 hrs maximum in custody before police are required to charge and bail them. Politicians wanted the limit raised to 90 days for arrests under the Terrorism Act but have been ‘restricted’ to 28 days.

    Habeas corpus, much?

  9. Posted June 13, 2009 at 12:13 am | Permalink

    Or are you suggesting that having a really good and convincing reason DOES justify violence?

    Well, you could argue that terrorism is just a technique, and that you should call it all terrorism — from the French Resistance to Al Qaeda. This would force one to address the underlying merits, the substance of the claim.

    To my way of thinking (although I have used the above argument as an exercise in legal sophistry at various times) lawyers actually need to argue through the definition of the word ‘terrorism’. We are not trained to make calls on the merits — that is the job of politicians, the military and the people (particularly the people).

  10. Posted June 13, 2009 at 12:32 am | Permalink

    But what is the argument for having special rules for terrorism at all. Murder, firebombing and building/using explosives are already covered by criminal law. What makes “terrorism” a special case? Is it because terrorist acts are usually based on larger criminal conspiracies that are harder to prove in court? Well the US has the RICO act for that and it’s not like the S.H.A.C. nutters in the UK were acting alone. So why the double standard? IS IT solely because of the different scale of target, which means the law doesn’t recognise the offenses as ‘alike’?

  11. Posted June 13, 2009 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    “My gut feeling is that no reason justifies terrorism.”

    I don’t agree LE. If I was a Jew in Nazi Germany and had a chance to bomb Hitler at a public gathering I wouldn’t think it wrong to do so, even if a few dozen innocent bystanders would be at risk of being killed.

    Actually, the whole notion of innocent bystanders isn’t as straightforward as we’d like to think. Since 99% of German citizens in my above example would’ve turned a Jew at large over to the authorities without blinking, shouldn’t they forfeit “innocent bystander” status.

    I doubt there is any neat resolution to issues such as this….

  12. Posted June 13, 2009 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    Terrorism has a specific meaning and specific treatment under law, that’s why it’s treated differently!

    Random, sustained, systematic violence against a populous, against a government, throw in ideological blackmail … it adds up to a little more, and a little different, to a shot gun and a single murder.

    But, look, I get all antsy when people appropriate language and misapply it, often with an underlying ideological motive, or simply lack of thought. It’s a practice that flies too closely (first cousins?) to the twin evils of euphemisms and weasel words.

  13. Posted June 13, 2009 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    There are plenty of justifications for violence, but I can’t think of any for terrorism.

    Shooting Hitler would hardly have been an act of terrorism, unless you missed, kept trying, day after day, and kept missing. Even then it would have only added up to harassment and stalking, not terrorism.

    Acts of violence and acts of terrorism are not fungible concepts.

  14. Posted June 13, 2009 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    Terrorism has a specific meaning and specific treatment under law, that’s why it’s treated differently!

    The question is why is there a specific meaning under law? Fact is that the definition of terrorism is a matter of fierce political debate. The US federal criminal code defines it as:

    activities that involve violent… or life-threatening acts… that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State and… appear to be intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping

    And the FBI says it is:

    The unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a Government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.

    However if one considers the Eisenhower government’s deposition of the democratically elected governments of Iran and Guatemala; the Nixon/Kissinger shennanigans particularly the carpet bombing of Cambodia; the Reagan administration’s support for the Contras and Bill Clinton’s blasting of a pharmaceuticals plant in Syria and its carpet bombing of Iraq in furtherance of distracting the American population from the Lewinsky scandal – then one would have to conclude that the United States is itself a terrorist state.

    All of the permanent members of the UNSC and many other states are supporters of terrorism at sometime or other. This is why at the geopolitical level these very states have advocated a definition of terrorism that only pertains to the activities of non-state actors or lesser powers.
    .
    As for why terrorism is treated differently?

    Because terrorism is inherently and utterly nefarious it legitimizes any and all response to it, including with some grim irony, acts which are themselves terrorist. It also renders any opposition to these policy responses precarious because of the inference of clandestine support for terrorism.

