Tag Archives: Torture

The Horrific Life of the Police Officer

From: http://www.lewrockwell.com/crovelli/crovelli58.1.html

by Mark R. Crovelli

Recently by Mark R. Crovelli: The Trouble With Rick Santelli

 

Few people in the world seem to appreciate just how awful it is to be a government police officer. It’s not that the job involves particularly physically demanding work, or that the job is particularly dangerous. In fact, the work is not nearly physically demanding enough (as the cop fatness problem demonstrates), and neither is it particularly dangerous (being a cop doesn’t even make the top ten most dangerous jobs). Nor is the job terrible because of the unstated obligation to wear a tawdry mustache in public. Instead, what makes the job so horrific is the fact that it requires living a completely contradictory moral life.

Unlike normal human beings, whose jobs require adherence to the same moral standards that apply in their private lives, police officers are required to act in ways they would never even consider in their private lives. For forty hours a week (or more, if they are trying to milk their departments’ overtime rackets), police officers are required to forget the moral standards that govern their private interactions with their own friends, families and neighbors and adopt the moral outlook of the sociopath and the gangster.

Specifically, the job of the police officer involves giving orders to strangers and locking them up in cages if they choose not to obey. Unless the police officer is a complete sociopath, he would never consider acting in such a way in his private life. With his blue polyester in the closet, for example, the off-duty police officer would never consider putting his grandpa in a cage if he refuses to obey orders. He would never consider electrocuting his children or his grandmother for refusing to do what he tells them. He would never consider beating up his neighbor if she refused to stop her car and show a picture of herself embossed on government plastic. But he is expected to do precisely these types of things to people he doesn’t even know in his “professional” life if they refuse to do what he and his bosses tell them.

The fact that many, many police officers are indeed complete psychopaths should thus not come as a particular surprise. Indeed, the job is tailor made for the psychopath and the sociopath who is comfortable with feelings of cognitive dissonance. People with normally calibrated moral compasses would shudder to think that they would be required to lock people up in cages, electrocute them, or beat them with clubs for not doing as they are told. It would confuse and trouble the normal person to think that by putting on a blue polyester suit, mustache, and riding boots it was suddenly morally acceptable to order people around at the point of a gun (not to mention the icy shudder they would feel at the thought of wearing the ridiculous kit itself). It would horrify the normal person to think that part of his job involved smashing down strange people’s doors, taking their children, shackling them, locking them in cages, stealing their drugs and guns, and shooting them if they happen to resist.

The man with a normally calibrated moral compass is equally disturbed to contemplate that the purported justification for acting in these barbaric ways was that politicians, of all people, told them to. It is not as though God Himself or the Pope gives the police officer sanction to lock people in cages and to order them about. Quite the reverse, the sanction comes from people of such sterling moral character as the coke-snorting drunk driver, Bush II, and the drug-cartel-connected perjurer, Clinton I. The sociopath and the psychopath are not troubled by the fact that their only justification for ordering strange people around is that a pack of corrupt millionaires in Washington or Denver told them to, which is what makes such people sociopaths and psychopaths in the first place. The normal person, in contrast, is not willing to do things to other people that they clearly resent or despise, or to order them to do things they oppose, just because a politician says so.

The person with a normally calibrated moral compass would begin to wonder why the moral standards that govern his private life with friends and family, and which produce relative peace and harmony in that sphere of his life, do not apply to all situations. Why, the normal person will inevitably wonder, is there any peace in his family, when no one wears a special blue suit or has the right to order everyone around and shackle resisters? How is it possible that he can get along with his friends at the bowling alley, when none of them is assigned to break into cars to search for substances the politicians dislike, and none of them has a right to steal anyone else’s children? In short, the normal person will begin to wonder why the people who claim to “protect us” are not held to the same moral standards as everyone else.

