Friday, March 6, 2009

Lincoln and the Civil War

Back in 2002, a local writer wrote an article in a local newspaper lamenting the 8th grade history books used in schools today. A 13-year old girl responded with a lengthy (and nasty) letter. I responded to her letter with the article below. You might find it interesting.

"Clare Gets a History Lesson", by Michael Scalise

Clare Nowel’s vitriolic diatribe (New Times 8/29/02) against Patrick O’Hannigan’s commentary (“Don’t know much about history”, New Times 8/15/02) is a perfect example of the problem Mr. O’Hannigan was trying to convey.

Contrary to what Clare believes, it is hardly trivia about what the real cause of the Civil War was or how the war should be referred to.

Ms. Nowel claims that the “right” that the Confederacy was fighting to defend was the right to own other human beings. She is a victim of the myth that the Civil War was fought over slavery. While slavery is reprehensible, Mr. O'Hannigan is correct that history books have misled Americans to believe the war was started to free slaves.

The Southern states had already won the slavery issue without firing a shot. The North had given the South every concession toward slavery. The infamous Supreme Court Dred Scott decision in 1857 had declared slaves as property. Lincoln and Congress had approved a constitutional amendment protecting slavery forever. Lincoln didn’t campaign on abolishing slavery in the south, but rather the opposite. The Emancipation Proclamation was issued 2 years into the war and was done to help keep Northern support behind the war because the North had been losing battle after battle. It also did not proclaim all slaves free, only the slaves in areas that the South controlled. Border states on the union side and parts of southern states that the union forces controlled were specifically excluded from the proclamation.

Secession is unquestionably the cause of the War Between the States. Slavery was not the reason the South seceded from the union. They seceded because of taxation, specifically, the Merrill Tariff of 1861. Unlike the slave issue, the tax issue was nonnegotiable on both sides. Just as with the American Revolution, the French Revolution, and many other conflicts and rebellions, oppressive taxation was the root cause of the War Between the States.

The North had 23 states with 22 million people and the South had 11 states with 5.5 million whites and 3.5 million slaves. In 1860, those 11 states paid almost 80% of the total federal revenues, which were largely spent in northern states.

The Tariff Acts of 1828 and 1832, referred to as the “Tariff’s of Abominations,” were the precursor to the War Between the States and the first southern rebellion. South Carolina called a convention to nullify those federal laws. There were better political leaders in 1833 and lowering the tax averted that crisis with the great Compromise of 1833. By 1860, the South had abandoned nullification and leaders promoted secession as the preferred method to stop the tariff.

The Morrill Tariff of 1861 was passed which effectively doubled the 1857 import taxes and were triple the rate of the 1828 tariff that caused the first southern rebellion. Tax rates were at an all time high. The doubling of the 1857 tariff was the cornerstone of the Republican platform on 1860. This was the payoff to wealthy Northern industrialists who supported Lincoln. The high tariff would mean that southern states would buy goods from northern states instead of the less expensive European goods, or pay a tax. Either way, the north benefited.
In Lincoln’s supposed conciliatory inaugural address, he promised there would be “no bloodshed or violence” and “no use of force” against the seceding states. Even the mail would be abandoned if not wanted. But taxes were another matter. Lincoln stated he would “collect the duties and imposts, but beyond what may be necessary for these objects, there will be no invasion, no use of force against or among the people anywhere.” The South could secede as long as they paid the taxes to the North!

The South didn’t want to be vassals paying taxes for the Northern states. Lincoln didn’t fight to save union, but rather to save the tax base and financial interests for those who supported him. With the South seceding, the federal government would have lost 4/5 of their tax revenue. The free ports in the southern states would mean that northern states would lose at least half of their commerce. This would devastate the northern states economically. It was not a coincidence that the first shot in the war was at Fort Sumter, a customs house for collecting federal taxes. None of this was mentioned in Clare’s book.

Lincoln did campaign on opposing slavery in new territories, not for moral reasons but for economic and political reasons. He was appealing to white free laborers who didn’t want to compete against slave labor in new territories.

