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24 December 2005

wheels of justice ..... 

‘A Milan court has issued a European arrest warrant for 22 CIA agents suspected of kidnapping an Egyptian cleric from Italy’s financial capital in 2003, Prosecutor Armando Spataro said on Friday.

Milan magistrates suspect a CIA team grabbed Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr off a Milan street and flew him for interrogation to Egypt, where he said he was tortured.

Prosecutors asked the Italian Justice Ministry last month to seek the extradition of the suspects from the United States, but Justice Minister Roberto Castelli has not yet decided whether to act on the request.

A European Union warrant is automatically valid across the 25-nation bloc and does not require approval of any government.’

EU Arrest Warrant Issued For 22 CIA Operatives

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a war of aggression - a crime against humanity ..... 

‘On 19 March 2003 President Bush Jnr commenced his criminal war against Iraq by ordering a so-called decapitation strike against the President of Iraq in violation of a 48-hour ultimatum he had given publicly to the Iraqi President and his sons to leave the country.

This duplicitous behaviour violated the customary international laws of war set forth in the 1907 Hague Convention on the Opening of Hostilities to which the United States is still a contracting party, as evidenced by paragraphs 20, 21, 22, and 23 of U.S. Army Field Manual 27-10 (1956).

Furthermore, President Bush Jnr's attempt to assassinate the President of Iraq was an international crime in its own right. Of course the Bush Jr. administration's war of aggression against Iraq constituted a Crime against Peace as defined by the Nuremberg Charter (1945), the Nuremberg Judgment (1946), and the Nuremberg Principles (1950) as well as by paragraph 498 of U.S. Army Field Manual 27-10 (1956).

Next came the Pentagon's military strategy of inflicting "shock and awe" upon the city of Baghdad. To the contrary, article 6(b) of the 1945 Nuremberg Charter defined the term "War crimes" to include: ". . . wanton destruction of cities, towns or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity. . ."

The Bush Jnr administration's infliction of "shock and awe" upon Baghdad and its inhabitants constituted the wanton destruction of that city, and it was certainly not justified by "military necessity," which is always defined by and includes the laws of war.

Such terror bombings of cities have been criminal behaviour under international law since before the Second World War: Nagasaki, Hiroshima, Tokyo, Dresden, London, Guernica-Fallujah.’

US As Belligerent Occupant

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a new feudalism ..... 

‘In his new book, ‘Empire of Shame’ (Editions Fayard), which was published on March 10, 2005, [Jean Ziegler], the subversive Geneva sociologist and intellectual - today serving as the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food under the UN commission for human rights - moves on to attacking the "private transcontinental companies". Accused [by Ziegler] of maintaining [3rd world] famine, of destroying nature and of subverting democracy, these corporations extend their influence over the world and they aim at the annihilation of the conquests of the Enlightenment.

In order to resist them, we will have to return to the spirit of the French revolution and to stand up, the way president Lula da Silva in Brazil already does.’

Empire Of Shame

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a darker xmas ..... 

‘The snow finally arrived in my little conservative pot-hole in upstate New York. As much as I detest winter and the cold, there’s something incomparably peaceful about a late December night as the snow falls. The quiet is so intense that you can almost hear the flakes touch the ground. The only thing breaking the silence is the sound of the chains of a lone snow plough in the distance or, if the hour is early enough, the bells of one of three churches in my neighbourhood chiming a Christmas carol. It’s kind of Norman Rockwell when you get right down to it. But there’s a problem.

Right now, on this very night while I take in the quiet warmth and comforting seclusion with my family this holiday season, somewhere out there is a man far from his loved ones. He wears a hood and his hands are bound behind his back. He lies bruised and naked in a dark, cold makeshift prison cell. The echoes of his screams still ring in his ears as immeasurable fear overtakes his very soul.

We don’t know who he is anymore than his family knows where he is. No one knows if he’s guilty of anything nor does anyone know if he’s just one of those “errors in policy” that Secretary of State Condi Rice referred so deprecatingly to during her recent trip to Europe. One thing we do know, however, is that the abuse of this man and others like him is being done in our name – with or without our approval.’

