A lesson the US forgot about Iraq? Prosecute war criminals like General McMaster, don’t spread their “lessons”
COLORADO SPRINGS– Whose fault is it that America is “forgetting the lessons of Iraq and Afghanistan”? We never learned them… Instead of prosecuting war criminals like General “H.R.” McMaster, fans of neoliberal genocide like the Colorado Springs World Affairs Council celebrate the yahoo and let him infect public minds about how the atrocity of TEL AFAR was a victory and not the crime against humanity it resembles. What was this bastard’s kernel of wisdom about his fine-tuning of a counterinsurgency technique which dates to America’s Indian Wars? Don’t be afraid to call genocide a “win”. Uncritical Gazette reporter Tom Roeder quotes McMaster saying Americans should be “unabashed.” Unabashed! Goddamn moral degenerate and we stand him up in front of crowds without a noose and scaffold! We have only ourselves to blame that our blimpneck officers congratulate themselves for their lessons learned.
International diplomats have secured an agreement with Iran which appears to diffuse current tensions. Hurray! Crippling economic sanctions will be relaxed in exchange for limiting Iran’s capability to produce atomic weapons. Everybody is breathing easier except Israel. Why? Is the Israeli regime worried that critics who want its Apartheid theocracy “wiped from the map” (actually, from the road map to peace) need a bomb to do it? Israel’s racist and inhumane policies are bringing it down all of its own. Are Israelis worried there’s now a precedent to ask Israel to disarm its own nuclear arsenal or face sanctions? The problem is more likely that a less scary Iran will be much harder to warmonger around. Who needs a pretend democracy in the Middle East if there’s no Islamic boogeyman threatening the hegemony of the dollar and calling into question the inherent immorality of banking debt-perpetuated penury?
What’s rich is Israel, and its captive US press, declaring the agreement with Iran a “historic mistake”. Because verbatim, HISTORIC MISTAKE is growing to be the consensus among historians, in answer to the question what-is-Israel? Google it. Israel: the misguided UN decision in 1948 to colonize the Middle East by dispossessing Palestinians to create a Jewish state necessitating a “peace process” which has proven to be just the opposite.
OUT OF CONTROL. New Mexico state police stopped a minivan for speeding and the African American mother at the wheel decided, correctly it turned out, that she and her five children risked who knows what on a rural backroad at the hands of white cops. Oriana Ferrell of Tennessee –perhaps of no small relevance– tried to drive her family to safety after officers reacted violently when her 14-year-old son lunged to protect her from being tased. Officers fired at the minivan as Ferrell drove her children to a public location in Taos where there would be witnesses to the inevitable police assault. Ferrell and her son are charged with felonies. Hopefully the officers who fired tasers and guns into the vehicle full of children have friends who are just insufficiently racist to tell them not to brag about it.
How about those journeyman activists throwing their social justice experience around like it’s inviolate because they’ve been at this longer than the whippersnappers trying to rock their slow boat to China. They know what works after thirty years of utter failure, and they’ll admit to not a single inkling that their nonconfrontational passivism has only accelerated injustice and war. By what aggrandized blindness to irony can they congratulate themselves for their contribution to justice and peace? I don’t care that they decorate themselves like the dumb soldiers above whom they hold themselves, but hear this: don’t you dare coopt the enthusiasm of your youngers, or obstruct their path because their fresh directions offend you.
What are active duty soldiers doing in veterans day parades? It’s premature isn’t it, and self congratulatory? They’re being deployed to a public relations stint designed to admonish the public to remember their sacrifice, except present day recruits weren’t drafted. They’re economy dodgers. Yeah hardly voluntary and I don’t envy the straw they drew, but it’s hard to sympathize for signing up to kill and bully lesser armed people. Anyway, Veterans Day parades are a perfect example of soliders demonstrating their non-contribution to productive society, a chance for antiwar protesters to share an inside joke: GET A JOB!
