Noah Webster

Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States. A military force, at the command of Congress, can execute no laws, but such as the people perceive to be just and constitutional; for they will possess the power, and jealousy will instantly inspire the inclination, to resist the execution of a law which appears to them unjust and oppressive.

An Examination of the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution [1787]

Published in: on August 4, 2008 at 7:46 pm  Leave a Comment  

A Truism?

He knows nothing; and he thinks he knows everything. That points clearly to a political career.

— George Bernard Shaw, Major Barbara [1907]

Published in: on July 31, 2008 at 3:49 pm  Leave a Comment  

The state — or, to make matters more concrete, the government — consists of a gang of men exactly like you and me. They have, taking one with another, no special talent for the business of government; they have only a talent for getting and holding office. Their principal device to that end is to search out groups who pant and pine for something they can’t get, and to promise to give it to them. Nine times out of ten that promise is worth nothing. The tenth time it is made good by looting ‘A’ to satisfy ‘B’. In other words, government is a broker in pillage, and every election is a sort of advanced auction on stolen goods.

— H.L. Mencken, On Politics [1996]

Published in: on July 30, 2008 at 9:30 pm  Leave a Comment  

Disagree with the President-You might be an Enemy Combatant!

Court Confirms President’s Dictatorial Powers

by Andy Worthington

Don’t Piss off the Government. Don’t speak out against their policies and Please hope that no one you have ever met get’s water boarded. Why? because according to this ruling if they, while being tortured happen to mention your name in order to get the torture to stop, you will be imprisoned without charges for as long as the United States Government thinks you should be. If you are are muslim, a jew or a christian who thinks your government’s policies should be debated Or a patriot who criticizes or otherwise questions the benevolence of your government watch your back and …

Wake Up!!!!

Wake up, America! On July 15, the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled by 5 votes to 4 in the case of Al-Marri v. Pucciarelli [.pdf] that the president can arrest U.S. citizens and legal residents inside the United States and imprison them indefinitely, without charge or trial, based solely on his assertion that they are “enemy combatants.” Have a little think about it, and you’ll see that the Fourth Circuit judges have just endorsed dictatorial powers.

In the words of Judge William B. Traxler, whose swing vote confirmed the court’s otherwise divided ruling, “the Constitution generally affords all persons detained by the government the right to be charged and tried in a criminal proceeding for suspected wrongdoing, and it prohibits the government from subjecting individuals arrested inside the United States to military detention unless they fall within certain narrow exceptions…. The detention of enemy combatants during military hostilities, however, is such an exception. If properly designated an enemy combatant pursuant to legal authority of the president, such persons may be detained without charge or criminal proceedings for the duration of the relevant hostilities.”

As was pointed out by Judge Diana Gribbon Motz, who was steadfastly opposed to the majority verdict (and whose opinion was endorsed by Judges M. Blane Michael, Robert B. King, and Roger L. Gregory), “the duration of the relevant hostilities” is a disturbingly open-ended prospect. After citing the 2007 State of the Union Address, in which the president claimed that “The war on terror we fight today is a generational struggle that will continue long after you and I have turned our duties over to others,'” Judge Motz noted, “Unlike detention for the duration of a traditional armed conflict between nations, detention for the length of a ‘war on terror’ has no bounds.”

The Court of Appeals made its extraordinary ruling in relation to a habeas corpus claim in the case of Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri, whose story I reported at length here. To recap briefly, Marri, a Qatari national who had studied in Peoria, Ill., in 1991, returned to the United States in September 2001, with his U.S. residency in order, to pursue post-graduate studies, bringing his family – his wife and five children – with him. Three months later he was arrested and charged with fraud and making false statements to the FBI, but in June 2003, a month before he was due to stand trial for these charges in a federal court, the prosecution dropped the charges and informed the court that he was to be held as an “enemy combatant” instead.

He was then moved to a naval brig in Charleston, S.C., where he has now been held for five years and one month in complete isolation in a blacked-out cell in an otherwise unoccupied cell block. For the first 14 months of this imprisonment, when he received no visitors from outside the U.S. military or the security agencies, he was subjected to sleep deprivation and extreme temperature manipulation, frequently deprived of food and water, and interrogated repeatedly.

