The rule of law has been lost

Print Friendly


January 19, 2010 [print_link]

Emblematic of how mainstream liberals betray the interests of the people is an Obama appointee, Harvard law professor Cass Sunstein, who advocates that the U.S. government create a cadre of covert agents to infiltrate anti-war groups and groups opposed to U.S.government policies in order to provoke them into actions or statements for which they can be discredited and even arrested.  Sunstein defines those who criticize the government’s increasingly lawless behavior as “extremists,” which, to the general public, sounds much like “terrorists.” In essence, Sunstein wants to generalize the F.B.I.’s practice of infiltrating dissidents and organizing them around a “terrorist plot” in order to arrest them.

By Paul Craig Roberts

cass-sunstein

Cass Sunstein: a fractured personality with progressive and reactionary pieces.

“Never in its history have the American people faced such danger to their constitutional protections as they face today from those in the government who hold the reins of power and from elements of the legal profession and the federal judiciary that support “energy in the executive.’ 

An assertive executive backed by an aggressive U.S. Department of Justice (sic) and unobstructed by a supine Congress and an intimidated corporate media has demonstrated an ability to ignore statutory law and public opinion.

.

The precedents that have been set during the opening years of the twenty-first century bode ill for the future of American liberty.”

What is the greatest human achievement? Many would answer in terms of some architectural or engineering feat: The Great Pyramids, skyscrapers, a bridge span, or sending men to the moon. Others might say the subduing of some deadly disease or Einstein’s theory of relativity. 

The greatest human achievement is the subordination of government to law. This was an English achievement that required eight centuries of struggle, beginning in the ninth century when King Alfred the Great codified the common law, moving forward with the Magna Carta in the thirteenth century and culminating with the Glorious Revolution in the late seventeenth century. 

The success of this long struggle made law a shield of the people. As an English colony, America inherited this unique achievement that made English speaking peoples the most free in the world. 

In the first decade of the twenty-first century, this achievement was lost in the United States and, perhaps, in England as well.

As Lawrence Stratton and I show in our book, “The Tyranny of Good Intentions” (2000), the protective features of law in the U.S. were eroded in the 20th century by prosecutorial abuse and by setting aside law in order to better pursue criminals. By the time of our second edition (2008), law as a shield of the people no longer existed.

.

Respect for the Constitution and rule of law had given way to executive branch claims that during time of war government is not constrained by law or Constitution.

Government lawyers told President Bush that he did not have to obey the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which prohibits the government from spying on citizens without a warrant, thus destroying the right to privacy. The U.S. Department of Justice ruled that the President did not have to obey U.S. law prohibiting torture or the Geneva Conventions. Habeas corpus protection, a Constitutional right, was stripped from U.S. citizens. Medieval dungeons and torture reappeared under American government auspices. 

The American people’s elected representatives in Congress endorsed the executive branch’s overthrow of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Law schools and bar associations were essentially silent in the face of this overthrow of mankind’s greatest achievement. Some parts of the federal judiciary voted with the executive branch; other parts made a feeble resistance. Today in the name of “the war on terror,” the executive branch does whatever it wants. There is no accountability.

.

The First Amendment has been abridged and may soon be criminalized. Protests against, and criticisms of, the U.S. government’s illegal invasions of Muslim countries and war crimes against civilian populations have been construed by executive branch officials as “giving aid and comfort to the enemy.” As American citizens have been imprisoned for giving aid to Muslim charities that the executive branch has decreed, without proof in a court of law, to be under the control of “terrorists,” any form of opposition to the government’s wars and criminal actions can also be construed as aiding terrorists and be cause for arrest and indefinite detention. 

One Obama appointee, Harvard law professor Cass Sunstein, advocates that the U.S. government create a cadre of covert agents to infiltrate anti-war groups and groups opposed to U.S.government policies in order to provoke them into actions or statements for which they can be discredited and even arrested. 

Sunstein defines those who criticize the government’s increasingly lawless behavior as “extremists,” which, to the general public, sounds much like “terrorists.” In essence, Sunstein wants to generalize the F.B.I.’s practice of infiltrating dissidents and organizing them around a “terrorist plot” in order to arrest them.

.

That this proposal comes from a Harvard Law School professor demonstrates the collapse of respect for law among American law professors themselves, ranging from John Yoo at Berkeley, the advocate of torture, to Sunstein at Harvard, a totalitarian who advocates war on the First Amendment.