The answer to these questions is simple, even if the person with a normally calibrated moral compass often cannot see it through the clouds of propaganda that have been spewed over police officers and politicians. The answer is, quite simply, that the defense of people’s lives and property is a job just like any other, and it ought to be provided on the free market just like every other good and service by people who are held to exactly the same moral standards as the rest of the civilized world. The uneasiness that the normal person feels when confronted with the existence of a group of fat blue-polyester-clad thugs who are not bound by normal moral standards is completely understandable and justified. There is no need for these thugs at all, and there is definitely no justification for exempting them from the moral standards we hold every other person to.

The provision of bread and chairs and computers does not require exempting anyone from moral standards, or empowering them to beat people up and order them around. All that is required is to open the door to competition, and people fall over backwards trying to please customers in their quest to make money. The same is just as true of defense services, which can and ought to be opened to competition between private providers so that consumers of these services can choose what kinds of defense services they want to purchase. In that case, the providers of the services can be held to exactly the same moral standards as everyone else. Their sole purpose would be to protect their customers’ lives and property – not to enforce arbitrary and unjust rules written by rich politicians on unwilling strangers.

The key to liberating the police officer from the contradictory and perverted moral life he currently leads is simply to privatize the provision of defense services. Freed from the need to push arbitrary and unjust rules written by rich politicians on strange people, the police officer would then be a moral equal to everyone else in the world who was striving to make money by serving consumers. He would also, one hopes, be liberated from the requirement to wear the most ridiculous bureaucratic costume ever devised by man.

March 24, 2011

Mark R. Crovelli [send him mail] writes from Denver, Colorado.

Copyright © 2011 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

The Best of Mark R. Crovelli


Call White House to Support Bradley Manning on 2/3/11

National White House call-in day to support Bradley Manning

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Thursday, February 3rd, 2011~ 9am to 5pm EST

White House Switchboard: 202-456-1414
(or the White House comments line after hours: 202-456-1111)

From the Bradley Manning Support Network

Call the White House Thursday, February 3, 2011, to voice your support for accused WikiLeaks whistle-blower US Army PFC Bradley Manning. Express your concern that Bradley’s human rights need to be respected by the Quantico, Virginia, brig authorities.

Bradley has been held in solitary confinement-like conditions for over eight months, and his trial is still months away. This American citizen-soldier has been convicted of no crime, yet continues to endure inhumane conditions of pre-trial confinement like no other inmate at the Marine Corps brig at Quantico.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs recently stated that the White House was not paying attention to Bradley Manning’s extreme confinement conditions, or the fact that recently pre-approved visitors of Bradley’s have been detained and interrogated by military police in order to block their scheduled visit. It is critical that we educate the White House of this ongoing injustice!

Recommended points to make:

US Army PFC Bradley Manning, the accused WikiLeaks whistle-blower being held at the Marine brig in Quantico, Virginia, is an American citizen who is innocent until proven otherwise. Yet, he has been subjected to continuous illegal pre-trial punishment since his arrest in May 2010. Based on these abuses alone, Manning should be freed pending court martial.

Military pre-trial confinement is supposed to be about ensuring a soldier’s presence at court martial, yet for eight months now Manning has been subjected to extreme pre-trial punishment through the arbitrary use of rarely applied regulations–specifically the “maximum security classification” and the “prevent of injury” order. If he is not freed pending court martial, then at the very least, Manning’s human rights need to be respected, and the illegal pre-trial punishment must end.

The arbitrary restrictions placed on Manning–and no other inmates at Quantico–mean that: Manning is allowed no meaningful physical exercise, he is allowed no social interaction with other inmates, he is kept in his cell at least 23 hours per day, and he is not allowed out of his cell without restraints.

If the charges against him are true, they actually show that Manning is a patriot acting to advance an informed democracy. There is no allegation that Manning did anything but share truthful information with the American public regarding the realities of our nation’s ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, with absolutely no benefit to himself, in order to spark public debate regarding foreign policy.

