This past year has not been a good one for the 99%, and the new year is likely to be even worse. This column deals with the outlook for liberty. The next will deal with the economic outlook.
Washington rounds up assorted foreign politicians,
whose countries were afflicted with civil wars, and sends them off to be tried
as war criminals, while its own war crimes continue to mount. However, if a
person exposes Washington's war crimes, that person is held without charges in
conditions that approximate torture.
Bradley Manning is the case in point. Manning, a US
soldier, is alleged to be the person who released to WikiLeaks the "Collateral
Murder" video, which, in the words of Marjorie Cohn, "depicts U.S. forces in an
Apache helicopter killing 12 unarmed civilians, including two Reuters
journalists. People trying to rescue the wounded were also fired upon and
One of the Good Samaritans was a father with two
small children. The video reveals the delight that US military personnel
experienced in blowing them away from the distant skies. When it became clear
that the Warriors Bringing The People Democracy had blown away two small
children, instead of remorse we hear an executioner's voice saying: "that's
what he gets for bringing children into a war zone."
The quote is from memory, but it is accurate
enough. When I first saw this video, I was astonished at the brazen war crime.
It is completely obvious that the dozen or so murdered people were simply people
walking along a street, threatening no one, unarmed, doing nothing out of the
ordinary. It was not a war zone. The horror is that the US soldiers were
playing video games with live people. You can tell from their commentary that
they were having fun by killing these unsuspecting people walking along the
street. They enjoyed killing the father who stopped to help; enjoyed shooting up his
vehicle with the two small children inside.
This was not an accident of a drone, fed with bad
information, blowing up a school full of children, or a hospital, or a farmer's
family. This was American soldiers having fun with high tech toys killing
anyone that they could pretend might be an enemy.
When I saw this, I realized that America was lost.
Evil had prevailed.
I was about to write that nothing has been done
about the crime. But something was done about it. An American soldier who
recognized the horrific war crime knew that the US military knew about it and
had done nothing about it. He also knew that, as a US soldier, he was
required to report war crimes. But to whom? War crimes dismissed as
"collateral damage" are the greatest part of Washington's 21st century wars.
A soldier with a moral conscience gave the video to
WikiLeaks. We don't know who the soldier is. Washington alleges that the
soldier is Bradley Manning, but Washington lies every time it opens its mouth. So we will never know.
All we know is that retribution did not fall on the
perpetrators of the war crime. It fell upon the two accused of revealing
it -- Bradley Manning and Julian Assange.
Manning was held almost two years without charges
being presented to a court. In December's pre-trial hearings all Washington
could come up with was concocted accusations. No evidence whatsoever. The prosecutor, a Captain Fein, told the court, if that is what it is, that Manning had been "trained and trusted to use multiple intelligence systems, and he used that training to defy that trust. He abused our trust."
In other words, Manning gave the world the truth of
a war crime that was being covered up, and Washington and the Pentagon regard a truth teller doing his duty under the US military code as an "abuser of trust."
In the 1970 My Lai Courts-Martial of Captain Ernest L. Medina, the Prosecution Brief states
"A combat commander has a duty, both as an
individual and as a commander, to insure that humane treatment is accorded to
noncombatants and surrendering combatants. Article 3 of the Geneva Convention
relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War specifically prohibits violence to
life and person, particularly murder, mutilation, cruel treatment, and torture.
Also prohibited are the taking of hostages, outrages against personal dignity
and summary judgment and sentence. It demands that the wounded and sick be cared
for. These same provisions are found in the Geneva Convention Relative to the
Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War. While these requirements for
humanitarian treatment are placed upon each individual involved with the
protected persons, it is especially incumbent upon the commanding officer to insure that proper treatment is given.
