Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Quadruple Murder, Government-Style

The New York Times is now in the True Confessions business. In an obviously pre-approved leak immune from DOJ subpoena, the front page article by Charlie Savage can best be described as the warm-up act to tomorrow's killer of a speech by Barack Obama. To soften the Obama shocker for those who've not been paying attention, Attorney General Eric Holder is finally admitting that our government has killed four Americans in drone strikes! One of the homicides, says Holder, was the planned offing of radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.

The other three, including the killing of Awlaki's 16-year-old son, were "not specifically targeted", added Holder. They were apparently in that broad category known as signature strikes, conducted solely on the basis of age, sex, and location, location, location. Nowhere in his May 22 letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee does the AG express regrets for the error. Because, see, it wasn't actually a mistake. In the Orwellian mindset of the Obama Administration, all drone victims are considered guilty unless proven innocent post-mortem. And the administration hasn't yet figured out a way to put dead people on trial. Would they be Mirandized? Would a lawyer be assigned to the corpse if it is unable to afford one?

Holder actually brags about Boss Obama's "unprecedented transparency about how counterterrorism activities are conducted". In his "leaked" May 22 letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee, he goes to great lengths insisting that Awlaki was a leader of al-Qaeda, intimately involved in the Underwear Bomber plot and instigator of the Fort Hood shootings by an Army psychiatrist. However, according to Jeremy Scahill's exhaustively researched new book, Dirty Wars, although the cleric was certainly a radical, his radicalization was mainly part of the blowback against post-9/11 American Muslim-baiting and foreign Muslim killing. There is no direct evidence that gives him any leadership role -- let alone membership -- in Al Qaeda.

Nowhere does Holder mention that the erstwhile-respected Awlaki was actually courted by the Bush administration in the days after 9/11 to act as a sane voice of reason against anti-Muslim sentiment, but was later hounded by the FBI, possibly to act as an informant against his fellow Muslims. Awlaki was eventually harassed to the point of leaving the United States. He was ultimately thrown into solitary confinement in a Yemeni jail -- without charge -- at the behest of the Bush administration. The Bushies simply didn't like what they were reading on his anti-American blog, according to Scahill. I am only about a third of the way through this stunning masterpiece of investigative journalism, and can't recommend it highly enough.

Meanwhile, here's my comment to the Savage article:

Ever so conveniently, the "evidence" that Awlaki was anything more than a rabble-rousing blogger remains classified by the government. And if this week's news of the Obama administration's assault on journalism is any indication, any reporter daring to ask a federal employee for a look-see at said evidence will be declared an enemy of the state forthwith.

Holder, who has so speciously proclaimed that the criminal banking cartel is too big to jail, now asks us to blindly accept his rationale for state-sponsored murder. This, while peaceful Americans protesting their own victimization by the criminal banking cartel are being
tased and arrested right outside his office building. Can domestic weaponized drones be that far away?

Truth-telling is being frozen while our government wages secret wars with Hellfire missiles. "Some say the world will end in fire," wrote Robert Frost. "Some say in ice."

From the looks of things, the experiment known as America will end in both, unless more people wake up and take notice of the atrocities being committed in all our names.


horace said...

So were the 75,000 Confederate soldiers killed in battle during the Civil War also murdered by the United States government?

Anonymous said...

MICHAEL Corleone: My father's no different than any other powerful man --

(then, after Kay laughs)

-- Any man who's responsible for other people. Like a senator or a president.

KAY: You know how naive you sound?


KAY: Senators and presidents don't have men killed...

MICHAEL: Oh -- who's being naïve, Kay?

Denis Neville said...

Dr. Martin Luther King’s clarion call to the present…

Dr. King feared that eventually humanity’s capacity for self-destruction would grow faster than its capacity for compassion. Our drone wars bear out King’s imagery of “a society gone mad on war,” caught in a spiral of militarization that yields only “might without morality, and strength without sight.”

The fault is not in the drones, but in ourselves.

