Even as freedom bells seems to be ringing in Libya this morning — anti-Gaddafi forces are reportedly in downtown Tripoli and Muammar is nowhere to be found (even the Russians claim they don’t know where he be) — the supposedly bastion of democracy, the US, is now just more than a month away from celebrating a whole decade of paranoid madness.
And it’s been a period of anti-freedom madness.
How in the world did the late Osama bin Laden know George Jr. and his cohorts would perform in such a way to make the US a mostÂ intolerable state, scared of its own shadow?
(Illustration found here).
And a great deal of this paranoia stems from the fright of national security.
Just earlier this month, Attorney General Eric Holder claimed in a lawsuit brought by Muslims who claim that the FBI conducted sweeping unconstitutional surveillance of Southern California mosques and those who practice Islam in the region that allowing the case to go to trial would require the disclosure of sensitive national security information. (from Politico).
Another example of the so-called ‘state secrets privilege.’
And this from the same Politico piece: During the 2008 campaign, then-Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign criticized the Bush administration for excessive secrecy and for its repeated invocation of the state secrets privilege.
And another similar case (or it could be the same one above, I couldn’t figure it out — the facts are way-alike) is a ruling allowing the US to lie in court.
In a post over the weekend at CounterPunch by Susan Eberhardt, touches upon how the FBI can do whatever it wants.
U.S. District Judge Cormac J. Carney delivered the goods:
Citing the case of United States v. Richard M. Nixon, to explain why “the very integrity of the judicial system and public confidence in the system depend on full disclosure of all the facts,” Carney rebuked the government’s attempts to claim that its representations to the Court were not “technically false,” writing that the government “cannot negotiate the truth with the Court” nor “under any circumstance affirmatively mislead the Court.”
He went on to write that “the Government argues that there are times when the interests of national security require the Government to mislead the Court.
The Court strongly disagrees.
The Government’s duty of honesty to the Court can never be excused, no matter what the circumstance.”
But despite these fine sentiments, Carney (who is a George W. Bush appointee) was ultimately unwilling to impose any kind of penalty or even order that the requested FOIA documents be released, leaving the U.S. government with nothing to stop it from lying in court in the future.
That our government, four decades after the Pentagon Papers, is able to lie in a federal court, get caught and have no price to pay speaks volumes about the state of justice in the United States right now.
While there are many things that shock the conscience about how this case played itself out, what might be most shocking is how it reveals the U.S. government’s current understanding of the rule of law.
As President Nixon once did, the current administration appears to see itself above the law.
And despite issuing a strong rebuke in his decision, Judge Carney has given a green light both for the government’s lying and for its invasive surveillance.
Read Eberhardt’s entire post and research the case — you’ll go WTF!
And this from yesterday’s The Arab American News:
The attorney-client privilege assuring confidentiality between the two parties is one of the most cherished rights of the American law system, but according to internationally recognized lawyer, author and professor Francis A. Boyle of the the University of Illinois-Champaign, government agents violated that privilege in a jarring summer 2004 visit.
Speaking to The Arab American News, Boyle confirmed recent reports that he was visited by two agents from a joint FBI-CIA anti-terrorist fusion center located about a 90-minute drive away in Springfield, Ill. in his office in Champaign, who attempted to persuade him to become an informant on his Arab American and American Muslim clients.
He said he repeatedly refused their requests to violate his clients’ constitutional rights, only to find himself placed on the U.S. Government’s terrorist watch list.
“There’s five or six of them, and my lawyer informed me that I’m on all of them,” Boyle said
“I filed an appeal but they told me, sorry, I would stay on the watch list forever until the agencies that put me on there took me off.”
“They’ve gone after many other lawyers, and what they did to Juan Cole doesn’t surprise me either,” Boyle said. (Cole, for being a skeptic on the Iraqi war, was targeted by George Jr.’s White House).
“We’re living in a police state now and what people really need to understand, especially Arabs and Muslims, is that the police are not their friends,” Boyle said.
“No Arab or Muslim should talk to the FBI without a lawyer present, you have to be very careful dealing with these people.”
Very sad in the land of the free.
As the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001, approaches one must not forget not only the extreme-horror of that particular day, but also the extreme-horror that has happened since, and will apparently continue unabated.
My eighth-grade history teacher would blow chunks.