"Additionally, all military personnel, regardless of
rank or position, have the responsibility of reporting any incident or act
thought to be a war crime to his commanding officer as soon as practicable after
gaining such knowledge. Commanders receiving such reports must also make such
facts known to the Staff Judge Advocate. It is quite clear that war crimes are
not condoned and that every individual has the responsibility to refrain from,
prevent and report such unwarranted conduct. While this individual
responsibility is likewise placed upon the commander, he has the additional duty
to insure that war crimes committed by his troops are promptly and adequately
At the National Press Club on February 17, 2006, General Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that "It is the absolute responsibility of everybody in uniform to disobey an order that is either illegal or immoral." General Pace said that the military is prohibited from committing crimes against humanity and that such orders and events must be
However, when Manning followed the military code, his compliance with law was turned into a crime. Captain Fein goes on to tell the "court" [a real court would throw out the bogus charges, but Amerika no longer has real courts] that "ultimately, he aided the enemies of the United States by indirectly giving them intelligence through WikiLeaks."
In other words, the "crime" is an unintended consequence of doing one's duty -- like the "collateral damage" of civilian casualties when drones, bombs, helicopter gunships, and trigger-happy troops kill women, children, aid workers, and village elders. Why is Washington only punishing Manning for the collateral damage attributed to him?
Captain Fein could not have put it any clearer. If you tell the truth and reveal Washington's war crimes, you have aided the enemy. Captain Fein's simple sentence has at one stroke abolished all whistleblower protections written into US statutory law and the First Amendment, and confined anyone with a moral conscience and sense of decency to indefinite detention and torture.
The illegal detention and treatment of Manning had a
purpose, according to a number of informed people. Naomi Spencer, for example, writes
that Manning's long detention and delayed prosecution is designed to
coerce Manning into implicating WikiLeaks in order that the US can extradite Julian Assange and either prosecute him as a terrorist or lock him away indefinitely in a military prison without any recourse to the courts, due process or the law.
Assange's case is mysterious. Assange sought refuge in Sweden, where he was seduced by two women. Both admit that they had sexual intercourse with him voluntarily, but afterwards they have come forth with claims that as they were sleeping with him in the bed, he again had sexual intercourse with them, and that they had not approved this second helping and that he was asked
to use a condom but did not.
The Swedish prosecutorial office, after
investigating the charges, dismissed them. But, strangely, another Swedish
prosecutor, a woman suspected of connections to Washington, resurrected the
charges and is seeking to extradite Assange to Sweden from the UK for
The legal question is whether a prosecutor can seek
extradition for investigative purposes. The UK Supreme Court thinks that this is
a valid question, and has agreed to hear the case. Normally, extradition
requests come from courts and are issued for persons formally charged with a
crime. Sweden has not charged Assange with a crime.
The real question is whether the Swedish prosecutor
is acting on behalf of Washington. Many who follow the case believe that Washington is
behind the prosecutor's re-opening of the case, and if Sweden gets hold of
Assange Sweden will send him to Washington to be put in indefinite detention and
tortured until he says what Washington wants him to say -- that he is an Al Qaeda
This is the way that Washington intends to absolve
itself of its war crimes revealed, allegedly, by Manning and
Meanwhile, Washington in a brazen display of
hypocrisy accuses other countries of human rights abuses, while Congress has
passed and President Obama has signed an indefinite detention and torture bill
that US Representative Ron Paul says will accelerate America's "slip into
tyranny" and "descent into totalitarianism."
In signing the Bill of Tyranny, President Obama
indicated that he thought that the tyranny established by the bill did not go
far enough. He announced that he was signing the bill with signing statements
that reserved his right, regardless of any law, to send American citizens,
deprived of due process and constitutional protection, abroad to be
This is the US government that claims to be a
government of "freedom and democracy" and to be bringing "freedom and democracy"
to others with bombs and invasions.
The past year gave us other ominous tyrannical
developments. President Obama announced that he had a list of Americans whom he
intended to assassinate without due process of law, and Homeland Security,
itself an Orwellian name, announced that it had shifted its attention from
terrorists to "domestic extremists." The latter are undefined and consist of
whomever Homeland Security so designates.
