The Erosion Of U.S. Constitutional Rights
A friend of mine keeps telling me that the U.S. is a police state. Most of you will say "what!?" as the United States well known for “freedom and liberty” (as opposed to some other nations in this world who shall remain nameless)! Recent events, however, have made me look closer at her views and now I’m starting to wonder if she knows more than the rest of us...
Let’s start with the detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Not all of these people are “enemy soldiers” in time of declared war. Let’s remember that fact, Congress never formally declared “war” with Iraq. We are involved in another police action, like Korea or Vietnam.
The fact remains that some (not all) detainees in both Iraq and Cuba, under the supervision of U.S. forces were definitely abused. It has now reached the point where the U.S. Senate has passed a bill that prohibits: “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment” of anyone being held by U.S. representatives anywhere in the world.
Now, the U.S. constitution guarantees the right to a fair and speedy trial by jury of one’s peers, the right to be represented by legal counsel and the right to have reasonable bail set. Some – at times none -- of these guarantees have been applied to detainees, including some detained in the United. States.
I once mused that if Adolph Hitler were found alive somewhere and brought to the United States for trial he might get acquitted or at least plea bargain himself down to “reckless endangerment” and do three years in Leavenworth, then go out and hit the college lecture circuit and pitch is latest book (sporting a catchy title like “Totally Misunderstood”)! That is how the American justice system sometimes works!
The liberal attitudes adopted by the courts over the last few decades were meant to prevent the “Dirty Harry” mentality of police who used to use the rubber hose and hot lights to interrogate a suspect back in the days of Prohibition.
It was supposed to prevent situations like those faced by Rodney King in Los Angeles. It was also supposed to prevent situations like those of the detainees in Iraq and Cuba.
What it has also done is to let a lot of guilty people walk, although the American justice system was designed around the concept that it is better to free 10 guilty people than send on innocent person to prison or death by lethal injection.
The treatment of “prisoners” and “detainees” as documented by the free press would be classified by any self respecting civilized human as verging on barbaric. Something right out of Hitler’s Detention Camps or Attila the Hun’s tactics.
The next thing that really got to me was -- and is still is -- the recent attacks on the free press. Primarily putting writers in jail for failing to disclose sources.
Once again the U.S. constitution says that the right of a free press shall not be abridged.
The courts not only do this against professional journalists but against private citizens as well! Dr. Elizabeth Morgan, noted best selling book author, columnist for Cosmopolitan magazine and plastic surgeon, was confined under a contempt charge for over two years before Congress passed a bill that helped release her. What was her crime? She refused to say where she hide her daughter and kept her daughter from the father because she suspected “abuse” even though the courts found no evidence of any abuse. Her daughter, by the way, was a very young child incapable of making right or wrong judgement calls or defending herself from any type of assault.
So, where is our bail system? Where is our trial by jury? Dr. Morgan and the two reporters of recent times were both jailed indefinitely by the whim of a court Judge.
Sounds a little bit like the power Kings of old yielded against those whose views or actions differed from their. Lock em up in the dungeon!
This is American justice? This is freedom? This is Constitutional law?
If we look back upon our recent history we have what something called “The Kent State Massacre” and the assault on the Symboinese Liberation Army that resulted in a fired which killed everyone, along with the assault on Waco’s Branch Dividian Church.
In the case of all of these actions they were lawful. Warrants were issued with probable cause and the participants refused to peacefully comply. The problem was our "representatives" (police, FBI, Department of Justice, etc.) got a little out of hand and started using tactics right out of Hitler’s era and Attila the Hun’s regime.
Maybe my friend’s right. Maybe we have become a police state and we are just so blind or mellow or caught up in our own self-righteous “my country right or wrong” mentality that we just can’t see it!
Makes me think of those words from the movie “Invasion of the Body Snatchers:” You’re next! You’re next!
Imagine doing two or more years for choosing to stand upon the right of “not testifying against yourself” like Elizabeth Morgan and the two reporters chose to do. They took the "fifth" so to speak. They stood behind either a right to remain silent or a right to be a member of a free press as the case may be... It’s a constitutional right! The right not to say a word if you so choose! It's a right for the press to speak openly about anything! The problem is, those rights are now being abused by our own system!
Take care, Big Brother is watching you and may lock you away in a dungeon without notice if you step out of line!
You're next! You're next!