Friday, December 2, 2005

The Australian Editorial: Against executions

There is no case that can justify capital punishment

THE Government of Singapore was due to murder a man this morning.

Certainly, it is acting according to the laws of that country.

Certainly, the means of his death is known from long experience to be quick and painless. [? Rubbish!]

Certainly, no one in Singapore took any apparent pleasure in the decision that a man should die. [? Rubbish!]

But no qualification can disguise that they have planned an act of murder.

And there is no explanation, no justification, that can excuse any nation from killing an individual who has broken the law. There never has been and there never will be.

For any state to kill a convicted criminal already imprisoned and incapable of doing further harm, is desperately cruel. It is not an act committed in rage or madness. It is not the act of an evil individual killing for gain or to assuage some appalling passion or prejudice. It is not needed to defend the state against enemies within, or to protect the community against imminent harm.

The death penalty is an ineffable act of violence against individuals who are defenceless and, at the end of their lives, utterly alone. And the leaders of countries from [USA to] Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, from China to Singapore, that allow executions, are deficient in humanity and reason.

The death penalty is wrong - no ifs, no buts[!!!

Advocates of capital punishment advance abstract and emotive arguments in its defence, arguments that are all unconvincing. The death penalty is a necessary deterrent, they say. The certainty of death if convicted of a capital crime discourages people from committing crimes in the first place, and it ends their opportunity to harm more innocent people, they argue.

Perhaps it does in some cases, although the American experience does not seem to support this.

The US has not become a country free of capital crimes since the Supreme Court decided the death penalty was not unconstitutional in 1976.

And in all sorts of countries with capital punishment, [learners, poverty, frustration, trial and error,] greed, stupidity and outright evil will drive men and women to commit heinous crimes.

[Just like the Coalition of the Killing's resource wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine, governments that murdered hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children. No one hung them for their crimes against humanity? In fact they were not even charged for their crimes against humanity?]

Just ask the Government of Singapore.

Additionally, to take a life for the pragmatic reason [?] that it may discourage future crimes sends a clear signal that killing is acceptable when it is done by the state in the national interest. [?]

Some supporters of capital punishment also argue that the death penalty provides closure to the victims of crime; that people who have been harmed or have lost a loved one will feel the hurt less if their assailant is executed.

[Not true just ask any killer because once the person is dead then the human conscience doesn't just stop working it continues on its path of remorse until the offender is dead. Same as the victim doesn't really get closure. The victims of crime get one second of closure after the State Murder then they have to remember the dead and the loss until the day they die. The real answer for complete closure in relation to crime is 'forgiveness.]

Once again, perhaps some do. [?] But however this argument is expressed, it is nothing more than a recipe for revenge, an assertion that the state has the right to take an eye for an eye, a life for a life. And, ultimately, revenge is always an act applied by the powerful against the helpless. It is victor's justice - and more often than not it is no justice at all. From the earliest legal codes, murder has always been forbidden. And if killing is wrong, it is more so when done by the state.

[Gandhi "If it were and eye for and eye and a tooth for a tooth then there would be a lot of blind toothless people in the world."]

The case for capital punishment fails for many reasons, but above all because it is inhumane and unnatural. [Actually, above all - it is Cold Blooded Pre-meditated Murder.]

It is in human nature to preserve, not take, life. Certainly, wholesale slaughter in war and civil strife is an indisputable fact of history.

The genocides and mass murders ordered by Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, [also Bush, Blair, Howard, NATO, Queen Elizabeth, and the 300 club of wealthiest families in the World, etc...] and all their evil ilk demonstrate that when states order their citizens to kill, many willingly obey.

The record of lynchings in Mississippi during the 1920s, of murderous mobs in Soweto in the 1980s, demonstrates what happens when the protection of the law is not applied to all.

But such enormities do not obscure the fact that people have always been appalled by close-quarter killing. In every century, soldiers have had to be conditioned for close-quarter combat. And for all the images from centuries past of crowds delighting in torture and public executions, stable communities have never enjoyed watching the routine mutilation and murder of helpless individuals. [Now take a look in the mirror] Execution and [Murder, WAR] is repugnant to us all.

From the 18th century on, as the idea that ordinary people had inviolable rights took hold, nations began to reject state-sanctioned murder. One reason for British settlement of Australia was public discomfort with the prospect of wholesale execution of the enormous number of men and women convicted of capital crimes.

