From: Mohammad <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, Nov 26, 2010 at 6:53 PM
Subject: [bangla-vision] The Stench of American Hypocrisy :By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
The Stench of American Hypocrisy
By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
TEN years of rule by the Bush and Obama regimes have seen the collapse of the rule of law in the United States. Is the American media covering this ominous and extraordinary story? No, the American media is preoccupied with the rule of law in Burma (Myanmar).
The military regime that rules Burma just released from house arrest the pro-democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi. The American media used the occasion of her release to get on Burma's case for the absence of the rule of law. I'm all for the brave lady, but if truth be known, "freedom and democracy" America needs her far worse than does Burma.
I'm not an expert on Burma, but the way I see it, the objection to a military government is that the government is not accountable to law. Instead, such a regime behaves as it sees fit and issues edicts that advance its agenda. Burma's government can be criticized for not having a rule of law, but it cannot be criticized for ignoring its own laws. We might not like what the Burmese government does, but, precisely speaking, it is not behaving illegally.
In contrast, the United States government claims to be a government of laws, not of men, but when the executive branch violates the laws that constrain it, those responsible are not held accountable for their criminal actions. As accountability is the essence of the rule of law, the absence of accountability means the absence of the rule of law.
The list of criminal actions by presidents Bush and Obama, Vice President Cheney, the CIA, the NSA, the US military, and other branches of the government is long and growing. For example, both President Bush and Vice President Cheney violated US and international laws against torture. Amnesty International and the American Civil Liberties Union responded to Bush's recent admission that he authorized torture with calls for a criminal investigation of Bush's crime.
In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, the ACLU reminded the US Department of Justice (sic) that "a nation committed to the rule of law cannot simply ignore evidence that its most senior leaders authorized torture."
Rob Freer of Amnesty International said that Bush's admission "to authorizing acts which constitute torture under international law" and which constitute "a crime under international law," puts the US government "under obligation to investigate and to bring those responsible to justice."
The ACLU and Amnesty International do not want to admit it, but the US government shed its commitment to the rule of law a decade ago when the US launched its naked aggression–war crimes under the Nuremberg standard–against Afghanistan and Iraq on the basis of lies and deception.
The US government's contempt for the rule of law took another step when President Bush violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and had the National Security Agency bypass the FISA court and spy on Americans without warrants. The New York Times is on its high horse about the rule of law in Burma, but when a patriot revealed to the Times that Bush was violating US law, the Times' editors sat on the leak for one year until after Bush was safely re-elected.
Holder, of course, will not attempt to hold Bush accountable for the crime of torture. Indeed, Assistant US Attorney John Durham has just cleared the CIA of accountability for its crime of destroying the videotape evidence of the US government's illegal torture of detainees, a felony under US law.
Last February Cheney said on ABC's This Week that "I was a big supporter of waterboarding." US law has always regarded waterboarding as torture. The US government executed WW II Japanese for waterboarding American POWs. But Cheney has escaped accountability, which means that there is no rule of law.
Vice president Cheney's office also presided over the outing of a covert CIA agent, a felony. Yet, nothing happened to Cheney, and the underling who took the fall had his sentence commuted by president Bush.
President Obama has made himself complicit in the crimes of his predecessor by refusing to enforce the rule of law. In his criminality, Obama has actually surpassed Bush. Bush is the president of extra-judicial torture, extra-judicial detention, extra-judicial spying and invasions of privacy, but Obama has one-upped Bush. Obama is the president of extra-judicial murder.
Not only is Obama violating the sovereignty of an American ally, Pakistan, by sending in drones and special forces teams to murder Pakistani civilians, but in addition Obama has a list of American citizens whom he intends to murder without arrest, presentation of evidence, trial and conviction.
The most massive change brought by Obama is his assertion of the right of the executive branch to murder whomever it wishes without any interference from US and international law. The world has not seen such a criminal government as Obama's since Joseph Stalin's and Hitler's.
On November 8, the US Department of Justice (sic) told federal district court judge John Bates that president Obama's decision to murder American citizens is one of "the very core powers of the president." Moreover, declared the Justice (sic) Department, the murder of American citizens is a "political question" that is not subject to judicial review.
In other words, federal courts exist for one purpose only–to give a faux approval to executive branch actions.
If truth be known, there is more justice in Burma under the military regime than in the USA. The military regime put Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest in her own home.
The military regime did not throw her into a dungeon and rape and torture her under cover of false allegations and indefinite detention without charges. Moreover, the military "tyrants" released her either as a sign of good will or under pressure from international human rights groups, or some combination of the two.
If only comparable goodwill existed in the US government or pressure from international human rights groups had equal force in America as in Burma.
But, alas, in America macho tough guys approve the virtual strip search of their wives and daughters by full body scanners and the grouping by TSA thugs of three-year old children screaming in terror.
