Atheism and the death penalty

It was amusing to see both atheists and religious believers wrangling over biblical rationalizations for the death penalty in their … Continued

It was amusing to see both atheists and religious believers wrangling over biblical rationalizations for the death penalty in their responses to my column earlier this week about the retirement of Justice John Paul Stevens from the Supreme Court. No doubt this dispute was prompted by the citation of Justice Antonin Scalia’s religious justification for the death penalty, which amounts to: God has the power of life and death and lawful governments derive their power from God; ergo, capital punishment is both morally and legally permissible. It is clear, however, that neither atheism nor religion per se is a predictable, decisive factor in public or individual attitudes toward capital punishment. However people choose to rationalize their position, capital puniishment is an emotional issue.

Scalia was half-right in his contention that “the more Christian a country is the less likely it is to regard the death penalty as immoral. Abolition [of capital punishment] has taken its firmest hold in post-Christian Europe, and has least support in the churchgoing United States.” [“First Things,” May 2002] He was only half-right because he was talking only about that part of the world that once comprised “Christendom.” In Saudi Arabia, for example, there is a good deal of kingly and public (insofar as public opinion can be gauged in such a society) support for the death penalty and–the last time I checked–this oil kingdom was emphatically not a Christian nation. There is also support in Islamic theocracies for what is now considered cruel and unusual punishment in most western societies–even in the death penalty-loving United States. Parts of both the Bible and the Qur’an are enthusiastic about such punishments as cutting off the hands of thieves and stoning adulteresses, but even Scalia has not gone so far as to claim that these penalties should be reinstated because someone claiming to speak for God once advocated them.

There is a freethinking tradition of skepticism about capital punishment dating back to a time when all kings considered it their divine right to chop off their subjects’ heads at will. Thomas Paine was not only an opponent of the death penalty but put his own life on the line when, while living in France during the Jacobin era, he condemned the executions of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. Paine was imprisoned for his outspoken position against the executions, which he opposed not because he had any love for kings but simply because he did not believe that any government had the right to commit state-sanctioned murder. True freethinkers tend to oppose not only the divine right of kings but the divine right of all governments.

In the United States today, secularists are less likely–but only somewhat less likely–to support capital punishment than are the religiously observant. Support is highest, at 71 percent, among evangelical Protestants and lowest, at 59 percent, among those unaffiliated with any religion. White non-Hispanic Catholics, at 67 percent, fall in between the two groups. The important fact here is the clear majority support for the death penalty regardless of religious belief. I know a fair number of atheists who are just as enthusiastic about executing Islamic terrorists as their right-wing Chistian compatriots. Such cases offer a particularly compelling demonstration of the noonrational, emotional needs that underlie support for the death penalty, because in the case of terrorists, there is little possibility of capital punishment serving as a deterrent. Religiously motivated terrorists consider themselves martyrs, and each execution would create another hero (See: early Christianity in the Roman Empire).

I view the death penalty in much the same light as I regard human sacrifice, slavery, and the official practice of torture. Both capital punishment and torture are no less barbaric because many people support them. (There does seem to be a worldwide consensus now against human slavery and human sacrifice, but one ought to recall that the consensus against slavery, even in the West, is less than 200 years old.)

I would never claim, however, that my opposition to the death penalty is grounded in the kind of objective evidence that can be cited, for example, to support the proposition that same-sex attraction is not a choice but is deeply ingrained in our genetic makeup. I am against capital punishment because I think that its practice coarsens and brutalizes the fabric of every society that practices it. Oh, I could make the obvious, evidence-based argument that the United States, the one practicioner of the death penalty in the developed western world, is a much more violent society, with a much higher crime rate, than, say, Canada or any western European country you could name. I could point out, as Stevens did, that there is no just, rational way to admiinister the death penalty–that an African-American, for example, is much more likely than a white man to be executed for the same crime. (Not surprisingly, African-Americans are the only group in which a majority rejects the death penalty.) And I could mention the incontrovertible truth, now available through DNA evidence, that some people are executed for crimes they did not commit.

But any of these arguments would mask the real source of my anti-death penalty stance, which is my conviction that when a government claims the right to exercise the power of life and death–even over the most apalling of murderers–it is acting in the barbaric tradition that takes us right back to the primal ooze from which we emerged.

