December 28, 2010
The ongoing WikiLeaks affair has been an exposé of who really understands the principles that define America, and who is truly confused. The “classified” leakers and their publishers (who include the New York Times and the Guardian) are merely attempting to expose the State and its crimes as well as its outright ridiculousness and irrationality. The ones who defend the State’s intrusions abroad, the killing of innocents, the occupations of foreign lands, the removal of due process through renditions, indefinite detentions and assassinations without cause or even suspicion, are the ones who want to suppress any exposing of those State crimes.
It is as though the defenders of the U.S. government’s secrecy and cover-ups think they are in countries like Iran, in which the act of revealing the crimes of the State is an act of blasphemy and deserving of one’s being stoned to death. These obedient defenders of the State are truly against moral values and the rule of law, yet they are the ones who refer to alleged leaker Bradley Manning as having committed “treason” against America.
The hopelessly flawed U.S. Constitution addresses treason:
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.
The Congress shall have power to declare the punishment of treason, but no attainder of treason shall work corruption of blood, or forfeiture except during the life of the person attainted.
Worse, the online Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines treason as:
1: the betrayal of a trust
2: the offense of attempting by overt acts to overthrow the government of the state to which the offender owes allegiance or to kill or personally injure the sovereign or the sovereign’s family.
Unfortunately, the mainstream view of “treason” has been one of “defiance of State authority,” or disobedience. The WikiLeaker’s actions have not gone against America, but they apparently have been challenging to State authority, and that’s a no-no in authoritarian societies. It is in such societies that the State has access into every detail of every individual’s private life, as the Washington Post recently uncovered, but the citizens are not allowed to know what their government is up to. The great 19th Century individualist Lysander Spooner clarified some of these issues in his publication, No Treason – The Constitution of No Authority.
In my view, acts of treason do not necessarily consist of “levying war” against one’s country or countrymen – if that were the case, then I suppose the American Revolutionaries were acting treasonously against Britain – but acts of treason can be those that go against the interests of one’s countrymen.
So to me, just about every act of the U.S. government since its beginning has gone against America’s interests, that is, if one believes that America’s interests are those of preserving liberty, and that the government’s purpose is to protect life, liberty and property. For instance, after the Southern States peacefully seceded from the American “union” in 1861, President Abe Lincoln “levied war” against them, that included his killing thousands of innocent civilians and burning entire cities to the ground. Lincoln’s need for greater centralized State control and dominance, and obsession with compelling millions into an association to which they did not want to belong, was worth his depraved acts of aggression, violence and murder. Lincoln acted treasonously, against his fellow Americans and the basic values of the America that George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and their fellow Revolutionaries and secessionists-from-Britain believed in, and against the interests of the Southern secessionists who believed in freedom and prosperity.
The endless list of examples of treason by the U.S. government against Americans includes President Wilson’s unnecessarily entering the U.S. into World War I. When you take your country into other countries’ wars, you are at that point making your population vulnerable to hostilities, in addition to squandering away public funds that are not intended to be used for the benefit of other countries. Other examples include FDR’s New Deal of fascist/socialist property confiscation, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan started by the two Bush presidents, President Obama’s new medical takeover, and so on. Those intrusions and acts of aggression by agents of the U.S. government against Americans and foreigners have all gone against the interests of Americans and against our freedom and prosperity. They are treasonous acts. They are all crimes committed by the U.S. government against the lives, liberty and property of many millions of Americans for many decades, and continuing.
The State’s Treasonous Foreign Policy
Regarding U.S. Army PFC Bradley Manning’s alleged leaking and months of solitary confinement, former Air Force Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski writes about the hysteria of the federal State and its flunkies and defenders, and compares the alleged whistleblower soldier with actual convicted spies against America:
Charged but not convicted of any crime, American PFC Brad Manning is being held largely incommunicado at Quantico, without bedding or permission to exercise in his cell. He is purposely deprived of human contact. His current treatment – based on unproven charges – is far harsher than the treatment and sentences of four famous and convicted US federal-level spies.
Former FBI agent Robert Hanssen was arrested in early 2001, and charged with selling secrets to the Soviets during the preceding two decades. Upon arrest, Hanssen confessed and was able to hire as an attorney the extremely competent Plato Cacheris, who negotiated a plea bargain. After an entire career spent profiting from the sale of classified information to the Soviets and later the Russian Federation, he is held at Supermax in isolation. Well, not exactly like Brad Manning – Hanssen has bedding, books, and exercise.
