Monthly Archives: September 2016

Blog – Diplomatic Immunity 9/28/2016

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Diplomatic Immunity

September 14th, 2016

diplomatic-immunity-passportI never really understood how exactly diplomatic immunity is fair and after reading this week I still don’t understand. Diplomatic immunity has a long history and is recorded in Ramyana in 3000 BC. Modern diplomatic immunity is provided for by the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. As of April 2014 it has been signed on and ratified by 190 countries. It’s an extensive document containing 53 articles. A summary of it’s allowances are as follows:

  • Article 9. The host nation at any time and for any reason can declare a particular member of the diplomatic staff to be persona non grata. The sending state must recall this person within a reasonable period of time, or otherwise this person may lose their diplomatic immunity.
  • Article 22. The premises of a diplomatic mission, such as an embassy, are inviolable and must not be entered by the host country except by permission of the head of the mission. Furthermore, the host country must protect the mission from intrusion or damage. The host country must never search the premises, nor seize its documents or property. Article 30 extends this provision to the private residence of the diplomats.
  • Article 24 establishes that the archives and documents of a diplomatic mission are inviolable. The receiving country shall not seize or open such documents.
  • Article 27. The host country must permit and protect free communication between the diplomats of the mission and their home country. A diplomatic bag must never be opened even on suspicion of abuse. A diplomatic courier must never be arrested or detained.
  • Article 29. Diplomats must not be liable to any form of arrest or detention. They are immune from civil or criminal prosecution, though the sending country may waive this right under Article 32. Under Article 34, they are exempt from most taxes, and under Article 36 they are exempt from most customs duties.
  • Article 31.1c Actions not covered by diplomatic immunity: professional activity outside diplomat’s official functions.
  • Article 34 speaks about tax exemption of diplomatic agents while Article 36 establishes that diplomatic agents are exempted from custom duties.
  • Article 37. The family members of a diplomat that are living in the host country enjoy most of the same protections as the diplomats themselves.

diplomatic-immunity-id-card-2 There’s a common myth that diplomatic immunity doesn’t cover murder but it does. It’s immunity to all the laws of a host country. Diplomats are not immune in their home country’s jurisdiction. So why the untouchable status in another? It supposed to be to alleviate tension between nations over legal issues. If you ask me it does the opposite at times. It’s difficult to decide.  As you’ll read, there’s some pretty outrageous shit that diplomats have done. The only times the immunity status doesn’t prevail are if the Vienna Convention has been violated or the sending country waives the immunity status as was done by the Colombian Government in 2002 when a diplomat committed manslaughter in London.

diplomatic-immunity-extreme-lawI coincide with it when thinking of an extreme. What if the punishment for theft was getting a hand chopped off in a certain nation? We wouldn’t want the son of one of our dignitaries paying that kind of penalty for stealing a pack of gum. Some think these things should be handled ad hoc or on a cases by case basis. Could you imagine the amount of bureaucratic red tape world wide and there’d be no consistency of crimes punishable. As it is they’re not punishable and it’s likely to stay that way. Below are some of the crimes committed and what happened. They do not all have conclusions.

Offenses Against the Person

diplomatic-immunity-yvonne-fletcherOn-duty police officer Yvonne Fletcher was murdered in London in 1984, by a person shooting from inside the Libyan embassy during a protest. The incident caused a breakdown in diplomatic relations until Libya admitted “general responsibility” in 1999. The incident became a major factor in Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher‘s decision to allow President of the United States Ronald Reagan to launch the U.S. bombing of Libya in 1986 from American bases in the United Kingdom.

In 1987 in New York City, the Human Resources Administration placed 9-year-old Terrence Karamba in a foster home after his elementary school teachers noticed suspicious scars and injuries. He and his 7-year-old sister, who was also placed in City custody, told officials the wounds had been inflicted by their father, Floyd Karamba, an administrative attache at the Zimbabwean Mission to the U.N. No charges were filed, as Mr. Karamba had diplomatic immunity.

diplomatic-immunity-husband-kazukoOn February 1999 in Vancouver, Canada, Kazuko Shimokoji, wife of the Japanese Consul-General, showed up at the ER of a city hospital with two black eyes and a bruised neck. She told doctors that her husband had beaten her. When local police questioned her husband, Mr. Shimokoji said, “Yes, I punched her out and she deserved it”, and described the incident as “a cultural thing and not a big deal”. Although an arrest warrant was issued, Mr. Shimokoji could not be arrested due to his diplomatic immunity. However, his statement to the police was widely reported in both the local and Japanese press. The subsequent public uproar prompted the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs to waive Mr. Shimokoji’s immunity. Though he pleaded guilty in Canadian court, he was given an absolute discharge. Nonetheless, he was recalled to Japan where he was reassigned to office duty and had his pay cut.

