Thursday, April 26, 2012

Bradley Manning and "aiding the enemy"

According to news reports, a military "judge" refused to dismiss the most serious charge against Pfc. Bradley Manning, that of "aiding the enemy" by releasing confidential government documents to Wikileaks.
Most serious charge in WikiLeaks case is retained - CBS News: "FORT MEADE, Md. — A military judge refused on Thursday to dismiss the most serious charge against an Army private accused in the biggest leak of government secrets in U.S. history.
Col. Denise Lind rejected a defense motion to dismiss the charge of "aiding the enemy" during a pretrial hearing for Pfc. Bradley Manning. The charge carries a maximum penalty of life in prison. Manning also faces 21 other counts."
Manning, if he's indeed the source of the Wikileaks documents, deserves the Medal of Freedom instead of this treatment. It's nothing but the Obama administration's relentless campaign to silence whistle-blowers and silence dissent.

Indeed, Obama's values are so inimical to the American values he purports to uphold that he pronounced Manning guilty without even the benefit of a fair trial. But like the cruel and unusual circumstances of his confinement thus far, there's no chance that Manning will receive anything close to that "due process" the constitution mandates -- as it has joined the rest of the pantheon of freedom as a quaint and outdated relic of another time.

As for the particulars of the "aiding the enemy" charge, it shouldn't be left to politicians to define the enemy, much less what constitutes giving them aid, since the US is not engaged in a war as traditionally defined, nor is the enemy one that history or common sense would recognize.

The crime of the Wikileaks' source is to have embarrassed the political leadership and the powers behind the throne in the US. The diplomatic chit-chat at the center of these supposedly explosive exposes is not anything that a rival such as the Chinese or the Russians -- to say nothing of "friends" such as the Israelis -- would not have possessed already. These communications were thinly guarded and kept out of the public eye primarily to insulate the US public from the true nature of its leaders and the policies that the government pursues.

The professionals in the media do their part to obfuscate and conceal the true nature of US actions across the globe. The truth about wars of aggression and flouting of international law is kept off the front pages and the evening news in favor of bland palliatives and infotainment distractions.

It's only when the unvarnished truth is provided, in the miscreants' own words, that all hell breaks loose. In this case, the enemy who the disclosures of this material has aided is the American public -- which in our purported system of government holds the ultimate say-so over the actions of the government which allegedly represents the interests of the people.

That this is not the case, and that the system has completely and utterly broken down, is the true scandal of the treatment and coming trial of Manning -- one brave man whose conscience would not allow him to remain silent in the face of overwhelming evidence of malfeasance by US officials.

That he is portrayed in the press as an accessory to the evildoers and enemy of the state should tell us all we need to know about the nature of the government that has asserted its supremacy over the will of the people and relegated citizens to the role of useful idiots in a larger game of global political intrigue.

War crimes tribunals, or show trials?

Why are the US media so enthralled with the prosecution and conviction of low-level scum for war crimes, playing it up like it's the biggest breakthrough in international relations since Julius Caesar?
Former Liberian President Charles Taylor found guilty of war crimes in Sierra Leone - CBS News: "(AP) LEIDSCHENDAM, Netherlands - In a historic ruling, an international court convicted former Liberian President Charles Taylor on Thursday of aiding and abetting war crimes and crimes against humanity for supporting notoriously brutal rebels in neighboring Sierra Leone in return for blood diamonds.
Taylor is the first head of state convicted by an international court since the post-World War II Nuremberg military tribunal."
Now that Dick Cheney has a new heart, hopefully our diligent and incorruptible international institutions will get on the ball and initiate war-crimes proceedings against the US politicians who waged wars of aggression against Afghanistan and Iraq -- as Nuremberg-worthy litany of crimes if ever there was one.

But, of course, the current world power will never be held to the same standard to which it -- through its proxies -- holds others. Thus, you will not see Barack Obama and his cronies in France and the UK in the dock for their pernicious machinations in Libya, nor will the Israelis ever pay for their crimes in Palestine.

At least, not in our lifetimes.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Experts: Photos of U.S. soldiers handling corpses very bad for war

Talk about missing the point entirely, what do these supposed experts know about anything?
Experts: Photos of U.S. soldiers handling corpses very bad for war - "(CNN) -- On Wednesday, the Los Angeles Times published photos of U.S. soldiers posing with what the paper said were bodies of insurgents in Afghanistan.
The images are just the latest in a string of scandals that some say could damage U.S. efforts in the war, which is in its 11th year."
It isn't the scandals involving the abuse of corpses that is very bad. Perhaps from a PR perspective it's a missed opportunity for the red, white and blue to get its message out.

