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Rejecting the Republican Party of Fear

By       (Page 1 of 2 pages)   6 comments
Message Ron Fullwood
Five years after 9/11, the worst attack on American homeland in our history, the Democrats offer nothing but criticism and obstruction, and endless second-guessing. The party of FDR and the party of Harry Truman has become the party of cut-and-run.-- Bush at fundraiser, September 28, 2006

Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman confronted and defeated the enemies who threatened and attacked America, by unifying the nation around every instigation of our democracy they could muster. Their overriding principle was the defense and preservation of those democratic values which they understood would sustain our nation against those forces who sought to destroy our way of life and separate us from those enduring values of justice, liberty, and freedom. Bush and the republicans have adopted none of those values as they have committed our nation to their 'ideological war'; endlessly perpetuating the violence by the exercise of their own reckless militarism.

With their rubber-stamp approval of Bush's torture and detention of whoever he chooses and has chosen to round-up and lock-up, the republican party has stepped forward to assume their part in the U.S. regime's scheme to control and dominate Americans and the rest of the world through the un-checked exercise of their contrived, absolute use of our military, and the agents and resources of our government. They have become the party of torture, suppression, war, occupation, the overthrow of sovereign governments, deliberate and collateral killing of innocents, unwarranted eavesdropping on Americans, indefinite detentions without counsel or charges . . . they have become the party of fear and oppression.

With every overreaching action, the republicans contradict every essential value of liberty, justice, freedom, and humanity which has graced our nation's conscience and character since it's founding with the pride of our full participation in its scope and direction. Bush's increasingly autocratic reign is being enabled by the zeal of the members of the republican majority in Congress who have enhanced the contrived power of the Executive as they have enhanced their own control over our hard-earned contributions to our government.

Moreover, the focus of their grab for absolute power is centered on the most pernicious mechanism of our democracy that is within their reach; the control and direction of our military defenses. The diplomatic institutions of our State Dept. have been transformed from instruments of peace and development, to manipulative apologists for U.S imperialism and muckrakers for a pretext to military aggression. With innumerable secret agencies within the Homeland Security regime - harboring secret, unaccountable budgets, and countlessly unending appropriations to Bush's dual occupations - the republican-controlled Congress has compliantly squandered trillions of dollars for a failed pursuit of the perpetrators they identified as responsible for the 9-11 attacks, staged an increasingly failing rout of the Taliban (in addition to their cut-and-run from the hunt for bin-Laden there), and committed the bulk of our forces and resources to a disastrously failing invasion and occupation of Iraq which has spawned and spread the risk of active aggression against the U.S., our interests, and our agents.

All of this was done alongside homeland edicts from the White House allowing random, unwarranted wiretapping of American citizens, unwarranted apprehensions and detentions, and tortures unimaginable to those who may have once regarded our nation as a reliable protector of the innocent and a defender of humanity. Their own National Intelligence Estimate concluded that none of these oppressive measures have made us any safer. Bush has sacrificed our own freedoms with impunity as he is allowed exploit our military for what he calls his 'ideological war' against unnamed 'enemies' and 'extremists'.

The way in which Bush and the republicans insist on calling the suspects that he's decided to detain indefinitely and without charge, "enemy combatants", is an affront to our basic principles of due process which our government regularly expects other nations to adhere to at the risk of being targeted for retaliatory action as violators of human rights. How can any of those held get a fair trial in any proceeding when the government has already paraded them around as guilty? The very language, 'enemy combatant', is not even descriptively accurate except in the way they've, again, made up a definition to suit their made-up law.

Whether or not these defendants have been 'combatants' (or not) is a matter to be determined in court. Yet, the label is applied to every individual Bush grants permission to detain. In effect, under this law, the mere act by the president of detaining someone takes away their presumption of innocence which is the most basic of protections against any prosecution, in any system.

Further, the detainee/torture legislation puts even more of a burden of proof on the accused by allowing the introduction of hearsay evidence by the prosecution, so long as the defendant can't prove it's 'unreliable' or of no relevance. In effect, the government won't have to present any evidence at all against those Bush decides to hold indefinitely, without charges, to convict them. All they have to say is they have knowledge of their guilt, and, that knowledge they intend to suffice for due process and justice done. There is no opportunity for any real measure of defense.

Under the provision in the bill, "Hearsay evidence not otherwise admissible under the rules of evidence applicable in trial by general courts-martial shall not be admitted in a trial by military commission if the party opposing the admission of the evidence demonstrates that the evidence is unreliable or lacking in probative value."

When, in our system of jurisprudence, have defendants been required to prove unaccountable witnesses unreliable? Our own legal system would be a travesty if we allowed anyone to have us convicted of a crime without our being able to face that accuser. Further, the 'probative evidence' allowed under the law would be subject to arbitrary rules of admissibility from the very court prosecuting. Don't bother presenting evidence against the military tribunal, because they will assume the power to decide whether your evidence is "unfair, confusing, misleading, or wasting their time."

Here is the provision:

"The military judge shall exclude any evidence the probative value of which is substantially outweighed - "(i)"by the danger of unfair prejudice, confusion of the issues, or misleading the commission; or "(ii) "by considerations of undue delay, waste of time, or needless presentation of cumulative evidence.

There will be zero convictions under these tribunals which will stand any judicial review, despite the provisions which limit appeals based on the Geneva provisions. This mock court is no different from the one the Supreme Court already struck down, except in the provisions which are even more pernicious and unconstitutional. I find it hard to imagine this law will end up effecting anything except the upcoming congressional campaign as it will certainly be subject to challenge, notwithstanding the obstacles in the bill itself which prohibit appeals based on Geneva Convention protocol, and prohibit judicial review of the tribunal until after conviction. The habeas corpus provisions are extremely vulnerable to court challenge, as well.

In an amazing flexing of the republican-enhanced Executive muscle, Attorney General Gonzales warned 'judges' against 'interfering' with the Bush regime's military and foreign policies in 'wartime'. "The Constitution," he said in a speech at Georgetown University, "provides the courts with relatively few tools to superintend military and foreign policy decisions, especially during wartime."

"Judges must resist the temptation to supplement those tools based on their own personal views about the wisdom of the policies under review," said Gonzales. In other words, this administration, which has already shown repeated distain for following laws which interfere with their ambitions, is signaling judges that they will exercise their assumed impunity from the law no matter what the courts decide. In the face of a compliant, republican-controlled Congress who refuses to exercise any meaningful oversight, there is no law that Bush and his minions will regard themselves accountable to.

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Ron Fullwood, is an activist from Columbia, Md. and the author of the book 'Power of Mischief' : Military Industry Executives are Making Bush Policy and the Country is Paying the Price
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