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These stories were published Monday, Aug. 8, 2005, in Vol. 5, No. 155
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. . . And this little piggy has gone electronic
By Garland M. Baker
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

This article is about SINPE. No, it is not a new virus, disease, or pill.  It is what is happening to online banking in Costa Rica, and the system lets anyone transfer money into any account in the country.

SINPE, or Sistema Interbancario de Negociación y Pagos Electrónicos is the main payment system for the central bank.  It translates into English as the "interbank electronic payment system."

The system handles electronic money transfers, check clearing, direct debts and direct credits as well as provides account information for all bank-related institutions. The system connects 99 percent of Costa Rica’s financial institutions handling hundreds of millions of U.S. dollar transactions daily.

More importantly, it is providing an example to other countries all over the world because a key developer of the system is homegrown.

SINPE grew out of the new Organic Law of the Central Bank of Costa Rica, law 7558 of Nov. 27, 1995.  This law broke the monopoly of government-owned banks.  It opened the doors to private banking, giving everyone new choices. The law also set some goals for the future, one being an efficient electronic banking system that gave birth to SINPE.

The Central Bank of Costa Rica moved the banking application to Microsoft’s DOT NET (.NET) Technologies in September of 2002 with the help of ArtinSoft Corp.

Microsoft’s .NET Technology consists of Web services that connect information, people, systems and devices through software.  Web services are revolutionizing how computer software applications talk to other applications — or how computers talk to other computers using a data format that is equivalent to a worldwide computer language.

ArtinSoft Corp. is a Costa Rican company, started by software entrepreneur Carlos Araya.  He left his post at Costa Rica’s Technology Institute in 1993 to found the company that has become a leader in Web services development.  Intel is a major investor in the company.

SINPE can do a lot. Any business or individual can use SINPE to transfer money to any account to pay anyone for anything in Costa Rica.  This is much more than simply paying your monthly bills like telephone, water, and electricity.   Each account has a unique 17-digit number.

For example, let us say a worker or supplier has an account in BAC Costa Rica, and your


bank account is in Interfin.  You can set up your account at Interfin, through SINPE, to pay the worker or supplier. 

Another example: You need to transfer a large sum of money within the country and do not want to carry around a check.  SINPE is the answer.

Credit card companies have been using the system for years to transfer credit card collections into affiliate member accounts expediting payment.

Immediate payment transactions can be somewhat expensive, but overnight processing is relatively cheap.  One needs to contact the local bank to get the exact fees.

There are many reasons not to carry much cash on you in Costa Rica.  One reason are the banditos lurking around many corners. SINPE give people an alternative.

Banco de Costa Rica has now begun charging customers a service charge if they use too many checks.  They do not want people to use these passé instruments but to get familiar with new ways to pay like debit cards and SINPE.

This super new system also has a caveat, as great as it is, because it is fully transparent.  Using it is like hanging your laundry out for everyone to see.  At least all those involved in watching money transactions for illicit activity will see it.

Honest people have nothing to worry about and should use the system.  It can take the wait out of those long lines at the bank and, as more people become aware of and use it, maybe those long lines at the bank will be a thing of the past.

Garland M. Baker is a 35-year resident and naturalized citizen of Costa Rica who provides multidisciplinary professional services to the international community.  Reach him at info@crexpertise.com.  Baker has undertaken the research leading to these series of articles in conjunction with A.M. Costa Rica.  Find the collection at http://crexpertise.info.  Copyright 2005, use without permission prohibited.


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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Aug. 8, 2005, Vol. 5, No. 155

 
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Costa Rica Expertise Ltd http://crexpertise.com E-mail info@crexpertise.com Tel:506-256-8585 Fax:506-256-7575

 

Click HERE for great hotel discounts

 
Imported beans irk
local coffee growers


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Local coffee growers say that imported robusta coffee represents a danger to the industry.  The Instituto del Café de Costa Rica, the organization of Costa Rican coffee growers, took out a full-page ad in the Spanish-language daily La Nación Sunday claiming that the importation of robusta coffee puts the country and its coffee growers in danger of losing their reputation for high-quality coffee. 

