By Dave Lindorff
In ways little and huge, it is clear that we live in a nation, a culture and a society that is terminally ill.
The latest outrage -- the likely execution of a Mexican convicted in Texas of the brutal slaying of a 16-year-old girl in blatant violation of a universally adopted international treaty that requires that as a foreigner he be able to notify his home country's consulate of his case -- is evidence of this sickness, which appears to have both physical and mental aspects.
As a journalist I have traveled widely in the world, often in police states like China or Laos, and I have always trusted in the fact that if I ran afoul of those police, at least I could count on the fact that the authorities would be legally bound to notify my embassy, so that I could get international attention and, hopefully, legal assistance.
This point was made, belatedly and not particularly assertively, by the White House in the case of death-row inmate Humberto Leal Garcia Jr. in Texas, but the politically ambitious governor of Texas, Rick Perry, who is contemplating a run for the Republican presidential nomination, thinks killing Garcia is a good career move, and he's ignoring the president. The Supreme Court, meanwhile, is declining to intervene, claiming, absurdly, that it hasn't got the power to order a state government to halt an execution.
That's just sick. The Constitution clearly states that only the federal government can negotiate and sign international treaties, and the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations is a legally binding treaty. The state of Texas is in violation of that treaty, having arrested, tried and convicted Garcia without notifying his consulate of these actions. Clearly the state has broken the law of the land, and the federal authorities have the right to call a halt to this atrocity. Yet none of the three branches of the government will act. This means that any American who travels abroad, anywhere (and especially in Mexico), is at grave risk of being caught up in a dangerous legal situation, with the foreign government under no obligation to notify US authorities...
For the rest of this article by DAVE LINDORFF in ThisCantBeHappening!, the new independent alternative online newspaper just beginning its second year of daily publication, please go to: www.thiscantbehappening.net/node/684