March begins, and it's a tough act to follow
the 2nd, at WVRC
CLAWSON BLEAK led the Pledge, with RICK CULLEN and PP STEVE DAY taking us through America the Beautiful (and from the outer room, where I was, I think we can stand improvement in this aspect of our program we just don’t sing too good). MAX LICHTENBERGER gave the Invocation. “Lord, keep us humble, not taking things for granted. May we always practice the Four Way Test in all our actions, and help as many people as possible in our worldwide service - so when we are called from this earth, we can say we left it just a little bit better than the way we found it.” Well done, MAX that’s sometimes a tough standard to live up to.
Yoshiko Umizawa was with SUSAN ALLEN it’s always good to see her again.
President DON announced the second Coffe Klatsch (sp?) which will be on March 18th, in Hollywood. DON has the details. SEAN McMILLAN came forward to announce that the Santa Monica Rotary Club will feature Roy Arron, an attorney who now writes some history, as their speaker next Friday that’s the 10th, and the subject will be the first three road races in LA. Good time to learn about some classic cars, etc.
(But methinks he wasn’t called up there to just make that announcement per last week’s Windmill, there was some unfinished business from the Valentines Brunch regarding the Tingle won by PP JIM DOWNIE). By an effort unparalleled in recent human history, the aforementioned PP DOWNIE was able to successfully get the Tingle to work! To do this he visited the crash site of the Ferrari Enza in Malibu, and was able to collect pieces of a Roots positive displacement blower, Carb parts, bits of camshaft, and magneto pieces.
When tested after reconstruction, the Tingle tried to tingle everything in sights, especially Italians. Now the cat hates it! But PP JIM persisted, first tying it up in the back yard.
You can almost imagine his disappointment, after all that work, when the genetic parts since added makes it want to run and destroy itself on the closest telephone pole. JIM did bring the ‘working’ Tingle along, demonstrated it for all (there was hardly a dry eye in the house). Despite PP JIM’s generous offer to assume the entire fine, President DON decreed that the original one hundred dollar fine assessed on PP JIM should be shared with SEAN, both of whom now owe WVRC fifty bucks!
MIKE GINTZ announced a one-mile Walkathon in Santa Monica, which will take place on Saturday, April 1st (no, this isn’t an April Fools joke!) The beneficiary will be Parkinson’s PLUUS program, and the District is asking each Club to provide at least one team of walkers. Check with MIKE for details, please. And President DON had another joke for us, this one concerning the Pope. As he was finishing his sermon, he ended it with the Latin phrase, “Tuti Homini”- Blessed be Mankind. A woman’s rights group approached the Pope the next day to point out that he blessed all Mankind but not Womankind. The next day after his sermon, the pope concluded by saying, “Tuti Homini, et Tuti Fermini”…Blessed be Mankind and Womankind. The next day a gay-rights group approached the Pope, saying they noticed that he blessed mankind and womankind, and asked if he could also bless gay people. The Pope said, “Of Course”. The next day the Pope concluded his sermon with, “Tuti Homine, et Tuti Fermini, et Tuti Fruiti”. (The way this is going, it may become necessary for YOE to remind one and all that he only REPORTS what is said, disclaiming further sponsorship…)
KACY ROZELLE introduced our Speaker, Pierre Prosper. Pierre’s parents emigrated from Haiti his father was a physician and Pierre was born in Denver, CO. His bachelors is from Boston College, and his law degree is from Pepperdine. He started his legal career as a Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles, prosecuting gang-related murders. His next step was to become an assistant US attorney for the Central District of CA, prosecuting international drug cartels. After 9/11, because of his exemplary work in the US Attorney’s office, he assumed the federal post of US Ambassador for War Crimes. This involved formulating and implementing US policy during the earliest stages of the War on Terror. As the envoy for President Bush, Pierre negotiated with Heads of State and senior intelligence and military officials around the world. He expanded the rule of law in fledging democracies and this put him in harm’s way, of course. He was the lead prosecutor of the Int’l Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, winning the first ever conviction, which classified Rape as a Crime Against Humanity. This 14-month trial was significant for the rights of women, ethnic and religious minorities in developing countries and those threatened by oppressive regimes around the world. His topic today was War Crimes and the War on Terror.
Pierre began by noting that we face some critically important issues in the world today, and he is pleased to be able to share some of his experiences in these areas. As a sort of roving Ambassador, he reported directly to Secretary of State Colin Powell, and then to Dr. Condoleza Rice, plus the President himself. His job was to formulate the US response to atrocities around the world. He traveled to Iraq, Afghanistan, the Sudan, Rwanda, the Congo, Indonesia and Timor, Serbia and Croatia indeed, all over the world. He had two perspectives to consider and report upon. First was Prevention, ways to keep another Rwanda, for example, from happening. (Remember that one million people were killed there in one hundred days that’s ten thousand EACH DAY!) Second, he looked for accountability who was responsible? This was where the Rule of Law had to prevail. He met with foreign ministers and heads of state, as the President’s representative, plus involving the United Nations where possible.
We learned an expensive lesson from Rwanda recognizing that sitting back and watching these events occur had to be superceded by being more pro-active. To be effective, he had to use all the tools that were available diplomatic, economic, military, intelligence, and most important, legal tools. The way economic tools were effective, for instance, was to point out that the US was considering perhaps a hundred million dollar aid package but if the possible recipient country didn’t do the right thing, they would not receive that aid. On the military and intelligence front, we might offer NATO troops to help in the apprehension of known war criminals. Perhaps the longest-term effect was in using legal means once an event has occurred, we would seek accountability for those who were responsible. First, these people need to be punished for their crimes, and equally important, that certain punishment will establish the rule of law. A major consideration here was to show that no one, no matter his position, was above the law. The intent was simple if the rule of law is in effect, these crimes would not be repeated.
