Al Qaida Won. Just Ask Judge Richard Posner.
From The Australian:
A TOP-RANKING US judge has stunned a conference of Australian judges and barristers in Chicago by advocating secret trials for terrorists, more surveillance of Muslim populations across North America and an end to counter-terrorism efforts being "hog-tied" by the US constitution.
Judge Richard Posner, a supposedly liberal-leaning jurist regarded by many as a future US Supreme Court candidate, said traditional concepts of criminal justice were inadequate to deal with the terrorist threat and the US had "over-invested" in them...
His proposed "big brother" solutions flabbergasted delegates at the Australian Bar Association's biennial conference, where David Hicks's lawyer, Major Michael Mori, is to be awarded honorary life membership.
Richard Posner is a careerist. Like everyone else with two sparking neurons in the U.S., he fully understands no one gives a rat's ass about The Constitution.
The Bush Administration, itself a product of post-Constitutionalism, does exactly as it pleases, as does Congress and the federal judiciary. Search & seizure? Separation of Powers? Advise and consent? Habeas corpus? Civil rights? The Rule of Law? These are all throwbacks to another time. The United States Federal Government now operates like a high school student council with guns, bombs and mass media.
So, technology is the Great American Salvation. That such a declaration is made by an esteemed legal scholar tells us everything we need to know about the mindset of the elites charged with the care, custody and control of the United States government.
"We have to fight terrorism with our strengths, and our strengths evolve around technology, including the technology of surveillance," said Justice Posner, a prolific legal scholar who sits on the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.
If, by "we" Posner means himself and his fellow elites for whom "the law" is whatever they say it is, his statements make a lot of sense. Otherwise, I can say with some certainty that Arvin Hill would not be included in any first person plural spoken, written or thought by Judge Posner or the vast majority of his peers.
"Are there terrorist plots that are at a formative stage among the large US Muslim community of two to three million people? In the 600,000 Canadian Muslim population, are there people planning attacks on the US?"
"What we have to do is discover the extent of the terrorist threat to the US. There is a danger, and it demands a rethinking of some of our conventional views on the limits of national security measures.
"We should think of surveillance as preventative, not punitive. We should think of controls that have nothing to do with warrants or traditional criminal justice to prevent abuses."
Not that I'm a Muslim, Dick. I swear!
If we want to ride horses and eat ice cream, we're just going to have to accept that American Muslims (and other swarthy types, to be sure) must be stripped of all legal rights, harassed from cradle to grave and relegated to the outermost fringes of society. Like we did to all the white dudes after McVeigh and his crank buddies went-a-bombing in Oklahoma City. Only then can we be truly safe. Because people on the fringes of society always make docile, friendly citizens. Our priority must be safety. To be "safe" is to be "free."
Is this making sense yet - or are you just being obtuse?
Judge Posner said the US temper and culture could not sustain repeated terrorist attacks.
Could not or would not? It's an artificial distinction. The national psyche is controlled with eerie efficiency by the entire social class which created Posner just as it creates and controls everything else: for its own utility.
The Big Scary Monster that Posner is warning about already devoured the U.S..
The Republic was so weak, hollow and meaningless by September 11, 2001, that it couldn't withstand a single terrorist attack. Yet, the aftermath of McVeigh & Company's Oklahoma City hootenany - just a few short years before 911 - looked considerably different from the total lockdown and relentless collective mindfuck initiated by The Bush Machine and its owner-operators. What happened in the interim between those two events?
At one time, the rule of law existed as a buffer against the mob rule mentality that has always menaced the human condition. Its banishment from the collective American conscience - something which has happened largely by design, as Posner's remarks illustrate - does not bode well for our future. It doesn't make our present any more palatable, either.
