Posted: October 4th, 2010 by Militant Libertarian
Straightaway, Obama’s promised “change” and “yes we can” became hard line foreign and domestic extremism, betraying his loyal constituency and any hope for kinder, gentler policies. His populist hypocrisy now exposed, voters are losing faith, but most remain mindless about the harm he commits daily, much of it touching them directly.
Several recent articles explain, accessed through the following links:
Many others add exclamation points about a rogue administration rampaging at home and globally, most recently involved in a failed Ecuadorean coup, and for sending FBI goon squads against Chicago and Minneapolis anti-war/pro-Palestinian activists. No arrests were made, but their homes were ransacked, agents seizing computers, cell phones, books, photos, papers, correspondence, and other possessions. They were also ordered before grand juries from October 5 – 12, potentially facing serious criminal charges for providing material support to terrorism.
The Grand Jury System
The American Bar Association (ABA) explains that grand juries review evidence to determine “whether there is probable cause to return an indictment.” Critics, however, say they’re rubber stamps for aggressive prosecutors.
In the federal system, they have “extraordinary investigative powers,” developed since the 1950s. “This wide, sweeping, almost unrestricted power is the cause of much of the criticism,” because prosecutors exploit it advantageously, manipulating proceedings for the outcomes they want, leaving targets unfairly vulnerable to indictments. The Constitution’s Fifth Amendment “requires a grand jury indictment for federal criminal charges.”
Though nominally independent, they only hear cases prosecutors choose. They also select witnesses, grant discretionary immunity, and do nearly all the questioning. Grand jury members may ask their own after witness testimonies, but their job is to judge what prosecutors present, then decide if enough evidence warrants indictment.
Conducted in secret, no one may disclose what goes on unless ordered to do so judicially. Anyone may be subpoenaed, and must answer questions unless a specific privilege is claimed, such as lawyer/client or self-incrimination. In the federal system, lawyers can’t represent their clients while testifying.
In addition, double jeopardy doesn’t apply to grand juries, but without indictments, prosecutors need Criminal Division Attorney General permission to try again. Though seldom asked, in a climate of fear, targets remain vulnerable if prosecutors intend to get them, perhaps on new grounds.
The ABA asks, “What protection does a target have against witnesses lying to the grand jury (perhaps for leniency on existing or threatened charges), or against the use of unconstitutionally obtained evidence? None,” except to challenge the evidence at trial.
Especially post-9/11, prosecutors want grant jury indictments, manipulate proceedings to get them, leaving targets vulnerable on their own. At fault is the system. It’s rigged against them, so many are hung out to dry unfairly. That’s what Chicago and Minneapolis anti-war/pro-Palestinian supporters now face, a tough road ahead if Justice Department officials are determined to convict.
Police State Thuggery
Post-9/11, an earlier article explained the path America chose, accessed through the following link:
Though well along earlier, the pace accelerated in the last decade. Obama has been as hard line as Bush, showing he’s no different from America’s worst ever leaders. He may, in fact, be the most dangerous, given the support he so far retains. None of it, of course, is deserved.
Bush made America a police state. Obama hardened it – among other ways through:
— greater intrusive surveillance;
— unjustifiable preventive detentions;
— targeting American citizens for assassination, solely by presidential edict;
— invoking the “state secrets” doctrine to block litigation against rendition, torture, and warrantless wiretapping;
— opposing Net Neutrality;
— threatening free expression and the right to dissent, including online;
— prosecuting whistleblowers as well as journalists and others who protect their anonymity or publish their revelations; and
— making anyone against US extremism vulnerable to lawless political persecutions, especially anti-war and Muslim American activists as well as lawyers who defend them too vigorously.
The USA Patriot Act eroded at least four Bill of Rights freedoms:
— due process under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments;
— First Amendment free expression; and
— Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches, seizures, and as a consequence privacy.
Former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis called it “the most comprehensive of rights, and the right most valued by a free people.” Patriot Act legislation and today’s sophisticated technology make unconstitutional intrusions easier than ever. Obama officials have taken full advantage, besides targeting other freedoms for destruction.