In November 2006 in New York City, Fred Matwanga, Kenyan diplomat to the U.N., was taken into police custody by officers responding to reports that he had assaulted his son; he was released after asserting diplomat immunity.

diplomatic-immunity-raymond-allen-davisIn January 2011 in Lahore, Pakistan, American embassy employee Raymond Allen Davis shot and killed two Pakistani civilians, while a third man was struck and killed by a U.S. consulate car responding to the shooting. According to Davis, they were about to rob him and he acted in self-defense. When detained by police, Davis claimed to be a consultant at the U.S. consulate in Lahore. He was formally arrested and remanded into custody. Further investigations revealed that he was working with the CIA as a contractor in Pakistan. U.S. State Department declared him a diplomat and repeatedly requested immunity under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, to which Pakistan is a signatory. On March 16, 2011, Davis was released after the families of the two killed men were paid $2.4 million in diyya (a form of monetary compensation or blood money). Judges then acquitted him on all charges and Davis immediately departed Pakistan.

In April 2012 in Manila, Panamanian diplomat Erick Bairnals Shcks was accused of raping a 19-year-old Filipino woman, but was later released from detention because Shcks “enjoys protection under the 1961 Vienna Convention”.

diplomatic-immunity-daniele-manciniIn March 2013, the Supreme Court of India restricted Italian ambassador Daniele Mancini from leaving India for breaching an undertaking given to the apex court. Despite Italian and European Union protests regarding the restrictions as contrary to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, the Supreme Court of India said it would be unacceptable to argue diplomatic immunity after voluntarily subjecting to court’s jurisdiction. The Italian envoy had invoked Article 32 of the Constitution of India when filing an affidavit to the Supreme Court taking responsibility for the return of the two Italian marines to India after casting their votes in the March 2012 general elections in Italy. The Indian Supreme Court opined that the Italian ambassador had waived his diplomatic immunity and could be charged for contempt. The two marines were being tried in India for the murder of two Indian fishermen off the coast of Kerala (see the 2012 Italian Navy Marines shooting incident in the Laccadive Sea).

diplomatic-immunity-mohammed-rizalman-bin-ismailIn June 2014, the New Zealand government confirmed that Mohammed Rizalman Bin Ismail from Malaysia, aged in his 30s and employed at Malaysia’s High Commission in Wellington, had invoked diplomatic immunity when faced with charges of burglary and assault with intent to rape after allegedly following a 21-year-old woman to her home. He returned to Malaysia in May 2014 with his family while the case was still in hearing. The New Zealand foreign ministry was criticized for allowing the defendant to leave the country, which was blamed on miscommunication between the foreign ministries of the two countries, as Prime Minister John Key expressed his view that “the man should have faced the charges in New Zealand”. Malaysia eventually agreed to send the diplomat back to assist in investigations and he was eventually tried and detained in New Zealand.

diplomatic-immunity-dmitri-borodinIn October 2013, Russian diplomat Dmitri Borodin was arrested in The Hague, The Netherlands, after neighbors called the police. Borodin was alleged to have been drunk and violent towards his children, aged two and four. Police were in the area because Borodin’s wife had lost control over her car while also under influence, and had rammed four parked cars near the diplomats’ house. Russia immediately demanded an apology from the Dutch government for violating Borodin’s diplomatic immunity. The row came at a time of tension between Russia and the Netherlands, after the Russian security services captured a Greenpeace vessel sailing under the Dutch flag, Arctic Sunrise, that was protesting against oil drilling in the Prirazlomnoye field.

In August 2014, police were called to the Arlington, Virginia, home of an ambassador from Equatorial Guinea, where they transported a female victim (reportedly the ambassador’s teenage daughter) who had been struck in the head. Police could not press assault charges because the suspect had diplomatic immunity.

Vehicular Assault and Drunk Driving

diplomatic-immunity-gueorgui-makharadzeIn January 1997, Gueorgui Makharadze, a high-ranking Georgian diplomat, caused a five-car pileup in Washington, D. C., in the United States, which killed a 16-year-old girl. Makharadze’s claim of diplomatic immunity created a national outrage in the United States, particularly given Makharadze’s previous record of driving offenses: in April 1996, Makharadze had been charged with speeding in Virginia, and four months later, he was detained by District of Columbia police on suspicion of drunk driving. In both prior cases, charges were dismissed based on his immunity. On the basis of the media coverage, Georgia revoked Makharadze’s immunity, and he was ultimately sentenced to seven years in prison after pleading guilty to one count of involuntary manslaughter and four counts of aggravated assault.

