Posts Tagged ‘state murder’

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Capt. America v. the New World Order: The good, the bad and the ugly sides of Captain America, The Winter Soldier.

It’s big. It’s dumb. Its explosions are one louder. It feels a bit like The Avengers, which is not such a bad thing. The thing about Cap is that he’s an overgrown, science-enhanced Boy Scout. He always wants to do the right thing, no matter the cost. He’s got an innocence that’s sort of dischordant considering all the violence.

The Good

The Winter Soldier film is an allegory about the shadow government, the US deep state, the bowels of intelligence where Nazis were imported after WW2 to go to work supposedly in the service of America and its values. What’s good about this is that it’s true. It happened. Operation Paperclip gets a mention, although not much detail makes it into the final cut of these things.

In the Marvel World we have S.H.I.E.L.D. rather than the intelligence establishment, those alphabet soup agencies. It’s all a bit more super than that.

But the traitors are in our midst. They’re entrenched in power, inside the deep state. They are ruthless Nazis wearing our uniforms, flying our drones, inciting wars in our name. This is the main metaphor that provides Captain America with a foundation to its story. Our real values are not the values of those people, including those real people who appear on our very real televisions. The metaphor works, even if the film heads off the rails into silliness.

Spoilers

The Winter Soldier character himself, the assassin, is an interesting twist. He’s shooting Russian-made weapons, but he’s no Russian. He’s one of our own, actually Captain America’s boyhood pal, remade, reforged into the evil version of American power projection. He’s the covert assassin beyond the law, unstoppable and responsible for a slew of international crimes. This ties into the theme of the deep state, the Nazi state within the intelligence community that many people would recognize as a reality.

The Bad

Well, physics is of no concern here. Fall off a skyscraper. Whatever. At that point, it doesn’t matter what happens anymore. Nothing is going to alter the trajectory the screenwriters and producers have preordained, because physics is out the window. It sucks the tension and suspense right out of the thing.

The ending, reconciling with Winter Soldier, also fell flat. Cap just gives up, and it’s a blah anti-climax that felt cheap.

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He had a chance to go further with Black Widow as well, but nothing materialized. We had a kiss, a tactical kiss, and nothing more. It was broken wide open to explore Black Widow and Cap more, but the need to blow some more shit up pressured the thing.

The Ugly

Cap, the boy scout, and yet he’s a party to torturing a suspect. He lets Black Widow do it — gutting my view of her. And yet, it’s played for a laugh. Torture is a laughing matter in a movie about a spandex clad guy in red white and blue. Does anyone on the project have any sense? He’s supposed to be the good guy, but more than the good guy, the ultimate expression of lost American values. The torture question is no joke. It’s a felony war crime. Are these people taking their cues from principle, law and American history or from whatever sludge is selling on the other networks?

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The actual plot was a bit of an ugly pretzel, too. Not sure everything added up.

In the end, it’s worth about 3.5 stars for the positive messages concerning deep state covert abominations. We don’t tolerate Nazis and policies of murder. I just wish it would have been a bit more grown up about it.

3.5/5

 

 

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Chelsea Manning acceptance statement of Sam Adams Award for Integrity inIntelligence

 

In a recent Freedom of Information Act case(2) — a seemingly Orwellian “newspeak” name for a statute that actually exempts categories of documents from release to the public — a federal district court judge ruled against the New York Times and the American Civil Liberties Union. The Times and the ACLU argued that documents regarding the practice of “targeted killing” of American citizens, such as the radical Sunni cleric Anwar Nasser al-Aulaqi were in the public’s interest and were being withheld improperly.

The government first refused to acknowledge the existence of the documents, but later argued that their release could harm national security and were therefore exempt from disclosure. The court, however, felt constrained by the law and “conclud[ed] that the Government [had] not violated the FOIA by refusing to turn over the documents sought in the FOIA requests, and [could not] be compelled . . . to explain in detail the reasons why [the Government’s] actions do not violate the Constitution and laws of the United States.”

