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Geneva Conventions Redefined: The New U.S. Department Of War

By Lt. Eric N. Shine & Gary Corseri

09 June, 2011

"What's in a name?"

--William Shakespeare

     Most people are unaware of the larger picture developing over the past seven or eight decades, or have been willing to ignore it. This still-developing image portrays matters requiring knowledge of world history, a degree of self-education and a global perspective to recognize and decipher.

     The remarkable change still underway is a complete militarization of the United States, if not also the rest of the world. Today, the most disturbing sign of this take-over of all of the civilian commons by the military, at least in the U.S., comes in the form of a new, or reinvigorated, Department of War.

     Our de facto Department of War, was known as our War Department from 1789 until it was reconstituted on September 18, 1947 in response to international terms set forth by the Geneva Convention accords. Wars of aggression and conquest were outlawed by those international agreements. Only wars to defend a nation's borders were allowed. In 1948, with our agreeing to the terms of these accords, our Department of War was converted to a reconfigured Department of Defense and its focus changed… until now.

     In spite of restructuring, one thing is now clear: those agreements that came about in response to two horrendous world wars, have now been reversed. One sign of this reversal is the wars of aggression in which our “Department of Defense” is now engaged; another sign is the conversion of the Department of Defense back to a reinvigorated offensive Department of War, and, concomitantly, the creation of a new de facto Defense Department.

     President George W. Bush accelerated these attacks on the Geneva Convention accords to a point where our own soldiers, in the midst of intense conflict, stood in jeopardy of losing these important safeguards. This earth-shattering change, irreconcilable not only with these accords, but with our own Constitution, and with our foundational system of civilian self-governance, was already well underway. And, sadly and forebodingly, these changes were largely unnoticed by our citizenry… and remain so today!

     The other major new reality of our recent restructuring has been the creation of the relatively new “Department of Homeland Security” -- in effect, our new Defense Department! A doctrine, a rationale of external aggression was incorporated into the structural conversion of our Department of Defense back into a de facto Department of War, while, ironically, actual defensive tactics and strategies became the bailiwick of our Department of Homeland Security! (Significantly, the Department of Homeland Security was originally to be called the Department of Homeland Defense!). And what was the intention of all these Orwellian name-changes and shenanigans? Obviously, to confuse the populace with the real purposes of the elite class of rulers; and, significantly, to carry on an inward thrust of conquest and subjugation upon the people of the United States.)

     One thing the military learned well from the Viet Nam experience is that to win any war, or wars, no matter how just or proper, the American people must be controlled!

     So, an international War Department was reestablished via our former Department of Defense, and a domestic War Department was thrust upon us all in the formation of the Department of Homeland Security. This was actually a bifurcation of the Department of Defense in two; but, more important, it constituted a movement of military law into a most overt form of martial law-- taking such military law out of the purview of the Department of Defense and placing it under the aegis of the Department of Homeland [Defense] Security. One major manifestation of this conversion of original intent was the transference of the U.S. Coast Guard to Homeland Security from the Department of Transportation, as if it had come from the Department of Defense, and specifically from the Department of the Navy!

     These conversions of oversight, responsibility and accountability were coupled with the exponential growth in outsourcing and contracting of everyday duties to a private army of support personnel who would cook, clean, transport and do things that military personnel used to do for themselves!  Thus our military was able to grow quickly and massively without garnering the Constitutionally-mandated oversight and attention.

     In the case of the Coast Guard, an additional 65,000 personnel were added. For military Federal Contractors like the 1870 corporate members and 87,000 individual members of the National Defense Industrial Association--drawn from the likes of Lockheed-Martin, General Dynamics, General Electric, and General Motors--this meant a windfall of personnel to whom and for whom to contract. Even Federal Savings Banks and Credit Card companies like USAA that cater to the military made out infamously with these new dispensations!

     To look at all of this critically, we must look at the Nuremburg Trials and subsequent International Conventions outlawing wars of aggression by Nation-States upon one another. Has the United States now essentially nullified these international conventions in order to pursue its own imperial wars of aggression? To what extent is our general population aware of these unilateral annulments of international law?  What kind of groundwork--legal, extra-legal, and practical--is being laid now for what kind of future adventurism?

     We must also re-visit our own Constitution, and systems of self defense designed therein such as our courts, and then move forward, observing changes in the legal and political climates, both within the U.S. and the world over the past 200 years or so.

     In the U.S., with growing and overt militarization, we are moving into a time similar to the Dark Ages of medieval Europe when Privy Councils and Star Chambers were employed to terrorize and maintain a specter of fear over the general populace. A place and time when the “special forces” of that time—in the form of knights-errant and knights aberrant (!) — ruled the day and might made right. Councils or courts were run by military force, not by an independent judiciary, and were far less concerned with justice than most would accord to even military tribunals of today.

     Just prior to launching War in Iraq on March 18th, 2003, the newly formed Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was established and the U.S. Coast Guard was incorporated therein, but to this day few understand what this DHS is or what it is intended to become and to foster. This radical development has pushed our Republic further away from our founding principles and our Constitutional form of civilian self-governance and alarmingly in the direction of monarchical and imperialist rule.

Lt. Eric Shine was Congressionally-appointed to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, and commissioned as a Navy Ensign in 1991.  Up for promotion in 2003/2004 to Lieutenant Commander, charges were brought against him by the Coast Guard (under cover of launching the war in Iraq).  He was stripped of his Naval Commission absent due process, and the Coast Guard has been prosecuting him as a civilian within a series of military tribunals over the past 8 years.  Some of his story is found on the Internet, on several websites, including, www.crossingtherubicon.org and www.martiallaw911.com  .  Lt. Shine hosts the "InThe  Zone" radio show on Saturdays, 9 PM, PST

( www.republicbroadcasting.org) . ...Gary Corseri has published/posted work at hundreds of periodicals and websites worldwide, including, Countercurrents, CounterPunch, The Activist Post, L.A. Progressive, The New York Times, Dissident Voice, Global Research, and The Village Voice. His books include the novels, A Fine Excess and Holy Grail, Holy Grail. His dramas have appeared on Atlanta-PBS, and he has performed at the Carter Presidential Library. He can be contacted at [email protected] .


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