By Timothy V. Gatto
I feel as if I’m repeating myself over and over for the past 8 years. Each time that I think I’ve written about everything, the government comes out with something else.
The Bush regime was a catastrophic horror. He did away with habeas corpus, and that was bad enough. In essence, he scrapped the Magna Charta that had been central to our western values for the almost eight hundred years. It is part of our own Constitution. These two values were taken from it.
Part of the text is here:
"No freeman shall be taken, imprisoned, disseised, outlawed, banished, or in any way destroyed, nor will We proceed against or prosecute him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers and by the law of the land."
"To no one will We sell, to no one will We deny or delay, right or justice."
"The democratic aspiration is no mere recent phase in human history . . . It was written in Magna Carta." --Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1941 Inaugural address
So, since the Magna Charta was shredded by picking up supposed “terrorists” that were probably thinking they were shooting or trying to plant bombs against foreign invaders, they were hauled into the Black Prisons, hooded and subject to “Enhanced Interrogation” which probably freaked them out.
A Congressional bipartisan report in December 2008 established that:
harsh interrogation techniques used by the CIA and the U.S. military were directly adapted from the training techniques used to prepare special forces personnel to resist interrogation by enemies that torture and abuse prisoners. The techniques included forced nudity, painful stress positions, sleep deprivation, and until 2003, waterboarding, a form of simulated drowning.
According to ABC and former and current CIA officials have come forward to reveal details of interrogation techniques authorized in the CIA. These include:
- Waterboarding: The prisoner is bound to an inclined board, feet raised and head slightly below the feet. Material is wrapped over the prisoner's face and water is poured over them, asphyxiating the prisoner.
- Hypothermia: The prisoner is left to stand naked in a cell kept near 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius), while being regularly doused with cold water in order to increase the rate at which heat is lost from the body.
- Stress positions: Prisoners are forced to stand, handcuffed and with their feet shackled to an eye bolt in the floor (and/or wall), for more than 40 hours, causing the prisoners' weight to be placed on just one or two muscles. This creates an intense amount of pressure on the legs, leading first to pain and then muscle failure.
- Abdomen strikes: A hard, open-handed slap is dealt to the prisoner's abdomen. Doctors consulted over the matter advised against using a punch, which could cause lasting internal damage.
- Slapping: An open-handed slap is delivered to the prisoner's face, aimed at causing pain and triggering fear.
- Shaking: The interrogator forcefully grabs the front of the prisoner's shirt and shakes them.
If they survive the trials of maybe being sent to another country that doesn’t exactly follow the Geneva Conventions and maybe (or not) they return them to us, they are sent to Guantanamo. There, they are subjected to more “enhanced interrogation”.
That’s for so-called “prisoners of war”. There have been cases of “Extraordinary Rendition”. To be brief, this is when the CIA kidnaps people they believe are plotting against us. With no representation, they may or may not use their enhanced interrogation. They are either held in secret “black prisons” across the globe for years at time or sent to Guantanamo. What is disturbing about this is that they have done this for years.
The United States' Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) runs a global apprehension and incarceration operation of suspected terrorists, known as “extraordinary rendition” which from 2001 to 2005 captured an estimated 150 people and transported them around the world. While the Obama administration has tried to distance itself from some of the harshest counterterrorism techniques, it has also said that at least some forms of renditions will continue. Currently the administration continues to allow rendition only "to a country with jurisdiction over that individual (for prosecution of that individual)" when there is a diplomatic assurance "that they will not be treated inhumanely."Prior to the Obama administration, rendered persons were reported to have undergone torture by the receiving countries, and it has been alleged that this occurred with the knowledge or cooperation of the administrations of the United States and the United Kingdom.
The link above is very interesting; anyone that is interested in what the government has done should read this.
Meanwhile, we were talking about the abolition of our Constitutional Rights. During the Bush administration;
- USA Patriot Act - A 342 page document presented to Congress one day before voting on it that allows the government access to your bank and email accounts, as well as your medical and phone records with no court order. They can also search your home anytime without a warrant.
- USA Patriot Act II - This one allows secret government arrests, the legal authority to seize your American citizenship, and the extraction of your DNA if you are deemed a potential terrorist.
- Military Commissions Act of 2006 - Ends habeas corpus, the right to an attorney, and the right to court review of one’s detention and arrest. Without this most basic right, all other rights are gone too since anyone can be detained indefinitely. Now anyone may be arrested and incarcerated and nobody would know.
- NSPD 51 - A directive signed by George W. Bush on May 9, 2007, that allows the President to declare martial law, effectively transforming the U.S. into a dictatorship with no checks and balances from the Legislative or Judicial Branches. Parts of this directive are considered classified and members of Congress have been denied the right to review it.
