Thursday, January 07, 2010

A Stalinist legal system comes to America under guise of fighting terror

First Circle: Liberty Has Been Lost
(TakiMag.com) -- by Paul Craig Roberts --

I had just finished reading the uncensored edition of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s book, In the First Circle (Harper Perennial, 2009), when I came across Chris Hedges article, ‘‘One Day We’ll All Be Terrorists’’ (Truthdig, Dec. 28, 2009). In Hedges’ description of the U.S. government’s treatment of American citizen Syed Fahad Hashmi, I recognized the Stalinist legal system as portrayed by Solzhenitsyn.

Hashmi has been held in solitary confinement going on three years. Guantanamo’s practices have migrated to the Metropolitan Correction Center in Manhattan where Hashmi is held in the Special Housing Unit. His access to attorneys, family, and other prisoners is prevented or severely curtailed. He must clean himself and use toilet facilities on camera. He is let out of solitary for one hour every 24 hours to exercise in a cage.

Hashmi is a U.S. citizen but his government has violated every right guaranteed to him by the Constitution. The U.S. government, in violation of U.S. law, is also subjecting Hashmi to psychological torture known as extreme sensory deprivation. The bogus ‘‘evidence’’ against him is classified and denied to him. Like Joseph K. in Kafka’s The Trial, Hashmi is under arrest on secret evidence. As the case against him is unknown or non-existent, defense is impossible...

In A Man for All Seasons, Sir Thomas More cautions against cutting the law down in order to chase after devils, for with the law cut down, where do we stand when the devil turns on us?

Clearly, these fundamental questions are of no concern to the U.S. Department of Justice (sic), to Congress or the White House, to the ‘‘mainstream media,’’ to the American people, or even to very much of the federal judiciary.

Glenn Greenwald pointed out in Salon (Dec. 4, 2009) that the Convention Against Torture, championed and signed by President Ronald Reagan and ratified by the U.S. Senate, states: ‘‘Each State Party is required either to prosecute torturers who are found in its territory or to extradite them to other countries for prosecution. No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency may be invoked as a justification of torture. Each State Party shall ensure that all acts of torture are offenses under its criminal law.’‘

Two decades later the U.S. government tortures at will. Justice (sic) Department officials write memos authorizing torture despite the ratified Convention Against Torture, U.S. law, and the Geneva Conventions. The Pew Poll reports that 67 percent of Republicans and 47 percent of Democrats support the use of torture.

And Americans think they have freedom and democracy and live under the protection of the rule of law...MORE...LINK

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