Thursday, September 10, 2015

Six Decades of the "Condor": Washington's "Counter-insurgency" Strategy Goes Domestic

Under William Bradford's legal scheme, posting this photo would make me a "fifth columnist."
"Our morality has no precedent, and our humanity is absolute, because it rests on a new ideal. Our aim is to destroy all forms of oppression and violence. To us, everything is permitted, for we are the first to raise the sword not to oppress races and reduce them to slavery, but to liberate humanity from its shackles .... Blood? Let blood flow like water . .. for only through the death of the old world can we liberate ourselves forever."

From a 1920 editorial in Krasni Mech (The Red Sword), a publication of the Soviet Checka secret police; quoted in The Black Book of Communism by Stephane Courtois, et al, pg. 102.

Under the legal regime proposed by attorney and law professor William C. Bradford, who until recently was an instructor at West Point, lawyers and legal scholars who criticize or impede the Regime's endless “war on terror” could be designated “fifth columnists” and “enemy combatants” subject to indefinite detention or summary execution.

Fighting total war demands a mental reconfiguration” on the part of the public by resolving “arguments over how to balance security and liberty in favor of security,” insists Bradford in a 185-page diatribe entitled “Trahsion des Professeurs: The Critical Law of Armed Conflict Academy as an Islamist Fifth Column,” which was published in the Spring/Summer issue of the National Security Law Journal. This will mean “acculturating the necessary fighting spirit” in the population through mass propaganda and, where possible, conspicuous punishment of dissidents. 
“Spartanization of the West will require the deepening of the concept of citizenship to include duties as well as rights," Bradford pontificates. "Rights are attended by corresponding duties, and the state may obligate citizens – even academics – to contribute to to the struggle in those ways they are able.” Refusal “to acknowledge the Islamist threat as an existential challenge to Western Civilization, and to … unite to defeat that threat, would be the greatest dereliction of duty in history.

In confronting an existential crisis, Bradford asserts, “survival is its own justification.” There is no room for “legal fetishists” who are skeptical of decisions by the executive or military leadership: “Americans are entitled not only to political leaders who employ and and all necessary measures but to the strong presumption such measures are legal, and to the salutary effects of this presumption upon their belief in the virtue of their cause and their will to fight for it.”

That virtue, according to Bradford, is sufficient to justify the eradication not only of “Islamists,” but all Muslims who are suspected of sympathizing with them – and, if deemed necessary, Americans who are delinquent in their “duty” to support that objective.

The West must shatter Islamists' political will and eradicate those who do not renounce Islamism,” he declares “All instruments of national power – including convention and nuclear force and PSYOPs [psychological warfare operations] – must be harnessed … to capture the hearts and minds of Islamic peoples, break their will to fight for Islamism, and leave them prepared to coexist with the West or be utterly eradicated....”

To wage “total war” against a tenacious and all-but-omnipresent enemy, all restrictions on government power must be supplanted by what he calls the Law Of Armed Conflict (LOAC), in which the executive is emancipated from checks and balances and the constitutional subordination of the military to civilian control is reversed: “[I]t is the military upon whom the constitutional duty to defend Americans is incumbent, and in whom Americans repose trust.”

Bradford refers to scholarly critics of Washington's open-ended war against Islamism as the Critical Law of Armed Conflict Academy, an awkward and contrived expression created to justify the pungently dismissive acronym CLOACA (which is a relatively high-brown surrogate for themore familiar adolescent vulgarity referring to the emunctory aperture). While admitting that “no membership roll exists” of that intellectual cohort, and declining to name specific examples (most likely out of a desire to avoid civil liability), Bradford insists that scholars who fit within that amorphous category constitute an “Islamist Fifth Column,” even when no evidence of conscious collaboration exists.

Scholarship that challenges the “autonomy” of the Pentagon, or “dismiss[es] military wisdom” by questioning the legality, constitutionality, or morality of foreign wars, indefinite detention of terrorism suspects, or the use of torture as an interrogation technique are not mere academic exercises. Instead, they are a form of advocacy that “attenuates U.S. arms and undermines American will, [and] are PSYOPs. Which are combatant acts,” Bradford insists.

