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Condemn the execution of Kenneth Smith and the ominous slide of the United States into Barbarism

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Condemn the execution of Kenneth Smith and the ominous slide of the United States into Barbarism

Emanuel Pastreich

Independent Candidate for President

January 26, 2023

At the precise moment that the hyperventilating media is encouraging citizens to worry about Donald Trump returning to power at the head of a fascist military regime, or to worry about Joe Biden continuing in power as the vegetative head of the deep state pushing for world war on every front, or to worry about the complete lack of choices, a horribly significant event took place in the state of Alabama on Thursday, January 25.

Kenneth Smith was killed using nitrogen gas in the first ever such use of this method of state execution in our history.

Execution using nitrogen gas means nothing other than the slow, painful, asphyxiation of the victim by removing all the oxygen from the air that he breathes.

It is torture, plain and simple. It is the torture practiced on foreigners at the prison camps of Guantanamo Bay now stepping onto the mainland for application on American citizens in broad daylight, with the full approval of the state.

Kenneth Smith had already been subject to one execution round wherein he was tortured for four hours on November 17, 2022 while strapped to a gurney, as a medical team supposedly failed in its efforts to inject lethal chemicals into his bloodstream with an intravenous catheter. That, by the way, was also torture.

Those who witnessed the execution yesterday were unambiguous. The 15 minutes of slow choking was unadulterated, pure torture. One close friend of the victim said simply, “it was the most horrible thing I’ve ever seen.”

Mr. Smith, who was convicted of a murder in 1996, left a statement for the world that cannot be ignored:

“Tonight, Alabama caused humanity to take a step backward. I’m leaving with love, peace and light, thank you for supporting me, love all of you.”

We must remember also that Mr. Smith was tortured for years every night imagining his impending horrific death by chemicals or gases.

The other candidates for president, forget about President Biden and Mr. Trump—are mysteriously silent. I am looking for a statement anywhere by Mr. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. or Professor Cornell West.

This crime against humanity did not take place in North Korea.

We must forcefully and unambiguously contemn this unmistakable, purposeful, even flamboyant and provocative, step into the darkness of barbarism by, and of, the United States of America.

This execution was not botched or experimental. It was not a result of differences in political philosophy. It was the product of a clear push to make torture of American citizens normal and to allow the state, now merged with multinational banks and corporations, and doing the bidding of billionaires, to do whatever it wants to anyone with impunity.

To speak frankly, this institutional act of torture means that there is no longer a judicial branch of government in the United States.

In a sense, torturing Mr. Smith to death was the beginning of a Gaza operation in Alabama—and if we fail to grasp its significance, it will metastasize and spread from coast to coast, from Democrat to Republican, from urban plazas to rural backwaters.

Our silence will usher in an American age of Nero and Caligula, and the end to the best of our traditions as embodied in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

The eighth amendment of the Constitution states clearly what the United States should not be:

“Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”

Excessive bail has been a reality for decades, as have excessive fines. This time, cruel and unusual punishment, has been put on a gaudy pedestal for the entire world to ogle at.

As Ozymandias declared, “Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!”

While we must condemn the cruel actions in Gaza, and we should support efforts to prosecute Israel for genocide in the most technical and accurate manner possible, we cannot turn a blind eye to the joint statement of January 3 by four UN monitors stating that the execution of Mr. Smith in this manner would be a violation of the “International Convention against Torture” (ratified by the United States in 1994) and the “Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment” (approved by the United Nation in 1988).

There can be no doubt that the current world war is unfolding on two different levels. There is the noisy war of bombings and shootings in Gaza, in Yemen, in Ukraine, and elsewhere. But at the same time, there is also the silent and devious warfare of institutional transformation that renders the police, the court systems, and ultimately all branches of government as a brutal weapons for the destruction of the citizen through a unspeakable alchemy of the soul.  

No doubt it was a stoke of political genius to try out this nitrogen execution on Mr. Smith—who was not a political opponent of either of the political parties. He was not a member of the party of the pay-to-play corrupt Federal government nor of the party of the multinational banks and corporations. But we can be sure that the next time will be different, and that time it will not matter who is in the White House. The loathsome beast that demands we call it a government has defecated on the Constitution and forfeited all legitimacy. Verily, the entire decayed and cancerous house must be rebuilt from its foundations up.

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