Friday, March 6, 2009

How Close the Bush Bullet

 

By Robert Parry

Earlier this decade when some of us warned that George W. Bush was behaving more like an incipient dictator than the leader of a constitutional republic, we were dismissed as alarmists, left-wingers, traitors and a host of less printable epithets.

But it is now increasingly clear that President Bush and his top advisers viewed the 9/11 attacks as an opportunity to implement a series of right-wing legal theories that secretly granted Bush unlimited power to act lawlessly and outside the traditional parameters of the U.S. Constitution.

These theories held that at a time of war – even one as vaguely defined as the "war on terror" – Bush's powers as Commander in Chief were "plenary," or total. And since the conflict against terrorism had no boundaries in time or space, his unfettered powers would exist everywhere and essentially forever.

According to his administration's secret legal memos released Monday, Bush could waive all meaningful constitutional rights of citizens, including the First Amendment's protections on free speech and a free press.

John Yoo, a deputy assistant attorney general at the Justice Department's powerful Office of Legal Counsel – which advises a President on the limits of his constitutional powers – declared that Bush could void the First Amendment if he deemed it necessary to fight terrorism.

"First Amendment speech and press rights may also be subordinated to the overriding need to wage war successfully," Yoo wrote in an Oct. 23, 2001, memo entitled "Authority for Use of Military Force to Combat Terrorist Activities Within the United States."

Yoo then added ominously, "The current campaign against terrorism may require even broader exercises of federal power domestically."

What was particularly stunning about Yoo's reference to waiving the First Amendment – a pillar of American democracy – was his cavalier attitude. He tossed the paragraph into a memo focused on stripping Americans of their Fourth Amendment "right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures."

While saying that Bush could order spying on and military attacks against U.S. domestic targets at his own discretion as Commander in Chief, Yoo added, almost in passing, that the President also could abrogate the rights of free speech and a free press.

http://www.consortiumnews.com/2009/030409.html

Sphere: Related Content

No comments:

Blog Archive

Subscribe via email

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Search This Blog

Subscribe Now: standard