    This proves useful. Considering the history of dealing with terrorism in Spain and the UK the responses of George Bush are curious. The UK and Spain both sought to minimize concern about, and media attention to, terrorist activities thereby robbing the ETA and the provincial IRA of what they most sought – publicity.

    Bush went the other way. He went out of his way to raise the volume on the issue. Why? Well one thesis is that it provided him with just the right kind of environment, one of Manichean hysteria, to be able to proceed with policies that would not have mustered support in a calmer milieu.

    I don’t mean to pick on the Americans. Their errors are our errors. When Clausewitz wrote:

    If the wars of civilised people are less cruel and destructive than those of savages, the difference arises from the social condition both of states in themselves and in their relations to each other. Out of this social condition and its relations war arises, and by it war is subjected to conditions, is controlled and modified.

    On War
    Ch 1 Bk 1

    He was taking certain things for granted. One such was the rule that spared non-combatants from violence if possible. Naturally by this time these old rules were starting to fray. Clausewitz, having done with Napoleon, may have assumed that the civilized world’s standards still held but elsewhere others documented a somewhat different tale.

    And now two centuries later we have come full circle and expect that in war the deaths of the military will be at worst in the four figures whereas the civilian populations will be slaughtered and displaced in, at best, the hundreds of thousands. We take that for granted!

    The concept of terrorism in such a situation only makes sense in realpolitik terms. Otherwise it’s simply a crime. The history of dealing with terrorism shows that it’s best to treat it as a crime and treat its perpetrators as ordinary criminals. The current thinking in the United States and amongst its allies only makes sense if you want to confuse the definition of ‘criminal’ and ‘combatant’ in furtherance of evading the inconveniences of military and civil law by escaping to the other when the one becomes an impediment to your goals.

  15. Posted June 13, 2009 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for those definitions Adrien.

    L.E – if we follow your examples and questions to their logical conclusion, then many an act in WWII, for example, such as dropping nuclear bombs on Japan were acts of terrorism.

    I suppose they were acts intended to influence the policy of a government by coercion and intimidation!

    The “innocent bystander” argument is a poor old flogged dog.

    Gosh, has there ever been a time when “innocent bystanders” have not been killed?

    (Which begs the question why “bystanders” are always “innocent”, as opposed to being morally neutral “collateral”.)

    Whether in war or peace or a car accident, there’s always someone who is “innocent”. Isn’t it an observation of the obvious, rather than something profound or disturbing?

    There’s no such circumstance in which the bad only kill each other. Oh, well, maybe the “under world” drug wars, in Melbourne.

    Adrien – isn’t the point of “terrorism” that it’s prosecuted as a more heinous act that that of a mere “criminal”?

    Let’s not forget that the state possesses the only legitimate power to use force, therefore, anyone using force against the state is treated more harshly than someone using force against their next door neighbor. There’s nothing puzzling about this to me. The legitimacy of the state rests on this very premise. Challenging that premise – which terrorism does – is a challenge to the power and legitimacy of the state. This is very basic stuff.

  16. Posted June 13, 2009 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    isn’t the point of “terrorism” that it’s prosecuted as a more heinous act that that of a mere “criminal”?

    More hienous

    Is Ted Bundy somehow less heinous than, say, Mohamed Atta?

    Let’s not forget that the state possesses the only legitimate power to use force, therefore, anyone using force against the state is treated more harshly than someone using force against their next door neighbor.

    Well this is true. But what Of states and their use of violence “to intimidate or coerce a Government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.”

    If this is okay because they are ‘states’ then where does that lead?

    If Germany had won WWII that would be legitimate y’know.

  17. Posted June 13, 2009 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

    LE says:

    “I am bothered by this idea.”

    I’m also troubled by it LE but I still maintain that the boundary separating legitimate targets from illegitimate targets is blurred. For example if you have two German work crews fixing the train line to Auschwitz with one being civilian and the other being composed of army conscripts is it an act of terror to bomb the former yet just to bomb the latter? And if so why does the mere presence of a uniform make such a difference?