God rest Ye Merry Torturers

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pilgrims' progress ..... 

‘And what would happen today if a swarthy Middle Eastern man without wealth or political connections suddenly appeared in front of the White House proclaiming such a radical doctrine of mercy, forgiveness, charity, self-abnegation and love – love even for the "evildoers" who "want to destroy our way of life"?

Would he be targeted by the lawless spy gangs that Bush has personally loosed upon the nation?

Would he be condemned as a terrorist sympathizer and expelled from the country?

Would he be seized and "rendered" to some secret CIA prison or Bush-friendly foreign torture chamber for "special interrogation"?’

Gospel Truth

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amerikan follies ..... 

‘For 2005, my annual task of reviewing the past year has been complicated by an old adage: oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive. Here I sit, tangled in a web that many people began weaving way back when the Gipper was protecting us against deadly pollutants released by old-growth forests. It was a jumble out there this year — one that defies linear documentation.

So let me borrow from our friend Mark Twain and offer this admonition: persons attempting to find chronology in this narrative will become lost; persons attempting to find morals in its subjects will be generally disappointed; persons attempting to find a plot will be overwhelmed (because it contains more plots than Arlington National Cemetery).

And anyone expecting a comprehensive review will end up feeling they have a lot more coming.’

The Bonfire Of The Inanities

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23 December 2005

the false promise of totalitarianism ..... 

‘I'm sure there are many well-meaning Americans who agree with their president's explanation that it's all a necessary evil (and that patriotic citizens will not be spied on unless they dial up Osama bin Laden).

But the nasty echoes of apartheid South Africa should at least give them pause. While Bush uses the rhetoric of "evildoers" and the "global war on terror," Pretoria talked of "total onslaught."

This was the catchphrase of P. W. Botha, South Africa's head of state from 1978 to 1989. Botha was hardly the first white South African leader to ride roughshod over civil liberties for all races, but he did it more effectively than many of his predecessors.

Botha liked to tell South Africans that the country was under "total onslaught" from forces both within and without, and that this global assault was his rationale for allowing opponents to be jailed, beaten or killed.

Likewise, the Bush administration has adopted the argument that anything is justified in the name of national security.

Botha was right about South Africa being under attack. Internally, blacks and a few whites were waging a low-level guerrilla war to topple the government. Externally, activists across the globe were mobilizing economic sanctions and campaigns to ostracize Pretoria.

By the same token, we all know that Bush is right about the United States facing a very real threat of further terror. Yet should Americans really be willing to accept that autocratic end-justifies-the-means argument?’

Where's the Outrage?

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extending the patriot act ..... 

A Tortured Argument

Kirk Anderson

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time for action ..... 

‘This is a request to Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the UN that he should instigate an investigation into the claims listed in the attachment to this memorandum.

It is also jointly addressed to Lord Goldsmith the Attorney General of the UK.

The UK is a High Contracting Party and Signatory to The Geneva and Hague Conventions and Protocols and The Nuremberg Charter of 1945, and of The Rome Statute of The International Criminal Court. It is thus appropriate that The Attorney General should investigate what appear to be grave breaches of these Conventions and Protocols, and of UN General Assembly Resolution No 95, before and during the Iraq War 2003 - 2005.

We are concerned that, should these breaches be established, those responsible should be held to account.

This is urgent. It appears that many breaches, even now, are continuing to take place.’

Bringing The War Criminals To Account

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coming to your local police state soon ..... 

‘Britain is to become the first country in the world where the movements of all vehicles on the roads are recorded. A new national surveillance system will hold the records for at least two years.

Using a network of cameras that can automatically read every passing number plate, the plan is to build a huge database of vehicle movements so that the police and security services can analyse any journey a driver has made over several years.

The network will incorporate thousands of existing CCTV cameras which are being converted to read number plates automatically night and day to provide 24/7 coverage of all motorways and main roads, as well as towns, cities, ports and petrol-station forecourts.’

Britain To Monitor Every Vehicle Journey

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22 December 2005

on the skids ..... 