However, the judge also wrote candidly about her frustration with her sense that the request “implicate[d] serious issues about the limits on the power of the Executive Branch under the Constitution and laws of the United States,” and that the Presidential “Administration ha[d] engaged in public discussion of the legality of targeted killing, even of [American] citizens, but in cryptic and imprecise ways.” In other words, it wasn’t that she didn’t think that the public didn’t have a right to know — it was that she didn’t feel that she had the “legal” authority to compel disclosure.

This case, like too many others, presents a critical problem that can also be seen in several recent cases, including my court-martial. For instance, I was accused by the Executive branch, and particularly the Department of Defense, of aiding the enemy — a treasonable offense covered under Article III of the Constitution.

Granted, I received due process. I received charges, was arraigned before a military judge for trial, and eventually acquitted. But, the al-Aulaqi case raises a fundamental question: did the American government, and particularly the same President and Department, have the power to unilaterally determine my guilt of such an offense, and execute me at the will of the pilot of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle?

Until documents held by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel were released after significant political pressure in mid-2013, I could not tell you. And, very likely, I do not believe I could speak intelligently of the Administration’s policy on “targeted killing” today either.

There is a problem with this level of secrecy, obfuscation, and classification or protective marking, in that they supposedly protect citizens of their nation; yet, it also breeds a unilateralism that the founders feared, and deliberately tried to prevent when drafting the American Constitution. Now, we have a “disposition matrix,” classified military commissions, and foreign intelligence and surveillance courts — modern Star Chamber equivalents.

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Only 5 members of the US House of Representatives showed up to hear testimony from America’s victims of drone bombings in Pakistan.

War Crimes and the US Congress: Drone Victims Tell Empty US House Their Story; Is America Listening?

The M.O. of a soulless, belligerent, immoral empire.

While you were tapping on your cell phone about nothing…

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[PFB welcomes author Joseph Green to the blog.]

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A Personal Journey into the JFK Murder: Joseph McBride’s Into The Nightmare

It has been nearly fifty years since the assassination of John F. Kennedy became the baptismal event for the sickness that burnt the American dream like a draft card. Vietnam followed, Malcolm fell, then Martin, and Bobby, the left got old and turned right, and somewhere along the line many lost the taste for fighting back. Meanwhile, the media have been stacking skeletons ever since, but that closet grows ever more full, stale, and rotten. Still, the pretense continues: In our age, most mainstream journalism has become a kind of exercise in organized non sequiturs, like artless Beckett, farce without wit.

The premise is objectivity, we are told. Fair and balanced, we are told. Modern investigative reporting, by the available evidence of television and print media, often seems to regard objectivity as reporting all issues as if they have two sides — no more and no less, and to draw no conclusions regardless of how inane one side’s claims may be. This seems frequently to be true even in trivial matters, but it gets worse the more controversial the issue. Network news seems to take its cues from intelligent design activists who just want schools to Teach the Controversy.

This context makes Joseph McBride’s new book, Into The Nightmare: My Search for the Killers of President John F. Kennedy and Officer J. D. Tippit, a jagged reminder of old-school reportage. Going against the grain, he asks difficult questions and tries hard to answer them. And even if every question cannot be answered satisfactorily, much compelling information surfaces throughout.

One of the many unusual things about this book is that McBride is, on the surface, a resolutely mainstream figure. A longtime journalist with numerous publications to his credit, including The New York Review of Books, Cineaste, The Los Angeles Times, Sight & Sound, and The Nation magazine, Into My Nightmare is his 17th book. Included in his previous works are biographies of Steven Spielberg and Frank Capra, as well as a soon-to-be-reissued long-form interview with Howard Hawks, Hawks on Hawks. However, he been leading a double life. In the background to his work in film and as a college professor, he has literally spent a lifetime researching this case, having worked for the Kennedy campaign in 1960 at the age of 12. The shock of the president’s murder three years later drove him to question the initial reported facts of the case and grow to understand the terrible reality of our times. Hence the nightmare — deeply personal for the author, but deeply relatable for anyone interested in truth.

McBride is already known to the JFK research community as, among other things, the man who discovered the Hoover memo, which has been written about and referenced many times over the years, particularly in Gaeton Fonzi’s superb The Last Investigation. Russ Baker also made the Hoover memo a central part of his investigation into the Bush family, Family of Secrets. The Hoover memo is, of course, the peculiar document dated November 22, 1963, sent by the FBI leader in which a “Mr. George Bush of the Central Intelligence Agency” is noted to have been debriefed on the matter of the assassination.

