Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 29, 2018

British Parliament Confirms 'Conspiracy Theory' - Torture and Renditions Continue

On December 13 2005 the British Secretary of State Jack Straw was questioned by the British Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs about illegal "renditions". Straw responded:

Unless we all start to believe in conspiracy theories and that the officials are lying, that I am lying, that behind this there is some kind of secret state which is in league with some dark forces in the United States, and also let me say, we believe that Secretary Rice is lying, there simply is no truth in the claims that the United Kingdom has been involved in rendition full stop, because we have not been, and so what on earth a judicial inquiry would start to do I have no idea.

Those who believed in that 'conspiracy theory' were right, finds the British Parliament:

Britain’s intelligence services tolerated and abetted “inexcusable” abuse of terrorism suspects by their American counterparts, according to a report released by Parliament on Thursday that offers a wide-ranging official condemnation of British intelligence conduct in the years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
...
The committee documented dozens of cases in which Britain participated in sending suspects to other countries that were known to use torture or aided others in doing so — a practice known as rendition.

There has still not been a judicial inquiry into the issue. The parliament report notes that the British government blocked access to relevant documents and prohibited the questioning of many witnesses the parliament inquiry wanted to hear.

Ambassador Craig Murray, who blew the whistle on British complicity in torture in Uzbekistan, notes:

Theresa May specifically and deliberately ruled out the Committee from questioning any official who might be placed at risk of criminal proceedings – see para 11 of the report. The determination of the government to protect those who were complicit in torture tells us much more about their future intentions than any fake apology.

In fact it is impossible to read paras 9 to 14 without being astonished at the sheer audacity of Theresa May’s attempts to obstruct the inquiry. They were allowed to interview only 4 out of 23 requested witnesses, and those were not allowed “to talk about the specifics of the operations in which they were involved nor fill in any gaps in the timeline”.

There is also evidence that the British MI6 outsourced illegal operations to other countries or agencies:

Although British policy prohibited rendition, the committee found, British agents repeatedly aided other countries in sending suspects to places where there was a high probability they would be mistreated. In three cases, it reported, the British paid, or offered to pay, for renditions; in 28, they “suggested, planned or agreed to rendition operations” conducted by others; and in 22, they provided intelligence to enable a rendition to take place.

The United Nations considers such extraordinary renditions to be crimes against humanity. Neither the U.S. nor the United Kingdom has held anyone but a few grunts accountable for their involvement in these crimes.

Murray concludes:

The British state has since repeatedly acted to ensure impunity for those involved, from Blair and Straw down to individual security service officers, who are not to be held responsible for their criminal complicity. This impunity of agents of the state is a complete guarantee that these evil practices will continue.

It seems that impunity is part of the "western values". The CIA, MI6 and the myriad of "special forces" under this or that name continue to use these illegal practices.

The United Arab Emirates were just found to torture random Yemenis in its prisons in south Yemen. U.S. special forces and CIA interrogators are present:

Hundreds of men swept up in the hunt for al-Qaida militants have disappeared into a secret network of prisons in southern Yemen where abuse is routine and torture extreme — including the “grill,” in which the victim is tied to a spit like a roast and spun in a circle of fire, an Associated Press investigation has found.
...
Several U.S. defense officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the topic, told AP that American forces do participate in interrogations of detainee.

Prisoners get isolated, threatened with dogs, waterboarded and more:

They raped detainees while other guards filmed the assaults. They electrocuted prisoners' genitals or hung rocks from their testicles. They sexually violated others with wooden and steel poles.
"They strip you naked, then tie your hands to a steel pole from the right and the left so you are spread open in front of them. Then the sodomizing starts," said one father of four.

The U.S. defense establishment claims that none of its soldiers are "present" when actual torture happens. It also put bridges on sale. The CIA declined to comment to AP.

Some of the chaps the Saudi-UAE alliance or its al-Qaeda allies round up are brought onto (U.S.?) ships off the Yemeni coast where U.S. personal - special forces, CIA agents or their contractors - 'interrogate' these prisoners. To say that they directly torture them is - Jack Straw would say - a conspiracy theory.

Unless some court finally takes up the issues and throws some higher ranking officers and politicians into prison for committing these crimes nothing of this will change.

Posted by b on June 29, 2018 at 10:48 AM | Permalink

Comments
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Read Murray's blog entry prior to b's, and it's extremely damning. The May government must be thrown out and the notables from all post-911 UK governments must be charged with over the crimes they've committed--including the obstruction of those crimes investigations. This report also shows we ought to consider Skripal Affair as 100% falsehood as the May government has less than zero credibility on anything, which is one of the reasons it must be tossed. I wonder if there're enough Corbynites capable of unseating the "Blue Tories" to bring a new revitalized People's Labour Party back into power so that justice can be served.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 29, 2018 11:39:28 AM | 1

This is consistent with the treatment of all leaders since Bush, who accelerated and increased the number of abuses. Obama covered, Blair and May covered up, etc. We must "look to the future, not the past" when it comes to the crimes committed by governments and their lackeys, but ordinary criminals, often from poor backgrounds with no employment future, must pay and pay and pay.

Posted by: WorldBLee | Jun 29, 2018 11:46:12 AM | 2

WorldBLee @2--

No, such impunity has existed within all Western imperial governments since 1492. And if we go further back in time, almost every government would be deemed guilty of crimes against its own populous under current laws--Criminality mostly driven by Greed.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 29, 2018 12:16:23 PM | 3

craig murray and b are to be commended for addressing this ongoing issue..

we're back to the issue of accountability and again - nothing has changed..as karlof1 and worldblee note - this must be addressed and someone must be held accountable for this, or it will continue.

so - is the uk trying to be like the uae/ksa of the north? maybe they could take up headchopping as well? i am not sure what country is more backward - uk or usa... in this race to the bottom, both countries are fully supportive of these regressive regimes in uae/ksa and fully onside with the war on yemen which they must profit from in order for them to justify it... for me - justifying murder and mayhem based on profit is a sign of a really sick culture, but it is fully embraced by many of the so called democratic western countries, including the one i live in - canada... as far as leadership is concerned - there is a huge gap and no one is speaking out on any of it in the political spectrum as i know of... meanwhile we have to thank b and craig murray for shining a light on this as a constant reminder of just how backward the so called civilized countries are here in 2018..

Posted by: james | Jun 29, 2018 12:16:26 PM | 4

and - theresa may is a complete sleazeball.. trump isn't much different or he would be addressing this too...

Posted by: james | Jun 29, 2018 12:18:54 PM | 5

Do you remember the day when "rendition" referred to a version of a song?

How sad the vile leaders of the Western civilization have made life for half of humanity.

It's 'highly likely' that we are at the apex of perversity. History records how empires fall, and parallels are clear, as the pus seeps from the pores of the Beast.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Jun 29, 2018 1:00:45 PM | 6

Great thanks for shining a light on this horrific abuse of human dignity: torture.

Posted by: Guerrero | Jun 29, 2018 1:01:19 PM | 7

Is there any propaganda analyst as sharp as b from Moon of Alabama in alternative media? Please list his colleagues so I can add to my favourites. Thank you:)

Posted by: Sharon | Jun 29, 2018 1:01:44 PM | 8

What else to expect from "Christian colonialists" but hypocrisy and double speak!

“Many commit the same crime with a very different result. One bears a cross for his crime; another a crown.” ― Juvenal, The Satires

Posted by: ex-SA | Jun 29, 2018 1:02:55 PM | 9

substitute bush and cheney for blair and straw... same deal..

https://mobile.twitter.com/BrookesTimes/status/1012654000909574145/photo/1

Posted by: james | Jun 29, 2018 1:20:36 PM | 10

There are two aspects of this Christian Colonial (Western) clusterfuck which are particularly galling for The People in whose name these crimes are committed:

1. Torture was used to extract false confessions.
2. Most Christian Colonial wars are fake wars against weak, or weakened, countries for 2 streams of Private Profit using Public Funds.
----(a) The M-IC makes vast profits from Weapons (win or lose).
----(b) Their wealthy Friends & Relatives get first pick of the spoils of Looting, at a big discount.

Western looting of Libya netted "someone"(s) more than $1 Trillion in gold and currency reserves alone.
Iraq lost historical artifacts of inestimable value.
The Friends & Relatives crowd will be perpetually pissed with Putin for ruining Christian Colonialism's plan to loot Damascus.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 29, 2018 1:23:08 PM | 11

I hate to add another layer of shit on a very deep pile, when it comes to my u k but ! Could the academics here take a look at the time lines concerning the last general election and referendum compared to the 3 terrorist attacks about the same time. That is what kept may in power! Compare to for instances the fake Salisbury incident and east Douma Chem incident. All same patten ! I dug deep but don't let me influence enyone. To add, look at the timing of the grenfail tower fire, re election. I'l just leave this here.

