“State Secrets” Fascism

WASHINGTON (CNN) — A German citizen who alleges the CIA mistakenly kidnapped, detained and interrogated him was denied a hearing before the U.S. Supreme Court when the justices rejected his appeal for review Tuesday.

The German citizen is Khaled el-Masri, who was kidnapped in Macedonia on New Year’s Eve, 2003 by U.S. government agents and taken via secret “extraordinary rendition” to a prison in Afghanistan. El-Masri was beaten, humjiliated and drugged. When the U.S. could get nothing out of him, or recognized it was a case of mistaken identity — we don’t know because it’s a “state secret” — he was unceremoniously flown and dumped in a forest in Albania.

With the help of the American Civil Liberties Union, el-Masri sued the CIA and private air charter companies that operated the overseas flights. He sought monetary damages, a public apology and an explanation for why he was detained.

Lower federal courts all rejected el-Masri’s legal claims.

The U.S. government said acknowledging el-Masri’s detention or even discussing details of the program would compromise national security. In a legal brief filed with the high court, Justice Department lawyers wrote, “The United States can neither confirm nor deny petitioner’s allegations.”

The ACLU had called the government state secrets privilege in this case a hollow argument because President Bush publicly discussed that the United States was holding some terrorism suspects overseas in secret locations.

Let’s call it what it is. The secret police can arrest you. Should they throw you back, rather than hold you indefinitely, you have no recourse to clear your name or seek damages. Why? “State secrets” could be revealed. This is a government out of control, answerable in its actions to no one. It has revealed itself to be a fascist state in ovo.

[I will add, in a comment not made in my own blog’s story, that over at Daily Kos, not one of three or four diaries on this could muster more than about a couple dozen recommendations, so blinded they are as to whether the Democrats are good or bad today, with diaries back and forth on the same old bullshit, that they couldn’t make room or front page this story. I didn’t bother to try to post mind there and break some rule about diaried items. But for those interested, check out this one or this one, just to pick a few.]

Crossposted at Invictus


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    • Valtin on October 9, 2007 at 7:52 pm

    Maybe someone like Armando would like to comment on this, or explain the ins and outs of the Alien Tort Law, which was the statute under which El-Masri brought suit.

    • srkp23 on October 9, 2007 at 8:01 pm

    And thanks for link to my dK diary. Sigh.

  1. Started in the Clinton Administration.

    It should go down as a prime example of ‘The Road to Hell’ being paved with good intentions.

    And the eventual ‘decider’ on the issue of whether to start the program or not would probably surprise many in left blogistan.

    Think ‘Inspiration for the lead in Love Story’ and ‘Robbed of the Presidency’.

    One of my all time favorites, but he really screwed the pooch with that one.

  2. over on the orange I posted a history of executive actions dating back to 1958 which give ultimate authority to the executive branch whenever they get in the mood for the big emergency (why not 9/11????).

    The next comment said I was quoting an april fool’s diary. 

    I then tediously researched a good link for every single one of those executive orders.  My main reason for leaving this comment, Valtin, is that you might find that string of links quite useful.

    Following that, a guy writes

    This can’t be real

    You gotta be kidding me.

    To which I posted the Halliburton contract for which cause the putative “April Fools Day” diary which features satellite images of halliburton camps in Wyoming.  About that I can’t say much except that due to being born/raised in the area, I know both close friends and family who are… um… [censored].

    Here is the granddaddy of them all:  A postcard from Congressman Jim McDermott’s freak-out about some FEMA doings back in the days of Ollie North :

    Madam Speaker, I come to the House floor tonight to talk about an issue which I think is of grave concern to this country.

    I recently read an article published in the Sydney, Australia, Morning Herald entitled “Foundations Are in Place for Martial Law in the United States.”

    The author is a man named Ritt Goldstein, an investigative reporter for the Herald, and he said that recent pronouncements from the Bush administration and national security initiatives put in place in the Reagan era could see internment camps and martial law in the United States.

    When President Ronald Reagan was considering invading Nicaragua, he issued a series of executive orders which provided FEMA with broad powers in the event of a crisis, such as the violent and widespread internal dissent or national opposition against a U.S. military invasion abroad. They were never used.

    But with the looming possibility of a U.S. invasion of Iraq, recent pronouncements by President Bush’s domestic security chief, Tom Ridge, and an official with the Civil Rights Commission should fire concerns that these powers could be employed or a de facto drift into their deployment in the future.

    On the 20th of July, the Detroit Free Press ran a story entitled “Arabs in U.S. Could Be Held, Official Warns.” The story referred to a member of the Civil Rights Commission who foresaw the possibility of internment camps for Arab Americans. FEMA has practiced for such an occasion.

    FEMA, whose main role is disaster response, is also responsible for handling U.S. domestic unrest.

    From 1982 to 1984, Colonel Oliver North assisted FEMA in drafting its civil defense preparations. Details of those plans emerged during the 1987 Iran-Contra scandal. They included executive orders providing for suspension of the Constitution, the imposition of martial law, internment camps, and the turning over of government to the President and FEMA.

    A Miami Herald article on the 5th of July, 1987, reported that the former FEMA director’s, Louis Guiffrida’s, deputy, John Brinkerhoff, handled the martial law portion of the planning. The planning was said to be similar to one Mr. Guiffrida had developed earlier to combat a national uprising by black militants. It provided for the detention of at least 21 million American Negroes in assembly centers or relocation camps. Today, Mr. Brinkerhoff is with the highly influential Anser Institute for Homeland Security. Following a request by the Pentagon in January that the U.S. military be allowed the option of deploying troops on American streets, the institute in February published a paper by Mr. Brinkerhoff arguing the legality of this. He alleged that the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, which has long been accepted as prohibiting such deployments, had simply been misunderstood and misapplied. The preface to the article also provided the revelation that the national plan he had worked on under Mr. Guiffrida was approved by Reagan and actions were taken to implement it.

