From the December 2001 Idaho Observer:

Totalitarianism by any other name

totalitarian: adj. Of or designating a polity whose main characteristic is considered to be monolithic unity upheld by authoritarian means. totalitarianism: n. ~American Heritage Dictionay of the English Language, Houghton Mifflin Co., 1969

When the term “totalitarian regime” is used conversationally, Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia come immediately to mind. In post Sept. 11 America, Congress and the Supreme Court have been neutralized by the anthrax scare and this country is being run by the executive branch. The executive branch is preparing for armed military occupation of American soil, complete with military tribunals; has made public its intention to justify eavesdropping on any communication it sees fit and is nationalizing private enterprise. Consult your own dictionary and find a form of government that more closely describes the government under which we are now forced to live.

U.S military occupation of American soil iminent

The Washington Post announced Nov. 21 that, “The nation's top military authorities favor appointing a four-star commander to coordinate federal troops used in homeland defense, part of a broad reorganization that Pentagon officials say could change some forces' primary mission from waging war overseas to patrolling at home.”

The move would be a violation of the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 that prevents the use of U.S. military forces for police actions on American soil in peacetime. However, for the first time since WWII, Congress actually declared a war on terrorism Sept. 13, 2001. Congress declared, “.that a state of war exists between the United States and any entity determined by the President to have planned, carried out, or otherwise supported the attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001, and authorizing the President to use United States Armed Forces and all other necessary resources of the United States Government against any such entity in order to bring the conflict to a successful termination.”

Since terrorists are on American soil and the U.S. declared war on terrorists, use of U.S. military forces here at home seems logical to the U.S. government.

“Although Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has yet to make a final decision, senior military officials working the issue say agreement has been reached on establishing a homeland CINC [commander-in-chief],” commented the Post.

The White House is moving quickly to establish the military occupation of American soil through the Homeland Defense office of Tom Ridge. For expediency it is expected that Homeland Defense military headquarters will be located at an existing command facility. North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) in Colorado and the Joint Forces Command in Virginia are the most likely candidates, sources say.

The U.S. Air Force is currently patrolling the skies above American cities and NATO AWACs are conducting high-tech surveillance operations based out of Hickman AFB in Oklahoma. The National Guard has some 358,000 troops and eight armored tank division that could be commissioned to aid regular troops in the U.S. military occupation of America.

Considering the likelihood that the war on terrorism can never be won, the military occupation of America may be permanent.

U.S military tribunals for suspected terrorists

The Washington Post announced Nov. 13 that, “President Bush signed an order Tuesday that would allow for the trial of people accused of terrorism by a special military commission instead of civilian courts...”

The order, signed by President Bush without any pretense of legislative due process, will be an excellent tool for the government to bring the perpetrators of the Sept. 11 attacks to justice, commented White House Counsel Albert Gonzalez.

Suspected terrorists will not be allowed counsel and will, in effect, be at the mercy of the federal government's sense of justice.

The order has prompted negative responses from foreign countries who are now hesitant to extradite suspected terrorists for “star chamber” proceedings in the U.S.

The order has also sparked controversy here at home. The legal community is questioning the constitutionality of the order and pro-American activists are concerned that the U.S. government's ever-expanding definition of terrorist could lead to military tribunals for American Citizens who are not in agreement with Bush administration policies (see article at right).

In defense of the president's order, Vice-president Dick Cheney reportedly commented, “They [suspected terrorists] don't ... deserve the same guarantees and safeguards that would be used for an American citizen going through the normal judicial process.”

U.S. to eavesdrop on lawyers, prisoners

The Washington Post announced November 9 that, “The Justice Department [DOJ] has decided to listen in on the conversations of lawyers with clients in federal custody, including detainees who have not been charged, whenever it is deemed necessary to prevent violence or terrorism.”

U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft approved the measure which is really only public disclosure of a practice that has been in full implementation for years, according to numerous current and prior federal prisoners.

The DOJ justifies the policy, “in view of the immediacy of the dangers to the public.” The DOJ is apparently taking advantage of the culture of fear the federal government has created in post-Sept. 11 America.

The expanded ability for the DOJ to compromise due process has been described as an “abomination” by trial lawyers whose canons of conduct demand attorney/client confidentiality.

The DOJ recognizes the sensitivity of the issue and has promised to develop “safeguards” and a complaint process to keep federal eavesdroppers in check. Critics of the plan are not reassured by DOJ promises of due process.

Civil libertarians are concerned that listening in on confidential attorney/client communications is the bridge between Americans suspected of terrorism being denied criminal due process and becoming subject to military justice.

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