Thanks to the tireless efforts of the ACLU, the Justice Department this week revealed a number of “secret memos,” drawn up by White House legal counsel John Yoo, which seem to show that President Bush sought the power to:
- Deploy the US military within the United States for any reason he chose, overriding posse comitatus
- Close down or censor newspapers, radio, and the internet, overriding the First Amendment
- Name anyone an “enemy combatant” and hold them indefinitely without charge
- Ignore any international treaties—including, presumably, those regarding the humane treatment of prisoners
Author Naomi Wolf has been sounding the alarm bells for 3 years—ever since she began writing The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot.
From The Huffington Post:
If history gets this recent era right, future textbooks will have to show that the US narrowly averted a carefully planned but thorough and unmistakable conspiracy to subvert the rule of law and the process of democracy from 2001-2008. For three years, since writing End of America, I have been arguing that the Bush team sought irretrievably to subvert our liberty. Fortunately, this appalling and conceivably irrevocable subversion of the tenets of freedom was narrowly averted by citizens at every level — from the grassroots to the courts — resisting in time. But the release this week by the Justice Department of the “secret memos” sought valiantly by the ACLU confirms that Bush’s legal architects were building up the framework for something even scarier than our most anguished projections.
You can see the documents themselves online — but, as usual, there is a gap between the cautious journalistic interpretation of the event and the dense legalese in which they are written, and no one yet has really explained to citizens who are not attorneys what these memos claimed to give Bush the right to do. This is my initial reading of these documents:
Most dramatically, one memo asserts that Bush can deploy the military within the United States — all of the military if he so wishes — overriding Posse Comitatus, which has kept us safe from military policing for over a century. As many heard me warn in October and November of last year, when the first troops were sent to US streets, history shows that once the military is deployed domestically to “keep order” in a civil society, it is over. This memo is especially galling, since last fall’s red alert from us was met with alarm by citizens but by ridicule by mainstream media outlets. Turns out we were right. This `deployment’ memo proves that Bush indeed, as we feared, wanted the power to deploy military for domestic policing purposes, a mission that Northcom spokesmen denied — apparently falsely — when a few critics from non-mainstream platforms raised the alarm last November about the deployment of the First Brigade from Iraq to the US. This memo shows that Bush sought the power to deploy any number of U.S. military into the U.S. itself for any reason he chose; direct them to rip through your home without a warrant, even if you have not been charged with anything; seize material and documents; and even gave Bush the power to use deadly force against you — yes, you, innocent US citizen — “in self-defense.” In your homes and streets — not on a faraway battlefield. Major David Antoon confirmed that this power — to send US military to control, arrest and even shoot US civilians in self-defense — was in Bush’s hands last fall when I asked Antoon about it. Turns out this memo shows Bush indeed wanted to have that power.