Coffee beans are distinguished by their geography.  Local growers raise Arabica coffee, Coffea arabica, which, if of higher quality, is more expensive than its robusta counterpart.  Costa Rican law forbids the production of robusta. If the government allows robusta coffee, Coffea canephora, to be imported “the possibility of mixed, low-quality imported coffees will make it impossible for the people of Costa Rica to taste the 'best coffee in the world' (Costa Rican coffee), consequently, the local consumer will be lost which will impact the local producer,”  said the institute ad.

Robusta has about twice the caffeine content as arabica, and it can be used to give arabica a stronger jolt.  It also can be used in expresso.

In their ad, coffee growers also say that there exists a sufficient local market for their coffee and that the importation of foreign coffee will ruin Costa Rica's reputation as the grower of “the best coffee in the world.”

A distributor has imported 127 tons of Mexican coffee, an action that prompted the coffee growers to express their discontent.

Atlantis proponent
next forum speaker


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The lost island of Atlantis may have been here in Costa Rica according to author and professor Ivar Zapp.  Zapp is the next scheduled speaker in the monthly speaker's forum at Big Mike's Place in Escazú.  His speech is scheduled for Aug. 23 at 7 p.m.

The one-hour talk is called “Traces of an Unknown Civilization."  In 1940, workers in southwest Costa Rica were clearing land for the United Fruit Co. when they stumbled upon stone spheres as large as nine feet in diameter buried in the earth.  According to Zapp, the spheres were used by the Huetar Indians for navigation.  Zapp said that the spheres prove that the skill of the Huetar in finding such out of the way places as Easter Island and the Falkland Islands was on the same level as that of the ancient Polynesians. 

His speech will be about the process that lead to his book “Atlantis in America.”  Zapp came to Costa Rica 33 years ago as an artist.  He was invited by the University of Costa Rica to give a lecture on art.  Afterwards, he said, officials invited him to be a professor.  He said that he had had an interest in the spheres and often included them in his paintings.  So when the University offered him the chance, he decided to find out what purpose the spheres served.  His speech will be about that research, he said.  He is convinced that not only were the spheres used for directional astronomy but also that the spot in southwest Costa Rica where they were found is Plato's lost island of Atlantis. 

Entrance is 1,000 colons, a bit more than $2.  Guests are invited to arrive at 6:30 p.m. to sample the snack bar and refreshments.  For more information call 289-6333, 821-4708 or Mike at 289-6087. 
    
Pacheco ties tax plan
to archbishop's homily


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

President Abel Pacheco was quick to capitalize on the words of Costa Rica's highest-ranking Catholic cleric.

Sunday Pacheco cited the talk by the cleric, Hugo Barrantes, as additional evidence for passage of the proposed tax plan that is still in the Asamblea Legislativa. Barrantes, in his homily during a Mass Tuesday in Cartago in honor of the Virgen de los Ángeles, described a country divided by economic conditions.

Pacheco, in his television talk Sunday, said that passage of the tax plan would help eliminate poverty. He said that the proposal has been in the legislature for three years.

The tax plan was designed to generate some $500 million of new income for the government. However, every time the legislature discusses the plan, changes are made, so the financial outcome is clouded.

Further clouding the issue is the decision by Pacheco and his ruling Partido Social Cristiana to eliminate the aspect of global taxation. That was done Thursday in a meeting  of key deputies and officials, including the president. The entire worldwide income of Costa Ricans and residents here would have been subject to taxation under the original plan.  Now lawmakers want to make a change that only money brought into the country will be subject to taxation. They are doing this to win enough votes for passage of the whole package.

Pacheco faced criticism Sunday on the editorial page of La Nación, the Spanish-language daily. The newspaper praised Barrantes for correctly outlining the social problems of the country. But then it said that Pacheco's immediate reaction to the archbishop's comments were not serious and lacked responsibility. The newspaper was responding to comments that strongly resembled what Pacheco said in the television talk.

Court upholds nude photo conviction

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Sala III, the nation's highest criminal court, Friday upheld a civil penalty against El Diario Extra, which had published a doctored photo of seven young television personalities. The faces of the performers on the Channel 6 television show "A Todo Dar" were electronically placed on the bodies of seven nude women.

However, the court threw out a defamation charge against Gabriela Chavez, an editorial employee of the newspaper. The trial court had convicted the woman.

The photo, which has since been removed from the paper's online edition of Jan. 30, 2001, was described as something that was making the rounds on the Internet.

