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2003-04-06 - 12:13 a.m.

::News and Commentary, April 6th::

By Wayne Madsen
April 2, 2003

March 25, 2003 may serve as a crucial turning point in American history. On that day, George W. Bush displayed his increasingly erratic and irresponsible behavior before America's top military leadership. The friction between Bush and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on one hand and the Joint Chiefs of Staff on the other was evident at the afternoon Pentagon press briefing. This reporter had the pleasure of meeting and chatting with Joint Chiefs Chairman General Richard Myers at a swank reception for Afghan leader Hamid Karzai a few months after U.S. troops launched Operation Enduring Freedom against the Taliban and Al Qaeda. Myers demonstrated that he is an affable individual and not one to bask in the conceitedness of constant media attention.

Trailing the pompous Rumsfeld into the briefing room, Myers' jaws were tight and his lips were pursed as he stared straight down at his notes during Rumsfeld's opening statements. I was in the military long enough to know when someone has either just been chewed out or has had it out with his superiors. It doesn't matter if you're wearing four stars on your shoulders or one stripe on your sleeves, the telltale signs are always same.

Myers, on two occasions, appeared to differ with Rumsfeld. One was on the issue of Iran's conduct during the war. Myers said Iran had done nothing to make him unhappy. Rumsfeld, however, chastised Iran for supporting and training Iraqi Shia militia in Iraq. In a few days, Rumsfeld obliquely warned both Iran and Syria of the potential for U.S. retaliation against them. When Myers was asked about Iraq's possible use of chemical weapons, the general responded that no such weapons had yet been used. Rumsfeld indicated that he expected Iraq would use chemical weapons and warned that there was a retaliatory plan to deal with such an occurrence.

The gulf between Rumsfeld and his neo-con advisers is now wider than both the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Add to this the increasingly nasty and un-presidential demeanor of George Bush. Pentagon insiders report that Bush, in a not-too-rare Hitleresque moment, used his March 25 visit to the Pentagon to berate the Joint Chiefs for the conduct of HIS war. Moreover, Rumsfeld did nothing to defend his generals and admirals from such a verbal beating by a draft dodging and often AWOL member of a posh and cozy Texas Air National Guard unit. Rumsfeld, from the outset of his Pentagon stint, treated his generals and admirals like dog crap. They were not even invited to Pentagon planning meetings. These were reserved for Rumsfeld's coterie of neo-con gargoyles like Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle, outside and well-paid "consultants," and wet-nursed GOP political hacks.

Bush, who fancies himself a "born-again" Christian, is actually a foul-mouthed and erratic alcoholic. For example, the "pretzel" incident had nothing to do with a pretzel. While watching a football game at the White House, the "leader of the free world" got so drunk he fell right on his face and blamed it on his inability to remember his mother's missive about chewing all one's food before swallowing.

Such alibis and ruses are the trademarks of drunks. During the presidential campaign Bush called a New York Times reporter a "major league asshole." In 1986, a clearly drunk and disorderly Bush told The Wall Street Journal's Al Hunt, "You fucking son of a bitch . . . I saw what you wrote. We're not going to forget this." The rich frat boy was irate about an article Hunt wrote about Bush's father. Time magazine is reporting that during a March 2002 briefing for three senators by Condoleezza Rice, Bush poked his head into a White House meeting room and bellowed, "Fuck Saddam. We're taking him out!"

But for Bush to vent his spleen on America's military leadership defies logic and clearly demonstrates that he is mentally unfit for his office. Never mind the fact that Army Chief of Staff, General Eric Shinseki, was harangued by Rumsfeld and his chickenhawks for suggesting not enough troops were provided for the invasion of Iraq.

The head of the U.S. Army's V Corps, Lieutenant General William Wallace, said of Iraqi forces, "the enemy we're fighting is different from the one we war-gamed against." Score two for the generals and nothing for the neo-con draft dodgers who planned this idiotic war.

Richard Perle, the ethically-challenged former chairman of the Defense Policy Board and virtual agent for the Russian-mafia dominated Likud government of Israel, got it completely wrong in the hours leading up to the war when he suggested, along with a pathetic Iraqi opposition capo, that U.S. troops would be met with "flowers and candy" upon entering Iraq. Obviously, Perle's military experience does not permit him to distinguish between flowers and candy and bullets and mortar rounds. It is a shame that Rumsfeld still can't pry his lips from Perle's backside. After Perle resigned as chairman of the advisory board amid a financial scandal involving personal war profiteering, Rumsfeld praised him and asked him to remain as a board member.