- Protect America Act of 2007 - Allows unprecedented domestic wiretapping and surveillance activities with a reduction in FISA court oversight. Probable cause is not needed.
- John Warner Defense Authorization Act - Signed by George W. Bush on October 17, 2007, this act allows the President to declare a public emergency and station troops anywhere in America without the consent of the governor or local authorities to “suppress public disorder.
- Homegrown Terrorism and Radicalization Act - Passed overwhelmingly by Congress on October 23, 2007, This act will beget a new crackdown on dissent and the Constitutional rights of American citizens. The definitions of “terrorism” and “extremism” are so vague that they could be used to generalize against any group that is working against the policies of the Administration. In this bill, “violent radicalization” criminalizes thought and ideology while “homegrown terrorism” is defined as “the planed use of force to coerce the government.” The term, “force” could encompass political activities such as protests, marches, or any other form of non-violent resistance.
Now this isn’t the last of it. The Obama Administration asked for a provision in section 1021 of the NDAA, that U.S. citizens be added. Section 1021 states:
The detention sections of the NDAA begin by "affirm[ing]" that the authority of the President under the AUMF, a joint resolution passed in the immediate aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks, includes the power to detain, via the Armed Forces, any person (including U.S. citizens) "who was part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners", and anyone who commits a "belligerent act" against the U.S. or its coalition allies in aid of such enemy forces, under the law of war, "without trial, until the end of the hostilities authorized by the [AUMF]". The text authorizes trial by military tribunal, or "transfer to the custody or control of the person's country of origin", or transfer to "any other foreign country, or any other foreign entity".
This isn’t all of what we are going through. It’s now illegal to protest on in certain cases. If a person is arrested for this innocuous act, IT’S A FELONY.
HR 347 is a modification from Senate bill S. 1794, which restricted people from entering or blocking public areas that have been closed off by Secret Service while a person under their protection is passing through. The law also included major public events, such as the Inauguration and Presidential campaigns.
“The bill expands current law to make it a crime to enter or remain in an area where an official is visiting even if the person does not know it’s illegal to be in that area and has no reason to suspect its illegal.”
This is really getting creepy. This new law violates our First Amendment rights. It states there;
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Can you see where we are going here? This phony “War on Terrorism” is just a way to strip Americans of their civil liberties. We can sit idly by as they create a police state, they meaning those in this corrupt government and those that are not elected but have been in government behind the scenes, that do the will of the rich and corporate America, including the military-industrial- complex that President Eisenhower warned us about.
Yes, all of this is happening. Today I talked to a man named Dave here in South Carolina, a member of the Tea Party. I told him that I’m way to the left and he then told me that he doesn’t care about left or right, he’s worried about the government taking away our rights. He said that he’s tired of labels and that we should just consider ourselves American. We talked for a while, and at the end of the conversation I asked him what we could do about all of this. He looked at me with quite an angry face. “They won’t listen; the only thing that they will understand is this”. Then he put his hand up and had his thumb cocked and his index finger pointing straight out.
Maybe he is right, maybe not; I really don’t know how this will all end. All that I know is that if the government and all of their allies can’t defeat the few thousand ragtag Taliban in Afghanistan, how would they contain an insurrection in the third most populous nation on Earth? According to records, this is the nation with more privately owned weapons than any nation on the planet.
The Government needs to back off. The nation is simmering. Every day more and more people see through all the smoke and mirrors and see exactly what path we are heading for and most Americans don’t want it. According to a Fox News Poll, 78% of Americans are against the war in Afghanistan, but our government persists against the will of its own people!
We as a nation are heading down the wrong road. I’m tired of couching my words; most Americans are sick and tired of the crap coming out of Washington DC. Many don’t give a flying f**k about this election. Most people despise both candidates. The numbers rise every day.
Everything the government is doing has been tried before. The people that wield the true power in the world despise most human beings. To them we are “useless eaters”. They would really like nothing better than to dispose of us. If you believe I’m losing my mind, sit back and think about it. California, the most populous state in the nation and the fifth largest economy in the World, pays 18% of its budget to the prison system. The budget for education is 11%.
Now they are using drones in the U.S. They have thousands of these things. People are up in arms; this is a violation of " target="_blank">privacy they say. Why do we need these things? What is happening here? We need to hold this government accountable. How can we do it? The more I think about it, maybe, just maybe, Dave is right.
Tim Gatto's new book "Contempt to Outrage" will be available soon from Oliver Arts and Open Press.
By Timothy V. Gatto, a retired Army Sergeant and former Chairman of The Liberal Party of America. He can be reached at: email@example.com Read Tim's Book "Complicity to Contempt" and his Novel "Kimchee Days or Stoned Cold Warriors From Oliver Arts and Open Press and available on Amazon and all other online bookstores.