The case of career CIA employee and horrific spy/profiteer, Aldrich Ames, is also instructive. After his arrest and lawyer-facilitated plea bargain, Ames was not held forever in isolation at a Supermax-style facility. Instead, he resides at Allenwood Federal Prison with the general population, and is able to receive visitors and to correspond with people outside the prison on issues of current interest.
Two other famous convicted federal-level spies of the same era include Army Warrant Officer James Hall and Army Colonel George Trofimoff. These military officers who sold secrets were not tortured, nor were they deprived of their constitutional rights to a fair defense. Even though they are convicted military spies, they are serving less intensive punishments than either Ames or Hanssen, and were treated far better than PFC Manning.
Manning is not accused of selling secrets, or profiting from their release. Washington has made charges; it suspects Manning is partly responsible for publicly embarrassing the federal security apparatus. But as the Pentagon and the State Department both admit, even if Manning was the source of some government documents, the revelations did not seriously impact government operations.
Some critics of the WikiLeaks release have referred to Manning’s alleged actions as “treasonous,” and compromising American security. But in actuality, the leaked documents have done nothing but expose the crimes of the State, which is what the Press used to do before that institution apparently merged itself into the State apparatus. The real “treason” that is happening is that of the agents of the State acting against Americans’ liberty and prosperity.
While the recent document leaker has not compromised America’s security in any way whatsoever, we can take a closer look at how the U.S. government’s agents just over the past 20 years have been the real culprits in compromising the security of Americans. That includes President George H.W. Bush’s taking the U.S. into war against Iraq in 1990-91, the U.S. government’s and United Nations’ sanctions against Iraq throughout the 1990s and how those hostilities against Iraqis have backfired against the U.S., and George W. Bush’s “War on Terror” campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq and against Americans’ civil liberties.
In July 1990, then-Bush Administration U.S. ambassador to Iraq April Glaspie met with then-Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, and was said to have given the Bush Administration’s “green light” for Hussein to invade Kuwait, although, while some analysts disagree on whether that was intended by the Administration, other analysts believe that that was how Hussein interpreted the message. On August 2, 1990, Hussein began his invasion of Kuwait, followed in the next months by the U.S. military setting up their war on Iraq to begin January 15, 1991.
The Bush Administration had a well-prepared PR campaign to sell the Persian Gulf War, in which Bush took the U.S. military into war overseas against a country that was of no threat to the U.S.
Would a politician like the elder Bush tell a foreign leader that he, Bush, would look the other way if Hussein invaded Kuwait, only to then go and invade Iraq as though that was Bush’s intention in the first place? Well, that seems to be the way politicians, statists, internationalists, and government expansionists go about business, given the power they have as monopolists in territorial protection. And also, Bush probably felt safe politically and legally, given how so many Reagan Administration officials had gotten away with their schemes of selling arms to Iran to fund the Nicaraguan Contras in what became known as the Iran-Contra affair of the 1980s.
In author James Bovard’s analysis of the U.S. military’s bombing campaign on Iraq in 1991 and subsequent sanctions on Iraq, Bovard cites the Washington Post which quoted Pentagon officials that the bombing campaign targeted civilian infrastructure, particularly electrical facilities and water and sewage treatment facilities, as well as military targets. This was an intentional strategy of the U.S. military as a means of “disabling Iraqi society at large,” that supposedly would compel the Iraqi people to get rid of their leader Saddam Hussein.
As Bovard pointed out,
A Harvard School of Public Health team visited Iraq in the months after the war and found epidemic levels of typhoid and cholera as well as pervasive acute malnutrition. The Post noted,
In an estimate not substantively disputed by the Pentagon, the [Harvard] team projected that ‘at least 170,000 children under five years of age will die in the coming year from the delayed effects’ of the bombing.
The U.S. military understood the havoc the 1991 bombing unleashed. A 1995 article entitled ‘The Enemy as a System’ by John Warden, published in the Air Force’s Airpower Journal, discussed the benefits of bombing ‘dual-use targets’ and noted,
A key example of such dual-use targeting was the destruction of Iraqi electrical power facilities in Desert Storm…. [Destruction] of these facilities shut down water purification and sewage treatment plants. As a result, epidemics of gastroenteritis, cholera, and typhoid broke out, leading to perhaps as many as 100,000 civilian deaths and a doubling of the infant mortality rate.
The article concluded that the U.S. Air Force has a ‘vested interest in attacking dual-use targets’ that undermine ‘civilian morale.’
The bombing campaign and a decade of sanctions throughout the 1990s led to widespread disease and skyrocketing cancer and child mortality rates, which by 1999 were said to lead to the deaths of approximately 500,000 Iraqis.
