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What I find striking is the many ways that Americans are conditioned like Nazi Germans. On the one hand, in their discourse, they insist on following the law (and by “law”, they mean American laws!). So much so that when there is a law that would prevent American secret agencies from breaking laws regarding American citizens, that is, the national sphere of laws, these agencies must find a way to break the law secretely or to bypass the law through justifications, or to take advantage of legal loopholes, for example, all these secret courts and decisions for mass surveillance. In other words, they allege to the populace that they are “following the law” while behaving in a criminal way. But they must pretend to follow the “rule of law”.

On the other hand, Americans clearly state that they will break all laws in every other country if they want, for purposes of “national security”, “spying”, etc. In other words, the attitude is that they can disregard the rule of law completely once the sphere moves from internal to external. Yes, they justify acting in a criminal way internationally by pretending it’s to “catch bad guys”, but still they believe they are entitled to be criminals as they please. Internally they must pretend to be “following the law”, externally, no pretense is necessary.

It’s very Nazi.

See this article from National Review for a clear example:

 

Fred Fleitz March 7, 2017 3:06 PM @fredfleitz
According to press reports, WikiLeaks today released thousands of highly classified CIA documents on methods the CIA allegedly is using to conduct cyber warfare. If these documents are legitimate, this illegal release will ruin cyber programs worth billions of dollars that the CIA was using to do battle with America’s enemies, especially terrorist groups.
The CIA officer who took the law into his or her hands to release this material justified this release by claiming this data “urgently need to be debated in public, including whether the CIA’s hacking capabilities exceed its mandated powers and the problem of public oversight of the agency.” The source also said he or she “wishes to initiate a public debate about the security, creation, use, proliferation and democratic control of cyberweapons.”
What nonsense. If the traitor truly believed this program violated U.S. law or endangered the privacy rights of America, there are numerous legal avenues he or she could have used, including the CIA inspector general and the House and Senate intelligence committees. CIA officers take an oath to protect classified national-security information. Such a massive illegal disclosure in violation of the CIA secrecy oath is not an act of courage or whistleblowing, it was “a Snowden” — an act of cowardice by a disgruntled individual who never should have been hired by the CIA.
This disturbing development raises three urgent questions about mismanagement of the CIA during the Obama administration. Why did CIA have a cyber-warfare office at all? I noted in a December 2016 NRO article that there are cyber-warfare offices in four separate intelligence agencies. I suspect this is because different intelligence agencies all wanted to cash in on funding opportunities on a high-profile topic. Such overlap is getting worse and make U.S. intelligence more bureaucratic and less efficient. The new leaker may very well have been hired as a result of CIA Director Brennan’s decision to lower standards for CIA hiring because he wanted to create a more diverse CIA workforce and Brennan rushed to staff his new cyber office. I wrote about this in Investor’s Business Daily in 2015. It also reportedly has been difficult for the U.S. government to find personnel to staff cyber offices who can meet the agency’s usual security requirements. This probably is why Edward Snowden was hired despite his lack of a college degree and how he was able to increase his access to classified material and move between intelligence agencies despite his poor performance. …
A couple of points to note:
If these documents are legitimate, this illegal release will ruin cyber programs…
See the emphasis on the release being illegal, and not the fact that all these activities that the dump discloses are illegal around the world.
Then:
If the traitor truly believed this program violated U.S. law or endangered the privacy rights of America, there are numerous legal avenues he or she could have used, including the CIA inspector general and the House and Senate intelligence committees.
The pretense that corrupt secret agencies and politicians who deliberately state they can commit any crime they want in any country is the person to go-to in case there is a legal problem is downright funny. But still, there is the insistence on the lie that the US functions based on legitimate government officials.
programs worth billions of dollars that the CIA was using to do battle with America’s enemies, especially terrorist groups.
In other words, people that the CIA/Deep State wants to persecute without any regard to the rule of law anywhere, and who, by the history of the US, are usually the people fighting for basic human rights, health care and education, and democracy, in countries ruled by US-sponsored dictators.
I noted in a December 2016 NRO article that there are cyber-warfare offices in four separate intelligence agencies. I suspect this is because different intelligence agencies all wanted to cash in on funding opportunities on a high-profile topic. Such overlap is getting worse and make U.S. intelligence more bureaucratic and less efficient.
But this is what happens when you have a country of greedy and corrupt individuals in a monstrous capitalist system. Everyone wants to take part of the graft. Corruption grows because it meets no resistance, only like-minded individuals.
And why four different cyber-warfare offices? Well, unlike the author, the first and foremost one, I would say, is the greed – imagine just how much public money you can be given on a silver platter, without ever having to behave ethically or show results of any kind?  And then there is the mafia aspect. These people have all understood they are above the law since the American public is content to look the other way. The public is happy with a sham of an oversight. So multiple offices means they each work for a “mafia” head, having to answer to that political/elite faction only. It’s like ancient Rome.
Finally:
Heads should roll over this leak.
But, notice, not over the entire criminal activity of the CIA and other military and secret agencies.
American capitalism – corrupt to the core.