On 27 October 1998, in Vladivostok, Russia, Douglas Kent, the American Consul General to Russia, was involved in a car accident that left a young man, Alexander Kashin, disabled. Kent was not prosecuted in a U.S. court. Under the Vienna Convention, diplomatic immunity does not apply to civil actions relating to vehicular accidents, but in 2006, the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that, since he was using his vehicle for consular purposes, Kent could not be sued civilly.

diplomatic-immunity-andrei-knyazevIn 2001, a Russian diplomat, Andrei Knyazev, hit and killed a woman while driving drunk in Ottawa. Knyazev refused to take a breathalyzer at the scene of the crash, citing diplomatic immunity. Russia refused Canadian requests to waive his immunity, and Knyazev was expelled from Canada. Though the Russian Foreign Ministry fired him and charged him with involuntary manslaughter, and Russian and Canadian authorities cooperated in the investigation, the case caused a political storm in Canada. Many accused the Foreign Ministry of incompetence after it emerged that Knyazev had twice been previously investigated for drunk driving. The Canadian Foreign Minister had fought unsuccessfully to have Knyazev tried in Ottawa. In 2002, Knyazev was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in Russia.

diplomatic-immunity-christopher-van-goethemOn 3 December 2004, in Bucharest, Romania, Christopher Van Goethem, an American Marine serving his embassy, ran a red traffic signal, collided with a taxi, and killed popular Romanian musician Teo Peter. Van Goethem’s blood alcohol content was estimated at 0.09% from a breathalyser test, but he refused to give a blood sample for further testing and left for Germany before charges could be filed in Romania. The Romanian government requested the American government to lift his immunity, which it refused to do. In a court-martial, he was acquitted of manslaughter and adultery (which is still a court martial offense) but was convicted of obstruction of justice and making false statements.

On 9 December 2009, in Tanzania, Canadian Junior Envoy Jean Touchette was arrested after it was reported that he spat at a traffic police officer on duty in the middle of a traffic jam in the Banana district on the outskirts of Dar es Salaam. Canada’s High Commissioner, Robert Orr, was summoned by the Tanzanian Foreign Ministry over the incident, and the junior envoy was later recalled.

diplomatic-immunity-silviu-ionescuOn 15 December 2009, in Singapore, the Romanian chargé d’affaires, Silviu Ionescu, was allegedly behind a drunk-driving hit-and-run accident that killed a 30-year-old man and seriously injured two others. He left Singapore for Romania three days after the accident. The Romanian foreign ministry suspended Ionescu from his post. A coroner’s inquiry in Singapore, which included testimony by the Romanian embassy driver, concluded that Ionescu was solely responsible for the accident. An Interpol Red Notice was subsequently issued for his arrest and possible extradition notwithstanding the fact that Romania had not waived his diplomatic immunity and had commenced criminal proceedings against him in Romania. The Singapore government argued that by reason of Article 39(2) of the Vienna Convention, Ionescu was no longer protected by diplomatic immunity.

diplomaticimmunity-patrick-kibutaOn 10 April 2011, in Islamabad, Pakistan, Patrick Kibuta, an electrical engineer in the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan caused a vehicle collision with another vehicle, while under the influence of alcohol. Kibuta, who was driving in the opposing lane, injured a Canadian citizen residing in Islamabad, who suffered multiple fractures and required surgery. The Kohsar police impounded Mr. Kibuta’s U.N. vehicle on the scene, and a blood test confirmed that he had an elevated blood alcohol level. Charges for reckless and drunken driving were filed against Kibuta, who enjoyed diplomatic immunity.

diplomatic-immunity-joshua-waldeIn July 2013, Joshua Walde, an American diplomat in Nairobi, Kenya, crashed into a mini-bus, killing one man and seriously injuring eight others, who were left with no financial assistance to pay for hospital bills. United States embassy officials took the diplomat and his family out of Kenya the following day. The United States government was concerned about the impact the accident could have on bilateral relations with Kenya. Walde gave a statement to police, but was not detained due to his diplomatic immunity. Kenyan police say the case remains under investigation.

diplomatic-immunity-drag-raceOn September 12, 2015, Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Thani tried to claim diplomatic immunity when his Ferrari LaFerrari and a Porsche 911 GT3 were caught on camera drag racing through a residential neighborhood in Beverly Hills. He owns the cars and a drag racing team, and is a member of Qatar‘s ruling family. The Beverly Hills Police Department contacted the U.S. State Department to clarify if he had diplomatic immunity. They stated he did not. However, his face was not shown on camera, and no officer witnessed the crime, so the state of California has not yet pressed charges. He has since fled the country. The investigation is ongoing.

On 14 February 2013, a vehicle bearing diplomatic plates registered to the US Embassy got into an accident in Islamabad, Pakistan involving two residents out of which one was killed and the other survived. Murder charges were laid under Section 320 of Pakistan Penal Code against the driver of the vehicle who is a diplomat according to Pakistani official.

