There is a very lengthy and informative article this week by retired U.S. Army Maj. Todd Pierce, titled, U.S. War Theories Target Dissenters. The article discusses the U.S. Defense Department’s Law of War Manual, which says that journalists can be declared as “unprivileged belligerents” by the government and be placed into military detention without charges or evidence against the accused, or they can be killed.
Maj. Pierce brings up the hysterical West Point law professor William Bradford, who calls for the military to target civilians who express a dissenting point of view of the post-9/11 war on terrorism, and targeting in particular, quoting Bradford, “law school facilities, scholars’ home offices and media outlets where they give interviews.”
And Pierce also quotes retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Ralph Peters as writing that “‘Future wars may require censorship, news blackouts and, ultimately, military attacks on the partisan media.’ (Emphasis in original.)” Pierce brings up the news media coverage of the Vietnam War, which some U.S. military officers have apparently been brainwashed to believe was a “stab in the back,” even though media critics of the war merely recognized the impossibility of the U.S. winning the Vietnam War, which the military commanders already knew as early as 1967 as was revealed by Daniel Ellsberg in 1971 with the “Pentagon Papers.”
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Despite his exercising his Press freedom rights as thoroughly protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, Ellsberg was charged with violating the Espionage Act of 1917, even though the information he released was to the American people, and not some foreign government.
You see, deep down, those in power know that their wars and aggressions and power-grabbing are illicit and criminal; and when the lights get shined on them, they not only hide and cover up–but they go after those who shine the lights on them.
More recently, Edward Snowden had been labeled a “traitor” because he revealed a lot of information to the American people regarding the criminality being committed by government agencies against them, the American people. In other words, Snowden revealed what have in fact been treasonous acts, as the U.S. Constitution would define them, being committed by various government employees.
The relevant part of Article III, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution states:
“Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.”
By “them,” the writers referred to the United States in the plural sense–that is, the various States of the Union, and the people of the States. So when federal government bureaucrats and their armed enforcers and soldiers direct the forces of the federal government against their own people, including the Press, those acts should be considered acts of “levying war” against the people, and thus should be considered treasonous.
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In other words, it is the agents of the federal government in Washington who owe their loyalty to the American people, not the other way around.
There was also another important article this past week, On Conscientious Objection and Moral Injury, by Maria Santelli of the Center on Conscience and War. In that article, Santelli notes the concept of “killology,” in which the U.S. military has been training the soldiers to suppress their conscience, their moral scruples, in order to make it psychologically easier for them to kill innocent people, and to do so reflexively without a second thought. Santelli also notes that much of the trauma experienced by the soldiers is associated with a guilty conscience, a major cause for the 22+ U.S. military veterans committing suicide each day.
Despite such training, it is the soldier or officer who nevertheless retains his sense of moral conscience who is better able to recognize the injustices and crimes being committed by his own government; and real bravery is exhibited by those who reveal the truth.
Former U.S. Army Pvt. Bradley Manning (now known as Chelsea Manning) was the real deal, in my view. Manning witnessed first hand the war crimes being committed by his fellow soldiers overseas, in Iraq, the murders of innocent civilians, and also became aware of criminality committed by U.S. diplomats. Manning acted on his own moral conscience and took great risks releasing troves of documents to WikiLeaks.
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Manning didn’t give the information to some foreign regime. He released the material to WikiLeaks because he wanted the American people to know the truth about what their government and military were up to.
Worse than the government’s treatment of Daniel Ellsberg, whose charges of “espionage” were dismissed by the judge at his trial, Bradley Manning’s trial was a farce, a kangaroo court, in which he ended up getting sentenced to 35 years in prison, in addition to the 3 years of mostly solitary confinement and torture he endured upon his initial arrest. So this is much more like the Soviet Union than the America envisioned by the Founding Fathers.
But the government’s treatment of Bradley Manning is how the criminally-minded bureaucracy responds when its crimes are exposed for all to see.
Yet, the U.S. “leaders” have treated actual spies against America much better, such as Robert Hanssen, Aldrich Ames, James Hall and George Trofimoff. They may have sold U.S. government secrets to the Soviets or others, but they apparently didn’t expose embarrassing details of U.S. government incompetence, corruption and war crimes as Manning did.
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So the authoritarians of the centralized bureaucracy have it all backwards: these military fascists and their little yes-men minions believe that the federal government is the authority over the people of the States, and the citizens must follow their orders without question. And to criticize them, or expose their wrongdoing, is “treasonous” to these apparatchiks of the regime in Washington. And God forbid someone might satirize or lampoon these fools!