 

 

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Good article on TAC:

The Wholesale Failure of American Foreign Policy

How long will the people permit it?

 

 

The contemporary mission of the US armed forces is to make military contractors rich. As an addendum the foreign policy elite use the military to scare the world into political alignment with the US. How did this happen? The American people flat out don’t care and therefore the media just goes along with the corrupt government on this endless gravy train. At no time has it been more true that “war is a racket” as Gen. Smedley Butler noted long ago. In my view, the National Security State is our largest unit of organized crime.

[Amen.]

This comment is actually priceless in the bolded parts:

TG says:

Ah, but Hillary Clinton is ‘qualified’ to be president, and Donald Trump is ‘unqualified.’ Why? Because Clinton has been deemed ‘qualified’ by the New York Times, and she has been engaged with echo-chamber think tanks for decades that keep telling her how great she is, and she has been mucking about in government for over two decades, and anyhow she’s a woman. So even though Trump says a lot of sensible things, and has a track record of (mostly) succeeding with large complex projects in a very competitive business environment (and even when he fails he knows how to cut his losses), and he appears to care more about the national interest than selling out for personal gain, obviously we can’t vote for him, because racism.

[ 🙂 Well, since Trump is running on a Republican ticket, he’ll just end up being another neo-con just like Hillary. The fools wanting to vote for him are just as clueless as the Hillary fans.]

Karl R Kaiser says:

It’s only a failure if you believe the government’s STATED strategic purposes.

But if the purpose of our foreign policy is to enrich the military industry, bankers, oil barons, and opium importers, to empower Israel, and to frighten Americans into accepting a paramilitary surveillance state, then voila, American foreign policy is an unqualified success.

Douglas K. says:

I echo other comments here. Current policy is a failure only if you’re concerned about American lives, civil liberties, security, prestige, international reputation, military preparedness … stuff like that. You know, the metrics of success that normal people use.

But if the actual goal is to maintain permanent low-level foreign and domestic threats to justify continued massive military expenditures and the perpetual expansion of the security state, then it’s all working perfectly. The “war on terror” is like the “war on drugs” in that the point is to fight it forever, not to win. After all, the money is in the fighting. “Victory” — perpetually undefined and therefore unachievable — would end the gravy train.

Anarcissie says:

The US leadership/elite/ruling class decided that it had to rule the world, to make the world safe for itself and its interests, back during World War 2, and created a system to do that. It is now generally referred to as ’empire’. All arrangements eventually come to an end, and we are now coming to the end of this particular arrangement. It might be objectively possible for our leaders to try to work up a new arrangement, but my guess is that in their sentimental attachment to power and glory, they will just keep doing the same things until some catastrophe brings the sad game to an end. The present election seems to bear out this pessimistic view.

There was an excellent article on Tom Dispatch on this very question.

