Liberty and justice

While neither Cheryl Clarke, nor Natalie Kennedy of the Wellsboro Gazette, found anything I had to say at the April 9 Tioga County Commissioners meeting newsworthy, Sheriff Young chose to write me a letter on official letterhead about my “hypothetical question that alarmed Commissioner Hamilton and other persons present at the meeting.”

Since Young cc’d all three commissioners and Chief Clerk Williams, I guess they’re the ones I should consider sending a package of Depends.

Young’s letter misquoted me and concluded with, “might I suggest that you choose your verbiage and examples more carefully in the future.”

If Mr Young is going to fire off such a letter without getting my side of the story, and if, as it appears, he is willing to misuse his office in a shabby attempt to intimidate someone who says things the commissioners don’t like, perhaps it is time we got a new sheriff. Conveniently, there’s an election coming up.

For some years, I have been calling for justice for the men of the USS Liberty and their families. Justice in my view would be the congressional investigation they have so far been denied, and holding to account those who ordered the attack on an essentially unarmed US Naval vessel in international waters. Survivors, who were bullied into silence for years by our own government, are in no doubt that the Israeli attack was deliberate, and intended to sink the ship and murder all on board.

While I can’t go into the incident in detail here, I would like to make two points. The fact that all four of the ship’s antennae were destroyed in the first air assault supports the crew’s belief that the attackers knew who they were and intended to massacre them. Also, if the crew had not been able to put together a makeshift antenna and send a message identifying their attackers, I doubt the attack would have been called off.

Despite my efforts, the Tioga County Commissioners have refused to add a call for justice to their annual USS Liberty resolution. At their March 12th meeting, I asked if they thought flying the county’s US flag at half mast provided justice. I was taken aback when Mark Hamilton said that yes it brought justice and honor. I was also disgusted that Roger Bunn, a Navy veteran, went along with such hogwash.

At the April 9th meeting, I followed up on a more personal note, asking Mr Bunn if justice would be served by flying the county’s flag at half mast if I were to gun down Mr Hamilton. No one appeared “alarmed” and I believe it was clear that I was not making a threat but underscoring the absurdity and hypocrisy of claiming that flying the flag at half mast can provide anyone justice.

In other business, none of the commissioners admitted to knowing anything about SB 653, which would mandate labeling of GMO’s, or chose to comment on the issue. Also, Mr Coolidge declined to comment on whether he had submitted a letter to the Sun-Gazette making a misleading statement about the safety testing of milk, which he got published in two other papers. Instead he said I shouldn’t be asking questions about his farm. (No, that didn’t make any sense to me either.)

I will certainly take Sheriff Young’s advice to heart and begin any future hypothetical with, “If Sheriff Young…”

John Kesich


Submitted by Virtual Newsroom