Friday, July 17, 2009

Assassination and Enemies

The power trip in the recently dislodged maladministration went much farther than its proponents would have expected when it set up a program to do in its enemies list. As TPMuckraker points out, there was not just the mindset of declaring 'enemies', left over from the Nixon criminal gang. There was also a commitment to do away with those enemies here as well as at large through the world.

Since the news broke (sub. req.) at the start of the week that CIA director Leon Panetta had pulled the plug on a secret program to assassinate or capture al Qaeda leaders, we've been raising questions about one key aspect of the story. In particular, what was it about the program that was so shocking that Dick Cheney reportedly ordered it kept secret from Congress, Panetta quashed it as soon as he heard about it, and Congressional Democrats risked being painted as soft on terror by shrieking about being kept in the dark?

We may have gotten a good piece of the answer here: The Washington Post reports today on how the program had been revived and then put on hold several times since 2001. But it also says, referring to the "presidential finding" with which President Bush authorized the program in 2001:

The finding imposed no geographical limitations on the agency's actions, and intelligence officials have said that they were not obliged to notify Congress of each operation envisaged under the directive.

"No geographical limitations" presumably means that operations could potentially be carried out in countries, friendly or unfriendly, that are far from any war zone -- including even the US itself. And it seems likely that they would be carried out without notifying the foreign country in question.

The methods used by the gang in power in the executive branch just past are more those of a takeover by a foreign power than those of a real and valid executive. The remains of that takeover are still present, and still exercising public powers, and will take time to oust entirely.

During some discussions of the DOJ conversion to political purposes, I have to insist that simply replacing prosecutors from the previous maladministration would weaken the case against that practice. When they are removed, it should be for cause, not for political purposes, not as the war criminals acted. When we have the plots against 'enemies' again shown as a basic part of the winger psyche, it is a good lesson in what we should avoid repeating.

The service if public interests is being returned to our government's agencies, and that should be the prime reason for government, once again. Putting down opponents was much too real a threat from the political purposes of the wingnuts in power so recently. That enmity should be avoided by decently functioning members of the government, government that we need. Our government is there to serve the people rather than subjugate them.

Prosecution of the criminals would be the best prevention of their criminal conduct for the future.

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