Employer Abuse and Slavery

  • diplomatic-immunity-united-nations-stampIn 1999, a Bangladeshi woman, Shamela Begum, claimed she had been enslaved by a senior Bahraini envoy to the UN and his wife. Begum charged that the couple took her passport, struck her, and paid her just $800 for ten months of service — during which she was only twice allowed out of the couple’s New York apartment. The envoy and his wife claimed diplomatic immunity, and Begum later reached a civil settlement with her employers. By some estimates, “hundreds of women have been exploited by their diplomat employers over the past 20 years.”
  • In 2003 in Finland, a Filipino maid escaped from an embassy of an unidentified Asian country, and reported being held in conditions approaching slavery: she was forced to work from 7 am. to 10 pm., 7 days a week, and the ambassador’s children were permitted to hit her. On grounds of diplomatic immunity, no charges could be filed.
  • In 2009, South Africa was criticized for claiming immunity from labor laws relating to a Ukrainian domestic worker at the residence of the South African ambassador in Ireland.
  • In 2010, the American Civil Liberties Union filed an amicus brief in Swarna v. Al-Awadi to argue that human trafficking is a commercial activity engaged in for personal profit, which falls outside the scope of a diplomat’s official functions, and therefore diplomatic immunity does not apply. An appeals court ruled that Al-Awadi did not have diplomatic immunity in that situation.
  • diplomatic-immunity-devyani-khobragadeIn 2013, Indian consular official Devyani Khobragade was detained, hand-cuffed, strip searched, DNA swabbed, and held in a federal holding cell in New York, relating to allegations of non-payment of U.S. minimum wage and for fraudulently lying about the wages to be paid on a visa application for her domestic worker. India registered a strong protest and initiated a review of privileges afforded to American consular officials in India as a result.
  • In 2015, two Nepalese women were rescued from the fifth floor of Gurgaon residence of a Saudi Arabian diplomat in India. They were allegedly confined there and abused physically and sexually by the diplomat and his family and friends. The women were rescued in a police raid planned after the police received a letter from the Nepal embassy regarding their plight. Several persons, the Saudi diplomat among them, were booked for wrongful confinement and gang rape. Saudi Ambassador Saud Mohammed Alsati commented, “This is completely false. We would not like to comment any further since the case is under investigation by the Indian police.” Ten days after the diplomat was accused, it was confirmed that he had left India.

There’s also cases of drug smuggling, cigarette smuggling, rent evasion, parking violations and more. (To read all the offenses click on Diplomatic Immunity) Diplomats in New York owed a total of $21.3 million in outstanding parking violations. Only $160.682 has ever been recovered.

diplomatic-immunity-abuseCan anyone think of a better way? It’s the crimes that result in loss of life and the employer abuses that really get me. Maybe there should be some limitations or perhaps an offender should have to answer to a neutral court for human rights violations. I mean how much has happened that’s not in this blog or out there on the internet? They say no-one’s above the law but it’s just not true. At least not for the legal system in this world. God and the Universe see and hear everything though and in the name of balance I’m sure a higher justice will be served. Don’t forget to check out the Occupational Parenting page. Until next week; keep your homes well.

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Blog – Colin Kaepernick’s Patriotism 9/21/2016

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Colin Kaepernick’s Patriotism

September 21st, 2016

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - CIRCA 2011: In this handout image provided by the NFL, Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers poses for his NFL headshot circa 2011 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by NFL via Getty Images)Colin Kaepernick is an NFL Quarterback for the San Francisco 49er’s and he’s shaken things up here in the Homeland. At first I was outraged at Colin Kaepernick’s actions but now I must say I’m glad he’s protesting. If for no other reason to try the true patriotism and solidarity that we all boast so much about since 9/11 or even Desert Storm. While I can’t say that I would generally support sitting through the National Anthem but I can say that I support taking a knee in this case. It is a straight up legitimate use of the First Amendment unlike Westboro Baptist Church and still I support their First Amendment right to peaceably assemble. Colin Kaepernick’s cause is infinitely more worthy but that’s not even the reason I support him most.

colin-kaepernicks-patriotism-jeronimo-and-philandoMany think we went to war in Iraq for oil. I do too to some extent but the reason I went was to uphold our Nation and it’s Constitution. A Constitution that’s supposed to serve all of it’s people equally and I have to say I don’t think we’re there yet. What ever happened to officer Jeronimo Yanez who shot and killed Philando Castile? The media doesn’t track the progress and consequences (if there are any) of these events. I want to know what was found in court and why. I’m not suggesting that the law enforcement official is always in the wrong but when they are they get a paid vacation for murder. Kaepernick is really standing up by taking knee.

colin-kaepernicks-patriotism-kimikoColin Kaepernick Is Lucky He’s Not Japanese. Kimiko Nezu has been protesting Kimigayo, the Japanese national anthem, for forty something years; the world’s longest anthem refusal. She’s a teacher. Nezu has suffered many an oppression such as pay cuts, repeated suspensions and even relocation due to her stance on Japanese military campaigns and the threat of future militarization. She admires Kaepernick for standing up for what he believes in. Nezu said in Japan his career would be over. There are other non-American protest the key word being non-American. In America the First Amendment differentiates us from other more oppressive nations. I’ll go further to say it’s un-American to pressure someone into singing or standing for the National Anthem if they don’t want to. For years, a California teen’s protest wasn’t a problem. Then Kaepernick took a knee and her teacher docked her grade. I mean this is right here in America.  Kareem Abdul Jabbar said, Insulting Colin Kaepernick says more about our patriotism than his.