Unlike in Burma, where Aung San Suu Kyi fights for human rights, the sheeple in Amerika submit to the total invasion of their privacy and to the total destruction of their civil liberties for no other reason than they are brain dead and believe without any evidence that they are at the mercy of "terrorists" in far distant lands who have no armies, navies, or air forces and are armed only with AK-47s and improvised explosive devices.
The ignorant population of the "Great American Superpower," buried in fear propagated by a Ministry of Truth, has acquiesced in the total destruction of the US Constitution and their civil liberties.Sheeple such as these have no respect anywhere on the face of the earth.
IN a recent column, "The Stench of American Hypocricy," I noted that US public officials and media are on their high horse about the rule of law in Burma while the rule of law collapses unremarked in the US. Americans enjoy beating up other peoples for American sins. Indeed, hypocrisy has become the defining characteristic of the United States.
Hypocrisy in America is now so commonplace it is no longer noticed. Consider the pro-football star Michael Vick. In a recent game Vick scored 6 touchdowns, totally dominating the playing field. His performance brought new heights of adulation, causing National Public Radio to wonder if the sports public shouldn't retain a tougher attitude toward a dog torturer who spent 1.5 years in prison for holding dog fights.
I certainly do not approve of mistreating animals. But where is the outrage over the US government's torture of people? How can the government put a person in jail for torturing dogs but turn a blind eye to members of the government who tortured people?
Under both US and international law, torture of humans is a crime, but the federal judiciary turns a blind eye and even allows false confessions extracted by torture to be used in courts or military tribunals to send tortured people to more years in prison based on nothing but their coerced self-incrimination.
Compare Vick's treatment of dogs with, for example, the US government's treatment of Canadian "child soldier" Omar Khadr. Khadr was 15 when he was captured in Afghanistan in 2002, the only survivor of a firefight and an air strike on a Taliban position. He was near death, with wounds to his eyes and shoulder and shot twice in the back. The Americans accused the boy of having thrown a hand grenade during the military encounter that resulted in the death of a US soldier.
As there was no witness to support the accusation, Khadr was tortured into submission. He was beaten, deprived of sleep, left hanging with his arms chained above his head, hooded and threatened by dogs. The National Post of Canada (Nov. 6, 2010) reports: "His chief interrogator at Bagram admitted to telling the teenage boy that unless he co-operated, he would be sent to a U.S. prison, where a group of black men would gang rape him to death."
Despite this and other evidence that Khadr was coerced by torture into agreeing that he killed a U.S. soldier during a military firefight that left Khadr all but dead, U.S. military judge Col. Patrick Parrish ruled that Khadr's "confession" had been freely given and could be used to convict him in court.
The charge against Khadr is an invention. We don't know whether Khadr was a combatant or just happened to be in the place where the American attack took place. Khadr is accused of "murder in violation of the laws of war." Such a crime does not exist. Soldiers who are enemy combatants are not tried for killing one another. As the Americans had pulled Khadr's "crime" out of a hat, they definitely needed a guilty plea. Shortly before the "trial," the Americans told Khadr that if he did not plead guilty and escaped conviction, they would hold him indefinitely in a torture prison as an enemy combatant.
This is the behavior of Nazi Germany. When German courts freed Nazi victims from false charges, the Gestapo simply picked up the cleared defendants when they left the court house and sent them to camps or prisons.
At the last minute new charges appeared out of thin air in order to beef up the nonexistent case against Khadr. He was forced to admit to killing two Afghan soldiers and to sign away his right to sue his jailers for torturing him. In court, Col. Parrish repeatedly emphasized that Khadr admitted his guilt freely of his own accord. In other words, Parrish lied in court by presenting a coerced confession as "willingly given." This is typical of US prosecutors.
In a powerful editorial, "Stalin Would Have Been Proud," the National Post of Canada said: "what it really was, was a show trial. . . . They could have told him to confess that he had simultaneously piloted all four hijacked planes on 9/11, and he would have done it."
The National Post goes on to say that Stalin's torture techniques, which "inspired the standard operating procedures at Abu Ghraib, Bagram, Guantanamo and the secret black sites, were not designed to elicit truth. They were designed to produce false confessions."
The Americans need false confessions in order to maintain fear of terrorists among the deceived population and in order to cover up the US government's crimes of torture.
If a case can be worse, it is the case of the young American educated neuroscientist, Dr. Aafia Siddiqui. Read Yvonne Ridley's account in CagePrisoners, February 12, 2010.
Siddiqui and her three young children were kidnaped. Siddiqui was tortured and abused by the Americans and their Pakistani puppets simply because Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, according to Wikipedia her second husband's uncle, mentioned her name during one of the 180 times that he was waterboarded. Reminds me of reports by Soviet dissidents that when they were being tortured by the KGB, they tried to remember names on gravestones to give to the authorities, and when they couldn't they gave whatever names popped into their memories.
Siddiqui's young children apparently are still missing. While she was in detention, Siddiqui herself was shot in the stomach by an American soldier, allegedly after she managed to seize his rifle and point it at him. This absurd story was enough for federal judge Richard Berman to sentence her to prison for 86 years for assault with a deadly weapon and attempting to kill U.S.personnel. Obviously, Berman knows where his bread is buttered, and it is not by justice.