Is there not emotional satisfaction in seeing that a worthless, unrepentant killer and enemy of society is dead? You bet there is. On The Daily Show this week, Jon Stewart and Rachel Maddow engaged in embarrassed, snickering liberal mea culpas about their satisfaction that Timothy McVeigh, the perpetrator of the Oklahoma City bombing, was executed in 2001. Maddow admitted that she’d like to kill Osama bin Ladin “with a spoon” (whatever that means). [The Daily Show, April 13] On a television special next week featuring previously unreleased tapes of McVeigh talking from his jailhouse, he apparently reveals himself to be an even more cold-blooded killer (and, let us not forget, anti-government fanatic) than we knew. He’s dead, and this year another fanatic flew his plane into an Internal Revenue Service office. The only person deterred by McVeigh’s execution was McVeigh himself. Of course, no one is weeping for McVeigh. So what? The question is not what impact the death penalty has on the executed criminal but the effect it has on the rest of society. Did we need to execute McVeigh to express our collective disapproval of terrorism? The secret or not-so-secret pleasure most of us take in the execution of someone like McVeigh is the tipoff that moral unease ought to be aroused when the state takes someone’s life on our behalf. That such an act may gratify my emotional needs is insufficient moral justification. That was why Maddow and Stewart were embarrassed to be laughing.

The absence of any sense of righteous satisfaction was surely a factor, albeit not a legal one, when the Supreme Court outlawed the execution of the mentally retarded in 2002 (Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Chief Justice William Renquist dissenting) and when it prohibited, by a 5-4 margin in 2005, the execution of juvenile offenders (Renquist, Scalia, Thomas and Sandra Day O’Connor dissenting). Even in the United States, most people feel there is something deeply wrong about executing someone with the IQ of an eight-year-old. And before anyone jumps all over me for using the word “retarded” instead of “mentally disabled,” the Supreme Court decision was not meant to apply to all mental illnesses or disabilities. It applies, specifically, to people who lack the mental capacity of an adult to form criminal intent.

At least one person in the comments section said that he favored capital punishment not as an act of revenge but as an act of punishment. I would not argue against the idea that death is the ultimate punishment. Someone serving life without parole still gets three meals a day, still (in most instances) has some contact with the outside world and still (like McVeigh) can serve as a hero to his benighted followers. That’s something for a sociopath to live for. I’ll bet McVeigh would have been thrilled to know about the IRS suicide bomber. The problem is that for the worst serial killers and mass murderers– whether Adolf Eichmann, McVeigh or Charles Manson there can be no proportional punishment. The famoue “eye for eye” passage in Exodus, so often cited out of context by religious supporters of capital punishment, was in fact a limitation on punishment and vengeance. [Exodus: 21: 22-25.] Read it in full, and you will see the intent–that one may not exact more than an eye for an eye, or a tooth for a tooth. At the time the Book of Exodus was written, regardless of who wrote it, the concept of proportional punishment represented social progress. But it is no more a basis for deciding whether capital punishment ought to be practiced today than the tale of Thor’s hammer is for revamping the electrical grid. In 1983, in a chapter on capital punishment in my Wild Justice: The Evolution of Revenge, I wrote, “After the first murder, proportionality becomes impossible to achieve.” If one execution can never provide justice, or adequate punishment, for the murder of millions, then the question is what that one execution says about the rest of us.

Religious arguments against capital punishment have no more force for me than religious arguments in favor of capital punishment. Justice Scalia, a theologically right-wing Catholic, disgrees with Pope John Paull II’s 1995 encyclical, Evangelium Vitae, which condemned capital punishment, abortion and euthanasia. After consulting with an expert in canon law, Scalia explained, he learned that he pope’s statement about the death penalty was not doctrinally binding (unlike the injunction against abortion) but had more of the status of an advisory opinion.What a relief that must have been for Scalia, given that he wants the state to be able to execute people with the minds of children. Apparently John Paul never saw a bumper sticker like the one I saw while driving through a rural area of southwestern Michigan in the mid-1980s: “The death penalty was good enough for Jesus.”

The Christian argument against the death penalty, based on the centrality of forgiveness and mercy to Christian dotrine, is as irrelevant in its own way as Scalia’s nattering about the divine right of kings and the divine right of governments to punish. If I am a crime victim, the state cannot “forgive” anyone on my behalf. And it cannot punish on my behalf, either: it can only punish on behalf of the body politic. Victims do not have the right to dictate the type of punishment the state should enforce.