colin-kaepernicks-patriotism-steve-kingThe Majority of Americans disagree with Colin Kaepernick’s protest but he has inspired some other players to join him. Seventy percent of Caucasian Americans disagree while only 40% of minorities disagree according to Survey Monkey. Congressman Thinks Colin Kaepernick Is An isis Sympathizer (and this is one of the people running our country folks). I don’t know a lot about Steve King but this article makes him seem like a National embarrassment. 49er’s QB Colin Kaepernick Says His Stand ‘Is for People That Don’t Have the Voice to stand up for themselves. He said he made the decision to sit out the national anthem because he wanted to bring awareness to things going on in the country he feels are unjust, and because he feels the values that the American flag are supposed to stand for are not being realized.

colin-kaepernicks-patriotism-militarySome argue that with the money Kaepernick’s made in the NFL he shouldn’t be protesting anything. (He signed an extension deal for $114 million in 2014)   That’s truly absurd and suggests that patriotism can be bought. I admire him all the more for being willing to risk it all. He believes the Government isn’t working as well as it ought to be. It is the Government’s responsibility to ensure equal rights and equal treatment of all of it’s citizens. That has yet to happen in eyes of law enforcement in this country but I think it will. Other critics say he’s disrespecting the military and the sacrifices we’ve made to keep America a free Country. It was a point well taken by Kaepernick. He discussed with former NFL player and military veteran Nate Boyer. To make a distinction Colin now takes a knee instead of sits. He means no disrespect to those who have died or lost family in any way to get our Nation to this point.

colin-kaepernicks-patriotism-kneelingWith Occupational Parenting things no doubt would come to find a certain natural order but until then someone has got be willing to scream foul. I had to ask myself and I want you to ask the same, “would I have the courage to do what Colin is doing if I believed America had gone astray”. I thought about it and believe I would. All of this being said why don’t I kneel during the Star Spangled Banner? The answer is because of all that the Country’s done wrong or is doing wrong it’s done a lot right. We’ve made a lot of progress in a short period of time and I think we will continue to do so. It’s been by demonstration, speaking out, and protest that we’ve come this far. Still for every one who kneels I hope there will be at least one who stands for everything we’re doing correctly and one of those things is not forcing or coercing anyone into what we believe patriotism to be. Until next week; keep your homes well.

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Blog – 9/11 Fifteen Years Later

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9/11 Fifteen Years Later

I would like to recount the events of the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001 but also what it has meant up until today. The images below nearly move me to tears.

At 8:46 American Airlines flight 11 crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center complex. Seventeen minutes later at 9:03 the south tower was hit by United Airlines flight 175. Then the Pentagon at 9:37, hit by American Airlines flight 77 and a forth plane was downed at 10:03 in a field in Stonycreek Township near Shanksville PA. It was United Airlines flight 93 that was meant to crash into the U.S. Capitol building.

There were 2,996 people killed and over 6000 injured. There are still 1,113 unidentified deceased victims. The financial losses were $10 billion in property damage and about $3 trillion in total cost.

The 4 9-11-hijackersplanes were hijacked by 19 terrorist; 5 on each flight except flight 93 which had 4. I have an exuberant admiration for the passengers aboard flight 93. I think they serve as an example against terrorism to Americans and citizens of the world. You can’t fight terrorism laying down. The 20th terrorist Mohammed al-Qahtani was refused entry into the United States and was detained at Guantanamo Bay detention camps in 2002. The first  thing that comes to mind when thinking about Guantanamo Bay detention camp is torture. I have mixed feelings about this because while I want the U.S. to do correct moral thing, dare I say “the Christian thing”, I also want anyone who was involved or would ever think about getting involved in an act of 9-11-mohammed_al_quahtaniterrorism against the United States to know that the hottest and coldest climates of hell awaits them. I want them to never consider going up against America again. Some argue that can be done with kindness. Whatever works. Personally I think both should be employed. The point is to keep America safe. Mohammed al-Qahtani was deem too innocent to charge and too dangerous to release. The head of the hijackers and the 9/11 plot was Osama bin Laden of al- Qaeda the terrorist organization. After a 10 year manhunt bin Laden was killed in Pakistan on May 2nd, 2011 by seal team six.

