Monday, January 16, 2012

Your Constitutional Rights -- Eroding Each Year


The Bill of Rights, that bastion of freedom which we hold as the anchor for our basic way of life, and which draws the world to our country as the system for which they long, is steadily eroding.

Click here for the referenced story (Washington Post)

Congress, succumbing to the Sirens' Song of Patriotic Fervor, is inexorably legislating away our Bill of Rights in the guise of National Security.

It's been a gradual process, begun under the Clinton Administration, exacerbated by 9/11 and the Patriot Act signed by George Bush, and most recently by the National Defense Authorization Act  (NDAA) signed by Barack Obama.

Under Clinton, we witnessed  Department of Justice [ the FBI, ATF, and the Federal Marshall's Service] abuse its powers at Ruby Ridge.  An ATF undercover agent tried to persuade Randy Weaver to make a sawed off shotgun, but Weaver sold the agent unaltered shotguns instead.

Weaver was a former Green Beret who lived a reclusive life in the mountains of Colorado with his wife and son.

An out-of-control Justice Department, in a classic case of entrapment, perjured testimony, manipulation of evidence, murdered Weaver's wife and shot his son -- all in the name of "National Security."

Less than a year later, the Department of Justice [ATF/FBI]] was at it again, this time in Texas, investigated and probed a religious sect, designated a "cult"  by the Waco Tribune Herald.   ATF claimed the Branch Davidians had unregistered guns and were conducting unusual, and possibly illegal religious rituals -- which were not unlike those of Sephardi Jews or the Amish in Pennsylvania.

The ATF, though invited by the Sect's leader via the local sheriff to come inspect the compound, declined, and opted instead for an armed assault on the compound, drawing defensive gunfire and leading to a 50 day siege endorsed by the new Attorney General. In spite of repeated phone requests for a cease fire by Koresh's deputy, Janet Reno then authorized a full, and illegal assault on the compound.

The Final Toll:

  • ATF:  4 agents killed; 16 wounded.
  • Davidians: 74 men, women, and children, shot, burned to death, or buried alive.

[The FBI initially claimed the Davidian deaths resulted from "mass suicide."]

Among the numerous violations of federal law was the use of Army tanks - a clear violation of Posse Comitatus; perjury, mishandling of evidence, and obstruction of justice.  Since she was the Attorney General in a Democrat Administration, Reno avoided prosecution.
[Reno's subsequent record paved the way for the suspension and suppression of Constitutional Rights.

In more recent years, the events of 9/11 led to our war "against terrorism" in Afghanistan and the passage of the Patriot Act which authorized the suspension of US Constitutional protection for those accused of being Terrorists or Terrorist Sympathizers.  Although many of these Constitutional suspensions were due to expire, Congress eagerly reinstated them.

In December, 2011 Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act which reinforced the suspension of the Bill of Rights by ratifying separate legislation components [e.g., Title X, Subtitle D "Counter-Terrorism"], Section 1031:  Affirmation of authority fof US Armed Forces to detain covered persons pursuant to the authorization for use of military force-- which when combined with other parts of the Act, allow for a vague definition of precisely WHOM would be defined as a Terrorist Sympathizer or Supporter  a designation which could include a US citizen -- authorizing the suspension of Constitutional Rights.

[This scenario was covered quite well three years before 9/11in the Bruce Willis film: The Siege (movie), on which Director Ed Zwick commented:

"To see Americans rounded up in the streets, to see Americans put into stadiums, to see people held without  Habeas Corpus -- to have their rights violated is a chilling and terrifying thing to see."

According to the Washington Post Article, the new legislation, eagerly endorsed by our Congress and President, now authorizes:

1)  Assassination of US Citizens

2)  Indefinite Detention

3)  Arbitrary Justice
     (the President will decide the venue: civil or military court where the accused will stand trial)

4)  Warrantless Searches

5)  Secret Evidence for prosecutions
     (defendants are not allowed to see the evidence against them)

6)  Prosecution of civilians for ill-defined War Crimes;
immunity for federal officers who commit War Crimes.

7)  Secret Courts [i.e., Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA)] -- kind of a modern Star Chamber
     [We already have the Grand Jury which suspends Constitutional Rights.]

8)   Immunity from Judicial Review for federal agents and judges who violate federal law.

9)   Continuous electronic surveillance of citizens in general for "National Security.

10)  Extraordinary Rendition
     (The government is authorized to move a US citizen to another country for incarceration
     and interrogation -- beyond the advice of legal counsel, or even contact with family or friends.)

Now, all this sounds negative, because it is!  

The positive is that much of this is not new as these events have occurred in the past [e.g., Ruby Ridge, Pine Ridge, Waco, etc.], but those were illegal [without prosecution] and visible.

Any number of other such events took place out of sight of the public and without review.  But, since they were illegal, there was always some hope, no matter how illusory, that Justice would be served.

Now that Congress has stepped up the stage of unfettered Patriotism, and has been persuaded to wholeheartedly endorse the Patriot Act and the NDAA, all those federal actions which were previously hidden and illegal are now perfectly legal.

And, if you might be concerned, President Obama went on record to state that he would not abuse his new powers.

Feel better?