Black Agenda Radio Commentaries
News, analysis and commentary on the human condition from a black left perspective.
Indict Bush, Cheney, and Condoleezza, Too

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

The world's only superpower is the greatest subverter of international law. But Prof. Francis Boyle believes he's found the legal hook to bring the Bush Gang to justice – and Barack Obama, too, if he continues to pursue Bush's illegal policies.

 

Indict Bush, Cheney, and Condoleezza, Too

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

“The Bush Gang, says Prof. Boyle, should answer for the crime of rendition.”

President Obama doesn’t want George Bush and his war criminals to face the bar of justice. Rather, by continuing the Bush policies of rendition, of military tribunals, of detention without trial, and all the other police state methods that have made a mockery of U.S. pretensions to decency, Obama has elevated Bush’s crimes to bipartisan policy.

The United States Congress doesn’t want any Americans to face international justice, no matter how many crimes they commit against the planetary public. Back in 2002, just as the International Criminal Court was being formed in the Dutch city of The Hague, the U.S. Congress passed a law that would authorize Washington to send troops into Holland to free Americans who might be held for war crimes. It’s been derisively dubbed the “Invasion of the Hague Act,” but it’s no joke. The law shows how resistant U.S. politicians are to the very idea of international law – when it is applied to the United States.

The U.S. refuses to sign the  treaty that would bring it under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, which handles war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. This has created the farce in which the United States is by far the loudest voice charging other nations and individuals with high crimes against international law, but balks at leaving itself open to prosecution. From its superpower perch of impunity, the U.S. arrogantly orders the Court to go after America's designated villains – all of whom have turned out to be Africans – but, like a mother vulture, spreads her protective wings over the Israelis that committed war crimes against Gaza, only a year ago.

“President Obama could wind up under international prosecution.”

One of the Davids in the struggle to make Goliath accountable to international law, is Francis Boyle, professor at Illinois College of Law, who has filed a complaint with the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to bring a select group of outlaws to justice. The Rogue's Gallery is as follows: George Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, George Tenet, Condoleezza Rice, and Alberto Gonzales. The Bush Gang, says Prof. Boyle, should answer for the crime of rendition – the kidnapping and disappearance of about one hundred human beings. Boyle maintains these acts of rendition constitute crimes against humanity under the Rome Statute that created the International Criminal Court, and further, that these individuals can be prosecuted despite the fact that the United States is not a party to the Rome Statue. 

Prof. Boyle, a recognized expert on international law, maintains that the criminal court's jurisdiction is activated when U.S. crimes are committed within the territory of other nations that have signed the Statute. The U.S. has practiced renditions in a number of such countries, in Europe and elsewhere. And Boyle says, if President Obama does not, himself, cease committing crimes begun by the Bush administration, he too could wind up under international prosecution for “extraordinary rendition.” And that would be extraordinary, indeed.

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford. On the web, go to www.BlackAgendaReport.com.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

Direct download: 20100127_gf_BARIntCrimCourt.mp3
Category:politics -- posted at: 6:15am EDT

Humans Have No Rights That a Corporation is Bound to Respect

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

More than a century ago, a Supreme Court decided that corporations had the rights of “persons.” Last week, the High Court awarded the paper corporate avatars the right to swallow human political affairs, whole. “The more profound effect will be to complete the corporatization of the Democratic Party.”

 

No Rights That a Corporation is Bound to Respect

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

“The High Court has swept away the last remaining facade of America’s Disney World democracy.”

The U.S. Supreme Court has given its approval to what was already an accomplished fact: corporate ownership of the governmental apparatus of the American state. In affirming that corporations have the right to buy as much influence as they can pay for with campaign contributions, the High Court has swept away the last remaining facade of America’s Disney World democracy. The U.S. political system is revealed as nothing more than a theme park that offers the public fake election thrills that simulate one-man, one vote.

The barbaric principle underlying the decision was established 124 years ago, when another Supreme Court ruled that corporations had the constitutional rights of persons. Like the recent ruling, the 1886 Supreme Court decision essentially ratified the emerging reality of the day: the corporations were already running the economy and government of the United States as if they owned it. It is said that more than half of U.S. senators owned stock in the railroads, stock that had been given to them by the railroad corporations as gifts in return for millions of acres in federal lands. It was the age of the rise of the great Robber Barons, who invented the modern corporation and demanded that their paper avatars be treated as full fledged citizens of the Republic. Dutifully, the Supreme Court complied, providing constitutional justification for already-existing corporate rule.

