Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Bush administration considered First Amendment expendable

Remember learning about the Constitution and the basic principles of American democracy in grade school?

Well, imagine throwing all of that into a wastebasket. That's what the Bush Administration did in the aftermath of the attacks of September 11, 2001.

According to an October 23, 2001 memo from the Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel, freedom of speech is merely a guideline, a concept that can be suspended at the will of the King President.
First amendment speech and press rights may also be subordinated to the overriding need to wage war successfully. [emphasis mine]
Not being patriotic enough by giving your full-throated support to the President's glorious imperialist aims? Then kiss your right to speak in opposition of his policies goodbye.

Fail to report the latest Presidential talking points as anything other than the gospel truth? Congratulations, your newspaper or media outlet has just had its credentials revoked and is no longer allowed to publish. Post facts on your blog that contradict the falsehoods and rhetorical illusions created by the Administration, and you might just find yourself in prison being held incommunicado as an enemy combatant.

And as we've seen over the past several years, especially with the "Mission Accomplished" fiasco, the term "waging war successfully" can be defined any way those in power see fit.

This isn't Stalin's Soviet Union, Tiananmen Square in 1989, the military junta of Burma, the Third Reich, or Mussolini's Italy. This isn't George Orwell's 1984. This is the United States of America. But you wouldn't know it by the creative liberties taken with our laws and the principles of democracy by the Bush Administration. And it's memos like this that remind us why a thorough investigation of possible abuses of power and broken laws by the Bush Adminstration must be undertaken.

Otherwise, if we turn a blind eye to flagrant disregard for the rule of law, what good is the law?


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