Naomi Wolf, author of our New York Times bestseller The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot, posted an article this morning to one of our favorite news outlets, Alternet. As we all know, Obama’s administration recently released terrifying secret memos that circulated through the Bush camp. They revealed that Naomi Wolf’s most dire warnings were spot on. Bush and cronies planned the collapse of America as we know it. So why is there no press coverage?
Here’s an excerpt from the article:
The memos are a confession. The memos could not be clearer: This was the legal groundwork of an attempted coup. I expected massive front page headlines from the revelation that these memos exited. Almost nothing. I was shocked.
As a non-lawyer, was I completely off base in my reading of what this meant, I wondered? Was I hallucinating?
Astonished, I sought a reality check — and a formal legal read — from one of the nation’s top constitutional scholars (and most steadfast patriots), Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights, which has been at the forefront of defending the detainees and our own liberties.
Here is our conversation:
Naomi Wolf: Michael, can you explain to a layperson what the Yoo memos actually mean?’
Michael Ratner: What they mean is that your book looks moderate in respect to those issues now. This — what is in the memos — is law by fiat.
I call it “Fuhrer’s law.” What those memos lay out means the end of the system of checks and balances in this country. It means the end of the system in which the courts, legislature and executive each had a function and they could check each other.
What the memos set out is a system in which the president’s word is law, and Yoo is very clear about that: the president’s word is not only law according to these memos, but no law or constitutional right or treaty can restrict the president’s authority.
What Yoo says is that the president’s authority as commander in chief in the so-called war on terror is not bound by any law passed by Congress, any treaty, or the protections of free speech, due process and the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. The First, Fourth and Fifth amendments — gone.
What this actually means is that the president can order the military to operate in the U.S. and to operate without constitutional restrictions. They — the military — can pick you or me up in the U.S. for any reason and without any legal process. They would not have any restrictions on entering your house to search it, or to seize you. They can put you into a brig without any due process or going to court. (That’s the Fourth and Fifth amendments.)
The military can disregard the Posse Comitatus law, which restricts the military from acting as police in the the United States. And the president can, in the name of wartime restrictions, limit free speech. There it is in black and white: we are looking at one-person rule without any checks and balances — a lawless state. Law by fiat.
Who has suspended the law this way in the past? It is like a Caesar’s law in Rome; a Mussolini’s law in Italy; a Fuhrer’s law in Germany; a Stalin’s law in the Soviet Union. It is right down the line. It is enforcing the will of the dictator through the military.