The American Civil War wasn’t a civil war at all. A civil war is competing political group fighting to take control of a government. Was George Washington fighting to take over London? Of course not! The Revolutionary War was a fight for independence. Was Confederate President Jefferson Davis trying to take over Washington D.C.? Of course not! The South was fighting for freedom from oppressive taxation. Did the South have the right to secede from the union? Well, just as much right as the original colonies had the right to secede from England in 1776. The Declaration of Independence states that the people retain the inalienable right to "alter or abolish" a government "destructive" to their liberties. Forty counties in Virginia peacefully seceded from Virginia in 1861 and formed West Virginia. Did they have that right? Did the southern states have a right to secede from the union? Did the 13 colonies have the right to secede from England?

While Mr. O’Hannigan states that it should called the War Between the States, the official name is the War of the Rebellion. The southern states called it the War for Southern Independence or the War of Northern Aggression. Had the South won their fight for independence, the war probably would be referred to as the Second American Revolution. Why is it referred to today with the completely erroneous name of the “Civil War” when it wasn’t a civil war? Why isn’t it at least referred with the official name of the War of the Rebellion?

Whoever wins the war, writes the history books. History books tend to portray Lincoln as a great president when he and the Republican Party pushed the South to secede with oppressive taxation. Then Lincoln is credited with “saving the union.” Lincoln was the most powerful and tyrannical president the nation has ever seen. He spawned a new era of uncontrolled despotic acts of a tyrannical central government. He was often brutal. He tried civilians in military court to deny them a jury trial. He locked up dissenters without a trial. He even tried a Democrat politician in a military court in Ohio who criticized the war effort. Can you imagine what would happen today if George Bush had Jesse Jackson arrested, tried, and found guilty in military court of “treasonable sentiments” because he criticized the war on terrorism? By destroying the states’ right to secession led to the unrestrained repressive federal government we have today. The myth of Lincoln promulgated in government-run schools and textbooks are one of gigantic proportion, on a par with one of the most dangerous myths of all, the myth that the U.S. is a democracy.

While Ms. Nowel states “history teachers should be commended for doing a great job,” she is hardly in the position to make that judgment. In fact, it is the height of arrogance to claim that she “learned a lot.” Based on the content of her letter, I’d say she learned less then she thinks, though I can’t blame her.

While Ms. Nowel’s claims she was encouraged to look at many points of view when studying history, she states that she only needs to listen to talk radio to get other viewpoints of history. This is another example that proves Mr. O’Hannigan's point. Why is the other view of history talked about on talk radio instead of the classroom where it belongs? Ms. Nowel would learn more history listening to radio talk show host Michael Medved (a Yale graduate in U.S. History) than she would by listening to most high school history teachers.

Ms. Nowel claims that teachers have to deal with “extreme parents who get upset if the books contain information they don’t like.” It appears to Clare that only “extreme parents” complain about book contents. As a former high school student and now a parent, I do have a problem with a history books that contain errors. The most glaring errors are often errors of omission, where the author conveniently leaves out important FACTS. Am I an “extreme parent” because I expect history books to be accurate and contain facts instead of the author’s politically correct version of reality? This year my son has the same history book that Clare had last year. While the book has two pages about the 1828 Tariff of Abomination, there is no mention whatsoever about the 1857 tariff or the Morrill Tariff of 1861. The four chapters covering that era talk almost exclusively about slavery. The book has a one sentence explanation of why the south seceded from the union, stating the South was appalled the nation elected an antislavery president. After the election, but before Lincoln took office, the House and Senate passed the Morrill Tariff act and then some states seceded, but no mention of this in the book at all. In 80 pages covering the war, there is only part of one sentence that mentions the south was unhappy about tariffs. The book even makes the absurd assertion that “war was inevitable.”

We all know the famous George Santayana’s quote, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Freedom and liberty are always one generation away from extinction. It is incumbent upon each generation to pass on to the next a good foundation of the country’s history of freedom and liberty. If not, this country will someday become history.

638,000 Americans lost their lives in a war for independence, in the most important historical event in the country’s history, and Clare doesn’t seems to have any idea what they were fighting for. That fact should scare everyone.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Proceedings at ICTY: archive

To current file <<<

.... Dr Karadzic has declined to enter a plea, presumably because he doesn't wish to acknowledge the Tribunal. This will will be pro forma converted to 'not guilty'. The Prosecution however will only have completed the new indictment during the last week of September - so why should it be answered before then? What's more, although there are any number of interpreters available at the Court, the Prosecution has said they are unable to produce a Serbo-Croatian translation of the document ... even Judge Bonomy reacted irritated ...