“Perhaps the crimes committed during the last 65 years by American governments in the name of national security are a result not of the invention of weapons of unimaginable destructiveness, but rather of a deeply ingrained way of seeing the world, a belief in America’s ineffable connection to truth and justice, shared by no other people, which even the country’s most contrarian critics cannot shake off.” - Stephen Holmes

“I speak as a citizen of the world, for the world as it stands aghast at the path we have taken. I speak as one who loves America, to the leaders of our own nation: The great initiative in this war is ours; the initiative to stop it must be ours.” - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Obama’s use of Dr. King's Bible at his the second inauguration made Cornel West’s blood boil:

Brief excerpts from Dr. King’s “The Casualties of the War in Vietnam” speech, February 25, 1967, The Nation Institute, Los Angeles:

“In international conflicts, the truth is hard to come by because most nations are deceived about themselves. Rationalizations and the incessant search for scapegoats are the psychological cataracts that blind us to our sins. But the day has passed for superficial patriotism. He who lives with untruth lives in spiritual slavery…

“It is time for all people of conscience to call upon America to return to her true home of brotherhood and peaceful pursuits. We cannot remain silent as our nation engages in one of history's most cruel and senseless wars. During these days of human travail we must encourage creative dissenters. We need them because the thunder of their fearless voices will be the only sound stronger than the blasts of bombs and the clamor of war hysteria.

“Those of us who love peace must organize as effectively as the war hawks. As they spread the propaganda of war we must spread the propaganda of peace. We must combine the fervor of the civil rights movement with the peace movement. We must demonstrate, teach and preach, until the very foundations of our nation are shaken. We must work unceasingly to lift this nation that we love to a higher destiny, to a new plateau of compassion, to a more noble expression of humaneness.

“There is another kind of power that America can and should be. It is a moral power, a power harnessed to the service of peace and human beings, not an inhumane power unleashed against defenseless people. All the world knows that America is a great military power. We need not be diligent in seeking to prove it. We must now show the world our moral power.”

Anonymous said...

Christ, two "anonymous" commenters who want to quote The Godfather! Lee Strasberg as Hyman Roth:
"So when he turned up dead, I let it go. And I said to myself, this is the business we've chosen; I didn't ask who gave the order, because it had nothing to do with business!"
Of course, the best scene in G2 is Kay Corleone getting smacked by Michael, but not before essentially announcing the feminist revolt that many of the film's fans were unconsciously opposed to.

But seriously. Karen. Who cares about the four? I'm more fascinated by the three. As in the three murders now pinned on the Tsarnaev-linked suspect murdered today during questioning by the FBI.

That's right. A suspect "confesses" to FBI. And is then murdered within the hour by FBI. Hey, wny not?

Douglas Broome said...

Hello Karen,
I've very much appreciated the insight in your posts to the NY Times and pressed the link to your blog which is impressive.
In one of your posts I think there was some mention of background as a journalist.
I too was of that breed until one Conrad Black purchased the paper at which I was toiling in anonymous pontification as an editorial writer.
Liberals, as you might imagine, were not the desired flavour du jour for Lord Black of Crossharbour, and I was beyond liberal being the designated token social democrat. And I was on recurrent term contract which led Lord Black's associate, David Radler, to observe that he wanted my name forever expunged since I had just written a piece headed The Myth of Tax Revolt which apparently cut Mr. Radler to the quick.
Mr. Radler went on to become Lord Black's court nemesis, with His Lordship subsequently becoming a resident in mandatory public housing in your good state of Florida.
During his ascendancy Lord Black was very much of the "lock 'em up and throw away the keys" sort of criminal justice view.
However, following his spell in minimum security the good baron pronounced that the finest clubs of Toronto and London did not have the same level of with wisdom as he found amongst his newfound friends in the Florida mandatory public housing. So you see, profound change is possible.
Doug Broome

Karen Garcia said...

To Doug,
Thanks, and I hope that you continue to visit -- and write. I enjoy reading your Times comments too. The threads and blogs are littered with discarded journalists, aren't they? Or, to be politically correct, the "prematurely retired". The last paper I worked for was plundered, I mean bought, by Rupert Murdoch. Which is why it was the last paper I worked for. He fired practically the whole editorial staff en masse, replacing them with recent J-School grads who didn't insist on joining Communication Workers of America, let alone demanding a living wage. Half the front page is now taken up by the daily ad for the local discount liquor store. Which is apt, because reading that rag makes you want to have a drink with your morning coffee!
(At least the banner ad that the NYT's been running is more tasteful, selling Gatsby-inspired jewelry from Tiffany's to the mega wealthy.)

