As for my political views, I'm a registered Democrat for the duration now-- after 15 years of not voting at all on principle. I was a life-long Republican before that, oddly enough... conservative on economics and foreign affairs, libertarian and egalitarian on social issues. But I gradually became nauseated by the growing numbers of racists, fundamentalists, and corporate neo-fascists in the party.
I firmly believe that Lincoln and most of the abolitionists would either be Democrats or Greens if they were alive today. At heart I am a pragmatic anarchist, a humanist, and an internationalist, drawing inspiration from Tom Paine, William Godwin, William Lloyd Garrison, Peter Kropotkin, Leo Tolstoy, Emma Goldman, and Mohandas K. Gandhi, among others.
On 9/11/2001, it was immediately obvious to me the world was facing a crisis on the order of 1914 or 1939, and that the greatest danger by far was the Bush administration. So I resolved to take a more active role in the world and do whatever little bit I could to help deal with the mess. On 11/13/2001, I found out what that was when Bush issued his original military commission order.
So I set out to track the issues of that irresponsible order with the purpose of opposing it. I began researching the Geneva Conventions and a number of other treaties. I wrote a top-of-my-head reaction to the order and sent it to my US representative, Barbara Lee (D-CA, 9th District) in the form of a petition.
When Camp X-Ray started operating, the Bush administration's policies stopped being just bad ideas and started being violations of the Geneva Conventions, and by then I was very alarmed by the administration's blustering autocratic efforts to simply re-write the laws however they please by executive fiat.
So I then turned from the question of what the Geneva Conventions required and took up the question of how they might be enforced. I began with Nuremberg and re-examined the US Supreme Court decision in Ex Parte Quirin.
Soon after, the first habeas petition on behalf of the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay was filed in Los Angeles -- Coalition of Clergy v. Bush. My take on the situation was that habeas is a convoluted mess of precedents where the government has endless ways of playing games with a case.
My thinking was: the US government is committing flagrant war crimes-- there should be some way to prosecute them as such. So I searched the US code and found 18 USC 2441, the War Crimes Act of 1996. This is a rarity in US law-- a statute which implements an international treaty in the US criminal code. The traditional US view is that our laws are perfectly capable of meeting our treaty obligations as is, a manifestation of the native US ambivalence on treaties; but in 1996, the Congress passed the war crimes act to plug any loopholes against the backdrop of events in Rwanda and Kosovo.
So I decided to pursue a criminal case intending to defend the Geneva Conventions by a direct prosecution of the crimes rather than the highly problematic expedient of asserting the prisoner's rights via habeas, and my news gathering effort became a criminal investigation-- with the Washington Post and New York Times providing my field investigators. I began downloading and excerpting every relevant comment from DoD and White House press conferences from 2001.11.13 forward. I began documenting the events, names, and dates; fleshing out details; researching the legal aspects; and establishing contacts with interested parties and officials.
And I am now working to bring the matter forward in the courts.
Fort Bragg, California
[ 2002.12.03, revised 2009.02.06 ]