The Treason Trial Of The Century

You would think with all the drama going around Washington these days I would be writing about the possibility of a trial of Trump for treason.

You would be WRONG!  (did you trolls on the Right read that?  But if the concept of wrong eludes you let me know and I will have a 4 year old explain it to you)

You guys know how much I like history and that I am an opinionated SOB (in case the grammar police are reading…..SOB stands for son of a bitch….in case you were not sure)

The trial was the biggest scandal that has hit the US in its day……it dominated the news during the trial…..

This trial for treason is about the deal with Aaron Burr…..the man was the VP of the nation and he is the one that shot and killed Hamilton in a duel……you see he had dreams of grandeur….and he acted on those dreams…..

Never has an American trial produced such an impressive set of key players: 

the defendant– Aaron Burr, founding father, Vice President, and slayer of Alexander Hamilton in their famous duel three years earlier; 
the trial judge–John Marshall, Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court (and the most important justice in history); 
the force behind the prosecution–Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence and  president of the United States; 
defense attorneys–Edmund Randolph  and Luther Martin, both delegates to the Constitutional Convention and among the most prominent men of the day; prosecutors– Charles Lee, former Attorney General, and William Wirt, future presidential candidate. 

Source: The Treason Trial of Aaron Burr

This story has more plot twists than any Guy Richie movie that you may have seen….it makes excellent reading…..that is if you like intrigue, mystery, betrayal, foreign agents and courtroom drama…..some say it was witchcraft that made Burr do it…but it was nothing more than blind ambition.

This is a tale that very few Americans know anything about…..not taught in history class before college…

Try it…you will like it!

A World War 1 “What If”

My class has been doing so well that I gave them an extra credit project if they wanted……a what if scenario.

I try to make the class fun and educational at the same time….not an easy task.

I gave them two examples that I had talked about in the past…..a Cuban what if and an Iranian what if…….

My best student knowing that I write a lot about war and have been trying to make Americans remember World War One found a great article and she did not have to do much research……

She did some research and found an article in BBC News……

One of the causes of the Great War was the assassination of Crown Prince Ferdinand in Sarajevo in 1914…..

World War One was a tragedy with particularly Austrian roots, sparked by the assassination of the heir to the throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo in 1914. But could the war have been avoided if he had not been killed? And would the Austro-Hungarian Empire have survived?

Source: What if Archduke Franz Ferdinand had lived in 1914? – BBC News

She has always shown initiative and she will get a grade that reflects her hard work…..I wish I had a classroom full of these people….it would make teaching so much more enlightening.

The Hazards of Military Worship

This country seems to have this love affair with the military….we trust them way more than we tryst the president or the Congress…..

Our history illustrates just how deep our love affair goes with the military…

When it comes to war, less is more.

Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Martin Dempsey had genuine scholarly and combat bona fides. But consider him and a few others the exceptions that prove the rule. Which is why civilian control of the military, and of the policymaking process that goes with military action, is not just a constitutional imperative but desirable for thoroughly practical reasons. Which, in turn, is why the makeup of the current administration — with an unprecedented number of generals in key positions — raises some serious questions.

And yet the problem is so much bigger than that. Somehow — and this should be truly unnerving — Americans have gotten to a place where, it seems, they trust only soldiers. In June 2016, for instance, a Gallup poll found that 73% of Americans had “quite a lot” of confidence in the military, versus 36% for the presidency and 6% for Congress. Such disparities ought to inspire distress about the direction of our public institutions, but rarely do.

Source: The Hazards of Military Worship

A small dose of history can cure a lot of stupid.

Closing Thought–19May17

Remembering Malcolm X

On this day, 19May, in 1925 a great American civil rights activist was born…..

African-American leader and prominent figure in the Nation of Islam, Malcolm X articulated concepts of race pride and black nationalism in the 1950s and ’60s.

Born on May 19, 1925, in Omaha, Nebraska, Malcolm X was a prominent black nationalist leader who served as a spokesman for the Nation of Islam during the 1950s and ’60s. Due largely to his efforts, the Nation of Islam grew from a mere 400 members at the time he was released from prison in 1952 to 40,000 members by 1960. Articulate, passionate and a naturally gifted and inspirational orator, Malcolm X exhorted blacks to cast off the shackles of racism “by any means necessary,” including violence. The fiery civil rights leader broke with the group shortly before his assassination on February 21, 1965, at the Audubon Ballroom in Manhattan, where he had been preparing to deliver a speech.

Source: Malcolm X – Civil Rights Activist, Minister – Biography.com

A short vid about Malcolm’s last years……

Source: X: Malcolm’s Final Years

This country is a better place when we have people like Malcolm fighting for our rights……we need more Malcolms and less d/bags….

That ends my week……I will start my weekend with a smile and a song….

Is Assassination by Another Name The Same?

Our most successful program in our endless wars seems to be our drone program…unfortunately we are also killing civilians at an alarming rate….the US odes have a history of assassinating political leaders in the past but that program was abandoned in the 1970’s…..abandoned with Ford’s EO #11905…….

In 1976, President Ford issued Executive Order 11905 to clarify U.S. foreign intelligence activities. The order was enacted in response to the post-Watergate revelations that the CIA had staged multiple attempts on the life of Cuban President Fidel Castro.

In a section of the order labeled “Restrictions on Intelligence Activities,” Ford outlawed political assassination: Section 5(g), entitled “Prohibition on Assassination,” states: “No employee of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, political assassination.”

Since 1976, every U.S. president has upheld Ford’s prohibition on assassinations. In 1978 President Carter issued an executive order with the chief purpose of reshaping the intelligence structure. In Section 2-305 of that order, Carter reaffirmed the U.S. prohibition on assassination.

