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Devil protects his own

by : David R. Hoffman, Pravda.Ru Legal Editor
Tuesday January 15, 2008 - 21:03
JPEG - 57.9 kb

by David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru Copr.

The recent assassination of Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto—who prior to her death had been heralded as a champion of democracy and moderation—compelled me to examine the phenomenon that George Bernard Shaw once termed “the extreme form of censorship.”

I subsequently learned that those who stand for justice, peace, tolerance and positive social change are disproportionately the victims of assassination, while those who profit from extremism, injustice, war, intolerance and the corrupt status quo usually live long and prosperous lives.


1.) Frank Little, (died at age thirty-eight). Early American labor leader, who was once sentenced to thirty days in prison for reading the Declaration of Independence on a street corner. On August 1, 1917, after organizing and leading a strike of copper miners, he was abducted by several men, viciously tortured and lynched in Butte, Montana. Although Little’s union activities clearly made him a target for assassination, many believe his vociferous opposition to America’s entry into World War I ultimately sealed his fate.

Little’s funeral was attended by thousands of people. But even though law enforcement authorities condemned his assassination, and promised to bring those responsible to justice, the murderers were never caught. Instead the federal government used the infamous Espionage and Sedition Acts, the notorious Palmer Raids—orchestrated by future FBI director J. Edgar Hoover—and anti-labor vigilantes to destroy the union that Little represented.

2.) Harry Moore (died at age forty-six) and his wife Harriette (died at age forty-nine). Known as the first martyrs of the modern-day civil rights movement, the Moores were assassinated on Christmas Day, 1951 when a bomb was placed beneath their bedroom floor. Harry Moore died instantly, while Harriette Moore suffered for nine days before succumbing to internal injuries caused by the blast. As was the case with Frank Little, and indeed with most lynchings in the United States, the perpetrators were never brought to justice.

3.) Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (died at age thirty-nine). American civil rights leader who fought for racial equality and integration. Like Frank Little, King’s assassination occurred when he expanded his mission beyond racial issues, and began speaking out against economic injustice (“What good does it do to sit at the counter when you cannot afford a hamburger?”), and war, particularly the war against Vietnam. At the time of his assassination on April 4, 1968, King was supporting African-American sanitation workers, who were on strike in Memphis, Tennessee.

4.) Robert Kennedy (died at age forty-two). It has been argued that the 1963 assassination of his brother John, coupled with the 1968 assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., made Robert Kennedy more aware of the economic obstacles and injustices facing racial minorities and the poor in America. He was one of the few presidential candidates to reach out to Native-Americans, and was visibly distressed by the poverty he witnessed while visiting the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota.

It has also been argued that the violence which took the lives of his brother and Dr. King crystallized his opposition to the war in Vietnam. His speech lauding the nonviolent philosophy of Dr. King in Indianapolis, Indiana, in the wake of the latter’s assassination, was credited with preventing the violence that had erupted in several other American cities. Many believe that, had he been elected to the presidency, he would have ended America’s involvement in Vietnam. Tragically, he was assassinated roughly two months after Dr. King. Even more tragically, his death paved the way for Richard Nixon, one of the most corrupt politicians in American history, to gain the presidency.

5.) Richard Oakes (died at age thirty-one). This Native-American activist from the Mohawk Tribe sought to bring attention to the injustices being perpetrated against America’s Native people by leading an occupation of Alcatraz Island, arguing that ownership of the island had reverted to the Native people by treaty after the federal prison on the island was closed in 1963. Although the occupation lasted from 1969 to 1971, Oakes left the island in 1970 after his thirteen-year-old stepdaughter fell to her death on the dilapidated prison stairs. Sadly he was victimized by the very type of injustice he spent his life campaigning against, when he was shot and killed in September of 1972. The white man accused of killing him was charged with involuntary manslaughter—an all too familiar scenario when a white person kills a Native-American—and subsequently acquitted.

6.) John Lennon (died at age forty). After gaining fame from playing traditional “rock-and-roll” songs with THE BEATLES, Lennon decided to compose and perform more politically conscious music. His performance at a 1971 concert designed to draw attention to the draconian prison sentence given to activist John Sinclair for possessing two “joints” of marijuana resulted in Lennon being targeted by the Nixon administration. The Twenty-Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution, ratified on July 1st, 1971, had lowered the voting age to eighteen, and Nixon feared that Lennon’s impact on young voters would hurt his reelection chances; therefore he ordered federal authorities to institute deportation proceedings against Lennon. Although Lennon won the deportation battle, his stay in America was tragically ended in December of 1980, when he was assassinated outside of his apartment building in New York City.

