By MUMIA ABU-JAMAL
With the seizure of the person (one can’t say “arrest,” for the government has announced it has no intention of prosecuting) of the American citizen alleged to have been planning “dirty bomb” strikes against U.S. targets, Abdullah Al-Muhajir (formerly Jose Padilla), the government goes down a dark and long road, the destination of which can only be-the Twilight Zone (with apologies to the late Rod Serling).
A charge, under Anglo-American jurisprudence, is only a charge, and remains so only until a duly constituted selection and decision of one’s peers-a jury-decides otherwise.
This is the boast that Americans have used for over two centuries, to hold their noses higher than the rest of the allegedly uncivilized world, as an expression of their trust in the wisdom and insight of the average American citizen to decide the fate of their fellows.
Under the present Bush regime, however, there is a marked perception that the American people, and more importantly, the institutions erected in their name, are not to be trusted. This view was apparently one of long standing.
Let us go back, back-way back to the days of the 2000 elections for the (Electoral College’s) choice of who would be president of the United States of America. Do you remember when the Republican lawyers appealed the decision of the Florida Supreme Court?
It was not merely that the Bush-Cheney government-in-exile mistrusted the machinations of the Florida Supreme Court. The Court’s second recount order did more than order a selective recount in certain counties-yes. Florida’s Supremes ordered its lower circuit and county judiciary-essentially trial judges-to do much of the counting!
Therefore, the reversal of the order of the Florida Supreme Court did far more than slap the faces of the Supremes; it, at least implicitly, suggested that the circuit court judges in the affected counties were not to be trusted!
Ever since the promulgation of the military tribunals, which had no tie-in with the civil, state, or federal judiciary, there has been the sense that the administration has little or no trust in the nation’s judicial apparatus, that somehow they were unable or perhaps unwilling to come out with the results that the Bush regime would approve of.
No civil courts, no judges, and no juries-what does this say about how much the administration trusts not only people in other branches of government, but average Americans themselves?
Not much, it seems.
If these same types of things were happening in, say, Peru, or North Korea, or Zimbabwe, so-called human rights activists would be baying to the moon about “shadow government,” “secret, unreviewable tribunals,” and the big one-“the lack of democracy.”
But the silence is deafening.
The right has so cowed what passes for the “left” in America that they bite their tongues bloody, to prove they are “proud Americans” while a de facto coup takes shape right before their very eyes.
Secret tribunals. Unlimited detention. Military courts. No right to counsel (such as it is!). Incommunicado. Is this Fujimori’s Peru? Is this Botha’s South Africa? Is this government by the people, or government by fiat?
This, then, is the real consequence of the sham democracy that is America at the beginning of the 21st century. Where legislators are but bagmen for industry, and when the press is but a wholly owned subsidiary of yet another big business conglomerate.
Fujimori had his boogiemen-the Sendero Luminoso (a.k.a. “Shining Path”)-to whip the bourgeoisie into lockstep with the neo-fascist narco-kleptocracy.
Botha had his boogiemen-the African National Congress (and the PAC, and Biko, and AZAPO, etc.)-to whip the white bourgeoisie into lockstep with the Herrenvolk, white supremacist, racist- fascist military dictatorship.
Bush has al-Qaeda-a plastic, ever-changing, shapeless boogieman, which is being used to whip the nation’s bourgeoisie into an unconstitutional frenzy of spy craft, skullduggery, and unprecedented federal intrusion into the lives, opinions, and beliefs of millions of Americans.
Is such-and-such a thing true? Who knows? The government said it, so…?
We are watching the very erection of Papa Bush’s New World Order, and it ain’t pretty. What are you going to do about it?
© COPYRIGHT MAJ 2002