‘Washington, DC Editorial boards across the country resoundingly panned President Bushs performance during a Monday morning news conference dominated by questions about a secret program to spy on American citizens and his continuing failure to explain his actions and decisions on the program.’

See excerpts of editorials.

Bush Plays Big Brother

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the real black hats ..... 

‘The debate regarding war and Militarization raises the broad issue of national sovereignty.

I am particularly gratified as an economist to participate in this important event in the Nation’s capital, in Malaysia, a country which at a critical moment in its history, namely at the height of the 1997 Asian crisis, took the courageous stance of confronting the Washington Consensus and the international financial establishment.

Under the helm of Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, carefully designed financial measures were taken to avoid the collapse of the ringgit, thereby foreclosing a scenario of economic dislocation, bankruptcy and impoverishment, as occurred in Thailand, Indonesia and South Korea.

These 1997 measures forcefully confronted the mainstream neoliberal agenda. In retrospect, this was a momentous decision, which will go down in the Nation’s history. It constitutes the basis for an understanding of what is best described as "economic and financial warfare".

Today we have come to understand that war and macro-economic manipulation are intertwined. Militarization supports economic warfare. Conversely, what is referred to euphemistically as "economic reform" supports a military and geopolitical agenda.’

The Anglo-American War Of Terror

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just trust me ..... 

Get Smarter

Mark Fiore

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21 December 2005

a high crime called treason ..... 

‘This Minority Report has been produced at the request of Representative John Conyers, Jr., Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee. He made this request in the wake of the President's failure to respond to a letter submitted by 122 Members of Congress and more than 500,000 Americans in July of this year asking him whether the assertions set forth in the Downing Street Minutes were accurate. Mr. Conyers asked staff, by year end 2005, to review the available information concerning possible misconduct by the Bush Administration in the run up to the Iraq War and post-invasion statements and actions, and to develop legal conclusions and make legislative and other recommendations to him.

In brief, we have found that there is substantial evidence the President, the Vice President and other high ranking members of the Bush Administration misled Congress and the American people regarding the decision to go to war with Iraq; misstated and manipulated intelligence information regarding the justification for such war; countenanced torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and other legal violations in Iraq; and permitted inappropriate retaliation against critics of their Administration.

There is a prima facie case that these actions by the President, Vice-President and other members of the Bush Administration violated a number of federal laws, including (1) Committing a Fraud against the United States; (2) Making False Statements to Congress; (3) The War Powers Resolution; (4) Misuse of Government Funds; (5) federal laws and international treaties prohibiting torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment; (6) federal laws concerning retaliating against witnesses and other individuals; and (7) federal laws and regulations concerning leaking and other misuse of intelligence.’

The Constitution In Crisis

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a desparate & grubby facade ..... 

‘Ministers appear desperate to dispel any signs of a rift between London and Washington over methods used in the "war on terror."

The revelation that the Foreign Office accepts that CIA rendition flights passed through Britain comes in direct contrast to official denials by Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, who last week "categorically" denied that any such flights had taken place.

He told the parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee Tuesday: "Unless we all start to believe in conspiracy theories, that officials are lying, that I'm lying ... that Secretary Rice (U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice) is lying, there is simply no truth in the claims that the United Kingdom has been involved in rendition."’

UK Minister Lied over CIA Flights

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those ugly sisters again ..... 

‘Venezuela has given the world's biggest oil company, ExxonMobil, until the end of this year to enter a joint venture with the state.

Failure to do so will almost certainly result in Exxon losing its oil field concessions in the country.

Venezuela's socialist government has now signed new agreements with almost all foreign petroleum companies.’

Venezuela Gives Exxon Ultimatum

Meanwhile, in Canada …..

‘An antitrust lawsuit filed Monday against Exxon Mobil Corp. and BP PLC claims the two oil giants are restricting the nation's supply of natural gas and keeping prices at record highs.

The lawsuit, filed in US District Court in Fairbanks, says the two companies acted together to eliminate competition for the exploration, development and marketing of natural gas from Alaska's North Slope to US markets.

