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Using Alleged Terrorism to Escalate War and Homeland Repression - Using Alleged Terrorism to Escalate War and Homeland Repression

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Using Alleged Terrorism to Escalate War and Homeland Repression
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After the New York bomb incident, expect that attitude throughout the country, in Manhattan for certain reported AFP's Sebastian Smith on May 4 headlining "Police cameras to flood Manhattan to prevent attacks," saying:

"New York officials say they could stop attacks like (the Times Square one) by expanding a controversial surveillance system so sensitive that it will pick even suspicious behavior" without further explanation. Mayor Bloomberg supports a high-tech system, modeled after London's "ring of steel" in its financial district. The Lower Manhattan Security Initiative way exceeds traditional surveillance. It will constantly watch, collect license plate numbers, video pedestrians and drivers, as well as detect explosives and other weapons.

A complementary system, called Operation Sentinel, will log every vehicle entering Manhattan by scanning license plates and checking for radiation.

Analytic software will analyze raw data in real time for fast results and follow-up. Alarms would signal  unattended bags or a car circling a block more times than normal or operating unconventionally. It's a brave new world, a new level of privacy invasion and civil liberty intrusion, soon heading everywhere across America to a greater or lesser degree.

For the ACLU, it raises serious "privacy, speech, expression and association concerns. Troubling examples of that come from (NYPD) video archives."

Headlining "Ready.Fire.Aim!?," the ACLU highlights a growing video surveillance infrastructure with virtually no oversight or accountability, its proliferation impinging on civil liberties and personal freedom "in the most intimate, and most public, sense."

If authorities abandon these principles, everyone's rights are at risk, the ACLU saying its study documented "the nature and magnitude of the harm posed by the unregulated proliferation of video surveillance cameras." Unless new legislation balances their use against civil liberty and privacy protections, democratic freedoms will be sacrificed for public safety, that, in fact, won't be offered or gained.

Proposed Repressive Legislation and other Measures

Senator Scott Brown (R. MA) will join Senator Joe Lieberman (I. CT), Rep. Jason Altimire (D. PA), and Rep. Charlie Dent (R. PA) in proposing a Terrorist Expatriation Act to strip naturalized Americans of their citizenship for having committed terrorist acts or aiding a designating foreign terrorist organization (FTO). Lieberman said persons called terrorists "should be turned over to the military" for prosecution, denying them their rights in civil courts. More on that below.

AFP reports that Senator Chuck Schumer (D. NY) signaled his support, saying: The measure "sounds like something I'd support, but I'd have to look at the legislation." Senator John McCain (R. AZ) said Americans should lose their citizenship rights "if they're designated an enemy combatant."

McCain also supports denying alleged terrorists their Miranda Rights, based on the Supreme Court's Miranda v. Arizona (1966) ruling that both inculpatory and exculpatory police-obtained statements are admissible as evidence only if defendants were informed of their right to an attorney before and during questioning, against self-incrimination, and that they understood them. Denying them is a clear violation of constitutional freedoms, being lost at an alarming rate post-9/11.

Lieberman supports McCain saying:

"The first thing you want to get from (a suspected terrorist) is information about other co-conspirators, perhaps other attacks that are planned at the same time, and then (decide) whether he should be read his Miranda rights."

With inflammatory media reports, other lawmakers from both parties may offer support when legislation is introduced, perhaps enough to get these or similar measures passed. If so, anyone charged with terrorism or conspiracy to commit it, with or without proof, will be vulnerable.

Police State Terror since 9/11

Because of its relevance, material from a March 26 article is repeated below. For the complete article, see:

Straightaway post-9/11, George Bush signed a secret finding empowering the CIA to "Capture, Kill or Interrogate Al-Qaeda Leaders." He also authorized establishing a covert global gulag to detain and interrogate them without guidelines on proper treatment.

Other presidential directives ordered abductions, torture and indefinite detentions. In November 2001, Military Order Number 1 empowered the Executive to capture, kidnap or otherwise arrest non-citizens (and later citizens) anywhere in the world for any reason and hold them indefinitely without charge, evidence, due process or judicial fairness protections of law.

