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Author: TriSec    Date: 11/22/2016 10:46:25

Good Morning.

We'll start today we're we've all been recently - in Washington, DC. Among the many names floated for a possible Trump cabinet place are two from Massachusetts. Mitt Romney is no prize, but compared to Giuliani or Bolton - I'll gladly take him as Secretary of State. While he'd have to push Trump's policy around the world, at least he would be civil and proper - and that does go a long way in negotiations, even if you're arguing about dog poo.

The other is our erstwhile Senator Scott Brown, possibly as the Secretary of Veteran's Affairs. Surprisingly enough - we at AAV would not have a problem with this. While you know my feelings towards him as a Senator, I constantly harangued his office during his tenure about Veteran's issues. I never once felt that these concerns went unlistened to - and I received some positive responses from his office staff during those days. Mr. Brown is a veteran himself, although as a peacetime warrior he never fired a shot in anger. Nevertheless - he's not the worst choice.

But before we even get to what the new might do, there's still the atrocities of the past that need to be addressed. You probably heard that Russia and now the Philippines have pulled out of the International Criminal Court, and many South African nations are also thinking about doing so - all allegedly over unfair treatment.

Well...the USA remains, and the ICC isn't shy about their latest allegations from a decade and a half ago in Afghanistan. Think about this - WWII ended 71 years ago. There are still active Nazi-hunters at work every day trying to track down perpetrators of war crimes. So why should we be any different?

The former administration of president George W. Bush authorized the use of so-called enhanced interrogation techniques --including waterboarding -- after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

Their use was abolished by President Barack Obama when he took over the White House in January 2009.

But the ICC could be set for a collision course with president-elect Donald Trump, who has said he is in favor of such harsh interrogation techniques and may re-authorize their use.

War crimes allegedly carried out by US forces were "not the abuses of a few isolated individuals," Bensouda insisted in her annual report to the 124 states that belong to the ICC.

Rather it appeared "these alleged crimes were committed" as part of "a policy or policies aimed at eliciting information through the use of interrogation techniques involving cruel or violent methods".

The aim was to "support US objectives in the conflict in Afghanistan".

Detailing her office's initial findings, Bensouda said "at least 61 detainees" were subjected to "torture (and) cruel treatment" by US armed forces in Afghanistan between May 1, 2003 and December 31, 2014.

"Members of the CIA" also appeared "to have subjected at least 27 detained persons to torture, cruel treatment... and/or rape on the territory of Afghanistan" as well as in secret detention centres in Poland, Romania and Lithuania between December 2002 and March 2008.

Unfortunately though, the United States has never actually ratified the ICC treaty, so there's nothing stopping us from leaving the court, either. Only time will tell.

But the United States has not ratified the court's founding Rome Statute, and it is unlikely Washington would cooperate in any investigation which would expose US forces for the first time to the glare of an ICC probe.

And while the US has been leading calls for those behind atrocities in the Syrian conflict to be brought to justice in The Hague, there is little chance of any US soldiers ending up in the dock here.

But alas, it's back to politics for our last story. Perhaps you heard about a Gold Star family that was disrespected on a recent flight aboard a commercial airliner? A flight was held up so the soldier's remains could be transferred from plane to plane. Some folks booed the family on board the plane because of the delay. I wonder, perhaps, if the President-Elect publicly insulting a Gold Star family might have inspired others to do so? At the very least, because the President-Elect does it, it's now OK for everyone else to do the same?

STOCKTON, Calif. -- The father of a California soldier recently killed in Afghanistan says he felt disrespected and hurt by passengers who booed him and his family when they were on a flight to meet his son's remains.

Stewart Perry, his wife and daughter were on an American Airlines flight Monday from Sacramento to Philadelphia with a transfer in Phoenix to receive the remains of his son, Sgt. John Perry, of Stockton, when the flight was delayed, the Stockton Record reported Saturday.

Perry, an ex-Marine who lives in Stockton, said the flight to Phoenix was 45 minutes late and the crew, fearing the Gold Star family could miss their connecting flight, made an announcement for passengers to remain seated to let a "special military family" deplane first.

Perry said several passengers in first class booed, complaining that it was "baloney" and that they paid first-class fares. He said he doesn't know if the passengers from Sacramento knew there was a Gold Star family on board or whether people sitting in the coach section complained.

"It was just disgusting behavior from people in first class; it was terrible to see," Perry said.

Perry, 30, and another U.S. Army soldier died of injuries inflicted by an improvised explosive device Nov. 12 inside Bagram Airfield.

The husband and father of two young children died a hero, his father said.

"He made a decision that saved a lot of people," he said. "I was told that he was found protecting a female soldier. . He didn't get to live a full life, but he lived."

One wonders, how much further away from the United States will we be by January 20?

32 comments (Latest Comment: 11/22/2016 22:16:07 by livingonli)
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