America is Exhibit A on how democracies aren't supposed to work. Of course, the US isn't one now and never was.
Contrary to popular myth, it wasn't established as one. America's founders had other ideas. From May to September 1787, 55 self-serving wheeler-dealers met in Philadelphia. Today we'd call them a Wall Street crowd. What they designed fell far short of common beliefs.
Duplicitous politicians, bankers, lawyers, and merchants created a document serving them. Its Preamble gave it away, saying: "We the people of the United States….do ordain and establish this Constitution of the United States of America."
In fact, "the people" were left out then and now. The ones they meant were themselves and other privileged elites. Only white male property owners mattered. They alone were enfranchised. At the time, they comprised less than 15% of the electorate.
Women were considered homemakers and child bearers. Blacks were property, not people. Native Americans were in the way. Slaughtering and displacing them was policy.
From 18th century America to today, democracy has been pure fantasy. The American revolution was little more than operating a similar system under new management. Everything changed but stayed the same.
Government by "the people" was no different than under monarchal or autocratic rule. Constitutional provisions are whatever government does or does not do in whatever way it wishes. Ordinary people had no say then or now. They're entirely left out by design.
They don't govern. They are governed. The supreme law of the land, in fact, was a huge flop. Bill of Rights provisions enacted in 1891 made little difference for ordinary folks. Privileged ones wanted them for themselves.
John Adams said government should be run by "the rich, the well born, and the able." According to John Jay, America's first Supreme Court chief justice, the nation should be governed by people who owned it. It's been that way from inception.
Madison is wrongfully called "the Father of the Constitution." In Philadelphia, he was practically a nobody compared to others there.
Besides later becoming America's fourth president, he was best known for having kept detailed notes. From them, we know what happened.
A year after the Constitution was adopted, he said he wasn't among those who thought it was a "faultless work." Not at all. Given conflicting personal and states' interests, it was the best framers could agree on at the time.
Ten years later, he became extremely critical about how the document was written. None of the founders called the Constitution a glorious achievement. They went along because it was better than nothing.
Jefferson and Adams weren't involved. Both were abroad as ambassadors to France and Britain respectively.
Adams was consider the leading constitutional theorist of his time. His views mattered. Throughout his government service and thereafter, he criticized the Constitution in private correspondence.
Jefferson was just as displeased. Until it was added, he objected to omitting a Bill of Rights. He and Madison wanted additional provisions neither got.
They urged "freedom from monopolies and commerce (corporate giants) and "freedom from a permanent military (standing armies)." Adams and Hamilton disagreed and prevailed.
Why does all this matter? Because it's preamble to America today. From inception, it's been more hypocrisy than democracy. Now, in fact, what few rights remain are threatened. They're eroding fast en route to disappearing altogether.
Targeting Assange is one of many examples. Doing so means we're all threatened. Free expression and dissent are endangered. Revealing ugly truths power brokers want suppressed risks putting your freedom and perhaps life in danger.
Assange is a political refugee. Since mid-June, he's been holed up in Ecuador's UK embassy. In mid-August, he was granted political asylum. Britain's acting on America's behalf. So is Sweden.
Alleged rape charges were fabricated. A Swedish prosecutor found no wrongdoing and dismissed the case. Another on orders from her own government or perhaps Washington reopened it and issued an extradition order.
At issue is getting Assange to Sweden on false pretenses. Once there, he'll be shipped off to America for prosecution.
An earlier New York Times report said a secret grand jury convened. A sealed indictment charges Assange with spying under the 1917 Espionage Act.
Doing so contradicts the law's intent. It doesn't deter Justice Department officials from using it. It passed shortly after America's entry into WW I. Over time, it's been amended numerous times.
Originally it prohibited interfering with US military operations, supporting the nation's enemies, promoting insubordination in the ranks, or obstructing military recruitment.
In 1921, its most controversial provisions were repealed. In 2010, Bradley Manning was charged under the Act. Technically its under Articles 104 and 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). It includes parts of the US Code.
Assange's indictment is ready to be made public whenever Washington wishes to do so. Espionage Act violations will be charged.