"A Todo Dar" features young, beautiful female dancers and is the most popular local show in Costa Rica. It airs in the late afternoon.
Professional Directory
A.M. Costa Rica's professional directory is where business people who wish to reach the English-speaking community may invite responses. If you are interested in being represented here, please contact the editor.


Real estate agents and services


MARGARET SOHN
formerly with  Carico and now with Great Estates
15 years Costa Rican
real estate experience

Member of the Costa Rican Real Estate Association, Lic. #1000

Member of
Costa Rican-American
Chamber of Commerce

margaret@greatcre.com
samargo@racsa.co.cr
www.realtorcostarica.com
(506) 291-2825 & (506) 291-2826
fax (506) 296-6304   (506) 382-7399 cell
1321-11/23/05


CENTURY 21 Jacó Beach Realty
Selling? Buying? We can do it!
Lic. Tomas Ghormley H., MBA - Owner/Broker
Beachfront, Views, Mountains, Lots, Farms, Beaches, Houses, Condos. Hotels, Restaurants, Projects, Commercial, Investments
www.c21jaco.com
643-3356
Info@c21jaco.com


First Costa Rican Title & Trust
Protecting your interests since 1994
  Purchase contracts
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  Title Guarantees
  Trust Services
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Call us for your real property legal and investment needs at 225-0501 or send us an e-mail at amcr@firstcr.com

Title Guarantees issued by First American Title Insurance Co., one of the oldest and largest title companies in the world. The First American difference in protection is that the policies cover unrecorded matters and unknown risks.

www.firstcr.com
1334-11/25/05


Accountants


James Brohl C.P.A, M.B.A


U.S. Income Tax 
U.S. GAAP Accounting, 
Business Consulting
Providing U.S. Tax return preparation including back reporting and all other filing issues, accounting services 
and business consulting.

Telephone 305-3149 or 256-8620
E-mail jrtb_1999@racsa.co.cr


Dentists


Williams Dental & Associates
Integral dentistry
Dr. John Williams
¥ General dentistry 
¥ Endodontics
¥ Oral rehabilitation
¥ Prosthodontics
¥ Periodontics
¥ Dental prevention
¥ Maxillofacial surgery implants

Guachipelín, Escazú
228-2914/289-9809
e-mail: jwdental@amnet.co.cr
www.jwdentalcostarica.com

U.S. prevention of infection and sterilization protocol


Legal services


KEARNEY-LAWSON & Asoc.
Lic.Gregory Kearney Lawson.
Attorney at Law
Villalobos and Savings Unlimited Collections
*Investments  *Corporations *Tax Shelters
*Real Estate Sales in Costa Rica
    *Immigration  *Intellectual Property
*Business procedures  *Family and Labor Law
*Locate People   *Private Investigations
        Ph/Fax: 221-9462, 841-0007
attorneykearney@yahoo.com
http://attorneykearney.com
1299-11/9/05

Adolfo Rojas Breedy
Breedy Abogados S.A.
ÑAttorneys-at-LawÑ
Since 1957. Best experience in: 
¥ Real Estate Transfer of Title and Title Search
¥ Business       ¥ Investments 
¥ Commercial & Civil Litigation
¥ Corporate Law & finance
¥ Capital markets Law
¥ International Taxation
(506) 233-7203/221-0230   breedy@racsa.co.cr
Web page:  www.breedy.com
902-9/14/05


Bufete Hernández Mussio 
& Asociados
Lic. Arcelio Hernández Mussio
Tel. 218-0829                Cell 365-3088
E-mail: legalxpt@racsa.co.cr
www.forovial.com
  • real estate law  
•  due dilligence 

•  criminal & constitutional law
 
• Purchase and sale agreements
 
• Purchase option agreements
 
• title guarantee, • fraud protection
 
•  Constitution of condominiums
 
• Property Management
 
• Notary public services in general

Offices in San José and
Jacó Beach  (25 meters north of Banco Popular, below the Fiscalia).
Authorized Representative
Stewart Title Attorney Referral System

229-8/9/0




 
Our new five-star food and restaurant page
with the observations of Dr. Lenny Karpman
Click HERE!

 


The perfect composite word when someone deceives
¡SERINGA!

Seringa is not really a word. It is actually a made-up expression that came about through the sliding of two words together –  sería engañarle which literally means “he/she is attempting to deceive (or trick) you.”