9-11-scatanaSecurity Control of Air Traffic and Navigation Aids (SCATANA) was invoked for the first time in U.S. history. Through the coordination of the Department of Defense, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the Federal Communications Commission all non U.S. military flights were grounded. Flights coming in were rerouted to Canada, Mexico, and some returned to their points of departure. All of the United States was a no-fly zone. The FBI launched the largest criminal inquiry in the history of the United States. Many governments passed or updated anti-terrorist legislation to include Germany, the UK. and Canada passed its first anti-terrorism law. The cockpits of planes were reinforced and sky marshals were assigned to flights. Airport security now lays in the hands of the Transportation Security Administration.

9-11-clean-upIn the immediate aftermath compensation plans were put into place for victims and their families but long term consideration in the way of health left much to be desired. Heroes and heroines were left holding the bag when long term illnesses started emerging from the toxic dust and debris of 9/11. The Government hadn’t allocated money for those performing cleanup and emergency response. Finally on January 2nd, 2011 the James L. Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act was signed into law providing $4.2 billion for the study and treatment of long term health issues resulting from the 9/11 attacks. Christine Todd Whitman administrator of the EPA and the Bush administration were heavily criticized for reassuring folks about the environmental hazards and returning them to the area as quickly as possible. The air quality didn’t return to pre-attack conditions until June 2002 just after cleanup in May. While I’m still on the topic of money it seems that our economy is at best fragile. Sure we’ve fought to show resilience in the face of adversity but we’re still having our economic problems. Then and Now: How the Economy Has Changed Since 9/11 shows problems on the rise. Would this be the trend if not for 9/11? I think the numbers would be different but we’d still be losing jobs and gaining deficit. The problem is with our whole economic system. The service industry is closer to Occupational Parenting than manufacturing but just not quite there.9-11-occupational-parenting Occupational Parenting would provide for a much more secure economy because what it’s dependent on is always going to be there and be vibrant. I mean with anything that could happen, human existence and childcare are all that’s needed. Everything else feeds that. The Economic Cost of 9/11: Three Industries Still Recovering takes a look at the airline and hotel industries as well as insurance. America as a nation perseveres.

9-11-future-plansThe damaged side of the Pentagon was rebuilt and occupied within a year of the attack. If all of it could have been rebuilt within a day of the attack it wouldn’t have been too soon for me. That may seem a little insensitive but it’s to show terrorist they’re like water off our backs. The construction of One World Trade Center didn’t start until 2006 and was opened for business November 3rd, 2014. It reaches a height of 1,776 feet. The tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. Three more towers are being built 1block east of where the the original towers stood. Below you can watch One World Trade Center being built.

There are three memorials, at or near each of the crash sites.

The "Tribute in Light" memorial is in remembrance of the events of September 11, 2001, in honor of the citizens who lost their lives in the World Trade Center attacks. The two towers of light are composed of two banks of high wattage spotlights that point straight up from a lot next to Ground Zero. The ÒTribute in LightÓ memorial was first held in March 2002. This photo was taken from Liberty State Park, New Jersey on September11, 2006, the five year anniversary of 9/11. USAF photo by Denise Gould.



For the north and south towers of the World Trade Center there is a “Tribute in Light”.





At the Pentagon there is now 184 benches, for the number of innocent lives lost, facing the Pentagon and a chapel and indoor memorial where flight 77 crashed into the building.




In Shanksville, PA the memorial is planned to include a sculpted grove of trees forming a circle around the crash site, bisected by the plane’s path, while wind chimes will bear the names of the victims. Now, black granite with white marble wall of names.


NFL players protest on 9/11, and that’s fine: lets us look at a trend that was started by Colin Kaepernick and has taken all forms as the first Sunday in the NFL season has clearly shown. Colin Kaepernick, quarterback for the San Fransisco 49ers sat during the performing of the National Anthem and it caused quite a stir. As a wartime vet I defend his right to sit during the National Anthem. If you believe in America and what it’s doing stand, if you don’t it’s fine to sit but be ready to air you position, questions, and hopefully answers. America isn’t totalitarian and doesn’t insist on patriotism nor should any American. Some would argue that to protest is patriotic. I do not sit for the playing of the National Anthem.

I will end this Blog with a fitting article Emotional tributes mark 15th anniversary of 9/11 horror.

Today,  September 11th, 2016, exactly 15 years after the tragic events of 2001 we are a Nation reborn. Reborn with the realization that we’re not impenetrable. With the realization of how much some others hate our freedoms and our way of life. With the realization there can be a hero in any one of us. Until next week; keep your homes well.