Posted by: Mark2 | Jun 29, 2018 1:45:03 PM | 12

Talking about fake wars, bombing functioning ME countries back to the Stone Age and looting them, and "Israel" being a vociferous promoter of the Iraq & Syria Fake Wars, does anyone know how 'lootable' Iran is?
Rumour says that Iran has very ancient roots and one imagines it may have artifacts going back 5000+ years, although I've never heard them talked about.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 29, 2018 2:03:06 PM | 13

Another astonishing thing about all this is the "liberal" media MSM or however you choose to call the corporate establishment press has always gone along with all the coverups. But things have changed and things are changing.

There is a not quite parallel story to this. The child separations - did you ever hear from the corp. media about the 5,100+ children separated from their families in 2011 by Obama. Nor much about how Obama had deported more than Trump at this point in his term.

I try to follow press from several countries and what I notice now is that EVEN MODI is moving away from the US. The general views is - hay, we want to trade and get along we want development but we have to deal with this big pain in the ass we have to spend a lot if time and energy dealing with the US that we could use for development.

Trump is doing the world a favor by bringing all the criminal behavior of the US into the open, its been there all along.

The liberal press which is hounding Trump over the issue now were silent for a decade when "liberals" were in power have a Pyrrhic victory, it will come back on them.

If this trade crazy stuff drives Modi to join the B&R the US commercial/corporate global empire is well and truly over.
Let us appeal to the gods.

Posted by: Babyl-on | Jun 29, 2018 2:12:11 PM | 14

All the talk and no walk. b should be commended for shining a light on it but the populations in general could care less. In fact most believe it's necessary for their s-a-f-e-t-y,,, at least that's what the government(s) implies.

Until that changes,,, nothing will change.

Posted by: ken | Jun 29, 2018 2:43:29 PM | 15

The average USA citizen is - in his or her mindset, quite militaristic and quite thoughtless. Can't think past his own ballsack. They applaud the new specially-market parking spaces for combat-wounded veterans at Sonny's BBQ. Quasi-military symbolism and indoctrination on kids tv shows. Really sickening.

The foolhardy argument that the death-mongering Military and Military Veterans have done anything to "defend the country" OR (even more stupid) "defend our freedom" is totally invalid, but this allegory is widely accepted as a fact. Cannot be broached.

If there exists any hope at all for humanity's sake, it is a slim one.

Posted by: fastfreddy | Jun 29, 2018 3:17:03 PM | 16

"The U.S. defense establishment claims that none of its soldiers are "present" when actual torture happens. It also put bridges on sale. The CIA declined to comment to AP."

This is most likely a true statement (of sorts) by the US DoD, b. When military special operators are used in covert ops or borrowed for spook work, their authority* no longer comes from being DoD 'soldiers' under Title 10, but from Title 50 as 'special operators' or whatever. They are no longer considered 'US military' at that point - at least for operational security and public relations purposes. The US government will never publicly acknowledge anything about any Title 50 operations or U.S. soldiers' participation except that "...no U.S. military personnel were involved." And that kind of an admission will only come if they are forced to acknowledge the existence of specific covert operations at all, as in this case.

I'm told that some brain trust in the U.S. Congress - well known for it's superb moral and ethical standards - keeps an eye on all these kinds of operations. I am shocked... utterly shocked to hear these accusations. I demand a thorough internal investigation!

*authority isn't legally or technically correct - the finer points highlighted in this discussion of drone use.

Remember, democracy can only thrive when [redacted per 1.4(b); 3.3(b)(1)]

Posted by: PavewayIV | Jun 29, 2018 3:20:37 PM | 17

PavewayIV @17--

Ah yes, good ole plausible deniability. One wonders how the Roman oligarchy would have behaved with modern weaponry. Not much differently from US/UK it would appear.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 29, 2018 3:31:03 PM | 18

karlof1 @1:

The "lifers" in government have already lost all credibility. Relying on these public relation agents for change is a waste of time. I often think of the current state of government with a house damaged from toxic levels of mold and heavy infestation of termites. There is a point where the home cannot be saved, requiring demolition.


Hoarsewhisperer @13:

I'm sure there's an artifact here or there. But the important thing is that they have oil. So, Iran is very 'lootable'.

Posted by: Ian | Jun 29, 2018 3:31:13 PM | 19

12 Mark - So you are saying that instead of going all Falklands with a real war, May is going with false flags and lies; cheaper and no lives lost, only reputations.

16 Fastfreddy - We are also being distracted by the technology that brings us closer to the avalanche of celebrities that brighten our lives. Will we reach such a thing as "peak celebrity"?

Posted by: Bart Hansen | Jun 29, 2018 3:40:30 PM | 20

Bart Hanson@ 20
What I'm suggesting is on the contrary plenty of life's have been lost! But you can buy a rebel of the shelf now. Don't forget 'they know the price of everything and the value of nothing' we surly see that by now! Check out the time line it says it all! Here at m o a we studyed Salisbury incident, think peaces of a jig-saw puzzle! What if a year early they'd got away with a massive psyc-op winning a gen election ! Like criminals or monkeys if you find a trick that works you tend to do it time and time again ! Modus operandi!!!

Posted by: Mark2 | Jun 29, 2018 4:01:19 PM | 21

I don't want to put too much of a fine point on it but we seem to be at that juncture of attempted civilization where we are trying to get beyond the Might-Makes-Right way of top level control

This torture/rendition story reminds us that civilization is a concept, not a given expectation of behavior

And for those wailing about how bad government is. Its like I keep writing about Americans, we aren't all bad but most are brainwashed, bullied and coddled to the point of entitlement delusion. We need government but one that works for the 99% and not the 1%

Will humanity further adopt civilized precepts or drive the Might-Makes_Right meme to extinction?

Stay tuned.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jun 29, 2018 4:07:46 PM | 22

My rule of thumb is that all "conspiracy theories" are true, excepting only the physically impossible ones.

Posted by: Mike P | Jun 29, 2018 4:08:39 PM | 23

Loot is only a side benefit for post WWII wars and no doubt before. Oil is energy and energy means power to those that control it. UK, French, US have fucked the MENA region over simple for control of the oil. Working to prevent communism, socialism, democracy and pan Arab movements which are all a threat to FUKUS control of MENA, and then pulling the same dirty tricks on each other. Russia has its own all and through the soviet era seems to have only dabbled in the region. China needs to import energy and so the great power game of controlling or denying access to energy continues.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 29, 2018 4:14:35 PM | 24

karlof1 @ 3 said"Criminality mostly driven by Greed."

james @ 5 said: "trump isn't much different or he would be addressing this too..."

Two bottom line truths, that are apparent...

As always, profits "trump" humanity. How to change that mindset? I for one, don't know, but, the so called "religious" among us, should ask themselves that same question. IMO, religion is, as practiced, mostly crowd control..

Posted by: ben | Jun 29, 2018 4:15:18 PM | 25

Mike P@ 23
I like that one a lot !
The return I use when so accused is --- I don't trust the polatition's , I don't trust banks or police and if you use the term conspiracy theory I don't trust you! I find it usually helps to point ya finger at'm ha ha. It was I think the c I a who coined the phrase to discredit the person telling the truth about there
Warm regards !

Posted by: Mark2 | Jun 29, 2018 4:26:07 PM | 26

psychohistorian "we seem to be at that juncture of attempted civilization where we are trying to get beyond the Might-Makes-Right way of top level control"

The internet may have a lot to do with that. prior to the internet, the average person only had the local fish wrap or a talking head on TV. Other cultures, other countries we were attacking largely unkown. Those 'others', them and us type of thing. Now we can watch videos of say Russian officials or Syrian president and can access sites like b's blog and others. The US military kicked it off and although they and the brits and others use it to pump out a lot of propaganda, we can also use it to access accurate information.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 29, 2018 4:45:03 PM | 27

The great power game is why there is continuity of government policy in the 'US west' no matter who is elected. Within the great power game democracy in the west is meaningless.
with USA's new found oil independence, the direction they take may change from the last 70 years or so.
Another recent change is the rise of current Russia and their vision of a multi polar world, also the rise of China. If the US is changing how it plays the game, then the Brit players may be getting desperate. They are now small players but unlike the US do not have an oil reserve. This may be the reason the brits have ramped up the propaganda to the ridiculous and also why they have attempted to take down Trump.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 29, 2018 5:16:04 PM | 28

The Report considers the UK to have been a 'junior partner' in the renditions mess. Still, the actions or non-actions involved seem extremely culpable even with the redactions and code names supplied. It is now on the government record that such actions or non-actions happened. And pretty significant that the 'senior partner' has been named.

