PreCrime in America’s Long War of Empire

Rachel proves that all of our efforts to get her on the teevee machine were worth it. She says it and illustrates it far better than I could.

Yes. Bush left us, as Obama said yesterday, a mess… in his panic to make up for Letting America be attacked on 9/11.

Whether it was “On Purpose” or not, lol.

But establishing a whole new dimension of law, that it is hard not to imagine will have unintended effects on our current fragile system of law, seems…..hasty.

There is another law at play here, one not invented by men, just as Jefferson maintained that the Rights of Man are not granted by men. The Law of Unintended Consequences.

Of course at this time the Precrime Division is but …ahem….a Theory. No one knows what this imaginary beast looks…or smells….like.

But…theoretically, this is…possibly, something that holds as much of not more weight than a Constitutional Amendment. We are after all talking about the antepenultimate abridgment of the Rights of Man, indefinite detention. In effect lifetime detention, if there is not, as Armando proposes, (in the comments) some form of parole.

This new dimension of law cannot be, as Obama said of the Bush policies he is (through no fault of his own it must be noted) being forced to address, entered into out of fear or panic. It cannot be ad hoc, as Cheney phrased the efforts on the American Empire’s War on a Tactic.

And of course in the meantime, the prisoners in Guantanamo and the prisoners at Bagram…..suffer. And suffer under the most un-American, un-Constitutional state of all. The Presumption of Guilt.

Bush assaulted the Constitution. President Obama please, no matter how good your intentions…. don’t kick it while it is down.


Skip to comment form

  1. Photobucket

    • Pluto on May 22, 2009 at 9:17 pm

  2. In effect lifetime detention, if there is not, as Armando proposes, (in the comments) some form of parole.

    Under Article 3 of our Constitution, the people who determine guilt are Federal Judges acting under the Due Process of Law as enumerated in the Bill of Rights.

    Any legal regime that attempts to circumvent this Power of the Judiciary by delegating these decisions to any other group of individuals is per se a complete abdication of our Constitutional framework.

    This issue is bigger than torture, or Gitmo, or even the Geneva Convention.  It goes to the heart of the Separation of Powers Doctrine which says that the Executive Branch may not be both judge and jury of the people whom it detains. This is why we have a Judiciary in the first place.

    Obama is basically advocating that we black out Article 3 of the Constitution because he is afraid of what might be the results of an impartial trial conducted by Constitutionally appointed officers acting under the mandates of Due Process, so he is now trying to create a new set of judicial officers beholden to him alone who will rule the way he wants them to.

    That’s what Kings do.  That’s what John did before Magna Carta, that’s what George III did before the Revolution, and that’s what Obama is attempting to do today.

  3. Daily Show was brutal last night, parts of it.

    Ill have to come back tonight to see this, I missed it last night, and now again. Sure hope my kid gets a damn “A” on that project.  

  4. When I think back to her indefatigable support for Obama during the election (and her treatment of the opposition primary candidate–but let’s not go there…), I had her planted pretty firmly in the Obama fan club. It seems that she like many others saw in Obama what they wanted to see. This is the genius of Axelrod. The game has been for Obama to appear to everyone as whatever they imagine they want him to be. He has been groomed to simultaneously occupy contradictory frames. It is what got him elected. It is proving a little harder to establish a record on this basis however, and Rachel, who is certainly a principled and serious progressive is becoming edified. Unfortunately she is going to be getting a lot of heat from the Obama fan club. Already we are seeing all sorts of name calling. Well, it takes courage to stand up for your convictions and she is showing great courage right now in standing up for Habeas Corpus–the most basic of human rights.

    I was afraid this would happen. In spite of his lofty rhetoric Obama, likes to think of himself as bound by the rule of law, unless those laws get in the way.

    In spite of all the self congratulatory legalistic mumbo jumbo this is a President that just candy coated a policy of incarceration without any sort of due process. The Fifth Category… Would these be the guys that he has decided to keep imprisoned indefinitely without charging them? It certainly sounds that way.

    In 1215 a bunch of peasants demanded the right of Habeas Corpus–bring me the body. They were tired of getting thrown into dungeons at the Kings whim. This principle made its way into the Magna Carta and since then it has been the most basic of human rights of civilized societies. It is enshrined in the US Constitution. To deny Habeas Corpus is to deny a persons basic humanity. There can be no reconciliation with those whom you insist upon arbitrarily scooping off the street. They will always despise you.

    Despite his lovely rhetoric and sweet phrasing, Obama has just declared the United State’s right to deny Habeas Corpus as we see fit, and (and here is the important part that Rachel nails brilliantly…) declared that this is within our values and our rule of law.

    She’s right, in many ways this is worse than anything the Bush administration could accomplish, because it signifies that this is not the unlawful actions of one rogue regime, but the considered policy of the US Government under multiple administrations. Obama is intent upon codified the denial of Habeas Corpus into permanent US policy, reversing a millenium of legal human rights progress.

  5. Some thoughts on the statement in the above diary, which reads:

    Whether it was “On Purpose” or not, lol.

