Law and Disorder
(AntiWar.com) -- by Philip Giraldi --
The record of the America’s law making body Congress and its judiciary since 9/11 has been nothing short of pathetic. The Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001 might well be described as one of history’s more spectacular euphemisms employed to gut a constitution, somewhat akin to Hitler’s "emergency act" in the wake of the Reichstag fire of 1933. It is better known as the Patriot Act I. Patriot Act I became law six weeks after the fall of the twin towers and was followed by the the Patriot Act II of 2006, the two laws together diminishing constitutional rights to free speech, freedom of association, freedom from illegal search, the right to habeas corpus, prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment, and freedom from the illegal seizure of private property. The First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendments in the Bill of Rights have all been discarded or abridged in the rush to make it easier to investigate, torture, and jail both foreigners and American citizens. The Patriot Act also incorporates the Financial Anti-Terrorism Act of October 17th, 2001, which permits the freezing of assets and investigation of individuals suspected of being financial supporters of terrorism. "Suspected" is the key word, as there is no oversight or appeal to the process.
The Military Commission Act of 2006 followed the Patriot Acts, creating military tribunals for the trying of "unlawful enemy combatants," including American citizens. Unlike a civil or criminal court, the accused needs only a two-thirds vote by the commission members present to be convicted. The act permits the indefinite jailing of suspects in a military prison without providing access to a lawyer or charging with a crime. The government is not required to produce any normally admissible evidence at a commission hearing and can rely on hearsay or even on information obtained overseas during torture to make its case. Detainees do not have access to any classified information being used against them and cannot cross examine or even know the identity of witnesses. The MCA suspends habeas corpus for anyone charged and forbids the application of the Geneva Conventions to mitigate conditions of confinement or to challenge the judicial process or verdict. The Geneva Conventions also cannot be invoked if the accused subsequently claims he was tortured or otherwise abused, protecting overly zealous interrogators from later charges of "war crimes." The act was also designed to cover all cases that were pending, meaning that it was retroactive.
More recently, the United States Attorney General has indicated that he will not prosecute government officials who committed torture under the Bush Administration in spite of Washington being a signatory to international treaties condemning the practice. The Obama Administration has also declared that it has the right to kill any American citizen anywhere in the world if it suspects that person is involved in supporting terrorism. The sole due process required to carry out the execution is review of a secret dossier by a government lawyer. The assassination, inevitably in a country with which the US is not at war since Washington is not legally at war with anyone, is carried out by a hellfire missile fired from a drone. If the target’s family is traveling with him, that is regarded as unavoidable collateral damage.
And the new judicial world order has been given its own defense mechanisms to make it bulletproof. Challenges to illegal incarceration or denial of constitutional rights are routinely rejected by the courts, concurring with Administration claims of state secrecy to keep both whistleblowers and those detained out of the legal system. Today, someone can be accused of terrorism support after sending $5 to a charity...MORE...LINK
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