None of this was done behind closed doors. The
murder of the US Constitution was a public crime witnessed by all. But like
Kitty Genovese, who was stabbed to death in New York in 1964 in front of
onlookers who failed to come to her aid, the media, Congress, bar associations,
law schools, and the American public failed to come to the defense of the
In my lifetime the collapse in respect for, and
authority of, the Constitution has been an horrific event. Compare the ho-hum
response to the Obama regime's police state announcements with the public anger
at President Richard Nixon over his enemies list. Try to imagine President Ronald Reagan announcing
that he had a list of Americans marked for assassination without impeachment
proceedings beginning forthwith.
Local and state police forces have been militarized
not only in their equipment and armament but also in their attitude toward the
public. Despite the absence of domestic terror attacks, Homeland Security
conducts warrantless searches of cars and trucks on highways and of passengers
using public transportation. A uniformed federal service is being trained to
systematically violate the constitutional rights of citizens, and citizens are
being trained to accept these violations as normal. The young have no memory of
being able to board public transportation or use public roadways without
intrusive searches or to gather in protest without being brutalized by the
police. Liberty is being moved into the realm of myth and legend.
In such a system as is being constructed in public
in front of our eyes, there is no freedom, no democracy, and no liberty. What
stands before us is naked tyranny.
While America degenerates into a total police state,
politicians constantly invoke "our values." What are these values? Indefinite
imprisonment without conviction in a court. Torture. Warrantless searches and
home invasions. An epidemic of police brutality. Curtailment of free speech and
peaceful assembly rights. Unprovoked aggression called "preemptive war."
Interference in the elections and internal affairs of other countries. Economic
sanctions imposed on foreign populations whose leaders are not in Washington's
If the American police state were merely an
unintended consequence of a real war against terror, it could be dismantled when
the war was over. However, the evidence is that the police state is an intended
consequence. The PATRIOT Act is a voluminous and clever attack on the
Constitution. It is not possible that it could have been written in the short
time between 9/11 and its introduction in Congress. It was waiting on the
The dismantling of constitutionally protected civil
liberties is purposeful, as is the accumulation of arbitrary and unaccountable
powers in the executive branch of government. As there have been no terrorist
events within the US in over a decade except for those known to have been
organized by the FBI, there is no terrorist threat that justifies the
establishment of a political regime of unaccountable power. It is being done on
purpose under false pretenses, which means that there is an undeclared agenda.
The threat that Americans face resides in Washington, D.C.
Of the presidential candidates, only Ron Paul
addresses the Constitution's demise.Yet, the electorate is concerned with
matters unimportant by comparison. Propagandized 24/7 by the Ministry of Truth,
Americans are not sufficiently aware of their plight to elect Ron Paul
It might be too late for even a President Ron Paul
to turn things around. A president has no power unless his government supports
him. What prospect would President Ron Paul have of getting his appointees
confirmed by the Senate? The military/security complex is not going to vacate
power. Powerful monied interests would block his appointments. If he persisted
in being a problem for the Establishment, he would be victimized by a scandal
and fail to be reelected if not forced to resign.
Remember what the Washington Establishment did to
President Carter. His budget director and chief of staff were framed, thus
depriving Carter of the powers of his office. Even Ronald Reagan had to give away more than half
of his government, including the White House chief-of-staff and vice presidency,
to the Establishment. President Reagan told me that he wanted to end
stagflation in order that he could end the cold war, but that he could not sign
a tax bill if I could not get one out of his administration that he could send
I do not know, but I suspect that turning things
around internally through the political system is not in the cards. Our chance
to resurrect liberty might come from Washington's hubris. Imperial ambitions
and drive for power can produce unmanageable upheavals and a loss of allies.
Overreach abroad with a demoralized, unemployed and downtrodden population at
home are not the ingredients of success.