    Caz says:

    “This is very basic stuff.”

    Well yes but only for people like you with a 200 plus IQ and an astounding record of lifetime achievements. The rest of us are left to ponder the nuances. LOL.

  18. Posted June 13, 2009 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

    Melaleuca – come off it, nothing clever about it, and I’m not even pretending that there is. We all know the foundations of the state, so your sarcasm is over blown, unless you have no genuine understanding of government and have never given it any thought or never came across it in your high school studies.

  19. Posted June 13, 2009 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

    Adrien – let’s never forget that Hitler’s government was entirely legitimate, and a democratically elected government, in the tradition of Western “democracy”. BTW – if anyone believes that only Germans can make that sort of governmental decision, they’re a dunderhead.

    How many years did it take the Western world to decide that Hitler was a bad egg …

    Other diplomatically *acceptable* and democratically elected governments have frequently – over the course of history – gone to war.

    War is human history, and government’s declare it in the name of their people. Such is the human way. Odd, but there you go.

    LE – Nagasaki has always had a troubling place in history, much debated and written about. There appears to be no answer. But if there is no answer to Nagasaki, why is the first bomb less questioned? It was deemed a legitimate act. It was, after all, a world war. Fifty million people dead. Does that legitimize the dropping of two bombs and the knowing killing of a few hundred thousand civilians? Fifty million, already dead, versus the lives taken by those two bombs, which did achieve the goal of ending it all.

    Unfortunately your ratio of 10 innocent people dying to save the lives of 100,000 is not a ratio born out in the real world. Pity. Those sort of numbers would be quite palatable.

    The difficulty I’m having is that there is no such thing as a weapon that only strikes the “guilty”, there is no weapon that targets only the “deserving”, whoever they may be, so all debates and hand-wringing – and it continues over the years, the decades, the millenniums – about the lost innocents (“won’t someone think of the children”) are moot.

    Humans, at a collective level, are not discriminate killers.

  20. Posted June 13, 2009 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    Adrien

    If Germany had won WWII that would be legitimate y’know.

    Yes. Exactly.

    In war, the winner takes it all and gets to write history.

  21. Posted June 14, 2009 at 1:33 am | Permalink

    On habeus corpus (or lack of it), labelling crimes as terrorism, etc….

    Edmund Burke: Letter to the Sheriffs of Bristol covers this brilliantly, except that the word was “pirate” in those days if you wanted to connote unmitigated evil as an excuse to ditch the rule of law. The whole thing is worth reading.

    I’d extracted what seem to be the highlights to me as far as pertinence to the modern war on terror in A 1777 Conservative Critique of the Iraq War (2006-11-02).

    The “Dresdening” of poorer suburbs of Tokyo was what at least one modern war-crime lawyer says is worse than the A-bomb. The US justification was that it was assisting the military effort. In reality, the targets were suburbs all of wood, streets too narrow to get a car thru, let along fire-truck, and the “assisting the military effort bit” was women doing piecework at home… mainly darning socks. [email protected] is spot on.

    Legitimacy and justice are not the same thing… one day, hopefully.

  22. Posted June 14, 2009 at 3:43 am | Permalink

    Actually, the whole notion of innocent bystanders isn’t as straightforward as we’d like to think. Since 99% of German citizens in my above example would’ve turned a Jew at large over to the authorities without blinking, shouldn’t they forfeit “innocent bystander” status.

    Sorry Mel, you’ve been reading too much Goldhagen. If the 99% had been true we wouldn’t have the persistent trope that is Anne Frank. The extermination of Jews was part of a far larger attempt at racial purification that started with disability and mental illness, then homosexuality and only then moved into ‘lesser’ races like the Jews and the Poles. Any perceived physical or moral weaknesses they thought would be inheritable, in effect. Goldhagen always makes me laugh because he talks about anti-semitism like it’s some amorphous blob of evil that’s floating around looking for people to infect. He insists for instance, that the low rate of Poles willing to hide Jews is evidence of anti-semitism. I’d argue that this occurred for the same reason we have few instances (in fact none I’m aware of) of Jews sheltering disabled people from the authorities … they were a little bit busy trying to cover their OWN asses.

