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Welcome to 1984

Torture in AmericaShortly, with Der Fuerer’s signing of the torture bill passed this week by congress, the United States will become a fascist state in all but name. No longer will be subject to the rule of law, but rather to the caprice of a man who I judge to be amoral and immoral. Habeus corpus has been done away with. The right to to a speedy and fair trial by a jury of your peers has been done away with. The right to be apprised of the charges brought against you and to confront your accusers has been done away with. The right to legal counsel has been done away with.

Instead, the chief executive of the United States reserves to himself the right to designate whomever he wishes as an “enemy combatant”. Once so designated, the president has the right to dispose of you in any manner he sees fit. You will be “disappeared”. No one will be told where you have been take or what has been done to you. You will be held incognito so long as the president wishes. And while being held, they may use any technique they desire to extract information from you. Nor can they be held liable for their actions, this bill gives them a get out of jail free card for all such actions performed in the past, present or future. You will be unable to do ANYTHING to them or ANYTHING to get yourself out of their clutches.

Do not think that being a citizen of the United States will protect you. The law is written so vaguely as to give the president and his minions the right to interpret it in any way they see fit. All that needs be done is to designate you as an “enemy combatant” and you will instantly forfeit all of your rights under the law. In effect, you will cease to exist in the eyes of the law.

I am having a hard time in understanding exactly how this has come about. After all, wasn’t this the reason our forebears revolted against King George? He was snatching our citizens off of ships on the high seas and denying them a trial. The colonists were literate men and women. They had read about the Battle of Runnymede and the Magna Charta that the lords forced the king to sign. The colonists wanted some of that too. They wanted to have the protection of law against the caprice of the king. They wanted it badly enough to wage war against that king. They gambled and won the ultimate prize: freedom.

Now the citizens of this great nation seem ok with throwing that 200 years of freedom away. Are they really so afraid of terrorism that they are willing to give up all their rights and to cede ultimate power to the president? The president told us that the terrorists hated us for our freedom. If that is true (and I don’t believe it), then the terrorists have won. Or, rather, we have surrendered to them. For we have truly given up our freedom if we let this stand.

In 1984 there is a key scene in which O’Brien, the party official explains to Winston Smith the goal of the party. That goal was, pure and simple, the exercise of power. Not the good of the people, not the good of nation, but simply the exercise of power. I think we have the same situation today. I think that we have undergone a coup by a group of people (the neocons) who are intent on reshaping the nation to their liking, for whom reality does not matter because “we create reality”. It is long past time for giving them the benefit of the doubt. They are, like the Nazis in Germany, thugs who are intent on mugging us into submission. They do¬† not have our best interest, or the best interest of the nation at heart, but rather their own dark plans of power.

I would dearly love to be wrong in this assessment. But I think not. When people start “disappearing” around you, you might want to sit down and write what you might want people to know about you — it could be the last they hear from you.

Tom Paine
Systems Administrator for ASP for hospitals/med surg facilities. Politics mostly socialist/populist. Anti-corporate, pro working class. Student of history who fervently believes that "those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it".

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