In August 2003, representatives of the International Red Cross were finally allowed to visit Marri, and two months later he was permitted to meet with a lawyer, when he finally had the opportunity to explain that his interrogators had “threatened to send [him] to Egypt or to Saudi Arabia where, they told him, he would be tortured and sodomized and where his wife would be raped in front of him.” (Ed. Be all you can be-We will teach you to be a torturer, rapist, sodomite, and slaughterer of innocents- YOUR US Military)

Based on advice given to Donald Rumsfeld by Defense Department lawyers regarding the use of isolation at Guantánamo, when the lawyers warned that it was “not known to have been generally used for interrogation purposes for longer than 30 days,” Marri has now been held in solitary confinement for 66 times longer than the amount of time recommended by the Pentagon’s own lawyers (this figure includes the six months that he spent in isolation in Peoria County Jail and the Metropolitan Correction Center in New York, before being transferred to Charleston).

It is, therefore, unsurprising that his lawyer, Jonathan Hafetz of the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law, has explained that he is suffering from “severe damage to his mental and emotional well-being, including hypersensitivity to external stimuli, manic behavior, difficulty concentrating and thinking, obsessional thinking, difficulties with impulse control, difficulty sleeping, difficulty keeping track of time, and agitation.”

So what is Ali al-Marri supposed to have done to justify being held in solitary confinement for almost as long as the duration of the Second World War? The presidential order declaring him an “enemy combatant” stated simply that he was closely associated with al-Qaeda and presented “a continuing, present, and grave danger to the national security of the United States.” Elaborating, in subsequent statements, the government has claimed that he was part of an al-Qaeda sleeper cell, who had been instructed to carry out further terrorist attacks in the United States, targeting reservoirs, the New York Stock Exchange, and military academies.

What’s particularly worrying about these charges is that, by the government’s own admission, the primary sources for its supposed evidence against Marri are confessions made by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), the alleged architect of the 9/11 attacks, during the three months following his capture in March 2003, when, as even the CIA has admitted, he was subjected to waterboarding, a form of controlled drowning, which the torturers of the Spanish Inquisition at least had the honesty to call tortura del aqua.

As I discussed at length in an article last summer, KSM stated during his tribunal at Guantánamo in March 2007 that he had given false information about other people while being tortured, and, although he was not allowed to elaborate, I traced several possible victims of these false confessions, including Majid Khan, one of 13 supposedly “high-value” detainees transferred with KSM to Guantánamo from secret CIA prisons in September 2006; Saifullah Paracha, a Pakistani businessman and philanthropist held in Guantánamo; and his son Uzair, who was convicted in the United States on dubious charges in November 2005 and sentenced to 30 years in prison.

As I also stated last November, “It’s possible, therefore, that Marri is another victim of KSM’s tangled web of tortured confessions, but whether or not this is true, the correct venue for such discussions is in a court of law, and not in leaks and proclamations from an administration that appears to be intent on holding him without charge or trial for the rest of his life.”

When I wrote these words, it seemed possible that the Fourth Circuit judges would act to prevent Marri from having the dubious distinction of being the last “enemy combatant” on the U.S. mainland, and would put pressure on the government to transfer him to a federal prison to face a trial in a U.S. court, as happened with Jose Padilla, a U.S. citizen and one of two other “enemy combatants” imprisoned without charge or trial – the other being Yaser Hamdi, a U.S.-born Saudi, who was held in Guantánamo until it was ascertained that he held U.S. citizenship. In Hamdi’s case, however, a brief stay at the Charleston brig was followed by a deal that allowed him to return to Saudi Arabia.

In June 2007, a panel of three Fourth Circuit judges dealt a blow to the administration’s claims by ruling that “the Constitution does not allow the president to order the military to seize civilians residing within the United States and then detain them indefinitely without criminal process, and this is so even if he calls them ‘enemy combatants.'” Last week’s decision followed a successful appeal by the government, but when the Fourth Circuit court met en banc to reconsider Marri’s case in October, it seemed possible that they would uphold the panel’s June verdict. When Judge Michael asked the government’s representative, Gregory J. Barre, “How long can you keep this man in custody?” and Garre replied that it could “go on for a long time,” depending on the duration of the “war” with al-Qaeda, Judge Michael stated, “It looks like a lifetime.”

I now realize, of course, that it was always highly improbable that the Fourth Circuit court – widely regarded as the most right-wing court in the country – would end Marri’s legal limbo, although it was somewhat ironic that, in a separate ruling, the swing-voting Judge Traxler ruled in Marri’s favor when it came to a decision to grant him some as yet unspecified ability to challenge the basis of his definition as an “enemy combatant.”

