portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article

human & civil rights

Bush Official: One More Terror

But it's not like we didn't know that if there was another "terrorist attack" we'd all be living in a second-rate version of communist Russia. Cool, huh?
"By their fruits ye shall know them." And by their nuts as well.

The acorns of any presidential administration never fall very far from the tree -- thus, the remarks made last week by one of George W. Bush's appointees to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission give us a pretty fair indication of what the future will look like if the Regime's seeds of tyranny ever come to full flower.

Bush emissary Peter Kirsanow told a Detroit crowd last week that America could "forget about civil rights" if there is another terrorist attack on the United States by "the same ethnic group that attacked the World Trade Center," the Detroit Free Press reports.

What's more, such heathen devilry would cause the righteous folk in the Homeland to rise up and demand that the Regime chuck every last Arab-American into a concentration camp, Commissioner Kirsanow proclaimed.

Kirsanow -- one of Bush's many prank appointments, a "Civil Rights" commissioner who has spent his career opposing civil rights programs -- said that he wasn't advocating an Auschwitz for Arabs, you understand. He was just saying that the public outcry for one would be almost impossible for the Bush administration to withstand. (And you know they'd try really, really hard, too.)

"Nobody will be crying in their beer if there are more stops, more detentions, more profiling," Kirsanow told the crowd -- which was made up largely of Arab-Americans, who came to protest the ongoing, unconstitutional detention of Arabs without formal charges being carried out by Bush's biggest joke appointment: Attorney General John Jesus Jehovah Ashcroft.

In fact, not only will there be a dearth of salt in the old hops, there will also be "a groundswell of public opinion to banish civil rights" altogether if al-Qaida comes a-callin' again, Kirsanow said.

Therefore, citizens should just accept the Regime's police-state measures and stop bellyaching about the "perceived erosion of civil rights," the commissar huffed. Otherwise, it'll be camps, curfews and kangaroo courts for the whole damn country.

Let's connect the dots -- or gather up the nuts -- shall we? As Harper's reports, Bush's vice president, Dick Cheney, tells us that "the prospects of a future attack are almost certain; not if, but when." Bush's FBI director, Robert Mueller, tells us: "There will be another terrorist attack. We will not be able to stop it." Bush's warlord, Donald Rumsfeld, tells us: "It is only a matter of time." And now Bush's point man on constitutional protection tells us -- openly -- that we can "forget about civil rights" when this unstoppable and absolutely certain new terrorist attack finally occurs.

So where does that leave the future of liberty in the land of the free? Dangling on a noose from a tall Texas tree, that's where.

Magna Force

But Bush is just an amateur when it comes to gutting age-old civil rights. Sure, he's busy stripping away constitutional safeguards that have stood for more than 225 years, but over in Tony Blair's own benighted isle of Blighty, they're putting the axe to the Magna Carta itself -- 800 years of legal protections against the power of the state, flushed down the loo in a trice!

Last week, Blair's "New Labour" (i.e., Old Tory in Nicer Shirts) government announced a sweeping "reform" of the British criminal justice system, with draconian measures far beyond the dreams of Maggie the Merciless -- or even murderous King John himself.

The proposed overhaul abolishes protections against "double jeopardy" -- being tried for the same crime more than once -- and does away with the right to trial by jury in some cases, The Independent reports. These were rights wrested from King John and set down in the Magna Carta in 1215. They are, as the paper notes, part of the cornerstone of Western jurisprudence, which has for centuries been guided by this ideal: that justice should be prejudiced in favor of the rights of the individual against the vast, untrammeled power of the state.

Now the Nicer Shirts will allow defendants to be relentlessly persecuted by the state, tried over and over again until the desired verdict is reached. You can never again be "proven innocent" of a crime, however malicious or sloppy the charges. They can always come back for another go at you.

The "reform" will also allow judges to try "complex cases" of criminal fraud and "risky" cases against mobsters without bothering with those pesky juries -- a plan provoking much glee in corporate boardrooms and Mafia hangouts (often one and the same place these days, of course). The wiseguys know it's much easier to corrupt one judge than 12 jurors.

What's more, judges will now be allowed to reveal any past convictions of a defendant on trial in a new case -- a heavy thumb tilting the scales toward conviction, especially in the many cases based on circumstantial evidence.

British justice once seemed an enlightened counterweight to more primitive concepts of law, which vested all rights and power in the state and left individuals to the mercies -- tender or otherwise -- of arbitrary rulers. It sought to hedge in the corrupting nature of power with safeguards that stood between the accused and the great engines of coercion embodied in the state.

But it takes courage and wisdom to uphold such an ideal, to transcend our monkey-brain urges toward herd and hierarchy. And the leaders of the West are plainly losing their nerve -- and their senses -- in the headlong flight from individual liberty now infecting the "civilized" world.

Nice shirts, though.

 http://www.tmtmetropolis.ru/stories/2002/07/26/120.html

homepage: homepage: http://www.thetroutinthemilk.com