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Blog – African American Freedom Day 9/7/2016

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African American Freedom Day

September 7th, 2016

african american freedom day slave saleI love the 4th of July, Who doesn’t? It’s a day off of work, time for a beer drinking barbeque and a time to reflect on why we get to do those things. But of course the July 4th, 1776 wasn’t independence day for all Americans. Independence day for Africans in America in the South is December 6th, 1865. Slavery in the North American colonies started 397 years ago in Jamestown Virginia. They were only held as slaves for 7 years but it would lead to 246 years of oppression and cruelty. Some say it started earlier in January 1526 when the Spaniards tried to colonize South Carolina. The slaves revolted, won their freedom, and joined a nearby tribe of Native Americans. The Spanish then abandoned the colony altogether. african american freedom day whip scarsThere are those who feel that slavery was righteous and that we should live that way today. There are far more of us that understand how wrong it is to enslave another people. We’ve come so far in just a short period of time. Two or three generations; 151 years ago the Thirteenth Amendment was ratified and Africans in America became African Americans; full citizens. Today we have a Mulatto President. Whether you love him or hate him it’s still a great American accomplishment to think that his grandfather could have been a slave. Now Caucasians and African Americans of every variety are shoulder to shoulder, eye to eye, and brother and sister. african american freedom day barack obamaCertainly celebration is in order. Employers don’t want to give another paid holiday I’m sure, but this is worth it. If your African American how can you really call the 4th of July independence day unless you know your family was free in the North. Sure we can honor the independence of America but not personal freedom. I don’t want a celebration for just African Americans but for all those who joined the fight to see that Africans in America would gain their independence and become citizens. A day that upholds unity and brotherhood; sisterhood as well.

African American Freedom Day slave trading mapThe Portuguese, British, French, Spanish, and Dutch Empire were the major Atlantic slave trading nations. Several of them had established outpost on the West African Coast where they would  purchase slaves from local leaders. Europeans seldom entered the interior of Africa for fear of disease and fierce resistance. The Muslim slave trade was huge but in Southeast Africa, North Africa, and West Asia. I had heard that Africans sold other Africans into slavery but was astonished to find out how big a part of the African economy it was. Africans selling Africans sounds pretty bad but there was no solidarity just because of skin color. These were separate and warring lands. I mean if you had a chance to sell isis and never hear from them again wouldn’t you be temped to do that. African Kings and merchants took part in the African slave trade from 1440-1833. The majority of slaves were prisoners of war. There were also those who were criminals and those who just got abducted. King Jaja of Opobo was a former slave and refused to do business with slavers. african american freedom day slave shipSome African groups proved particularly adept and brutal at the practice of enslaving, such as Oyo, Benin, Igala, Kaabu, Asanteman, Dahomey, the Aro Confederacy and the Imbangala war bands. Three of the biggest culprits were the expanding lands of the kingdom of Dahomey, the Oyo Empire, and the Asante Empire.

The different ethnic groups brought to the Americas closely corresponds to the regions of heaviest activity in the slave trade. Over 45 distinct ethnic groups were taken to the Americas during the trade. Of the 45, the ten most prominent, according to slave documentation of the era are listed below. If you’re African American there’s a good chance that your blood line runs to one of the people and places listed.

  1. The BaKongo of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola
  2. The Mandé of Upper Guinea
  3. The Gbe speakers of Togo, Ghana and Benin (Adja, Mina, Ewe, Fon)
  4. The Akan of Ghana and Ivory Coast
  5. The Wolof of Senegal and the Gambia
  6. The Igbo of southeastern Nigeria
  7. The Mbundu of Angola (includes both Ambundu and Ovimbundu)
  8. The Yoruba of southwestern Nigeria
  9. The Chamba of Cameroon
  10. The Makua of Mozambique

african american freedom day slave ship crowdingNative born people to European colonies kept dying of old world diseases. The Tupi from Brazil is an example of how disease almost wiped out an entire people. The voyage across the Atlantic killed many Africans. Slave traders would try to fit between 350 to 600 slaves on a ship. About 1.5 million died in transport. Cultures, families and ways of life were destroyed, obliterated. About 10.5 million Africans arrived in the Americas to begin a life of servitude. As well as the previous estimates Patrick Manning also estimates that 4 million Africans died in Africa after capture.

african american freedom day fightSometimes to get others to join your fight for freedom you have to be willing to kill and die yourself. (excerpt) “it was not long before African naval forces were alerted to the new dangers, and the Portuguese [raiding] ships began to meet strong and effective resistance”, with the crews of several of them being killed by African sailors, whose boats were better equipped at traversing the west African coasts and river systems. (end excerpt) The Haitian Revolution (French: Révolution haïtienne [ʁevɔlysjɔ̃ ajisjɛ̃n]), was a successful anti-slavery and anti-colonial insurrection that took place in the former French colony of Saint Domingue that lasted from 1791 until 1804. It impacted the institution of slavery throughout the Americas. Self-liberated slaves destroyed slavery at home, fought to preserve their freedom, and with the collaboration of mulattoes, founded the sovereign state of Haiti. It led to the greatest slave uprising since Spartacus, who led an unsuccessful revolt against the Roman Republic nearly 1,900 years prior.