This, at least, earned him the gratitude of Judge Motz, who stated that “the evidentiary proceedings envisaged by Judge Traxler will at least place the burden on the government to make an initial showing that ‘the normal due process protections available to all within this country’ are impractical or unduly burdensome in Marri’s case and that the hearsay declaration that constitutes the government’s only evidence against Marri is ‘the most reliable available evidence’ supporting the government’s allegations.”

In other respects, however, the court only added to its reputation as a defender of the indefensible. Not content with endorsing the president’s dictatorial right to imprison “enemy combatants” without charge or trial on the U.S. mainland, the judges responsible for the majority verdict ruled that the president did not even have to allege, as he did with Yaser Hamdi and Jose Padilla, that an “enemy combatant” had either been in Afghanistan or had ever raised arms against U.S. forces.

The injustice of this was pointed out in the opinion of Judge Motz, who stated that, “unlike Hamdi and Padilla, Marri is not alleged to have been part of a Taliban unit, not alleged to have stood alongside the Taliban or the armed forces of any other enemy nation, not alleged to have been on the battlefield during the war in Afghanistan, not alleged to have even been in Afghanistan during the armed conflict, and not alleged to have engaged in combat with United States forces anywhere in the world.”

Judge Motz added, however, “With regret, we recognize that this view does not command a majority of the court. Our colleagues hold that the president can order the military to seize from his home and indefinitely detain anyone – including an American citizen – even though he has never affiliated with an enemy nation, fought alongside any nation’s armed forces, or borne arms against the United States anywhere in the world. We cannot agree that in a broad and general statute, Congress silently authorized a detention power that so vastly exceeds all traditional bounds. No existing law permits this extraordinary exercise of executive power.”

Disturbingly, as Judge Motz mentioned above, the court also indicated its presumption that its ruling applies not just to legal residents like Marri, but to U.S. citizens as well. Judge Traxler noted, “it is likely that the constitutional rights our court determines exist, or do not exist, for Marri will apply equally to our own citizens under like circumstances,” and Judge Motz explained that the lack of distinction between citizens and residents had become apparent at oral argument, when the government “finally acknowledged that an alien legally resident in the United States, like Marri, has the same Fifth Amendment due process rights as an American citizen. For this reason, the government had to concede that if Marri can be detained as an enemy combatant, then the government can also detain any American citizen on the same showing and through the same process.”

We have, to be honest, been here before. In September 2005, a three-member panel upheld, in Padilla’s case, the president’s power to hold U.S. citizens indefinitely without charge or trial [.pdf]. This verdict was never tested, as the government took Padilla out of the brig and into the court system (where he was convicted in January) before the Supreme Court could rule on his case, but as Glenn Greenwald noted in an article at Salon.com, the upshot is that the 2005 Padilla verdict still stands. To that extent, all that has changed now is that the Fourth Circuit court has reinforced its former ruling en banc.

Marri’s lawyers will doubtless appeal, and, if justice still counts for anything, his case will go all the way to the Supreme Court. However, it remains incomprehensible to me that the whole sorry saga has lasted for so long already. As Jonathan Hafetz and his colleagues explained last November when they presented their arguments to the Fourth Circuit judges (and as Judge Motz noted last week), the president “lacks the legal authority to designate and detain al-Marri as an ‘enemy combatant’ for two principal reasons”: firstly, because the Constitution “prohibits the military imprisonment of civilians arrested in the United States and outside an active battlefield,” and secondly, because, although a district court previously held that the president was authorized to detain Marri under the Authorization for Use of Military Force (the September 2001 law authorizing the president to use “all necessary and appropriate force” against those involved in any way with the 9/11 attacks), Congress explicitly prohibited “the indefinite detention without charge of suspected alien terrorists in the United States” in the PATRIOT Act, which followed five weeks later.

That seems pretty clear to me. In the “War on Terror,” however, as I have learned during my research over the last two and a half years, all forms of logical thought – sometimes in the courts, most of the time in military custody, and as a permanent fixture in the war rooms where torture was endorsed – have been engulfed in a fog of fear and barbarism.