Monsters and Critics: "PREVIEW: Karadzic to enter plea Friday at war crimes hearing"

The former Serb leader Radovan Karadzic is to enter his plea Friday in a second pre-trial hearing before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

Karadzic, 63, has been charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia, including genocide and crimes against humanity.

Friday's session of the court in The Hague, due to start at 12:15 GMT, comes a month after Karadzic first appeared and requested a 30- day postponement to study the indictment. (...) >>>

Updated: 29th Aug. 2008

Politeia: The Trial of Radovan Karadzic: Hartmann Indicted

(...) ICTY has issued an Order in Lieu of an Indictment has been issued against Florence Hartmann on two counts of contempt of the Tribunal. Hartmann was the spokesperson of former ICTY Chief Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte. (...) The two counts of contempt are for allegedly disclosing protected information about the trial of former Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic. The ICTY alleges that Hartmann knowingly divulged confidential decisions in the Milosevic case.

Hartmann has repeatedly stated that former US President Bill Clinton and French President Jacques Chirac had planned a campaign to capture Karadžić, but later backed down at the urging of the US, Britain, and Germany. Hartmann has also said that Russia aided in moving Karadžić to safety in Belarus, and alleged that the West helped in order to hide information about the fall of Srebrenica

Last week, Karadžić submitted a document to the ICTY asserting that he had an immunity deal with former US Ambassador to the UN Richard Holbrooke, on the condition of withdrawing from public life. He asked the Tribunal to order the appearance of Holbrooke, as well as former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and two other officials involved in the deal. Holbrooke and Albright have denied the accusations, but Jurist in an article mentions that Purdue University Professor Charles Ingrao, leader of a research group dealing with issues of the former Yugoslavia, said in an interview that he has independent evidence verifying Karadzic's claims. (...) Hartmann is to appear at ICTY on 15th September. Dr Karadzic's next session is due on Friday. >>>

Updated: 28th Aug. 2008

Balkan Insight: "'Serbia Will Help Karadzic' says Envoy"

Radoslav Stojanovic told the Reuters news agency in Belgrade that he would seek the tribunal’s permission to visit Karadzic at The Hague detention unit on September 7, adding he would ask Belgrade to provide all the documents necessary for the trial, if Karadzic thought the Serbian government could facilitate his defence. “I can ask him only if he needs any help from the government of Serbia on the preparation of documents, maybe some financial support," Stojanovic told Reuters in an interview. "I do not want to see him, I do not want to talk to him, but if he wants to see me, I will see him," he added. (...) >>>

IHT: "Karadzic says he has no hope of a fair trial"

Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic has called for the U.N. genocide and crimes against humanity case against him to be dismissed because negative publicity means he can not get a fair trial. In a three-page filing dated Aug. 24 and released Tuesday, Karadzic said any presumption of innocence "has been ... reduced to a joke" by what he called "demonization in the media."(...) On Friday he will be asked by Scottish judge Iain Bonomy to enter pleas to 11 charges. If Karadzic refuses, the court will enter not guilty pleas on his behalf and begin preparations for trial. If convicted, he faces a maximum life sentence. (...) In the written statement, Karadzic wrote that "nobody in the world believes that there is any possibility of an acquittal."

(...) he claims he cut (a deal) with the United States to disappear from the public eye in return for immunity from prosecution at the U.N. court. Karadzic says he agreed to the deal with U.S. envoy Richard Holbrooke in the aftermath of the peace deal known as the Dayton Accord that ended Bosnia's bloody 1992-95 war. Holbrooke has rejected the claim, calling it "an invented story" that no one should believe. In his latest filing, Karadzic says the deal meant that he was unable to defend himself against "the systematic, continuous and total demonization of my person" in the media following his disappearance in 1996. (...) >>>

Updated: 27th Aug. 2008
... missed (?) or suppressed (!) by the mainstream media ... this IS news ...

