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When good guys become the bad guys, no democracy survives

To The Daily Sun,

The brief Senate summary of the complete report released Tuesday shows an out-of-control U.S. intelligence community operating with blatant disrespect for law and American values. No wonder the International Red Cross said the U.S. was engaging in war crimes.

Upwards of 100 individuals are known to have died during U.S.-applied torture. Nor did our nation's unrestrained torture lead to substantial benefits (not that such inhumanity could be justified even if there were benefits). As John Glaser writes: "Torture produced wildly distorted intelligence that was then used as evidence to justify an unnecessary war that killed half a million Iraqis and almost 5,000 Americans and has cost trillions of dollars."

Where do we go from here? Do we allow the intelligence community to continue their fascist-like behavior (i.e. radical authoritarian nationalism), targeting Americans as well as foreigners, or do we call for real change, and a republic we can be proud of?

It is sobering to read the Declaration of Independence and realize we justified our independence from England for much milder abuses that our own intelligence community is now perpetuating, even on its own citizens. It will be a question to keep in mind as we see how the intelligence community and its political allies try to deflect criticism and maintain the "we are above the Constitution of the U.S." attitude that has so far characterized their behavior.

If our country is to become a democracy once again, the intelligence agencies need to be brought under civilian control. It would help if the officials we elect also believed that rule of law was more important than the false security of thinking our intelligence work is effectively scaring the bad guys into submission. When the good guys become the bad guys, no democracy survives, as we have been learning these past few years.

Malik Haig

Meredith

Last Updated on Thursday, 11 December 2014 10:04

Hits: 98

Public demonstrated support for proper preservation of the mill

To The Daily Sun,

Anyone reading the paper these days probably knows that the Belknap Mill Society has had historic difficulty with generating enough revenue to cover the operational and maintenance costs required to properly preserve the nearly 200-year old 21,524-square-foot historic mill building. The current members comprising the Board of Trustees are committed to a long-term solution and, as such, have been exploring opportunities for partnership or conveyance of the building.

The public demonstrated its support of proper preservation of the mill building at the December 8th public input session, for which the board is grateful. As the board navigates these difficult times, it is becoming more evident that the public has a great interest in this "gem" of a building. The society has gotten by on years of many citizens' volunteering thousands of hours each year — and for this reason alone, it continues to stay above water. Without substantial and consistent endowments, gifts, donations and membership contributions, the society has historically been unable to sustain the costs of the building in addition to the operational expenses associated with the programs and functions. While bake sales, concerts, art galleries, flower shows and the like are all positive for our community and can yield minimal profit when managed properly, they will never cover the $76,000 cost to replace the burner or the cost of a new roof when the time comes. A change is needed.

Even if the city chooses not to partner in preservation of the mill at this time, the board is confident that something positive will come about to help preserve the historic structure and allow the society to continue with its mission.

Thank you to all who asked questions and/or made suggestions on Monday night. The board intends to explore its options and welcomes input from those who have an interest in assisting us with our mission to maintain and promote the history of the Belknap Mill.

The Belknap Mill Society Board of Trustees

Last Updated on Thursday, 11 December 2014 09:59

Hits: 85

Presentation on Routes 3 & 25 recommendation on Monday

To The Daily Sun,

An open letter to the residents of Meredith:

There will be an informative presentation regarding the results of the exhaustive work of the Route 3 and 25 advisory committee at our regularly scheduled Selectboard meeting this coming Monday, Dec. 15. This update is to familiarize the board members and the public of the final recommendations of the committee.

I urge you to attend to learn more of this project prior to the public hearing that is tentatively scheduled for Jan. 26, 2015.

Carla Horne, Chair

Meredith Selectboard

Last Updated on Thursday, 11 December 2014 09:55

Hits: 41

Froma Harrop - Make names of rape acusers public

Jackie's shocking account of gang rape at a University of Virginia frat house has been growing holes by the day. And it has put Rolling Stone — the magazine that published it without identifying the accuser, the friends she quoted or the alleged rapists — under a harsh light. It only named the fraternity, Phi Kappa Psi.

Not naming the accusers in rape cases has become a standard journalistic practice, pushed by advocates for the victims. That must end.

Failure to identify those involved, ostensibly to protect the alleged victim's privacy, can't help but undermine the credibility of the reporting. It also poorly serves victims by feeding the idea that being raped is a disgrace. Rape is a violent crime, a felony, and women subjected to it should feel no more shame than those who are slashed or punched in the face.

Sometimes reporters do have to shield the identity of sources, particularly in matters of national security. But letting anyone spread information under the veil of anonymity removes one of the safeguards for reliability.