The fact of the matter is that Bush, Rumsfeld, the other war makers in the administration, and their political allies in Britain, Denmark, Australia, and Spain, are all dangerous megalomaniacs. On March 30th, Rumsfeld continued his deception by claiming on Fox "News" that Bush's war coalition has expanded to 66 countries. This is a bald-faced lie. Some of the countries on the list published by both the White House and Pentagon claim they are not members of any coalition and never have been. The list is false propaganda. It is worthy of Joseph Goebbels Slovenian Prime Minister Anton Rop said the State Department told him his country had been listed by mistake. But Slovenia remains on Bush's coalition list. The Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands, Allan Kemakeza, said his country was erroneously listed as a member of the coalition. But the Solomons, which don't even have a military, remains on the White House list.

The White House and Pentagon lie purveyors include Croatia in their coalition but Croatian President Stipe Mesic has condemned America's war on Iraq as "illegitimate." The White House claims the Czech Republic is a coalition member but the country's president, Vaclav Klaus, said that anyone who thinks democracy can be imposed on Iraq is "from another universe." Klaus means that people like Bush, Tony Blair, Rumsfeld, and the other neo-Crusaders are just plain nuts. Indeed they are.

U.S. ambassadors in Canada, Norway, Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Jamaica, and New Zealand have publicly condemned the host governments for failing to support the U.S. war on Iraq. Such behavior in modern times is unprecedented. Bush heralds Tonga's accession to his pitiful coalition but continues to lose the support of major countries like Italy, Norway, and South Korea. Also, Bush just can't understand why the "Grecians" and "East Timorians" are opposed to his unlawful war.

As U.S. troops began to get bogged down in Iraq with heavy Iraqi resistance and sporadic supply lines, forcing the down to one meal ration a day instead of three, U.S. Marines were handed a pamphlet called a "Christian's Duty." The Marines were exhorted to pray for Bush, his family, and his staff and then mail in a pledge form to Bush to prove that such prayers were rendered. I cannot even begin to athom a young American military man or woman, risking life and limb n an Iraqi battlefield for U.S. oil companies, being asked to pray or the likes of Ari Fleischer, Andy Card, or John Ashcroft. It rates bout a "10" on the puke meter.

But I have a better idea for our brave troops who are being mishandled by the crowd that incrementally seized unconstitutional power between January 20, 2001 and in the weeks after September 11th. Instead of being forced to offer prayers for Bush and his cabal, their commanders should seek a pledge of their support for a military action to return the United States to its people.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff, armed with enough support from their subordinate commanders, troops, and civilian staff, could place a team of Delta Force commandos and armor on the South Lawn of the White House and in front of the North Portico on Pennsylvania Avenue. Using large loudspeakers designed for use in civil action campaigns like the ones currently taking place in Umm Qasr, Basra, and Safwan, Iraq, the Delta Force commander would instruct the Secret Service to exit the White House and lay down weapons. Five minutes should be sufficient. They should then secure the "football" and the military officer who maintains it. The football is actually a large briefcase that contains the nuclear firing codes and it would have to be quickly separated from the madmen in the White House.

Bush, Cheney, Card, Rove, Fleischer, Rice, and the rest should then be taken into custody and transferred to a remote facility like Wackenhut's large detention center in Kern County, California, which was originally designed to hold American political prisoners and anti-war protestors.

The Joint Chiefs should quickly name a transition Executive to plan for new presidential elections. Executive authority could be vested in the man who received the majority of votes in the 2000 election. Al Gore would be sworn in as the 44th President of the United States. In the interest of national unity, Gore would be asked to pledge not to seek re-election in the upcoming presidential election, which should be held no later than nine months from his inauguration.

Former Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter could be named as co-Vice Presidents (it would be constitutional since neither ever served two full presidential terms). These one-time political adversaries are also the best of friends. Although the Joint Chiefs would also have to remove Rumsfeld and his war hawk advisers, Bush Cabinet members (sans Ashcroft and Tom Ridge) who pledged to support the transition government could remain in office pending new elections. However, in all likelihood, many of the Bush appointees would probably be too embarrassed to remain in any official capacity.

Washington, DC has a huge reservoir of talented people who could assume Cabinet and other governmental functions - there are a number of ex-senators, representatives, ambassadors, and cabinet members who could step up to the plate during such a national emergency transition.