There came to be a United States and British ban on slave trading in 1808. Some argue the decisions were financially based and others that they were based on morality. Chances are that it was both.

african american dreedom day american colonization society shipIn 1816, a group of wealthy European-Americans, some of whom were abolitionists and others who were racial segregationists, founded the American Colonization Society with the express desire of returning Africans who were in the United States to West Africa. In 1820, they sent their first ship to Liberia, and within a decade around two thousand Africans had been settled in the west African country. Such re-settlement continued throughout the 19th century, increasing following the deterioration of race relations in the southern states of the US following Reconstruction in 1877.

African American Freedom Day Cudjoe Lewis (2)Finally the last recorded slave ship to touch American soil was the Clotilde. Slaves were smuggled from it illegally into Mobile Alabama. The last survivor of the voyage was Cudjoe Lewis, who died in 1935.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated August 23rd as International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition.

african american freedom day apologyAt the 2001 World Conference Against Racism in Durban South Africa, African nations demanded a clear apology from former slave trading countries. Some nations were ready and willing to comply but the initiative was blocked by opposition that the United States was a part of until 2009. The other countries opposed to the apology were the United Kingdom, Portugal, Spain, and the Netherlands. Here are the apologies that were received.


In 1999, President Mathieu Kerekou of Benin (formerly the Kingdom of Dahomey) issued a national apology for the role Africans played in the Atlantic slave trade. Luc Gnacadja, minister of environment and housing for Benin, later said: “The slave trade is a shame, and we do repent for it.” Researchers estimate that 3 million slaves were exported out of the Slave Coast bordering the Bight of Benin.


On 30 January 2006, Jacques Chirac (the then French President) said that 10 May would henceforth be a national day of remembrance for the victims of slavery in France, marking the day in 2001 when France passed a law recognizing slavery as a crime against humanity.


President Jerry Rawlings of Ghana also apologized for his country’s involvement in the slave trade.


In 2009, the Civil Rights Congress of Nigeria has written an open letter to all African chieftains who participated in trade calling for an apology for their role in the Atlantic slave trade: “We cannot continue to blame the white men, as Africans, particularly the traditional rulers, are not blameless. In view of the fact that the Americans and Europe have accepted the cruelty of their roles and have forcefully apologized, it would be logical, reasonable and humbling if African traditional rulers … [can] accept blame and formally apologize to the descendants of the victims of their collaborative and exploitative slave trade.”


In 1998, President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, called tribal chieftains to apologize for their involvement in the slave trade: “African chiefs were the ones waging war on each other and capturing their own people and selling them. If anyone should apologise it should be the African chiefs. We still have those traitors here even today.”

United Kingdom

On 9 December 1999, Liverpool City Council passed a formal motion apologizing for the City’s part in the slave trade. It was unanimously agreed that Liverpool acknowledges its responsibility for its involvement in three centuries of the slave trade. The City Council has made an unreserved apology for Liverpool’s involvement and the continual effect of slavery on Liverpool’s Black communities.

On 27 November 2006, British Prime Minister Tony Blair made a partial apology for Britain’s role in the African slavery trade. However African rights activists denounced it as “empty rhetoric” that failed to address the issue properly. They feel his apology stopped shy to prevent any legal retort. Blair again apologized on March 14, 2007.

On 24 August 2007, Ken Livingstone (Mayor of London) apologized publicly for London’s role in the slave trade. “You can look across there to see the institutions that still have the benefit of the wealth they created from slavery”, he said pointing towards the financial district, before breaking down in tears. He claimed that London was still tainted by the horrors of slavery. Jesse Jackson praised Mayor Livingstone, and added that reparations should be made.

United States

On 24 February 2007 the Virginia General Assembly passed House Joint Resolution Number 728 acknowledging “with profound regret the involuntary servitude of Africans and the exploitation of Native Americans, and call for reconciliation among all Virginians.” With the passing of that resolution, Virginia became the first of the 50 United States to acknowledge through the state’s governing body their state’s involvement in slavery. The passing of this resolution came on the heels of the 400th anniversary celebration of the city of Jamestown, Virginia, which was the first permanent English colony to survive in what would become the United States. Jamestown is also recognized as one of the first slave ports of the American colonies. On 31 May 2007, the Governor of Alabama, Bob Riley, signed a resolution expressing “profound regret” for Alabama’s role in slavery and apologizing for slavery’s wrongs and lingering effects. Alabama is the fourth state to pass a slavery apology, following votes by the legislatures in Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina.

On 30 July 2008, the United States House of Representatives passed a resolution apologizing for American slavery and subsequent discriminatory laws. The language included a reference to the “fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality and inhumanity of slavery and Jim Crow” segregation. On 18 June 2009, the United States Senate issued an apologetic statement decrying the “fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality, and inhumanity of slavery”. The news was welcomed by President Barack Obama.

Young People Dancing At Backyard PartyIt would be nice if my grandchildren were born into Occupational Parenting and a world that has fully apologized for slavery. Until then let’s commemorate the independence of our Country and freedom of our people. December 6th should be African American Freedom Day for all Americans to celebrate. Until next week; keep your homes well.

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