Rolling Stone has published great work over the years, but for this story, it grievously compounded the error of not identifying anyone by not double-checking Jackie's story. That Jackie asked the reporter to refrain from contacting the alleged attackers isn't surprising. That the reporter did as she was asked is amazing. If Jackie made not verifying information a demand for her cooperation, the magazine should have taken a pass.

The details here were so grotesque that critics would inevitably question them. For example, a friend Jackie contacted after the alleged crime told The Washington Post that she seemed upset but was not bloody or beaten as the article asserted. And he said that Jackie spoke of having been forced to perform oral sex, which is different from the genital torture described in the article.

In this and other rape complaints where some claims come unraveled, the advocates often respond that "something happened." And something very well may have. But unless someone on the scene comes out to discuss what that was, it's almost impossible to get at an accepted truth. There are brutal rapes, false accusations of rape and lots in between.
A man dropping a knockout pill in a woman's drink and then sexually assaulting her has committed rape. That is clear.

But the in-between circumstances can complicate reaching such conclusions. In campus cases, the man and woman are often friends. Two students getting mutually drunk or high and not clearly communicating their level of sexual interest leaves a murkier picture.

The gray areas may help explain why some accusers ask college officials not to ruin their alleged attacker's life with expulsion from school. A savage rapist shouldn't even be on the streets, much less on campus.

Do some women fear retaliation by the men? They may, but that can happen anytime someone charges another with a crime.

Rolling Stone did itself no good by briefly blaming Jackie for the inaccuracies. The magazine quickly recovered its senses and put the blame on itself.

In a long note expressing regret, Rolling Stone Managing Editor Will Dana wrote, "In trying to be sensitive to the unfair shame and humiliation many women feel after a sexual assault, we made a judgment — the kind of judgment reporters and editors make every day."

That is true, but reporters and editors should expand their sensitivities to include the reputations of those accused, not always justly. Finally, everyone — especially advocates for rape victims — should work at countering the notion that women traumatized by a violent crime need to hide in shame.

(A member of the Providence Journal editorial board, Froma Harrop writes a nationally syndicated column from that city. She has written for such diverse publications as The New York Times, Harper's Bazaar and Institutional Investor.)

Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 December 1969 07:00

Hits: 79

Thanks for help with auction to benefit annual Sled Dog Derby

To The Daily Sun,

On Dec. 4, the Lakes Region Sled Dog Club held its 15th annual auction to raise funds for the World Championship Lakes Region Sled Dog Derby, scheduled for Feb. 13-15, 2015. This derby holds the distinction of being the longest-running sled dog race in the world. It is with the generous support of the citizens of the Lakes Region and patrons of our auction that we are able to keep sled dog racing alive in Laconia.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who made our auction such a great event and we appreciate your help in keeping the "Greatest Show on Snow" running. Contributors were:

Shea Concrete, Kitchen Encounters, Inn Season Resorts, Devin Jewelers Inc., Curt's Caterers, Norvik Kennels, Del R. Gilbert & Son Block Co., John H. Lyman and Sons Inc., Lahey Landscaping, Ambrose Bros., Fashion Forward Salon, Greg Miner, Belknap Tire & Auto Repair, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Watermark Marine, Amoskeag Beverages, MB Tractor & Equipment, Cybertron, Water Industries, Sanel Auto Parts, Airport Country Store & Deli, Jordan Equipment, Dan Mather, Winnipesaukee Truck, Repair Service of New England, Lowe's Home Improvement, Sidney Frank Importing Co., All Brite Cleaning & Restoration, E.J Prescott, NH Distributors, Local Eatery, Laconia Athletic & Swim Club, Piche's Ski & Sport, Trudy Kenny Therapeutic Massage, Smoke N' Barley, Gilford Hills Tennis & Fitness Club, Granite State Glass, D & D Country Market & Deli, Baron's Major Brands Appliances, Nutter Enterprises Inc., Patrick's Pub & Eatery, Suddenly Still Photography, Terry Wilson USPTA, HK Powersports, Cherish LaBelle ReFresh Salon, Laconia Car Wash, Stafford Oil Company, Trustworthy Hardware, Laconia Ice Arena, Winni Paw Station, Winni Girl, J.P. China Restaurant, No Weare Else, Miss Lakes Region Outstanding Teen, Ashley Conrad, Volunteer Members of LRSDC.

Jen Lyman

Lakes Region Sled Dog Club

Last Updated on Wednesday, 10 December 2014 11:49

Hits: 88

 
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