Today, with the outrageous exception of the US, nations where political power depends on the electoral assent of the governed are likely to have abandoned capital punishment. And as more and more nations embrace democracy, they will abandon the contradiction of forbidding individuals to kill but allowing the state to commit murder. To assert that states that murder criminals are backward and brutal may offend many nations with which Australia enjoys excellent relations. Tough. It is true.

By The Australian Editorial posted 2 December 05


US passes 1000 executions in 30 years
December 3, 2005: Double murderer Kenneth Lee Boyd has became the 1,000th prisoner executed in the United States since 1976. Another man was put to death on Friday for the 1994 murder of a store clerk, becoming the 1,001st person executed in the United States since capital punishment was reinstated 28 years ago. The somber moment drew a sizeable crowd to Central Prison in Raleigh, N.C., to protest capital punishment...

Send a letter to Nguyen Tuong Van
Letter to PM Howard from Stuart Highway in Berrimah jail Darwin re Nguyen Tuong Van on death row in Changi Prison Singapore.

Please show clemency
As you read this email 25-year old Melbourne man Van Tuong Nguyen is sitting in a jail cell in Singapore awaiting execution for drug trafficking.

Singapore: Nguyen Tuong Van, 25, an Australian citizen of Vietnamese origin will be hanged within two weeks in Singapore after various pleas for clemency failed.

Exporting the death penalty - Bali 9
...and had observers present during one of the drug raids by Indonesian police claim they have - "ended co-operation with Indonesian police investigating the Bali Nine because they could face the firing squad if convicted."

Mr Howard has warned Japan that it faces global condemnation if it kills whales. Mr Howard is often quoted as saying he cannot and he would not interfere in the business and laws of sovereign states. Whaling is a part of the Japanese culture. The death penalty is also a part of many countries culture.

During 2004, at least 3,797 people were executed in 25 countries. At least 7,395 people were sentenced to death in 64 countries. These figures are only reported cases - the true figures were certainly much higher - many countries continue to execute people in secret.

WHY IS THE HOWARD GOVERNMENT PLAYING 'DEATH' WITH AUSTRALIANS: There has been much controversy recently on whether the Australian Federal Police should have tipped-off the Indonesians over the arrest of the Bali Nine. Due to the fact that Indonesia executes convicted drug-traffickers, ACADP believes that any evidence collected by AFP should have been withheld from Indonesian authorities until they have a written guarantee not to pursue the death penalty for the Bali Nine.

Death penalty-free zone in Europe and Central Asia
A coalition of non-governmental organizations is calling for a death penalty-free zone in Europe and Central Asia.

For death row inmates in Indonesia, execution usually comes on a deserted beach or remote jungle at the hands of a paramilitary firing squad. And, it rarely comes fast.

The Australian Coalition Against Death Penalty (ACADP) is (again) calling on U.S. President George W. Bush, to join the civilised world and destroy all chemicals of mass destruction, for the dignity and respect of every human life.

The difference between life and death can rest on the whim of a president or the ability of a lawyer. Whether or not the death penalty can be justified is very much up for grabs.

US: The American media reports that thousands of Iranians cheered, whistled and clapped as a serial killer was publicly executed in Iran last week.

The United States of America has withdrawn from an international agreement that gives detained foreign nationals the right to seek assistance and talk to their consular officers.

Corby lawyer pleads for Australian help
Schapelle Corby, 27, is accused of carrying over four kilograms of marijuana into Bali and could be sentenced to death if she is found guilty.

OHIO: Appeals court tosses death sentence for U.S.-British citizen
In Cincinnati, a federal appeals court on Tuesday threw out the conviction and death sentence of a man with dual U.S.-British citizenship who was convicted of killing a 2-year-old girl by starting a fire in his ex-girlfriend's apartment.

If you haven't heard about it yet, you will. There's a celebration in the air: Kenny is an innocent man living on death row in an Ohio prison and the authorities may finally acknowledge what we've known all along.

To prepare for Connecticut's first state-sanctioned killing in 45 years, the state Department of Corrections has spent more than US$33,000 on such items as training personnel, drugs (poison), intravenous catheters and tubing, portable restrooms, mobile offices, lighting and curtains for the witness observation room.

