Tag Archives: Due Process

Hear, Hear

“The power of the Executive to cast a man into prison without formulating any charge known to the law, and particularly to deny him the judgment of his peers, is in the highest degree odious and is the foundation of all totalitarian government whether Nazi or Communist.”

___ Winston S Churchill

It may be just a coincidence or a substantial hint as to the winds of change but President Obama upon assuming office had the bust of Churchill removed from the President’s Office.

Could Someone Provide the President with a Copy of the Constitution?

David Sirota

In his column, Sirota comments on the white paper of the U.S. Department of Justice issued in support of the newly found Presidential power to kill without due process of law —

As NBC News reports (emphasis added):

It refers, for example, to what it calls a “broader concept of imminence” than actual intelligence about any ongoing plot against the U.S. homeland.

The condition that an operational leader present an ‘imminent’ threat of violent attack against the United States does not require the United States to have clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons and interests will take place in the immediate future,” the memo states.

This new claim that evidence is not required to kill someone is the true foundation of Too Big to Curtail. To really appreciate how extreme the whole concept is, understand that it is already blatantly illegal for a president to execute an American citizen without so much as a indictment. Indeed, if the constitutional notion of “due process” means anything at all, at minimum it means at least being formally charged with a single crime.

But in the new white paper, the Obama administration isn’t just laying waste to that most basic of ideas — it is going further and insisting that even within the extra-constitutional “kill list” deliberations inside the White House, the president doesn’t actually need evidence to order someone’s death.

Excerpt from David Sirota, “Who Can’t Be On Obama’s Kill List?”, SALON (February 5, 2013). Look for the complete article at http://www.salon.com

 

Tom Tomorrow’s Professor Droney

ProfessorDroney

CLICK ON TO ENLARGE

God Must Intend for Us to Work for Justice Because He Made So Much Injustice to Correct

SISTER MEGAN RICE is an 82-year old Catholic nun. She participated in a nonviolent demonstration against nuclear weaponry which resulted in a trespass at a nuclear power plant. Usually simple trespass is dismissed with a fine or a day or two in the hoosegow.

Attorney General Eric Holder and the Obama Justice Department wants to make an example of this nun and her friends and so have augmented charges so as to impose a 16 year criminal sentence. But even that “death sentence” isn’t enough for the Government to prove its point, the Department is considering even more serious charges which could entail a sentence of 65 years.

Really? Is that what the Government wants to do? Make such an example of minimal misdemeanor offenses so as to turn it into a felony. Banksters rob the country of BILLIONS and they get invited to the White House to dine. Bishops coverup massive child abuse and they are consulted for their ethical advice. A nun trespasses and she is banged up with a chamber pot for what remains of her natural life.

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P.S. Most people think, quite naturally, that if one commits an offense then one is charged for that offense. It doesn’t work that way. For any possible set of actions there are prospectively 20 or 30 would-be charges. Prosecutors can charge various different things for the very same offense. So while the Sister only trespassed she may do time for all sorts of things. For example, when Martha Stewart was supposedly involved in insider trading, the prosecutor couldn’t find any evidence to support that charge. So he charged her with “lying”. Yes, she lied to a Federal Officer when she said she was innocent of insider trading and did time, not for insider trading, but for lying. It’s a strange, strange world we live in, Master Jack.

 

The Founding Fathers Are Hanging Their Heads in Shame

When other countries did this to their people we condemned it, sought to prosecute those responsible and even used it as a justification to go to war. Now OUR GOVERNMENT does it, and our “liberal” “progressive” “civil libertarian” President authorizes it AND worst of all, it is done in OUR name:

Over the past two and a half years, all of which he has spent in a military prison, much has been said about Bradley Manning, but nothing has been heard from him. That changed on Thursday, when the 23-year-old US army private accused of leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks testified at his court martial proceeding about the conditions of his detention.

The oppressive, borderline-torturous measures to which he was subjected, including prolonged solitary confinement and forced nudity, have been known for some time. A formal UN investigation denounced those conditions as “cruel and inhuman”. President Obama’s state department spokesman, retired air force colonel PJ Crowley, resigned after publicly condemning Manning’s treatment. A prison psychologist testified this week that Manning’s conditions were more damaging than those found on death row, or at Guantánamo Bay.