  The U.S. Department of State has taken up Sunstein’s idea. Last month Eva Golinger reported in the Swiss newspaper, Zeit-Fragen, that the State Department plans to organize youth in “Twitter Revolutions” to destabilize countries and bring about regime change in order to achieve more American puppet states, such as the ones in Egypt, Jordan, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Canada, Mexico, Colombia, Ukraine, Georgia, the Baltic states, Britain, and Western and Eastern Europe.

The First Amendment is being closed down. Its place is being taken by propaganda in behalf of whatever government does. As Stratton and I wrote in the second edition of our book documenting the destruction of law in the United States:

.

“Similar assaults on the rule of law can be observed in England. However, the British have not completely given up on accountable government. The Chilcot Inquiry is looking into how Britain was deceived into participating in the illegal U.S. invasion of Iraq. President Obama, of course, has blocked any inquiry into how the U.S. was deceived into attacking Iraq in violation of law.”

.

Much damning information has come out about Blair’s deception of the British government and people. Sir David Manning, foreign policy advisor to Blair, told the Chilcot Inquiry that Blair had promised Bush support for the invasion almost a year in advance. Blair had told his country that it was a last-minute call based on proof of Iraq’s possession of weapons of mass destruction.

.

Sir William Patey told the inquiry that President Bush began talking about invading Iraq six or seven months prior to September 11, 2001. A devastating official memo has come to light from Lord Goldsmith, Prime Minister Blair’s top law official, advising Blair that an invasion of Iraq would be in breach of international law.

.

Now a secret and personal letter to Prime Minister Blair from his Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, has surfaced. In the letter, the Foreign Secretary warned the Prime Minister that his case for military invasion of Iraq was of dubious legality and was likely as false as the argument that removing Saddam Hussein would bring Iraqis a better life.

.

Blair himself must now testify. He has the reputation, whether deserved or not, as one of the slickest liars in the world. But some accountability seems to be heading his way. The Sunday Times (London) reported on January 17 that the latest poll indicates that 52 percent of the British people believe that Blair deliberately misled his country in order to take Britain to war for the Americans. About one quarter of the British people think Blair should be put on trial as a war criminal.

.

Unlike the U.S., which takes care to keep the government unaccountable to law, Britain is a member of the International Criminal Court, so Blair does stand some risk of being held accountable for the war crimes of President George W. Bush’s regime and the U.S. Congress.

.

In contrast, insouciant Americans are content for their government to behave illegally. A majority supports torture despite its illegality, and a McClatchy-Ipsos poll found that 51 percent of Americans agree that “it is necessary to give up some civil liberties in order to make the country safe from terrorism.”

.

As our Founding Fathers warned, fools who give up liberty for security will have neither.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Most improbably, and proof (we suppose) that redemption is possible, Paul Craig Roberts, is a former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury under criminal Ronald Reagan, and a former associate editor of the Wall Street Journal.  He has been reporting shocking cases of prosecutorial abuse for two decades. A new edition of his book, The Tyranny of Good Intentions, co-authored with Lawrence Stratton, a documented account of how Americans lost the protection of law, was published by Random House in March, 2008.

January 19, 2010
The Rule of Law Has Been Lost
By Paul Craig Roberts
“Never in its history have the American people faced such danger to their constitutional protections as they face today from those in the government who hold the reins of power and from elements of the legal profession and the federal judiciary that support “energy in the executive.’ 

An assertive executive backed by an aggressive U.S. Department of Justice (sic) and unobstructed by a supine Congress and an intimidated corporate media has demonstrated an ability to ignore statutory law and public opinion. The precedents that have been set during the opening years of the twenty-first century bode ill for the future of American liberty.”

What is the greatest human achievement? Many would answer in terms of some architectural or engineering feat: The Great Pyramids, skyscrapers, a bridge span, or sending men to the moon. Others might say the subduing of some deadly disease or Einstein’s theory of relativity. 

The greatest human achievement is the subordination of government to law. This was an English achievement that required eight centuries of struggle, beginning in the ninth century when King Alfred the Great codified the common law, moving forward with the Magna Carta in the thirteenth century and culminating with the Glorious Revolution in the late seventeenth century. 

The success of this long struggle made law a shield of the people. As an English colony, America inherited this unique achievement that made English speaking peoples the most free in the world. 

In the first decade of the twenty-first century, this achievement was lost in the United States and, perhaps, in England as well.

As Lawrence Stratton and I show in our book, “The Tyranny of Good Intentions” (2000), the protective features of law in the U.S. were eroded in the 20th century by prosecutorial abuse and by setting aside law in order to better pursue criminals. By the time of our second edition (2008), law as a shield of the people no longer existed. Respect for the Constitution and rule of law had given way to executive branch claims that during time of war government is not constrained by law or Constitution.