Excerpt below:

What Does It Mean When War Hawks Say, “Never Trump”?
The Enemies of My Enemy May Be War Criminals
By Rebecca Gordon

…we just heard from 50 representatives of the national security apparatus, men — and a few women — who served under Republican presidents from Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush. All of them are very worried about Donald Trump.

They think we should be alerted to the fact that the Republican standard-bearer “lacks the character, values, and experience to be president.”

That’s true of course, but it’s also pretty rich, coming from this bunch. The letter’s signers include, among others, the man who was Condoleezza Rice’s legal advisor when she ran the National Security Council (John Bellinger III); one of George W. Bush’s CIA directors who also ran the National Security Agency (Michael Hayden); a Bush administration ambassador to the United Nations and Iraq (John Negroponte); an architect of the neoconservative policy in the Middle East adopted by the Bush administration that led to the invasion of Iraq, who has since served as president of the World Bank (Robert Zoellick). In short, given the history of the “global war on terror,” this is your basic list of potential American war criminals.

Their letter continues, “He weakens U.S. moral authority as the leader of the free world.”

There’s a sentence that could use some unpacking.

What Is The “Free World”?

Let’s start with the last bit: “the leader of the free world.” That’s what journalists used to call the U.S. president, and occasionally the country as a whole, during the Cold War. Between the end of World War II and the collapse of the Soviet Union, the “free world” included all the English-speaking countries outside Africa, along with western Europe, North America, some South American dictatorships, and nations like the Philippines that had a neocolonial relationship with the United States.

The U.S.S.R. led what, by this logic, was the un-free world, including the Warsaw Pact countries in eastern Europe, the “captive” Baltic nations of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, the People’s Republic of China (for part of the period), North Korea, and of course Cuba. Americans who grew up in these years knew that the people living behind the “Iron Curtain” were not free. We’d seen the bus ads and public service announcements on television requesting donations for Radio Free Europe, sometimes illustrated with footage of a pale adolescent man, his head crowned with chains.

I have absolutely no doubt that he and his eastern European countrymen were far from free. I do wonder, however, how free his counterparts in the American-backed Brazilian, Argentinian, Chilean, and Philippine dictatorships felt.

The two great adversaries, together with the countries in their spheres of influence, were often called the First and Second Worlds. Their rulers treated the rest of the planet — the Third World — as a chessboard across which they moved their proxy armies and onto which they sometimes targeted their missiles. Some countries in the Third World refused to be pawns in the superpower game, and created a non-aligned movement, which sought to thread a way between the Scylla and Charybdis of the U.S. and the Soviet Union.

Among its founders were some of the great Third World nationalists: Sukarno of Indonesia, Jawaharlal Nehru of India, Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, and Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt, along with Yugoslavia’s President Josip Broz Tito.

Other countries weren’t so lucky. When the United States took over from France the (unsuccessful) project of defeating Vietnam’s anti-colonial struggle, people in the U.S. were assured that the war that followed with its massive bombing, napalming, and Agent-Oranging of a peasant society represented the advance of freedom against the forces of communist enslavement. Central America also served as a Cold War battlefield, with Washington fighting proxy wars during the 1980s in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua, where poor campesinos had insisted on being treated as human beings and were often brutally murdered for their trouble. In addition, the U.S. funded, trained, and armed a military dictatorship in Honduras, where John Negroponte — one of the anti-Trump letter signers — was the U.S. ambassador from 1981 to 1985.

The Soviet Union is, of course, long gone, but the “free world,” it seems, remains, and so American officials still sometimes refer to us as its leader — an expression that only makes sense, of course, in the context of dual (and dueling) worlds. On a post-Soviet planet, however, it’s hard to know just what national or geographic configuration constitutes today’s “un-free world.” Is it (as Donald Trump might have it) everyone living under Arab or Muslim rule? Or could it be that amorphous phenomenon we call “terrorism” or “Islamic terrorism” that can sometimes reach into the “free world” and slaughter innocents as in San Bernardino, California, Orlando, Florida, or Nice, France? Or could it be the old Soviet Union reincarnated in Vladimir Putin’s Russia or even a rising capitalist China still controlled by a Communist Party?