"The only reason for them to collusively not to sell is to try to continue the scarcity that has driven natural gas prices to historic highs," said David Boies, the attorney for the Alaska Gasline Port Authority, which filed the lawsuit.’

Alaska Files Suit Against BP, Exxon Mobil

Meanwhile, at the ACCC ….. ?????

Meanwhile, in Canberra ….. ?????

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six degrees of separation ..... 

'There is something George W. Bush should understand, being that he's a dry drunk; one is too many and a thousand never enough.

That little rule of thumb is doubly true of torture and spying on fellow Americans. Justifying one water-boarding becomes justification for the next, and the next until, before you know it, torture becomes not just another tool in the box, but the tool of choice.'

Spying and Torture: Don't Go There

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rescuing liberty ..... 

‘The President claims that these powers are within his role as Commander in Chief. Make no mistake, the powers granted to the Commander in Chief are specifically those as head of the Armed Forces. These warrantless searches are conducted not against a foreign power, but against unsuspecting and unknowing American citizens. They are conducted against individuals living on American soil, not in Iraq or Afghanistan. There is nothing within the powers granted in the Commander in Chief clause that grants the President the ability to conduct clandestine surveillance of American civilians. We must not allow such groundless, foolish claims to stand.

The President claims a boundless authority through the resolution that authorized the war on those who perpetrated the September 11th attacks. But that resolution does not give the President unchecked power to spy on our own people. That resolution does not give the Administration the power to create covert prisons for secret prisoners. That resolution does not authorize the torture of prisoners to extract information from them. That resolution does not authorize running black-hole secret prisons in foreign countries to get around U.S. law. That resolution does not give the President the powers reserved only for kings and potentates.

I continue to be shocked and astounded by the breadth with which the Administration undermines the constitutional protections afforded to the people, and the arrogance with which it rebukes the powers held by the Legislative and Judicial Branches. The President has cast off federal law, enacted by Congress, often bearing his own signature, as mere formality. He has rebuffed the rule of law, and he has trivialized and trampled upon the prohibitions against unreasonable search and seizure guaranteed to Americans by the United States Constitution.

We are supposed to accept these dirty little secrets. We are told that it is irresponsible to draw attention to President Bush's gross abuse of power and Constitutional violations. But what is truly irresponsible is to neglect to uphold the rule of law. We listened to the President speak last night on the potential for democracy in Iraq. He claims to want to instill in the Iraqi people a tangible freedom and a working democracy, at the same time he violates our own U.S. laws and checks and balances? President Bush called the recent Iraqi election "a landmark day in the history of liberty." I dare say in this country we may have reached our own sort of landmark. Never have the promises and protections of Liberty seemed so illusory. Never have the freedoms we cherish seemed so imperilled.’

No President Is Above the Law

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20 December 2005

the democratic values of sociopaths ..... 

‘If America's leaders want to hunt terrorists while transforming dictatorships into democracies, they must recognize that torture, which includes CID, has historically been an instrument of oppression - not an instrument of investigation or of intelligence gathering.

No country needs to invent how to "legalize" torture; the problem is rather how to stop it from happening. If it isn't stopped, torture will destroy your nation's important strategy to develop democracy in the Middle East.

And if you cynically outsource torture to contractors and foreign agents, how can you possibly be surprised if an 18-year-old in the Middle East casts a jaundiced eye toward your reform efforts there?

Finally, think what effect your attitude has on the rest of the world, particularly in the countries where torture is still common, such as Russia, and where its citizens are still trying to combat it. Mr Putin will be the first to say: "You see, even your vaunted American democracy cannot defend itself, without resorting to torture. . . . "

Off we go, back to the caves.’

Torture's Long Shadow

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a leader who listens ..... 

George W. Bush: A Leader Who Listens

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19 December 2005

president takes responsibility for wrongheaded invasion of iraq ..... 

If you thought the devil was behind it, you’ve confused a couple blatant liars who strut when they walk!

Bush did it!