7.) Anwar El-Sadat (died at age sixty-two). A victim of the turmoil in the Middle East, Egyptian President Anwar El-Sadat’s efforts to bring peace to this troubled region made him the first Arab leader to officially visit Israel, which subsequently resulted in the Camp David Peace Agreement. Unfortunately Sadat’s efforts to promote peace subsequently led to his assassination on October 6, 1981.

8.) Ruth First (died at age fifty-seven). An outspoken opponent of the apartheid system in South Africa, First was assassinated in Mozambique on August 17, 1982 when agents of the South African Bureau of State Security mailed a letter bomb to the university where she was teaching.

9.) Chico Mendes (died at age forty-four). Worked as a “rubber-tapper” in Brazil, and fought to keep the rainforests, where he earned his livelihood, from being destroyed by ranchers. On December 22, 1988 Mendes was murdered because of his environmental activism. Today, with global warning an international concern, and the disappearing rainforests being cited as a culprit in this warming, Mendes’ crusade has become more relevant than ever.

10.) Yitzhak Rabin (died at age seventy-three). The fifth Prime Minister of Israel and the oldest individual on this list, Rabin would have lived even longer had he not chosen to sign the Oslo Accords in an effort to end the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. His laudable efforts resulted in his assassination on November 4th, 1995.

Of the above, three—Dr. King, Rabin and Sadat—were recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize. Mendes also became an indirect recipient of this prize in 2007, when the Nobel Committee acknowledged the problem of global warming by awarding the Peace Prize to former Vice-President Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

In addition, Lennon’s songs Imagine and Give Peace a Chance are universally recognized as anthems for peace, tolerance and social justice.


1.) Joseph Stalin (lived to age seventy-four). Former leader of the Soviet Union. His social policies resulted in the starvation of millions; his purges murdered millions more; his mistrust of his own spies prior to Hitler’s invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941 is estimated to have caused the deaths of twenty million Soviet citizens. To conceal his incompetence, he either had these spies executed, or refused to negotiate for their release from foreign prisons.

2.) Mao Zedong (lived to age eighty-two). Former leader of China. His programs, such as The Great Leap Forward and The Cultural Revolution, resulted in the deaths of millions of his countrymen.

This tradition of silencing dissent with brutality persisted after Mao’s death, culminating in the deadly attack on student protesters in Tiananmen Square in 1989. Yet, while the United States maintains an embargo against Cuba for alleged human rights violations, China has become one of America’s largest trading partners, with entire retail outlets profiting from the sale of products made in China. Apparently human rights are only a concern to the United States when there’s no inexpensive labor or lax environmental standards to exploit.

3.) Pol Pot (lived to age seventy-two). Leader of the Khmer Rouge. He was responsible for the torture and murder of millions of his countrymen in Cambodia, yet died peacefully in his sleep, never having to face any court or tribunal, despite committing what may be, in proportion to Cambodia’s population, the worst genocide in history.

4.) Josef Mengele (lived to age sixty-seven). The Angel of Death, as he was known, was responsible for some of the worst atrocities ever committed against his fellow human beings. A doctor who devoted his skills, not to healing the sick, but to conducting grotesque human experiments, Mengele escaped to South America after the collapse of the Nazi regime, where he lived out his years in relative comfort, protected by many of the South American dictatorships supported by the United States. When he drowned while swimming in 1979, many tried to find solace in the belief that his death resulted from divine intervention. Nevertheless the fact remains that this mass murderer never had to answer for his crimes against humanity.

5.) P. W. Botha (lived to age ninety). Former President of South Africa and unapologetic defender of its racist apartheid system, Botha refused to testify before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in post-apartheid South Africa. This Commission asserted that Botha was responsible for numerous human rights violations during his presidency. It is also believed that he ordered the bombing of the headquarters of the South African Council of Churches.

6.) Richard Nixon (lived to age eighty-one) and Gerald Ford (lived to age ninety-three). After the assassination of Robert Kennedy, Richard Nixon won the presidency by running on a “law-and-order” platform. Ironically, he sanctioned some of the worst lawlessness ever seen in the modern-day United States. As in the case of John Lennon, Nixon used governmental agencies to conduct personal vendettas against perceived “enemies,” and he ignored or supported the wrongful arrests, unjust imprisonments and brutal suppression of anti-war and civil rights activists. He presided over a cabal of criminals who were so desperate to undermine democracy and secure Nixon’s reelection that, in 1972, they attempted to break into the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate hotel, only to be thwarted by a hotel security guard. The resulting investigations exposed the extent of the Nixon administration’s criminality, resulting in Nixon’s resignation from the presidency in 1974.

