Monday, December 12, 2005

Stanley Tookie Williams, Iraq and silence

Good evening. Let's get things started with Democracy Now!

Stanley Tookie Williams Scheduled to be Executed Tonight
In California the state Supreme Court has unanimously denied an emergency request by lawyers of death row prisoner Stanley Tookie Williams to halt his execution. Williams' life now largely rests in the hands of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. If he is not granted clemency, Williams is scheduled to be executed a minute past midnight tonight pacific time. Williams is a co-founder of the Crips street gang who became an advocate against gang violence while on death row. We'll have more on Williams' case in a few minutes.

I'll be real honest on this - I don't know if Stanley Tookie Williams is guilty or innocent. I watched his Democracy Now! interview a few weeks back and thought that would tell me something about his guilt. Others in my family saw the same interview and said he was innocent.

I don't know. And I didn't know about him, nothing, until Democracy Now! started covering his case.

So I can't see that he's innocent.

I can't say he's guilty.

I don't believe in execution period. On that I agree with my church. Irish-American so if you're new or missed it, I'm Catholic. My church is against the death penalty.

To me Stanley Tookie Williams is the best case against the death penalty - I don't feel comfortable saying "innocent" and I don't feel comfortable saying "guilty."

To me, he deserves a new trial.

Not evidence coming out after he's dead when it won't make a difference.

Arnold The Terminator could have stopped the execution but later in the day he issues his decision not to.

Stanley Tookie Williams may be innocent. He may be guilty. But Arnold's willing to "move on."

I don't support the death penalty and I don't think it reflects what we're supposed to stand for or believe in.

But for those who have never thought about, I hope they'll think about it now.

Tomorrow Stanley Tookie Williams will probably die right after midnight California time and he may be innocent. If I were governor, I would have at the very least have given him clemency.
Arnold didn't do that and now a man with a case that's not clear cut will lose his life.

If he is executed and it turns out that he was set up by a jail informant fed information and more by the police, the decision not to give clemency should haunt Arnold for the rest of his life.

I don't support the death penalty period. But I don't see how we execute someone when there are old doubts of guilty and newly emerging ones too.

Ex-Iraqi General Says Shiites Torturing Sunni in Prisons
Meanwhile a former Iraqi general told Agence France Press that he witnessed horrific scenes of torture while he worked in Iraqi-run prisons. He showed the news agency videotapes recorded inside the prison. Men were seen with whip marks and acid burns. One prisoner had lost an eye. Another prisoner had nails driven into his body. The general -- Muntazar al-Samarrai - said at least three people died as a result of torture at the prison, The general - who is a Sunni now living in Jordan - said the abuse is being carried out at nine secret prisons run by pro-Iranian Shiite militias who work for the Interior Ministry.

And there's no way we didn't know about it. We probably looked the other way and called them "insurgents" or "terrorists." I know Bully Boy can't find Osama but we are occupying Iraq and we are responsible for the abuses. That's part of being the occuyping power.

People here in this country want us to leave Iraq and people in Iraq want us to leave Iraq.

We're still over there and making it worse because they don't want us.

Like we said in the editorial Thursday, everybody should be able to find their voice at this point. If you don't have the guts to speak on this war, you are useless.

Tony asked me if we meant it that people for it should speak up. Yeah, we did. We weren't trying to silence anyone's right to opinion. We were saying that as we round the corner to year three of a war, it was shameful and embarrassing for grown adults not to have an opinion on the war. It is too. It's cowardly.

This isn't "Do you like Dr. Pepper or Pepsi best?" (I like Dr. Pepper best.) This is a life and death issue. If you think there's a point to this war, you should say so. If you don't, you should say so. To not be effected by the fact that your country is at war is to look like an airhead.

If that doesn't effect you, nothing will.

In a democracy everyone should use their voice.

On campus we make fun of the war hawks but we make even more fun of the people with their thumb up their ass, just waiting to figure out what the safe position is or probably just hoping they don't have to make a decision.

Check out Elaine like always at Like Maria Said Paz. She read me a thing she's putting in tonight and I told her it was awesome but she wants to work on it some more. So look for it.

Wally notes a good entry C.I. did on Plamegate but I think the one everyone should be sure they read is the thing C.I. did on how the New York Times bends over backwards to kiss Republican butt.

Make sure you read that.

Motto: The Common Ills community is important and the Common Ills community is important to me. So I'll do my part for the Common Ills community.