Do the Secret Bush Memos Amount to Treason? Top Constitutional Scholar Says Yes
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Who has suspended the law this way in the past? It is like a Caesar's law in Rome; a Mussolini's law in Italy; a Fuhrer's law in Germany; a Stalin's law in the Soviet Union. It is right down the line. It is enforcing the will of the dictator through the military.
NW: The mainstream media have virtually ignored these revelations, though it seems to me this is the biggest news since Pearl Harbor.
MR: I think that's right. We had a glimmering of the blueprint for some of this -- when they picked up Jose Padilla, the military went to a prison and snatched an American citizen as if they had a perfect right to do so.
Now we can see that these memos laid the legal groundwork for such actions. We knew the military could do this to an individual. We did not know the plan was to eliminate First Amendment constitutional rights for the entire population.
NW: If Bush only wanted these powers in order to prosecute a war on terror, why does he need to suspend the First Amendment? Isn't that the smoking gun of a larger intention toward the general population?
MR: Part of this plan was actually implemented: for instance, they tried to keep people like Padilla from getting to a magistrate. They engaged in the wiretapping, because according to these memos there was no Fourth Amendment.
They had to be planning some kind of a takeover of the United States to be saying they could simply abolish the First Amendment if the president believed it was necessary in the name of national security. It lays the groundwork for what could have been a massive military takeover of the United States.
Here they crept right up and actually implemented part of the plan, with Padilla, with the warrantless wiretapping. Yet they are saying in the White House and in Congress that it is looking backward to investigate the authors of these memos and those who instructed Yoo and others to write them.
But investigation and prosecutions are really looking forward -- to say we need the deterrence of prosecution so this does not happen again.
NW: What about the deployment of three brigades in the U.S.? How should we read that?'
MR: With terrorism as less of a concern to many, but now with the economy in tatters there is a lot more militant activism in U.S. -- the New School and NYU student takeovers, protests around the country and strikes are just the beginning. I think governments are now concerned over people's activism, and people's anger at their economic situation. I don't think those brigades can be detached from the idea that there might well be a huge amount of direct-action protest in the U.S.
There could have also been a closer election that could have been stolen easily and then a huge protest. Those troops would have been used to enforce the will of the cabal stealing the election.
NW: As a layperson, I don't fully understand what powers the memos actually manifest. Are they theoretical or not just theoretical? What power did the memos actually give Bush?
MR: They were probably, in fact almost for sure, written in cahoots with the administration -- [Karl] Rove, [Dick] Cheney -- to give them legal backing for what they planned or wanted to carry out.
What I assume happened here is people like Cheney or his aides go to the Office of Legal Counsel and say, "We are going to need legal backing, to give a face of legality to what we are doing and what we are planning." When the president then signs a piece of paper that says, "OK, military, go get Jose Padilla," these memos give that order a veneer of legality.