Stratfor Global Intelligence suggested it last year. A case against him has been building for some time. At issue is getting him out of circulation for life or perhaps executing him. Doing so would send a powerful message to deter other whistleblowers.
Obama waged war more aggressively against them than all previous US presidents combined. Assange and Bradley Manning are best known. Anyone exposing dirty secrets officials want suppressed is vulnerable.
The message delivered is we know who and where you are or will find out. We'll throw you in gulag hell, keep you there, or kill you. Dare challenge their resolve and find out they're not kidding.
America twists legal meanings to serve its interests. Bogus charges facilitate hanging innocent victims out to dry. Headlines portray Assange as public enemy number one. For months, he hasn't had a moment's peace.
According to declassified Air Force counterintelligence documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), he and military personnel who contact WikiLeaks or its supporters may be declared "enemies of the state."
The charge carries a possible death sentence if convicted. Article 104 of the US Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) states:
"Any person who….aids, or attempts to aid, the enemy" in any way, "with proper authority, knowingly harbors or protects or gives intelligence to or communicates or corresponds with or holds any intercourse with the enemy, either directly or indirectly, shall suffer death or such other punishment as a court-martial or military commission may direct."
On September 27, Michael Ratner, Center for Constitutional Rights president emeritus and Assange's legal adviser, was interviewed on Democracy Now.
He said FOIA obtained information revealed that a UK-based US analyst, "a soldier who had top security clearance, (became) sympathetic with Bradley Manning and WikiLeaks."
An investigation followed under UCMJ Article 104. She met with friends of Assange. From "the face of the documents, it appears that WikiLeaks and Julian Assange are looked at as the enemy."
If so, "it has serious consequences. We all know what you can do with an enemy. You can drone him. You can capture him. You can put him in a cell forever."
"So it’s very, very serious. That’s one possibility, or possibly very likely, from reading these documents, (it appears) that WikiLeaks is an enemy and Julian Assange is an enemy."
"The other possibility is that WikiLeaks is the means by which this military analyst is communicating with the enemy. She’s turning over documents."
"She never did, but she’s allegedly possibly going to turn over documents to WikiLeaks, which then, by doing that, she’s communicating with the enemy, because WikiLeaks is going to publish them, and al-Qaeda or somebody who the US has already designated an enemy is going to read them."
Either possibility is terrible for Assange, WikiLeaks, and journalists.
"It’s terrible because if WikiLeaks is an enemy—I’ve already said how serious that would be if Julian Assange and WikiLeaks are an enemy—if they’re the means of communicating with the enemy, they could still be charged—WikiLeaks could be charged—with aiding the enemy, could be arrested under the National Defense Authorization Act, could be kept at Guantánamo, etc."
Washington refuses to say one way or another if Assange is targeted for prosecution. If not, why not say so? Why persist with the ruse of extraditing him to Sweden on bogus charges. The scheme, of course, is first get him there. Then ship him off to gulag hell in America.
It's no secret. Obama officials want blood. They want Assange, Manning and other whistleblowers hung out to dry. They want no interference in imperial plans abroad or repressive homeland ones.
Doing so makes perpetrators vulnerable. Hegemons show no mercy. US ruthlessness is well known. It's longstanding. It's worse now than ever. Millions of corpses and the largest prison gulag in the world attest to is viciousness.
Aiding or communicating with the enemy charges are fraudulent. Nonetheless, Bradley Manning faces one count under UCMJ's Article 104. He's also charged with numerous other UCMJ violations.
Washington wants him imprisoned for life or perhaps dead. Assange is likely targeted the same way. Habeas, due process, and overall judicial fairness are dead letters. Hanging military and right-wing court judges show no mercy.
Kangaroo justice is policy. That's how police states work. Whatever Washington says goes. It doesn't matter what's true or false, right or wrong.
Fairness isn't in America's vocabulary. Victims are guilty by accusation. Manning, Assange, other whistleblowers, and targeted supporters haven't a chance. America's framers created the ways and means.
Modern-day scoundrels could teach them a thing or two. America was never beautiful. Now it's unsafe to live in.
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|William A. Cook|