    The 9/11 truthers seem to be split into two camps — the Let it Happen on Purpose group (LIHOPs) and the presumably far less common Made it Happen on Purpose group (MIHOPs).  

    Even if it could have been convenient for the Bush Administration to allow terrorists who were hostile toward this country to hijack planes and run them into buildings, how did they know in advance that they wouldn’t have inflicted far more damage than they did, since we’ve been told that the planes were under the control of the terrorists?

    For example, if Flight 11 or Flight 175 had taken only a very slight detour, they could have dive bombed the Indian Island Nuclear Power plant, located in the greater New York City area.  An article in The New Yorker from 2003 describes the devastation that such a hit could have caused, which can be found at:

    And had the aircraft that struck the Pentagon, which made a 330 degree turn, instead taken a 150 degree turn and struck the end of the Pentagon where Rumsfeld and the top brass were located at the time, there could well have been thousands instead of a couple of hundred fatalities.

    This writer does not purport to know what happened, however, the preceding would seem to call into question the LIHOP theories.  However, if the Bush Administration knew what was going to happen (remember GWB remained at the elementary school for a considerable period of time after the second tower was hit, suggesting that the Secret Service was not doing their job), well…

    Maybe someday we will know the truth, although the debate regarding the sinking of the Maine in Havana Harbor (which was the casas belli for the Spanish-American War) in 1898 rages on.

    • Nordic on May 22, 2009 at 10:06 pm

    This is simply horrifying.

    It’s as if my worst suspicions about Obama are all true, 200% true.

    Wow.  Just wow.

  6. We have been told by the Reich Wingers that the Bush Administration has kept us safe since 9/11.

    EXHIBIT #1: According to this website,… attacks attributed to al Qaeda were listed as following, in reverse sequence:

    Prior to the attacks on September 11, al Qaeda was identified as being responsible for a series of attacks in the past decade, including the bombing of the USS Cole off the coast of Yemen in 2000; the simultaneous bombing of American embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Nairobi, Kenya in 1998; the destruction of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia in 1996; an assassination attempt on Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in 1995; and the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993.

    EXHIBIT #2: According to an April 30, 2003 article in the London Times,

    THE United States announced the end of its 12-year military presence in Saudi Arabia yesterday, heralding a profound shift in American influence and strategy throughout the Middle East.

    The common thread for all the attacks listed in Exhibit #1:  The United States was maintaing a military presence in Saudi Arabia during this entire time.  And we’ve been told that 15 of the 19 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia.  

    So, did the Bush Administration keep us safe?  Or does the United States’ withdrawal from Saudi Arabia in 2003 explain the absence of such attacks before and after the time period from 1991-2003?  

    Ostensibly this withdrawal was made possible by the invasion of Iraq, providing the U. S. military with a new location to maintain its strong Middle East presence and at the same time neutralize what was quite likely a central rallying cry for al Qaeda.

    Rhetorical question:  Why haven’t we seen this question raised in the Corporate News Media?

    • Edger on May 23, 2009 at 2:13 am

    to respond to criticism of his “preventive detention” decision.

    • dmc on May 23, 2009 at 2:55 am

    right now, but in a way, what he’s doing is brilliant in the most dastard kind of way. He’s going around saying that all of Bush transgressions against the Constitution, international law and basic human rights are what kept us safe after 9/11. Now, if Obama renounces all of that and enforces human rights, he leaves himself open to absolute political devastation if there is another attack. Then Cheney will say, “See, our way is the only way to keep American safe from the terrorists”.

    It’s a pretty disturbing thought for those of us who already suspect that Chency and other around him LIHOP or MIHOP. OK, they’re not “in power” now, but how much really changes around the Pentagon and the CIA with a new Administration? We haven’t even changed out the guy at the top (Gates).

    So, even though I think that torture and indefinite detention without trial are the very worst things that the Bush Administration did during their time in power, I have trouble getting too bent out of shape over Obama’s failure to reverse course. If he does, and there’s a terrorist attack, the Democrats will be put out into the wilderness on national security for another generation at least.

    Then on the other hand, I do say to myself, that none of that matters, what matters is our basic humanity. I dunno . . . but I’m not outraged. Very sad for our nation though.

    • jamess on May 23, 2009 at 2:59 am

    Unintended consequences can be grouped into roughly three types:

       * a positive unexpected benefit, usually referred to as serendipity or a windfall

       * a negative or perverse effect, that may be contrary to what was originally intended

       * a potential source of problems, such as described by Murphy’s law



    Possible causes of unintended consequences include the world’s inherent complexity (parts of a system responding to changes in the environment), perverse incentives, human stupidity, self-deception or other cognitive or emotional biases.

    If I’m not mistaken, Cheney nor W, ever said, Sorry,


    or pardon me.

    (though they have MUCH to be Sorry for)

    Now it appears Obama is all to eager to walk

    in their big shoes of Arrogance.

    Pre-Crime assessments, Do indeed, set a very dangerous precedent,

    and at what cost, I guess Murphy will let us know, eventually.

Comments have been disabled.