Julian Assange and Servant Sovereign Nations

So, the Brits are threatening to storm the Ecuadorian embassy in London to arrest Julian Assange and extradite him to Sweden for a supposed sex crime.

The entire world knows that Assange would be extradited to Sweden by way of a US federal prison.  He could even become a bunkmate of Bradley Manning’s.  We must not forget that Manning is getting still getting the treatment that the US wants to inflict on Assange.

Who does Great Britain think it is—Margaret Thatcher invading the Falkland Islands? Ronald Reagan storming Grenada? George H.W. Bush storming Panama? George W. Bush and Dick Cheney invading Iraq?  Does the term “sovereign nation” only apply to the nations who feel they’re more sovereign than the smaller, weaker sovereign nations? Are the Brits pissed at Ecuador because they don’t have dictator friendly to powerful global interests in power to do their bidding?

Julian Assange’s only crime is that he released top secret documents that embarrassed the US and Great Britain. Don’t know why Sweden is doing the bidding of the US in this sordid affair, maybe it owns the US money, which the Obama administration is willing to write off in return for the capture and extradition.  Sometimes sovereign nations are the servant nations of larger sovereign nations.

So for those who keep insisting that Barack Obama is a decent man and a socialist liberal, how do you square this with the continued imprisonment of Bradley Manning—who was held in solitary confinement from July 2010 to February 2012 when he finally got to see the inside of a courtroom to be formally arraigned? His trial is scheduled to begin next month. Does this treatment sound like one that was authorized by a president who is a Constitutional scholar and told Constitutional law who should know a thing or two about the Bill of Rights, especially the 5th and 14th Amendments.

Assange, not being an American citizen, would not be covered by the Bill of Rights, especially if he’s designated an enemy combatant or a spy by a military tribunal or the DOJ.

If the Brits are allowed to go after Assange, then next they go after Greg Palast, or just your average whistleblower, and then the US follows suit and then the teabaggers would be correct in portraying the current administration as a dictatorship—but with George W. Bush not being the dictator.

If the major sovereign governments of the world insist on lying to their citizens about policies that have destroyed lesser sovereign governments and resulted in the deaths of millions of civilians and hundreds of thousands of those in the military and are caught doing it by the release of papers proving their deadly deception, then those in the governments responsible for the cover-ups should be removed from power and put on trial, but only after serving at least two years in a small cell in solitary confinement.

Advertisements

“Army Strong”

The Army sergeant who slaughtered 16 Afghan villagers, including women and children, will be standing accused alone at the defendant’s table. But there should be another defendant sitting next to him: the US Army.

This is a married man with two children ages 3 and 4.  At first there were reported marital problems but now his attorney says those reports are false.  Still, this was his 4th tour of duty, having spent 3 in Iraq.  So, the Army subjects him to the death and insanity that was the Iraq War and they reward him by assigning him to a godforsaken, desolate Afghan outpost supporting special ops teams like the Army Green Berets and the Navy SEALs. The day before he went on his rampage a buddy of his had his leg blown off by a roadside bomb the day before.

This sergeant is 38 years old and has served 11 years in the Army. No one forced him to re-up when he finished his first enlistment period but no one forced the Army to keep sending him again and again into harm’s way, a family man with two young kids. He’s been in Afghanistan since last December.  He suffered a concussion from a roadside bomb explosion and lost part of a foot due to another battle injury. Yet the Army claims that after exhaustive psychological and physical testing they gave him the OK to return to active duty. They even sent him through sniper school for good measure.

It’s alleged that he went on a drinking binge, something snapped, and he took his rifle, walked off base, and shot up two villages, and then calmly walked back onto base and gave himself up. He alleges the Army broke its promise to him that he would not be re-deployed after his 3rd Iraq tour of duty.

I have to think that with his marriage possibly breaking up, he was thinking that stuck there in an Afghan outpost with “friendly” Afghans shooting Americans, and the Taliban shooting Americans, his chances of making it home alive were growing less and less. He might have been thinking about his missing foot, and the Bronze Star that the Army denied him. And sitting in his quarters there, pulling on whatever he might have been drinking, he simply thought, “Fuck it. Fuck this shit and if I’m about to lose everything, I’m going to make sure it’s me who does it and there’s no going back.” So he picks up his rifle and walks off base.