¡Seringa! Is often accompanied by a gesture such as the throwing of the hands into the air, a wagging of the head, and uttering ¡seringa! O mirela, ¡seringa! Indicating total incredulity at what the other person is trying to put over on you.

For example, you might use seringa when the carpenter who is repairing your roof quotes you a price that you feel is absolutely outrageous. In this case you might say something like:

¿Que? ¡Seringa mirela! ¿Como se le ocurre?

Meaning: “What? You’re trying to put one over on me! Where do you get that stuff?!” Of course, depending on the circumstances, this might be a bit strong and overly offensive, so you can soften it by leaving out all the gestures, the word mirela, and the phrase ¿como se le ocurre? And just say ¡siringa! That is unless, of course, you indeed do wish to offend the person who clearly thinks you’re such a fool as to be taken in by his brazen attempt to cheat you.

In a different context, seringa can be a response when someone asks you to do something that you do not wish to do. For example, say some deadbeat of your acquaintance asks to borrow money, you can say ¡seringa! And that should be all it takes for this person to understand that you have no intention of doling out any cash.

There are so many words and expressions in our old colloquial lexicon that came about through the dropping of letters or syllables, or the sliding of words together. Take for example, ña for doña meaning lady or Mrs, or ñor for señor, sir or Mr.

There is a very famous cuento in Costa Rican literature that starts out something like this:

Ñor Jose, traiga la leña pa’vela. (Mr. José, bring the wood out so I can have a look at it.)

¿Cuanto pide? (How much are you asking for it?)

Cinco pesos. (Five colones.)

¡Ave Maria purisima!

This gives us a glimpse into the way Costa Ricans
The
way we say it

By Daniel Soto

 
 conversed at the beginning of last century (and an idea of what the value of money was then too). To translate this into standard Spanish we would say something like:

Don Jose, ¿Porque no trae esa leña para verla? ¿Cuanto cuesta?

Cinco mil colones.

¡¿Que va porque tan caro?¡


But if we then translate this further into modern colloquial street talk it comes out something like this:

Mae, traiga esa vara pa hecharle un ojo, ¿Cuanto quiere? 

Un tucan.

Que? ¡No sea tan ladron, esa vara no vale más que un rojo!


Amazingly, we have here three totally different ways to express the same basic ideas using different forms of what is essentially the same language! And what does it mean in English?

“Mr. José bring the wood so I can check it out. How much are you asking?"

"Five thousand colons."

"What?! No that sounds too expensive.”

It is interesting to see how our language, being the living, breathing, organic thing that it is, has modified itself over time. And it is by maintaining the use of our dichos and refránes that we are able to observe the ways our language has changed through hundreds of generations of Costa Ricans.



Scientists say Nicaraguans are decimating turtles
Special from the Wildlife Conservation Society

Sea turtles that receive the highest protection in Costa Rica and other neighboring countries are dying by the thousands at the hands of unregulated — and unsustainable — commercial fishing in Nicaragua, according to a study by the Bronx Zoo-based Wildlife Conservation Society in New York.

The study, appearing in the latest issue of the journal Herpetologica, found that turtles tagged in Nicaragua have only little more than a 50 percent chance of surviving until the next year. This includes adult turtles from Tortuguero, the world famous turtle-nesting beach in northeast Costa Rica. For a slow-growing, slow-to-mature species, removing so many large juveniles and adults from the population spells potential disaster, according to society  scientists. The largest remaining green turtle population in the Atlantic lives in this region, scientists believe.

"Green turtles cannot take this relentless pounding by the Nicaraguan sea turtle fishing industry," said researcher Cathi Campbell, the lead author of the study. "Drastic reductions are needed in fishing levels, or both the turtles — and turtle fishers — will vanish within a matter of years."
Although protected from international trade by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, an estimated 11,000 green sea turtles are still harvested annually in Nicaragua for local consumption. The Wildlife Conservation Society says that an annual quota of between 1,000-3,000 turtles needs to be established to sustain the fishery.

Green turtles — the only herbivorous sea turtle species — travel from throughout the Caribbean to Nicaragua to forage in its rich sea grass beds, making it especially frustrating for neighboring countries that protect turtles in their own waters, only to lose them once they enter Nicaragua, according to the society.