As “propaganda inciting others to war crimes, such acts are prosecutable..... CLOACA members are thus combatants who, like all other combatants, can be targeted at any time and place and captured and detained until termination of hostilities” – without judicial recourse. Assuming that “CLOACA members” would be treated in the same fashion as their supposed Islamist comrades, they would be subject to “judicial execution post-interrogation” if this were considered justifiable as a matter of military necessity.

The threshold for such treatment is astonishingly low. Academic dissenters who publicly describe the U.S. government as “an `aggressor' or employer of illegal methods and means, or [cast] aspersions on U.S. motives” for carrying out military operations display “an intent to betray the United States” or to give aid and comfort to the enemy, Bradford contends. Those thus identified would be subject to what Bradford calls a “counterattack” involving a range of options drawn from a continuum of “increasing coercion” – including mandatory loyalty oaths, termination from employment, formal criminal charges for “material support of terrorism” or even “treason” – a capital offense.

Ominously, in the wake of the summary execution, via drone strikes, of U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki and his American-born, 16-year-old son Abdulrahman, Bradford insists that scholarly critics of Washington's terror war who “commit treason, or otherwise engage in unlawful combatancy … must answer for their delicts just as any others do. The perversity inherent in countenancing intellectual elitism as a basis for a defense against prosecution and a grant of immunity from targeting in war is astonishing.” (Emphasis added.)

Earlier in the essay, Bradford observes that “enemy combatants may be targeted and killed wherever and whenever they can be found” and that “UAVs [that is, missile-bearing drones], as with other weapons systems, do not require that targets of targeting killing be afforded a warning or judicial process before use.”

The coercive “counterattack” against so-called “CLOACA members” would not be limited to lawyers or scholars who express critical views.

[The] infrastructure used to create and disseminate CLOACA propaganda – law school facilities, scholars' home offices, and media outlets where they give interviews – are also lawful targets given the causal connection between the content disseminated and the Islamist crimes incited. Shocking and extreme as this option might seem, CLOACA scholars, and the law schools that employ them, are – at least in theory – targetable so long as attacks are proportional, distinguish noncombatants from combatants, employ nonprohibited weapons, and contribute to the defeat of Islamism.”

In assessing the legitimacy of an envisioned punitive strike against a “Fifth Columnist,” the last consideration – supposed military necessity – trumps all of the others. Bradford's blithe recommendation that the military target the institutional “infrastructure” – including media outlets – used to disseminate “CLOACA propaganda” offers a portentous counterpoint to the recently publicized Pentagon “Law of War” manual outlining circumstances under which journalists could be treated as “unprivileged belligerents.”

 In previous armed conflicts, the U.S. government has authorized lethal strikes against media facilities used to broadcast critical coverage of American military actions: During the 1999 Kosovo conflict, the office of Radio Television Serbia suffered a U.S. missile strike that killed sixteen people.

"Targeted killing" of Serbian journalists (above and below, right).
In April 2003, Al-Jazeera correspondent Tarek Ayoob was killed when a U.S. warplane bombed the network's Baghdad office. An employee of the Reuters news agency was killed, and several of his colleagues were wounded, in the notorious July 12, 2007 “collateral murder” airstrike in Baghdad. Chelsea Manning, then known as Private Bradley Manning, was criminally charged, subjected to abusive detention for 112 days, and eventually sentenced to prison for providing the video record of that atrocity to the Wikileaks organization. Those who preside over the empire's "Disposition Matrix" are prepared not only to arrest and detain but also to kill people accused of using Twitter to express solidarity with Islamists.

"Shoot off your mouth all you want," an unnamed "senior counter-terrorism official" told ABC News regarding social media comments seen as sympathetic to radical Muslims. "Eventually we are going to kill you." Under Bradford's definitions, this approach would be taken not only with social media pests and provocateurs, but with lawyers and law professors as well.

Invoking war suras from the Koran, and imputing treasonous motives to all outspoken critics of the unending war on terror, Bradford insists that Western civilization has been seized, encompassed, and ambushed “by a Fifth Column, and will be vanquished, subsumed within the Caliphate, and ruled by Shari'a if a trahison des professeurs [treason of the professors] goes unchecked.” Just as he scruples at no means to “wipe Islamism and if need be its adherents … from the earth,” Bradford rules nothing out in his proposed campaign to bring so-called CLOACA adherents “to heel via criminal law or force of arms.”