Faced with the loss of a primary antagonist and the confusion on our planet, George W. Bush was forced to downsize the perennial enemy of freedom from Reagan’s old “evil empire” (the Soviet Union) to three “rogue states,” Iraq, Iran, and North Korea, which in an address to Congress he so memorably labeled the “axis of evil.” The first of these lies in near ruins; the second we’ve recently signed a nuclear treaty with; and the third seems incapable of even feeding its own population. Fortunately for the free world, the Bush administration also had some second-string enemies to draw on. In 2002, John Bolton, then an undersecretary of state (and later ambassador to the U.N.), added another group “beyond the axis of evil” — Libya, Syria, and Cuba. Of the three, only Cuba is still a functioning nation.

And by the way, the 50 Republican national security stars who denounced Donald Trump in Cold War terms turn out to be in remarkably good company — that of Donald Trump himself (who recently gave a speech invoking American Cold War practices as the basis for his future foreign policy).

“He Weakens U.S. Moral Authority…”

After its twenty-first century wars, its “black sites,” and Guantánamo, among other developments of the age, it’s hard to imagine a much weaker “moral authority” than what’s presently left to the United States. First, we gave the world eight years of George W. Bush’s illegal invasions and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as CIA torture sites, “enhanced interrogation techniques,” and a program of quite illegal global kidnappings of terror suspects (some of whom proved innocent of anything).  Under President Obama, it seems we’ve traded enhanced interrogation techniques for an “enhanced” use of assassination by drone (again outside any “law” of war, other than the legal documents that the Justice Department has produced to justify such acts).

When Barack Obama took office in January 2009 his first executive order outlawed the CIA’s torture program and closed those black sites. It then looked as if the country’s moral fiber might be stiffening. But when it came to holding the torturers accountable, Obama insisted that the country should “look forward as opposed to looking backwards” and the Justice Department declined to prosecute any of them. It’s hard for a country to maintain its moral authority in the world when it refuses to exert that authority at home.

Two of the letter signers who are so concerned about Trump’s effect on U.S. moral authority themselves played special roles in “weakening” U.S. moral authority through their involvement with the CIA torture program: John Bellinger III and Michael Hayden.

June 26th is the U.N.’s International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. To mark that day in 2003, President Bush issued a statement declaring, “Torture anywhere is an affront to human dignity everywhere. The United States is committed to the world-wide elimination of torture, and we are leading this fight by example.”

The Washington Post story on the president’s speech also carried a quote from Deputy White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan to the effect that all prisoners being held by the U.S. government were being treated “humanely.” John Rizzo, who was then the CIA’s deputy general counsel, called John Bellinger, Condoleezza Rice’s legal counsel at the National Security Council, to express his concern about what both the president and McClellan had said.

The problem was that — as Rizzo and his boss, CIA director George Tenet, well knew — many detainees then held by the CIA were not being treated humanely. They were being tortured or mistreated in various ways. The CIA wanted to be sure that they still had White House backing and approval for their “enhanced interrogation” program, because they didn’t want to be left holding the bag if the truth came out. They also wanted the White House to stop talking about the humane treatment of prisoners.

According to an internal CIA memo, George Tenet convened a July 29, 2003, meeting in Condoleezza Rice’s office to get the necessary reassurance that the CIA would be covered if the truth about torture came out. There, Bellinger reportedly apologized on behalf of the administration, explaining that the White House press secretary had “gone off script,” mistakenly reverting to “old talking points.” He also “undertook to [e]nsure that the White House press office ceases to make statements on the subject other than [to say] that the U.S. is complying with its obligations under U.S. law.”

At that same meeting, Tenet’s chief counsel, Scott Muller, passed out packets of printed PowerPoint slides detailing those enhanced interrogation techniques, including waterboarding, so that Bellinger and the others present, including Rice, would understand exactly what he was covering up.