The Bradley Manning Support Network: www.bradleymanning.org

Sign-up the “Stand with Bradley Manning” public declaration: www.standwithbrad.org

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Bradley Manning and the Rule of Law

2011-01-11                                                                                                                                                         

By Kevin Zeese

The case of Private Bradley Manning raises legal issues about his pre-trial detention, freedom of speech and the press, as well as proving his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Putting aside Manning’s guilt or innocence, if Bradley Manning saw the Afghan and Iraq war diaries as well as the diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks what should he have done? And, what should be the proper response of government to their publication?

A high point in the application of the rule of law to war came in the Nuremberg trials where leaders in Germany were held accountable for World War II atrocities. Justice Robert Jackson, who served as the chief prosecutor in the Nuremberg trials while on leave from the U.S. Supreme Court, said “If certain acts of violation of treaties are crimes, they are crimes whether the United States does them or whether Germany does them, and we are not prepared to lay down a rule of criminal conduct against others which we would not be willing to have invoked against us.”

One of the key outcomes of the Nuremberg trials was that people who commit war crimes or crimes against humanity will be held accountable even if they were following orders.  This is known as Nuremberg Principle IV which states: “The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him.” The Nuremberg principles were enshrined in a series of treaties.

How do the Nuremberg Principles and other laws of war apply to Bradley Manning?

What is a person who does not want to participate in war crimes or hiding war crimes supposed to do when he sees evidence of them? If Manning hid the evidence would he not be complicit in the crimes he was covering up and potentially liable as a co-conspirator? These were questions that Bradley Manning allegedly wrestled with.  According to unverified chat logs Manning, talking with Adrian Lamo on email, asks: “Hypothetical question, if you had free reign over classified networks for long periods of time… say, 8-9 months… and you saw incredible things, awful things… things that belonged in the public domain, and not on some server stored in a dark room in Washington DC… what would you do?”  . . .

In Iraq, Manning was ordered “to round up and hand over Iraqi civilians to America’s new Iraqi allies, who he could see were then torturing them with electrical drills and other implements.” Manning questioned the orders he was being given to help round up Iraqis and brought his concerns to the chain of command. He pointed to a specific instance where 15 detainees were arrested and tortured for printing “anti-Iraqi literature” he found that the paper in question was merely a scholarly critique of corruption in the government asking “Where did the money go?” He brought this to his commander, who told him to “shut up” and keep working to find more detainees. Manning realized he “was actively involved in something that i was completely against…”

He wrestled with the question of what to do.  According to the unverified chat logs with Lamo Manning told Lamo that he hoped the publication of the documents and videos would spur “worldwide discussion, debates, and reform.”  He went on to say, “I want people to see the truth… regardless of who they are… because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public.”  The command structure would not listen, so Manning went beyond them to the people who are supposed to control the military in our democratic republic. He wanted Americans to know the truth.

In the chat logs, Lamo asked Manning why he did not sell the documents to a foreign power.  Manning realized he could have made a lot of money doing so, but he did not take that path. He explained: “it belongs in the public domain – information should be free – it belongs in the public domain – because another state would just take advantage of the information… try and get some edge – if its out in the open… it should be a public good.”  These are not the words of a traitor, of someone out to hurt the United States, these are the words of someone trying to improve the United States, trying to get the country to live up to its highest ideals.

Manning is charged so far with three counts of unlawfully transferring confidential material to a non-secure computer, i.e. leaking state secrets.  Manning faces up to 52 years if convicted of these crimes and it is likely that he will be charged with additional offenses.  The charges against Manning end stating that Manning’s “conduct being prejudicial to good order and discipline in the armed forces and being of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces.”

Well, what exactly did the materials Manning allegedly leak show?

The video that is the focus of these initial charges is known as the Collateral Murder video. The video shows American soldiers in an Apache helicopter gunning down a group of innocent men, including two Reuters employees, a photojournalist and his driver, killing 16 and sending two children to the hospital. The video, which has been viewed by millions, shows initial blasts at the group killing and wounding people. U.S. forces watch as a van pulls up to evacuate the wounded. The soldiers again open fire from the helicopter, killing more people. A crew member is heard saying, “Oh yeah, look at those dead bastards.” But, that was not the end, journalist Rick Rowley reported that the man who they drove over had crawled out of the van and was still alive when the tank drove over him, cutting him in half.