We imprisoned Michael Vick, because he tortured dogs. But Department of Justice (DOJ) officials John Yoo and Jay Bybee, in close collaboration with the George W. Bush White House and VP Dick Cheney's office, fabricated the argument that US and international laws against torture do not apply to the US president. Yoo and Bybee were found by the DOJ's Office of Professional Responsibility to have violated professional standards. However, DOJ official David Margolis reduced the charges to "exercised poor judgment." This despite the fact that Yoo actually asserted to an Office of Professional Responsibility investigator than Bush's powers as commander-in-chief provided Bush with the authority to unilaterally order, without recourse to law, the mass murder of civilians.
Vick didn't get off with "exercised poor judgment." In US "justice," torturing dogs is a worse crime than torturing people.
In the US, if you torture a dog you go to prison, but if you are a member of the government you can give a green light to torture, and your reward will be to be appointed professor of law at the "liberal" University of California, Berkeley (Yoo) and to the federal bench (Bybee).
With so many executive branch known criminals running around at large, what did the lobbyists' representatives, aka the US Congress, do? They excoriated Charles Rangel, the black US Representative from Harlem.
What had Rangel done? Had he indulged in even more heinous acts of torture, rape, and murder than the executive branch officials? No. Rangel helped a school raise money, and as the school was going to name itself after him, Rangel "benefitted personally" from using the power of his office to help the school to raise money. Rangel also committed another grave crime. He used a New York apartment, which was designated for residential use only, as a campaign office. Rangel also failed to pay income tax on rent from a condo in the Dominican Republic, most likely an insignificant sum of which an 80-year old man run off his feet by his demanding job might not have been aware.
Because of these "serious crimes," the House Rules Committee concluded that Rangel brought discredit upon the House of Representatives.
I mean, really, how many things can you think of that are of less consequence than Rangel's transgressions? We have a Congress that is bought and paid for by lobbyists, whose every vote is lobbyist determined by campaign contributions that financially benefit the Representatives and Senators. But Rangel is guilty because he helped a school raise money?
We have a Congress that has forfeited its power to declare war and sits complicit while the president not only usurps its power but uses illegitimate power to commit war crimes by launching naked aggressions on the basis of lies and deception.
We have a Congress that turns a blind eye to criminal actions by the president, vice president, and executive branch, including violations of US statutory law against torture, violations of US statutory law against spying on Americans without warrants, and violations of every legal protection in the Bill of Rights, from the right of privacy to habeas corpus.
The hallmarks of the remade US legal system, thanks to the "war on terror," are coerced self-incrimination and indefinite detention or murder without charges or evidence.
"Freedom and democracy" America has resurrected the legal system of the Dark Ages.
But Rangel, who helped a school, is stripped of his Ways and Means chairmanship and censored by the bought-and-paid-for-Congress. One has the impression that Rangel must have done something far more serious, such as criticize the illegal wars or the banksters' rip-off of American taxpayers. Or do we simply have a case of white people ganging up on a black?
With the criminal mega-rich banksters, thanks to their agents ensconced in the US Treasury, regulatory agencies, and the Federal Reserve, free of regulatory oversight, on whose head does regulation fall? It falls on 13-year olds who sell cupcakes in public parks.
In Westchester County, New York, New Castle Councilman Michael Wolfensohn called the police on 13-year olds Andrew DeMarchis and Kevin Graff for selling cupcakes, cookies, brownies and Rice Krispie treats in a Chappaqua park. The kids were guilty of being vendors on town property without a license.
The kids were making about $100 a day and had capitalist dreams of starting a business. But regulation stopped them cold. A license cost between $150 and $350 for a scant two hours, and a $1 million insurance certificate is also required.
So banksters, who were able to purchase with campaign contributions, and who knows how much in under-the-table-payoffs, the repeal of the depression era banking regulations and then some, are scot free after having robbed taxpayers of bailout funds and their pension retirements. But the cupcake business of two 13-year olds is closed down.
What does it say about a population of 300 million that fails to see the hypocrisy in this?
Has a more insouciant population ever existed?
Dr. Roberts was appointed Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury by President Ronald Reagan. He served in the Congressional Staff of the House and Senate. He was Associate Editor and Columnist for the Wall Street Journal, columnist for Business Week, the Scripps Howard News Service, Creators Syndicate, and for major newspapers in France and Italy. He was Senior Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, for 24 years and occupied the William E. Simon chair of Political Economy in the Center for Strategic and International Affairs, Georgetown University for 12 years. Dr. Roberts has also had academic appointments at Virginia Tech, Tulane University, University of New Mexico, and George Mason University. He was a member of Merton College, Oxford University, during 1963-65. In 1969 he presented a Special University Lecture to the faculty and student body of Oxford University. He was awarded the US Treasury's Silver Medal in 1982 and the French Legion of Honor in 1987.
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