Friday, October 31, 2008

Prosecuting war criminals for fun and profit…

posted by Bill Arnett @ 12:54 PM Permalink

…is something I feel very strongly about. I don't believe we can ever reestablish trust and recover the respect of the world unless we show that we are willing to clean up our own house first. And everyone knows we have a lot to do.

We can start by prosecuting bush, cheney, ashcroft, gonzales, addington, feith, libby, yoo, and as many other bastids that have engaged this country in illegal acts we can find. Every torturer should be rounded up and prosecuted as well, for following orders is no defense to having committed war crimes. I not sure I wouldn't even mind if President Obama commuted their sentences (no pardons! if tried here in America) or asking the world court at the Hague to show mercy with short prison sentences, but I think it must be done to show that America is once again a country of laws and not of men.

Then we need to get rid of the USA Patriot Act, and every other section of law that allows eavesdropping, spying upon, and the gathering of information on American citizens to be stored in hugh and monstrously privacy invading databases of dubious benefit.

Our spy satellites should be returned to their original function of spying on potential enemies and not American citizens. All interceptions of private communications should be banned, and any agency or person found to be conducting such surveillance should suffer great penalties.

The FISA court should be reaffirmed as the only entity authorized to issue warrants for spying on Americans and foreign nationals and then only with probable cause demonstrated by the government.

The abomination of "National Security Letters' being issued without judicial review should be stopped as these letters have led to massive abuses by the FBI in gathering information on citizens without a showing of probable cause.

Habeas corpus must be returned as an inalienable right of any person being arrested by any entity of the government. It literally sickens me every time I'm watching a TV show where, when an arrested person requests a lawyer they are told that, "Hey, buddy, we can hold you forever under the terms of the Patriot Act, so you better cooperate." No one will ever convince me this doesn't occur in real life with real people. This is actual blackmail of suspects as well as a violation of several rights stated in our Constitution, such as the right to an attorney, the right to confront your accusers and see hear, and contest the evidence presented against you, to challenge your incarceration in a court of law, the right to reasonable bail, the right to a speedy trial, and the right to not be forced to incriminate yourself.

People in America, having lead rather comfortably and complacently for over two hundred years under the protections of the Constitution just don't seem to, in this atmosphere of constant fear and war-mongering politics fighting a mythical "war on terra", realize how many of the freedoms and rights they formerly enjoyed have been taken away from them. Hell, we are practically living in a dictatorship with a rogue president violating legislation he signs into law routinely.

Which leads me to "signing statements" a creature of fiction that says a president may ignore any provision of law he wishes with impunity. That's just not the way in which things are supposed to work in America.

The Congress, House and Senate, pass legislation that the president is free to sign into law or to veto. His veto may be overridden by a supermajority (two-thirds) of Congress and put into law despite the veto. It's called "checks and balances." If the Executive Branch, the president, disagrees and feels that the new law encroaches upon his authority he or she is free to file a court action and litigate the matter all the way to the Supreme Court, the final arbiter as to whether the legislation passed into law is indeed Constitutional and must be followed even by the president, or that the president is correct and the law in question is unconstitutional and need not be obeyed. There can be no middle ground or "gray area" of violating laws absent this judicial review or the Executive Branch becomes the dictator of the land, able to choose which laws he will obey or not at will, the exact situation in which we find ourselves under the illegal, unconstitutional rule of gw bush.

But nowhere in our Constitution is there granted authority for a president to sign a piece of legislation into law and then issue a "signing statement" saying which sections of a law he will or will not obey! If need be the Constitution must be amended or binding laws passed forbidding the use of signing statements, their consideration for any purpose in any court of law, a designation that they carry no legal authority whatsoever, and a reaffirmation that even the president is not above the law.

Let's take back our country people. We've suffered dictatorial rule for the last eight long years and it has almost ripped our country asunder and has brought about whole new realms of discrimination, and the most insidious discrimination ever witnessed in America. Our society is being slowly suffocated under a deluge of illegalities being committed by persons sworn to uphold the Constitution and defend it against all enemies, foreign or domestic.

The consequences of allowing a further diminishment or abrogation of our rights will lead to a society unrecognizable from the one that existed pre-bush. Do it for your children and grandchildren: keep America the land of the free and the home of the brave who will stand up against these injustices and take back our nation.

But that's just my opinion and I could be wrong.

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