The first act of the new Defense Secretary would be to extricate U.S. and allied troops from the Iraq morass. The new Secretary of State would be charged with trying to help stabilize the Persian Gulf region, seeking widespread international support for a new Iraqi administration with the help of the United Nations but without an Anglo-American occupation force. The UN and Red Cross should facilitate the repatriation of refugees and prisoners of war. The autonomy of the Kurdish zone in northern Iraq should be internationally guaranteed. The European Union should apply pressure on Turkey not to take advantage of new transitional governments in both Washington and Baghdad.

The new State Department leadership would fan out across the world to reassure allies, friends, and potential adversaries that America once again adheres to multilateralism, international law, and collective action by the UN, NATO, and other regional bodies. Fences would have to be quickly mended with France, Germany, Russia, Canada, and Mexico. The war against Al Qaeda should continue with a primary focus on the governments of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. Both countries should be warned that the "business as usual" policies of the Bush regime will not be continued. The new administration would warn that the bankrolling of Al Qaeda in any form will be considered an act of war against the United States. Saudi assets in the United States should be identified for possible seizure in the event of non-cooperation. Pakistan should be required to bring to justice military and intelligence officers who have aided Al Qaeda.

In the United States, special care would have to be taken in appointing a new Secretary for Civil Defense (the new name for the Department of "Homeland Security"). This individual would have to be committed to the U.S. Constitution and the laws of the land status quo ante to September 11th. His or her first steps would be the dismantling of Bush's surveillance web. Gone would be the Total Information Awareness program, the Freedom Corps, "Tips" programs, invasive airline passenger profiling, government "data mining," routine wiretaps, "First Amendment Zones," and unlawful detentions.

Back would be the writ of habeas corpus, the unhindered right to an attorney, open government, the right of peaceful assembly, and the right to vote without intimidation. New would be the real and well-funded coordination of public safety across federal, state, county, and municipal lines.

Ashcroft, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and Doug Feith would join their fellow war criminals in Kern County. The new administration should ensure that photos of the inmates in their bright orange coveralls are transmitted around the world. Post-Bush regime America would demonstrate that America's democracy is unshakable and resilient.

As for Congress and their responsibilities, this doesn't really matter. Congress abrogated its constitutional responsibilities long ago. They could continue to voice their opinions, because that is all they are - opinions. But knowing how vapid and pimp-like most members of Congress are, they would probably quickly support the military's actions and the transition government. After all, why irritate the military when they could pump a few more mlitary contracts into a member's district? That's all that motivates these so-called "representatives of the people."

But contingencies should be made to handle some congressional troublemakers. The Kern County detention facility could add people like Tom DeLay, Dennis Hastert, and Zell Miller to their inmate roster. Others, like John McCain, Arlen Specter, Joe Lieberman, Joe Biden, Steny Hoyer, and Dick Gephardt, should be offered an Air Force ride to a retirement place of their choice.

The Supreme Court is the only institution that would be problematic. But international law would trump the Supremes in this case. The Kern County detainees would eventually be turned over to the International Criminal Court for trial. The temporary administration's first action would be to adhere to the treaty setting up the international court in The Hague. The new administration could also argue before the Supreme Court that the 25th Amendment could not be properly invoked since a significant number of Cabinet members were too mentally unstable or incompetent to properly vote on declaring both the President and Vice President as being mentally incapable of carrying out their duties.

Although military coups often obliterate democratic rule, there have been a few cases when the military has stepped in to return a country to democratic rule or protect a democratic government from an anti-democratic rebellion. Portugal in 1974, Spain in 1981, and the Soviet Union in 1990 serve as cases in point.

An American Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which would be named by President Gore, would look into what Bush and his cronies really knew about the September 11th attacks and whether they allowed them deliberately to occur in order to seize unconstitutional power, who was responsible for the anthrax attacks on the Democratic leadership of the Senate and the media, i.e., the attempted assassinations of the Democratic Majority Leader and the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Jeb Bush's malfeasance in the 2000 presidential election in Florida, the alleged profiteering of George H. W., Marvin, and Neil Bush in post-September 11th Middle East business deals, and the role of The Carlyle Group, Halliburton, Enron, and others in disastrous pipeline politics in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission should also be empowered to direct the new Attorney General to bring criminal charges against criminal conspirators. For example, if there was one shred of evidence that anyone in the Bush regime had advance knowledge of the September 11th attacks, treason charges should be brought against the conspirators.

