Obama’s War: Criminalize the Left

Submitted by Glen Ford on Tue, 05/22/2012 - 23:15
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A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Like no other president in modern times, Barack Obama is determined to criminalize the Left opposition through relentless reshaping of Constitutional notions of law. Whistleblowers are domestic public enemy number one. “Having knowledge of government wrongdoing is criminal, in the eyes of this administration.”

 

Obama’s War: Criminalize the Left

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

The Obama legal team has been single-minded in its determination to make political dissent a crime.”

The Obama administration is methodically erecting the legal structures of a police state. The president late last year smoothed the way for bipartisan passage through Congress of a preventive detention bill that is so vaguely worded, a federal judge in New York last week ruled that it is likely to be successfully challenged on Constitutional grounds. And in Richmond, Virginia, a three-judge appeals court heard Justice Department lawyers argue that reporters can be compelled to reveal the identities of whistleblowers in so-called national security cases.

The government is prosecuting a former CIA officer, Jeffrey Sterling, for allegedly leaking secret documents to New York Times investigative reporter James Risen. The ex-spy is accused of showing the reporter documents on the agency’s campaign of sabotage against Iran’s nuclear research program, information the reporter later used to write a book.

In both cases, the Obama legal team has been single-minded in its determination to make political dissent a crime. The judge in the preventive detention proceeding repeatedly asked the government to explain, specifically, how or if the seven plaintiffs might be detained under the wording of the National Defense Authorization Act, which makes it a crime to provide “substantial support” to groups “associated” with Al Qaida. The plaintiffs, including former New York Times correspondent Chris Hedges, academic activist Noam Chomsky, and Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg, wanted to know exactly what the terms “substantial support” and “associated groups” meant, and if their actions as journalists, authors, activists and just plain citizens made them vulnerable to detention without trial. Obama’s lawyers refused to explain, as if the vague and highly interpretable language spoke for itself. What they were trying to create is a legal trap so vague and amorphous that it can ensnare almost anyone opposed to Washington’s foreign policies. The New York federal judge refused to accommodate the government’s lawyers, and allowed the plaintiffs legal standing to sue.

The Obama legal doctrine seems to be that whatever the government does not want the public to see, is criminal.”

The Richmond federal appeals court is being asked to recognize the government’s contention that reporters who receive secret government documents are not protected as journalists because they are witnesses to a crime. One of the judges pressed the prosecutor to explain how the public’s interest in the maintenance of a free press might be outweighed by the specific circumstances of the case. Obama’s lawyers refused to explain, claiming there was no need to balance Constitutional issues, because the reporter was the only witness to a crime. Receiving secret government documents, he said, is the same as receiving illegal drugs.

The Obama legal doctrine seems to be that whatever the government does not want the public to see, is criminal. Having knowledge of government wrongdoing is criminal, in the eyes of this administration.

President George Bush may have felt that way, too, but Obama will go down in history as the major architect to date of the evolving American police state. He has already prosecuted more whistleblowers than all his presidential predecessors, combined, and is the first chief executive to arm himself with a preventive detention law. And to think, Angela Davis says Obama identifies with the historical Black radical tradition. In reality, he has much more in common with the traditions of fascism.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

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7 comments

And furthermore.....

Submitted by sgt_doom on Wed, 05/23/2012 - 16:07.

Outstanding article, sir, and please allow me to add this one rant:

THE OBAMA RECORD

Overturned: About a year and a month ago, President Obama went on national television supporting the firing of Black-American teachers in Chicago.

Fortunately, a federal judge ruled their firing to be unlawful termination.

Overturned: Sometime back, Shirley Sherrod was unethically dismissed from the Agriculture Department, and her unlawful termination was settled out of court to her satisfaction.

Overturned: The other week, Dr. Cate Jenkins, who was unethically terminated from the EPA under the Obama administration (she was a heroic whistleblower during the Bush administration), was reinstated to her position, with back pay, by a federal court.

Overturned: A U.S. District Court in New York has blocked provisions in last year’s Defense authorization bill that allow for military detention for terror suspects, throwing a wrench in the debate that will take place on the House floor Thursday.

District Judge Katherine Forrest ruled against the U.S. government and in favor of a group of civilian activists and journalists who had sued over the detention provisions in the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, according to Reuters. The plaintiffs had said they feared being detained indefinitely by the law.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2012/may/17/ndaa-section-1021-coup-detat-foiled

VICTORIES

Submitted by PEASEHEAD on Fri, 05/25/2012 - 05:28.

Fortunately, the bad guys (and girls) don't win all the time.

Obama's Regime & the Congress Doubles Down on NDAA Detention

Submitted by Nixakliel on Mon, 05/28/2012 - 07:03.

Just as Judge Forrest ruled that the NDAA's indefinite detention without due process- is unconstitutional, Law Prof & Nobel Peace Prize winner Obama's reps for DoJ, DoD, Homeland Security, etc- insisted that Judge Forrest, rescind her ruling or they would appeal to the Supreme Court [see:  www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/05/26 ].

Then back at the Ranch in DC- the herd in the US House of Reps just stampeded all over themselves to trample-down an amendment to end the NDAA's indefinite detention provision- on May 18th [vote: 238 against -vs- 182 for -- See: http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=8369 ].

IMO: If this issue goes to the Supreme Court- the same SCOTUS that gave their seal of approval for so-called Corporate-'Persons' right to unrestricted legalized bribery of poly-tricksters [aka: campaign contributions] claiming Corp$$$ = Free-speech, & then this yr gave their seal of approval for spurious strip-searches as GP for any arrest no matter how trival or even erroneous; - Expect the SCOTUS to give the POTUS their seal of approval on this road to out-right Fascism!

EERIE PARALLELS

Submitted by PEASEHEAD on Fri, 05/25/2012 - 05:48.

While I am not making a direct comparison between President Obama's behavior or character and that of any of these historical figures, his carefully calculated estrangement from Black people and their culture and from their historical experience, and his complete identification with many of the most extreme and repressive elements and institutions of the White majority culture, which have historically oppressed Black people, have some eerie historical parallels.

Napoleon Bonaparte was a Corsican, not a Frenchman. Stalin one of the bloodiest dictators in Russian and/or in human history was actually a Georgian, not a Russian. Adolf Hitler was Austrian not a German, and he certainly was not a blond, and blue eyed "Aryan." In their quest to embrace and to be embraced by what they perceive as the mainstream, "outsiders" who have risen after being "allowed" into the centers of power are often more extreme than most of the "insiders" who have assimilated them. 

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