I read 30 Seconds Over Tokyo when I was still a war-playing kid, before I would understand the mischievous consequences of the Doolittle Raiders B-25 bombers deploying without their bombsights. This was to prevent US war-making advantages falling into enemy hands but it also precluded dropping bombs with accuracy. I’m pretty certain the account for young readers also didn’t explain why over a quarter of the squadron’s bombs were of the incidiary cluster variety. Readers today know what those are for. Doolittle claimed to be targeting military sites in Japan’s capitol, but “invariably” hit civilian areas including four schools and a hospital. Of the American fliers captured, three were tried and executed by the despicable “Japs”, who considered the straffing of civilians to be war crimes. After the war, the US judged the Japanese officers responsible, as if their verdict was a greater injustice against our aviators’ “honest errors”. Today we rationalize our systemic overshoot policy as “collateral damage”.
Corporate media doesn’t want to do its job investigating or reporting on security state mechanisms and excesses, and it’s not going to let Edward Snowden do it either. Isn’t it curious that they’re able to allege Snowden’s leaks are “allegations” instead of …LEAKS? Of course they’ve only got their corrupt selves for peer review. The US press leaves the foreign papers to break Snowden’s documents after which it can accurately say the conclusions are “reported”, giving US officials a premise to dismiss the “accusations”. Except they’re not accusations, or allegations or conclusions, they’re unveiled fact. The US security agencies aren’t reportedly violating the privacy of citizens, they ARE! And no, “everyone is[n't] spying on everyone” the security states are spying on their peoples. Neither you, nor I are spying on anyone, except maybe via Facebook. Our oligarchs and their world security apparatus are keeping close tabs on us via wildly illegal surveillance, to the bemusement of media talking heads.
NMT has for some time been writing about how the NSA is recording all phone calls and internet transmissions, not merely “meta” data. Of course our reports were suppositions, so THANK YOU EDWARD SNOWDEN for the confirmation. Any credible response to Snowden’s revelations, whether from the White House or Angela Merkel, must begin with expressing gratitude for the moral superiority of a brave whisteblower.
Yes, Orcas aren’t fish. “Blackfish” is the English translation of a word Pacific Northwest indigenous peoples gave to killer whales, holding them in respectful regard while keeping a traditional safe distance. BLACKFISH is also the title of a new docummentary about how the sea mammals are mistreated by Sea World Marineland circus zoos and about instances of animal rebellion, instigated more often than not it turns out by one captive male named TILIKUM whose record of fragging trainers has been obscured by an entertainment system desperate to sanitize the plush-toy image of its “Shamu” brand. Documentary director Gabriela Cowperthwaite accuses Sea World of carelessly humanizing the ocean’s top predator, albeit whose social evolution appears to have exceeded that of humans. When it becomes apparent to audiences that Tilikum is actually the title character of Cowperthwaite’s expose, isn’t it unfair to refer to him in the generic? Yes “Blackfish” is a catchy title, but outside its Native American context the term is sinister and sub-mammalian. Let’s not vilify actions with which audiences find sympathy. Tilikum murdered his trainers wilfully and with premeditation. If we excuse him of murder it should not be because that’s his animal nature but because we understand his reason.
George Zimmerman’s MO has nothing on the US justice system. High school freshman Philip Chism is accused of murdering Boston teacher Colleen Ritzer. Though he’s only 14, Chism is being arraigned as an adult. The media is playing it down but Philip Chism is black. You’d think somewhere in America, district attorneys want to prosecute an African American juvenile AS A juvenile because, you know, Obama and shit. Neatly bookending this story today, white felon and Kennedy kin Michael Skakel, has been granted a retrial. Skakel was 39 when the law finally caught up with him, but Skakel was TRIED AS A JUVENILE (AT 39) because he was 15 when the murder was committed. In a further flaunting of priviledge, the judge granted Skakel a retrail because the judge decided his original defense must have been inadequate. That should set quite a precedent for anyone who’s been failed by a public defender, which would be EVERYBODY! But probably this precedent will only apply to everybody who’s white, and a Kennedy.
Grace is only afforded to juveniles who are white, consistent with Western disregard for the children of the Global South whose adult worklife begins even before puberty.
