Tuesday, February 14, 2006

News That Scares the Bright Green Piss Out of Me

It seems that Halliburton is quietly building detention camps against some unspecified "immigration emergency". Leave aside, for a moment, that it's Dick Cheney's company which got the no-bid contract. Again. Anyone with even the vaguest notions of US and European history who loves liberty should be terrified and outraged. Haliburton, or more properly its subsidiary KBR, also built Camp Gitmo. Gitmo has fallen off the national consciousness lately. We have the collective attention span of a Yorkshire Terrier with profound ADD. But for those who remember, we are holding a bunch of people there without trial, counsel or access to any of the legal and humanitarian rights extended to convicts, suspects or prisoners of war. An analysis taken entirely from DoD documents shows that fewer than half of the detainees still there are suspected of doing anything violent against the US. Only about 8% are Al Qaeda or Taliban fighters.

Meanwhile, Alberto Gonzales is putting forward the unique legal theory that there can be no limits on presidential power. As long as the president says the magic incantation "security" his word can not even be questioned. This is bad enough when it's about warrantless wiretaps that are against laws we passed in the 1970s to combat proven abuses. Even worse, we have a government that issues lettres de cachet and approves of torture without even the figleaf of judicial oversight.

What makes it worse is that the Administration is beginning to float the idea of killing at Presidential whim. This isn't in some fringe publication. It's not a Loompanics book. We're talking about that squarest of establishment publications Newsweek. The "purely academic" discussion is about the idea that the President should have the unaccountable and unanswered power to order extra-judicial killings of those he deems enemies of the State on US soil.

How would those enemies be found? Remember "Total Information Awareness" that became "Terrorist Information Awareness"? It's been reborn as Analysis, Dissemination, Visualization, Insight, and Semantic Enhancement (ADVISE). The plan is for routine, massive electronic surveillance of everyone's communications, data-mining corporate and government databases and other unspecified technological driftnets.

The London Times reports that the CIA's head of counter-terrorism was sacked for not beings sufficiently enthusiastic about torture such as that which will occur in Morrocco's new American-built secret prison.

We can, at least take some solace in the fact that the Administration will end in 2009. At least, that's the theory. The Huffington Post has a news of a disturbing Freudian slip on the part of the White House. Even more disturbing is a bill introduced in the House to repeal the 22nd Ammendment.

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