So much for the “moral authority” of John Bellinger III.

As for Michael Hayden (who has held several offices in the national security apparatus), one of his signature acts as CIA Director was to approve in 2005 the destruction of videotapes of the agency’s waterboarding sessions. In a letter to CIA employees, he wrote that the tapes were destroyed “only after it was determined they were no longer of intelligence value and not relevant to any internal, legislative, or judicial inquiries.”

Of course destroying those tapes also meant that they’d never be available for any future legislative or judicial inquiry. The letter continued,

“Beyond their lack of intelligence value… the tapes posed a serious security risk. Were they ever to leak, they would permit identification of your CIA colleagues who had served in the program, exposing them and their families to retaliation from al-Qaeda and its sympathizers.”

One has to wonder whether Hayden was more concerned with his CIA colleagues’ “security” from al-Qaeda or from prosecution. In any case, he deprived the public — and any hypothetical future prosecutor — of crucial evidence of wrongdoing.

Hayden also perpetuated the lie that the Agency’s first waterboarding victim, Abu Zubaydah — waterboarded a staggering 83 times — was a crucial al-Qaeda operative and had provided a quarter of all the information that the CIA gathered from human subjects about al-Qaeda.  He was, in fact, never a member of al-Qaeda at all. In the 1980s, he ran a training camp in Afghanistan for the mujahedin, the force the U.S. supported against the Soviet occupation of that country; he was, that is, one of Ronald Reagan’s “freedom fighters.”

Bellinger later chimed in, keeping the Abu Zubaydah lie alive by arguing in 2007 on behalf of his boss Condoleezza Rice that Guantánamo should remain open. That prison, he said, “serves a very important purpose, to hold and detain individuals who are extremely dangerous [like] Abu Zubaydah, people who have been planners of 9/11.”

“He Appears to Lack Basic Knowledge About and Belief in the U.S. Constitution, U.S. Laws, and U.S. Institutions…”

That’s the next line of the open letter, and it’s certainly a fair assessment of Donald Trump. But it’s more than a little ironic that it was signed by Michael Hayden who, in addition to supporting CIA’s torture project, oversaw the National Security Agency’s post-9/11 secret surveillance program. Under that program, the government recorded the phone, text, and Internet communications of an unknown number of people inside and outside of the United States — all without warrants.

Perhaps Hayden believes in the Constitution, but at best it’s a selective belief. There’s that pesky 4th Amendment, for example, which guarantees that

“[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Nor does Hayden appear to believe in U.S. laws and institutions, at least when it comes to the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which established the secret courts that are supposed to issue exactly the sort of warrant Hayden’s program never requested.

John Negroponte is another of the signers who has a history of skirting U.S. laws and the congress that passes them. While ambassador to Honduras, he helped develop a murderouscontra” army, which the United States armed and trained to overthrow the government of neighboring Nicaragua. During those years, however, aid to the contras was actually illegal under U.S. law.  It was explicitly prohibited under the so-called Boland Amendments to various appropriations bills, but no matter.  “National security” was at stake.

Speaking of the Constitution, it’s instructive to take a look at Article 6, which states in part that “all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land.” Such treaties include, for example, the 1928 Kellogg-Briand non-aggression pact (whose violation was the first charge brought against the Nazi officials tried at Nuremberg) and Article 51 of the U.N. charter, which permits military action only “if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations.”

In 1998, Robert Zoellick, another of those 50 Republicans openly denouncing Trump, signed a different letter, which advocated abrogating those treaties. As an associate of the Project for a New American Century, he was among those who urged then-President Bill Clinton to direct “a full complement of diplomatic, political, and military efforts” to “remove Saddam Hussein from power.” This was to be just the first step in a larger campaign to create a Pax Americana in the Middle East. The letter specifically urged Clinton not to worry about getting a Security Council resolution, arguing that “American policy cannot continue to be crippled by a misguided insistence on unanimity in the UN Security Council.”