Still, hearing the accused whistleblower’s description of this abuse in his own words viscerally conveyed its horror. Reporting from the hearing, the Guardian’s Ed Pilkington quoted Manning: “If I needed toilet paper I would stand to attention and shout ‘Detainee Manning requests toilet paper’!”  And: “I was authorised to have 20 minutes sunshine, in chains, every 24 hours.” Early in his detention, Manning recalled, “I had pretty much given up. I thought I was going to die in this eight by eight animal cage.”

The repressive treatment of Bradley Manning is one of the disgraces of Obama’s first term, and highlights many of the dynamics shaping his presidency. The president not only defended Manning’s treatment but also, as commander-in-chief of the court martial judges, improperly decreed Manning’s guilt when he asserted in an interview that he “broke the law“.

Worse, Manning is charged not only with disclosing classified information, but also the capital offence of “aiding the enemy”, for which the death penalty can be imposed (military prosecutors are requesting “only” life in prison). The government’s radical theory is that, although Manning had no intent to do so, the leaked information could have helped al-Qaida, a theory that essentially equates any disclosure of classified information – by any whistleblower, or a newspaper – with treason.

Whatever one thinks of Manning’s alleged acts, he appears the classic whistleblower. This information could have been sold for substantial sums to a foreign government or a terror group. Instead he apparently knowingly risked his liberty to show them to the world because – he said when he believed he was speaking in private – he wanted to trigger “worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms”.

Compare this aggressive prosecution of Manning to the Obama administration’s vigorous efforts to shield Bush-era war crimes and massive Wall Street fraud from all forms of legal accountability. Not a single perpetrator of those genuine crimes has faced court under Obama, a comparison that reflects the priorities and values of US justice.

FFI, see Glenn Greenwald   The Guardian, Friday 30 November 2012

Obama Regime Claims Power to Lock You Up Without Trial

Tangerine Bolen

So Are You Scared Yet? You Should Be, This Isn’t Hyperbole, the Government Claims the Authority to Ignore the Constitution

I am one of the lead plaintiffs in the civil lawsuit
against the National Defense Authorization Act, which
gives the President the power to hold any US citizen
anywhere for as long as he wants, without charge or
trial. In May, following a March hearing, Judge
Katherine Forrest issued an injunction against it; this
week, in a final hearing in New York City, US government
lawyers essentially asserted even more extreme powers -
the power to entirely disregard the Judge and the law.
Indeed, on Monday, August 6, Obama’s lawyers filed an
appeal to the injunction — a profoundly important
development that as of this writing has been scarcely
reported.

In the March hearing, the US lawyers had confirmed that
yes, the NDAA does give the President the power to lock
up people like journalist Chris Hedges and peaceful
activists like myself and other plaintiffs. Government
attorneys have stated on record that even war
correspondents could be locked up indefinitely under the
NDAA. Judge Katherine Forrest had ruled for a temporary
injunction against an unconstitutional provision in this
law – after government attorneys refused to provide
assurances to the court that plaintiffs and others would
not be indefinitely detained for engaging in first
amendment activities. Twice the government has refused
to define what it means to be an “associated force”, and
it claimed the right to refrain from offering any clear
definition of this term, or clear boundaries of power
under this law. This past week’s hearing was even more
terrifying: incredibly, in this hearing, Obama’s
attorneys refused to assure the court, when questioned,
that the NDAA’s provision — one that permits reporters
and others who have not committed crimes to be detained
without trial — has not been applied by the US
government anywhere in the world — AFTER Judge
Forrest’s injunction. In other words, they were saying
to a US judge that they could not or would not state
whether Obama’s government had complied with the legal
injunction that she had lain down before them.

To this, Judge Forrest responded that if the provision
has indeed been applied, the United States government
itself will be in contempt of court. Government
attorneys also, in this hearing, again presented no
evidence to support their position — and brought forth
no witnesses.

I have mixed feelings about suing my government, and in
particular, my president, over the National Defense
Authorization Act. I voted for Obama. I even had an
Obama dance; and I could not stop crying for joy and
pride the night he was elected. I defended him for over
two years.