Our Founding Fathers established the blueprint for such an action to remove Bush and his criminals and gangsters from office. Let us remember these words from Thomas Jefferson:

"Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that Whenever any form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new Government ... it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future."

And these from Abraham Lincoln:

"This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or exercise their revolutionary right to overthrow it."


Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist and columnist. He wrote the introduction to Forbidden Truth.


Presidential Quarantine: Why Bush can't leave America -- and why that matters

By Jeremy Mayer
Web Exclusive: 4.1.03

George W. Bush is under an international quarantine. It is not security concerns that prevent him from going overseas, nor is it the unseemly appearance of leaving the White House while our troops fight along the Euphrates. Rather, Bush can't leave America because his policies are intensely unpopular in almost every country on earth.

What country could this president visit that wouldn't immediately erupt into massive civil unrest? A Bush visit to Western Europe would make 2001's violent anti-globalization demonstrations in Genoa look like a tea party.

This explains why British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Bush's only real ally in this war, came to Washington instead of hosting Bush in London. It also explains why a few weeks ago Bush met with Blair and the leaders of Spain and Portugal in the Azores. By meeting at a U.S. airbase on an isolated archipelago with a population roughly equal to that of Akron, Ohio, Bush avoided the anger in the European streets. Although the Portuguese prime minister welcomed our president to "Europe," the sad truth is that Bush will not be welcome in the real Western Europe for months, if not years.

Some might say that the effective quarantine of an American president does not matter. After all, it has happened before, and with little apparent long-term effect. In the summer of 1960, as Japan debated a new treaty with the United States, leftist and pacifist forces launched demonstrations so vast that then-President Dwight Eisenhower canceled plans to visit. Similarly, in 1958, Vice President Richard Nixon's trip to South America met with such violent outrage that a warship was sent in case extraction by force became necessary. The extreme hostility to America's foreign policy in Japan and South America eventually subsided.

But this is different. The center of the rage is Western Europe, historically the home of America's closest allies. American presidents have often been greeted by cheering throngs of Europeans, as when Woodrow Wilson went to Paris in 1919. Trips to Europe produced some of the modern presidency's greatest moments, from John F. Kennedy's "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech to Ronald Reagan's eloquent elegy to the boys of D-Day. Even when the visit of an American president sparked demonstrations, it was clear to all concerned that the vast majority of the populace supported America's role in the world.

Today, as an ominous boycott of American products spreads, it is obvious that the anger at America is deep and extends far beyond Western Europe.

Bush's quarantine involves almost all of the Middle East, Latin America, Australia and New Zealand, and even some Asian countries. Polls in some Eastern European nations suggest less intense opposition to America, but those countries are geographically close to Western Europe -- a presidential visit to Bucharest would likely attract hundreds of thousands of demonstrators from Germany and France. A trip to a less stable nation, such as Egypt or Pakistan, could severely weaken or even bring down the host government.

The world's citizens are so helpless in the face of America's military supremacy and unilateral foreign policy that the only way they can express their anger is through civil unrest and boycotts. Even a visit to America's neighbors, Mexico or Canada, would produce scenes of unprecedented anti-American demonstrations.

And those images would matter here at home. In 1960, Kennedy used the anti-Nixon demonstrations abroad to argue that the nation was losing stature in the world. A foreign trip by Bush now would reveal to the average American in pictures -- so vivid that even FOX News couldn't spin them away -- just how bitterly our policies are opposed around the globe.

Once the war is over and the occupation begins, reporters will start to ask why our president isn't traveling anymore. Karl Rove will have to think of a place to send him. Outside of Israel or Afghanistan, the choices will be slim. Of course, Bush could safely go to a country where the government uses brutality to stop demonstrations. Which means that it has come to this: The American president, who once symbolized the value of freedom to many people around the world, can now only visit countries where dissent is crushed.

So what's it going to be, Mr. President: Havana or Beijing?

Jeremy Mayer is a visiting assistant professor at Georgetown University and the author of 9-11: The Giant Awakens.


Also Stops Study That Found Campaign Wasn't Working

April 01, 2003
By Ira Teinowitz

WASHINGTON (AdAge.com) -- The White House anti-drug office will end its controversial drugs-and-terror advertising campaign and, in a reversal, shift more of its $150 million budget toward children's media as it fights for Congress to extend the program another five years. [To view one of the contriversial ads, click here: mms://windowsmedia.dvlabs.com/adcritic/ondcp-office.asf]

The Office of National Drug Control Policy will also cease a polarizing $8 million annual study that found the ads aimed at youth were not working and that pitted the drug office against the Partnership for a Drug-Free America.