“He Is Unable or Unwilling to Separate Truth From Falsehood…” 

So says the letter, and that, too, offers a fair characterization of Trump, who has often contended that President Obama has never proved he was born in the U.S.A., and has more than once repeated the long-disproved legend that, during the 1899-1913 Morro Rebellion in the Philippines, General John J. Pershing used bullets dipped in pig’s blood to execute Muslim insurgents. (And that’s barely to scratch the surface of Donald Trump’s remarkable unwillingness to separate truth from falsehood.) What, then, about the truthfulness of the letter signers?

Clinton never bit on the PNAC proposal, but a few years later, George W. Bush did. And the officials of his administration began their campaign of lies about Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction, yellow cake uranium from Niger, and “smoking guns” that might turn out to be “mushroom clouds” (assumedly over American cities), all of which would provide the pretext for that administration’s illegal invasion of Iraq.

The Bush administration didn’t limit itself to lying to the American people. U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Negroponte was dispatched to the Security Council to lie, too. Security Council Resolution 1441 was the last of several requiring Iraq to comply with weapons inspections by the United Nations Monitoring, Verification, and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Some members of the Council, especially Russia and France, were hesitant to approve 1441, fearing that the U.S. might interpret it as a license to invade. So, in the discussions before the vote, Negroponte assured the Security Council that “this resolution contains no ‘hidden triggers’ and no ‘automaticity’ with respect to the use of force. If there is a further Iraqi breach, reported to the Council by UNMOVIC, the IAEA or a Member State, the matter will return to the Council for discussions.” The British ambassador used almost identical words to reassure the Council that, before attacking Iraq, the United States and Britain would seek its blessing.

That, of course, is hardly what happened. On February 24, 2003, Washington and London did bring a resolution for war to the Security Council.  When it became apparent that two of its permanent members, France and Russia, would veto that resolution if it came to a vote, Bush (in consultation with British Prime Minister Tony Blair) decided to withdraw it. “We all agreed,” he wrote in his memoir, that “the diplomatic track had reached its end.”

And so the U.S. was on its foreordained path to war and disaster in Iraq, the path that after much winding, much failure, and much destruction would lead to Donald Trump.

So much for keeping promises and separating “truth from falsehood.”

====end of excerpt====

Rebecca Gordon, a TomDispatch regular, teaches in the philosophy department at the University of San Francisco. She is the author of American Nuremberg: The U.S. Officials Who Should Stand Trial for Post-9/11 War Crimes (Hot Books). Her previous books include Mainstreaming Torture: Ethical Approaches in the Post-9/11 United States and Letters from Nicaragua.

Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook. Check out the newest Dispatch Book, Nick Turse’s Next Time They’ll Come to Count the Dead, and Tom Engelhardt’s latest book, Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World.

At least in terms of scale. Of course, in terms of widespread lack of character, it’s like all of the worse offenders in history, current and past.

Reuters: The United States Army’s finances are so jumbled it had to make trillions of dollars of improper accounting adjustments to create an illusion that its books are balanced.

The Defense Department’s Inspector General, in a June report, said the Army made $2.8 trillion in wrongful adjustments to accounting entries in one quarter alone in 2015, and $6.5 trillion for the year. Yet the Army lacked receipts and invoices to support those numbers or simply made them up.

As a result, the Army’s financial statements for 2015 were “materially misstated,” the report concluded. The “forced” adjustments rendered the statements useless because “DoD and Army managers could not rely on the data in their accounting systems when making management and resource decisions.”

================

And did you notice how this information was worded?

The United States Army’s finances are so jumbled

Jumbled? The proper word is corrupt. To the core. And what would “materially misstated” really mean in ‘As a result, the Army’s financial statements for 2015 were “materially misstated,” the report concluded’? Perjury?

The abject failure that is this co-called democracy and its capitalist system.

 

 

 

 

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