The report only deals with 9/11 detainees, their torture (mistreatment) and rendition. A whole lot more needs to be looked at with respect to the proliferation of wars that have happened since, beginning with Iraq. Are we at the beginning of an international judgement scenario? Many were complicit, some under duress, but some were indeed partners in crime.

Posted by: juliania | Jun 29, 2018 5:29:10 PM | 29

ben @25--

"How to change that mindset?"

I've always been impressed by the various religiously driven groups that I'd classify as "Levelers," named for the group of English Puritans that tried to influence Cromwell's course during the English Civil War and were decimated for their efforts--leveling being the process of eliminating all classes and replacing them with just one massive group having equal incomes and living circumstances. Unfortunately, hierarchies are Natural, so it will be impossible to rid society of them, but they can be harnessed for the greater good. How? one might ask. Well, a priori, a particular sociocultural organization and supporting philosophy's required. Currently, one does exist: Iran.

Before rejecting that notion out-of-hand, I request this detailed description about how one major facet of Iran's socio-economy works be read. As you begin, you'll see that the item is but one of a series explaining the uniqueness of Iran's political-economy and why it's deemed a threat--it's an amazing example of what's possible. The only way I know of to alter mind-sets is through education amplified by personal experience.

In a comment to ken that got swallowed by The Cloud, I pointed to a recent poll showing US citizen support for torture that proved the misinformed nature of the public responding to the poll. Too bad it was swallowed. IF the US citizenry was actually educated on the matter of torture, it would be opposed by a wide margin. And IMO, what sets Iran apart from the Outlaw US Empire the most is the knowledge of its citizenry--Iran is far and away superior--and the actual level of debate on a multitude of issues within the polity.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 29, 2018 5:33:37 PM | 30

"The world is thirsty for love , I will appease it ». A. Rimbaud. The world is thirsty for intelligence, and B. provides a great deal of it. Thank you so much.

Posted by: Alain | Jun 29, 2018 5:43:38 PM | 31

Peter AU 1 @28--

The US still depends heavily on oil importation--it is not "independent" in any manner whatsoever. Here's the most current data while this chart shows importation history since 1980.

As I've said before, the only time a biological or economic entity can become energy independent is upon its death when it no longer requires energy for its existence.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 29, 2018 5:51:08 PM | 32

karlof1 32

What I am looking at are strategic reserves, not how much oil is currently produced. With shale it now has those reserves and shale oil I think is now at the point where production could quickly ramp up to full self sufficiency if required. Even if the US were producing as much oil as they consumed, they would still be importing crude and exporting refined products.
A big part of the US move into the middle east post WWII was that they needed a strategic reserve for time of war and also they could see US consumption growing far larger than US production.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 29, 2018 6:11:54 PM | 33

@33 Nope -- the biggest issue with "unconventional" hydrocarbon reserves is the difficulty inherent in extracting them. They have a low EROEI (Energy Return On Energy Invested) and it is slow, difficult and expensive to raise the rate of production. Even huge reserves are quite limited in this respect -- see Athabasca in Canada or the Orinoco Belt in Venezuela and the massive capital investments necessary to achieve even relatively modest rises in flow rate. There's simply no way they can just "ramp up" production of additional millions of barrels per day.

Posted by: Ash | Jun 29, 2018 7:35:14 PM | 34

US oil consumption

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 29, 2018 7:51:21 PM | 35

@#39 ex-SA

What else to expect from "Christian colonialists" but hypocrisy and double speak!

Like Ian Henderson in Kenya before Independence and then was "loaned" to Bahrain until he retired - those poor Shi'a political prisoners must have had to endure a lot like the Kenyans.
Was knighted by the Queen !

Posted by: Yul | Jun 29, 2018 7:53:35 PM | 36

I hit post by mistake @35 will try again.

Over three years US virtually doubled its oil production only stopped by the oil price crash. If US production increase continued on the same trajectory, it would only take six years before US was producing as much as it consumed. Technology has increased making shale oil cheaper to extract and wells last longer. Apparently the shale oil is also cheaper to refine.
With less costs and increased prices, shale is again very profitable.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 29, 2018 8:03:46 PM | 37

@22 Psychohistorian

"We need government but one that works for the 99% and not the 1%"

You got a mouse in your pocket?

Governments are the problem.

There have been and always will be murderers, rapists and thieves. Government cannot improve your life, it only obstructs the natural cycles of growth and decay by instilling fear in its attempts to define appropriate behavior. It is the silliest thing in the world to me, to accept that someone else's unsolicited point of view is superior to mine own. If I need to know something, or need some help, I am intelligent enough to ask. When I see someone doing something ineffectively or inefficiently, I am gracious enough to offer assistance. I do not need a government to define what I can or cannot do.

Do you?

Really?

What purpose does a government serve? Please share.

Please provide one reason I need a government.

Silly fucking people.


TIA

b4real

Posted by: b4real | Jun 29, 2018 8:27:08 PM | 38

38

How would a country work if there were no government? who would provide the stuff that all people use, roads and things like that. Who gets to to track down crooks, ensure law and order. Who organizes defense if your country is attacked. medical? We just leave it to private enterprise?

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 29, 2018 9:15:08 PM | 39

Peter@38

Without a government, you become a stone-age society.

Posted by: dh-mtl | Jun 29, 2018 9:21:57 PM | 40

@Peter AU 1 #28 Thank you for that stimulating post. I just have to respond. And thanks to b and all the commenters here, it is my daily goto post.

The USA of WAR may have oil independence but it is temporary. The race is on for release from oil dependency and China intends to win in my view. It is setting ambitious targets to move to electric vehicles and mass transit. That will give it a technology dominance, and perhaps a resource dominance in the EV sphere. We are in the decade of major corporate struggles and defensive maneuverings around China investments in key EV sectors.

In ten to twenty years’ time the energy story could well be significantly different. The USA and its coterie of killers are still fighting yesterday’s war, yesterday’s hatred of all things Russian, yesterday’s energy monopoly.

I don’t believe that the USA of WAR has changed or even intends to change the way they play their ‘game’. The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade set the trajectory for technology transfer, fabrication skills transfer, growth of academic and scientific achievement in ‘other’ countries (China, Russia etc). Their thoughts in the GATT deal were trade = economics = oligarchy = good.

That single fraud on the west has had catastrophically perverse consequences for the coterie of killer’s future and all because the designers of GATT had never thought outside the square of economics and failed utterly to grasp the gift of scientific and manufacturing politics.

By gross ignorance and foolish under-investment, the USA of WAR and its coterie of killers have eaten their future at their people’s expense.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jun 29, 2018 9:25:02 PM | 41

karlof1 32

This is the chart for US exports of crude and petroleum products.
https://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/hist/LeafHandler.ashx?n=PET&s=MTTEXUS2&f=M

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 29, 2018 9:25:04 PM | 42

Mark2 @ 26

I think you are right about the CIA coining the term. And if someone goes to the trouble to denigrate a specific idea as a "conspiracy theory" and to pay for forum trolls, Wikipedia hacks and other astroturf, then the old rule "no smoke without fire" seems like a reasonable starting point.

Cheers, M.

Posted by: Mike P | Jun 29, 2018 9:28:55 PM | 43

From Robert K. Massie's "Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman"

Catherine's words in English Translation:

"What right can give anyone authority to inflict torture upon a citizen when it is still unknown whether he is innocent or guilty? By law, every person is innocent until his crime is proved…The accused party on the rack, while in the agonies of torture, is not master enough of himself to be able to declare the truth…The sensation of pain may rise to such a height, that it will leave him no longer the liberty of producing any proper act of will except what at that very instant he believes may release him from that pain. In such an extremity, even an innocent person will cry out, “Guilty!” provided they cease to torture him…Then the judges will be uncertain whether they have an innocent or guilty person before them. The rack, therefore, is a sure method of condemning an innocent person whose constitution is weak, and of acquitting the guilty who depends upon his bodily strength."

Massie adds: “Catherine also condemned torture on purely humanitarian grounds: ‘All punishments by which the human body might be maimed are barbarism,’ she wrote.”

And unfortunately I can't find the pertinent Macaulay quote in my chaos here but in his essay on Francis Bacon, who lived at the time of Shakespeare (and indeed is identified by some as a suspect in the 'who actually wrote Shakespeare's stuff' sleuthing industry) I recall that Macaulay deemed a very great failing in Bacon that Bacon still believed in torture.

So this progress thing has been going rather badly for us in many ways, a trillion-ish plastic bags in the ocean, tens of millions of bags of radioactive material piled up neatly in Japan after Fuksushima, and torture all the rage. What will they think of next? Perhaps robot soldiers in space, with a variety of killing and maiming technology, and programmed to be good judges of character. Now there's a bad idea. Coming to our planet soon.

