Saturday, January 19, 2013

Brace Yourselves For Unintended Ironies In Aaron Swartz Affair

Thought it was galling enough to see a life pointlessly destroyed in the name of morality by the U.S. Government, with U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz functioning as the spear point of power in this case? And then having to listen to the same Ortiz extol the professionalism and dedication of her junior Javerts?

Then wait! There's more!

The Somali puppet “president” Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was in Washington, D.C. January 17th to stand next to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and the two of them made nice, bloviating on with the usual gush about progress, democracy, community of nations, etc. etc. One thing Mohamud said struck me. It was this, in answer to a question:

Somalia –  United States is a role model country for the democracy, for the freedom of people, for the development of human capital. And this model we are going to pursue, of course, as the rest of the world. “[sic]. (1)

Well don't copy it too closely, pal, or you'll have to destroy some “human capital” too, as happened with Aaron Swartz (and millions of others who lack employment opportunities, are poorly educated, and the smaller number singled out for active persecution).

Something about the U.S. power system is always producing unintended ironies.

By the way, Somalia ranks as one of the most corrupt governments in the world, along with North Korea, according to Transparency International. So take it from them, human potential means a lot to them!

And here's another one, although this could also be filed under “double standards” or “twisted priorities.”

Remember Massey “Energy,” the erstwhile criminal coal company that caused a mine explosion which killed 40 of its miners in 2010? (Some other corporation subsequently found the foul Massey so tempting it bought it.) Now one of its former managers has pleaded out to “conspiracy to defraud the U.S. Government.” Want to guess his sentence? 35 years, maybe? Nooo.

21 months. For helping to kill 40 people. But hey, he's cooperating with the Feds! (Too bad Aaron didn't have anyone he could have handed up to the Feds. Maybe he could have burned some members of Anonymous, like FBI puppet “Sabu” (Hector Xavier Monsegur) did, or help crucify a leaker, like amoral defective being Adrian Lamo did to Bradley Manning. Check your ethics and morality at the door, all who enter the Federal maw! Helps to not have any to begin with, I suppose.) Footnote (2)

A bit more information has dribbled out about Swartz case. A belated Wall Street Journal editorial [1/18/13] says U.S. Persecutor- excuse me, prosecutor- Carmen Ortiz demanded that Swartz plead guilty to all 13 felonies she slammed him with to get that cushy six month prison stretch. Which would have killed most of his employment prospects, but hey, he probably could have gotten a job in a car wash or something.

The ultra-reactionary WSJ, while deeming it unfair to blame Ortiz for Aaron's suicide, nevertheless rapped her for abuse of prosecutorial discretion. The WSJ also took the occasion to slam Swartz's ideological inclinations and the “information wants to be free” movement generally.

But this is hardly the first suicide prompted by U.S. Government persecution or harassment. Ernest Hemingway was apparently driven to suicide at least in part by FBI harassment, a fact that has only recently been “discovered.” (It was well known to Hemingway himself, however. One of his “friends” recently wrote a mea culpa in which he confessed to dismissing Hemingway as paranoid at the time.) And there was a vicious Federal narc who later went to work for the CIA testing drugs on unwitting “subjects” who captured a drug dealer who killed himself to avoid prison. In “retirement,” this thug prowled the beaches hunting for marijuana smokers.

Part of the requirement for maintaining the illusion of “freedom” and “democracy” and the dominance of an ideological system that perpetuates false consciousness on a massive scale is the constant work of destroying and preventing connections like these from being made. The forest must constantly be obfuscated by a focus not even on a tree, but on a leaf on a tree. (And preferably something to do with celebrities- i.e. something insignificant.)

Here's an example of the deliberate destruction of connections: the “Iranian hostage crisis” is something that the bourgeois commentariat is constantly circling back to, like a dog sniffing its own shit. I've heard it mentioned several times on the radio in just the past week. (NPR, BBC, among others.) But they never ever mention what precipitated the taking of the “hostages,” the fact that the U.S. allowed the Shah into the U.S. You'd think that would be an important fact. That fact, by putting things in actual context, of course creates an entirely different picture. Namely reality. Apparently we aren't even supposed to think “Why did the Iranians do that?” It's just because they mindlessly hate “us,” is what the indoctrinators want people to think. Of course, if you started pulling on that string, you'd have to go back to the 1953 CIA-MI6 coup that destroyed Iranian democracy and put in place a vicious tyrant (with a CIA-created and mentored secret police SAVAK, with a hideous record of torture and murder) that earned for Iran a ranking by Amnesty International as the worst regime for human rights in the world. 250,000 Iranians died at the hands of the Shah's regime until his overthrow in 1979.

That's not an endorsement of what followed. Since the SAVAK, under the tutelage of its CIA mentors, did such a good job of extirpating any and all possible sources of social organization, the only social force left in Iranian society was organized religion. So now it's a repressive theocracy. (It didn't immediately become that, but did in short order.)

So the Great Democracy Defender destroys democracy, and in the process of creating a “friendly” nation, sows the seeds of an “enemy regime.” An unintended irony? You decide.

But definitely a crime against humanity. A big one. So I guess we'd have to call what was done to Aaron Swartz just a small crime against humanity, relatively speaking.

Everything's relative, right?

[For the despicable actions of U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy around the issues raised by the persecution of Aaron Swartz, see "The Most Dangerous Person in the U.S. Congress."]

1) I heard Mohamud say this on the radio, which ran just that brief snippet of his remarks, apparently finding those words very significant. There's a transcript at a State Department website with the ironic (unintentional, of course) URL (URL is computerese for Uniform Resource Locator, in case you were curious. It's the address of the particular webpage. Most websites consist of multiple webpages, of course. The main page is the homepage.)

(2) The executive, Gary May, was a practitioner of Massey's routine practice of systematically violating safety rules and covering them up by disabling methane monitors and other safety equipment, entering false data into safety logs, warning workers of “surprise” mine “safety” administration inspections, and so on. The explosion resulted from the chronic failure of Massey to control coal dust, as (officially) required by regulations (which are mostly unenforced, and thus nominal) and permitting broken water sprays, which enabled a spark to ignite the aforementioned methane gas which Massey habitually allowed to build up to dangerous, “banned” (pro forma banned) levels, which triggered an explosion of the coal dust which Massey obdurately allowed to accumulate to dangerous levels in its usual manner of operations. Incorrigible corporations like Massey should be declared criminal enterprises, disbanded, their assets auctioned off by the government, and their executives imprisoned. But that doesn't happen. The government DOES use the RICO statutes to persecute political activists it doesn't like, however. And it uses “forfeiture” laws to steal assets of people who haven't been convicted or even charged with anything- people who cannot afford to contest the thefts. You should check out the weekly published lists of “Asset Forfeitures” (i.e. U.S. thefts) and see that they're mostly small amounts of cash, cars, and whatnot.

Of course, the Federal Government, operating under a laissez-faire capitalist ideology that is fundamentally hostile to regulation of business, was completely lax for decades in enforcing and inspecting mines. And Congress deliberately made the mine inspection agency feeble. And under the rules, Massey could also endlessly haggle and appeal any citation. And the rare penalties were laughably small fines. And Massey was a non-union company, a key factor in why Massey was worst of the worst among coal mining outfits. And the ex-Chairman and CEO Donald Leon "Deranged Don" Blankenship  is a raving fascist. (Read some of his rants if you don't believe me. He's a red-baiting bastard. His reaction to his own murderous crimes was delivering fascistic attacks on regulators and critics as commies.)

And he got even filthier rich from selling Massey after the mine massacre.

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