But no longer. The US public often ignores his actual
failings, and more importantly, entirely ignores how,
when it comes to the “war on terror”, the US government
as a whole has been deceitful, reckless, even murderous.
We lost nearly 3000 people on 9/11. Then we allowed the
Bush administration to lie and force us into war with a
country that had nothing to do with that terrible day:
we killed between several hundred thousand and one
million Iraqi citizens, caused vast harm to our own
soldiers and gutted this nation’s treasury for a war
that never should have happened. Given these crimes, it
is no wonder that Bush, Obama, and the US Congress
appear now to be far more interested in enacting
misguided, “boogieman in every corner” “war on terror”
policies that distract citizens from investigating the
truth about what we’ve done, and what we’ve become,
since 9/11.

I, like many in this fight, am now afraid of my
government. We have good reason to be. Due to the NDAA,
Chris Hedges, Kai Wargalla, the other plaintiffs and I
are squarely in the crosshairs of a “war on terror” that
has been an excuse to undermine liberties, trample the
US Constitution, destroy mechanisms of accountability
and transparency, and cause irreparable harm to
millions. Several of my co-plaintiffs know well the
harassment and harm that they incur from having dared
openly to defy the US government’s narrative: court
testimony included government subpoenas of private bank
records of Icelandic Parliamentarian Birgitta
Jonsdottir, Wargalla’s account of having been listed as
a `terrorist group”, and Hedges’ concern that he would
be included as a “belligerent” in the NDAA’s definition
of the term – because he interviews members of outlawed
groups as a reporter – a concern that the US attorneys
refused on the record to allay. Other advocates have had
email accounts consistently hacked, and often find their
electronic communications corrupted in transmission -
some emails vanish altogether – a now-increasing form of
pressure that supporters of state surveillance and
intervention in the internet often fail to consider.

I’ve been surprised to find that most people, when I
mention that I am suing my president, Leon Panetta, and
eight members of Congress (four Democrats and four
Republicans), thank me – even before I explain what I’m
suing them over! And when I do explain the fact that I
and my seven co-plaintiffs are suing over a law that
suspends due process, threatens first amendment rights
and takes away the basic right of every citizen on this
planet to not be indefinitely detained without charge or
trial, their exuberance shifts, and a deeper gratitude
shines through their newly somber demeanors. But this
fight has taken a personal toll on many of us, including
myself. This winter, as I led the campaign to amend this
lawsuit and was working over 80 hours per week to get
everything ready, I suddenly ended up in the emergency
room, and have subsequently endured six months of a
debilitating neurological illness. Thus, I have relied
on an international team of volunteers, whose courage
and energy has led them successfully to garner support
for a lawsuit that is an attempt to restore our most
fundamental of liberties.

My government seems to have lost the ability to tell –
and, perhaps, even to know — the truth about the
Constitution any more. I and many others have not. We
are fighting for due process and for the First
Amendment; for a country we still believe in; and for a
government that is still legally bound to its
Constitution.

If that makes us their “enemies”, then so be it. As long
as they cannot call us “belligerents”, lock us up and
throw away the key — a power that, incredibly, this
past week US government lawyers still asserted is their right
to claim. Against such abuses, we will keep fighting.

I am no radical; I am simply a moderate Democrat, suing
my out-of-control government. For the sake of people
everywhere, I sincerely hope we win.

For more details go to: http://stopNDAA.org

SOURCE: Portside (See Links)

________________________________________________

Let’s be clear. The administration of President Barack Obama claims it has the authority to arrest any U.S. citizen without warrant, without filing charges, without trial and without any recourse to a court of law and then imprison that person in the U.S. or in any facility anywhere in the world subject to no limitation. No President in the history of the United States, in peace or war, has ever claimed such a far-reaching power over the citizens of the United States. Furthermore, the government claims that it will do so regardless of any finding or court order to the contrary. The Constitution in the age of Obama is just a piece of paper.

The Noose Tightens

The Media have maintained such a blackout on the persecution of Julian Assange that it belies any assertion that a free press exists in the United States. A free press wouldn’t be so easily corralled in parroting the BIG LIE that is the Obama’s regime propaganda. It would have investigated the bogus “sex charges” trumped up in Sweden by a woman with ties to Swedish intelligence, and the CIA.