LOOK OUT DENVER! There was no birthday cake this year for Occupy Denver, though the second annual #S17 OWS anniversary celebration did not go unmarked. Subgroup offshoots of Denver’s notorietous Occupy deployed themselves with the usual rowdy spirit. Denver Homeless Out Loud, advocates for the homeless where traditional “advocate” kapos leave off, defied the city’s no-sleep no-shelter ordinance by setting up tents on the eve of S17. Police kept the activists awake all night and forbid them to enter the tents, but the encampment hung on until morning for a scheduled solidarity action. At noon Colorado Foreclosure Resistance picketed the offices of Castle Law Group, responsible for 90% of the state’s foreclosures. Occupiers moved on to protest the Westin’s Palm Restaurant (Boycott the Palm) for its stand on criminalizing Denver’s poor. Other Occupiers couldn’t join in because they were in Boulder organizing Occupy Flood Relief. Armed with megaphones, drums, the capability to mobilize at often a moment’s notice, and an attenuation level pegged at disruptive, Occupy Denver acts every bit its age, prepare for it Denver, a year of the terrible twos. Happy Birthday Occupy!
If you’re bleeding from a rollover accident and you’re a black male who’s prompted a white suburbanite to call the police, who arrive and shoot you; if you’re a non-suicidale teen who’s fallen from an overpass, broken your back, only to be tased a dozen times for non-compliance; or if you’re a 107-year-old man in his bedroom tormented by mischievous tenants who connive to have you terminated by SWAT, you can’t say “fuck the police”. We can hope each of these victims had the chance to curse the officers before their demise. It’s probably not unimaginable that these law enforcement overreactions might have been occasioned by the victims’ expressed astonishment, no doubt profane, that one, police were called without cause, two, they responded anyway, and three, their reaction was to escalate. If you are breaking no law and police are obstructing your pursuit of happiness, disabuse them of their misconception of authority, or they will kill all of us.
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO- International news headlines read “G-20 Summit Overshadowed by Syrian Crisis” but not in Colorado Springs! Here every politically active Democrat was working to defeat a recall of state senate leader John Morse, a democrat though barely. Morse is a duly elected, if unlikely, representative of conservative El Paso County, being assailed by a mutinous GOP majority angered by his stewarding of gun control legislation. The NRA has backed a blitzkrieg recall campaign, aided by local Republican officials and judges who connived election parameters designed to coax a recall victory. But who’s on the side of right, presumably with the people?
I attended Occupy Denver’s forum “What Does Democracy Look Like?” this weekend to hear activist scholars of considerable repute throw in their two cents. The first day was a splendid gathering, except where a curated discussion of intentional community lapsed into theology. Yes, a distillation of mostly white reform literature (Fanon was dismissed as wayward) yielded three steps for The Way Forward: Egypt, Exodus and the Promised Land. Yep.
Bored Oklahoma teens who shot a random jogger in the back are being tried as adults not juveniles because “it was an adult crime”; though killing while bored seems a juvenile crime by definition. So does immediately confessing a motive, “we were bored,” to the police, it would seem to me. But there’s more. Despite the confessions, it was not immediately clear who pulled the trigger as the three teens trailed their victim, Australian college baseball player Christopher Lane, in their car, then sped away to find a next target. But that didn’t stop Oklahoma police from charging just TWO of the boys with first degree murder, bail denied, with the third considered an accessory. I’ve provided the mug shots to give you a hint. For which 15 and 16 year-old do you think the state of Oklahoma is seeking the death penalty? (Spoiler: YES) And the older accessory –17 but white– gets bail and will be tried as a juvenile.
Pundits deride African American leaders for not decrying the Lane murder like they did that of Trayvon Martin, presumably because the victim was white. But I’ll ask where is the community outcry for young James Edwards and Chancy Luna, joy-killers they may be? Though I understand full well that other than the “doing it for fun” headlines, this event is unexceptional. Black children bear the brunt of law enforcement everyday, our prison system follows in the lynching tradition.
