Posted by: quiscus | March 5, 2011

March 5, 2010

1.  “Army’s Mafia Abuse of Pvt. Bradley Manning

Is the U.S. Army stooping to Mafia-style tactics in seeking to imprison 23-year-old Private Bradley Manning for the rest of his life, essentially making him an example for other U.S. soldiers who might be tempted to put conscience and commitment to truth ahead of military discipline and going by the book?

If the Mafia comparison strikes you as a tad over the top, perhaps a seven-year trip down memory lane may prove instructive. Remember what happened after the U.S. Army learned of the obscene and brutal treatment of Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib prison in early 2004?

Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba led the first (and only honest) investigation of the scandal. In May 2004, he completed a report that sharply criticized the Army and the higher-ups in the Bush administration for creating the conditions that permitted the mistreatment to occur.

When the report leaked to the press, Taguba found himself treated like a disloyal capo who had talked out of school about the Family business.

Rather than thank Taguba for upholding the honor of the U.S. Army, the Bush administration singled out this hard-working, low-key general for retribution and forced retirement.

In an interview with New Yorker reporter Seymour Hersh, Taguba described a chilling conversation he had with Gen. John Abizaid, head of Central Command, a few weeks after Taguba’s report became public.

As the two men sat in the back of Abizaid’s Mercedes sedan in Kuwait, Abizaid quietly told Taguba, “You and your report will be investigated.”

“I’d been in the Army 32 years by then,” Taguba told Hersh, “and it was the first time that I thought I was in the Mafia.”

It was also an early indication that Taguba’s military career was nearing its end because the general had given the American people a glimpse into the dark world of the Bush administration’s policies of torture and murder.

Hersh wrote that the sensitivity over Taguba’s report went beyond its graphic account of physical and sexual abuse of Iraqis detained at Abu Ghraib; it also brought unwanted attention to a wider pattern of criminal acts committed with the approval of President Bush and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

“The administration feared that the publicity would expose more secret operations and practices,” including special military task forces set up to roam the world and assassinate suspected terrorists, Hersh wrote. Hersh quoted a retired CIA officer as saying the task-force teams “had full authority to whack – to go in and conduct ‘executive action,’” a phrase meaning assassination.”
http://original.antiwar.com/mcgovern/2011/03/04/armys-mafia-abuse-of-pvt-bradley-manning/

2.  “Head of World’s Largest Asset Manager: “Markets Like Totalitarian Governments”

 

But BlackRock isn’t just the largest money manager … it is also the larges asset manager in the world.

As Wikipeda notes:

As of December 31, 2010, BlackRock’s assets under management total $3.56 trillion across equity, fixed income, alternative investments, real estate, risk management, and advisory strategies. Through BlackRock Solutions, it offers risk management, strategic advisory, and enterprise investment system services to a broad base of clients with portfolios totaling approximately $9 trillion.

And see this and this.

So it is stunning that Blackrock’s Chairman and CEO – Larry Fink – said on Bloomberg TV:

Markets like totalitarian governments.

 

Investors can determine whether a nation prospers or starves.

Investors can determine the course of nations, including who gets elected and who gets the boot.

No wonder there are so many totalitarian governments in the Middle East, North Africa and around the world.

No wonder totalitarianism has been creeping into America’s politics and economics. See this and this.

Because big investors (or at least big asset managers) like totalitarian governments. If they instead preferred democracy, democracy would flourish.

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2011/03/head-of-worlds-largest-asset-manager.html

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