Americans! Know Your Rights! You Have None!
by Harry Lime

Know your rights when the government accuses you of being a terrorist.

The Washington Post of June 5, 2004, carried an article (page A03) by Michael Powell entitled "Padilla Case Puts Lawyers in Limbo, Too": http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A16691-2004Jun4.html

This article concerns José Padilla, who

was arrested in May 2002 at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. A few weeks later, President Bush designated Padilla an enemy combatant and ordered him held indefinitely — without charges or access to a lawyer — at a naval brig in Charleston, S.C. This spring the Pentagon finally allowed [Padilla's lawyer Donna R.] Newman to meet again with Padilla, but only if two government officials monitored and videotaped their conversation.

This means that you no longer have the right to speak alone with an attorney.

Several prominent legal critics of the administration agree that there is a legal precedent for holding U.S. citizens as prisoners in wartime ... [but] they said the executive branch must concede a brake on its powers. ... Other legal scholars take a more sympathetic view of the administration's task, arguing that it is too early to give Padilla unfettered access to the American legal system.

This means that you no longer have the legal rights of citizens if the government says you don't.

Deputy Attorney General James B. Comey Jr. ... insisted that it could prove difficult to convict Padilla in a civilian court. ... This raises the possibility that Padilla might find himself in a legal Catch-22, too difficult to prosecute and too dangerous to release.

This means that the government can now lock you up indefinitely regardless of what any court of law, even the Supreme Court, says. In effect, the Executive Branch of our government has quietly eliminated the Judicial Branch.

The American political system of checks and balances has now ceased to exist — it disappeared while average Americans were watching mindless drivel on TV, driving their SUVs and gobbling their hamburgers — and now we have a de facto tyranny. You get the government you deserve. Unfortunately for your children (and their children) they get it too. But do you give a damn?


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