Anticipating critics, Bradford acknowledges that some might complain that his overwrought essay “incites authoritarianism insofar as it counsels militarization, withdraws debates over the enemy from the political arena, vilifies those who fail to acknowledge a grave threat, punishes disloyalty, and takes up law as sword and shield to defend and destroy political will.” Rather than explaining how that critique is inaccurate, Bradford parries such objections by insisting that “mobilization on all fronts is as necessary as a response to the current threat condition as it was during World War II.”

Bradford's disdain for dissent, due process, and the rule of law do summon comparisons with a World War II-era legal revolution. In his study Hitler's Justice: The Courts of the Third Reich, Ingo Mueller describes how the Nazified German legal system was founded on the assumption that “the `national aim'” was the central organizing principle of society, and all guarantees of rights and limitations of state power yielded before the doctrine of “national emergency.”

Citing the rulings of the German Supreme Court and the writings of influential Party-aligned jurists, Mueller writes that the Nazi-era equivalent of Bradford's Law Of Armed Conflict dictated that “objectivity finds its limits … when the national security is placed in doubt.” Every judge and lawyer was required to be “a son of his country” who would “place the vital interests of the nation unconditionally above what is formally the law.”

Bradford spent several years teaching law to West Point cadets before being forced to resign in early August. Significantly, he wasn't terminated for his advocacy of a genocidal foreign policy or a totalitarian campaign to suppress domestic dissent, but rather for inflating his military resume by falsely claiming to have received a Silver Star for combat duty in Desert Storm.

Not surprisingly, Bradford blames his forced resignation on critics of his essay who hadn't read it, but had only seen a handful of inflammatory statements orphaned of their context. Reasonably well-informed readers who manage to plow through the entire paper should recognize that it is a commendably candid effort to provide a legal argument for domesticating practices that have been employed abroad by the United States Government for at least six decades.

Beginning in the late 1950s or early 1960s, U.S.-aligned militarist regimes in Latin America, with the help of the Pentagon and the CIA, “shared intelligence and seized, tortured, and executed political opponents in one another's territory,” recounts historian and author J. Patrick McSherry in his book Predatory States: Operation Condor and Covert War in Latin America. “Counterinsurgency militaries organized massive new state and parastatal apparatuses for intelligence, surveillance, and social control, including secret torture-disappearance-killing systems and new technologies of violence to terrorize who populations.”

This coordinated venture in international state terrorism was eventually known as “Operation Condor,” a name derived from the national symbol of Uruguay --whose national police agency was among the bloodiest participants.

Owing to the existence of “an implacable enemy whose avowed objective is world domination,” insisted the CIA's 1954 Doolittle Report, “hitherto acceptable norms of conduct do not apply.” By that time, Communist regimes had slaughtered tens of millions of people, and the architects of Washington's Cold War strategy assumed that the best way to defeat the Communists was to echo their claim of plenary moral immunity (see the statement from the Krasni Mech editorial above) and emulate some of their most reprehensible behavior, including the state-ordered disposal of what the Soviets called “socially dangerous persons.”

Increasingly, a person's ideas – not illegal acts – were the criteria used in decisions to detain or disappear him,” McSherry points out. “Counterinsurgency specialists also re-engineered police forces and changed their mission from a law enforcement to a militarized model.”

In the name of counter-insurgency warfare, these “Spartanized” states – to use Bradford's entirely appropriate term – slaughtered millions of people throughout Latin America, and conducted extra-territorial kidnappings and murders in Europe and the United States. Nor were they content to focus on armed guerrillas and people who provably offered them material support.

First we will kill all the subversives; then we will kill their collaborators; then their sympathizers; then those who remain indifferent,” explained Argentine General Iberico St. Jean, speaking on behalf of a U.S.-supported junta that “disappeared” countless thousands of people in that fashion. General St. Jean's formula was originally presented in Spanish, but he and professor Bradford speak the same language.

