The Persecution of the Los Angeles Eight

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In a Feb. 24 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court gave the American rulers a new license for political repression against foreign-born residents.

By a vote of six to three, it rejected the appeal of eight supporters of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) in Los Angeles who immigration officials have been trying to deport since 1987.

The government has clearly gone after the Los Angeles Eight because they were active supporters of the PFLP, which the government characterizes as a “terrorist organization.” In fact, one of the eight was singled out specifically because the FBI thought he was an effective organizer.

The PFLP is a component part of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), with which the U.S. government now has a cozy relationship. The PFLP has not been linked to any violent acts in recent years. But it opposes the Israeli-PLO peace accords and subsequent agreements between the PLO-run Palestinian authority and Israel reached under the patronage of the United States.

For Washington, apparently, opposing U.S. foreign policy is enough to get you labeled “terrorist,” and once the State Department imposes that label, you have no rights.

It is ironic that the Supreme Court decision came down only days after the CIA masterminded the kidnapping of Abdullah Ocalan, leader of the Kurdish resistance to Turkish genocide by a squad of masked Turkish commandos.

The Kurdish leader has been subjected to drugging, torture, and public humiliation worthy of a regime determined to wipe out an entire people. The U.S. authorities claimed that Ocalan was a “terrorist.”

The “antiterrorism” law passed by Congress in 1996 gives U.S. courts the right to prosecute anyone who supports in any way an organization labeled as “terrorist” by the U.S. State Department and to impose heavy penalties.

Obviously, arbitrary political repression against foreign born residents will inevitably be extended to native born citizens as well.

The purpose of political repression is to intimidate, and the repressors want to be able to intimidate everyone. The Ocalan case shows that the U.S. authorities do not care about the niceties of citizenship or international law.

The ruling of Supreme Court Judge Scalia is particularly sinister in that he argued that it would be an invasion of “executive privilege” to question the political motives of any government prosecution. That is carte blanche for the government to use any legal pretext for the sake of political persecution.

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