Yet the man who so arrogantly exploited the criminal justice system to destroy others was too cowardly to face it himself. After Nixon’s resignation, vice-president Gerald Ford ascended to the presidency. Less than a month later, Ford gave Nixon a “full and unconditional pardon” for his crimes, a action that, not surprisingly, had been promoted by then-governor of California, and future president, Ronald Reagan.

7.) J. Edgar Hoover (lived to age seventy-seven). This megalomaniacal director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) began his “law enforcement” career by conducting the illegal and unconstitutional Palmer Raids, which were designed to silence voices of dissent in America. Seeing how easily the protections provided by the United States Constitution could be circumvented or ignored, particularly when it interfered with his personal agenda, Hoover turned the FBI into a racist, blackmailing, perjurious, burglarizing and, in many cases, murderous organization. His efforts were primarily directed against anyone he considered to be “un-American,” which basically meant anybody who did not agree with Hoover.

The crimes of this agency during his tenure include: attempts to goad members of organized crime into murdering civil rights activist Dick Gregory; instigating internecine violence within political organizations; inciting violence between rival political organizations; protecting informants who engaged in criminal activity, up to and including murder; utilizing agency resources to illegally spy upon politicians and other public figures, often using the material obtained for blackmail purposes; efforts to undermine the civil rights movement by zealously investigating alleged crimes committed by African-Americans, while reluctantly investigating crimes committed against African-Americans or white civil rights activists; refusal to warn activists of known assassination plots against them; and disseminating outright lies about American citizens to destroy their reputations and careers. Tragically, in the case of actress Jean Seberg, this tactic also resulted in her suicide.

Yet for years Hoover refused to acknowledge the existence of organized crime in the United States. Some argue this was because organized crime figures possessed materials that could have exposed Hoover’s alleged homosexuality. How ironic it would be if the Master Blackmailer was himself the victim of blackmail. But, regardless of his motives, Hoover’s efforts transformed the FBI into an agency that is more concerned about protecting corporate profits, capitalism, and the wealth of the privileged few than defending the constitution, protecting human rights, and ensuring “justice for all.”

8.) Ronald Reagan (lived to age ninety-three). This “darling” of the conservative movement, while governor of California, was so anxious to destroy the anti-war movement in his state that he openly declared, “If it takes a bloodbath, let’s get it over with.”

He wasn’t joking. When a police officer shot and killed twenty-five-year-old James Rector, who had been watching student protesters from the University of California, Berkeley as they attempted to march to an area known as THE PEOPLE’S PARK, Reagan crony Edwin Meese proclaimed that “Rector deserved to die.” Later, during Reagan’s presidency, Meese would serve as attorney general, the highest law enforcement position in the land.

But the blood on Reagan’s hands did not stop with Rector. They also dripped with the blood of thousands of innocents throughout Central and South America. His hypocrisy was so transparent that he instituted economic sanctions against the nation of Libya, then refused to do the same against the apartheid regime of South Africa, claiming sanctions “don’t work.” And, like Gerald Ford before him, he abused his presidential powers by pardoning two FBI agents convicted of violating the rights of anti-war and civil rights activists. His alleged motive for doing so was to “forgive those who engaged in excesses.” Not surprisingly, this alleged “forgiveness” did not extend to those activists wrongfully convicted because of the “excesses” of these agents or the agency that employed them. In fact, many of them remain in prison to this day.

9.) George W. Bush (age sixty-one and counting). There is a saying that, “No man has a mad desire for power unless he secretly knows that he is weak.” Such is the case of George W. Bush, whose mad desire for power was conspicuously evident when he relied on his brother Jeb, corrupt election officials, and unethical Supreme Court “justices,” to steal the elections of 2000 and 2004.

Like Nixon, Bush is also a coward, and used his family’s influence to avoid military service in Vietnam. Now he makes bellicose speeches while young people die in Iraq, an illegal invasion launched through his mendacity and prolonged through his ineptitude.

But what is death to a coward when others have to face it? While governor of Texas, Bush was so disdainful of life that he routinely refused death row inmates’ requests for DNA testing that could have resulted in their exonerations, even though the wrongful conviction rate in one Texas county exceeds the wrongful conviction rates of entire states.