This is what the Army is doing to today’s enlisted soldier. With a volunteer army, they are restricted to getting what walks in the door, which is usually the poor kids without a future. Many of these kids have lower expectations from life because some of them weren’t exactly the sharpest pencils in school and all of them can’t find a job in civilian life. The military is their only shot at a semblance of some type of life. But I would bet the recruiter never tells them that when they sign up for 6 years, it’s no longer one tour of duty in a foreign undeclared war zone. It’s being forced back again and again and again until you’ve seen so many buddies blown up or blowing their own heads off, they wonder when they’ll be next. They’re fully aware of buddies who after being shipped back home can’t make it in civilian life and the VA offers no help to them at all. So it’s a choice between dying in combat or dying inside back home. Either way, there’s no hope.

And that has to be what the sergeant was feeling: there’s no hope. In Vietnam, no matter how bad things got in that jungle, every soldier knew it was a one-time gig unless they chose to go back for another round. In Iraq and Afghanistan, soldiers are stuck on a merry-go-round they can’t get off because the only brass ring that gets you sent home is either inside a body bag or grasped inside the hand of the arm that was blown off by a roadside bomb.

Nothing will excuse the horror and death the sergeant rained down on the 16 people and their families in those two villages. But to ease his pain, he committed a crime so horrendous with consequences so immense and possibly final, that he can shut down numb himself to all he has lost, and all events about to befall him.

And the Army officially states this was the act of a lone soldier who was under extreme stress and alcohol may have played a role as well. After forcing a young man to spend years away from his wife, children, and home for years because the Army needs live bodies in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army feels it has no culpability in the genesis of this massacre. I’m sure the Navy, who has deployed sailors to a landlocked country, feels the same way.

The US Army’s current ad slogan is “Army Strong”. US Marines were ordered to disarm themselves before attending a meeting with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta at Camp Leatherneck in Afghanistan. If the Marines, the toughest sons of bitches there are in the regular military can’t be trusted to carry weapons in the presence of their boss, how strong is today’s Army really?

Mitt Romney’s Past Is The Bain Of His Existence

Willard Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign is a testament to his monumental tone deafness to how the average American (read the 99%) feel about corporate raiders wrecking the American economy and throwing 15 million out of work and tens of millions out of their homes in order to enrich themselves.

There’s a now-famous picture of Romney with his Bain Capital partners with cash in their hands, clothing, and mouths. It was apparently a staged shot for an HBO series that didn’t happen but the imagery of the picture—staged or otherwise—has come back to haunt Romney big time. Perhaps at that moment in history he had no political aspirations, or maybe they were kept hidden while churning deep inside. Like George W. Bush, who carried the burden of a father of a father disgraced by Iraq in Desert Storm, Romney carried the burden of his presidential candidate father George disgraced by the press for claiming he had been brainwashed by the military over the Vietnam War. Bush Sr. was defeated by Bill Clinton in the next election and George Romney had to drop out of the presidential race. So, like Bush Jr., Romney’s presidential bid is just a loyal son’s attempt to re-capture his father’s lost honor.  That’s my analysis and I’m sticking to it.

But if the past is prologue, Romney’s Bain past may be his campaign’s epilogue. Staged as that HBO picture may have been, the image resonates with American voters of both political party affiliations as one of a man who put (Bain) capital before people.  Romney’s way to sidestep that negative image was to claim “Corporations are people too, my friend” as a way to show us that his heart was in the right place when it came to people—super rich, very powerful multinational people.

But when it comes to caring about middle class working people—well, not so much. That’s why he refuses to accept credit for the Massachusetts healthcare plan he signed which helped the poor and middle class and which Obama used as a model for his healthcare plan. With Republicans, Willard had to make a choice between being a champion for the average Joe and the super rich Joseph if big money SuperPacs were going to line up behind him.

So, it’s his Bain Capital background that his given him the largest campaign treasure chest around but has prevented him from netting more than 27% or so of Republican support since last year. The only reason his presidential bid still exists is because all of his Republican opponents—perhaps with the exception of Jon Huntsman—are people who wouldn’t trust with the key to your front door, let alone the economy and the military might of the United States.

Willard Mitt’s past is the Bain of his existence, which means he still acts like he’s making the big money deals. But instead of gauging at what price he can sell a corporate component on the open market and adjusting as needed, he’s gauging what policy statements will match the “strike price” of the American voter for his presidential bid. His early pro-abortion stand was too high a price for the evangelical voter to pay so he instituted an anti-abortion price reduction in the hope that will hit the purchasing sweet spot for that sect. Same thing with him turning against Romneycare.

As this post goes to price, President Obama held a press conference today and in effect stated he plans to out-Romney Willard Mitt Romney. But that’s another blog post.