The U.S. government’s invasion and bombing of Iraq in 1991 and sanctions, disease and death, as well as the U.S. government’s expansionism of military bases and other government apparatus on Muslim lands such as Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, and other intrusions and interventions are what have inflamed anti-Americanism throughout the Middle East and Asia. These actions of the U.S. government have been provocations against the inhabitants of those foreign lands, the effects of which have consisted of retaliations and attempted retaliations against Americans. In other words, we Americans have been made increasingly vulnerable to the aggressions of foreigners because of the aggressions that our government officials have been committing against people in foreign lands.
But rather than ending the murderous sanctions, occupations and other U.S. government intrusions and interventions on foreign lands, the response of the robotic, comatose U.S. government officials to the September 11, 2001 attacks was to increase the aggression, intrusions and violence overseas even more, as well as impose policies of rendition and indefinite detention and assassination of people without due process, without just cause or even actual suspicion – the George W. Bush Administration knowingly apprehended suspects at random and knowingly kept innocent people detained for years in Gitmo – as well as start a campaign against Americans and their what-used-to-be-known-as “inalienable rights” and “civil liberties.” In other words, every action and policy of the U.S. government, especially since 1990, has made Americans less safe and more vulnerable. We are less safe because of the provocations by our government of more terrorism against us, and we are less safe because of the abuses of our own government against us and our liberty. This is what I mean by treasonous actions of the U.S. government.
And how has the U.S. government been treating Bradley Manning for months, someone who has not been tried or convicted of anything, and whose alleged actions have harmed no one, but who allegedly dared to expose the agents of the State for what they are? Salon.com’s Glenn Greenwald has been doing an exceptional job writing about Manning’s treatment.
According to Greenwald, Manning’s attorney David Coombs, and MIT researcher David House, Manning has been held in 23-hour-per-day solitary confinement for over five months, with one hour per day allowed for “exercise,” which consists of walking in circles in a small area, is made to respond to guards’ checking him every five minutes, is made to endure constant sleep deprivation and sensory deprivation, has very little contact with others and is deprived of knowledge of events in the outside world. In a more recent update, Greenwald noted,
…And in the wake of my report, there have been several reports of the damage to Manning that is now apparent, including in The Guardian (“Bradley Manning’s health deteriorating in jail, supporters say”), The Independent (Manning ”in weak health and wracked with anxiety”), The Daily Beast (“The conditions under which Bradley Manning is being held would traumatize anyone”), and from his lawyer (“who says the extended isolation — now more than seven months of solitary confinement — is weighing on his client’s psyche . . . . His treatment is harsh, punitive and taking its toll, says Coombs”)…
What the agents of the U.S. government are doing psychologically and physically to this one individual is how criminals, barbarians, degenerates and sickos treat other human beings. But the reason he is being held in solitary confinement and why he is being abused in such a sick way is that our government officials are responding not to any real threat to Americans’ security, but to an uncovering of U.S. government officials’ real character.
The American prisons aren’t even treating their convicted rapists, child molesters and murderers with that kind of cruelty and physical deprivation, which is particularly loathsome given that Manning has done nothing wrong and has harmed no one. However, this is in line with the U.S. military intentionally bombing water and sewage treatment facilities with the purpose of causing disease and deaths amongst the Iraqi civilian population in 1991, a scheme that comes from sick-minded barbarians. But in their emotional, gut reactions to the news about leaks of State “secrets,” the authoritarians who love and worship the State have made the uncovering of the true nature of today’s agents of the State a matter of blasphemy worthy of the sinner’s being stoned to death in a public courtyard. “We are all Iranians now,” the Palins and the Gingriches might as well declare.
But is merely uncovering the State’s true nature really a crime? Shouldn’t we instead penalize the agents of the State who start wars unnecessarily and thus make their own population more vulnerable to retaliation, as the warmongers did with the war against Iraq of 1991, and all the repercussions and blowback we have been suffering because of it? (And oh, what a coincidence the timing of those actions coincided with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the end of the Cold War and a sudden lack of an enemy to justify the always expanding military welfare state, but that’s a different discussion for a different essay.) The devastation and physical destruction, the human toll and financial cost of the entirely political decision to invade Iraq in 1990 have treasonously damaged America. (And oh, what another coincidence that the 1990 warmonger’s son also started an unnecessary war against Iraq in 2003, and for solely political reasons, that would cause even further blowback against us!) These actions have damaged America in the most criminal sense, and these actions against America are treasonous.
To protect us from further damage to our liberty, security and property, we need more Bradley Mannings, and more WikiLeaks, and much less centralized power in Washington, given that just about every action of the U.S. government has been treasonous, against America and our founding principles, and is constant, daily proof that the Anti-Federalists were right.