Posted by: Robert Snefjella | Jun 29, 2018 9:35:18 PM | 44

@30 karlof1

Thank you. You offer three man points in three paragraphs.

To the second, that Iran offers a view into different possibilities for social organization, I'll completely agree and also add China, Cuba, Venezuela and quite probably the Philippines as more examples of societies that are getting on with the task of trying to create a better way to live.

In the west, we have become weighed down with failure and corruption. Bright spots around the world show us that the human adventure continues with no depletion of futuristic energy. This is wonderful. More than this, these are examples to watch and to learn from. It is no longer our century, we in the west. Time for us to collapse, and settle to stillness, and listen and learn, and eventually come to know how to be alive again. This will take many decades, to do the job right.

..

To your first paragraph, I don't hold that hierarchies are Natural, but mine is the Buddhist view that understands all the 84,000 ways that sentient beings can be in error, and that has a teaching for the right course through each one of them. I'll leave it at that, for now, but if I am accused of optimism I promise that at my eventual trial I can bring much evidence in support of this position ;)

..

As to your third paragraph - I agree that the people of the US are not especially different from any people. They form their attitudes based on their information, and then they parse their information based on their attitudes. All this is completely changeable. None of this is hard-wired in any way. People can change, and do change, and this is why propaganda is a full-time effort that does not dare to take one day off, lest the unruly joy of the living people overrun it with truth and celebration. This is actually encouraging.

~~

You've been busy with your reading list, to give us the good links, and I've been busy keeping up with commenters like Daniel, who never sleep ;) But I have been waving a hand in passing across the threads, and I noticed your outlaw comment the other day. Greetings.

Posted by: Grieved | Jun 29, 2018 9:40:37 PM | 45

Peter AU 1, dh-mtl

Secure transaction histories provided by blockchain (same technology as Bitcoin) allows for internet-based direct democracy.

Under such a system, there will still be the need for government services like police, fire, inspection, schools, etc. but many (all?) of these can be outsourced. Auditors can report on their compliance/progress. Auditors can be themselves be audited, and a "government" that is responsive to the people would also support whistle-blowers instead of f*cking them over.

Direct democracy could greatly increase efficiency of public services and make government respond to the people instead of oligarchs and industry groups.

Defense? LOL! What is popularly termed "Defense" is offensive to the intelligence of any critical thinker.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 29, 2018 9:49:10 PM | 46

Jackrabbit'I don't know much about blockchain but blockchain democracy sounds good.
Defense as in a force that only defends a country's sovereign territory, not this so called defending a country's interests which is no more than a politically correct term for aggression.
Diplomacy as a first line of defense.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 29, 2018 9:58:40 PM | 47

MLK would say the first line of defense is justice.

He also said: "Those who love peace must learn to organize as effectively as those who lover war."

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 29, 2018 10:19:17 PM | 48

justice is also a word with two or more meanings. It can be used for revenge, or for making decisions based on all peoples concerns/ensuring that the weaker or minority are treated fairly.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 29, 2018 10:26:46 PM | 49

As far as the torture goes which is what this thread is about, there are no rules in war and great power machinations. It is a bare knuckle fight with no rules and no referee. The winner writes history and dispenses 'justice'.
The problem for the west is we have been conditioned into thinking we always fight fairly and are somehow better than those 'others'. Because of this, the fact that the anglo west is perhaps the dirtiest of the fighters in the no rules great game needs at all costs to be kept covered.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 29, 2018 11:00:08 PM | 50

Peter AU1:

justice is also a word with two or more meanings
I think everyone knows what MLK meant by "justice".

As far as the torture goes which is what this thread is about ...
IMO any discussion of torture, by anyone but the purveyors, is meaningless absent some notion of "justice".

And the thread had already gone off-topic via a discussion of whether people could live without a formal government.

The winner writes history and dispenses 'justice'.
A bit too bleak, I think. MLK, Putin, and others have successfully challenged the 'winners' and their history.

-

PS I'm not trying to be difficult. I agree with some other things you've written @47, 29, 50.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 29, 2018 11:20:03 PM | 51

Typo: 47, 49, 50

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 29, 2018 11:20:50 PM | 52

@39 Peter
In the early days of the usa, corporations were founded for a limited time and a limited purpose. If people needed a bridge or a road a corporation was founded for that specific task. Once the task was complete, the corporation was disbanded and people went back to doing what they do. Today corporations exist in perpetuity and have powers that regular person do not although corporations are 'legal persons'. A corporation can own another corporation, I cannot own another person, (lucky for some ladies I might desire.) Corporations don't get jailed, even when they kill.

Law & Order: If someone commits dirt in the neighborhood, they get disappeared or ostracized, and because there is seldom one victim, no one is going to put too much energy into the details. Today, many crimes are unsolved, the wrong person is jailed and sometimes they get the right guy. My thinking is cheaper, more efficient and probably going to be more accurate in dispensing justice among any group of free people. We have persecution of people based on the color of their skin prevalent throughout the government system of justice.

Who makes the laws? I don't have laws, I have respect.

Who organizes defense? The attacked. Even with hundreds of years of 'civilized' government we have not managed 20 years without a war somewhere. As long as there are three people on the planet there will be wars. It is our nature.

It is saddening that so many feel the need to delegate their decision making to people who don't give a damn about them and have ulterior motives, always. I choose to live free of others' perfidy and believe everyone hads the right to spend THEIR time the way they choose as long as they do not interfere with any others right to do so..

Posted by: b4real | Jun 29, 2018 11:21:44 PM | 53

To clarify (for the few that may not be fully aware), MLK's "justice" was based on a common moral sense - very different from the divisive identity politics practiced by today's Democratic Party.

MLK criticized segregation AND the Vietnam War.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 29, 2018 11:33:54 PM | 54

b4real
It is not so much a delegating of authority but having someone to mediate between views and find a solution that is acceptable to all. This is applicable to small communities through to nations and relations between nations.
You mention corporations being put together for specific tasks by communities what about projects that are far larger than one or two communities and require the pooled resources of the nation?

Direct democracy that Jackrabbit brought up is, I think the answer, where the people decide on every decision and government would then consist of management and workers for projects that direct democracy decided on.
Defense though, if a nation were attacked from outside, there is no time for voting and stuff. Due to human nature every nation must always have a standing defense force that can react quickly. The size of the standing force and risk of attack would depend on the geo-political situation at any given time.
A community the size of a village or small town can operate with no government. People can get together for a meeting decide on something and put aside a day or two to build a public project, but that changes if a number of villages or towns want to start working together for their common good. That then requires a standing body to act as mediator and to carry out projects that are agreed to by all, though in a democracy, this would be projects agreed to by the majority.

Jackrabbit and b4real, the only glitch I see in democracy is accuracy of information. The further removed from village life where everyone knows everyone else, the more people rely on second hand information and the easier it becomes to slip in propaganda.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 30, 2018 12:00:03 AM | 55

by: dh-mtl |@40

Without a government, you become a stone-age society.

This is true, lets skip that about doing without government; i don't think anyone here is seriously
proposing the disposal of government altogether; third world people look to the government hoping
to able to apply for a benefit and, of course, they do receive certain benefits of the government.

The people hope for more government assistance than already have, often enough that is very little,
still: schools, roads, health services, potable water, trash disposal and drainage, all of these are
functions of a modern society; all this does NOT need to be re-invented, something else is missing.

by: Peter AU 1 @49 justice is also a word with two or more meanings. It can be used for revenge, or for making decisions based on all peoples concerns/ensuring that the weaker or minority are treated fairly.

... it may depend upon if someone has embraced his destiny, or not... pending is the proclamation of a new beautiful state of justice ... the dreamed of state ... freedom of action ... freedom of thought ... freedom of speech ... with a central government always seeking understanding and agreements ... and especially with the fringes of the population ...

Posted by: Guerrero | Jun 30, 2018 1:44:40 AM | 56

b4real @ 38, 53:

Belgium had no national government from June 2010 to October 2011. While the country still functioned during that time, people still paid their rates and taxes, electricity, gas and water supplies still kept going, and local crooks still were arrested, tried and sent to jail, the country could make no new laws or change existing ones.

Suppose during that time the country had been invaded or an important treaty with a neighbouring country had expired? Suppose also a major criminal network with branches in every province or state had been busted and people were demanding that someone take action to stop the criminal network from operating across the country?

A national government is needed to approve going to war (or using diplomacy instead of war to force the invaders to leave); to approve signing a new treaty or refusing to sign a new treaty; and to debate and change the laws or hold a referendum so that citizens can vote whether the laws that enabled the crooks to operate should be changed or thrown out.