Dum spiro, pugno!


Kent McManigal said...

I'd much rather be CLOACA than one of his people, the Armed Spartan Socialists Happily Obliterating Liberty, Embracing Statism.

Chris Mallory said...

He is also trying to drum up support for a military coup.

"Since 2014, according to what is apparently his LinkedIn page, he has been circulating an article for publication entitled, “Alea Iacta Est: The U.S. Coup of 2017.” The abstract is strewn with thinly-veiled references to President Obama, asking, for example, “What conditions precedent would be required before the American military would be justified in using or threatening force to oust a U.S. president attempting to ‘fundamentally transform the United States of America’?” Although describing it simply as a “heuristic test of a proferred theory,” it also wonders aloud, “Is such a duty incumbent upon the U.S. armed forces at present?” "

Uncle Al said...

Yes, the mohammadmen are a threat to all non-muslims.
But Bradford and his ilk are a threat to all civilized people.
Which is the greater threat? Does it matter? If I'm threatened by a rattlesnake and an alligator at the same time, choosing on over the other isn't a survival strategy.

BTW, the Condor graphic shows that the operation was named by someone ignorant of geography. The condor is an Andean bird, and of the five only Argentina and Chile are Andean countries. Brasil, Paraguay, and Uruguay are not, and not many condors are found in those nations.

Chris Sullivan said...

When you push Jedwood Justice it almost always returns to haunt you.

kirk said...

those in power are in the process of delivering domestically that which they have delivered internationally to anyone who opposes their desires for hegemony. that is why such creeps as the featured instructor at west point are hired. it is the first step in 'educating' future military personnel for when the day comes that it is 'necessary' to kill americans on our home soil.

n. dakota has allowed arming drones for state use. they indicate it is not lethal. who believes that will last, if true in the first place, and will not be employed by the remaining states?

our 'leaders' are turning their 'lessons learned' on us. the day is near when to take exception to anything will warrant a 'drone strike'.

if you wish to find the cause for all that is going on, look at your neighbors. we have what we have for tolerating what we tolerate.

it is going to get worse, much worse. that is the nature of tyranny.

Anonymous said...

"n. dakota has allowed arming drones for state use. they indicate it is not lethal. who believes that will last, if true in the first place, and will not be employed by the remaining states?"

donna from North Dakota:
How ironic! As I am now scanning various compilations of international news articles, I hear a military helicopter skimming through our narrow valley on its way to the Missouri River & north to Bismarck. Looking west from our upstairs window, I see one of those 'persistent' drones swoop down for a closer look. Not sure if its to see the helicopter or me in the lighted window. Sigh...

Awhile back, I put one of those ugly Sock Monkey lamps on my computer desk with its glowing face turned to the outside. I call it my 'drone monkey'. It will probably get us all killed.

Michael said...

What a sick son of a b***h. To think a so called "American" came up with this is unbelievable.

Keep up the good work Will

JC said...

William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!

Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

William Roper: Yes, I'd cut down every law in England to do that!

Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned 'round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man's laws, not God's! And if you cut them down, and you're just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!

Robert Bolt, A Man For All Seasons

Workingstiff said...

The guy is nuts with a Napoleon complex. The idea to aggressively take on one and a half-billion Muslims is ludicrous to the extreme. His total war concept would leave the world in ashes by upping the ante to nuclear genocide of entire nations to prove "we mean business".

Besides, once carte blanc of absolute power to conduct total war is given, war will be the ongoing health of the state. Those in charge who become addicted to using a hammer to solve every human problem, and will not step down, ever.

Dan Kurt said...

Not being a Lawyer I think that I am disabused of the "one one hand A but on the other hand B" disease. What I see is Muslims have been at war with non-Muslims since the time of Mohamed. They say that they will conquer the non-Muslim world and impose Peace there. After 1400 years of carrying out that plan I believe them. Bradford also appears to believe them. I read his paper (a long read for sure) and suggest you all do the same. All that I can conclude is that the World faces an existential threat from Muslims. Bradford has convinced me that something must be done and that something will not be tidy.

Dan Kurt

William N. Grigg said...