"Other countries are doing so much to protect nesting populations and in-water aggregations of green turtles," Campbell said, noting that Costa Rica in particular has worked hard to protect nesting turtles from poachers. "Nicaragua plainly needs to do more to protect what is an international resource."

For the past seven years, the society has worked along Nicaragua’s Miskito Coast to establish conservation programs that safeguard green, hawksbill and loggerhead turtles.

WCS also operates turtle programs in Africa.


High school girl murdered on way to her Pacific coast home
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A gunman wearing a ski mask ambushed two high school girls, sisters, Friday as they walked home on a path near the Pacific coast settlement of Tarcoles. After holding the pair hostage, he shot the older fatally and left the younger tried to a tree.

Investigators have no real motive for the crime
although they suspect the murderer is from the general area. Dead is Luz Elena Guzmán, 16. Her sister Raquel, 14, survived.

The killer tied up the younger girl and then took the older girl out of sight where the fatal shot was fired.

The path winds through a wooded area and cuts off several miles from the trip home from school. 


The unlucky plate numbers for driving downtown today are 1 and 2
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Tránsito officers were out in force in the downtown area Friday handing out tickets to those who ignored a new decree. But they also were targeting double-parked cars and other situations that could impede traffic flow.

The crackdown was all part of the government's effort to save fuel by preventing  traffic jams.
The principal component is a restriction on 20 percent of the vehicles each weekday. For example, today vehicles with the last digit of the license plate as a 1 or 2 may not travel in the downtown area between 7 and 8:30 a.m. and 4 to 5:30 p.m. The area involved is bounded by Avenida 9 in the north and Avenida 16 in  the south.

Drivers who violate the license plate rule face fines of 5,000 colons (about $10.50).






Readers express their views on global taxes, real estate and the bomb
Concern voiced on tax
that would cover all


Dear AM Costa Rica:

My wife and I had planned on moving to Costa Rica. We would be proud to be called residents of such a lovely country and consider it a great privilege to be allowed to live there.

Unfortunately, due to the possibility of a World Tax, we may have to change our plans. Placing ourselves in a position where our income is taxed by both the U.S. and Costa Rica would be fiscally irresponsible. I’m afraid that the vast majority of Gringos considering making a move as well as many expats already in Costa Rica will arrive at the same conclusion. Not only would I regret not being able to live in the most beautiful country I’ve ever seen, but I’m afraid the new law would significantly damage Costa Rica’s economy.
 
Anthony Campbell
Cape Coral Florida
 
EDITOR’S NOTE: The government and its deputies in the legislature may try to edit global tax out of the final bill.
  
Realtor™, a true misnomer
in Costa Rica, reader says


Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

There have been many writings in Costa Rican newspapers, Web sites, online newspapers and Web boards referring to almost everyone who sells real estate in Costa Rica as a Realtor™.  To refer to those who sell real estate with this designation, verbalizes a grave injustice to those registered as Realtors™.

These written references prompted me to write an article of clarification; to help change the use of the name Realtors™; to ask all who sell real estate to form a strong base of associates and to hold each other accountable to strict rules of conduct.

For total clarify to this reference, there are only seven real estate sales people in all of Costa Rica who have the right to use or be called Realtor™.  They are registered with and pay annual dues to the National Association of Realtors™.

I will be moving to Costa Rica in a very short time and will bring with me all that I have learned as a Realtors™.  My plan is to sell real estate in an ethical manner that is not given to the public in Costa Rica.

With this said, I am a Realtor™ in Colorado USA, sworn to the written National Association of Realtors™ Code of Ethics.  All real estate sales people who use the name Realtor™ must adhere to these codes.  The codes apply to everyone to stay in good standing and for the use of the name Realtor™ as a designation.  This name is a registered trademark of the National Association of Realtors™ in the United States of America.   The N.A.R. Web site is http://www.realtor.com

It has been many years since I obtained a real estate license and Realtors™ designation here in Colorado.  At that time I was required to join one of six Denver real estate boards and required to take an ethics class.  This ethics class is a requirement of N.A.R. On a yearly basis to maintain my status.

The association’s code of ethics is HERE!

All of these codes, when applied as “Golden Rule,” should help to protect the real estate industry, the general public and the integrity of the real estate profession.