We can debate all we like about whether corporations should or should not be legal entities with the same rights as individuals, or if they should be treated differently and be bound by other laws and regulations. It's debatable though whether we can go back to the 1790s when corporations existed only for limited periods and purposes. If a corporation is founded only to build a bridge, and the corporation is disbanded once the bridge is built, then some time later part of the bridge collapses due to a fault in its construction, who is then responsible for the damage the collapse causes? The corporation no longer exists and not everyone in that corporation took part in building the bridge or making the decision to buy inferior materials that led to the fault. In such a case the community might have to lump the cost. Presto - the government (ie the community) has to shoulder and absorb the consequence of not having permanent or semi-permanent corporations.

Even in modern Western society corporations can still fail or end (through bankruptcy, merger or acquisition). I should know - once upon a time I used to work for Arthur Andersen before that firm became dog-meat as a result of the Enron financial records scandal.

Likewise someone commits dirt in the community and is ostracised. Where does that person go? If that person goes to another community and commits a crime there, is the original community liable in part for that person's crime? After all, if that person had been kept in your community in prison, that other community would not have suffered.

In communities where government is weak or non-existent, one crime could lead to reciprocal crimes being committed. This is how vendettas between families, clans or communities arise.

The thing is that even if we live on our own and believe we are not interfering with others' right to live, the decisions we make today can have consequences far away or far distant in the future. It's noteworthy that even Iceland, initially a place of ostracism for criminals and also a place of self-exile for individuals desiring more personal freedom, eventually found having a government and a system of laws necessary.

Posted by: Jen | Jun 30, 2018 2:04:04 AM | 57

...
IMO, religion is, as practiced, mostly crowd control..
Posted by: ben | Jun 29, 2018 4:15:18 PM | 25

To which one could add the Race and Colour angles.

Your observation caused me to experience a Déjà vu moment.
Back when I was around 10-ish I was in regular obligatory attendance at Sunday School to be taught (Christian) goodness. There was a small bunch of us who used to sit in the back row and dream up smart-arse remarks to get a few laughs at the Drivel Master's expense.

At that time there were a few cheap and sensational weekly pictorial mags called Pix, Post and People. Collectively, they frequently covered the crimes of the Klu Klux Klan, with quite graphic stories and photos of the aftermath of brutal KKK exploits. We thus learned that that KKK were Christian...

Anyhow, one of Sunday School's regular favourite Hymns was a ditty called Jesus Loves The Little Children.

Jesus loves the little child-ren,
All the children of the World.
Black and Yellow Red and White,
All the colours in his sight,
Jesus loves the little children of the world.

We members of the back seat peanut gallery were quite offended by the blindspot which condoned such blatant Official Hypocrisy and took great delight in replacing...

Black and Yellow Red and White,
All the colours in his sight,
with
White and White and White and White,
All the colours in his sight,

...and singing it as loudly as we could.

However, it wasn't until much later in life that I came to realise that the squalid conditions which The Church was saving black children from were imposed on them by Greedy White Expoiters whose plunder-fest was often, if not usually, preceded by Christian Missionaries who brought them Jesus and taught them to turn the other cheek and Get Out of the effing Way.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 30, 2018 2:17:56 AM | 58

Peter au 39

When I talk to Anarchist friends they ALWAYS go silent when I mention railways and the centralized planning to build and maintain them . Interestingly none of my mates move beyond the embarrassed silence to denouncing 'rail' as such !

Posted by: ashley albanese | Jun 30, 2018 2:49:08 AM | 59

Jesus Loves The Little Children as does the clergy, though perhaps in different ways.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 30, 2018 2:54:33 AM | 60

peter@37
"apparently the shale oil is also cheaper to refine" how so?

Posted by: m | Jun 30, 2018 3:29:49 AM | 61

Ramn Mazaheri from a link from kalrof 1 says

"Socialism is clearly based on two fundamental precepts: empowering the long-oppressed with democratic rights, and massive state-organised economic redistribution, which is anathema in capitalism. Thus, socialism is both a structure of government and an economic policy. Therefore, Iran certainly has socialism."

This might be the clearest definition of socialism I have read.

Obviously, redistribution is the main problem for neoliberal capitalists. In the 50's and 60's the west had the redistribution capitalist formula with capital controls and high taxes on the very rich which forced them to spend profits on expanding productive enterprises that produced jobs and benefits/wages that reduced corporate profits and corporate taxes, and a healthy middle class with spending power allowed their businesses to grow.

Globalism coupled with neoliberalism ended the Golden Age and those countries who try and reproduce social justice and reject globalism and free trade are sanctioned as enemies, or even worse, attacked or subject to regime change

Posted by: Pft | Jun 30, 2018 3:39:27 AM | 62

One other point. Even the neoliberal west has a good deal of socialism for the people, and a growing amount of corporate socialism. Basically its the unprofitable ventures that is socialized for the people. Anything that can turn a profit gets privatized even if it goes against the general welfare. Some of what used to be in the public domain is being privatized which is basically another form of socialism for the capitalists.

Posted by: Pft | Jun 30, 2018 3:46:02 AM | 63

Religion is a great tool to keep the peasants in line. Americans have fought and died for god and country. Genesis is an interesting read. Read the bible a few times when younger but found I could not believe in the supernatural.
But genesis goes back to the depths of the ice age, people develop to a level beyond hunting and gathering but then with sea level rise are kicked out of the garden of Eden, the lowest point in the basin that is now the Persian gulf, a refuge for a nucleus of people of that region in a very arid time.
Moving through to to last sea level rise that saw noah chuck his animals and family on a boat and wash up on the shores of the current day Iran. Last to leave the basin there was no country left for the taking so they wandered the mena region for yonks. Reading through exodus, you can see a religion develop, and as the religion develops there are many literary acrobatics need to be performed to be able to fit the oral history with the narrative. Similar to todays politicians jumping through the hoops and turning inside out to try and make narrative fit fact.

Apart from the death and destruction, the religion this tribe developed, and thaty spread throughout the world with the addition of prophets, has destroyed much oral history which goes back far beyond written history.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 30, 2018 3:50:07 AM | 64

61
Light sweet vs heavy sour. Light means it contains a lot of diesel/petrol. Sweet means low sulphur. Many oils are heavy sour. Canada sand. the stuff they get from that is thick bitumen with high sulpher. The sulpher needs to be removed and the bitumen broken down into light fuels like diesel and petrol.
Canada and the gulf monarchies are the only countries with large reserves that are not hostile as yet to the US. As the US no longer is totally reliant on imports to meet its consumption, Saudi's Bahrain and co are now expendable assets.
The great game for the US now is control or denial. Access to oil as a strategical critical resource is no longer a factor for the US.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 30, 2018 4:07:22 AM | 65

On light vs heavy oils. Outback Australia fuel is expensive apart from taxes on taxes due to transport costs. Go to Eromanga in southwest Queensland and diesel is cheap as chips. They pump the stuff straight out of the ground.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 30, 2018 4:13:12 AM | 66

“We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality – judiciously, as you will – we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.” Karl Rove.

The squealing and consternation coming from the UK indicates that the empire has changed course and the UK is left sitting on its own shit pile.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 30, 2018 4:30:22 AM | 67

Peter@ 67
I agree with your last point, the U.K. Is failing. What worrys me is , when it's our turn to sit in a leaky boat and cry for help, who the hell is going to come fish us out ! Enyone, enyone,help help

Posted by: Mark2 | Jun 30, 2018 4:51:47 AM | 68

Guerrero 56

Third world people look to the government hoping
to able to apply for a benefit and, of course, they do receive certain benefits of the government.

Really? That's funny, everywhere I've looked throughout my adult life I've seen the rich and big corporations looking to the government for benefits, and hoo boy do they get them.

People in general, and third world people in particular? Um, no, not so much. Actually Thomas Paine was right in the first place when he pointed out that the vast majority of people would be better off without governments and other trappings of centralized civilization, which of course are designed to subjugate the many to concentrate wealth, power, and luxury for the few.

Posted by: Russ | Jun 30, 2018 5:38:34 AM | 69

Ashley 59

When I talk to Anarchist friends they ALWAYS go silent when I mention railways and the centralized planning to build and maintain them . Interestingly none of my mates move beyond the embarrassed silence to denouncing 'rail' as such !

I do. The alleged benefit of centralized projects is far more often asserted than argued (as we see in this very thread), and when anyone does make an argument it's always standard corporate media style trickle-down lies. Meanwhile the wholesale destruction of the ecology and of actual human communities is self-evident.

Of course you're right about the self-contradiction of most anarchists, who themselves go in for the necropolitan "progress" cult of pyramids and such. That's one of the main reasons I gave up on anarchism.

Posted by: Russ | Jun 30, 2018 5:40:03 AM | 70

The ancient Athenians found a way to combine the virtues of direct and representative democracy. Most state positions were occupied by citizens chosen by lot for limited terms.

