american in palestine

Friday, September 29, 2006

warrantless wiretaps, habeas corpus and terror..

ok....i'm really concerned now. first i hear the news item that congress just passed a bill suspending habeas corpus -- essentially taking away the right of a prisoner to challenge their imprisonment. this means that people can be held without charge, tortured, and essentially 'disappeared', legally, in the U.S. people who are innocent!! people who have done nothing wrong. and there will be no trial, no day in court where they can prove their innocence. and no way for them to challenge their imprisonment.
here's an oped from the new york times:

and now i hear that today the house has passed the 'warrantless wiretapping' act, and the senate is likely to soon follow. in this bill, the government can listen to anyone's phone, read anyone's email, demand records from telecom companies, and here, too, there is no legal way to appeal., i'm no legal expert (nor am i a big fan of a so-called 'democracy' built on genocide and slavery), but isn't there supposed to be something called 'checks and balances' in the american government? you know, that thing that I learned way back in grade school was 'the basis of american democracy'.

as a bumper sticker i once read said: "the constitution ain't perfect, but it's better than what we have now".

some american congressmen apparently have also just accused the United Nations Refugee and Works Association, currently the only provider of food and drinking water to over 80,000 Palestinian refugees, of somehow 'sponsoring terrorism'.......I guess because they give food and water to a starving civilian population that is a civilian population considered 'terrorists' by these guys.

I every palestinian a terrorist? is that the reasoning behind this?

i guess that some people believe that.

it's strange though.....the population in palestine is a young population - nearly 40% of the population is under 18.....and so mainly what i see here is kids -- kids riding bikes, kids playing basketball, babies laughing and gurgling adorably in their mothers' arms.....toddlers waddling after their brothers to try to join in their games....young girls skipping down the street hand in hand to the neighborhood shop.....

and i wonder to myself, how could anyone look at the palestinian people, almost half of them kids, and see nothing but terrorists?

yes, there have been some isolated incidents of violence by palestinians against israeli civilians. but far more palestinian civilians have been killed by israelis than vice versa. so who is the terrorist? and what is terrorism really?

if living as palestinians do, under curfew, locked in one's home 24 hours a day for months on end, with electricity cuts that invariably mean aerial bombardments occurring night after night, with tanks invading one's neighborhood on a daily basis, with one's kids getting shot for coming too close to the 30-foot high concrete wall that surrounds their town -- if that is not living in utter terror, then I don't know what is.

but i guess that is what the new 'american dream' looks like. that's what it's beginning to look like in afghanistan and iraq anyway, the latest conquests of the american empire.

with these new laws (which it appears are being rushed through before the midterm elections), the u.s.a. (or, to begin with, its prisons) is very quickly going to look the same way.

and this new terror regime is not coming from some fetishized islamic culture that many americans seem to have developed a stupefied stereotyped view, this is a home-grown american regime of "look the other way and don't notice when they take your neighbor away".....a regime of "why would you refuse to let your government read your email, tap your phone, or install cameras in your bedroom? ...unless you've got something to hide. what are you hiding, hmm?" a regime of secret government lists and a mafia-run government waging resource wars throughout the globe to 'preserve the american way of life', while americans get microchipped and racially profiled, retinal scanned and blacklisted, and blindly put their faith in their consumer economics and the power of their property to protect them from the undercurrent of fear that is rapidly surpassing all other dreams they might have had.....ignoring the secret prisons and rumors of torture (rumors which are vehemently ignored by a media which prefers to focus on hollywood weddings and which star got a nosejob, while furiously feeding the frenzy of fear that keeps people suspecting their neighbors and scared to go out alone).....
because after all, as sinclair lewis so succinctly put it back in 1935: "it can't happen here". (or....... can it.................?)

you can buy his book (called, you guessed it: _it can't happen here_):

....or borrow it from your local library. if it is indeed worthy of being called a library, it will have this book......
here's a review:
"Surprisingly, Sinclair Lewis' darkly humorous tale of a fascist takeover in the US, "It Can't Happen Here," is not merely out-of-print, but also quite hard to find. As dated as it is (1935), its themes will be quite familiar to Americans today. It starts with the highly contested election of an oafish yet strangely charismatic president, who talks like a "reformer" but is really in the pocket of big business, who claims to be a home-spun "humanist," while appealing to religious extremists, and who speaks of "liberating" women and minorities, as he gradually strips them of all their rights. One character, when describing him, says, "I can't tell if he's a crook or a religious fanatic." After he becomes elected, he puts the media - at that time, radio and newspapers - under the supervision of the military and slowly begins buying up or closing down media outlets. William Randolph Hearst, the Rupert Murdoch of his times, directs his newspapers to heap unqualified praise upon the president and his policies, and gradually comes to develop a special relationship with the government. The president, taking advantage of an economic crisis, strong-arms Congress into signing blank checks over to the military and passing stringent and possibly unconstitutional laws, e.g. punishing universities when they don't permit military recruiting or are not vociferous enough in their approval of his policies. Eventually, he takes advantage of the crisis to convene military tribunals for civilians, and denounce all of his detractors as unpatriotic and possibly treasonous. I'll stop here, as I don't want to ruin the story -- I can imagine that you can see where all this is going."


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