I think that all of the intellectual arguments for and against the death penalty, whether couched in religious or secular terms, do nothing more than provide cover for the real dispute over whether Americans are proud or ashamed to know that in many jurisdictions within their country, the state possesses and exercises the power to kill. A majority of Americans are proud. I am ashamed.

Susan Jacoby
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  • WmarkW

    One possibly necessary use of capital punishment is turn one conspirator against another. One of James Byrd’s draggers agreed to testify against the others, in exchange for life imprisonment. If Life had been the strongest punishment available, it might have been harder to get a conviction. It’s also necessary for convicts already in prison for life who kill guards, so they don’t get a murder for free. Death is not society’s ultimate punishment, as some claim. We’ve taken death by torture, like stoning, off the table. Is there some sense in which Ted Kaczynski’s incarceration is preferable to McVeigh’s death, except that his brother helped authorities locate him in exchange for leniency? I don’t see it.

  • arminius0131

    I’m Christian and oppose the death penalty. One reason is religious: I do not think Jesus would have approved. My other reasons for opposition are not religious: it can never be certain, which has been proven many times; the state should not have godlike powers; and, one more reason that is seldom mentioned: putting a person to death costs at least 2 to 5 times more than life in prison. Google ‘death penalty costs’ for a lot of entries, and the stats are from state records.

  • YEAL9

    OK, no death penalty for serial killers, crazed bombers, 9/11 planners, and genocide tyrants. And to reduce costs even more for keeping these reprobates isolated from society, they should be kept in solitary confinement with no outside contact with the world (no telephone privileges, no TV, no radio, with nothing to read and only bread and water to eat and drink) i.e. a return to the methods of Henry VIII and the Tower of London.

  • areyousaying

    Huckabees and Donohue Catholics believe that when God wrote, “Thou shalt not kill”, he hired K Street lawyers to write the following disclaimer to the Sixth Commandment**except when civil and/or religious powers dictate pre-emptive war, genocide, holocausts and/or killing of select criminals are “Jesus approved” as justified by their unilateral cherry-picking and twisting the interpretations of their infallible (but self-contradictory) scriptures to do it.

  • WmarkW

    Reply to AREYOUSAYINGSince the biblical Hebrews fought wars and used capital punishment, it’s pretty obvious the Commandment refers to murder, not every type of non-criminal homicide.

  • emonty

    I would chime in, but Arminius has succinctly stated how I feel about the death penalty. This article represents some of the best of Susan Jacoby.

  • persiflage

    ‘Apparently John Paul never saw a bumper sticker like the one I saw while driving through a rural area of southwestern Michigan in the mid-1980s: “The death penalty was good enough for Jesus.”‘I was born and raised in southwestern Michigan (Kalamazoo) and ironically, for a region that spawns fringe militia groups and KKK style nut jobs aplenty, Michigan does not have the death penality. Instead, convicted murderers that meet the criteria are sentenced to mandatory life – such a sentence means life without parole and most likely living on an isolated maximum security cell block at the Michigan state prison in Jackson.The federal penal system works differently, but with a similar outcome.Murder victims obviously include more than just the murdered individual(s), with the pain and suffering of survivors i.e. family, friends, spouses and children lasting a lifetime. While there are clearly some people that have earned a death sentence, there are many others that most likely have not – and yet are sentenced to the same fate. This is the primary reason for supporting another federally mandated moratorium on the death penalty. However, it won’t happen with the present Supreme Court….and states/state legislators will not voluntarily do it either. Not in an age where hand gun violance is legitimized as both a 2nd ammendment and states rights issue with equal fervor – and where the explosive growth of owning and carrying hand guns is more important than feeding the poor….by a very large margin. For a growing number of citizens, the prevailing mentality of the Wild West has reared it’s ugly head, and social justice is something found at the end of a barrel…

  • Sajanas

    It amazes me that the same people who don’t trust the government to regulate health care, collect taxes, educate children, or inspect food will trust its ability to try and execute people implicitly.The constitution only authorizes it in cases of treason in time of war. Given I see there is no afterlife, ending someones life is a final, and ultimate step, and not one that should be taken lightly. While I certainly oppose the death penalty for all normal crimes, I’m still not sure if there aren’t those crimes that still warrant it, like treason in time of war, or genocide. Was it wrong to get rid of the remaining Nazis at Nuremberg, or Saddam Hussein? I’m torn, to be honest. I think that having them still in prison could offer the hope of renewal for the old regimes. Perhaps it is best to think of those executions as merely the effects of warfare, rather than the normal effects of capital punishment.

