Sunday, August 27, 2006

dangerous expansion of unconstitutional powers, thanks to dear leader

This article from the San Francisco Chronicle details the truly amazing story of two U.S. citizens -- a 45-year old resident of the San Francisco area and his 18-year old son -- who, after travelling to Pakistan, have been barred by the Bush administration from re-entering the country. They have not been charged with any crime, and no court has ordered or even authorized this denial of entry. The administration is just unilaterally prohibiting these two Americans from re-entering their country.

A relative of the two men (the older man's nephew) was convicted in April by a California federal jury on charges of supporting terrorism as a result of his attending a Pakistani training camp (and just incidentally, the conviction was obtained under some controversial circumstances). And the Federal Government is now demanding that his two relatives submit to FBI interrogation in Pakistan as a condition for being allowed to return home to the U.S.
Gosh, why in the world would anyone be reluctant to submit to interrogation in Pakistan, even if it is allegedly done by the FBI, without access to counsel and without the protections American citizens are supposed to have, regardless of where they are geographically, when they are in American custody? (Hint: the answer rhymes with "water boarding.")
Over the past five years, this administration and its supporters have advocated empowering the Government to detain U.S. citizens indefinitely in military prisons without a trial, eavesdrop on their telephone conversations without any warrants, track and chronicle all of their telephone calls, and now bar their entry into the U.S. -- all without any criminal charges being filed and without any opportunity to contest the accusations, all of which are formed in secret.
Blood boiling, yet? Try this one one for size, from Digby:
For several years,
Javed Iqbal has operated a small company from a Brooklyn storefront and out of the garage at his Staten Island home that provides satellite programming for households, including sermons from Christian evangelists seeking worldwide exposure.

Mr. Iqbal’s home, a modest two-story stone and brick house on Van Name Avenue in Mariners Harbor, stands out because among the children’s toys in the backyard
were eight satellite dishes.

But this week, the budding entrepreneur’s house and storefront were raided by federal agents, and Mr. Iqbal was charged with providing customers services that included satellite broadcasts of a television station controlled by Hezbollah —
a violation of federal law.

Yesterday, Mr. Iqbal was arraigned in Federal District Court in Manhattan and was ordered held in $250,000 bail. The Hezbollah station, Al Manar — or “the beacon” in Arabic — was designated a global terrorist entity by the United States Treasury
Department in March of this year.
The Bush administration has decided to equate Mr. Iqbal's rebroadcast of what is little more than propaganda (pretty awful stuff, no doubt, but ultimately just propaganda) as material support for terrorists. That's ridiculous. Call it horrible, say that it's disgusting propaganda, but don't classify it as material support for terrorists, because that's just stupid. So open up your big book of rules to the page that says things like "buying or supplying weapons or providing financial support" for terrorists (start at the Saudi Arabia page, if you get lost) and add "rebroadcasting television programming." You should also grab a marker, and just wipe out the first amendment portion of your Constitution.

Bush and Cheney are fascists, and their Republican-controlled Congress are little more than enablers. We need to blow the Republicans out of Congress in November because our American way of life (freedom of speech, press, religion, right to be secure in our houses and not subject to unreasonable searches, etc.) can not stand two more years of a Bush White House and a Republican Congress.


Blogger leathej1 said...

Don't let the Democrats off the hook here. I think it is becoming clear that both sides of the aisle are full of aisle-holes. There are Democratic hawks that are even worse for the system than the Cheneyites.

I have a great fear that the poles are about to reverse again if Democrats come into power en mass. The Republican party could very easily become the reform party once again if power-hungry Dems start screwing around. Quite frankly, I feel like I don't have a party to piss in.

5:52 PM  
Blogger Naila J. said...

That's insane... (I hope) this could never happen in Canada!

6:12 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home