Government lawyers told President Bush that he did not have to obey the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which prohibits the government from spying on citizens without a warrant, thus destroying the right to privacy. The U.S. Department of Justice ruled that the President did not have to obey U.S. law prohibiting torture or the Geneva Conventions. Habeas corpus protection, a Constitutional right, was stripped from U.S. citizens. Medieval dungeons, torture, and the windowless cells of Stalin’s Lubyanka Prison reappeared under American government auspices. 

The American people’s elected representatives in Congress endorsed the executive branch’s overthrow of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Law schools and bar associations were essentially silent in the face of this overthrow of mankind’s greatest achievement. Some parts of the federal judiciary voted with the executive branch; other parts made a feeble resistance. Today in the name of “the war on terror,” the executive branch does whatever it wants. There is no accountability.

The First Amendment has been abridged and may soon be criminalized. Protests against, and criticisms of, the U.S. government’s illegal invasions of Muslim countries and war crimes against civilian populations have been construed by executive branch officials as “giving aid and comfort to the enemy.” As American citizens have been imprisoned for giving aid to Muslim charities that the executive branch has decreed, without proof in a court of law, to be under the control of “terrorists,” any form of opposition to the government’s wars and criminal actions can also be construed as aiding terrorists and be cause for arrest and indefinite detention. 

One Obama appointee, Harvard law professor Cass Sunstein, advocates that the U.S. government create a cadre of covert agents to infiltrate anti-war groups and groups opposed to U.S.government policies in order to provoke them into actions or statements for which they can be discredited and even arrested. 

Sunstein defines those who criticize the government’s increasingly lawless behavior as “extremists,” which, to the general public, sounds much like “terrorists.” In essence, Sunstein wants to generalize the F.B.I.’s practice of infiltrating dissidents and organizing them around a “terrorist plot” in order to arrest them. That this proposal comes from a Harvard Law School professor demonstrates the collapse of respect for law among American law professors themselves, ranging from John Yoo at Berkeley, the advocate of torture, to Sunstein at Harvard, a totalitarian who advocates war on the First Amendment.

The U.S. Department of State has taken up Sunstein’s idea. Last month Eva Golinger reported in the Swiss newspaper, Zeit-Fragen, that the State Department plans to organize youth in “Twitter Revolutions” to destabilize countries and bring about regime change in order to achieve more American puppet states, such as the ones in Egypt, Jordan, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Canada, Mexico, Columbia, Ukraine, Georgia, the Baltic states, Britain, and Western and Eastern Europe.

The First Amendment is being closed down. Its place is being taken by propaganda in behalf of whatever government does. As Stratton and I wrote in the second edition of our book documenting the destruction of law in the United States:
“Similar assaults on the rule of law can be observed in England. However, the British have not completely given up on accountable government. The Chilcot Inquiry is looking into how Britain was deceived into participating in the illegal U.S. invasion of Iraq. President Obama, of course, has blocked any inquiry into how the U.S. was deceived into attacking Iraq in violation of law.”
Much damning information has come out about Blair’s deception of the British government and people. Sir David Manning, foreign policy advisor to Blair, told the Chilcot Inquiry that Blair had promised Bush support for the invasion almost a year in advance. Blair had told his country that it was a last-minute call based on proof of Iraq’s possession of weapons of mass destruction.
Sir William Patey told the inquiry that President Bush began talking about invading Iraq six or seven months prior to September 11, 2001. A devastating official memo has come to light from Lord Goldsmith, Prime Minister Blair’s top law official, advising Blair that an invasion of Iraq would be in breach of international law.
Now a secret and personal letter to Prime Minister Blair from his Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, has surfaced. In the letter, the Foreign Secretary warned the Prime Minister that his case for military invasion of Iraq was of dubious legality and was likely as false as the argument that removing Saddam Hussein would bring Iraqis a better life.
Blair himself must now testify. He has the reputation, whether deserved or not, as one of the slickest liars in the world. But some accountability seems to be heading his way. The Sunday Times (London) reported on January 17 that the latest poll indicates that 52 percent of the British people believe that Blair deliberately misled his country in order to take Britain to war for the Americans. About one quarter of the British people think Blair should be put on trial as a war criminal.
Unlike the U.S., which takes care to keep the government unaccountable to law, Britain is a member of the International Criminal Court, so Blair does stand some risk of being held accountable for the war crimes of President George W. Bush’s regime and the U.S. Congress.
In contrast, insouciant Americans are content for their government to behave illegally. A majority supports torture despite its illegality, and a McClatchy-Ipsos poll found that 51 percent of Americans agree that “it is necessary to give up some civil liberties in order to make the country safe from terrorism.”
As our Founding Fathers warned, fools who give up liberty for security will have neither.
Author’s Bio: Paul Craig Roberts, a former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury and former associate editor of the Wall Street Journal, has held numerous academic appointments. He has been reporting shocking cases of prosecutorial abuse for two decades. A new edition of his book, The Tyranny of Good Intentions, co-authored with Lawrence Stratton, a documented account of how Americans lost the protection of law, was published by Random House in March, 2008.
4 comments on “The rule of law has been lost
  1. If securities rules applied to federal research grants, half the professors would be in jail! Obama’s constituencies are universities, lawyers and unions. The universities are in it for the grants. Any Republican that votes money for universities is a traitor.