A minimal investigation reveals that the American, British, Australian and Swedish governments have violated their own laws and due process. Someone sent out the order, “Get Assange”! And the intel-police establishments of three continents fall in line.

Assange’s mother had this to say:

‘I hope Ecuador will grant him asylum, and if not, another third-world country. I hope the third world can stand up for what’s morally right when the first world can’t and won’t because they’ve got their snouts in the trough, rolling over for U.S. greed and big business.

‘Julian is a political prisoner, a journalist, a publisher of the truth about corruption, war crimes, kidnapping, blackmail, and manipulation. … He remains uncharged and unquestioned on a crime which, if you explore it, has absolutely no basis. Of course he would seek asylum.”

She added that her son was a victim of decisions by the United States, Britain, Sweden and Australia to abandon proper legal process.

SOURCE: http://consortiumnews.com/2012/06/20/julian-assanges-artful-dodge/

Julian Assange – Wikileaks Update

JULIAN ASSANGE is the lead operative involved in the WIKILEAKS network of independent journalists and public information researchers which has brought assorted war crimes and official misconduct to the world’s attention. Soon after a massive dump of revealing materials onto the internet SWEDEN upon consultation with the U.S. Government charged Assange with rape. Now the allegations supposedly involved a “rape” in which the sexual activity was wholly consensual and voluntary but the charge was still used to both defame and undermine public support for Assange.

While the question of the criminal charges is working it way through Swedish, British and European courts, Assange, an Australian citizen, returned home. The Australian authorities placed him under house arrest at the behest of the United States which has convened a secret grand jury for his indictment. The U.S. refuses to divulge either to Assange’s attorneys or to the public just what the indictment is for but is committed itself to prosecution nevertheless and seeks Assange’s extradition.

However, under Australian law no citizen may be extradited for alleged political crimes in another country. This displeases the Government of His Imperial Majesty Barack I which promptly informed its Australian colony that the law must be changed. The Australian Parliament is now working to conform its laws with the Emperor’s will and is holding Assange pending extradition and the ex post facto application of the new Australian law.

What then? Probably a secret trial with undisclosed evidence and incarceration in Gitmo. Maybe, after a suitable period, Assange will “voluntarily confess” to whatever Imperial authorities want. Federal prosecutors are notorious for threatening uninvolved family members in order to coerce such voluntarism and it has been reported that the Assange family is in hiding already.

Meanwhile, Bradley Manning remains in solitary confinement pending his trial, periodically stripped and humiliated by his captors. The Government has been free to prep public opinion with allegations and suspicions but Manning has not been allowed to get his story out. The United Nations rapporteur has found the U.S. in violation of its international commitments to human rights and due process but what does that matter to an Imperial Superpower.

In the United States, we are free to say and do anything we wish EXCEPT that which affects the interests and profit-margins of the Military-Industrial Complex, Oil Companies, Banksters, Corporateers and the SuperRich and their servants within the Government.

 

CHRIS HEDGES: “Why I Am Suing Obama”

CHRIS HEDGES

EXCERPT from TRUTHDIG: A Progressive Journal of News & Opinion
http://www.truthdig.com

Attorneys Carl J. Mayer and Bruce I. Afran filed a complaint Friday in the Southern U.S. District Court in New York City on my behalf as a plaintiff against Barack Obama and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta to challenge the legality of the Authorization for Use of Military Force as embedded in the latest version of the National Defense Authorization Act, signed by the president Dec. 31.

The act authorizes the military in Title X, Subtitle D, entitled “Counter-Terrorism,” for the first time in more than 200 years, to carry out domestic policing. With this bill, which will take effect March 3, the military can indefinitely detain without trial any U.S. citizen deemed to be a terrorist or an accessory to terrorism. And suspects can be shipped by the military to our offshore penal colony in Guantanamo Bay and kept there until “the end of hostilities.” It is a catastrophic blow to civil liberties.

* * * * *

Once a group is deemed to be a terrorist organization, whether it is a Palestinian charity or an element of the Uighur independence movement, the military can under this bill pick up a U.S. citizen who supported charities associated with the group or unwittingly sent money or medical supplies to front groups. We have already seen the persecution and closure of Islamic charity organizations in the United States that supported the Palestinians. Now the members of these organizations can be treated like card-carrying “terrorists” and sent to Guantanamo.

