America's Devolution Into Dictatorship:
Licensed to Kill

By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS


PREFACE

"When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross."

- Sinclair Lewis
It Can't Happen Here
1935

 

In April of 2002 a worried Harley Sorenson - reviewing the growing suppression of individual rights in the United States in the wake of the 9-11 attacks, and the state-sponsored brutality it had unleashed against certain targeted groups in the U.S. and abroad - wrote:

"One of life's mysteries, for me, is how masses of people can do the incredibly cruel things they do. Individual brutality makes a certain amount of sense in that it's limited to one person. But mass brutality?

"I think this subject first came to mind after I read Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf and William L. Shirer's The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, A History of Nazi Germany.

"There was nothing in either book that told me how such a highly civilized and culturally advanced nation as Germany could sink to the level of the Nazis.

"'How could that happen'? I wondered. 'What is there about the Germans that allowed them to become the MONSTERS they became? How are they different than the rest of us'?

"So I spent a month pondering the question.

"The answer I came up with satisfied me then, and it satisfies me still: There is nothing different about the World War II Germans. WHAT HAPPENED TO THEM COULD HAPPEN TO ANYONE. It could happen to us. We are no better than them.

"As Pogo so famously said:

'We have met the enemy and he is us'."

- Antipas

_____________________________________________

The United States Department of Justice routinely charges and convicts innocents with bogus and concocted crimes that are not even on the statutes book. The distinguished defense attorney and civil libertarian, Harvey A. Silverglate, published a book last year, "Three Felonies A Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent," which conclusively proves that today in "freedom and democracy" America we have punishment without crime.

This same Justice  Department, which routinely frames and railroads the innocent, argued in Federal Court on November 8 that the US government, if approved by the president, could murder anyone it wishes, citizens or noncitizens, at will. All that is required is that the government declare, without evidence, charges, trial, jury conviction or any of the due process required by the US Constitution, that the government suspects the murdered person or persons to be a "threat."

The US Justice Department even told US Federal District Court Judge John Bates that the US judiciary, formerly a co-equal branch of government, has absolutely no legal authority whatsoever to stick its nose into the president's decision to assassinate Americans. The unaccountability of the president's decision to murder people is, the US Justice Department declared, one of "the very core powers of the president as commander in chief."

The argument by the Justice Department that the executive branch has unreviewable authority to kill Americans, whom the executive branch has unilaterally, without presenting evidence, determined to pose a threat, was challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center For Constitutional Rights.

The outcome of the case will determine whether president George W. Bush, was correct when he said that the US Constitution was nothing but a "scrap of paper."

It is my opinion that the American people and the US Constitution haven't much chance of winning this case. The Republican Federalist Society has succeeded in appointing many federal district, appeals and Supreme Court judges, who believe that the powers of the executive branch are superior to the powers of the legislature and judiciary. The Founding Fathers of our country declared unequivocally that the executive, legislative, and judicial branches were co-equal, However, the Republican brownshirts who comprise the Federalist Society have implanted the society's demonic ideology in the federal bench and Justice Department. Today the erroneous belief is widespread that the executive branch is supreme and that the other branches of government are less than equal. [For information on the Federalist Society, please see our articles, "The Right Wing Panics," "The Olson Salon" and "John Ashcroft, Theodore Olson and the New National Security State."]

If Americans have a greater enemy than neoconservatives, that enemy is the Federalist Society.

Disagree with me as you will, but now let's look at this development from another perspective. I am old enough to remember the Nixon years, and I was a presidential appointee, confirmed by the US senate, in the Reagan administration. For those of you too young to know and those who are to old to remember, President Nixon resigned to avoid impeachment simply because Nixon lied about when he learned about the burglary of the Watergate office of the Democratic party.

Nixon lied about when he learned of the burglary, because he knew that the Washington Post would make an issue of the burglary, if he launched an investigation, to defeat his re-election. The military/security complex and the black ops groups in the US government were angry at Nixon for smoothing US-China relations. The Washington Post, long regarded as a CIA asset, hid behind its "liberal" image to bring Nixon down. Woodward and Bernstein wrote thriller-type reports of midnight meetings with "Deep Throat" in parking garages to get the scoop on the date of Nixon's knowledge of the meaningless burglary.

Let's assume that I have it all wrong. The fact remains that Nixon was driven from office because of the Watergate burglary. No one was harmed. Nixon did not kill anyone or claim the right to kill, without proof or accountability, American citizens. If the dastardly President Nixon had a Justice Department like the present one, he simply would have declared Woodward, Bernstein, and the Washington Post to be a threat and murdered them by merely exercising the power that the government is now claiming.

Nixon might be too far in the past for most Americans, so let's look at Ronald Reagan.

The neoconservatives' Iran/Contra scandal almost brought down President Reagan. It is unclear whether President Reagan knew about the neocon operation and, if he did, whether he was kept in the loop. But all of this aside, what do you think would have been President Reagan's fate if he, or his Justice Department, had declared that Reagan had the power as commander in chief to murder anyone he considered to be a threat? [For information on the neo conservatives, please see our article, "The Neo-Conservatives."]

Instantly, the media would have been in an uproar, law schools and university faculties would have been in an uproar, the Democrats would have been demanding Reagan's impeachment, and his impeachment would have occurred with the speed of light.

Today in Amerika, approximately 25 years later, the ACLU has to go to federal court in order to attempt to affirm that "if the Constitution means anything, it surely means that the president does not have unreviewable authority to summarily execute any American whom he concludes is an enemy of the state."

In reply, the Justice Department told the court that murdering American citizens is a "political question" that is not subject to judicial review. The government then invoked the "state secrets privilege" and declared that the case against the government's power to commit murder must be dismissed in order to avoid "the disclosure of sensitive information"

If the government wins this case, the US will have become a dictatorship.

As far as I can tell, the "liberal media" and most Americans do not care. Indeed, conservative Republicans are cheering it on.


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