10.) Dick Cheney (age sixty-six and counting). Allegedly the “brains” behind George W. Bush, he also shares Bush’s cowardice. Although he now makes jingoistic speeches at American Legion Halls and military academies, Cheney received five deferments to avoid serving in Vietnam. He has also used the resources of the United States military to profit his former company through the use of “no-bid” contracts allegedly designed to fund “rebuilding” projects in Iraq. A man who lies without compunction, Cheney was largely responsible for propagating the myth about Iraq’s “weapons of mass destruction” and Saddam Hussein’s alleged involvement in the events of September 11th, 2001. Although he is reported to have heart trouble, this has not impeded his political career, since he appears to be perfectly capable of functioning without one.

Out of this list of “Profiteers,” four—Ford, Reagan, Bush and Cheney—have been the target of assassination attempts, and most of the others faced constant danger from political rivals. Yet those who are now deceased all evaded assassination and lived long, prosperous lives, and if history is any barometer, there is little doubt that Bush and Cheney will too.

I’ll admit, after writing these lists, and realizing that the names upon them are just a small sampling of the names that could be there, I had to ask, “Why do those who abuse their power to destroy others incessantly escape punishment, in some cases even being rewarded for their crimes, while those who strive for a more just world are far too often violently removed from it?”

Since I had been trained in the art of logic, respect for the scientific method, and the merits of inductive and deductive reasoning, I sought the answer to this question through these methods, and they assured me that those who violently cause the deaths of others will not escape death themselves.

But standing alone this explanation was unsatisfactory. After all, many of those who profit from death have experienced great power, and enjoyed great wealth, during their lifetimes, while those they killed often knew only poverty and powerlessness. If life is all there is, what is the point of being honest, when liars tend to win the day? What is the point of voting, when corrupt officials can steal elections at will? What is the point of speaking out against injustice and hypocrisy if the result is economic hardship, social ostracism, suffering, and, in some cases, premature death?

If human justice is the only justice, it means that Ronald Reagan, J. Edgar Hoover, Josef Mengele, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Joseph Stalin, and others of their ilk will never have to atone for their crimes. It means that the killers of Frank Little and Harry and Harriette Moore have literally gotten away with murder.

If the evildoers never have to pay for their deeds, how foolish it was for Frank Little to speak out against corporate mistreatment of labor, how ill-advised it was for the Moores and Dr. King to struggle for racial justice, how reckless it was for Ruth First and others like her to stand against apartheid, how vacuous it was for Richard Oakes to remind the world about the plight of Native-Americans. After all, he not only paid with his life, but with his daughter’s as well. And none of these people ever lived to enjoy the changes they struggled to bring about.

But what if nobody spoke out? In all probability America would still have slavery or legalized racial segregation, women would still not have the right to vote, there would be no safety standards for workers, children would still be laboring in coal mines, and lynching would still be considered a viable way to preserve “law-and-order.”

It was then I understood that life cannot be examined logically, because life is not logical. There is a higher truth: The mortal world is the devil’s domain, and the devil will always protect his own. Eternity, however, belongs to God. And it is within this realm of Eternity that true justice can be found.

So even though politicians are quick to take credit for social change and progress, they only advocate for such change when it is politically expedient to do so.

Never forget that true progress results from the sacrifices of courageous individuals who struggle for change even when it’s unpopular, and often dangerous, to do so. You usually won’t find their names in standard history books, but you will always find them in the heavens.

January 2008

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Commentaires de l'article

devil protects his own, part i
Wednesday January 16 - 01:11 - Posted by 6e39094d61865656...

Great Article. Since it is two parts, I am going to leave my comment on both. Like Hoffman said, there are so many other names that he could have added. I sincerely hope that he’s correct, and that there is true justice somewhere, because too few people have caused too many deaths and gotten away with it.

devil protects his own, part i
Thursday January 17 - 11:15 - Posted by bbbb030f5c6abb19...

Just to clarify the above comment, it appears that Bellaciao was kind enough to reproduce the article in its entirety. Thank you for that. I makes it easier for the reader.

Devil protects his own
Thursday January 31 - 02:24 - Posted by anarcho - d5d9be066be494dd...

Funny, I was just thinking about that the other day. Right wing leaders seem to rarely get bumped off. It is always the progressives and humanitarians. And as Hoffman points out correctly, his list of the assassinated could be much, much longer. (I would like to point out that Frank Little was of the IWW and a Native American, in fact he used to tease the other Wobs by saying "I’m the only real Red!")

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