As a conclusion, I would propose that all of those who sell real estate in Costa Rica to form a strong based association, to adhere to the National Association of Realtors™ Code of Ethics and to enforce, within their own ranks, those who do not stand by these codes.

As you have seen, calling a real estate sales person a Realtors™ is not the proper designation.  Please refrain from calling them Realtors™, unless they have earned the right, adhere to the Code of Ethics and paid their annual dues to the National Association of Realtors.
   
Bill Maes
Denver, Colo.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Associated Press Stylebook and Libel Manual tells editors that the term real estate agent is preferred to Realtor and that Realtor should be used only if there is a reason to indicate that the individual is a member of the National Association of Realtors.
 
 
Japan was seeking
to surrender, he says


Dear A.M. Costa Rica;

I would like to express appreciation for the great new editorial forum that we have with amcostarica.com. Then I would like to comment on editor Jay Brodell’s one-sided editorial about the atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I think that probably Señor Brodell has not read the “People’s History of the United States.” But even long before I read that thick impressive libro I was well aware that Japan had already recognized the inevitability of its defeat and was searching furiously for an honorable resolution. To drop the bombs as we did was not only horrendously evil, it was unnecessary.

It was another prime example of American doublespeak. We, the so-called beacon of light and freedom in an oppressive and tryannical world with all our rhetoric about spreading democracy and elimating weapons of mass destruction are the only country in the history of this twisted world to use the greatest weapon of mass destruction, not to mention
manufacture the majority of the rest of those wpds. I'm sorry if I fail to see the absolute necessity of dropping those bombs but I just can’t help it. There’s too much information that points to the contrary.

Not only did we provoke Japan into striking Hawaii by cutting off their oil supply lines into their country from Indonesia but amazingly enough, none of the newer aircraft carriers and destroyers seemed to be in Pearl Harbor at the time. Now isn’t that a coincidence? And how about the radioman who saw the planes coming and radioed warnings and was ignored by superiors at the highest levels. Doesn’t it make you wonder at all if Pearl Harbor was not a staged sacrifice to win overwhelming support to wage war with Japan?

Something like 9-11 maybe when the passport of one of the principle supposed terrorists was found mysteriously at the base of the WTC disaster zone, (unscathed, I might add). Face it folks, we are a country of war mongers who have done anything but make the world a better, safer and freer place to live.

In the Internet publication “Escape Artist.com” right now there is a great article written by a tuned-in ex-pat living in Panama entitled,  “39,000 reasons not to live in the U.S. anymore” I only had time to read about the first 10 or so of which I was in complete agreement. I recommend this article to Jay Brodell and especially to Bush/Cheney. Time to wake up and smell the cafe and learn to distinguish between truth and propaganda.  Aloha,
 
Al Bollinger
David, Panamá
 
EDITOR’S NOTE: The Associated Press did report shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, that the passport of a presumed terrorist was found near ground zero. Officials said that they thought it was expelled from the plane on impact.





U.S. delayed peace
in order to drop bomb


Dear A.M. Costa Rica:
 
If there were no doubts in 1945, does that imply that there may be some doubts nowadays? I suspect, from the article of Jay Brodell, Editor of AM Costa Rica, that he is genuinely convinced of the merits of having had the nuclear bombs dropped in 1945 on two civilian Japanese cities.

Some say only the losers commit war crimes. The winners do not commit war crimes. So there was no War Crimes Tribunal at Nuremberg for the winners.

On the other hand, there are those that claim that every president of the USA, since the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal, if the same Nuremberg laws had been applied, would have been executed.

Some say the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, two civilian cities, were not war crimes. Some people say the fire-bombing of Dresden, another civilian city, filled with refugees, was not a war crime.

All these cities were bombed just as the war was about to end. They were all civilian cities, non-strategic cities.

In more civilized times, battles were sometimes fought on battlefields, in the countryside, far away from civilians, between soldiers; and codes of honour and chivalry were recognized. In olden times a sword could kill only one person at a time.   Such a battlefield would be an ideal war situation if there could ever be such a thing as an ideal battlefield situation.  Of course all of history is replete with horror stories of bloody massacres of civilians, cruelty, torture, and vengeance and war did not always occur in an orderly battlefield.