    By April, the U.S. military had created a Northern Command to aid homeland security. Reuters reported that the command is mainly expected to play a supporting role to local authorities. However, Mr. Ridge, the Director of Homeland Security, has just advocated a review of U.S. law regarding the use of military for law enforcement duties.

    Disturbingly, and it just really should disturb people, the full facts and contents of Mr. Reagan’s national plan remain uncertain. This is in part because President Bush took the unusual step of sealing the Reagan Presidential papers last November. However, many of the key figures of the Reagan era are part of the present administration, including John Poindexter, to whom Oliver North later reported.

    At the time of the Reagan initiatives, the then-Attorney General, William French Smith, a Republican, wrote to the National Security Adviser, Robert McFarlane: “I believe that the role assigned to the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the revised executive order exceeds its proper function as a coordinating agency for emergency preparedness. This department and others have repeatedly raised serious policy and legal objections to an emergency czar role for FEMA.”

    Criticism of the Bush administration’s response to September 11 echoes Mr. Smith’s warning. On June 7 of last year, the former Presidential counsel, John Dean, spoke of America sliding into a, quote, “constitutional dictatorship,” close quote, and martial law.

    The reason I raise this issue is that I come from a State where in 1941 under executive order by the President, 9661, we rounded up all the Japanese Americans in this country and put them in concentration camps. We have set in place the mechanism to do that again and we must not, we cannot sacrifice the Constitution in this rush to war that we are doing in Iraq.

    Souvenir for you:

  3. I will insert the executive orders below here.  In case you want the links for each and every one, you will find them attached in sequence in this comment on the orange:

    EXECUTIVE ORDER 10990 allows the government to take over all modes of transportation and control of highways and seaports.
    EXECUTIVE ORDER 10995 allows the government to seize and control the communication media.

    EXECUTIVE ORDER 10997 allows the government to take over all electrical power, gas, petroleum, fuels and minerals.

    EXECUTIVE ORDER 10998 allows the government to seize all means of transportation, including personal cars, trucks or vehicles of any kind and total control over all highways, seaports, and waterways.

    EXECUTIVE ORDER 10999 allows the government to take over all food resources and farms.

    EXECUTIVE ORDER 11000 allows the government to mobilize civilians into work brigades under government supervision.

    EXECUTIVE ORDER 11001 allows the government to take over all health, education and welfare functions.

    EXECUTIVE ORDER 11002 designates the Postmaster General to operate a national registration of all persons.

    EXECUTIVE ORDER 11003 allows the government to take over all airports and ?aircraft, including commercial aircraft.

    EXECUTIVE ORDER 11004 allows the Housing and Finance Authority to relocate communities, build new housing with public funds, designate areas to be abandoned, and establish new locations for populations.

    EXECUTIVE ORDER 11005 allows the government to take over railroads, inland waterways and public storage facilities.

    EXECUTIVE ORDER 11051 specifies the responsibility of the Office of Emergency Planning and gives authorization to put all Executive Orders into effect in times of increased international tensions and economic or financial crisis.

    EXECUTIVE ORDER 11310 grants authority to the Department of Justice to enforce the plans set out in Executive Orders, to institute industrial support, to establish judicial and legislative liaison, to control all aliens, to operate penal and correctional institutions, and to advise and assist the President.

    EXECUTIVE ORDER 11049 assigns emergency preparedness function to federal departments and agencies, consolidating 21 operative Executive Orders issued over a fifteen year period.

    EXECUTIVE ORDER 11921 allows the Federal Emergency Preparedness Agency to develop plans to establish control over the mechanisms of production and distribution, of energy sources, wages, salaries, credit and the flow of money in U.S. financial institution in any undefined national emergency. It also provides that when a state of emergency is declared by the President, Congress cannot review the action for six months. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has broad powers in every aspect of the nation. General Frank Salzedo, chief of FEMA’s Civil Security Division stated in a 1983 conference that he saw FEMA’s role as a “new frontier in the protection of individual and governmental leaders from assassination, and of civil and military installations from sabotage and/or attack, as well as prevention of dissident groups from gaining access to U.S. opinion, or a global audience in times of crisis.” FEMA’s powers were consolidated by President Carter to incorporate the…

    National Security Act of 1947 allows for the strategic relocation of industries, services, government and other essential economic activities, and to rationalize the requirements for manpower, resources and production facilities.

    1950 Defense Production Act gives the President sweeping powers over all aspects of the economy.

    Act of August 29, 1916 authorizes the Secretary of the Army, in time of war, to take possession of any transportation system for transporting troops, material, or any other purpose related to the emergency.

    International Emergency Economic Powers Actenables the President to seize the property of a foreign country or national. These powers were transferred to FEMA in a sweeping consolidation in 1979.

  4. These dignified deceptions will not suffice. We have had enough of power without truth. We don’t have to accept power without truth or leave the country. I don’t accept that alternative. I don’t intend to leave the country, and I don’t intend to accept power without truth. I intend to fight for the truth, and I suggest that not only is this not un-American but it is the most American thing we can do, because if the truth does not endure then our country will not endure — not in the way it was supposed to. In our country the worst of all crimes is when the government murders truth. If it can murder truth, it can murder freedom. If it can murder freedom, it can murder your own sons if they should dare to fight for freedom, and then announce that they were killed in an industrial accident or shot by the enemy, or God knows what.

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