So there’s a little good news as the ambush of Syria gains momentum. It’s unlikely to be true, but let’s indulge ourselves for a mo. It’s being reported that Russia will jump to Syria’s defense by attacking the Saudis, and that Iran would retaliate against Israel. Both developments deserved and overdue, but who’s going to take the primary culprits, the Western colonial powers, to task? If anyone should bear the “consequences” of an illegal bombardment of Syria, the US surely has it coming. Would the US strike Syria if the Syrians could hit back? How our colors would run if, for once –it hasn’t happened since 1812– the warmaking reached our shores. Our patriot palor would blanche to ashen, I’m guessing into a full streak of yellow in no time. Must it take a Hannibal to march on the “Home Front” before Americans care enough to curb their dogs of war?
Imagine it, the cretinous feudal House of Saud decapitated. They oversee Mecca, impose a repressive Islamic code on their populace, while engorging their family wealth and flesh like medieval popes. And Israel, that last colony of white settlers bulldozing over Palestinian land and lives, dismissing them like Native Americans falling before their Euro Middleast Manifest Destiny. Could a Syrian debacle spell the end for the feral Arab warlordships and for Palestine’s Jewish exceptionalist Apartheid? It might be worth it. Especially as we won’t be paying for it with OUR lives.
“International consequences.” I like the sound of that precedent.
The carnage in Syria should “shock our conscience” really? It’s fraternity hazing compared to US collateral atrocities. And how simply grotesque for an American statesman to accuse anyone of “moral obscenity”. Is the USG so sure another Maning or Snowden isn’t going to unveil the real agents behind the “chemical attack” and the unidentified snipers firing on UN inspectors? And using Kosovo as a precedent for an air war to depose Bashar Assad, we’ve seen it before, and it was illegal then.
IF the bodies in Syrian videos purporting to document a chemical attack aren’t littering hospital floors like so many fictional Kuwaiti incubator babies, we are compelled to ask who unleashed the chemicals? Bashir Assad? The rebels? Our “rebels”? The odds favor us and even our western media agrees, refusing to remove the quotes everytime they refer to the “chemicals”. If covert western forces struck a Dow Chemical plant effecting a Bophal-like result to resemble a “chemical attack”, neither our soldiers nor the chemical agent supplier are going to confess. Dow still won’t apologize for the original Bophal.
“In the footsteps of Martin Luther King”, as if he’d lead a meaningless ask-for-nothing commemoration
Another million pawn march, to nowhere, commemorating the corporate brand of “MLK” sterilized of instructional efficacy, sanitized of King’s ultimate demands: jobs, economic justice, peace. This weekend’s 50th anniversary of the dream speech was the usual reminder that professional organizers abound who will gladly wear out would-be activists until they have no energy for real demonstrations. Of course there’s “work that remains to achieve King’s Dream”, who knows that better than the assholes waylaying it, then every year genuflecting before their sainted fictional MLK.
George Zimmerman has been found NOT GUILTY of chasing and shooting dead a black teenager for being a “fucking punk”. Now what? George W. Bush got away with murder, he and Zimmerman are peas in the same simian-eyed pod. Yes a Mack Truck might have been as good as a guilty verdict against lynch mob of one Zimmerman, but that was yesterday. Today the system is broken. Will “Justice For Trayvon Martin” be served by calling for Zimmerman’s blood? For the jurors’? Our society is racist, the justice system corrupt. To root out injustice, let’s start with those who exploited the Zimmerman pony show, distracting the public from concurrent Supreme Court malfeasance and the kangaroo court assassinating Bradley Manning. If Manning is declared guilty, we’ve no use for any authority. But let’s ask, what public outcry could go beyond the reaction that is clearly expected and as such, orchestrated?
Funny how Americans think the Nazis are still the ne plus ultra of evildom. Isn’t it about time we stop pretending the cruelty of Hitler’s machine exceeded ours? The US military has of course blown well past the benchmark of “Godwin’s Rule” by any measure of war crime both in quality and quantity, the question is, for how long has this been true? The initiate might think Vietnam marked our trespass into the Ugly American of infamy, our ensuing exploits in Latin America cementing our ignoble national character, but US colonial possessions worldwide know we’ve applied American moxie to a Final Solution stratagem wherever we’ve roamed. Before our westward expansion domestically, we settled with genocidal intent under a crown’s mentorship. America’s plan for its indigenous populations was the model for the Nazi relocation and extermination system, so for the Germans we were the “Nazis”. Odd how that perspective got lost in our history of WWII, our “Good War”.
