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Obama Wins A Round in His Quest to Imprison Americans Without Trial

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A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

The Obama administration has won a courtroom victory in his bid to detain U.S. citizens without trial. The president already executes foreigners at will. “That’s the evil beauty of these Bush-Obama laws: they cut across international borders and render all the people’s of the world equal in one important respect: President Obama claims the right to kill each and every one of them.”

 

Obama Wins A Round in His Quest to Imprison Americans Without Trial

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

The lawyer for the American plaintiffs thinks Homeland Security is gearing up to make lots of arrests of U.S. citizens, in anticipation that Middle East protests will spread to American soil.”

It is not true that Barack Obama single-handedly destroyed the rule of law in the United States. The savaging of the Bill of Rights was, in effect, a tag team effort between Obama and his predecessor, George Bush, two presidents united in a single-minded quest to remove all barriers to the imprisonment, without trial or charge, of persons anywhere in the world, including U.S. citizens. George Bush did the initial groundwork, interpreting the 2001 congressional mandate to strike militarily against al-Qaida as giving the president the power to hold foreign prisoners without charge in Guantanamo, and, in theory, to treat American citizens the same way. But that was a stretch, and only a presidential opinion.

George Bush knew that it would be very difficult to get a preventive detention bill through Congress; Democrats would raise holy hell, and protesters would call for his head. But Barack Obama accomplished what Bush could not: On New Year’s Eve, Obama signed a preventive detention law as part of the National Defense Authorization Act. Under a Black Democrat, the rule of law ceased to exist within U.S. borders. Obama had already declared the rest of the planet a killing ground.

Then, back in August, a federal district judge in New York, Katherine Forrest, slapped a temporary restraining order on preventive detention, ruling on behalf of a group of activists and journalists who said the they could be thrown in prison permanently simply for speaking or writing about groups targeted by the United States. What, precisely and under the law, constituted providing “support” for al-Qaida or related groups? Obama’s Justice Department lawyers refused to say, claiming they had not thought the question through. Clearly, President Obama, like President Bush, wanted leeway to interpret the law any way he sees fit, so he can lock up whoever he wants, whenever he wants, for whatever reason, or for no stated reason at all. But Judge Forrest wasn’t having it. On September 12, she made her injunction permanent, ruling that Obama’s preventive detention law was unconstitutional.

Under a Black Democrat, the rule of law ceased to exist within U.S. borders.”

For less than a week, the Bill of Rights returned to U.S. soil. But, this past Monday, a federal appeals court judge put the Constitution back on hold, removing Judge Forrest’s injunction on preventive detention. The entire three-judge appeals court will begin hearing the case on September 28. Obama’s lawyers say the government needs to be allowed to detain certain prisoners without charge or trial in Afghanistan. But Bruce Afran, the lawyer for the American plaintiffs in the case, thinks Homeland Security is gearing up to make lots of arrests of U.S. citizens, in anticipation that Middle East protests will spread to American soil.

That’s the evil beauty of these Bush-Obama laws: they cut across international borders and render all the people’s of the world equal in one important respect: President Obama claims the right to kill each and every one of them, or lock them up forever, on his own say so. In that sense, Obama recognizes no legal difference between U.S. anti-war protestors and anonymous targets in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, or Somalia. All of our lives and freedom are subject to the whims of an American president.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

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Comments

How come the rightwingers aren't in an uproar over this?

I remember all the big hullabaloo over Janet Reno back during the time of Ruby Ridge and Waco, and all the claims that the black helicopters are coming, etc.

Now that we have a real abuse of the Bill of Rights not a peep is to be heard, at least I haven't heard it.

I just don't get it. It seems this time around only the left is wising up to this threat, when on this particular issue at least, there seem to be grounds for consensus building between both sides of the political spectrum.

Unless the right is sitting there waiting for their guy to be elected, and then he can commit the same abuses.

Probably because it is being done in the name of

"protecting against terrorism", at least ostensibly. Which is something Republicans never seem to get tired of whacking off about. If they objected to it then it would bring unwanted scrutiny upon other policies they have been wholeheartedly in favor of like the Patriot Act. And it would bring unwanted scrutiny upon the larger concept of a "war on terror" which as anyone who has really looked into the issue can tell you is just a series of wars for energy resource dominance as the world moves into the twilight of the Oil Age, using C.I.A.-manufactured false flag terrorism as its pretext as well as the pretext for the mainstreaming of police-state measures domestically with the goal being to give the ruling elite's henchmen in the intelligence agencies, police, military etc. more effective tools to clamp down on dissent as their short-sighted focus on short-term profits above all else continues to crush what remains of the middle class and hungry, angry people eventually make even the wealthy's gated communities untenable. The last thing Republicans want is to draw attention to the inherent falsity of the "war on terror"/"America must be a fortress" rhetoric and policies.

All that "black helicopters/the U.N. is coming to occupy America" crap is fine for them when it's a baseless distraction that has no grounding in reality. But criticism of a policy like this one would be genuine criticism of an actual existing policy that if the awful truth at the heart of it (i.e. that 9/11 was an inside job, not a "foreign terrorist attack by nineteen Muslims with boxcutters") was to be exposed it would be not only psychologically crippling for the conservatives of this country but more importantly it would cut the legs out from under the wealthy elite's foreign policy and much of its domestic policy. 



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