Tuesday, January 15, 2008


The council met this morning and I was there. This time, one of the news outlets was on hand with a camera setup, so maybe I got myself on TV. I had a feeling before I went up there that the Mayor was going to say something to me. I had no idea what it was going to be, but I felt it coming. I think it's because he kept looking over at me now and then as the meeting progressed. The idea that he was going to say something gave me the jitters, so I tried not to think about it too much.

One thing that was kind of hard to watch during the meeting was the number of park lands that went up before the City Council that the gas companies want to drill under and get out the gas. One after another went before them. No objections. All passed speedily, routinely, with hardly a comment from anyone. And that's a regular part of every meeting, now--every week.

Well, sure enough, after he called my name and as I was on my way up there, he said, "Mr. Harper, this makes several appearances you've made here regarding impeachment." Here he paused and glanced around at his cohorts. "I'm not sensing any interest on the council to impeach the President. I can't prevent you from speaking, but I would ask you to keep your remarks brief."

I wish I'd had the presence of mind to say, "Maybe I can change your mind." Instead, I just smiled and said, "I appreciate that." To which he said, "Thank you." Then I gave my spiel.

I will say that, for some reason--perhaps because the Mayor finally spoke to me and I answered civilly, that maybe a little ice was broken. But I did notice that all the members seemed to pay closer and more polite attention to me this time than previously, even including those who had been the most rude before. Maybe they were thinking, "Well, let's give the guy a nice listen, here, 'cause he's not coming back after what the Mayor told him."

Who knows what's in their minds, other than poking more holes in the Barnett Shale? Anyhow, I look upon the Mayor's attempt to discourage me not as discouragement, but as progress, and thus, it seems imperative that I appear before them at the next meeting.

I did manage to come in under the three minute timer, so at the end, I looked up and added, "You have all sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States. It seems to me that that should come before paving roads or drilling gas wells." After which, they just looked at me. I thanked them and sat down.

Here's the speech:

Mayor, Council members, I come before you for the fourth time to ask you to pass a resolution calling for the impeachment of George W. Bush and Richard B. Cheney.

This past Friday, January 11th, marked the sixth anniversary of the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where over 800 men and boys have been held without charge or access to any judicial review.

On Friday and Saturday, thousands of people around the world turned out to protest Guantanamo, including the Philippines, Sweden, Paraguay, Bahrain, Ireland, the United Kingdom and Israel.

The Bush Administration claims these detainees are "enemy combatants." In fact, many were not picked up on or near any battlefield. Only ten percent have been charged with a crime. None have been convicted in a court of law. According to military records, the U.S. has not even accused the majority of them of fighting U.S. Forces or its allies.

The Bush Administration insists the prisoners are treated humanely. He continues to claim that we do not torture.

But according to former interrogators and FBI reports, prisoners at Guantanamo and other places have been subjected to horrible abuses that amount to cruel and inhuman treatment and torture.

The Bush Administration has claimed that summary hearings before three military officers are a sufficient substitute for courts of law.

But such hearings have relied on secret classified evidence, and in many cases, the accused was never told what he was accused of that would make him "an enemy combatant." They've been denied lawyers, they've not been allowed to produce witnesses or evidence apart from their own statements. And the government claims the right to rely on confessions obtained through torture.

So these "trials" are like something out of Kafka or the Third Reich. They contradict every principle the U.S. has held since its founding.

Most Americans are not aware of the enormous international outrage virtually every country in the world feels for this place. It has been condemned by every human rights group, including Amnesty International, the Center For Constitutional Rights, and the International Red Cross.

Human Rights Watch has denounced the prison camp as a shameful blight on U.S. respect for human rights. Britain's third most senior judge called it a "monstrous failure of justice."

And Guantanamo is just one of numerous such detention sites and CIA black sites scattered around the world--whose existence we should all join in condemning. Such places are--or ought to be--an affront to every real patriot in this country.

Again. . .again. . .I ask you to pass a resolution to impeach those who, in your name and mine, tell lies in order to launch illegal wars, and cause the creation of places like Guantanamo.

Thank you.

Sources: Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Center For Constitutional Rights, and Democracy Now!


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