In 1981, President Reagan, through Executive Order 12333, reiterated the assassination prohibition. Reagan was the last president to address the topic of political assassination. Because no subsequent executive order or piece of legislation has repealed the prohibition, it remains in effect.

The ban, however, did not prevent the Reagan administration from dropping bombs on Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s home in 1986 in retaliation for the bombing of a Berlin discotheque frequented by U.S. troops.

What made me think about this EO from the past was the statement issued by L’il Kim of North Korea……

North Korea has accused the United States and South Korea of a plot to kill leader Kim Jong Un.

North Korean state news agency KCNA released a report Friday that claims intelligence agencies in the U.S. and South Korea conspired with a “hideous terrorist group” to “commit bomb terrorism targeting the supreme leadership,” CNN reports. It says the plot was “recently uncovered and smashed.”

The document says a North Korean citizen was involved and the assassination would have involved “biochemical substances including radioactive substance and nano poisonous substance.”

But then the question becomes since Ford’s EO is the US in the business of assassinating political leaders?

You tell me.

Some of the most notorious of the CIA’s operations to kill world leaders were those targeting the late Cuban president, Fidel Castro. Attempts ranged from snipers to imaginative plots worthy of spy movie fantasies, such as the famous exploding cigars and a poison-lined scuba-diving suit.

But although the CIA attempts proved fruitless in the case of Castro, the US intelligence agency has since 1945 succeeded in deposing or killing a string of leaders elsewhere around the world – either directly or, more often, using sympathetic local military, locally hired criminals or pliant dissidents.

Source: The CIA has a long history of helping to kill leaders around the world | US news | The Guardian

Now the question is…..is L’il Kim onto to something here or just blowing hot air?

Is there a drone with L’il Kim’s name?

Did the US ever abandon the timely art of assassination?  Of course not.

These days the US does not employ many covert operatives to do the dirty work…..instead they call up a drone…..this can go a long way of keeping their hands clean (so to speak)……

The first step in examining the legality of assassinating known or suspected terrorists through the use of unmanned armed vehicles (UAVs) is to decide whether such killings could be classified as part of an armed conflict.  If they are considered as part of an armed conflict, according to international law, the rules of armed conflict would apply; otherwise the laws of self-defence would be relevant.

According to the Geneva Conventions and customary humanitarian law, armed conflict only applies when two or more States are involved.  When the United States defines its campaign against terrorists as a global conflict, this designation is not based on the correct definition of war as characterized by international law but on America’s own interpretation of its effort to eradicate terrorism.  Only two or more States can legally, in the strictest terms, engage in war, not a State against individuals scattered around the globe.

Source: Assassination By Drones

The question remains…..is assassination by another name the same?

Please you thought……

What Is America’s Goal In The World?

During one of my classes as student asked me, during one of our “rap Sessions”, a time I set aside to talk about the day’s current events, she asked me “Just what is America’s role in the world”?

That is a damn good question….I gave her my opinion….

Trump seems to have an extreme dislike for diplomacy…..he is gutting the State Dept and trying to expand the Pentagon…..to me that says that his thought is to use force in every incident…..

I then told her to read an article by Buchanan in the American Conservative (not someone I would turn to for much opinion but this is a pretty good look at his thoughts)

For the World War II generation there was clarity.  The attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941, united the nation as it had never been before—in the conviction that Japan must be smashed, no matter what.

For the World War II generation there was clarity.

The attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941, united the nation as it had never been before—in the conviction that Japan must be smashed, no matter how long it took or how many lives it cost.

After the defeat of the Axis powers in 1945, however, Americans divided.

Only with the Berlin Blockade of 1948, the fall of China to Mao and Russia’s explosion of an atom bomb in 1949, and North Korea’s invasion of the South in 1950, did we unite around the proposition that, for our own security, we had to go back to Europe and Asia.

Source: What Is America’s Goal in the World? | The American Conservative

She returned to class and we spoke privately on the article…(she gets extra credit for her initiative).

The school year is drawing to an end…I hope that this young lady pursues international relations for she has a good mind and she asks questions in search of real answers not just those that will ease her mind.

The Tale Of Unit 731

A Wednesday and another of the professor’s history classes….(save the groans and moans for after the class)……

Does anyone remember your history?  Like Operation “Paper Clip” when at the end of the war in Europe teams of Americans rush to scoop up German scientists before the Soviets could do so.  Many of these “scientist” committed war crimes or at least looked the other way while they were being committed…all in the name of science.

These people got a free ride and avoided prosecution because of their “skills”.

Well Japan was not left out either……they had an infamous research unit called Unit 731 that carried out horrendous experiments on humans all in the name of science……and the US did the same as they had in Germany……they searched the countryside for these criminals so their “expertise” could be used by the US……

Upon my request, both the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Simon Wiesenthal Center have released copies of a December 1998 letter from DOJ official Eli Rosenbaum to Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. In the letter, Rosenbaum admitted to Cooper that after World War II the United States government had classified records pertaining to a Japanese military unit that engaged in biological warfare experimentation and field trials on humans.

The letter, one of two released to this author, confirmed the U.S. “essentially assisted Japan in covering up the atrocities perpetrated by the unit.”

Source: Department of Justice Official Releases Letter Admitting U.S. Amnesty of Unit 731 War Criminals

Just as with the scientists in Germany….the US profited off the suffering of others by giving the Japanese war criminals a “get out of jail free” card.

That makes us as much a war criminal as those that committed the horrendous experiments.

Where should the line be drawn?