The strength of the Rule of Law was exemplified by our Presidential Election in 2000. That election was settled in a court of law the Supreme Court and not a single person was killed or injured as a result of that decision. Our intent was to establish in the countries he visited the same respect for the law that our election demonstrated. The present trial of Saddam Hussein is a major step towards establishing democracy in Iraq the fact that the people can now speak out against their former leader is a freedom that we in the US take for granted but it is an entirely new concept and freedom there. He visited Iraq four times, spending quite a bit of time with the people there, and he feels that they have a thirst for creditability they want to see their country accepted by the world community. Historically, they had the first legal code in the entire world so they have some significant precedents to reestablish. This will take time, and we must be patient democracy does not occur by the flip of a switch.
Pierre believes that we have a fundamental role to play in the betterment of other societies. He learned that all these countries look to us to make a difference. We must have burden sharing, with other countries taking some responsibility but the problem countries do look to us for leadership. Our intent was to set the tone what is right and what is wrong.
Switching to the war on terror, after 9/11, he was put in charge of recommending what to do with Al Queda, once we capture them. At Thanksgiving in 2001, his secure phone rang, and the question asked by General Tommy Franks was what to do with the three hundred detainees suddenly in our possession. He wanted them out of the entire area, and the temporary quarters we were holding aboard several aircraft carriers were simply not sufficient. His group put up a huge map, and they began calling countries that might be possible detainment recipients. This was not a popular request and suddenly someone mentioned Guantanamo in Cuba. This met the conditions they were seeking, and that’s how it was decided. It was further decided that we would apply elements of the Geneva Convention, but not all of them. These persons would be classified as Detainees, not as Prisoners of War. To be considered in the latter category, you have to be under responsible military command, carry your arms openly, wear a uniform or some easily identifiable insignia, and you need to follow the laws of war not to attack civilians, for instance. These detainees failed on all four criteria.
Starting in 1993, Al Queda attacked our troops in Somalia, plus bombing the World Trade Center. In 1998, they attacked our Embassies in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi. They bombed the USS Cole, and we know what they did on 9/11. So there are at least twenty major attacks, which have resulted in the death of four thousand people. Clearly, this is a War! The Europeans, in general, have a different view of what has been going on. They consider it a criminal law issue Therefore, they challenge us on our legal authority to hold people in Guantanamo. Another point at one time we had seven hundred detainees there, and these people were from FORTY-FOUR countries! This illustrates the global reach of Al Queda. To move people out, we have had to negotiate case by case with the countries involved it takes both time and patience.
LEE DUNAYER, what are we actually accomplishing right now by the War in Iraq? Saddam Hussein was responsible for killing at least 300,000 of his citizens. Long term, we have removed a tyrant who cannot be allowed to continue his torture and repression of his own people. PETER TOMARKEN, If the WMDs were not brought up, would we have continued to tolerate Hussein? Without bringing in the possible presence of WMDs, it is hard to get action on humanitarian grounds alone, Looking at Sudan, and Rwanda, for instance, the American public was not, and is not focused on correcting that situation. We did it in Kosovo, without Security Council approval but it’s a tough sell. PP STEVE SCHERER, What type of terrorist attacks on the US do you fear the most? Chemical and biological agents are his biggest fears, and all we can do is be very vigilant. President DON NELSON, If Osama bin Laden were captured today, where would he be kept, and where tried? It won’t be in the US, or in Guantanamo someplace where he is alone, as far as other prisoners are concerned. He could be tried in a military court in Guantanamo, or Federal Court in New York that would be the President’s call. HANK HEUER, What would be on bin Laden’s list as far as what He wants? The list changes he is basically bent on the destruction of the West, not just the US. All non-believers are Infidels, period. SHANE WAARBROEK, How are things shaping up in Iran? The international community has to step up to establish world order the UN is not doing that. With 190 countries, and 15 on the Security Council, anything passed is always watered down so as to lose much of its effectiveness. The UN cannot decide what to do, so the problem continues and will continue. DONN CONNER, What is your opinion of groups like the Minutemen providing border security? I share the concerns of the Minutemen, but I’m concerned about private citizens, who are mostly untrained, trying to provide this protection. I think we should provide our own California border security, at the state level. ED GAULD, How many people have been held accountable for the slaughter in Rwanda? Remember, a million people were killed in one hundred days so you can imagine how many perpetuators there were. So it is a physical and logistical impossibility to prosecute each and every one of those who are guilty. The UN will go after the leadership - about seventy people. The Rwanda people are putting many through their criminal justice system that’s point two. The third system is called Cachucha (sp?) this is a village meeting where the survivors come forward, and point out the ones who are responsible. Those found guilty will do, in effect, community service, but they will not be executed. PDG BILL GOODWYN, I’ve always wondered why the rest of the non-Muslim world doesn’t force the ‘good’ Muslims to police their many bad members. Is that going on in some undercover way? Yes and No. We can’t do it in the US, but the Arab countries are where that must come from. We must fund the proper teaching of the Koran, not the version currently being taught almost everywhere by the radical Imams. We are twenty years late in starting this reeducation endeavor. ELLIOTT TURNER, Are you telling me that the Royal Family of Saudi Arabia are not Wahabbists? Since the Royal Family itself has come under attack, they are much more aware of the dangers their radical Wahabbists can create. The cooperation we have received from Saudi Arabia over the last two years since the attacks began has been dramatic.
I couldn’t hear PP STEVE SCHERER’S last question but we certainly learned a lot.
To reach Pierre Prosper, his campaign phone number is (310) 926-6843
Don’t worry about the world coming to an end today it is already tomorrow in Australia.