Apparently Edward Snowden is a good for nothing high school dropout, but he’s a better man than you. Petty technocrats are splitting hairs to pretend that the NSA whistleblower broke the law while corporate mouthpieces are obfuscating that the public doesn’t care about its privacy. But there’s an easy legal precedent to judge whether Snowden’s act was criminal. Was his leak worse than the crime he exposed? Of course ratting on the security apparatus is illegal, and the fact that the public doesn’t know the extent to which their civil liberties are being violated is a clue the NSA is deeply in the wrong. The everyone upset about Edward Snowden are those exposed for their nefarious functions, those who don’t condemn them, and more so, those who could have blown the whistle well before a 29 year old unemployable hero.
Want to know where you can find Prince Harry on his war cheerleading US tour? Half of it is in Colorado. On Friday he’ll be at a UK Consul-General’s reception at the private Sanctuary Golf Course in Sedalia. Between Denver and Castle Rock, that’s the Castle Pines exit off of I-25. He’s staying overnight in Colorado Springs and leads the opening ceremonies of the Warrior Games at the US Olympic Training Center at Union and Uintah. He concludes his Colorado visit on Sunday at the Air Force Academy on Sunday before flying east for a polo match. How unseemly for American media to be fawning over a British royal, and what a slap in the face for Colorado Springs Tea Partiers, if they weren’t so uniformly stupid, to celebrate a monarch for which they claim so much credit for having expelled. Nathan Hale would have hung a second time and a third and forth presumably to have had the chance to show smug twits like Prince Harry the door. Harry pretends to continue the work of his mother Lady Diana, ridding the world of land mines, yet how much credit does he get when he advocates for their root cause, war?
Mother Jones Magazine sent me an email the other morning, subject: “BREAKING”, first line: “URGENT” so I opened it wondering if it was possibly about more than asking for money, how silly of me. Apparently, Stephen Colbert’s sister stands a chance to beat Republican Sanford in a senate race somewhere, as if that mattered to Mother Jones! Has a Democrat yet delivered anything to cheer about? Like President Obama, they are worse than Republicans because we pretend they are kinder gentler rapists and they’re not even that, they’re doublespeaking rapists whispering sweet nothings, this latest has the last name “Busch.”
I’d tell you I’ve had it up to here with moderate turncoats, but of late I’ve resolved to keep them well underfoot. Take the local fight against FRACKING.
We’ve built a pretty determined group of fractivists in Colorado Springs, with healthy allies statewide, and in the interest of growth began to make alliances with less hardy participants who have unseemly strong opinions considering their otherwise unproven skills, stamina, and motives. Their most common denominator however is that they do not hold firmly oppositional positions to the oil & gas industry; they consider themselves more diplomatic than radical which by their own assumption will prove more successful. Except, no.
It’s the pretext Israel uses whenever it strikes Gaza or Lebanon or European cafes or US ships: the right to defend itself. In fact the right to do it preemptively is how Israel justifies bombing Iran or assassinating Iranian scientists. So where do the rights of others begin? Has not Syria a right to defend her lands and people against this unprovoked attack? Is Israel so cynical to pretend it doesn’t have to declare war on its neighbors because it shares “most belligerent status” with all of them? –even, let’s add, with half its citizens. Of course the US stands with Israel, they share a foreign policy of illegal, preemptive, and/or covert war. No doubt Israel has already calculated that Syria is in no position to retaliate. All Western powers knwo enough to only strike the defenseless. Apparently Israel has grown impatient with the Western-backed attempted overthrow of strongman Assad and fears the astroturf public support will wane before regime change is achieved. Assassination, covert coups, wars of aggression, used to be illegal.