If "They" -- presumably the entire Muslim population, which we are invited to believe is a homogeneous mass of unfiltered hostility and violence -- have been pursuing a plan for global domination over the past 1400 years, their present condition belies the idea that they pose an "existential threat" to the West.

Like you I waded through the entire 185 pages of clotted prose and sophomoric sophistry published by Bradford, which begins with the perfunctory acknowledgment that not every Muslim believer is an "Islamist" (a coinage that describes a certain kind of post-modern Muslim irredentist) -- and then proceeds to treat anyone who subscribes to that religion as an incorrigible enemy of all that is worth defending.By the time Bradford's screed wheezes to an end, he has blithely endorsed genocidal "eradication" of much, if not all, of the world's Muslims and punitive action -- including summary execution -- of anyone who would impede progress toward that objective.

Contrary to widely cultivated myth, Muslims do not harbor similarly genocidal ambitions toward those who reject their religion. Even Islamists define their grievances primarily in territorial terms, rather than seeking world domination (which the most devout believe will only occur after the reign of the Mahdi).

People of the latter kind are foul beings in whose company Bradford and his ilk belong. The biggest difference is that Bradford's views are probably much more typical of the U.S. military and foreign policy establishment than the views of Islamists are of the Muslim population at large.

When people speak openly of a "Final Solution" to the Muslim problem, as Lt. Col. Zumwalt and others in his circles have (see, or of waging a war of "eradication" against Muslims, they have forever forfeited any claim to represent any civilization worth saving.

Anonymous said...

President Buckman, anyone?

Tim Allan said...

There is always the alleged three world wars letter to consider. Seems to me that that is the game plan. Alice Bailey, or her descended master, also discussed this working out of strife between the People of the Book as a prelude to conditions necessary to the "Coming One".

After more than three decades, the great Constance Cumbey is still on the trail of these rascals. Worth checking her site out. She was recently invited to join a group of Christian conservatives who featured three generals. One was Boykin, another Vallely. The latter has been associated with Michael Aquino, of Church of Set paedophilia at the Praesidio fame. Mrs Cumbey made her excuses, and published the info on her blog.

And thank you, Will.

Dan Kurt said...

re: "....they have forever forfeited any claim to represent any civilization worth saving." W. Grigg and others

Playing by the rules while the other side beats us to a bloody pulp doesn’t make any sense to me. Allowing Muslims to colonize the West is insanity. Libertarians are pallbearers in the death of the West as they have been fooled by their own rhetoric into ignoring reality wanting to win arguments instead of the real war.

Dan Kurt

William N. Grigg said...

The West is dying as a result of its indigenous corruption and descent into collectivist tyranny. Libertarians are among the few who have correctly diagnosed that affliction, and have been working to cure it.

Since 2001, the U.S government and its bribed and bullied "allies" have killed hundreds of thousands -- perhaps more than a million -- people in the Muslim world, and they add to that toll daily. That figure of necessity includes the victims of the nihilistic movement called ISIS, which was catalyzed by the criminal invasion and occupation of Iraq, the war against Libya, and (to an as-yet-undetermined extent) has been materially aided by the US government.

Before 2001, the U.S. and UK collaborated in an embargo of Iraq that was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Saddam's subjects.

I will concede that the U.S. government has been "playing by the rules" -- in the sense that its behavior has been consistent since 1953, when it first intervened in the Islamic world to overthrow (with the aid of CIA-funded radical Mullahs) an elected Iranian government, installing a dictator who later succumbed to the same radicalism that had propelled him to the Peacock Throne. Washington then abetted Saddam's aggression against Iran, leading to a decade-long war that claimed another million lives.

Who is being the pulp out of whom, precisely? Loathsome as Islamic radicals can be, they've done nothing to match that record. Washington likewise has a remarkable record of identifying the worst and most violent elements within the Islamic world and cultivating them -- from the inbred barbarians in Saudi Arabia to the proto-Taliban in Afghanistan and the movement now known as ISIS.

Until and unless he gives me reason to believe otherwise, the Muslim is my neighbor and I will protect his individual rights as zealously as I assert my own. The "real war," from my perspective, is the defense of individual liberty against people who seek to corral us into collectives and set us against each other for the greater glory of the state.