How much longer will the Russian government permit
NGOs funded by the US Endowment for Democracy to interfere in its elections and
to organize political protests? How much longer will China confuse its strategic
interests with the American consumer market? How much longer will Japan,
Canada, Australia, Britain, Germany, Italy, Turkey, Egypt, and the Middle East
oil states remain US puppets? How much longer can the dollar retain the reserve
currency role when the Federal Reserve is monetizing vast quantities of
How much longer can a "superpower" survive when it
is incapable of producing political leadership?
America's salvation will come when Washington
suffers defeat of its hegemonic ambitions.
Many readers, especially those who watch Fox "News"
and CNN and read the New York Times, might see hyperbole in my outlook for
2012. Surely, many believe, the draconian measures put in place will only be
applied to terrorists. But how would we know? Indefinite detention and torture
require no evidence to be presented. The American public has no way of knowing
whether tortured detainees are terrorists or political opponents. The decision
to detain and torture is an unaccountable decision. It relies on nothing but the
subjective arbitrary decision of someone in the executive branch. Why are
Americans prepared to take the word of a government that told them intentionally
the lie that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and was a threat to
Like cancer, tyranny metastasizes. Aleksandr
Solzhenitsyn, the Soviet Union's most famous writer, was a twice-decorated World
War II Red Army commander. He made mild critical comments about Stalin's conduct
of the war in a private letter to a friend, and for this he was sentenced, not
by a court, but in absentia by the NKVD, the secret police, to eight years in
the Gulag Archipelago for "anti-Soviet propaganda." Not even Stalin had
indefinite detention. The closest the Soviets came to this medieval practice
resurrected by the Bush and Obama regimes was internal exile in distant parts of
the Soviet Union.
During much of the Soviet era, even art, literature and music were scrutinized for signs of "anti-Soviet propaganda." America's Dixie Chicks suffered a similar, but more frightening, fate. Bush did not need
the NKVD. The American public did the job for the secret police. Wikipedia
"During a London concert 10 days before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, lead vocalist
Maines said "we don't want this war, this violence, and we're ashamed that the President of the United States (George W. Bush) is from Texas.' The statement offended many Americans, who thought it rude and unpatriotic, and the ensuing controversy cost the band half of their concert audience attendance in
the United States. The incident negatively affected their career and led to accusations of the three women being "un-American," as well as hate mail, death threats, and the public
destruction of their albums in protest."
In Nazi Germany, the mildest criticism could bring a
midnight knock at the door.
People with power use it. And power attracts the worst kind of persons. As Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo prove, democracies are not
immune to the evil use of power. Indeed, identical inhumane treatment
prisoners goes on inside the US prison system for ordinary criminals. A December 30, 2011, search on Yahoo for police brutality produced 20 million
results. Over-fed goon cop thugs taser little children and
people in wheel chairs. They body slam elderly grandmothers. The police are a
horror. They represent a greater threat to citizens than do
Preventative war, indefinite imprisonment,
rendition, torture of people alleged to be "suspects" (an undefined category),
and assassination are all draconian punishments that require no evidence.
Preventative war is an Orwellian concept. How do you prevent a war by initiating
a war? How do we know that a country that did not attack us was going to attack
us in the future? Preventative war is like Jeremy Bentham's concept of
preventing crime by locking up those thought by the upper crust to be
predisposed to criminal activity before they commit a crime. Punishment without
crime is now the American Way.
The concepts that the Bush/Obama regimes have
institutionalized are totally foreign to the Anglo-American concepts of law and
liberty. In one decade the US has been transformed from a free society into a
police state. The American population, to the extent it is aware of what has
occurred, has simply accepted the revolution from the top.
Ron Paul is the only American seeking the presidency
who opposes the tyranny that has been institutionalized, and he is not leading
in the polls.
This tells us all we need to know about the value
Americans place on liberty. Americans seem to welcome the era of tyranny into
which they are now entering.
This article cross-posted from the Paul Craig Roberts website.