The 2006 Military Commissions Act authorized torture and sweeping unconstitutional powers to detain, interrogate and prosecute alleged suspects and collaborators (including US citizens), hold them (without evidence) indefinitely in military prisons, and deny them habeas and other legal protections.

Section 1031 of the FY 2010 Defense Authorization Act contained the 2009 Military Commissions Act, listing changes that include discarding the phrase "unlawful enemy combatant" for "unprivileged enemy belligerent." More on that below.

Seamlessly, Obama continues Bush administration practices and added others, including:

  • greater than ever surveillance;
  • ruthless political persecutions;
  • preventively detaining individuals ordered released - "who cannot be prosecuted," he said, "yet who pose a clear danger to the American people;"
  • a secret "hit list" authorizing CIA and Pentagon operatives to kill US citizens abroad based on unsubstantiated evidence they're involved in alleged plots against America or US interests;
  • weaker whisleblower protections;
  • state secrets privilege to block lawsuits by victims of rendition, torture, abuse or warrantless wiretapping; and
  • other anti-democratic measures, including continuing Patriot Act violation of First, Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendment protections, and a more repressive than ever Homeland Security apparatus.

Then on March 4, John McCain introduced S. 3081: Enemy Belligerent, Interrogation, Detention, and Prosecution Act of 2010 to interrogate and detain "enemy belligerents who commit hostile acts against the United States to establish certain limitations on the prosecution of such belligerents, and for other purposes."

Senator Lieberman and eight Republicans co-sponsored it, a measure that if enacted will target anyone worldwide, including US citizens, on the mere suspicion that they engage in or materially support terrorism. They'll be placed in military custody, interrogated and denied their constitutional rights if designated an "unprivileged enemy belligerent" - a political, not criminal, classification that has no judicial standing in civil proceedings, ones conducted fairly, that is.

"Unprivileged enemy belligerent" status places designees in legal limbo, denies them due process in civil proceedings, and condemns them to military prosecutorial injustice with no right of appeal, even if sentenced to death. Torture-extracted testimonies will be allowed, despite their illegality and unreliability. Henceforth, judicial fairness will be null and void, replaced by political expediency that condemns innocent victims to prison hell.

Linking incidents like New York's to designated terrorist groups makes it more likely. So does suggesting guilt by supposition or alleged association, with or without proof, let alone entrapment - what the Lectric Law Library defines as:

"Enduc(ing) or persuad(ing someone) to commit a crime that he (or she) had no previous intent to commit; and the law as a matter of policy forbids conviction in such a case." If evidence "leaves a reasonable doubt whether the person had any intent to commit the crime except for inducement or persuasion....then the person is not guilty." Prosecutors "must prove beyond a reasonable doubt" that entrapment didn't occur.

On May 6, McClatchy Newspapers Jonathan Landay headlined, "US officials: No credible evidence that terrorists trained Shahzad," saying:

"Four (unnamed) intelligence and counterterrorism officials and two other US officials with knowledge of the case said 'There is nothing that confirms that any groups have been found in this (case) for certain. It's a lot of speculation at this the most, (Shahzad may have) had incidental contact with a terrorist organization, and he may have been encouraged to act."

Yet media reports scream it, like the Wall Street Journal's May 5 editorial headlined, "From Peshawar to Times Square," saying:

Shahzad's arrest is "proof that the world's jihadists are still targeting the US homeland....We will no doubt learn a great deal more about Shahzad and his links to radical groups in Pakistan, where he reportedly spent several months last year, including two weeks in or around the Taliban-saturated environs of Peshawar....One regrettable part of this investigation (is that he) has been allowed to lawyer-up and told of his right to remain silent, rather than being subjected to more thorough interrogation as an enemy combatant."

Unfortunately, accounts like the above are more commonplace than exceptional, the media pronouncing sentence before indictments. They also suggest other "jihadists" lie waiting for their chance to attack, meaning Muslims, of course, at the wrong time to be one in a nation vilifying their religion, heritage, race and ethnicity.

With that cross to bear, bills like S. 3081 may pass, Miranda and citizenship Rights may be stripped, and constitutional protections rendered null and void for targets chosen not worthy to have them. When the rule of law no longer applies, police state justice follows, the path America's dangerously headed down, perhaps on a fast track.

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