I leave the final words to Judge Motz, and her clear-eyed awareness of the injustice of the Marri verdict. “To sanction such presidential authority to order the military to seize and indefinitely detain civilians, even if the president call them ‘enemy combatants,’ would have disastrous consequences for the Constitution – and the country,” Judge Motz wrote. “For a court to uphold a claim to such extraordinary power would do more than render lifeless the Suspension Clause, the Due Process Clause, and the rights to criminal process in the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendments; it would effectively undermine all of the freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution. It is that power – were a court to recognize it – that could lead all our laws ‘to go unexecuted, and the government itself to go to pieces.’ We refuse to recognize a claim to power that would so alter the constitutional foundations of our Republic.”

Unless Ali al-Marri is allowed a meaningful review of his status as an “enemy combatant,” Judge Motz’s fears have already come true.

Published in: on July 28, 2008 at 11:07 pm  Leave a Comment  

THIS SHOULD MAKE YOU ANGRY!

Published in: on July 27, 2008 at 7:04 pm  Leave a Comment  

Yeah, It’s Like That

And human rights activists have sent a letter to President Bush, asking him to raise human rights issues with the Chinese government during the Olympics. Unfortunately, they also sent a letter to the Chinese government asking them to bring up human rights issues with President Bush. So, it’s pretty much a wash.

— Jay Leno, The Tonight Show

Published in: on July 25, 2008 at 7:14 am  Leave a Comment  

Memphis Police to Use ‘Amnesia-like’ Injection in Lieu of Taser

It is happening to US citizens

So let me ask you. Do you want a Cop prescribing and injecting you or a loved one because they think you are out of control? ie. your home is flooded and you are upset. your child has just died and they are afraid you might get angry ect. ect…….

I’m tellin’ you folks there is coming a day when you may have to defend yourself against the govt. Are you prepared to protect yourself from authorities who think that they have the right to decide what is best for you and your family?

http://www.infowars.com/?p=3351

WSMV-TV | July 14, 2008

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – While the Metro police had banned the use of Tasers for a time, they still used a controversial method to subdue unruly people, according to an I-Team report.

The city’s policy to use the method, which calls for the injection of a drug into a person, came as a “total surprise” to people most would expect to know all about it.

For almost two years, Metro police have had the option of calling for a needle loaded with a strong sedative to control the most unruly people they encounter on the street.

One of the doctors who came up with the protocol said it’s the safest option out there and that it is used all over the country.

But many people said that the injection was news to them, and a top medical ethicist said it’s a troubling precedent.

The drug is called Midazolam, which is better known as Versed. People who have had a colonoscopy have probably had a shot of the drug for the procedure.

“The drug has an amnesia effect, and we use that therapeutically because one of the nice ways to take care of the discomfort is to make people forget that they’ve had it,” said biomedical ethics and law enforcement expert Dr. Steven Miles.

But the shots have also been used on the streets on people police said were out of control.

One of the first to get the shot administered to them was Dameon Beasley.

“Well, that night, I hadn’t been properly taking my meds, you know, like I’m supposed to. I got so depressed that when I was up on the bridge running into traffic back and forth, cars dodging me, swerving, I ended up with two sharp objects in my hands. By that time, the police had arrived. I was charging them with these sharp objects trying to make them shoot me, actually yelling at them to shoot me,” he said.

When a Taser didn’t work on Beasley, police turned to a brand new protocol — an injection of Versed. Officers called emergency medical personnel for the injection.

“I remember they were holding me down. There was maybe four or five on each side, and I remember they were calling for something, you know. Some guy came up on the left side and hit me with it,” he said.

“I do know that whatever it was works immediately. I mean, you ain’t got a chance if you are 300 pounds. It’s like a horse tranquilizer. I don’t care. You’re gone. It’s a wrap,” he said.

Beasley said he had no idea what happened after he was injected.

“I woke up — I don’t know how much time had passed — with a sergeant standing over me telling me to sign here. I didn’t know what I was signing Ms. (Channel 4 I-Team reporter Demetria) Kalodimos. I just signed a piece of paper and was immediately right back out,” he said.

Kalodimos reported that Beasley ended up at Metro General Hospital and was then put in psychiatric care. He was not charged in the incident on the bridge.

But Beasley’s lawyer, a public defender, had no idea that Versed had been used to subdue him until Kalodimos told him about it.

Very few people seem to know about the almost 2-year-old policy, Kalodimos said.

The state’s largest mental health advocacy group, Nashville’s mental health judge, the Nashville Rescue Mission, the American Civil Liberties Union all said they had no knowledge of the use of the drug by police.

