Friday, January 26, 2007

Bush Claims Your Brain

Adam Liptak of the New York Times today files a news report on the U.S. Justice Department's perversions of our judicial system in defense of the Bush administration's unconstitutional wiretapping program.

"Kafkaesque" and "Alice in Wonderland" are two phrases some lawyers and federal judges give to the Government's actions. Even those words somehow seem woefully inadequate to the task.

Try to imagine you were wrongly arrested, your home and office were invaded, and all of your files were seized without a court warrant issued upon a showing of probable cause. Turns out it was a colossal screw-up, a case of mistaken identity. Homeland Security -- this is hard to imagine, we know, but do try -- had the wrong person.

You file a civil case in court seeking money damages and an injunction against future wrongful arrest, invasion of privacy, and violation of your constitutional rights. U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez is on the other side.

The law's standard procedure of file-and-serve documents with the courts has existed since approximately 1164 A.D. when King Henry II promulgated the Constitutions of Clarendon, as it has been written, "to protect his subjects against powerful individuals who sought to intimidate in order to escape prosecution." So, you file your complaint in court and send a copy to the opposing party.

Imagine, in response, Mr. Gonzalez:
  • Refuses to file his responding legal papers in court.
  • Refuses to share copies of those papers with you.
  • Tells you -- and the court -- that he has "filed papers" with himself, but they can only be read if you come to his office.
  • When you or the judge comes to his office, he lets you see only part of his filings, blacks out the rest, forbids you from taking notes or making copies, and watches you the whole time.
  • When you file papers with the court objecting to this extra-legal procedure, Gonzalez then seizes your computer by threat of force and deletes all of your files from it at will, claiming "national security" as the reason.
  • When you file a challenge questioning his legal authority to do this, Gonzalez refuses to disclose to the court whether he a security clearance, "saying information about the clearance was itself classified."
  • When you nevertheless file another paper reciting what you recall about the few papers he let you read, Gonzalez then claims your memory belongs to the Government and you can't rely on it in any court filing without the Government's permission.
Oops! Now that you've read this, chances are the Bush administration's Justice Department soon will be knocking down your door to seize the computer you used to read about this. And they'll want your memory, too.

May as well comply. After all, what good will your brain do you when the only weapon Attorney General Gonzalez needs is your fear?

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