Why they spell it with a "K"

Aah Amerika - if only we knew what we do not know. As Argentinian writer Alberto Manguel wrote “. . with the passing of the years my ignorance in countless areas . . . has become increasingly perfected.”

I've been reading Rusty Rocket’s book “Revolution” and thinking about all the semi-rusted ex-Soviet nuclear missiles that are probably lying around Eurasia. “Rusty” is Russell Brand’s Twitter name and his book is a quick-fire romp through some of the more devastating issues we face today. It’s actually hard to read and is best served in small chunks. With a cup of coffee out in the garden.

So what about these left over missiles from the first Cold War? The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute estimates that Russia has about 1780 deployed nuclear warheads, while the USA has around 2080. But the total world wide, deployed and in storage, is more like 20,000. Mostly in the US and Russia, with smaller numbers in the UK, France, China, Israel, India and Pakistan.

That just seems a little like overkill, literally, as the website Common Dreams spells out. As I was mulling over these rockets and warheads, both rusty and live, I came to a section of Brand's book dealing with the author’s disbelief in conspiracy theories (page 313, Century edition, 2014). By means of which he lists a number of conspiracies, just to get you thinking! Then he mentions the Netherlands Invasion Act, an American piece of legislation from 2002 (part of the Dubya legacy) which enables the US to storm Den Haag should a yankee soldier, marine, politician, CIA operative or whomsoever be brought before the International Criminal Court. George W. Bush himself, perhaps.

This seemed a bit far fetched and rather typical of rusty-rocketry, so I looked it up and - it’s true! Wiki it here or Google it there!

You can read all the details yourself, but the gist of it is to authorise military force to free any American, or citizen of a US ally, held by the ICC on war crimes charges. In addition, the law provides for the withdrawal of US military assistance from countries ratifying the ICC treaty, and restricts US participation in United Nations peacekeeping unless the United States obtains immunity from prosecution.

This American Servicemembers Protection Act dates from 2002 and is still on their books. Obama made noises about repealing it, but you know, it just might come in handy. To be astounded by this factual knowledge means it’s no longer necessary to go into the depths of the internet with all those crank pages and incredible theories. Even Amnesty International has reported on apparent war crimes committed by US and NATO troops in Afghanistan (they released a 108 page report in 2014, linked here and commented here.

No need to add Iraq, Falluja, depleted uranium shells, drone strikes in Gaza, Lebanon or Pakistan. Read it here if you want. Even Stephen Rapp, the ambassador-at-large in charge of the US State Department’s Office of Global Criminal Justice, resigned because of the “legal and practical realities” of creating international tribunals. Albeit his frustration is that other countries won’t do it the way the Americans want it done. The issue there seems to be that the US won’t use the ICC and other nations will, resisting the American push to get the UN Security Council to validate their stance.

Following the 2014 release of the CIA torture report from a US Senate Select Committee, (which got very little mainstream media coverage in Australia) a German human rights group has filed a criminal complaint in Berlin against the Bush era architects of torture, explicitly in relation to the case of German citizen Khaled El Masri, who was abducted by CIA agents in 2004 in a case of mistaken identity. He was tortured in a secret detention center in Afghanistan. The criminal complaint details the US Senate report’s finding that once the unlawful error was discovered, the former CIA director refused to take further steps against those responsible.

All of this gets complicated and confusing very quickly, especially if you start from the premise that America is the leader of the free world. And that Australia is a loyal ally because our interests are aligned. But one thing stands out, the US Government and military do whatever they want across the world and are not held accountable. And the media, including public broadcasters, mainly validate their actions and defer any meaningful discussion or investigation.

So we just don’t know about a lot of things, like the existence of the Netherlands Invasion Act. And when we find out what they haven’t told us we naturally start to wonder what else there might be, and naturally start to question the truth of what they’ve led us to believe so far.

Take the Ukraine for instance. Were we ever told, or do people generally know, that US Vice President Joe Biden's son and a close friend of Secretary of State John Kerry's stepson have joined the board of a Ukrainian gas producer controlled by a former top security and energy official? (Source) Or that US neocons, investors and even the State Department were deeply involved in Ukrainian developments prior to the “regime change” in early 2014. (Source) Or that the Ukraine cabinet now has three foreigners - US-born Natalie Jaresko as finance minister, Lithuania's Aivaras Abromavicius economy minister and Aleksandre Kvitashvili - from Georgia - health minister. Hours before the parliament installed them, all three were granted Ukrainian citizenship by President Petro Poroshenko. That’s from a BBC report. Just add to that a certain Janika Merilo, former softcore pornster, as the new overseer of foreign investment and she’s Estonian!

No, we don’t hear those things. What we get is that Putin is trying to snatch the East Ukraine against the democratic wishes of the Ukrainian people, that Putin shot down the MH17 and killed innocent Aussies (if not personally, then we hold him responsible and liable to be shirtfronted).

Even film maker Oliver Stone knows more about such affairs than most of us, and he posts alternative views on Facebook but no media outlets pick it up.

Robert Parry, award-winning investigative reporter wrote recently: “A basic rule of journalism is that there are almost always two sides to a story and that journalists should try to reflect that reality, a principle that is especially important when lives are at stake amid war fevers. Yet, American journalism has failed miserably in this regard during the Ukraine crisis”.

And this is why so many from the periphery spell America with a “K”

But, like Rusty Rockets, I’d never suggest a conspiracy theory here. Or there. Or anywhere.

Could it just be that the United States, in it’s end days as Global Emperor, is pushing NATO eastwards (and southwards into Libya as well as far far east in Afghanistan, about 5,600 km from the Atlantic) in some wild endeavour to cripple Russia and hog tie Europe in the face of the relentless rise of China’s economic power?

Aah if only we knew what we do not know. I am reminded of a quote from Alberto Manguel, the Argentinian writer - “. . with the passing of the years my ignorance in countless areas . . . has become increasingly perfected.”

Photo at top of post is from Dutch photographer Martin Roemers "Relics of the Cold War" More images here. Map: Nato's expansion