Marjorie Cohn, who teaches criminal law and procedure, evidence, and international human rights law at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law, describes multiple war crimes from this single video.  First, targeting and killing civilians who do not pose a threat violated the Geneva Conventions. Second, when soldiers attacked the van attempting to rescue the wounded they violate the Geneva Conventions which allows the rescue of wounded.  Third, the tank rolling over the wounded man, splitting him in two, is a war crime and even if he were already dead disrespecting a body violates the Geneva Conventions.

The Collateral Murder video documents war crimes according to this legal expert on human rights law.  When Manning saw these war crimes, what should he have done?  Should he have covered up the evidence of potential war crimes?  Should he try to go up the chain of command – a strategy that he had already unsuccessfully tried?  If Manning did what he is accused of, he did the only thing that could stop these crimes from continuing.

Other documents Manning allegedly provided to WikiLeaks showed the 2009 Granai airstrike in Afghanistan, in which as many as 140 civilians, including women and children, were killed in a U.S. attack. The Australianreported that the airstrike resulted in “one of the highest civilian death tolls from Western military action since foreign forces invaded Afghanistan in 2001.”  The Afghan government has said that around 140 civilians were killed, of which 93 were children – the youngest 8 days old – 25 were women and 22 were adult males.  The U.S. military had said that 20-30 civilians were killed along with 60-65 insurgents.

Allegedly, Manning released hundreds of thousands of documents to WikiLeaks who, working with traditional media outlets has released a small percentage of them.  He left it to journalists to decide what was appropriate for release. The small percentage of documents released show widespread and systemic abuses in U.S. foreign policy and in the conduct of wars.  WikiLeaks documents including the Iraq andAfghanistan War Logs and the diplomatic cables show:

-        That U.S. troops kill civilians without cause or concern and then cover it up (more examples of hiding civilian killings here, here and here) including killing reporters;

-         The CIA is fighting an undeclared and unauthorized war in Pakistan with Blackwater mercenaries;

-        The President of Afghanistan is not trustworthy, that Afghanistan is rife with corruption and drug dealing;

-        The Pakistan military and intelligence agencies aid Al Qaeda and the Taliban;

-        The U.S. looks the other way when governments it puts in power torture;

-        The diplomatic cables also show that beyond the war fronts that Hillary Clinton has turned State Department Foreign Service officers into a nest of spies who violate laws to spy on diplomats all with marching orders drawn up by the CIA;

-        That Israel, with U.S. knowledge is preparing for a widespread war in the Middle East, keeping the Gaza economy at the brink of collapse and show widespread corruption at border checkpoints.

These are a few examples among many. The documents published by WikiLeaks, allegedly provided to them by Manning, are of critical importance to understanding that U.S. foreign and military policy is not what Americans are told.  No doubt historians, human rights lawyers, academics and others will be reviewing these documents and reporting in greater detail the systemic nature of the unethical and often illegal behavior of U.S. foreign policy.  This already has the world looking at the United States with new eyes.

Experience inside the U.S. military turned a young man from Oklahoma who believed in America into someone who doubted it.  Manning believed in American freedom, especially economic freedom and believed the United States played a positive role in the world. He wanted to serve his country. In doing so he became someone who questioned the leadership of the nation, its foreign policy and its conduct of wars.  He saw war crimes, violations of law and constant deception. After much soul searching he decided that the quest for a more perfect union required him to share this information.

Justice Robert Jackson, during his Opening Address at the Nuremberg Trials, said: “If we can cultivate in the world the idea that aggressive war-making is the way to the prisoner’s dock rather than the way to honors, we will have accomplished something toward making the peace more secure.” Bradley Manning joins in this enlightened viewpoint and is working to make peace more secure and the United States a better nation.

A mature American leadership, rather than prosecuting Manning, would encourage an honest debate about U.S. foreign policy. Thomas Jefferson warned that “oppressions are many” and that for the people to govern we should “leave open . . . all the avenues to truth.” Manning has provided an avenue to truth where we can look honestly at our government and dramatically change direction. Enlightened leadership would renounce blackmail, threats and spying of foreign officials, as well as torture and war.