After well over three years of lying, prevaricating, misleading, and confusing the American people, after killing, maiming and destroying the livelihoods of tens of thousands of Iraqis and Americans at a healthy 20-to-1 ratio, and after the unprecedented destruction of Iraq’s infrastructure, let the record show, on December 14, 2005, Dubya said "I am responsible!"

And as a loyal and patriotic American, let me be the first to say, it wasn’t his fault. And even if it was his fault, he’s already said he’s glad he did it, and he’s going to keep doing it until he is good and ready to stop doing it!

Truth be told, that darn intelligence community fed him the wrong headlines! A good and decent President only reads headlines, and he should only have to read the simple ones that please him and make him smile. Why couldn’t the CIA get it right?

Our shining President reminds us that no matter what was said and done, it was always, only and ever about forcing a fresh friendly democracy on Baghdad. And look! Nice elections are happening there! Everyone is giving us the purple finger in honor of that towering moral force for all things bright and beautiful, an American President who only wants the very best democracy and the very finest freedom for the people of Iraq under the tree this year!

And just look at what our President has achieved in Iraq. A nice big constitution, completed in record time! We and our Iraqi puppets burned the midnight oil, so to speak, to write this tome, this giant redwood of constitutions! Just think—it took Americans 230 years to get the Patriot Act and embrace the intense protofascist degree of government interference in our daily lives and permanent federal abrogation of the Bill of Rights. Iraq is already there, with roving military forces, curfews, and instant justice conveniently provided in both 120 mm and 5.56 mm varieties. Only the bipolar in this country can count on that kind of freedom and democracy, so far.

Speaking of the Bill of Rights, the one we wrote for the Iraqis is way longer than the quaint little one we use here in Amerika. Iraqis now have lots of great rights we can only dream of in Duluth or Des Moines.

Sure, we left out the right to bear arms, but armed citizens protecting their property and lives is so old-school, don’t you think? Not to mention a drag on the free exercise of government power! Anyway, what do Iraqis need guns for? We have given them an Ethnicities-R-Us "provincial proportional representation" system – what’s not to like about that?

Now, some of you unpatriotic whiners out there are bound and determined to focus on all the wrong things. You are missing the big picture, people! Like Secretary of State Rice said just this week on the Sean Hannity show, "This President envisions a different future, and we [me and him and Cheney and our neoconservative enablers] are making that future happen."

In fact, Madame Secretary Rischovsky was on the Sean "Pravda" Hannity program to discuss the most recent expansion of the American executive branch – a politically strengthened bureaucracy at State "with a mission to anticipate [non-U.S.] state failures and prevent conflict." Rice told the adoring, loyal and patriotic Hannity audience that "next time" we do "this," we will do a far better job than we did in Iraq. Our central planning and our five-year plans will be more robust, more realistic, more wonderful in every way!

What is "this" exactly, you ask? "This" would be, of course, creating a fake intelligence storyline, in order to build popular and congressional support, in order to invade a small weak country, in order to kill tens of thousands of human beings without legal, moral or defensive justification, in order to establish new military bases and long-term natural resource extraction contracts, in order to enrich our corporate friends and closest allies.

Next time we do this?

Look, you libertarians, you anarcho-capitalists, you constitutionalists, you left-wingers and other domestic terrorists and dead-enders, those of you who criticize the American government for its unbridled interventionism on behalf of universal values. Listen up, because I’m only going to say this once! Get with the program!

We are going to do this again and again and again.

We are going to do this over and over and over.

We are going to keep doing it until the Chinese stop paying, or Vermont secedes.

And that’s final!

December 16, 2005

Karen Kwiatkowski, Ph.D. [send her mail], a retired USAF lieutenant colonel who spent her final four and a half years in uniform working at the Pentagon's Near East/South Asia bureau. She lives with her freedom-loving family in the Shenandoah Valley, and among other things, has written on defense issues with a libertarian perspective for militaryweek.com, hosts the call-in radio show American Forum on Saturday nights, and blogs occasionally for Huffingtonpost.com. To receive automatic announcements of new articles and upcoming guests on her American Forum radio program, click here.

Copyright © 2005 LewRockwell.com

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the lying chimp from texas ..... 