Youth-oriented media

Now, the office will direct 60% of its buys toward youth-oriented media -- the same percentage it had previously directed at adults -- and will focus on halting drug use among children already using rather than aim to deter youth from starting drugs. The drugs-and-terror ads will end in May.

The drugs-and-terror campaign first broke five months after the Sept. 11 attacks, with two Super Bowl ads that cost the drug office more than $3 million to run. The spots centered on the idea that people who purchase drugs help fund terrorism. One ad showed a shopping list that includes an AK-47 rifle. "Where do terrorists get their money?" said the voice-over. "If you buy drugs, some of it might come from you." Later ads replaced "terrorism" with "terror," suggesting drug buys supported drug-cartel attacks on innocent civilians.

Ogilvy & Mather controversy

The ads were controversial not only because of their message, but because of the way they were produced. While almost all White House Office of National Drug Control Policy creative comes from the Partnership, the terrorism ads were produced outside the Partnership by the drug office's agency, WPP Group's Ogilvy & Mather.

The Partnership said the ads were off-strategy and refused to do any of the spots. Partnership Vice Chairman Allen Rosenshine, chairman-CEO of Omnicom Group's BBDO Worldwide, ripped the campaign in a congressional hearing.

Spending cuts

The battle, coming to a drug office already wounded by complaints over Ogilvy's initial stewardship of the account, bolstered congressional critics who tried to cut spending dramatically. They eventually reduced it by about $25 million to about $150 million.

Legislation to continue the program is expected to soon be proposed by a bipartisan group of senators. Reps. Mark Souder, R-Ind., chairman of the Government Reform panel, and Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said last week that it would likely include language limiting the drug office's ability to go outside the Partnership for creative and also language that could require the drug office to rebid the contract won last year by Ogilvy.

"At a minimum I would expect that any future irregularity would be grounds for disqualification from participation," Rep. Souder said, adding that while he personally supports keeping Ogilvy, the senators preparing the bill are less certain.



By Tom DeWeese
April 3, 2003

Today as the United Nations appears weakened by its complete failure to be a serious player in the US-Iraq war, many of our nation's leaders dismiss concerns that the organization threatens American sovereignty.

However, the true threat from the UN lies between the lines of numerous, well-orchestrated treaties already in place. These treaties, protocols, and conventions, particularly dealing with environmental issues, are tools with which the UN continues to fulfill its agenda for global governance.

Through those treaties, the UN intends to transform sovereign nations into feudal-like entities by making Nature the central organizing theme for their economy and society.

This is clearly defined in the UN's Biodiversity Treaty which states: "Nature has an integral set of different values (cultural, spiritual and material) where humans are one strand of nature's web and all living creatures are considered equal. Therefore the natural way is the right way and human activities should be molded along nature's rhythms."

This view of society is a major departure from human civilization as it has emerged over thousands of years. It requires changing nearly every aspect of human existence, including how and where we live, grow and prepare food, travel, work and associate. In short, the agenda for global governance seeks to rip apart established human society.

To achieve this environmentalist goal, an agenda has been set in motion through the aegis of United Nations' treaties and agreements. Compliance with those treaties allows the global governance agenda to forcibly work its way down through federal, to state, to local government policy.

One of the major tools for implementing the agenda is another UN treaty called Agenda 21. Like the Biodiversity Treaty, it first surfaced at the UN's Earth Summit in 1992. Agenda 21 is the United Nations' blueprint for the complete restructuring of nations to fit into a proper mold for global governance. Agenda 21 outlines, in detail, the UN's vision for a completely managed society, dictating the process to be used for industry, agriculture, housing development and even education.

This is not just an environmental policy, but an all-encompassing blueprint to rule from an all-powerful central government. It is a "government" devoid of any vote by the citizens affected by its decisions.

The common name for the policy is "Sustainable Development." Americans who profess to love this nation's precious liberty should learn that Sustainable Development is their enemy. Sustainable Development is the "ruling principle" for the implementation of what former Vice President Al Gore called a "wrenching transformation of society."

Wrenching indeed. Sustainable Development calls for changing the very infrastructure of the nation, away from private ownership and control of property to nothing short of a national zoning system, run by non-elected, faceless bureaucrats and special interest groups.

Under Sustainable Development, locally elected officials are no longer the single driving force in making decisions for the community. Most planning is done behind the scenes in non-elected "sustainability councils," armed with truckloads of federal regulations, guidelines and taxpayer money.