Child Offenders on Death Row
Recent Australian studies of alcohol and cannabis use show that girls are increasingly inclined to behave boldly. But boys out number the girls, two to one; and three to one in the juvenile justice system, mortality figures, speeding infringements and car crash statistics.

US death row numbers don't change policy?
The number of prisoners on death row in the United States appears to be falling, mostly credited to a single Governor who commuted the sentences of all the death row prisoners in his state.

Despite Drop in Crime, an Increase in Inmates
US: The number of inmates in state and federal prisons rose 2.1 percent last year, even as violent crime and property crime fell, according to a study by the Justice Department released yesterday.

How Denying the Vote to Ex-Offenders Undermines Democracy
For starters, hundreds of thousands of people who are still eligible to vote will not do so this year because they will be locked up in local jails, awaiting processing or trials for minor offenses.

DNA Evidence of Bipartisanship
Last week the U.S. Congress passed the Justice for All Act, which includes provisions of the Innocence Protection Act. As of this posting, the legislation has not yet been signed by President Bush. Attached is an analysis of the legislation prepared by the Justice Project.

Our Two Priority Bills sent to White House
US: The 8th National CURE Convention last June lobbied on Capitol Hill the Innocence Protection Act in the Senate and the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act of 2004 in the House. On Sunday, October 10th, Congress passed both bills and sent them to the President to be signed.

US: A Californian man who beheaded a german shepherd dog he had named after his girlfriend, has been sentenced to 25 years to life under California's three-strikes law.

SAVE THE LIFE OF NGUYEN TUONG VAN:A PLEA TO SINGAPORE PRESIDENT On behalf of the Australian Coalition Against Death Penalty (ACADP) and in the spirit of respect for human life, I make a heartfelt plea for clemency, compassion and mercy, to spare and save the young life of Nguyen Tuong Van, currently under sentence of death at Changi Prison in Singapore. Nguyen Tuong Van, is a 23-year-old Australian man of Vietnamese origin. Nguyen was arrested at Changi Airport in December 2002, whilst in transit from Cambodia to Australia. He was later charged and convicted of drug-trafficking. In March 2004 he was sentenced to death for his crime.

A long-standing convention not to extradite people out of Australia if they face the death penalty has been abandoned.

Kids from 3 to 83 years old beat candy labeled "Justice" out of a big Texas-shaped piqata on Aug. 1 as dozens gathered in the Houston City Hall Park to celebrate the 30th birthday of Nanon Williams, an innocent person on Texas death row.

THE LAND OF BIBLES, GUNS, PATRIOTS AND THE 'WORLD ROLE MODEL' FOR HUMAN RIGHTS: The state of Alabama, USA, executed James Barney Hubbard. So what? ... you might say ... America executes prisoners almost every week!

Appealing a Death Sentence Based on Future Danger USA-HOUSTON, June 9 - Texas juries in capital cases must make a prediction. They may impose a death sentence only if they find that the defendant will probably commit more violent acts.

Forensics? In proposing a new death penalty for Massachusetts last month, Governor Mitt Romney offered firm assurance that no innocent people would be executed: Convictions, he said, will be based on science.

Clive Stafford-Smith: The Death Penalty
"In 1993, a federal judge ruled that, as the U.S. constitution has no ruling against killing the innocent, then it doesn't matter whether you are innocent or not, when you are executed. It's profoundly stupid - the constitution doesn't say the sun must set in the west, but it does.

Silencing the Cells: Mass Incarceration and Legal Repression in U.S. Prisons People without a voice are not people in any meaningful sense of the word. Silenced people cannot express their ideas; they can neither consent nor protest. They are reduced to being pawns in the schemes of the powerful, mendicants who must accept whatever is imposed upon them. In order to keep people in a state of subjugation, silencing their voices is essential. Nowhere is this clearer than in U.S. prisons.

U.N. Group Seeks End To Executions The United States, Japan, China, India and Muslim nations including Saudi Arabia opposed the resolution. Burkina Faso, Cuba, Guatemala, South Korea and Sri Lanka abstained.

US: Execution Dear Friends, this is so sad especially for our dear friend, San Nguyen. San who lives in Oklahoma worked very hard with the rest of the Vietnamese community to stop Mr. Le's execution. You may remember San from being at CURE's First International Conference in New York City in 2001. San also plans to be at the 8th National Convention this June in Washington. Charlie

Please contact the Governor The Vietnamese-American Community, the ACLU, and many others want the March 30 execution of Huang Thanh Le commuted.