    But this is NOT a holocaust thread. 😉

    Like LE, I think arguments about the relative guilt or innocence of bystanders is entirely bogus and certainly has no traditional basis in law. In criminal law you are not actually prosecuted for the harm caused to your victim but for disobedience to the state which has said you’re not allowed to harm others – it’s why cases are all Regina/Rex vs. Offender rather than Victim vs Offender.

    The problem I perceive with specialist “terror” law is that it needlessly buys into offenders arguments that in their particular case they are indeed justified in using violence in breach of law and forces the state to acknowledge this argument. (Which leads to the relative guilt/innocence, proper/improper justification discussion we can see in this thread).

    I’m much more comfortable with using existing criminal law in which judgements are based on the cold hard facts of what people have and have not physically done and which preserves a universal standard of citizen’s rights. As an individual, I think I face a lot more danger in the long term from the erosion of civil rights than I do in a slightly higher physical risk that comes with refusing to get into pre-crime territory.

  23. Posted June 14, 2009 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    In war, the winner takes it all and gets to write history.
    .
    Funadmentally true. But it’s sad in these days where the Cultural Right love waxing yirical about the virtues of civilization that a certain oprimary virtue is being forgotten.
    .
    Western culutre owes much to Homer. One of Homer’s innovations when writing about the Trojan War was to honour the Trojans. In fact I reckon Hector was the noblest cat on the field. And Achilles was a sooky wanker.
    .
    But unfortunately the Manichean mindset prevails. There’s either a view that the West is inherently nefarious or always right about everything.
    .
    BTW I didn’t mean to bash America above. I simply know more about the US iniquities then those of other countries. We all do. Or refuse to. That’s America’s curse and its blessing.

  24. Posted June 14, 2009 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    Apologies for the missing comments (it’s picking on Adrien at the moment). I’ve just let four of yours out of the spam can.

  25. Posted June 14, 2009 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    Deus – by that arguement, intentionality wouldn’t count for much.

    Isn’t there a difference between, say, the intention to kill one person, perhaps accidentally killing a second; and the intention to kill a thousand people, but only managing to kill three?

    I can’t claim intimate knowledge with laws covering terrorism, and perhaps they’re woeful (leave the US aside … ), but it still comes back to the target and the intention. When the target is the state and the intention is to harm indiscriminately, in order to intimidate the people, and ultimately the state, that, surely, is not the same as an ordinary criminal – even a serial criminal, who, ordinarily, has no interest in government whatsoever and is not in the business of intimidating anyone other than immediate victims.

    All crimes against the state are treated with more rigor, and I would suggest more harshly, than crimes against individuals. Eg, tax avoidance, social security fraud, misuse of government resources, etc. Why terrorism, a direct challenge to the authority of the state, be treated no differently to any other crime?

    Adrien – nice idea, but I don’t know how well that would go down in writing the history of Hitler. Not that anyone would be rushing to suggest that he was an honorable man. Ditto hard to find anyone with anything good to say about the Japanese, or the Russians, or the French … ah, hell, WWII didn’t leave anyone smelling like roses, did it? Vietnam? Korea? In practice, or at least in the modern era, perhaps even Homer would have struggled to implement his lofty sentiment.

    Deus – btw – don’t forget the gypsies and other religious minorities also murdered by Hitler. It bothers me that so many groups were murdered, but only is remembered and memorialized.

    What a person has “physically done …”? Puzzled. Wouldn’t that leave out conspiracy to murder, for example – planed it, but didn’t get a chance to do it?? Possibly reading your point the wrong way. Often enough crimes are thwarted, cut still result in charges and convictions.