The current Supreme Court is simply expanding on the 1886 principle of corporate personhood, to fit modern, much more expensive, circumstances. The supremacy of corporate power in U.S. elections is a fait accompli – a manifest, self-evident fact. Only corporate “persons” or actual human beings associated with corporations could spend a total of $5.3 billion dollars on the elections of 2008. Barack Obama himself received $650 million, the vast bulk of it from the corporate class, who gave more money to Democrats than to Republicans.

“Wall Street is to the Democrats what Big Oil is to the Republicans.”

The Democrats are complaining that the Supreme Court ruling will further advantage the Republicans. But the more profound effect will be to complete the corporatization of the Democratic Party, whose leadership is already at least as closely allied with Wall Street as the GOP. Remember, it was candidate Barack Obama who saved George Bush’s bank bailout bill, in 2008, and put Wall Street operatives at the helm of his new administration's economic policy. Wall Street is to the Democrats what Big Oil is to the Republicans – their sugar daddies.

In response to the Supreme Court's damnable decision, more than 40,000 people have joined in support of a move to amend the U.S. Constitution, to once and forever proclaim that corporations are not people – only people are people, with the civil and political rights of human beings.  Such a constitutional amendment is necessary to reverse, not only the latest travesty from the Supreme Court, but the original sin of 1886, when corporations were recognized as persons. Those rulings created a legal construct in which the American people have no rights that a corporation is bound to respect.

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford. On the web, go to www.BlackAgendaReport.com.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

Direct download: 20100127_gf_BARSCOTUSCorpCash.mp3
Category:politics -- posted at: 6:12am EDT

U.S. Actions in Haiti are Rehearsal for Latin America

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

When the U.S. sent thousands of troops into Port au Prince airport, earthquake relief was clearly not the primary mission. Otherwise, ships and whole military units would not have arrived with only supplies for themselves.

 

U.S. Actions in Haiti are Rehearsal for Latin America

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

“U.S. naval units sailed into Haitian waters without bothering to load up with food, water and medicine at the nearby U.S. base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.”

The American commandeering of the airport at Port au Prince and de facto seizure of sovereignty over Haiti looked exactly like an invasion and occupation – except that Haiti had already been invaded in 2004 by the U.S., which then turned over occupational duties to its servants in the United Nations. To speak of a U.S. “invasion” of Haiti is getting a little bit redundant. The Americans never left, and they and their flunkies walk all over Haiti like an old rug.

Clearly, however, the U.S. was not on an earthquake rescue mission. U.S. naval units sailed into Haitian waters without bothering to load up with food, water and medicine at the nearby U.S. base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. What kind of “relief” mission was this, in which the rescuer comes empty-handed? Thousands of paratroopers were flown in from Fort Bragg, North Carolina – and then sat at the Port au Prince airport for several days, claiming not to have transportation into town. They could have walked! The city is just beyond the airport fence and downtown and the port are only a couple of miles away.  A BBC reporter noted that, several days after the paratroopers landed, they sent small relief missions to outlying areas. Meanwhile, literally right down the street was the vast shantytown of Cite Soliel. But the Americans didn’t go there.

The United States military, except for its special operations units, is the “heaviest” fighting force in the world. That means, the Americans require more logistical support – more pounds of equipment, more fresh food, more support personnel for every grunt with a gun – than any military on the planet. When the U.S. decided to airlift thousands of troops into Port au Prince, commanders knew the logistical needs of that force, alone, would overwhelm the airport’s capacity, leaving little room for actual relief supplies. The Americans knew they would be creating a bottleneck that would become an impediment to relief efforts by the rest of the world. But they hogged the air and runways, anyway. What was the purpose?

“The Americans knew that they would be creating a bottleneck that would become an impediment to relief efforts by the rest of the world.”

The explanation is quite simple. For the Americans, the operation was not primarily a rescue mission. Often, they carried only supplies for themselves. I don't buy into speculation that the Americans were attempting to worsen the Haitian situation through deliberate delays, in order to justify taking over the country. It was clear from the first day that the earthquake was a visitation from hell that would create more than enough drama than the U.S. would ever need – and besides, the Americans and their minions were already in charge of Haiti. But the Americans' actions make perfect sense when understood as an air and naval exercise to test the capabilities of the U.S. Southern Command to move its own men and machines from one place to another, quickly. The Southern Command's 4th Fleet was just taken out of mothballs last year, and has been staging exercises in the Caribbean to threaten Venezuela. The U.S. has just opened 7 new bases in Colombia, and would be anxious to test its ability to support them with quick infusions of large units of troops and equipment. The Haiti earthquake was a good excuse. But the mission was not about them.

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford. On the web, go to www.BlackAgendaReport.com.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

Direct download: 20200127BAR_gf_USinHaiti.mp3
Category:politics -- posted at: 6:05am EDT