  • YEAL9

    Henry VIII, the founder of the Episcopal/Anglican Church:From”Henry’s hearty appetites and fickle passions are legendary, and his demand for a male heir led him to marry six different women. (Two of those wives, Anne Boleyn and Katharine Howard, were executed on his order.) Henry’s divorce from his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, led the king to split with the Catholic Church and found his own church, the Church of England, which in turn set the stage for the English Reformation and for religious battles which lasted for centuries. (It also led to his famous clash with Sir Thomas More, who was tried for treason and executed.) Henry is also known for his great girth; his obesity probably contributed to his death at age 56.”

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    SusanSo far, this is your best essay that I have seen on this WaPo On Faith Forum. There were so many good points, that I cannot think to cite them all and comment on them. I will give it a little thought, and see what I come up with.

  • schnauzer21

    Posted by: arminius0131 “one more reason that is seldom mentioned: putting a person to death costs at least 2 to 5 times more than life in prison. Google ‘death penalty costs’ for a lot of entries, and the stats are from state records.”

  • Athena4

    I’m as much of a bleeding-heart liberal as they come, but I believe that, in some rare instances, the DP is deserved. Mass murderers, serial killers, terrorists (foreign and domestic) are the “worst of the worst”. I don’t know if I would kill Bin Laden with a spoon. Maybe a pork-grease covered spork? But, I would have gladly pulled the switch on McVeigh or the Beltway Sniper.

  • arminius0131

    schnauzer21,I expected just such a reply, from one who will ignore the evidence. As Caesar said, “Men willingly believe in what they want.” The evidence that the death penalty costs more is simply overwhelming. Even what is no doubt your favorite ‘news’ station, Fox, agrees:

  • Alex_H

    Rachel Maddow may have alluded to the movie “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves”.In it, the Sheriff of Nottingham expresses the desire to cut out Robin Hood’s heart with a spoon. Guy of Gisborne asks why a spoon as opposed to an axe, and the sheriff responds “Because it’s dull, you twit! It’ll hurt more!”

  • arminius0131

    Athena,Yes, of course, some deserve death. I have had the same feelings, just point me to the switch, or give me an ax. But does that make it right? Are there exceptions? Are we ever sure?Frodo, concerning Gollum: “He deserves death!”

  • Athena4

    Good point, Arminius. I only play a deity on the Internets. It’s only for the Gods to judge guilt or innocence. John Allan Muhummad and Timmy McVeigh are getting what’s coming to them in whatever their version of the afterlife is. Alan_H – Ahh… Alan Rickman… the best part of that cheesy movie with Kevin Costner’s fake British accent. The BBC’s guy who plays the Sheriff on the BBC’s latest version (Lily Allen’s father) is clearly channeling Rickman.

  • arminius0131

    Athena,Perhaps there really are things worse than death. As for the RCC pederasts/rapists, I want them sent to a medium security prison, put in the general population, and make sure the entire prison knows just why they are there. Their short lives will be living hell as they experience what their victims did.

  • PSolus

    “It’s only for the Gods to judge guilt or innocence.”I don’t recall hearing of any god ever judging guilt on innocence in this real world. Am I missing something?And, that wasn’t a fake British — it was Kevin Costner’s own accent.

  • FarnazMansouri

    Good essay, Susan. As Persiflage and others point out, the death penalty is not dispensed evenly, and it never will be.Further, we have executed innocent people, and we have will do so again.What may give us the idea that we have not slipped back into the “primordial ooze” is that we do not gather by the thousands to watch heads chopped off or beaten in with stones.It’s hidden. Try to imagine it happening as it does in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the MIddle East.There are people like Simmons, whose case ended capital punishment for murderers who killed before they were eighteen, whom I suspect I could kill myself. No less than Sandra Day O’Connor objected to the abolition of the death penalty for those under eighteen, noting that Simmons’ crime was particularly horrific.Ethically, morally, I cannot justify it.What makes it even more like revenge is the recent tendency for judges to ask the victim’s family to state whether or not they want to see the convicted sentenced to death.This is wildly pre-Judaic, btw. It replaces law with what tribal vengeance.