The Hoover Bush memo by Public Domain – government document

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THREE ACTS

The book, like a well-crafted screenplay, is broken up into three acts. The first section covers McBride’s personal history as a young man and his involvement as a Kennedy supporter. Included is a photo of the president taken by the author himself during a campaign visit to Wisconsin, as well as a thank-you letter from Kennedy after achieving the presidency. It goes into his early interest in journalism, his initial shock at the murder, and finally his disbelief in the story and pursuit of the trail leading to this book fifty years later.

The second section of the book is a kind of survey of the evidence. McBride has done his homework, both in terms of familiarity with the published work on the case, the internal documents themselves, and direct interviews with many of the involved parties. He cites many of the best works in the genre — Fonzi, Peter Dale Scott, James Douglass, John Armstrong, and others, but also makes it clear he follows the John Simkins forum and Bill Kelly’s website, among others. In short, he has seemingly been following every available lead in his off hours.

(more…)

MSNBC Rachel Maddow and Michael Isikoff discuss the leak about the targeted killing of Americans.

 
Read Glenn Greenwald’s devastating response to this legally specious memo that carries no force of law whatsoever.

Barack Obama
 

Petition:

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“[N]or shall any person…be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” — Article V, U.S. Bill of Rights
 

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Justice Department Leaks Memo “Legalizing” Murdering Americans

By David Swanson

Global Research, February 05, 2013

War is a Crime

Here is the memo.  With a few tweaks and a more creative title — like “Murder With Your Hands Clean” — this memo could sell a lot of copies.

And why not?  Either there’s a whistleblower in the Department of So-Called Justice about to be charged with espionage, and NBC is about to face the same persecution as WikiLeaks, or this is one of those “good” leaks that the White House wanted made public in an underhanded manner — perhaps as an imagined boost to morality-challenged CIA director nominee John Brennan who faces his Senate Rejection Hearing on Thursday.

The memo, which is thought to be a summary of a longer one, says the United States can murder a U.S. citizen abroad (abroad but somehow “outside the area of active hostilities” even though killing him or her seems rather active and hostile) if three conditions are met:

“1. an informed, high-level official of the U.S. government has determined that the targeted individual poses an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States;”

The memo goes on to base its claims on the supposed powers of the President, not of some random official.  Who is such an official?  Who decides whether he or she is informed?  What if two of them disagree?  What if he or she disagrees with the President? or the Congress? or the Supreme Court? or the U.S. public? or the United Nations? or the International Criminal Court? What then?  One solution is to redefine the terms so that everyone has to agree.   “Imminent” is defined in this memo to mean nothing at all.  “The United States” clearly means anywhere U.S. troops may be.

“2. capture is infeasible, and the United States continues to monitor whether capture becomes feasible;”

And if a high-level official claims it’s infeasible, who can challenge that?

“3. the operation would be conducted in a manner consistent with applicable law of war principles.”

When a U.S. drone strike killed Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan, no one had shown either of them to meet the above qualifications.

When a U.S. drone strike targeted and killed 16-year-old Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, no one had shown him to meet the above qualifications; I don’t think anyone has made such a claim to this day.  And what about his cousin who died for the crime of being with him at the wrong time?

The sociopaths who wrote this memo have “legalized” the drone-killing of Americans with the exception of all the Americans known thus far to have been murdered by our government with the use of drones.

 David Swanson’s books include “War Is A Lie.” He blogs at http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org and works for http://rootsaction.org. He hosts Talk Nation Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook

 

Video linked on Guardian Website (14min – jump to 7min. mark)

Glenn Greenwald has the story in The Guardian.

KLEIN: “If [DRONE BOMBING] is misused, and there is a really major possibility of abuse if you have the wrong people running the government. But: the bottom line in the end is – whose 4-year-old get killed? What we’re doing is limiting the possibility that 4-year-olds here will get killed by indiscriminate acts of terror.”

See also: Report on Drones

Greenwald compares the statements of Klein with those of a captured Jihadi terrorist, as well as with Osama bin Laden, and comes up with a perfect match.