But I suspect the real purpose of this bill is to thwart internal, domestic movements that threaten the corporate state. The definition of a terrorist is already so amorphous under the Patriot Act that there are probably a few million Americans who qualify to be investigated if not locked up. Consider the arcane criteria that can make you a suspect in our new military-corporate state. The Department of Justice considers you worth investigating if you are missing a few fingers, if you have weatherproof ammunition, if you own guns or if you have hoarded more than seven days of food in your house. Adding a few of the obstructionist tactics of the Occupy movement to this list would be a seamless process. On the whim of the military, a suspected “terrorist” who also happens to be a U.S. citizen can suffer extraordinary rendition—being kidnapped and then left to rot in one of our black sites “until the end of hostilities.” Since this is an endless war that will be a very long stay.

This demented “war on terror” is as undefined and vague as such a conflict is in any totalitarian state. Dissent is increasingly equated in this country with treason. Enemies supposedly lurk in every organization that does not chant the patriotic mantras provided to it by the state. And this bill feeds a mounting state paranoia. It expands our permanent war to every spot on the globe. It erases fundamental constitutional liberties. It means we can no longer use the word “democracy” to describe our political system.

The supine and gutless Democratic Party, which would have feigned outrage if George W. Bush had put this into law, appears willing, once again, to grant Obama a pass. But I won’t. What he has done is unforgivable, unconstitutional and exceedingly dangerous. The threat and reach of al-Qaida—which I spent a year covering for The New York Times in Europe and the Middle East—are marginal, despite the attacks of 9/11. The terrorist group poses no existential threat to the nation. It has been so disrupted and broken that it can barely function. Osama bin Laden was gunned down by commandos and his body dumped into the sea. Even the Pentagon says the organization is crippled. So why, a decade after the start of the so-called war on terror, do these draconian measures need to be implemented? Why do U.S. citizens now need to be specifically singled out for military detention and denial of due process when under the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force the president can apparently find the legal cover to serve as judge, jury and executioner to assassinate U.S. citizens, as he did in the killing of the cleric Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen? Why is this bill necessary when the government routinely ignores our Fifth Amendment rights—“No person shall be deprived of life without due process of law”—as well as our First Amendment right of free speech? How much more power do they need to fight “terrorism”?

Fear is the psychological weapon of choice for totalitarian systems of power. Make the people afraid. Get them to surrender their rights in the name of national security. And then finish off the few who aren’t afraid enough. If this law is not revoked we will be no different from any sordid military dictatorship. Its implementation will be a huge leap forward for the corporate oligarchs who plan to continue to plunder the nation and use state and military security to cow the population into submission.

The oddest part of this legislation is that the FBI, the CIA, the director of national intelligence, the Pentagon and the attorney general didn’t support it. FBI Director Robert Mueller said he feared the bill would actually impede the bureau’s ability to investigate terrorism because it would be harder to win cooperation from suspects held by the military. “The possibility looms that we will lose opportunities to obtain cooperation from the persons in the past that we’ve been fairly successful in gaining,” he told Congress.

But it passed anyway. And I suspect it passed because the corporations, seeing the unrest in the streets, knowing that things are about to get much worse, worrying that the Occupy movement will expand, do not trust the police to protect them. They want to be able to call in the Army. And now they can.

Repealing the Bill of Rights

UPDATE:

Ironically, on the anniversary of the adoption of the Bill of Rights 220 years ago, the U.S. Senate voted FOR a bill which authorizes the Military to arrest and detain anyone, American or foreign, military or civilian, on U.S. soil or overseas, and hold them indefinitely without trial, without formal charges and without access to legal counsel.

For all practical purposes and applications the sum and substance of the Bill of Rights has been repealed by Congressional action and the President’s complicity.

It is argued that we can trust that the military under Presidential oversight will exercise this power judiciously. So instead of constitutional protection we are to rely upon a President’s goodwill.

This is done because, it is argued, it is militarily necessary to fight terror. It was also claimed that the King’s actions in the American colonies were necessary at the commencement of the American Revolution. An English ally of our founding fathers, William Pitt, replied, “Necessity is the plea of every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants, it is the creed of slaves”.

If we accept this with resignation, we do not deserve the freedoms which our forefathers have left us.