According to Sustainable Development policies, air conditioning, convenience foods, single-family homes and cars are among products that have already been determined to be "unsustainable."

The logo used in Sustainable Development literature depicts three connecting circles; each labeled with a defining category of the ruling principle. One is labeled "social equity," another, "economic prosperity," and the third, "ecological integrity." These three categories encompass every aspect of human life and each is a major factor in the agenda for global governance and the demise of national sovereignty and independence.

Social equity and social justice require that the earth's wealth be shared between those who produce and those who don't. It's every welfare program and wealth- redistribution scheme ever devised. It is Communism.

Under Sustainable Development, business is little more than a tool for the social planning managers. Partnerships between business and government decide what kinds of products are to be produced, who will produce them, and how they will be produced. All must be done in accordance with very strict environmentally-correct procedures. Taxes to enforce compliance ensure proper business conduct.

Ecological integrity is the deception used by the social planners to sucker Americans into accepting their timeless schemes for power. In the name of protecting the environment; in the name of social equity and justice, safety and prosperity, Sustainable Development is fast becoming official policy in federal and state governments, and in every large city and small burg in the nation.

The fact is your community is now a "Sustainable Community." There are no exceptions. Do these items sound familiar to you? Have you heard your local officials discussing how to curtail growth and block development? Are they talking about historic preservation and green space? Are they talking about how to control business? Has the subject of public transportation come up? All are part of the agenda under Sustainable Development.

There can be no private property, free enterprise or individual liberty under Sustainable Development. Instead, group thought, plans and actions dictate a well-orchestrated agenda designed to transform America.

This is totalitarianism. It's about controlling our lives with decisions made by committees that will grow more powerful and more oppressive with every passing day and with each new regulation proposed by newly empowered special interest groups. There will be no satisfying their lust for power and no part of our lives will be overlooked.

The logo for Sustainable Development, with its three connecting circles, should be viewed by all who love liberty as the new swastika of our era. There is no greater threat to our way of life.

Sustainable Development is the central tool by which the UN intends to intends to impose its global governance agenda and is the key reason why the UN remains a threat to American independence.

2003 Tom DeWeese - All Rights Reserved

Tom DeWeese is the publisher/editor of The DeWeese Report and president of the American Policy Center, a grassroots, activist think tank headquartered in Warrenton, VA. The Center maintains an Internet site at www.americanpolicy.org.


PATRIOT ACT II: New anti-terrorism bill threatens civil liberities

As the Justice Department considers how to ram through Congress even more expansive legislation to curtail citizen liberties in the name of security, remember that the next knock on the door might be to haul you off into some dark night where the U.S. Constitution has been marginalized by the very government sworn to protect it against enemies.

Since February, when a draft of the so-called Patriot Act II was leaked, it has been clear but underreported that Attorney General John Ashcroft is not satisfied with the power passed quickly after the Sept. 11 attacks by a frightened Congress on behalf of a frightened people willing to forgo rights in a false tradeoff for "security." The Bush administration apparently wants to, among other horrors, have the power to revoke citizenship even of native-born Americans and detain citizens indefinitely.

The draft of this sequel to the USA Patriot Act of 2001 would further erode the rights to privacy, due process and religious liberty, and continue hiding the government's "anti-terror" actions from review by the courts of Congress. By throwing the label "terrorist'' around freely, under the terms of this proposed law, the government could round up protests of almost any sort against its policies, then wiretap the organization behind the protests, seize its property and take citizenship from supporters of the group.

What the administration forgets is that in this democracy the law has a stated bias to protect citizen rights, not to "protect" government from citizens about whom there is no probable cause to suspect them of crimes. Adding to the threat from expansive government powers in this administration is its own furtiveness. A government that demands complete transparency in the dealings of its people while steadfastly refusing to be accountable is a government to be feared, not trusted.

Instead of countless legislative skirmishes around the country to force recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in schools, perhaps time would be well spent in schools by teaching and learning about constitutional rights.

This is an administration that, de facto, has ignored the constitutional checks and balances that force accountability. Trusting it with more authority is not a recipe for enhanced security; it is a recipe for eroding the very democracy the administration purports to be preserving.

It appears that the administration calculation to get more intrusive legislation is aimed at leveraging public fears intensified by the Iraq war or simply to sneak Patriot Act II through while attention is focused on the war overseas and the host of domestic economic and social problems that have people stewing.

Pay attention. The citizenship at risk may be your own.

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