    UPI June 6, 1992 Sovern took over at Columbia after student protests of 1968 and New York’s fiscal problems in the ’70s resulted in less financial support for the school, a situation made more dire by recent federal government budget cuts. . . But Columbia will be looking for a new president in a period troubled by criticism for destroying records that were being reviewed for improprieties. Universities in general have been under greater scrutiny for how they charge the government for federally sponsored research.

    They love third world students because they don’t expect the professors to work for the tuition! Surely You Are Joking Feynman p 215 “If I ask you a question during the lecture, afterwards everybody will be telling me, ‘What are you wasting our time for in the class? We’re trying to learn something. And you’re stopping him by asking a question’.”

    When Obama falls in 2010, we should go through the grant-grubbing Ivy Leagues that produce commie-nutty organizers with a flame thrower! Ivy League universities are not good at getting students jobs, only grants to be commie nutty organizers. If you are liberal, anything you do is inherently ethical for the cause, but if you are a conservative, and believe in GOD, family or business, your very moral fiber, even down to trivial autonomic responses, is subject to persecution as either dangerously criminal or the result of clinical illness. Bush 43 had two Ivy degrees and they treated him as stupid because he was conservative even though he had better grades and entrance scores and took a lot tougher courses than Gore. Professors are the ultimate molestor high priests because they extort and control your transcripts and your grants if you turn them in. Like a cult, they will make your children denounce you and everything you stand for as unworthy. The lowest level university bureaucrats actually suffer the worst affectations and are likey to be the most vicious persecutors of your children. No business ever trusts such left wing graduates who don’t believe in capitalism and become crooks because they are taught the only way business makes money is crooked so they seek to avenge their unemployability through their own crookedness. The universities consider real jobs and competition beneath them, so they want their little sissies to live off grants, even in the hard sciences or business. How many of their engineering professors have Professional Engineering certification? Almost none! They love foreign students because they slave up and don’t expect professors to actually work for the tuition, like American students do. No middle class parent should consider sending their kids there, because these schools will destroy your entire family. The only schools that understand middle-class values are for-profits. Middle class parents foolish enough to buy into the Ivy League dream die way too young.

  2. JACK REYLAN:
    You seem to be an educated person, but you clearly are a right winger by temperament, with a grudge against the Ivy League schools, etc. Well, let me tell you this: I don’t like the Ivy league myself! But your case is weakened by too many logical contradictions.

    First, you don’t understand the first thing about what constitutes the American ruling class. If you did, you’d soon see that the Ivy League graduates as many, perhaps many more rightwingers and status quo supporters than the “commies” you so obviously despise.

    Second, the vast majority of the people who serve the US empire in the highest offices–yes, empire pal–were selected from Ivy League backgrounds.
    THAT’s one of the main recruiting grounds for the establishment, whether for the government or the top corporate slots.

    Mainstream liberals like a Nancy Pelosi, Reid, et al, are pretty repulsive, but the GOP ranks are filled with equally corrupt scum, too, so what’s your choice? We live in a nation where there’s really no political choice, and only one permanent party: the corporate party. To go after the imaginary “commies” that run this nation, as you do in your probably Catholic mind, is pure idiocy.

    Betsy Craighton, Los Alamitos, Calif.

  3. I am a vegetarian because I could not knowingly harm others,
    be they human or non human because it would be in my interest
    to do so. Those of an opposite attitude, are by and large, a
    perennial danger to all sentient life. I have written this to
    inspire others to embrace a concept that may
    conduce to a less painful, and deadly world.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Categories

From Punto Press


PuntoPress_DisplayAd_REV

StatCounter

wordpress stats