Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Madness of Men’s Hearts

Jeremy Scahill describes the early stages of  what we now consider the America’s disgraceful political prison at Guantanamo—Gitmo. Scahill writes,

“The CIA began secretly holding prisoners in Afghanistan on the edge of Bagram Airfield, which had been commandeered by US military forces. In the beginning, it was an ad hoc operation with prisoners stuffed into shipping containers. Eventually, it expanded to a handful of other discrete sites, among them an underground prison near the Kabul airport and an old brick factory north of Kabul. Doubling as a CIA substation, the factory became known as the “Salt Pit” and would be used to house prisoners, including those who had been snatched in other countries and brought to Afghanistan. CIA officials who worked on counterterrorism in the early days after 9/11 said that the idea for a network of secret prisons around the world was not initially a big-picture plan, but rather evolved as the scope of  operations grew. The CIA had first looked into using naval vessels and remote islands.—such as uninhabited islands dotting Lake Kariba in Zambia—as possible detention sites at which to interrogate suspected al Qaeda operatives. Eventually, the CIA would build up its own net work of secret “black sites” in at least eight countries, including Thailand, Poland, Romania, Mauritania, Lithuania and Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean.

“But, in the beginning, lacking its own secret prisons, the Agency began funneling suspects to Egypt, Morocco and Jordan for interrogation. By using foreign intelligence services, prisoners could be freely tortured without any messy congressional inquiries

“In the early stages of GST  program, the Bush administration faced little obstruction from Congress. Democrats and Rep0ublicans alike gave tremendous latitude to the administration to prosecute its secret war. For its part, the White House at times refused to provide details of its covert operations to  the relevant congressional oversight committees but met little protest for its reticence. The administration also unilaterally decided to reduce the elite Gang of Eight members of Congress to just four: the chairs and ranking members of the House and Senate intelligence committees. These members are prohibited from discussing these briefings with anyone. In effect, it meant that Congress had no oversight of the GST program. And that was exactly how Cheney wanted it.

“… As the new kill/capture program began to kick into full gear in late 2001, the CIA’s number-three man at the time, Buzzy Krongard, declared the ‘war on terror’ would be won in large measure by forces you do not know about. . .” (p26-27 DIRTY WARS/NY/Nation Books/2013)

This Father’s Day 2013 Jeremy Scahill describes a nation I no longer recognize, nor is it one I can recommend to those I love most. My father served proudly in the Coast Guard, a great tradition on Lake Michigan shorelines. I served a partial hitch in the Air Force, which is no longer about flying planes but  flying drones in covert operations from many miles away. 

Scahill further reminds us we  live in a world that thrives on war rather than peace, where politicians spend their careers protecting their profits gained either from special interest lobbyists that own their souls, or fostering “Black Budget” funds  to fortify Navy SEALS, Delta Force, Blackwater, “Special  Operations” forces ad infinitum -  covert wars against a “war on terror” that exists only in the minds of the war-mongers themselves. Much of it is being fought by “operations, operators, and paid mercenaries” that do not exist anywhere on paper or politic, while we continue to maintain a façade of diplomacy and transparency.

Anyone having second thoughts of conscience, anyone daring to leak out a secret (classified so it cannot become public information and ruin our reputation for transparency) faces losing everything to become an unknown entity without a country, or prison, or political suicide, or life-on-the-run.

So, we have become a country that fights wars wherever we choose, because we are the world’s whipping boy; we justify torture because the end justifies the means; we spy on our own citizens via constitutional government that is no longer of-by-for the people, but the people in office. We have political prisoners that we can imprison for life, without charges, and we force-feed them to keep them alive and without hope—talk about HELL…

When I pass into whatever future God has for us, I want my grandsons to know that there was once a people on these  shores who governed by-of-and-for the people as the land of the free,  a place where differences were at least tolerated and opportunity primarily equal.These people loved God and respected one another; they didn’t always worship the same, but neither did they  worship Satan.

Charles G. Finney was  trained as a legal expert, a lawyer, until he thought better of it and dedicated his abilities to God and became one of the all-time great exponents of the bible and right-living. Could Dr. Finney speak to us today, he might dust off a sermon he preached from the text in Ecclesiastes 9:3: “Madness is in their hearts while they live…” He might also conclude, madness fills our hearts if and when we listen to THEM . . .

I take comfort in the words of Jesus when he said, “Seek first the Kingdom of God” and find life that will be found no where else but in following Jesus (Matthew 6:33). From Warner’s World, this is He has not failed me yet.

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