Melbourne QC Tim Tobin said it was a shock to hear such hard and isolationist positions coming from a judge known as a liberal thinker. While he was disturbed by the judge's proposed crackdown on US and Canadian Muslims, he suspected the sentiment would be welcomed by the Howard Government.I can't help but feel sorry for Australians, few of whom seem to understand their nation is just a tiny bit behind the U.S.. But, the truth is, all English-speaking Western nations are on a similar trajectory. Where they currently appear on the descending arc is largely irrelevant, or soon will be.
Among societies in Western industrialized nations, it isn't FEAR which marks the inauspicious start of the 21st Century. It is the capitulation to fear, which is a very different creature.
People who are afraid are easy to control, and people who are easy to control make compliant servants and junkie-like consumers. Everybody's a winner! As it turns out, blowback can take a take several centuries to play out. I don't know about you, but I don't expect to live to be a thousand.
Judge Posner raised the prospect of secret trials as a "tailored regime" to prosecute terrorists in cases where there was a concern about classified information going public.
Tailored regime? Now that's some tidy terminology. After reading his musings on jurisprudence, it becomes embarassingly obvious - even to a high school dropout like me - that Richard Posner is better suited to head The Department of Tag Lines at Crispin, Porter + Bogusky than rendering life and death decisions at the highest levels of government.
If the United States has forfeited a Constitutional Republic for a tailored regime [which, as we already know, is exactly what has occurred] - then the tiny minority of Americans who possess a deep and abiding understanding of the concept of freedom have the greatest duty to vigorously challenge the individuals and institutions which place a premium on further erasing it from the public mind.
"...Judge Posner said the US was "a law-saturated society where even non-lawyers tend to think of problems in terms of legal categories"
"Criminal justice and war are the two responses we have to terrorism. Each comes with its own legal institutions and doctrines and regimes but the struggle against international terrorism doesn't fit either very well.".
Let's see if I understand this. "Terrorism" will flourish in the "law-saturated society where even non-lawyers tend to think of problems in terms of legal categories." That's a real problem - THE real problem - for the Richard Posner's of America: Non-lawyers possessing some understanding of law. The rabble can have "rights" - but only if they don't understand what those "rights" are. Which explains why, according to our political elite - both Republicans AND Democrats - none of us can afford to claim any rights.
I thought Fascism was the problem. But according to Richard Posner, Baby Boomers were simply exposed to too many Perry Mason reruns.
Citizens who recognize they have inalienable rights - rights which, by definition, are fully independent of, and separate from, the bureacratic whims of the power mongers who lord over the population at any given time - cannot be tolerated by those who think of themselves as our masters, and act in accordance with that belief. These citizens - quite possibly you - represent the only real threat to the American elite which Judge Richard Posner so enthusiastically represents. Some things never change.
Other things, such as the failure of American citizens to place a proper value - or any value whatsoever - on inalienable rights, change in the worst way possible.
He said it was "quite misplaced" to suggest national security measures in force or contemplated in the US could endanger liberty and undermine the political system. This was because governments could no longer conceal what they did: "We have a very aggressive media and a huge and complex government where many people in the government are quite willing to talk to the press."Whose "liberty" and whose "political system" will not be "undermined by a national security state? Yours? Mine? Or the liberty and political system of Richard Posner, who clearly sees himself as an apparatus of the police state.
So, there's not enough secrecy in our government. If only the U.S. didn't have "a very aggressive media" (nevermind that thinking Americans increasingly must turn to non-American news sources for anything resembling accuracy and disclosure) and everybody would just shut the fuck up while American Muslims and various other malcontents were systematically rounded up, tortured and neutralized without fanfare. Then, Judge Richard Posner and his good friends wouldn't have to advocate such unpleasantries as a matter of policy. Sure, it's circular reasoning, but whether or not it makes sense isn't really the point. It's circular enough to get confirmed to United States Supreme Court by The Senator From Delaware and his good friends.
I might be able to enjoy my weekend more if someone could convince me this absolutely ridiculous person - or someone exactly like him - won't soon be signing [il]legal opinions studiously crafted by Pepperdine's latest batch of translucent bootlickers. As highly as I think of you all, I doubt any comfort is forthcoming.