  26. Posted June 14, 2009 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

    Caz, as pointed out in my comment @26 all offenses are in effect against the state because you’re not being punished/tried for harming your victims but disobeying the law (R. vs perp not victim vs perp). For those terrorists aiming to attack the state/crown itself there is already the charge of Treason. One of the most common questions you hear in the UK after each home grown terror plot gets busted is “Why the hell aren’t they being charged with Treason?!”

    I don’t see how ignoring justification would have any effect on assessing intent. If you turn up at a crowded church, locate your chosen target and then shoot him in the head the intent to first degree murder is pretty clear. Believing that your victim deserved to die because he was a doctor performing late term abortions seems an entirely different issue.

    “Physically done” was putting it badly on my part. I don’t think anyone would argue that an attempt to bomb a crowded railway carriage should be treated more lightly simply because the device failed to detonate, that’s why an unsuccessful attempt is an offence in itself. SL and I had a similar argument over the Richard Reed attempted shoe-bombing. I still have an issue with the “attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction” charge that was laid against him. Detonated in a plane in flight, half a shoe of explosives can achieve mass destruction but as of itself does NOT constitute a WMD in the way nerve gas, napalm, nuclear weapons or cluster bombs do. It smacked of gilding the lilly when he was already charged with attempted homicide and placing an explosive device on an aircraft and needlessly dragged in his political justifications for the otherwise clearly criminal acts.

    And yes, you’re entirely correct, Gypsies were another of the supposedly “lesser races” targeted for outright extermination. Hitler sent a lot of “anti-socials” to concentration camps including political and religious opponents and ordinary criminals for varying spells but the attempts at outright extermination of entire groups was reserved for those perceived as racially (jews/gypsies/poles), physically (the disabled and depressive) or morally (homosexuals and drunkards) inferior who might pollute the national gene pool, to use the modern term.

    [And yes, while outright extermination had not yet begun on the Poles they were subjected to a similar regime of reduced rations and rights as per Jews, and their country was the only one in occupied Europe that didn’t have a quisling government appointed – it was appropriated by Germany outright. The only difference between the treatment of the Poles and the Jews was that the Poles were next.]

    Conspiracy as a criminal charge has always worried me because it smacks of pre-crime but I agree that it has a genuine place on the statute books as long as you delineate it properly. A few blokes bitching with a beer is not a criminal conspiracy even if they then go out on a day trip to scout potential targets. The second they start accumulating materials that would make it possible though, THEN you’ve got it. Prior to that you’re prosecuting thought crime with no proof that anything would actually have happened which is why I suspect so much of this terrorism law is on constitutionally shaky ground. Give it another ten years and we’ll be seeing a muslim repeat of all those irish wrongful conviction releases.

  27. Posted June 15, 2009 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    Caz – Adrien – nice idea, but I don’t know how well that would go down in writing the history of Hitler.
    .
    Well I don’t mean that Hitler should be mollycoddled or anything. Understanding isn’t condoning. You do get confusion.

    But after the second world war ended there were Hollywood films that, whilst condemning the Nazis, did hold up certain Germans to be honourable. Robert Vaugn’s character in The Bridge at Ramagen for example.

    Ditto hard to find anyone with anything good to say about the Japanese, or the Russians, or the French …

    Again I recommend some of the films on the subject in the 50s, 60s and 70s. Hollywood portrays honourable officers Russian, French and Japanese. And let’s not forget the Poles and the Czechs.

    Even My Geisha which takes place in Japan after the war and is punctuated by various tributes to the positive aspects of Japanese culture – their courtesy for example.

    ah, hell, WWII didn’t leave anyone smelling like roses, did it?

    Switzerland. No war and they planted heaps of roses in the mansions they bought on the money swindled from the Jews. 🙂

  28. Posted June 15, 2009 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

    “No one before you husband, not even I.” 🙂

    Ah Switzerland, where they not only closed their borders to disabled people trying to flee Germany, they exported their own for slaughter there. Takes the shine off all that chocolate, democracy and cuckoo clocks.

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