Posted by: lysias | Jun 30, 2018 7:44:29 AM | 71

Great find as usual by b, but I have to wonder: If the UAE-US torture prisons are part of the "hunt" for al-Qaeda, where does this fit with the later argument that the Saudi-UAE genocide machine and al-Qaeda are "allies"?

Posted by: fx | Jun 30, 2018 7:52:34 AM | 72

Thank you 'b' for this post.
It won't be the most 'trendy' subject or far from enjoyable. But qudos to you becouse of that fact. We need to be aware of just what our polatition's/establishment do and condone, before we vote for them!
There is a good Twitter site-#freedom from torture. Plus for enyone mesmerised by the decline of uk I recommend following daily- #Artist taxi driver. Look everyday and you'll know what you need to know about Britain. Great links to !

Posted by: Mark2 | Jun 30, 2018 8:16:46 AM | 73

Some thoughts on ‘Government’

1.Human societies are complex abstract systems.
2.The system is a set of rules (thus abstract) that govern how members of the society interact with each other, in order to collectively provide the necessities of life.
3.Government is the body (i.e. group of people) accepted by the members of the society at large to tend the system (i.e. to develop it, manage it, operate it, change it as required, etc.). Without a government there is no system, and no society.
4.Societies work best when the rules are set up to maximize the aggregate benefit of all members. This is best achieved when the members of the society collectively (i.e. democratically) choose the people (i.e. government) who develop and manage the rules that govern them.
5.Large societies require large complex systems. High societal performance requires high levels of complexity.
6.To function effectively, very large, highly complex abstract systems requires that authority be distributed throughout the system, and be based on the person’s role within the system.
7.The most important function of societal governance is to organize the production and distribution of the necessities of life for the society’s members, i.e. the economic system.
8. For those parts of the economic system that are not natural monopolies, markets are very effective tools for economic planning and organization.
9.Markets are, by definition, a set of rules. Markets work best when the rules are set by in an unbiased fashion to provide a fair playing field for all participants.

Some thoughts on what has gone wrong in the U.S.
1.The members of the U.S. society no longer collectively choose their leaders. Because the democratic system has been corrupted by money, a very small, very wealthy elite (many of them not even American), limit the choice to those who will serve the interests of the elite. The U.S. has turned into an ‘Oligarchic Dictatorship’. The turning point was the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980.
2.This ‘Oligarchic Dictatorship’ works for the benefit of the elites, not the aggregate benefit of the society as a whole. Thus the system (while optimized for the few) is, in aggregate, sub-optimized.
3.Dictatorships are based on centralized authority, where as complex systems require distributed authority. The U.S.’ oligarchic dictatorship, unable to handle complexity, tries to simplify the entire political-economic system. The result of trying to simplify the system, in order to make it compatible with centralized authority, is a system that increasingly fails to meet the needs of the people and is unable to effectively change and adapt as required to changing circumstances.
4.Market deregulation has not changed the fact that the markets are, by definition, a set of rules. It has only changed who makes the rules, from the government to market participants themselves. And in this case, as always, the ‘Golden Rule’ applies - he who has the gold makes the rules. And when market participants make the rules themselves, for the benefit of themselves, markets always tend towards monopoly. The U.S. economy is no longer a ‘Market Economy’ but rather a system of serial monopolies.

What can be done to redress the problems?
Until the people of the U.S. reclaim their democracy – Nothing!
The U.S.’ system of government is not the problem. The problem is that the system has been hi-jacked and turned from a democracy into an ‘Oligarchic Dictatorship’.

Posted by: dh-mtl | Jun 30, 2018 8:34:19 AM | 74

How much time and study have gone into the observations posted just in this one thread. Many Americans I meet just aren't able to investigate that much. I find most people in the small american town that I live in, are just intersted in exchanging banal pleasantries, which isn't too bad in its own way, but provincial perhaps at best.

And amongst all the current epoch's american instiutionally educated I feel there is a lack of some indefineable quality of "experience," which I just don't have the wisdom to grasp in its entirety, but I kind of think of it as some people, if they can't see it directly, they just aren't capable of comprehending it. If you were to try to explain it to them, in the manner of these posts, they would become irriated or bewildered, or think you were eccentric .

Unfortunately, it's this same principal used by individuals and corporations, governments, which is, if they don't tell you, it won't harm you and you won't ever know. It's here where there's a problem I think, because it's been my experience that to be kept in the dark, is far more harmful, then it is to have delusions upended, as painful as that might be.

Posted by: Geoff | Jun 30, 2018 9:00:34 AM | 75

"b" - I often wonder why such material gets so little exposure. We can no longer say that the media is controlled and the information is limited to a few, not when the information's just a keyboard click away. It's not just "them", whoever they are and if they exist at all, who stop us getting at it. It's we ourselves.

I'm compelled to the conclusion that many of us would simply rather not know. You mention Jack Straw, an English politician once prominent. One of the few people I've met, or seen on TV in this case, who just looked wrong somehow even at first sight. Such people have their function. They are the protective screen between such evils as you chronicle and us. I suspect many of us like it that way and would keep it so.

Posted by: English Outsider | Jun 30, 2018 9:31:26 AM | 76

karlof1
I am continually saddened to think that Americans cannot hold a relative few responsible/accountable just for the Iraq war for starters. Americans are mostly of what I call the "coms" - complicit and/or complacent. And that's how TPTBs like it. I am not a major fan of Vincent Bugliosi but at least he wrote a book about prosecuting Bush for murder. This is only in the alt media because MSM shrugs it off or gives it a few seconds. I'm in the book We Meant Well, a book about the massive corruption in Iraq. The former State FSO Van Buren tries to inject some humor but it is hard not to be astounded by the corruption, stupidity, and waste.

Posted by: Curtis | Jun 30, 2018 9:43:40 AM | 77

PS
The US is at 16 on the CPI Corruption Perception Index for 2017. But keep in mind perception is something that can be manipulated. I think the US should be lower and and cheer when it moves lower because it could mean more are getting the idea of the nature of the beast.
https://www.transparency.org/news/feature/corruption_perceptions_index_2017

Posted by: Curtis | Jun 30, 2018 9:50:17 AM | 78

@55 Peter

"It is not so much a delegating of authority but having someone to mediate between views and find a solution that is acceptable to all."

Respectfully, it is absolutely a delegation of authority. When that delegation is not tightly constrained to one particular issue it will be usurped by corrupt individuals. IMO elections are good for one purpose only and that is to identify the psychopaths among us who should not ever be allowed near the reins of power.

@57 Jen

"A national government is needed to approve going to war (or using diplomacy instead of war...

Your premise is based upon what I am arguing against, the existence of an entrenched government. While I fully concede that genie will not be put back in the bottle any time soon, it is government that allows the greed and evil of a few to disrupt and complicate the lives of the many.

All individuals are ultimately responsible for their own well being and safety. To depend upon the actions of others when your life or livelihood is threatened is foolish.

It is not possible to dismiss my argument using examples that exist today under an entrenched government.

Criminals are released from prison every day and relocate to new communities (or not) and continue their crimes. Vendettas between families are commonplace everywhere today. Crips, bloods, the mexican mafia, ms13, etc are present in almost every city in the usa. Just an FYI, but I have found that beating the shit out of people who invade my space has been very effective. It also dissuades others from trying the same. I live in a rough neighborhood, and this is simply a fact of life for me.

It is the laws of the 24/7 rule makers which allows them to strengthen and prosper.

A 'new' bridge recently collapsed in Miami killing and I can guarantee you, "No one could have foreseen" and there will be no consequences for those whom profited in its construction. This under existing government.

I appreciate your response, (you are one of my favorite posters) but I believe you along with the majority are too dependent on a structure that does not ever have your best interests at heart.


@59 Ashley

"When I talk to Anarchist friends they ALWAYS go silent when I mention railways and..."

I would say to you I have no problem with people who want railways building them and maintaining them. Should I choose to ride one, I would gladly purchase a ticket. I see no contradiction or hypocrisy in such. What I would object to is people who have no intention of utilizing it, being forced to subsidize it, lose their homestead in its construction and again being forced to subsidize it when the inevitable mismanagement of said train (due to greed) causes it to become unprofitable.

Hillary 'lost' six BILLION during her stint at state.
The Pentagon cannot account for between 6.5 and 21 TRILLION dollars of taxpayer money. Americans are subject to prison should they decide the government has not been a good custodian of their funds and decline to contribute any longer. They will take everything you have acquired and everything you may acquire in the future should any "free" american take this decision and act upon it.

@69 Russ

"Thomas Paine was right in the first place when he pointed out that the vast majority of people would be better off without governments and other trappings of centralized civilization, which of course are designed to subjugate the many to concentrate wealth, power, and luxury for the few."

This.

