Right now in Hot Springs, Virginia, a used car salesman is glancing over the sports page hoping that a customer will show up. In Asheville, North Carolina, someone is taking a green magic marker to a piece of cardboard that will somehow magically “raise awareness” about the issue du jour.
In the West Wing at The White House, Obama and his henchmen are pouring over the playbook from the 1970s “Dirty War” in Argentina looking for more ideas on how to trash American freedoms.
The “Dirty War” which lasted from 1976 to 1983 resulted in 30,000 Argentines being kidnapped, tortured and killed by a government allowed to run unfettered.
Sedated by the dreamy and lofty speech of Peron, Argentines woke up one morning to find a military junta in Casa Rosada and their neighbors — and family members — grabbed from the street or out of their homes with no recourse.
Even a casual reading of the history of this dark period in Argentina history will reveal ten similarities between that horror and the one being played out on the American stage today.
Even while the car salesman fixes another cup of coffee and the activist prepares to chant and wave cardboard with a cutesy slogan.
Assassination of Citizens
President’s “W”. Bush and Obama have both claimed the right to order the assassination of any citizen they consider a terrorist — or an assistant to terrorism.
In 2012, American citizen Anwar al-Awlaqi was killed by US attacks that zeroed in on him specifically — he was the target.
Meanwhile, the US has repeatedly condemned Nigeria, Iran and Syria for extrajudicial killings of “state enemies”.
Under the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act), the president has the authority to indefinitely detain citizens it accuses of terrorism.
While the Executive Branch has continued to oppose any efforts to challenge the law, it continues to claim the right to strip citizens of legal protections — based on it’s sole discretion.
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The president now decides whether a person will receive a trial in the federal courts or at the hands of a military tribunal. Military tribunals have been condemned throughout the world for lacking basic due-process protections.
Egypt and China are among the countries which the US has denounced for maintaining separate military justice systems for certain defendants including civilians.
Under Executive Order the president may now order warrantless surveillance and searches. Included in this power is the capability to force companies and organizations to turn over information on citizens’ finances, communications and associations.
Given to Bush in 2001 and extended by Obama in 2011, nothing is safe from the long tentacles of the government — even your library records.
The government routinely uses “national security letters” to demand that organizations turn over information on citizens and orders the organization NOT to reveal the request to the target of investigation.
Both Saudi Arabia and Pakistan operate under laws allowing the government to engage in widespread discretionary surveillance — laws which the US government has condemned for others.
The US government now routinely uses secret evidence to detain individuals and utilizes this secret evidence in federal and military courts. The accused is never allowed to see or examine this evidence as the government routinely makes the claim that to do so would harm national security.
The world has repeatedly called for the prosecution of individuals responsible for waterboarding terrorism suspects during the Bush administration. Obama said in 2009 that he would not allow CIA employees to be investigated or prosecuted.
Throwing treaty obligations out the window and ignoring the Nuremberg principles of international law, Obama not taken the same tact when it comes to alleged war criminals in other countries.
Obama and the US have condemned Iran, Syria, Chile and China for denying independent investigations within their own country, yet continues to be hypocritical in the prosecution of offenses in America.
The US government has increased its use of the classified Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to include individuals thought to be aiding or abetting hostile foreign governments.
In 2011 when Obama renewed these powers, he made sure to include allowances for secret searches of individuals who are not part of an identifiable terrorist group.
Immunity from judicial review
Like the Bush administration before him, Obama has successfully pushed for immunity for companies that assist in warrantless surveillance of citizens.
China is the only other country which routinely blocks lawsuits against private companies for spying.
Continual monitoring of citizens
The Obama administration has repeatedly and successfully defended its claim that it can use GPS devices to monitor every move of targeted citizens without getting a court order.
Saudi Arabia and Cuba both have massive public-surveillance systems and have been condemned on the global stage for doing so.
As a private citizen the government can transfer you to another country under a system known as extraordinary rendition.
Practiced by countries such as Syria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Pakistan to torture suspects, the US has condemned the practice there which it continues to carry out at home.
Ignorant and apathetic Americans have allowed this police state from 1970s Argentina to take root and grow in America.
In a springtime interview in 2012, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) declared that “…free speech is a great idea, but we’re in a war.” And no one objected to his statement.
In 1787 Benjamin Franklin, following the signing of the Constitution was asked do we have a republic or a monarchy? Franklin’s response was direct and chilling: “A republic…if you can keep it.”
Since 9/11 Americans have created the very government which the Founding Fathers feared: a government with sweeping and largely unchecked powers resting on the hope they will be used wisely.
There are the ghosts of 30,000 Argentines that call out to alert us.