Instead Manning is suffering a fate Thomas Jefferson warned about: “Most codes extend their definitions of treason to acts not really against one’s country.  They do not distinguish between acts against the government and acts against the oppressions of the government.” Manning has been sitting in solitary confinement for seven months awaiting trial.  He is suffering this fate for the betterment of the nation.  People who care about the United States and our impact on the world should stand with Bradley and work to transform American foreign policy away from militarism and toward one where we work cooperatively with nations for the advancement of all.

To stand with Bradley visit: Stand With Brad.

To prevent prosecution of WikiLeaks visit: WikiLeaksIsDemocracy.org

Kevin Zeese is executive director of Voters for Peace is a member of the Steering Committee of the Bradley Manning Support Network and WikiLeaksIsDemocracy.org.

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America’s Torture Doctrine

Saturday, September 11, 2010


John Galt
Activist Post

The new mainstream American value of torture is steeped in self-deception, legal justification, and propaganda.  We idolize torturers in our favorite TV programs, and are happy to see our enemies (real and imagined) vicariously taken apart in order to protect our beacon of freedom.  It is an Orwellian undertaking.  Only a massive propaganda effort and a healthy dose of self-delusion can explain poll numbers that show a split verdict on the subject of torture’s legitimacy, when it has been proven to be completely unreliable in true intelligence gathering — not even when a “Jack Bauer” is working against a ticking bomb.  We must conclude, then, that it is a type of blood sport, or a self-righteous power trip that expresses itself in the sheer enjoyment
of the punishment inflicted against evildoers.
Long before there was Jack Bauer to hold a blow torch to someone’s chest, there was the blood-soaked march across the ages, and the planet, inspired by fundamentalist religions.  Sacrifices to Gods eventually waned, Inquisitions passed, and formal witch trials disappeared, to be supplanted by a new type of faith:  The State.

The slaughters conducted by Stalin, Mao, and other decidedly Left governments, were not to be outdone by the iconoclasts of the Right.  It is a cynical admission, but it seems that torture has been around so long, and in so many forms, that it is part of who we are.  Evidently, we are easily whipped into a frenzy of self-righteousness that will not stop until the torture apparatus is turned upon the screaming body politic.  By then, it is too late.  The next generation is left to evaluate what could have led to such horrendous mass insanity.

The melting pot of modern America would seem immune to a torture doctrine; each ethnicity has their own history of horrific religious or State persecution. Many times, the arrival to America was an escape toward a nation of sound laws and founding documents that elevated the individual rights they sought.  Could it be that a nation built by rugged individuals simply cannot believe that their government could become a tyranny similar to those they fled?  And, yet, the evidence of history is clear:  any government that uses torture never stops with the initial target of revenge.  It becomes a point of no return, past which no one is immune.  And, sure enough, today we see the progression from overseas non-citizens, to American citizens overseas, then citizens on American soil, and now we learn of a new bipartisan Domestic Terrorism Agency that will set up the new parameters for the sweeping inclusion of both action and thought for main street America.

But we are a nation of laws, right?  Wrong.  The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has sided with the most bloodthirsty, well-documented, torture gang on the planet — the CIA.  They have ruled that the secrets of the State are more important than the rights of the individual.  Openly.  Until this point, the research and actions of the CIA have been clandestine, hidden under jungle canopies, and given plausible deniability by their black ops missions.  So, down the slippery slope we slide to a place where torture has become a mainstream debate.  This era will not be one looked upon fondly in the annals of American history.

In our hearts, we know what torture is.  We don’t need the ACLU to define it for us, nor for Jack Bauer or the courts to convince us that there are certain exclusions.

Torture is this

Medieval waterboarding used on a heretic or witch by the Catholic Church



And this

Waterboarding Demo
U.S. Government will not release photos or video of actual sessions


And this
Our Legacy?

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