@71 Lysias
(another of my favorite posters)

" Most state positions were occupied by citizens chosen by lot for limited terms"

This would only slow the corruption not curtail. Now if "violation of the public trust" became a capital offense with public execution becoming mandatory upon conviction a democracy might have a chance to succeed. It really is that simple. I think Thomas Jefferson may have mentioned something about that...

@all

It was not my intent to hijack this thread.

To get back on topic, it should have been apparent to any thinking individual that Obama and Congress failure to prosecute the bush/cheney regime would lead to a continuation of the war crimes they unleashed. It is called precedent, and when Obama decided to look forward rather than reinforce the rule of law, he left the door open for a recurrence of torture by American soldiers. I can assure you that the full story is not being told, in regard the torture and disappearance of people in Yemen. Especially with trump stating that he has no qualms about using such means.

In a similar instance, congress voted to retroactively legalize illegal warrantless surveillance by the telecoms in 2007. I was not surprised when Snowden revealed the extent to which this process had grown. It is the same with the torture of Yemen people. It is the corruption that is inherent in people which gravitate to these positions. Hillary not being prosecuted for running her private server, (too many people do not understand the difference between using a personal email address and running a personal server) and I am certain that there is some other (non) surprise coming in the future by another government official for doing something similar or more extreme. Comey has already been found to have been using a gmail addy for government business.

It is their nature and will be proven time and time again. Also people, these are only the things they do which become known. Can you imagine what they are doing and have done that remains secret?

b4real

Posted by: b4real | Jun 30, 2018 10:02:35 AM | 79

All roads of evil in this world lead to the City of London, as some of the commenters have already pointed out here on many occasions. The US is only the muscle man taking orders from the Brutish Crown Corporation and its peado-satanic "elites".

The butcher of Iraq, with Nazi family roots, gen. Schwarzkopf was knighted by Her fucking "Majesty" for his services for the global empire in destroying that ME country, just as many US commanders, officials before him and after him. Iran's P Mossadegh was removed by the CIA on orders by the BP, one of the most evil companies in the world. Much more sinister, dark company is SERCO, a name that only few people hear from the MSM:

http://www.theeventchronicle.com/study/serco-corporate-octopus-tentacles-wrapped-around-globe/

http://www.abeldanger.org/kelly-226-sercos-marine-corps-bleeding-patents-con-air-bridge-of-drew-clintons-wagering-buck/

At the same time the US is being managed by the British agents who monitor and influence, often shape, manage, distract the public opinion as needed: Frost, John Oliver, Simon Cowell, any more.

London have always been a cozy, safe home for many "divide and conquer" radical propaganda agents of the Empire: SOHR, Chowdhary, Qardawi, Osama bin Laden, Khomeini, Muslim Brotherhood, many more...

The most densely populated by millionaires, billionaires and security cameras.

That's were global trade of oil, finance "engineering", gold manipulation have been taking place.

Rooted in John Dee necromancy, Jewish Kabala, Francis Bacon group (aka "William Shakespeare") created anglosphere, in opium wars,...

Another interesting recent read:

NEOCONS Part 4: How Safari Club became real CIA - The Sordid History of British Manipulation of American Democracy Series: Read it and weep!


Trump will end this Brutish anti-human global empire, that's why they are so hell-bent on destroying him...

Kudos for great reporting and comments!

PS Germany lost the last game in World Cup on purpose, they did not want to win, look carefully again - something's up on the global geopolitical stage...

Posted by: PeacefulProsperity | Jun 30, 2018 11:45:16 AM | 80

astonishing .. the "liberal" media MSM or …the corporate establishment press has always gone along with all the coverups. Babyl-on. on torture.

.. a recent poll showing US citizen support for torture that proved the misinformed nature of the public responding to the poll..... karlof, 30.

MSM (W, particularly Anglo, but not only..) is 100% on the side of the most hateful and sadistic parties / entities / orgs. / crowd. Simultaneously, a driver, motivator and a mirror.

This stance has infected and brainwashed USA citizens, who per their history and mind-set — free market, revanchard immigrants, genocide, slavery, opportunities for incredible exploitation - have lost what one might call an ‘integrative’ mind set, where ‘integrating’ ppl in to *join* (as in the original touted melting-pot which wasn’t what it was purported to be) is no longer of any value, interest.

Concurrently, collectivism (might be called community solidarity or other friendly terms, not argh communism!) is reduced to local contact on specific issues (protecting a park), p-to-p efforts (food bank, donations to charity) or very weak and useless pol moves.

Individualism and tribalism (the two actually go together) leave no room for any general societal schemes - including anarchism! weird.. — > empathy becomes limited to close friends and family accompanied by the adoption of purely functionalist reasoning, very reductive, sketchy, as all other view-points are eliminated, scotched.. (A leads to B to C etc.)

Torture is good because it forces confessions that can save other lives. Separating families is necessary, it deters others from coming. Prisons need to be expanded, evil violent robbers, rapists shouldn’t freely roam the streets, etc. Yes and even family bonds are subject to exclusion, blame, hate, violence…

I upped the traits to make a point. You all get the picture.

Posted by: Noirette | Jun 30, 2018 11:55:35 AM | 81

"Third world people look to the government hoping
to able to apply for a benefit and, of course, they do receive certain benefits of the government.

Really? That's funny, everywhere I've looked throughout my adult life I've seen the rich and big corporations looking to the government for benefits, and hoo boy do they get them.

Posted by: Guerrero | Jun 30, 2018 12:07:37 PM | 82

"Third world people look to the government hoping to able to apply for a benefit and, of course, they do receive certain benefits of the government. Really? That's funny, everywhere I've looked throughout my adult life I've seen the rich and big corporations looking to the government for benefits, and hoo boy do they get them.

I certainly agree that the richies have increasingly had the inside track on government economic support, however the poor people in Mexico still hope and expect that the government will provide them with benefits, as it has in the past.

"The education policy of President Lázaro Cárdenas’s six-year term originated scholarships and opportunities to underprivileged youth, underscoring an implicit belief that the last Indian in the sierra is a Mexican as well, and that a person of humble origens might become President of the Republic, or a great man or woman of letters, or a creator or a collaborator of enormous importance to the Mexican nation.
The rural normal schools were founded to help the poorest among the poor to gradually rise from the miserable pains of marginalization to better living conditions for themselves and their families. The mission of these schools was the instruction of their students in theoretical-practical knowledge of biology, literature, history, mathematics, and pedagogy, to train and prepare the normalists to alphabetize the population; so to speak: to liberate it. In those years, wherever a normal school was opened, it became a modernizing agent, it’s mission was to teach future teachers to plant the alphabet and other basic forms of social knowledge in the arable population, with the expectation that their future students might become morally free."

Posted by: Guerrero | Jun 30, 2018 12:18:44 PM | 83

...
What can be done to redress the problems?
Until the people of the U.S. reclaim their democracy – Nothing!
The U.S. system of government is not the problem. The problem is that the system has been hi-jacked and turned from a democracy into an ‘Oligarchic Dictatorship’.
Posted by: dh-mtl | Jun 30, 2018 8:34:19 AM | 74

I agree with much of what you wrote to support this conclusion however, it seems that The People in AmeriKKKa would rather whinge about their govt than take action to reform it. The fact that they swallowed the indigestible trope that McCain is a War Hero, without a whimper of protest, suggests that Wimpiness is alive and well in the US of A.

The UK's victims of Oligarchical Dictatorship (and the subject of this thread) on the other hand, don't take kindly to being treated like docile obedient morons. And this latest example of Criminal Executive Malfeasance will be angrily discussed and added to a growing list of similar outrages.

If revolution comes to AmeriKKKa it is more likely to come from without, rather than within. If the Brits kick up a big enough stink about what their govt thinks it can get away with then AmeriKKKans will notice and begin to realise they are in the same boat. When Americans wanted Britain's jackboot removed from their neck, the Revolutionary French were happy to oblige. Funnier things have happened than the looming prospect that AmeriKKKans will be inspired, by Brit efforts to remove a home-grown jack-boot, to do likewise to relieve their own frustration.

Revolution doesn't have to be violent. It can be achieved by citizens uniting behind an effort to 'encourage' the govt to adopt a shortlist of reforms which will grant citizens the right to have grievances considered, acknowledged, and rectified by govt.

Switzerland has such a system. Here's a brief summary...

Switzerland has a tradition of direct democracy. For any change in the constitution, a referendum is mandatory. For any change in a law, a referendum can be requested by the people. In addition, the people may present a constitutional Popular Initiative to introduce amendments to the federal constitution. The people also assume a role similar to the constitutional court, which does not exist, and thus act as the guardian of the rule of law."

