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Was the United States a Dictatorship? March 11, 2009

Posted by Dwight Furrow in Current Events, Dwight Furrow's Posts.
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Economic news tends to crowd everything else from public attention these days. But this story from last week should not go unnoticed.

Memos from the Office of Legal Counsel during the Bush Administration were released. And they are as frightening as many of us feared. These were memos written by the President’s legal advisors including the infamous John Yoo, advising Bush on what he could and could not do.

Here is Glenn Greenwald’s analysis of one of the memos:

The essence of this document was to declare that George Bush had the authority (a) to deploy the U.S. military inside the U.S., (b) directed at foreign nationals and U.S. citizens alike; (c) unconstrained by any Constitutional limits, including those of the First, Fourth and Fifth Amendments.  It was nothing less than an explicit decree that, when it comes to Presidential power, the Bill of Rights was suspended, even on U.S. soil and as applied to U.S. citizens.  And it wasn’t only a decree that existed in theory; this secret proclamation that the Fourth Amendment was inapplicable to what the document calls “domestic military operations” was, among other things, the basis on which Bush ordered the NSA, an arm of the U.S. military, to turn inwards and begin spying — in secret and with no oversight — on the electronic communications (telephone calls and emails) of U.S. citizens on U.S. soil.

As John Horton writes in Harper’s

“We may not have realized it at the time, but in the period from late 2001-January 19, 2009, this country was a dictatorship.

It is shameful that while this abrogation of the Constitution was taking place, the press for the most part ignored it.