March 2, 2009

Sidestepping Our Civil Rights

On January 18, 2007, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was invited to speak to the Senate Judiciary Committee, where he shocked the committee’s ranking member, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, by stating that there was no guarantee to the right of habeas corpus in the Constitution.

GONZALES: There is no express grant of habeas in the Constitution. There is a prohibition against taking it away.

SPECTER: Now, wait a minute. The Constitution says you can’t take it away, except in the case of rebellion or invasion. Doesn’t that mean you have the right of habeas corpus, unless there is an invasion or rebellion?

Senator Specter was referring to Article One of the Constitution which reads: “The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public safety may require it.” This passage has been historically interpreted to mean that the right of habeas corpus is inherently established.

Blueprints for a Police State

By Marjorie Cohn, Counterpunch
March 4, 2009

Seven newly released memos from the Bush Justice Department reveal a concerted strategy to cloak the President with power to override the Constitution. The memos provide “legal” rationales for the President to:
  • Suspend freedom of speech and press;
  • Order warrantless searches and seizures, including wiretaps of U.S. citizens;
  • Lock up U.S. citizens indefinitely in the United States without criminal charges;
  • Send suspected terrorists to other countries where they will likely be tortured; and
  • Unilaterally abrogate treaties.
According to the reasoning in the memos, Congress has no role to check and balance the executive.

That is the definition of a police state.

Who wrote these memos? All but one were crafted in whole or in part by the infamous John Yoo and Jay Bybee, authors of the so-called “torture memos” that redefined torture much more narrowly than the U.S. definition of torture, and counseled the President how to torture and get away with it. In one memo, Yoo said the Justice Department would not enforce U.S. laws against torture, assault, maiming and stalking, in the detention and interrogation of enemy combatants...

Bush Lawyers Approved Constitution-Free Domestic Military Ops, Docs Say

By Ryan Singel, Wired
March 2, 2009

The Justice Department secretly authorized President George Bush to use the military inside the United States to snoop on, raid and even kill citizens in order to fight terrorism without regard to the Fourth or Fifth Amendment, according to a October 23, 2001 memo released by the Obama Administration Monday.

“We do not think a military commander carrying out a raid on a terrorist cell would be required to demonstrate probable cause or to obtain a warrant,” the Office of Legal Counsel memo (.pdf) said. “We think that the better view is that the Fourth Amendment does not apply to domestic military operations designed to deter and prevent future terrorist attacks.”

Department of Justice special counsel Robert Delahunty and John Yoo, a deputy assistant attorney general best known for penning a memo authorizing government agents to torture suspected terrorists, issued the memo after the administration asked whether it could use the military inside the United States.

Government employees rely on the Office of Legal Counsel’s memos for binding advice as to what activities are and are not legal.

UPDATE: This memo was not officially withdrawn or repudiated until October 6, 2008 — nearly seven years later. In that repudiation memo (.pdf) also made public Monday, Yoo’s replacement Steven Bradbury said the memo should not be “treated as authoritative for any purpose” and that “the Fourth Amendment is fully applicable to domestic military operations.”

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) attorney Melissa Goodman says that’s why the memos are so disturbing. “The fact we had the OLC in the business of stretching the law to create an outcome and create legal cover for illegal activities is a dangerous thing,” Goodman said. “There is no serious question that the Fourth Amendment applies to U.S. government officials acting on U.S. soil.”

The memo was sent to then White House counsel Alberto Gonzales and the top lawyer for the military William Haynes II.

The memo found that the military could be deployed widely within the United States without being subject to the limits of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Those actions include using the National Security Agency to spy on communications inside the United States without getting court approval — as the Bush Administration admitted it did for years.

“Military action might encompass making arrests, seizing documents or other property, searching persons or places or keeping them under surveillance, intercepting electronic or wireless communications, setting up roadblocks, interviewing witnesses and searching for suspects,” the duo wrote.

The memo is just one of nine previously unreleased memos that outside groups like the ACLU have been trying to make public. The most recent, dated January 15, 2009 — one of the last days of the Bush Administration — anticipates the release of the memo and attempts to distance the last inhabitants of the OLC from the earlier ones (.pdf). The other memos largely focus on the legality of torture.

Administration Asserts No Fourth Amendment for Domestic Military Operations
Secret DOJ Memo Says Fourth Amendment Has “No Application” After 9/11
AG Office of Legal Counsel Authorized Pentagon to Ignore Bill of Rights
Yoo Torture Memo Says Fourth Amendment Doesn't Apply in War on Terror
White House Asked DOJ How Bush Could Sidestep Fourth Amendment
Bush and Lincoln Both Suspended Habeas Corpus
Smart Grid: Government Spying Targets Rural America
Gingrich: Not All Speech is Permitted Under the Constitution
YouTube’s Parent Google is a Corporate Member of the Council on Foreign Relations
Obama seeks to overturn right to counsel before questioning
Government Critics to be Sent to Mental Asylums?
‘They stole my little girl,’ says mother judged too stupid to care for her baby
Mother of Tasered man wants Poland to probe son’s death
Lawmakers Back Broader Use of Full-Body Scanning Equipment
Would YOU be happy to take the ‘naked’ body scan?
New US Airport Security Measures Include "Thorough" Pat-Down Searches
Vast 20,000-strong snooper army of town hall bureaucrats get power to enter your home without a warrant
Another false flag terror attack as justification for war and trampling on our freedoms
Calls for Full-Body Screening Devices Grow After Terror Attempt
New York Governor Orders National Guard to Airports
Get Naked to Defeat Terrorists
Body scanners break child porn laws
The Next Stage: Global Naked Body Scanners
Newborn taken by CPS for his political affiliation with the Oath Keepers

Updated 10/11/10 (Newest Additions at End of List)

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