Jim - South Florida said...

Anyone slightly familiar with American labor history knows extrajudicial killing is nothing new, and it's been done many times here in the Homeland. The technology has improved, but the government has been shooting down humanoids who threaten the capitalist oligarchy since the time of the Whiskey Rebellion.

Zee said...

@Jim--South Florida--

As usual, I will stick my neck out here to ask a silly question about something of which I know little:

Were the participants in the "Whiskey Rebellion" really threatening the "capitalist oligarchy" of the early United States, and did they really constitute some kind of "labor rebellion" who were thence gunned down by "Los Federales?"

The farmers--that is, the landed producers -- who were trying to sell their whiskey--untaxed--strike me more as budding capitalists than labor grunts.

As I understand it, the "Whiskey Tax" was just a convenient way for a fledgling Federal government to find something-- yes, anything --to tax in order to pay the respective states' bills for the American Revolution:

If the Federal government could have gotten away with it then, it would have taxed the very air that the people of the new Republic breathed to pay the war bills. Such is it today,
but we're not having any.

So how does this become a labor-capitalist struggle, which, insofar as I can tell, resulted in the loss of very few lives anyway?

Seems more like it was the "capitalist oligarchy"--such as it was-- against the "Federal government", rather than as in cahoots with it, today.

Just askin'. As always, I'm willin' to be educated.

Anonymous said...

Whiskey, smishki.
it's an interesting discussion, but let's not get lost in it when you can watch force-of-nature David Simon come out with both fists swingin' in London interviews on TODAY's controlled substances, and the meaning of the drug war.

"Simon took no prisoners. In his vision, the war on – and the curse of – drugs are inseparable from what he called, in his book, The Death of Working Class America, the de-industrialisation and ravaging of cities that were once the engine-rooms and, in Baltimore's case, the seaboard of an industrial superpower.

The war is about the disposal of what Simon called, in his most unforgiving but cogent term, "excess Americans": once a labour force, but no longer of use to capitalism. He went so far as to call the war on drugs "a holocaust in slow motion".

Simon said he "begins with the assumption that drugs are bad", but also that the war on drugs has "always proceeded along racial lines", since the banning of opium.

It is waged "not against dangerous substances but against the poor, the excess Americans," he said, and with striking and subversive originality, posited the crisis in stark economic terms: "We do not need 10-12% of our population; they've been abandoned. They don't have barbed wire around them, but they might as well."

As a result, "drugs are the only industry left in places such as Baltimore and east St Louis" – an industry that employs "children, old people, people who've been shooting drugs for 20 years, it doesn't matter. It's the only factory that's still open. The doors are open."

Anonymous said...

More from The Guardian's coverage of Hurricane David:

"Simon said he had "no faith in our political leadership to ever address the problem. There is no incentive to walk away from law and order as a political currency." He said change would come, if it does, from jurors simply "refusing to send husbands, sons and fathers from their communities to jail … That is how prohibition [of alcohol] ended. They couldn't find 12 Americans who would send a 13th to jail for selling bathtub gin."

Simon regarded "legalisation" of drugs as "a word invented by advocates of the drug war to make the other side look goofy, saying 'everything should be legalised'. The issue is: how do we get out of here? And I say: decriminalisation. As with other controlled substances – taxed and regulated." He later said he did not think change would come of any moral decision, but because "someone just figures out: this is costing too much money".

From the audience, the Colombian ambassador to London, Mauricio Rodríguez, drew attention to his government's leadership of initiatives from Latin America to "completely redraw" a global strategy on drugs, with co-responsibility assumed by consuming countries, focusing on social and economic issues, and money laundering by banks. "Basta!" he said, "the Latin American countries have had enough." Such thinking had driven a recent report, which Rodríguez brandished, by the Organisation of American States, of which, he pointed out, the US is a member.

Simon replied that America had fought "proxy wars" across the world for decades, and the war on drugs in Latin America was among them. On the carnage in neighbouring Mexico, he said: "If 40,000 Mexicans are dead, we don't give a damn as long as it stays that side of the border – turn northern Mexico into an abattoir, so long as it doesn't get to Tucson. If we can fight to the last Mexican, for a suburban American to send their kid safely to junior high school, we will."