Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Pardon My Paranoia, Mr Ex-President

So I guess that some of us who asserted that the BushCo was a 3rd rate dictatorship in the making were just really paranoid left wing loons...well, maybe not; as John Yoo's Authority for Use of Military Force To Combat Terrorist Activities Within the United States makes a bit clearer. (pdf) This thing is a mess, but I'll try to cover at least some of the ground and save you 37 pages of mind numbing cites, redefinitions, and historical revisionism.

They state that the Posse Commitatus Act does not apply because 9/11 changed everything by making internal terrorists a military conflict as opposed to a law enforcement matter. In the same vein it is asserted that the 4th Amendment was inappropriate because of circumstance as well as the military nature of using the military; and further that fruits of such action would be legally admissible as law enforcement. (hmm) Finally they asserted that the 1st Amendment in regard to speech and press was disposable as a function of government necessity in such warfare. Suspension of Habeas Corpus is entirely within the scope of such actions, again at the convenience of the government. The memo assures the reader that the Courts would recognize the natural limits that the President or his agents would hold themselves to and not be troubled by these assertions.

I don't think anyone has argued that the government has no right to defend itself from armed or otherwise forceful attack. In the face of Iranian landing forces sweeping across Atlantic Beach I'm pretty sure military units being deployed would meet Constitutional muster as well as Statutory muster. This memo isn't aimed at such a scenario, it is aimed at 'secret' sorts of activity, the kind of thing that we actually understand to be law enforcement based business. No discussion of the 4th Amendment would be necessary in the event of a terrorist take over of a building or facility, nor would the request by local officials for federal assistance in such an event require the cover of such a memo. Nor would infringements of the 1st Amendment be in question.

If you don't want to go to the trouble of reading the thing most of the cites cover either foreign war or insurrection (particularly the Civil War) and touch on such ongoing conflicts as the American Indian Wars. Yes, the Indian Wars, a situation one would find fraught with legal difficulties to present as a basis for Constitutional behavior and rule of law. I will not even think about presenting the incidents of atrocities and abhorrent behaviors included in such a cover. The other cover used is such ongoing disturbances as the Detroit riots or the Civil Rights backlash disturbances and use of troops to enforce, in their face, law and Court orders.

The especially nasty part of the reasoning used is that outright and obvious war and insurrection are used as justification for military use against targets not in such a condition. Because September 11th happened we are to trust the President and his designees to determine that acts not obviously involving warfare are within his power to call warfare. Understand that a part of this memo is directly related to the inability of an oil company to recoup damages incurred in the Phillipines in WWII, thus the very real spectre of a full fledged military assault and attendant damage is envisioned on private property and with considerable loss.

The memo asserts that the President and designees have the Executive power to declare that a terrorist condition exists, he will determine the facts and actions and the Courts can butt out. The FISA Court is invoked as an authority and then dismissed within a few sentences as immaterial to the discussion of the granting of authority. Please keep in mind in this framework that this President had also assumed the authority to designate American citizens as foreign combatants.

If you were to mix up the order of presentation a bit, and law does do that, you would find that exercise of the 1st Amendment in a manner that the President was willing to call imminent terrorism or active support of it would be sufficient to provoke an air strike on the NY Times leaving the remnants no legal recourse under the 1st, 4th, or 5th. I would suppose that something like an ad referring to Gen Betrayus might qualify taking this out a ways into the weeds, but...

I'll leave it to Constitutional and Legal scholars to dissect this thing but it clearly bears no resemblance to the understanding that more than a handful of Americans have of their relationship with their President. Pardon me if I find it a bit odd that this thing wasn't disavowed until very shortly before the end of BushCo.

Sure, I just bet I want to talk about Truth and Reconciliation Commissions...how about fluorescent jumpsuits and irons?

Yes this is filed under 'Treason', what the hell would you expect?

A Related Newsweek Article


Zak Johnson said...

My young son asked me the other day why I disliked George W. Bush so much. I explained to him that Bush enjoyed (yes, enjoyed, there's no other cause for it) torturing prisoners by blind-folding them and pouring water over them until they almost die from drowning, then reviving the and doing it again. I then explained the policies that intentionally created Abu Ghraib and the murder of, at last count, at least 100 prisoners at times when they were entirely in our power.

He was shocked and asked why Bush wasn't in jail. I had no answer for that question.

Chuck Butcher said...

Neither do I, but what counts is that those who should have an answer, won't answer.

priscianus jr said...

There's lots of evidence that 9/11 was an inside job. But to what end? What you're laying out here is that end, and one can't help noticing how much of the reasoning is "justified" by 9/11. Let's put the horse before the cart.

Zak Johnson said...

Well, priscianus jr, I seriously doubt 9/11 was an inside job; but the incompetence that contributed to the success of the attack has been well documented and laid out for all to see. The same goes for the war crimes, unconstitutional orders and the whole sorry 8 years. As the song goes, "Everybody knows," but no gives a shit--that is the bigger shame. I begged my Congressman to consider impeachment at the time these abuses were happening; his response was "hem, haw, party politics, public perception, media is against us, blah blah blah." And THAT'S what I got from a self-styled liberal. These charges are going nowhere, but should still be pursued.