When it comes to warfare, the main difference between primitive man and modern man is a difference of refinement.  Modern man, because more refined than primitive man, is also more refined in his cruelty and his potentiality for cruelty is increased a thousand-fold by means of modern techniques such as the nuclear weapon and germ and chemical warfare. Apart from this refinement, there is little difference between modern man and primitive man.  Primitive man would enjoy sticking his sword into someone’s innards and seeing the blood and guts spurting out.  Modern man would be revolted.  Modern refined man could never heave old men, women and children into a roaring furnace because it would offend his sense of finesse but from 30,000 feet he can easily and without qualms press a button that sends a whole city of civilians into a roaring furnace.  His cruelty is more refined and capacity for cruelty is increased a million-fold.  Otherwise there is little difference between primitive man and modern man.

And afterwards, as war heroes, we can justify our actions as absolutely necessary. It is a poor dialectician who cannot argue his way out of an intellectual predicament.

Some say the Japanese had been suing for peace for six months prior to the dropping of the atom bombs, because they were cut off from their oil supplies and a modern war cannot be carried on without oil supplies.

But the war was prolonged and the Japanese pleas for peace were ignored because the atom bomb was not yet ready. And it was essential that the bombs be ready for testing on humans. It was all part of the nuclear experiment. So peace had to be delayed.

Not only that, but the dropping of the atom bomb was a political statement to the whole world: “We have the bomb. And we are prepared to use the bomb. We are now in charge of history. Please take note.” And the whole world sat up and took note. Never since has the bomb been used in warfare. But I have no doubt we are approaching a nuclear holocaust of unimaginable proportions.

Here is what Peggy Noonan, a former speechwriter of President Reagan, in 1998, thinks: She wrote: “Something’s up. And deep down, where the body meets the soul, we are fearful ... I don’t mean there’s a depression coming, I mean we live in a world of three billion men and of thousands of nuclear bombs, missiles, warheads; it’s a world of extraordinary germs that can be harnessed and used to kill whole populations ... Three billion men and it takes only half a dozen ones to harness and deploy. What are the odds it will happen? Put it another way; what are the odds it will not? Low to nonexistent, I think.”

Prior to Second World War the British Empire, covering one third of the planet, had been in charge of history. With the Second World War the burden of history was passed over to the US. The British, sword in one hand and Bible in the other, used to be the servant of history. Now the U.S. is the servant of history, in a totally different context from the British Empire.

Whoever takes on the burden of history does so until total exhaustion: physical, psychological and moral. Whoever takes on the burden of history does so until all their wealth and economy has been depleted and until complete and total financial exhaustion. Whoever takes on the burden of history does so until all their young men and women have been sacrificed in battlefields in faraway countries. Whoever takes on the burden of history does so until total bankruptcy. Mission accomplished, and that country is then cast on the scrapheap of history.

Meanwhile, waiting impatiently in the sidelines, is the next candidate, as in a relay race, eager and restless to take on this terrible burden and responsibility of history, eager and impatient to be the new Servant of History, the new messiah, the new savior and redeemer of mankind, ready to lead us all to the Promised Land, to the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth, to Erehwon, to Utopia, to Paradise, or wherever.

As Arthur Koestler says: “For every step forward in progress, we have to march round the desert for 40 years.” Lead on, Moses.

Desmond McReynolds
 
We seem to be gloating
over use of the bomb


Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

Someone correct me if I am mistaken, but I believe I just read  an  editorial by the editor of AMCR, Jay Brodell,  entitled “There  were no doubts about the bomb in 1945,” in which Mr. Brodell seems to be  gloating over the dropping of  “the bomb.”  The attempted justification doesn’t fly with me and no doubt  with millions of others worldwide.  How could anybody glorify one of the worst sins ever committed against mankind that still today is causing undue  suffering?
 
It is very clear that there exists a strong following within the ranks of warmongering and that there are those countries who perpetually use war as a means to boost sagging economies, to aggressively secure natural resources from weaker nations, establish a military presence in certain regions, intimidate, control local politics and religion and to control local economies amongst many others. Note that outright lies and evidence fabrication had to be employed to get the citizens to go along with war in certain cases. Mr. Brodell appears not to be aware that there are so-called democracies that do start wars, sometimes unilaterally and are ruled by dictators and authoritarian rule.

War is never excusable, and all countries of the world should work together to make sure that “the sin” of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is never committed again.
 
Chuck Crider
Orlando,  Fla.


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