The Byzantine Blog: "Dutch Soldiers from Srebrenica Battalion Offer to Testify in Karadzic's Defense"

Some 15 Dutch soldiers of the former Netherlands battalion stationed in Srebrenica during the Bosnian civil war came to Belgrade on Wednesday, offering to testify in the Hague tribunal on behalf of Dr. Karadzic, a member of Radovan Karadzic's defense team Milivoje Ivanisevic told Vecernje Novosti.

(...) They came over at their own expense and said they will testify and invite more of their fellow soldiers to testify too. They left Belgrade on Thursday(...) Ivanisevic talked to each (...) Dutch soldiers complained there is a complete repression against them in Holland that had lasted for the past 10 years because they are blamed for allegedly "failing to protect Srebrenica". (...) They said in Srebrenica at the time they had to protect themselves from the Muslims, rather than protect Muslims from the Serbs (...)

On Thursday, Radovan Karadzic received another good news -- Serbophobic judge Alphons Orie has been removed (...) the tribunal's president Fausto Pocar who ordered that the case assigned to another council of judges. The Hague staff rushed to assure the media Pocar's decision was not a result of Dr. Karadzic's request to exempt Orie from his case due to bellicose Serbophobia (...) >>>

Updated: 23rd Aug. 2008

Updated: confirmation of the story by Radio Netherlands, and Pocar appointed Scots Judge Iain Bonomy

ICTY Press Briefing: (...) a further appearance of Radovan Karadžić has been scheduled for Friday 29 August in Courtroom I commencing at 14.15. The accreditation procedure for the media will be announced in due course. (...) A journalist asked if a new indictment for Karadžić would be filed before the further initial appearance on Friday 29 August. Jelačić said that it was a question for the prosecution but as far as Registry was concerned no filing from the prosecution on this matter has been received. Jelačić added that the operative indictment remains the same and if nothing changes, he will be asked to enter a plea to charges in this indictment. (...) >>>

Updated: 20th Aug. 2008

BBC: "Karadzic wants UN judge replaced"

Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic has asked the UN war crimes tribunal to replace the judge in charge of the preparatory stage of his trial. In a letter to The Hague tribunal, he said presiding Judge Alphons Orie had a "personal" interest in convicting him. Mr Karadzic said the Dutch judge would convict him to reinforce rulings in his earlier cases against Bosnian Serbs. (...)
"There clearly cannot be any question of impartiality on his [Judge Orie's] part," Mr Karadzic said in the letter made public by The Hague tribunal on Tuesday. He cited a number of cases involving Judge Orie, including the conviction of Momcilo Krajisnik, the former Bosnian Serb parliament speaker, who was sentenced to 27 years in jail. Mr Karadzic argued that the Dutch judge would now be keen on having that ruling "upheld and somehow validated, which could be achieved through, inter alia, partial and biased conduct of the case against me". (...) >>>

Updated: 20th August 2008

Institute for War and Peace Reporting: "ICTY - Tribunal Update"

This week, Karadzic used his initial appearance to point out “numerous irregularities” about his transfer to The Hague. He repeated the claim his lawyer made several days ago that he was not arrested on July 21, as the Serbian government officially announced. “I was detained on July 18 by three civilians whom I didn’t know and taken to a place I didn’t know, where I was held for three days before being handed over to the investigative judge,” he said. Karadzic added that during those three days he was not allowed to make a phone call or send a text message to his friends who may have been worried about his disappearance.

Although there has been much speculation in relation to the actual date of Karadzic’s arrest and the identity of those who caught him – from bounty hunters to a foreign intelligence service – Numanovic believes the answer is probably quite simple. He says the way Karadzic was detained has similarities to the arrest of indicted Bosnian Serb army general Zdravko Tolimir several months ago. Tolimir was officially detained by Bosnian Serb authorities as he was trying to cross the border with Serbia, but he claimed during his initial appearance in The Hague that he had actually been arrested in Belgrade and then transferred to Bosnia.

“It is quite possible that after they had captured Karadzic, Serbian security forces wanted to hand him over to the Bosnian Serb authorities, but they probably refused to take him fearing that would cost the Republika Srpska government too much because of the popularity Karadzic still enjoys there,” said Numanovic. Meanwhile, Karadzic’s Belgrade lawyers have called on the Serbian authorities to help them get documents necessary for his defence. They have been told some assistance will be provided.