“I’ve talked to my colleagues around the country, and none of the people from the south to the north to the east to the west have ever heard about this kind of program, this kind of use where they basically force an injection upon an individual knowing nothing about his or her medical condition,” said ACLU Director Hedy Weinberg.

“I can’t tell you why those individuals don’t know about it,” said Dr. Corey Slovis, Nashville?s emergency medical director.

Along with medical examiner Dr. Bruce Levy, Slovis customized a Versed policy for Nashville that is endorsed by a group of emergency medical experts called the Eagles.

“It’s something that in the medical community and in the EMS medical community is very common. It’s a given. When I surveyed the major metropolitan areas around the country, I think only two cities were not actively using it,” Slovis said.

Some have asked the question about potential problems.

Miles said he also had never heard of Versed being used in this way.

“There is no research guideline. There is no validated protocol for this. There’s not even a clear set of indications for when this is to be used except when people are agitated. By saying that it’s done by the emergency medical personnel, they basically are trying to have it both ways. That is, they?re trying to use a medical protocol that is not validated, not for a police function, arrest and detention,” Miles said.

“The decision to administer Versed is based purely on a paramedic decision, not a police decision,” Slovis said.

It’s up to the officer to call an ambulance and determine if a person is in a condition called excited delirium.

“I don’t know if I would use the word diagnosing, but they are assessing the situation and saying, ‘This person is not acting rationally. This is something I’ve been trained to recognize, this seems like excited delirium.’ I don’t view delirium in the field as a police function. It is a medical emergency. We’re giving the drug Versed that’s routinely used in thousands of health care settings across the country in the field by trained paramedics. I view what we’re doing as the best possible medical practice to a medical emergency,” Slovis said.

Metro Government would not release the names of the eight other people who got Versed injections after police calls. A representative from Metro said that the information was protected in the way a medical record would be.

The representative said that only one person out of the nine had shown no improvement after the injection.

Versed was most recently used on a female in early June.

Three women of child bearing age have apparently gotten shots without consent, even though the package insert for Versed suggests that, “the patient should be apprised of the potential hazard to the fetus.”

“A single administration to calm a wildly delirious patient down even if she’s pregnant is much safer to the woman and her unborn child than being allowed to be delirious, hypothermic, hyperventilating and perhaps hypoxic,” Slovis said.

“I would think that with enough people being able to tackle the person to inject them, there should be another way to try to subdue someone without putting an injection in their vein,” Weinberg said.

The biggest side effect that is seen in more than 80 percent of those who are injected with Versed is amnesia.

The side effect raises the question of a person being able to defend themselves in court if they can’t remember what happened.

“If they would’ve said I’d done anything after that shot, hey, I couldn’t have argued that fact. I don’t remember,” Beasley said.

Kalodimos reported that while doing research for this report, she found a post on a paramedics Internet chat site that said, “One good thing about Versed is that the patient won’t remember how he got that footprint on his chest.”

“We’re very careful in Nashville,” Slovis said. “Every instance of Versed use is reviewed by the both medical director, myself, our head of EMS quality assurance. We make sure that our paramedics treat patients right.”

Miles said it would have been appropriate to put the idea of using Versed before what’s called an Institutional Review Board for study to anticipate problems before they pop up.

“It may well be that a protocol could be designed to test the use of Versed in handling agitated persons at the time of detention. I’m not going to say that’s not possible, but at any rate, you do it under a condition where you collect data rather than simply just going ahead and doing the drug and waiting to see if problems to develop,” he said.

Miles added that, “Doing medicine by the seat of your pants is not the way to develop new therapies.”

Slovis said the shots are given as a medical treatment, not a police function, even though ultimately they aid in an arrest.

Published in: on July 24, 2008 at 9:54 pm  Leave a Comment  

It is the responsibility of the patriot to protect his country from its government.

— Thomas Paine

Published in: on July 24, 2008 at 8:29 pm  Leave a Comment  

David Icke – Big Brother, the Big Picture (July 6th 2008)

Published in: on July 15, 2008 at 8:46 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Comics Get It-Do You!!

FFF

 

President Bush signed a bill giving phone companies immunity for letting the government spy on its customers without a warrant. Isn’t that unbelievable? President Bush said 9/11 changed everything. And you know, he’s right, because violating the Constitution and breaking the law used to mean jail time. Apparently no more.

 

— Jay Leno, The Tonight Show

Published in: on July 15, 2008 at 8:31 pm  Leave a Comment