First Amendment, eh?

Well, this is great: http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/09/25/books.destroyed/?hpt=T1. The Defense Department has bought up thousands of copies of a new book and burned them, er destroyed them. Woohoo freedom of speech! Apparently the author–an officer in the Army Reserve–cleared it with the Reserve according to their process, but not the wider Army or DoD process. A second edition has been printed with heavy  redactions. Okay, not that great, but the guy was in the army, which comes with a different set of expectations than civilians or journalists.

Then there’s this: http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/09/25/secrecy/index.html, in which the Obama administration argues not only that they have the right to assassinate American citizens–citizens who don’t even have to be charged with a crime, much less indicted, much less tried, much less found guilty, much less found guilty by a jury of his peers, must less sentenced according to the law and the findings of said jury and/or a presiding judge–not only does the administration argue this, but they argue that a judge should throw out the case in which the citizen’s father has sued to prevent the US from summarily assassinating his son.

Well. I suppose let’s hope that the judge rules against the Obama administration and that the administration is forced to change their course. It’s a little bit ironic that some commentators are worried about Obama’s allegedly socialist policies leading somehow to jackbooted government thugs enforcing the Affordable Care Act, or something, when we have actual jackbooted government thugs literally authorized to assassinate an American citizen without due process. For all his expansion in executive power, Bush didn’t even do this. Let’s move the conversation from the doors marked “Socialism” and “American Taliban” to the one that says “Civil Liberties”, eh?

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One thought on “First Amendment, eh?

  1. I enjoyed the updates. The book burning (because, well, that’s what it is) actually did surprise me despite my better pessimism of the state of things. It’s surprising both for its audacity (who burns books anyways?) and for its stupidity (that old adage about the oxymoron of “military intelligence” comes to mind…). I hope the almighty interwebs will reveal all in time.

    Unfortunately, the court case will not be tossed. The states secrets privilege is amazingly powerful. Under Bush it was used a record number of times to mask many evils (the rendition and torture of one Mr. El-Masri I particularly remember). I share your frustration. Perhaps someone else can point out the relevant legal or, better, social argument in favor of its use though I have yet to come up with anything in my own lookings-in on the topic. On the other hand, it seems a bit surprising that it’s being used against a US citizen though this shouldn’t make us any angrier. However, Mr. El-Masri is German—another Westerner of a type. Obama believes he needs to uphold his license to continue his semi-secret record-breaking usage of drone assassinations, and the states secret privilege will do that for a time.

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