The lawyers also asked the Serbian police to give them a laptop and 50 CDs, which they claim were taken from Karadzic on the day he was arrested and which, they say, contain documents central to his defence case. Head of the Serbian government’s office for cooperation with the Hague tribunal Dusan Ignjatovic could not confirm whether the Belgrade authorities were indeed in possession of these documents, but said they would provide all the material they have that could be of use to the tribunal. (...) >>>

Politeia: "The Trial of Radovan Karadžić"

(...) Yesterday afternoon at 16.00 hours Karadžić' initial appearance took place before Judge Alphons Orie (...) the Bench yesterday was not aware that Chief Prosecutor Serge Brammertz is working on a new Indictment (here's the Prosecution's Statement and here's the old indictment) (...)

Karadžić promise of spilling the beans during his trial at the ICTY was already made good by his early accusation that former Clinton era diplomat and Dayton Peace Accords broker, Richard Holbrooke may be trying to liquidate him as a result of a secret deal gone awry, an offer of immunity for early retirement, involving also France, the U.K. and Russia. In the meantime Karadžić has penned down his accusation in a document addressed to the Pre-Trial Chamber headed Irregularities linked to my arrival before the tribunal. On Friday Holbrooke countered by denouncing the claim as a brazen lie (...) Dutch Nova TV yesterday evening interviewing Holbrooke, mentioned that the secret deal was confirmed from unsuspicious quarters, namely Karadžić' Bosnian Muslim counterpart in the Dayton negotiations, Muhamed Sacirbey (...) Florence Hartmann recounts in her book that in March 2000, Chief Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte asked Wesley Clark, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, whether the US had a secret agreement with Karadžić. Clark in turn accused former French President Chirac of having cut a pact with Karadžić and Mladić to win the release of two French pilots held by the Serbs in 1995 (see Bosnia News).

Hartmann further clarifies, she wrote that Karadzic’s family says that he signed such an agreement, and that Holbrooke and the US have denied it. There is no any hard evidence, but mountains of circumstantial indicators, on which more in later posts.

In the same interview Hartmann states that Joschka Fisher, the German minister of Foreign Affairs in the former German Government told Del Ponte that according to German secret services, international High Representative in Bosnia, Paddy Ashdown met with Karadžić at the end of 2003 in Bosnia!

Hartmann fumingly lists a number of occasions over the last fifteen years when Karadžić and Mladić might have been arrested, but as by a miracle, were not. Something must have been holding them back. Read it all in The European Courier interview >>>

The trial is adjourned to 29th August. >>>

Updated: 2nd August 2008

The Brussels Journal: "Has Lord Ashdown Heard of the Phrase: “Innocent Until Proven Guilty”?

The arrest of Radovan Karadzic has predictably produced its crop of outrageous remarks from people who ought to know better but who, predictably, are incapable observing the niceties. Thus the likes of Lord Ashdown, Richard Holbrooke, David Miliband and a raft of others all speak of Karadzic as if he had already been tried and convicted. The little matter of holding a trial concerns them not. They have already pronounced him guilty, very guilty (...)

It reveals much concerning the great and good of the liberal left. Can you imagine the fuss they would make if it was Fidel Castro who had been nabbed for transfer to the International Criminal Court? If they spoke at all their sentences would be liberally sprinkled with many 'allegeds' and reminders of the fact that one is innocent until proven guilty and that nothing has as yet been proved. But for an old-fashioned nationalist deemed by the left to be of Fascist inclination who is charged with killing Muslims, no such constraint is required. He is guilty in their eyes and the trial which is now to be held is a mere formality. Mind you the Tribunal itself is no great model (...) >>>

Updated: July 2008


- ICTY official site
- EMM News Explorer: Who is who
- Statement by the Prosecution on the arrest of Karadzic
- Indictment 14th July 1996
- Another voice: "Serbian Network" (contains links to legal documents)
- Updates throughout on Serbianna

Here's one example of factual manipulation, an arbitrary timeline, which starts when "Bosnian Serb forces had laid siege to the Srebrenica enclave", and does not mention that part-time paramilitaries ("Muslim men and boys") continually raided the Serbs out of the supposedly neutral territory of the enclave.