Government Cannot Use Material Witness Statute To Unlawfully Detain People
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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SEATTLE – In an unprecedented ruling that places responsibility squarely on government officials who after 9/11 championed polices clearly outside the boundaries of the law, a federal appellate court ruled today that former Attorney General John Ashcroft can be held personally responsible for the wrongful detention of an innocent American, Abdullah al-Kidd. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit also ruled that the federal material witness law cannot be used to “preventively” detain or investigate suspects. The American Civil Liberties Union represents al-Kidd in the case, al-Kidd v. Ashcroft.
“The court made it very clear today that former Attorney General Ashcroft’s use of the federal material witness law circumvented the Constitution,” said ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project Deputy Director Lee Gelernt, who argued the appeal. “Regardless of your rank or title, you can’t escape liability if you personally created and oversaw a policy that deliberately violates the law.”
Ever wonder what’s happening to words once they fall into the hands of corporate and government propagandists? Too often reporters and editors don’t wonder enough. They ditto the words even when the result is deception or doubletalk.
Here are some examples. Day in and day out we read about “detainees” imprisoned for months or years by the federal government in the U.S., Guantanamo Bay, Iraq and Afghanistan. Doesn’t the media know that the correct word is “prisoners,” regardless of what Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld disseminated?
NEW YORK–Nazis. Americans are Nazis. We are Nazis.
Godwin’s Law be damned–it’s impossible to read the newly-released CIA report on the torture of Muslim prisoners without thinking of the Third Reich.
Sadism exists in every culture. A century ago, for example, Western adventurers who visited Tibet reported that the authorities in Lhasa, that supposed capital of pacifism, publicly gouged out criminals’ eyes and yanked out their tongues. But Nazi atrocities were stylistically distinct from, say, the Turkish genocide of the Armenians or the Rwandan massacres of the early 1990s. German war crimes were characterized by methodical precision, the application of “rational” technology to increase efficiency, the veneer of legality and the perversion of medical science.
The hysteria over the release of the so-called Lockerbie bomber reveals much about the political and media class on both sides of the Atlantic, especially Britain. From Gordon Brown’s “repulsion” to Barack Obama’s “outrage,” the theater of lies and hypocrisy is dutifully attended by those who call themselves journalists. “But what if Megrahi lives longer than three months?” whined a BBC reporter to the Scottish First Minister, Alex Salmond. “What will you say to your constituents, then?”
Horror of horrors that a dying man should live longer than prescribed before he “pays” for his “heinous crime”: the description of the Scottish justice minister, Kenny MacAskill, whose “compassion” allowed Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi to go home to Libya to “face justice from a higher power.” Amen.
The American satirist Larry David once addressed a voluble crony as “a babbling brook of bullsh*t.” Such eloquence summarizes the circus of Megrahi’s release.
Long-time readers of my work will know that I championed the cause of Mohamed Jawad, the Afghan prisoner released from Guantánamo on August 24, for nearly two years, from the moment that he was, ludicrously, put forward for a trial by Military Commission in October 2007. Jawad was charged with throwing a grenade that wounded two US soldiers and an Afghan translator in a marketplace in Kabul in December 2002, even though it was clear from his testimony alone that he was a teenager at the time of the attack, that he had been duped into joining an insurgent group, that he was drugged at the time of the attack, and that a confession had been coerced out of him while in Afghan custody. His case was also, at the time, the most obvious example of how the Bush administration, in its “War on Terror,” had warped existing war crimes legislation, and was attempting to claim that anyone who opposed US forces in a wartime situation was engaged not in legitimate warfare, but in a criminal enterprise.
If you wanted to destroy the infrastructure that holds our constitutional republic in place, how would you go about that? As with a controlled demolition you would need to dislodge the foundation from the bedrock where it is anchored and weaken the framework that holds the structure together. In practice, you would demolish the laws that support the legal and financial structure. Our constitutional republic would then collapse into its own footprint, meeting no resistance.
Billionaire George Soros claimed the world financial system has disintegrated, adding that there is yet no prospect of a near-term resolution to the crisis. 1 If this were true it would be a blessing. It is more likely a pretext for consolidating world financial control through an illegitimate global oligarchy that supersedes national sovereignty. Media propagandists are spinning the “new” idea of one world currency issued by a global monetary authority. Herding the fearful into a blind alley with soothing promises of international cooperation, the same criminals who engineered global financial destruction are promoting the International Monetary Fund as the savior of choice to issue one world currency. The IMF’s synthetic currency, Special Drawing Rights, is determined by the fluctuating value of fiat currencies generated by four privately-owned central banks. SDRs are fabricated debt owed to a private banking cartel.