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 30, 2018 12:31:30 PM | 84

Reality check:

“Defense” becomes a racket as soon as it prompts others to increase THEIR “defense”. The only answer to guns is more guns. It is a self-licking I’ve cream cone that is exploited by neocons, Zionists, MIC, and others to the detriment of everyone else.

Security forces are, by their nature, non transparent and therefore subject to corruption. Proper governance would REMOVE incentives for corruption. Examples: legalize drugs, prostitution, and gambling; create strong, respectful alliances, and deal fairly with other countries.

Absent adequate safeguards, security forces will quickly grow to a size where they serve themselves FIRST. Serving powerful elites is part of that.

We now have the technology to fundamentally change how we are governed. The establishment will fight that change tooth and nail.

PS Even the Judeo-Christian religious tradition is a protect racket. You must believe (as proved by donations and other visible support) or you will go to hell or be accused of being a witch or devil worshipper.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 30, 2018 12:47:18 PM | 85

We have to understand and come to grips with the fact that we are now ruled by a corrupt establishment. It is composed of many groups that have gotten cozy with each other: mafia, “cartel”, industry groups whose foot soldiers are “lobbyists”, CIA, MIC, neocons, oligarchs, etc. each has a grip that is reinforced by the others.

AFAICT, Direct Democracy offers the only way to break the pervasive, pernicious grip that they collectively hold on society.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 30, 2018 1:03:32 PM | 86

Of course, the main political parties, their faux “ground roots” propaganda ops and partisan media “assets” should be added to the list.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 30, 2018 1:24:28 PM | 87

George Carlin was right: It’s one big club - and you ain’t in it!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 30, 2018 1:28:10 PM | 88

I thought the biggest club was the disenfranchised, Jackrabbit@88.

According to some comments above only the very few enlightened atheists rise above the fray, us dumb unwashed peons who believe everything we hear, see, read. Well, good for you, but good for the rest of us as well. We are not so dumb as you make out. We are not as you have characterized us. We actually think! We actually make up our own minds, and lots of what we think and decide for ourselves comports with what you think and decide! And in addition, for goodness sake, some of us have faith. I know it's hard for you to fathom, but I assure you it is so.

The few are those currently in control, who have wrested power away from the people and do not serve them, the ones who refuse to let the truth be told, such as the PM in the UK, as the report makes Some folk suppose Americans are brain washed, revealing their own shortsightedness. One might say that about the citizens of any country, if all you see is what the media of that country presents to you.clear. It really has nothing to do with religion or the lack thereof, or even with the mass media.

Posted by: juliania | Jun 30, 2018 2:46:46 PM | 89

Sorry, should have been "as the Report makes clear." And erase the 'clear' at the end of the penultimate sentence. (Hiccup occurred with copy and paste.)

Posted by: juliania | Jun 30, 2018 2:50:06 PM | 90

b4real @ 79 said:"It was not my intent to hijack this thread."

Then don't:)

For Libertarian b4real:

https://www.texasobserver.org/the-rise-and-fall-of-the-freest-little-city-in-texas/

Posted by: ben | Jun 30, 2018 2:57:55 PM | 91

Hoarsewhisperer@11

You may also appreciate the following article:
Empire's Double Edged Sword: Global Military + NGOs
Tearing down sovereign nations & replacing them with global system administrators.
by Tony Cartalucci
http://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2012/02/empires-double-edged-sword-global.html

Interesting that even Western states are being replaced by "system administrators" The system is now feeding on itself...

Posted by: Krollchem | Jun 30, 2018 3:23:47 PM | 92

@ PeacefulProsperity | Jun 30, 2018 11:45:16 AM | 80

OT:

"PS Germany lost the last game in World Cup on purpose, they did not want to win, look carefully again - something's up on the global geopolitical stage..."

Sounds interesting. I looked carefully again but could not see anything mentionable. could you please be a bit more specific?

Posted by: Hausmeister | Jun 30, 2018 4:50:35 PM | 93

@91

Libertarian?

You've got some reading to do...

Did you even read the article you linked to?


b4real

Posted by: b4real | Jun 30, 2018 8:51:56 PM | 94

Decades back,the KUBARK Manuael from 1963 a CIA torture training manual, was made public. It includes all the techniques that so “outraged” the US Congress when CIA torture was revealed during the Bush II regime, and are now “outraging” the British Parliament today.

But of course, not only were these torture techniques not new in 2005, they were not knew in 1963 either. The “arts” of torture extend back to prehistory, but can fairly be described as having become a science during the Nazi era.

Which brings me to some news in today’s British press.

A woman named Gudrun Burwitz recently died at age 88. If the name doesn’t ring a bell, perhaps it would help if we referred to her by her father’s family name. For she was the daughter of top Nazi, Heinrich Himmler, Commander of the SS (Schutzstaffel), and claimed to be the author of the entire racial cleansing, “Final Solution,” Holocaust program.

We are also told that Himmler somehow took a poison pill while in prison awaiting his execution, thereby “cheating justice.” But this is about his daughter and the thread that leads to the Report on British torture.

Ms. Burwitz never disavowed Nazism and defended her father's reputation. She remained prominent in far-right politics throughout her life. She was reported to be a prominent member of Stille Hilfe (Silent Help), a secretive group known to provide legal and financial support to former SS members. She was also known to attend other neo-Nazi events and rallies before her death.

Oh, and she did hold jobs, too. She worked at BND (West German Secret Police/Intelligence) headquarters during the time the organisation was under the control of Reinhard Gehlen. Nazi General Reinhard Gehlen, of course, had headed the Russia Desk in the Oberkommando der Wermacht (OKW - Hitler’s Supreme Headquarters). Later, he had been recruited by OSS/CIA Director Allen Dulles in the closing days of WW II and brought to service in the US.

This is a “rabbit hole” of considerable depth. I recommend reading “NATO’s Nazi Beginnings: How the West implemented Hitler’s goals” by Robert S. Rodvik.

Posted by: Daniel | Jun 30, 2018 9:04:43 PM | 95

@ b4real with his call for some level of anarchism

Do you agree that humans are community oriented beasts at some level? What do you call that level of organization and how does one scale it...or is that a bad idea to you?

Is it anarchy all the way down?

I am fine to move this to the next open thread and feel some responsibility for my ongoing contextualization of stuff.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jun 30, 2018 9:04:46 PM | 96

Peter AU1 @27.

I agree that the Internet provided an awesome medium for the spread of information, much of which had only been available to readers of low-circulation alternative sources. We were witness to a "Golden Age" of largely unrestricted information flow.

And that is why the Internet in Europe and the US is being clamped down. Private companies people relied on, like youtube and facebook are deleting accounts and "throttling" traffic. Google is "deranking" sites such that some have seen traffic drop by 75%. "Net neutrality" has been overturned, so all of this and more is about to become much worse in the US.

A reminder for those who sometimes fall into a Pollyanna hopefulness.... as bad as our Western internet censorship is becoming, it's still a beacon of freedom compared to what China already has.

Posted by: Daniel | Jun 30, 2018 9:22:23 PM | 97

Jen @57. Thanks for interjecting some real world examples into the theoretical "utopian" government/no government ideas being floated.

I'd add that internet voting has not shown itself to be trustworthy. Right now Estonia (or e-Estonia as it's now calling itself) is establishing an entirely internet-based life way. Everyone gets a bio-ID card. All financial transactions will go through that card, as is voting, medical records, education, etc. etc. etc.

Is this really "hack-proof?" If/when someone's entire life is hacked, will we even be allowed to know it happened?

China is developing their "social score" system similar to e-Estonia. In their case, they're bragging that whatever black box is keeping score will have the authority to prevent people from purchasing property, or boarding a train, or going to school, or voting or really anything at all.... all based on some algorithms programmed by some faceless bureaucrats.

Back to the "Venus Project" which someone linked earlier, such high-tech autocratic societies may be a big improvement for most people's lives. Maybe I'm some sort of Luddite to prefer things like paper ballots, filled out in ink and hand counted multiple times with observers from any interested parties.

But that still looks like a technology that isn't broken, and so doesn't need to be "fixed."

Posted by: Daniel | Jun 30, 2018 9:58:02 PM | 98

@ Daniel
When in China I could not access anything google. Google browser, google search, google blogs. As I mostly used yandex everything else was fine. I could access all western propaganda and alternative news/blogs that were not on a google platform. I take it google was blocked because they were heavily involved in color revolutions and regime change operations.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 30, 2018 10:01:09 PM | 99

Peter AU 1. I think you're reading too much literalism into the folk tales written down by bronze age nomads as they took up an agrarian lifestyle. You might enjoy the book, "The Evolution of God" by Robert Wright. He is a bit too "evo/psych"" for my tastes, but overall his description of the current understanding of the archaeological, anthropological, paleographical and historical evidence is quite well presented.

Posted by: Daniel | Jun 30, 2018 10:13:49 PM | 100

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