  • daniel12

    Part one.On whether it is a moral improvement in the human race to abolish capital punishment…Some people equate capital punishment with old religious practices such as human sacrifice, or call it barbaric like torture and slavery are, but capital punishment needs to be sharply distinguished from these very different situations.First of all, we need to understand that what underlies impulses such as imprisoning a person all the way to capital punishment is not just revenge for a crime that has been committed. We might speak of imprisonment and capital punishment as revenge for crimes, and of course emotional satisfaction for wrongs having been done, but the point is imprisonment and capital punishment are inextricably bound up with something the human race is compelled to do with itself that no other form of animal life is compelled to do: choose itself.No matter how kindly the human race proceeds, it has to choose what it is to become, and in fact–and to correct my first paragraph–not only imprisonment and capital punishment but torture and probably even slavery have been types of choice of the process of the human race having to choose what it is to become. Even human sacrifice can be added, but that was obviously a bad way of choosing what the human race is to become unless the victims of sacrifice were enemies of the tribe or those within who did not obey laws…

  • mrbradwii

    Wow, an essay that nearly changed my mind, and from SJ, no less. Very rare.”Good enough for Jesus”… This caused me to pause a good long time. For without capital punishment, there would be no resurrection myth, no justification for faith in a godman. No fervent holy rollers, no Mormons, no Catholics, no xXx-inanity. Western world free of an irrational, sometimes civilizing, oftentimes brutalizing force. No neon crosses lighting to way to church. What would we be like?But then again, muslims have no godman dogma, yet they still have ardent brainwashed followers, so perhaps it would’ve made no difference if the christ could not have been executed and risen again. I agree with the coarsening argument to a large extent.However, I make the distinction between two types of cases: the dragging death of a black man in Jasper Texas and mass murderers. Executing the draggers is a case of the punishment fitting the crime. Executing mass murderers is crime prevention. For some McVeigh was a martyr, and to those, there is no rational response. But fear of an irrational response is no reason to defer justice or prevent him directly interacting with any other human being again forever.So I’ll take the compromise, allow the state to execute the heinous few in order that I don’t have to do it myself. Because, believe me, I would not use lethal injection.

  • lacourt

    Here’s a novel idea.

  • FarnazMansouri

    Ed Koch, a death penalty advocate, sez that calling the death penalty murder is analogous to calling imprisonment kidnapping.

  • takeyourtime

    As long as “Eye For An Eye, Tooth For A Tooth” is believable by a Religious person or none, then it does not matter if God exists or does not exist. And YES, better Him or Her than me.

  • nobody18

    I’ve always felt that the families of the victims should have a say in the punishment, often times they prefer a life sentence. After all, the victims families are getting their own life sentence, let them decide. However, since the justice system makes mistakes (as we see almost weekly) the only fullproof or as near as way of not putting to death an innocent man would be requiring a DNA link to the crime. But again you have the problem of crooked cops, prosecutors, etc… and rather than the old “the jury convicted them, I didn’t” comeback, have major repercusions for any wrongdoing on the prosecutions side. If a loved one of mine was murdered, I know I would want the killer to suffer as much as possible. Call it revenge, whatever- Unless you’re the one in the situation who knows how you’d feel…

  • takeyourtime

    NOBODY18Well said. But in today’s dire Economic times (not Biblical times; its almost 2012) there are certain WHOOLIGAN’s in our Public sector and their ‘Constituents’ in the Private sector that need to be escorted, Blind Folded (If Wish, allow afew lasting puffs off a Cancerous causing Cigerette or allow to read a certain verse, script, Pasik, Sura, Stanza OR read part off the US Constitution and an opportunity to speak 3 minutes) and then lined-up against a wall and Shot by our, not their, STATE-Government Militia’s! Electric chairing them is O.K but more expensive (Unless its from Solor Panels).. Hanging them is O.K.. Death by Injection is O.K.. But If We only had Crystal-Ball’s, then Abortion (before 1 can kill 1 unjustifiably or many) is O.K. Example: Ayatollah’s, Sadam Hussains, Hitler, Stalin et al.— REVELATION: Even though there are 2.2 Million People in our Jail/Prison System here today, There was around 17,000 Murders (TERRORist acts) Last Year alone in U.S.A./America! And 40% died by the “Gun.” And There was 8,000 Drug Over Doses (Prescription medicine, Test Drugs, Heroin, Coke ets..) here. And self inflicting Suicides, by any age group being around 6,000 per year. Not To Mention 3,000 Car Accident deaths or any Accident. (this is just my-estimate). So, Does The “TERRORIST” scare, like Al Qaeda of 911, have a real influence or make such a dent or contribute to the current overall U.S. annual Death Rate? NO! So Everywhere you look, “PREVENTION” or “SAFETY” and “SELF-CONTROL” is Key to saving lives (one self or others). Then and now; Nut Cases and IDIOTology, from Local or Abroad, is what we always will be up against. “TERRORists” (Bin Laden etc, Tim McVeigh…) is a Abrahamic Religion thing. And if 3,000 Americans died, for nothing, on 911 because of that Religion via the hands of Suicidal/Kamakazee Finatic/Fundamental aeroplane-hijacking Islamic Abrahamics; Then …