Cherie Blair attacks US over death penalty in Catholic paper Cherie Blair has renewed her attack on America's use of the death penalty. In a book review in the Catholic journal The Tablet, under her maiden name Cherie Booth, she says: "Capital cases are uniquely prone to error and thus call into question whether we can ever be really sure of obtaining the just result.

Death penalty: a lawyer sees the light The observation "Americans are from Mars and Europeans are from Venus" is illustrated by the two nations' differing reactions to the use of the death penalty as a legitimate punishment for murder.

OHIO: Judges join dissent on execution delay In Columbus, 5 federal appeals court judges say a convicted killer's request to delay his execution was illegally denied because 2 senior judges participated in the vote.

Stephen Romei: Death knell sounds for US capital law GEORGE Ryan gets my vote as Australian of the Year, even though he's the outgoing governor of the US state of Illinois. There's just no one I admire more right now, not even Greg's Kables Community News Newtwork..

Mexico Awaits Hague Ruling on Citizens on U.S. Death Row Sbaldo Torres, a convicted murderer on death row in Oklahoma, should have been dead by now, his appeals exhausted, his time up.

Jury Passes On Business Of Killing US: This drives the death penalty crowd in the legislature nuts. Yet another jury - another 12 men and women, tried and true, who had all attested to their belief in the death penalty - has refused to join in the killing business.

Ultimate Punishment Scott Turow has long juggled two careers‹that of a novelist and that of a lawyer. He wrote much of his first and best known legal thriller, Presumed Innocent, on the commuter train to and from work during the eight years he spent as an Assistant United States Attorney in Chicago, and he has churned out another blockbuster every third year since joining the firm of Sonnenschein Nath and Rosenthal in 1986.

A Question of Innocence Rubin Carter: Day after day, week after week, I would sit in that filthy cell, seething. I was furious at everyone. At the two state witnesses who lied, at the police who put them up to it, at the prosecutor who sanctioned it, at the judge who allowed it, at the jury who accepted it, and at my own lawyer, for not being able to defeat it.

Amnesty steps up campaign to abolish death penalty Human rights watchdog Amnesty International is urging people around the world to pressure countries to abolish the death penalty.

Are you sane enough to be executed?
New York: The US Supreme Court has let stand a ruling by a federal appeals court in February that officials in the state of Arkansas had the right to force a convicted murderer to take drug treatment to make him sane enough to be executed.

'LAND OF THE FREE' SET TO EXECUTE TWO PRISONERS BY FIRING SQUAD: Wanted: Willing executioners for two convicted murderers. Must be psychologically sound and familiar with .30-calibre rifles. No victims' relatives need apply.

TEXAS EXECUTES 300th PRISONER Keith Clay was executed tonight, becoming the 300th prisoner in Texas to die by lethal injection since the rogue state resumed the death penalty 20 years ago.

AUSTRALIAN COALITION AGAINST DEATH PENALTY " ... Our nation was built on a promise of life and liberty for all citizens. Guided by a deep respect for human dignity, our Founding Fathers worked to secure these rights for future generations, and today we continue to seek to fulfil their promise in our laws and our society.

Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty Please note the following article shows clearly the hateful, uncaring and anti-human rights attitude as reflected by the Governor of Texas (and most other elected Texas officials).

Bush rules out death sentence review US President George W Bush says has dismissed any chance of a review of America's system of capital punishment.

Amnesty urges Bush to shut death row Human rights watchdog Amnesty International has urged US President George W. Bush to take a "moral stand" and abolish the death penalty after the Illinois Governor dramatically emptied that state's death row.

USA - A NATION IN TURMOIL: As the year 2002 draws to a close, little if anything, has changed in the United States in regards to state-sanctioned killing. Various campaigns, calls for clemency, petitions, and international condemnation, have failed to humanize U.S. politicians.

Here come de Judge - Time to Leave [266]
There have always been examples of rulings and interpretations that have supported the saying "The law is an ass". This is increasingly the case, because even the best intentioned judges are now facing an avalanche of new technologies and social change. But, it is no good making excuses for the judiciary and continuing to accept their strange interpretations. We must recognise that not only judges but the whole legal system will struggle more and more. In the end the whole system will become a farce. This is the way empires end.