Of course the Vietnam War should have been criticized, by anyone who has a moral conscience. Sec. of Defense McNamara, Sec. of State Kissinger and Presidents Johnson and Nixon were war criminals, as they knowingly and willfully continued to send U.S. troops to their deaths in an unjust war with full knowledge that the war would never be won. They were murderers, in fact, not only of innocents overseas, but of their own fellow Americans.
And in 1991, interventionist President George H.W. Bush attacked Iraq, a country that was of no threat to America, including the bombing of civilian infrastructure, which was followed by sanctions which led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands, which caused retaliation and blowback, more terrorist attacks against the supposedly “civilized” West, a new war on Iraq perpetrated by Bush’s son, an Iraqi Sharia Law theocracy and now ISIS.
So of course those two Presidents Bush not only must be criticized, and their military must be criticized for war crimes; but they are the ones who should be imprisoned, certainly not those who exposed or criticized their crimes!
And of course, the government’s incompetence and criminality in unlawfully apprehending and detaining innocent people and torturing them must be criticized and condemned. When the former CIA officer John Kiriakou reveals the sick torture program and is himself imprisoned but not the criminal torturers, we must condemn that injustice. We must also criticize and condemn CIA directors such as John Brennan who defend indiscriminate bombings of civilian areas and a program of murdering suspects without trial or evidence, goofy generals such as Keith Alexander who model a war room after the bridge on Star Trek, and of course Gen. David Petraeus, whose extramarital affairs make the top headlines. And by the way, if someone like that is going to cheat on his own wife, can we really trust him to be loyal to the people he was appointed to serve?
And in fact, this whole “war on terror” must also be criticized and condemned and de-legitimized, which to many ignorant authoritarians in Washington would be a “treasonous” offense. The “war on terror” in fact has been a war on freedom, and a war on the American people, our security, our property and whatever wealth that hasn’t already been siphoned away. And it is actually these psychopathic terror-warriors who are the actual traitors, as their treason against the American people fits the actual constitutional definition of Treason as discussed above.
But indoctrinated militarist authoritarians believe in a top-down command society, in which the masses are obediently subject to the rule and whim of the “leaders.” The authoritarians do not seem to genuinely understand the ideas of self-determination, self-defense, and each individual’s inherent human right of freedom of thought and conscience, the right to investigate and ask questions, and the right to hold “The Authorities” accountable. Or the authoritarians do understand those ideas, but they merely oppose them. (Perhaps the Soviet Union is more to their liking!)
One thing the authoritarians who are drawn to 21st Century central planning in America don’t seem to understand is, while they love militarism and U.S. military power and oppose the individual rights the American Revolutionaries fought for, those early Americans themselves were opposed to militarism. They, including James Madison, opposed the idea of their new federal government even having a standing army; and Madison warned that governments’ standing armies had been used against their own people.
The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was the Framers’ answer to the possibility of a centralized government turning its weapons against the people. That is one reason why the Second Amendment refers to “the right of the people to keep and bear arms,” not the right of the government to keep and bear arms. The Framers, or at least those who were sincerely concerned with preserving liberty, clearly believed that the people themselves should be armed and responsible for their defense. They did not trust a centralized government army, especially given the early Americans’ conflicts against the British tyrants.
In an article linking the right to keep and bear arms with freedom, Judge Andrew Napolitano wrote: “There have been practical historical reasons for the near universal historical acceptance of the individual possession of this right. The dictators and monsters of the 20th century — from Stalin to Hitler, from Castro to Pol Pot, from Mao to Assad — have disarmed their people, and only because some of those people resisted the disarming were all eventually enabled to fight the dictators for freedom. Sometimes they lost. Sometimes they won.
“The principal reason the colonists won the American Revolution is that they possessed weapons equivalent in power and precision to those of the British government.”
And in recognizing that the new federal government was to be subject to the scrutiny of the American people, and not the other way around, James Madison himself observed in Federalist No. 46 that, “Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of. Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.”
Now, the modern militarists and free speech-suppressors can shout about the “terrorists,” the “Islamists,” and ISIS all they want. But because of the existence of the U.S. military and U.S. Presidents’ misuse of such a dangerous institution for over a century, having a central planning monopoly in “defense” has mainly been used for offense and provocation, and not for genuine defense. The modern threats which exist are due to the blowback of the U.S. government’s own aggressions against foreigners, which only provokes them and makes the American people more vulnerable because of it. (See Morris and Linda Tannehill, Hans-Hermann Hoppe, and Gustave de Molinari, for more on how an armed civilian population would be more effective at protecting themselves from foreign aggression, and certainly less threatening to their liberty than an armed government currently is.)
And finally, on the people’s right to express themselves, to be informed on what their government is up to, and to criticize government goons when such goons deserve to be criticized, Thomas Jefferson wrote, “were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website.