  • dragondancer1814

    I’m definitely for the death penalty in some cases. Why should murderers, child molesters, rapists, cop killers, and scum like that get a cot, three hots, and free medical care for life at taxpayer expense while decent, hardworking, LAW-ABIDING citizens can barely afford the bare necessities of life (rent/mortgage, food, clothes, utilities), and can’t even afford health coverage after all that is paid for? And as far as the rapists and child molesters/killers are concerned, I got a better idea than the lethal injection: Stick ’em in G-Pop and let the other yardbirds have at ’em! It’ll still be the death penalty, but it’ll be a far more fitting one because they’ll be getting the same kind of torture and death they gave their victims! Fair’s fair!

  • arminius0131

    dragondancer1814,As to your 1st paragraph, it does cost more to put a criminal to death than to put him in prison for life. Even Fox ‘News’ agrees with this.As to your 2nd paragraph, I agree completely.Actually, I stated both these in an early post on this thread.

  • FarnazMansouri

    Hi Norrie,I was literally about to put out a call for you!Long time! Hope you and family and cats are well!Farnaz

  • arminius0131

    JJ is back. Lock and load!

  • FarnazMansouri

    Hi ONOFRIO and all,Here is a web site that is collecting stories and videos from Australians, beginning 1945. The stories will form the basis of a broadcast. (WHy can’t one of our US networks do something like this?)This is the website for “The Making of Modern Australia” — where people from all over Australia can tell and share their own stories of living in Australia since 1945. The creators of the documentary TV series, “The Making of Modern Australia” will read the stories and may use some of them in the series screening on ABC TV in 2010.The website is a lasting record of what’s made our country what it is today — the history of Australia told by the people who lived it — you.

  • aussiebarry

    Even though an atheist, I do believe in the philosophy”He who is without sin, cast the first stone”, None of us know , given certain circumstances, what horrors we are capable of. I find the American system of locking people up for life rather barbaric as well, nobody should be left without hope.In my opinion no one is as bad as the worse thing they do.

  • daniel12

    Capital punishmentSome of us can only dream of such a thingAnd with photographs and knowledge of placeAnd all we did is love, but alas, with perhaps too muchAll that awaits is death and the pretense of philosophy seen but I had to go look to see only, as I told myself, how sheAnd she is doing fine without me as all and everything will always be which means only the dream of capital punishment awaitsYes, capital punishment awaits and one need not await itIt can come by one’s own hand. Then maybe be free of

  • YEAL9

    For their Crimes Against Humanity:

  • YEAL9

    “Otto Adolf Eichmann[1] (March 19, 1906 – May 31, 1962[2]), sometimes referred to as “the architect of the Holocaust”, was a German Nazi and SS-Obersturmbannführer (equivalent to Lieutenant Colonel). Because of his organizational talents and ideological reliability, he was charged by Obergruppenführer (General) Reinhard Heydrich with the task of facilitating and managing the logistics of mass deportation of Jews to ghettos and extermination camps in German-occupied Eastern Europe.After the war, he fled to Argentina using a fraudulently obtained laissez-passer issued by the International Red Cross[3][4] and lived there under a false identity working for Mercedes-Benz until 1960. He was captured by Israeli Mossad operatives in Argentina and tried in an Israeli court on 15 criminal charges, including crimes against humanity and war crimes. He was convicted and executed by hanging in 1962, and is the only person to have been executed in Israel on conviction by a civilian court.”See also the list of 50 enemies of Israel assassinated by the Mossad death penalty enactors as posted at

  • usapdx

    Thoes with a LIFE sentence must be out sourced to the lowest bidder from any prison other than one by a total American tax payer funds. We not only cannot afford LIFERS but do not want are prisons corrupted by the LIFERS. Did you non praticing atheist get that?