‘"We do not torture." Remember it, write it in red crayon on the bathroom wall, tattoo it onto your acid tongue because those very words rang throughout the land like a bleak bell, like a low scream in the night, like a cheese grater rubbing against the teeth of common sense when Dubya mumbled them during a speech not long ago, and it was, at once, hilarious and nauseating and it took all the self-control in the world for everyone in the room not to burst out in disgusted laughter and throw their chairs at his duplicitous little head.

Oh my God, yes, yes we do torture, America that is, and we do it a lot, and we do it in ways that would make you sick to hear about, and we're doing it right now, all over the world, the CIA and the US military, perhaps more often and more brutally than at any time in recent history and we use the exact same kind of techniques and excuses for it our numb-minded president cited as reasons we should declare war and oust the dictator of a defenceless pip-squeak nation that happened to be sitting on our oil.’

Fun Bits About American Torture

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always follow the money ..... 

‘Contemporary warfare has traditionally involved underlying conflicts regarding economics and resources. Today these intertwined conflicts also involve international currencies, and thus increased complexity. Current geopolitical tensions between the United States and Iran extend beyond the publicly stated concerns regarding Iran's nuclear intentions, and likely include a proposed Iranian "petroeuro" system for oil trade. Similar to the Iraq war, military operations against Iran relate to the macroeconomics of 'petrodollar recycling' and the unpublicized but real challenge to U.S. dollar supremacy from the euro as an alternative oil transaction currency.

It is now obvious the invasion of Iraq had less to do with any threat from Saddam's long-gone WMD program and certainly less to do to do with fighting International terrorism than it has to do with gaining strategic control over Iraq's hydrocarbon reserves and in doing so maintain the U.S. dollar as the monopoly currency for the critical international oil market. Throughout 2004 information provided by former administration insiders revealed the Bush/Cheney administration entered into office with the intention of toppling Saddam.[1][2] Candidly stated, 'Operation Iraqi Freedom' was a war designed to install a pro-U.S. government in Iraq, establish multiple U.S military bases before the onset of global Peak Oil, and to reconvert Iraq back to petrodollars while hoping to thwart further OPEC momentum towards the euro as an alternative oil transaction currency (ie. "petroeuro").[3] However, subsequent geopolitical events have exposed neoconservative strategy as fundamentally flawed, with Iran moving towards a petroeuro system for international oil trades, while Russia evaluates this option with the European Union.’

Petrodollar Warfare

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YOU DON'T SPEAK FOR ME 

By Judy Small - 1988

You who scribble on walls with your miniscule minds
You who make midnight calls
You who rattle my blinds
The violence you preach is the core of your creed
Well, you don't speak for me.

You call yourselves patriots swastika style
You feed on the fear of the ignorant child
But there's no love of people or nation or land
In the hatred behind your smile
And you don't speak for me
You don't speak for me.

I've seen where you come from,
I've seen where you lead
It's a poisonous fruit that grows from your seed
You stir up the hatred till something explodes
Well, you don't speak for me.

You who slaughter free creatures and then call it sport
You proudly display the corpses you've shot
You talk about freedom and rights and control
Well, you don't speak for me.

You who poison the airwaves with your Ghengis Khan views
You broadcast your bias and then call it news
And so say that you speak for the millions out there
And deny that you're lighting a dangerous fuse
Well, you don't speak for me.
You don't speak for me.

You don't speak for me
You don't speak for my friends
We've followed that line
We've seen where it ends
Intolerance, hatred, division, strife
Well, you don't speak for me.

You who march in your hundreds of thousands for peace
You who work for political prisoner's release
You who fight the injustice of women ignored
You speak for me.

You who combat apartheid wherever it's seen.
You who stuggle to keep the unique forests green
You who fight for the rights of all people in chains,
You speak for me.

You who advocate for those stricken with AIDS
You who call for an end to all violent ways
You who talk about just compassion and hope
You speak for me
Yes, you speak for me.

Judy Small has released 8 original albums and two compilations on her own label, Crafty Maid Records. She has also had a compilation album released in the UK. http://www.judysmall.net/

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