From a human, humane perspective, the entire enterprise the US finds itself engaged in in the energy heartlands of the planet -- the naked opportunism of imperial conquest -- is despicable and deplorable and degenerate. The US is killing dark-skinned people by the hundreds of thousands in the name of corporate profits, it this rates nary a raised eyebrow from the self-appointed experts in the "intelligence" community and the paid-for corporate media.

US troops abuse the corpses of their adversaries in these wars of choice because they're amoral degenerates who make war as a way to cope with the financial demands of the USA lifestyle. Soldiers of fortune doesn't quite fit for these mercenaries of necessity, but the fact of their financial distress doesn't dignify their sordid mission.

With this kind of press coverage, of course, we'll never put right the sickness that is on display -- both in the far-off battlefields of the "war on terror" and the streets of the US -- where these empathy-depleted and broken-minded veterans will eventually bring their terror back to the callous streets of the homeland.

It will be then that we will face the stark reality of the horrors that we've created and unleashed on the world. Otherwise, we'll continue to borrow and spend in a vicious circle of conspicuous self-destruction.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Why does Iran play to the West's pretenses?

The US and Israel have created a pretext for war with Iran based on the premise that the Persians are enriching uranium to weapon-grade purity, while international inspectors and the US' own intelligence agencies agree that no diversion for weapons is taking place.

Still, the daily diet of bullshit from the propaganda organs of the US contains morsels of tantalizing misinformation such as the following:
The Associated Press: Iran says nuclear dispute can be solved 'quickly': "TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran is ready to resolve all of its nuclear disputes "quickly and easily" in a second round of talks with world powers planned for next month in Baghdad, the country's foreign minister said Monday.
Ali Akbar Salehi was quoted by the semiofficial ISNA news agency as saying that Iran might be more flexible if it could be guaranteed an external supply of enriched uranium — an apparent endorsement of a U.S. compromise proposal.
Iran's homegrown enrichment program is one of its main points of contention with the West."
One must wonder how much this concession really means -- and indeed, whether what's presented here holds any resemblance to what the Iranians intend -- much less what the US and Israel will accept.

There is, to put it plainly, no illicit activity to be curtailed in the first place, so that the accusations against the Iranian regime will continue without letup, until the intended conflict is eventually precipitated.

There is no reason whatever to assume that anything short of regime change, as in Iran, will prove satisfactory to the hegemonic powers whose sole diplomatic tactic is warfare.

Friday, April 13, 2012

What do you do to excess?

I haven't gone anywhere; I just haven't been here...

Now, however, I'm going to make an attempt to return to my accustomed rants via Blogger, in an effort to unclog the mental recesses.

One disappears and reappears for reasons in conflict with one another. I blogged to create presence; I became absent to create another fascination from which to escape.

Which brings us to today's starting point, this dispatch from the website where one of their correspondents reveals his four reasons for absenting himself from Facebook. He begins his verbal sojourn thus:
The Top Four Reasons To Quit Facebook - Technorati Social Media: "“Has Facebook lost its edge?"
Over the past several months that thought pervaded my mind and I found myself seriously pondering that question.
For nearly eight years I counted myself among the 845 million of Facebook’s active users. During that time I wrote extensively on various aspects of the social network— everything from comical observations of its users to the seemingly endless wave of privacy issues that ultimately inspired my graduate research. When called for, I defended Zuckerberg, who many consider a close personal friend of Satan."
I fail to understand the hullabaloo about Facebook. It has always seemed to be what this author only belatedly discovered: It's a colossal waste of time, and much ado about not much.

After all, how much data can we assimilate on the doings of liked and friended people we hardly know -- to say nothing of know well? Such wallowing in minutiae is the epitome of a soul-sucking, personality-depleting vortex. One's life becomes subsumed by the culture of communal connection, with individuality the first casualty.

One should not quit Facebook. The imperative is that one should never join in the first place! It is the embodiment of everything that's broken and defective about the contemporary cultural life in the USA, a cheap imitation of genuine social interaction and intimate connection.

As bad as the telephone, which morphed into the omnipresent cellphone, is, the Facebook, social media phenomenon -- and actually, sad to say, the entire Internet -- has taken the pathology of fake interaction to a whole new level.

We cannot exist as autonomous beings without being entwined in these gigantic cybernetic "communities" of like-mined automatons, that draw their reason for being from the cheap imitation of real life that emits from our smartphone and tablet screens.

It's a bewildering and rather depressing world out there, in 21st Century America, where we've lost our privacy and our rights to individuality outside the hive, and are compelled to join these networks that exist for no other reason than to commodify the intimate relations between people.

Oh, well. It could be worse. You could decide to become a photographer...