Article I, Section VIII of the Constitution declares that by the, "Powers Granted to Congress," paragraph 11, permits Congress "To declare war,
grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water."
Who in this modern age wonders about that clause
or knows what it means? Its in the Constitution so it must be good because those guys didn’t make any mistakes. Right?
Definition of Letter of marque: Noun. An official commission from a government authorizing someone to seize the property or people of another
nation; especially to attack merchant shipping of another nation ¹ Noun. A license to a private citizen to seize property of another nation.
In other words a letter of marque is a constitutionally legal authorization granted by government to private individuals and/or corporations to steal
from other individuals/corporations/governments for a percentage of the value of the goods seized (stolen)
And since the definition includes “People”, it appears that this clause may have even legitimized the slave trade in the eyes of colonial leaders
because although privateers often work in tandem with a military for mutually desired goals (to destroy a designated enemy), privateers have looser
boundaries and rules of engagement than do government military forces. So if the letter of marque didn’t specifically forbid slave trading, well
that’s about as good as an open African hunting license with no bag limit.
“About 1,700 Letters of Marque were issued on a per-voyage basis during the American Revolution. Nearly 800 vessels were commissioned as privateers
and are credited with capturing or destroying about 600 British ships.” www.jcs-group.com...
The only state
that kept accurate records of the vessels, voyages and credits was Connecticut. No one seems to know what the rest of them were doing, or at least
they left no record.
Generations of Americans have graduated from public schools and institutions of higher learning not understanding that obscure clause or having any
inkling as to why its there. Rather, they have been led to believe the American Revolution was fought and won almost single handedly by a barefooted
and heroic George Washington. So who will disabuse the misinformed among us and tell them that it was actually wealthy shipping moguls turned
privateer, along with their hired soldiers of fortune, buccaneers and mercenaries who did most of the damage to America’s declared enemies ~ for a
piece of each captured pie, of course.
When people ask how and when private corporations and wealthy individuals took control of the US and became filthy rich by attacking, stealing from
and destroying those who may have something of value, they tend to only think as far back as the last administration. Maybe they should take a harder
look at the days before nationhood. In fact, state sponsored piracy goes all the way back to the 13th century so the founding fathers didn’t start
something new and fresh in America, they imported a centuries-old policy that had destroyed nations and peoples throughout history. In their defense,
the colonies used mercenaries against England because England was using mercenaries against the colonies and sometimes you have to fight fire with
fire, even if you burn everything to the ground in the process leaving nothing but illusions of independence to your posterity.
The fact that letters of marque were codified into the supreme law of the land speaks to the intent of the founders to allow privateers to operate by
government fiat in perpetuity and they have done so. It is no surprise then that no people have ever been more dependent upon government and its crony
privateers for their every need than the American people.
The recent attempt to elect Ron Paul was probably as close as we’ll ever get to slowing down the fascist regime (collusion between government and
corporations for mutual gain and control) that has grown up around us like kudzu since before the actual founding of this nation and which the current
leadership still depends upon for its power. But even Paul could not have changed that clause and all I can say is that its depressing when people
talk about the need to restore the Constitution without knowing all of the implications.
The hairline separating pirates from privateers is based solely on whether the organization is pre-sanctioned by a government as opposed to the
example of the unsanctioned and hotly decried ingenuity and entrepreneurship of brash Somali pirates defending their shoreline in speedboats against
foreign government sanctioned privateers and their military protectors in warships. The credo on either side is the same: “protect your interests
and don’t come home empty handed.” The difference lies in the rationale of the parties involved ~ whether their actions are defensive or offensive
in nature. IOW, how many thousands of miles must a military or privateer travel to undermine, harass, goad and preemptively attack a sovereign
country before it can no longer be claimed to be a legitimate defense tactic and cannot cry foul when they are retaliated against, even violently if
peaceful protests are ignored, for doing harm to that country and people?
So who are today’s privateers with letters of marque and reprisal who work clandestinely to keep the middle east and the world in constant turmoil
in the name of empire and plunder? Halliburton maybe? DynCorp (now Cerberus)?
Is it the school of the Americas (later Blackwater
and now Xe)? How about the alphabet soup company spooks and black ops specialists with their phony front companies and bottomless bags of dirty
tricks? Maybe it includes weapons manufacturers whose ownership and back room deals are never spoken of by MSM but whose no bid contracts are always a
foregone conclusion no matter how many times they’ve bilked their client (govt). Maybe it’s the thousands of NGOs and public private partnerships,
each with its own hidden agenda to alter people’s lives to better suit their cocked up think tank models. Maybe that ignored clause explains the
deafening silence surrounding the mystery of Iraq’s heisted gold dinars and priceless antiquities. Maybe it would also explain the mystery of the
gold bullion missing from the WTC basement after the hasty “clean up” was completed.
Whatever. It all sounds like plunder writ large and amazingly, it IS
100% constitutional. The only conclusion that can be drawn from this is
that we might need a new plan, Stan. PDQ.
Its hard not to love the country of one’s birth, but that doesn’t preclude wondering about how it would have turned out if the anti-federalists
had written our rules of law.