FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Wolfowitz’s New Gig

by ELAINE CASSEL

As I was reading an article about the Alien and Sedition Act (the law that the Federalists pushed through the Congress on June 25, 1798 in order to quell rebellion against its growing power), and thinking about how its essence resembled the intent and effect of the USA Patriot Act, this news flash came across my email:

“Defense deputy gets authority for military tribunals.”

I did not have to open the email to learn who it was. It could only be (and it is)–the one, the only, the unhonorable, the dissembling, and the anti-constitution autocrat, Paul Wolfowitz. He will run the military tribunals in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, or wherever else outside the US Rumsfeld chooses to try these poor souls.

Seems that Rumsfeld has his hands busy with this “untidy” war (I thought it was over and that we had won?) in Iraq that just won’t quit. With those ungrateful Iraqis not happy with American occupation, and the concomitant lack of energy, money, and food. I digress.

According to CNN News, Wolfowitz will exercise key powers in the commission process. After the chief military prosecutor drafts charges against a prisoner (CNN, of course, referred to this hapless person as a “detainee”–talk about dissembling), Wolfowitz will “approve” the charges and send the detainee to trial. So he has already served as chief prosecutor, grand jury, and presiding judge.

As appointing authority, he also will select military officers to sit on commissions. If commission members cannot resolve matters related to procedures, motions or facts, Wolfowitz will make the final decision. There you go, a judge again. The article did not say that Wolfowitz would carry out the executions (and there will be plenty of them, you can be sure, in secret, as will be the trials), but you can bet he will. Or wants to. Or maybe he does not want to get blood on his white shirt or stain his gold cufflinks. But by now, he has risen to the status of Lord High Executioner in this most bizarre of legal systems.

Whatever, there you have it, justice American style. A criminal court created by Bush, run by the Pentagon, and with “laws” drafted in consort with Ashcroft, Chertoff, and minions at the Department of Justice. The trials will be in secret. The chief defense attorney is a reluctant officer who had been praying for the prosecutor’s position (won’t he give some zealous defense?). American defense attorneys, if any prisoner can afford one, will have to swear a vow of allegiance to Rumsfeld, of course, agree to a lifetime gag order, and stand by while certain proceedings against his client are held in secret, out of his presence. (What lawyer worth his license would agree to this? None that I would want, that’s for certain.)

Foreign news sources have reported that execution chambers are under construction. Bush and Rumsfeld are said to be deciding who the lucky ones are to be tried in this mockery of “justice.”

And you should be wondering, as Independence Day nears, how we have come to this under our Emperor George Bush II.

So on the anniversary of the passage of the Alien and Sedition Acts, we witness a sequel of a government so afraid of its “enemies” (or so they say–we will never hear the evidence) that it has to create a caricature of a “legal” system and try them in secret.

Why don’t they just drop the charade, line up the prisoners, and shoot them? Bring on Lord Wolfowitz with his rifle–or maybe he would prefer a sword?

ELAINE CASSEL practices law in Virginia and the District of Columbia and teaches law and psychology. She is writing a book on civil liberties post 9/11, and keeps and keeps an eye on Bush and Ashcroft’s trampling on the Bill of Rights at her Civil Liberties Watch.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

March 28, 2017
Mike Whitney
Ending Syria’s Nightmare will Take Pressure From Below 
Mark Kernan
Memory Against Forgetting: the Resonance of Bloody Sunday
John McMurtry
Fake News: the Unravelling of US Empire From Within
Ron Jacobs
Mad Dog, Meet Eris, Queen of Strife
Michael J. Sainato
State Dept. Condemns Attacks on Russian Peaceful Protests, Ignores Those in America
Ted Rall
Five Things the Democrats Could Do to Save Their Party (But Probably Won’t)
Linn Washington Jr.
Judge Neil Gorsuch’s Hiring Practices: Privilege or Prejudice?
Philippe Marlière
Benoît Hamon, the Socialist Presidential Hopeful, is Good News for the French Left
Norman Pollack
Political Cannibalism: Eating America’s Vitals
Bruce Mastron
Obamacare? Trumpcare? Why Not Cubacare?
David Macaray
Hollywood Screen and TV Writers Call for Strike Vote
Christian Sorensen
We’ve Let Capitalism Kill the Planet
Rodolfo Acuna
What We Don’t Want to Know
Binoy Kampmark
The Futility of the Electronics Ban
Andrew Moss
Why ICE Raids Imperil Us All
March 27, 2017
Robert Hunziker
A Record-Setting Climate Going Bonkers
Frank Stricker
Why $15 an Hour Should be the Absolute Minimum Minimum Wage
Melvin Goodman
The Disappearance of Bipartisanship on the Intelligence Committees
Patrick Cockburn
ISIS’s Losses in Syria and Iraq Will Make It Difficult to Recruit
Russell Mokhiber
Single-Payer Bernie Morphs Into Public Option Dean
Gregory Barrett
Can Democracy Save Us?
Dave Lindorff
Budget Goes Military
John Heid
Disappeared on the Border: “Chase and Scatter” — to Death
Mark Weisbrot
The Troubling Financial Activities of an Ecuadorian Presidential Candidate
Robert Fisk
As ISIS’s Caliphate Shrinks, Syrian Anger Grows
Michael J. Sainato
Democratic Party Continues Shunning Popular Sanders Surrogates
Paul Bentley
Nazi Heritage: the Strange Saga of Chrystia Freeland’s Ukrainian Grandfather
Christopher Ketcham
Buddhism in the Storm
Thomas Barker
Platitudes in the Wake of London’s Terror Attack
Mike Hastie
Insane Truths: a Vietnam Vet on “Apocalypse Now, Redux”
Binoy Kampmark
Cyclone Watch in Australia
Weekend Edition
March 24, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Trump is Obama’s Legacy: Will this Break up the Democratic Party?
Eric Draitser
Donald Trump and the Triumph of White Identity Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Nothing Was Delivered
Andrew Levine
Ryan’s Choice
Joshua Frank
Global Coal in Freefall, Tar Sands Development Drying Up (Bad News for Keystone XL)
Anthony DiMaggio
Ditching the “Deep State”: The Rise of a New Conspiracy Theory in American Politics
Rob Urie
Boris and Natasha Visit Fantasy Island
John Wight
London and the Dreary Ritual of Terrorist Attacks
Paul Buhle
The CIA and the Intellectuals…Again
David Rosen
Why Did Trump Target Transgender Youth?
Vijay Prashad
Inventing Enemies
Ben Debney
Outrage From the Imperial Playbook
M. Shadee Malaklou
An Open Letter to Duke University’s Class of 2007, About Your Open Letter to Stephen Miller
Michael J. Sainato
Bernie Sanders’ Economic Advisor Shreds Trumponomics
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail