Author Archives: Tom Geeliah
Obama has reversed yet another campaign promise and is holding top secret negotiations for an agreement which would not only relieve corporations of regulations but create a “parallel system of justice”.
The agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, would create a non-governmental corporate tribunal, which all signatory countries would submit jurisdiction under, that could levy unlimited fines against governments to be paid to corporations for such “violations” as regulatory costs, or “unfair treatment” if subjected to the same laws as citizens.
Lori Wallach, director of the fair trade group Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, who’s organization was given the leaked draft chapter of the TPP (the only reason this secretive agreement has seen the light of day) went on Democracy Now! to discuss the dire consequences this agreement may have for the global community:
“The reason why it is so incredibly important that this agreement be exposed is this could well be the last agreement that’s negotiated…This one could be the end, because what they intend to do is leave it open, once it’s done, for any other country to join. So, this is an agreement that ultimately could have the whole world in it as a set of binding corporate guarantees of new rights and privileges, enforced with cash sanctions and trade sanctions. It is not an exaggeration to say that the TPP threatens to become a regime of binding global governance, right at the time that the Occupy movement and movements around the world are demanding more power and control. This is the fightback.”
Full Democracy Now! interview here:
In a disgustingly ironic decision, a black Judge has accepted the first black President’s argument that “sovereign immunity” shields the US Government from liability when it intentionally infected more then 2000 Guatemalans with syphilis, gonorrhea and other STD’s to “test penicillin” in the 1940′s. To ignore the devastating history of the US Government’s intentional infliction of terrible diseases is disgusting enough, to ignore your own history is equal parts tragedy and ignorance.
Obama, whilst on a PR run through Guatemala, had given lip service to President Alvaro Colom, who rightly condemend these “crimes against humanity” but when it came time to officially accept responsibility for the US’s Guatemalan “Tuskegee Experiments” the real Barry stood tall and proudly explained that the US can not be held liable in a US Court, because it is above being held responsible in a court it itself has created.
white-washed msm version here: http://www.cnn.com/2012/06/15/us/guatemala-std-experiments/index.html
Eleven Bahraini Doctors who were sentenced to jail for providing medical assistance to pro-democracy peaceful protesters had their sentences upheld by an appeals court yesterday. The Bahraini monarchy and it’s puppet court are of course propped up by the United States military, as Bahrain is home to the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet.
Dispite Bahrain’s repeated and continued history of violence and torture, President Obama’s administration resumed sales of weaponry to Bahrain’s tyrannical monarchy after just a 6 month pause.
Hear statements from some of the doctors here: (at 5:00)
For the second time in as many days, the Constitution tallied a remarkable victory in the Southern District of New York yesterday as Judge JED S. RAKOFF denied a motion to dismiss the class action filed by Occupy Wall Street protesters against the NYPD after 700 were arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge on Oct. 1 of last year in one of the biggest mass protests in the history of this country.
Although Judge Rakoff dismissed claims against Bloomberg and Kelley, claims against all NYPD officers acting that day have been given the seal of approval to continue. Generally speaking, these “preliminary” victories are extremely decisive in class action lawsuits, as they force defendants, particularly municipalities, to settle claims without going to trial. This is the case with the Brooklyn Bridge class action as Judge Rakoff found that the NYPD had violated the protesters 1st and 4th (by way of the 14th) Amendment Rights under the Constitution by condoning their permit-less march and arresting protesters without giving them “fair warning” that their activities were no longer legal and would be subject to arrest.
The NYPD had maintained that it’s feeble, at best, attempt to order the dispersal of the over 4,000 person march (which your writer was a part of) before they turned around and led the march onto the bridge, constituted an order that was unlawfully disobeyed. Judge Rakoff, based on video evidence, flatly rejected these generic excuses:
A reasonable officer in the noisy environment defendants occupied would have known that a single bull
horn could not reasonably communicate a message to 700 demonstrators. Furthermore, a reasonable officer would have known that those who did not hear any warning might infer permission to enter the vehicular roadway from the fact tha t officers, without offering further warnings, proceeded ahead of and alongside plaintiffs onto that roadway.
Furthermore, the Judge found that whether or not the police orchestrated a charade, or bait and trap scenario is of little consequence:
what motivated the officers to retreat from their position at the entrance to the vehicular roadway does not matter . The officers putatively violated the First and Fourth Amendments when, having maintained their control over a peaceful demonstration, they imposed the serious sanction of arrest on many who, while attempting to exercise their First Amendment rights, never received fair notice that the officers had prohibited their conduct.
Judge Rakoff’s finding that protesters had proved, preliminarily, that the NYPD acted unreasonably is categorically a huge victory against the NYPD and recent activity in the S.D.N.Y. should be commended by all rights activists.
Full Opinion here (very good read for Activists & Con Law Scholars alike)
Yesterday, the very Honorable Katherine B. Forrest, of the Southern District of New York, continued her commendable stand against the legalization of indefinite detention included in the NDAA of 2011, specifically section 1021(b)(2). (Complete recap of the NDAA here) Judge Forrest had previously issued an injunction of the indefinite detention section of the Act based on the 1st Amendment and Due Process Clause of the 5th Amendment. However, the Obama Administration, in a continuance of it’s disregard for the order of law and separation of powers, took the brazen stand that this injunction only applied to the named plaintiffs, notably the venerable Noam Chomsky, flaunting it’s notion that it will refrain from imprisoning a few journalists and academics indefinitely, without trial but that it is free to do the same to every other person on earth. Judge Forrest explained that the Obama Administration’s had relied on inappropriate and inapt reasoning to reach these conclusions.
The learned Judge Forrest was forced to provide Barack Obama, Leon Panneta, John McCain et. al, a primer in Constitutional law:
“The Supreme Court has made it clear that when a plaintiff claims that a law is facially vague and violates his or her Constitutional right to due process, that “party seeks to vindicate not only his [or her] own rights, but those of others who may also be adversely impacted by the statute in question. In this sense, the threshold for facial challenges is a species of third party (jus tertii) standing.” City of Chicago v. Morales, 527 U.S. 41, 55 n.22 (1999). A similar standard governs facial First Amendment challenges to overly broad statutes. See, Sec’y of State of Md. v. Joseph H. Munson CQL, 467 U.S. 947, 958 (1984) (“Facial challenges to overly broad statutes are allowed not primarily for the benefit of the litigant, but for the benefit of society–to prevent the statute from chilling the First Amendment rights of other parties not before the Court.”) full opinion
In her opinion Judge Forrest gave an insight into why she is taking such an important stand in this case, “the public interest in ensuring that ordinary citizens understand the scope of such a statute justifies its breadth.” Obviously, Judge Forrest understands the extreme danger that is latent in the NDAA of 2011 and this has emboldened her to slap down the very administration that put her on the bench of the S.D.N.Y. barely 9 months ago. Bravo, Judge Forrest.
Obama Administration Argues for Tougher Immigration Laws and “Liberal” Supreme Court Justices Fall In Line
The Obama Administration was handed a “victory” when the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that a children don’t get credit for time served living in this country, legally. Under Federal law, if a legal immigrant lives in the United States for a minimum of 5 years and continuously for the last 7, then they are not allowed to be deported without a minimum level of procedural due process. These “immigrant protections” didn’t sit well with Obama, who we all know has deported more immigrants than any other President in history. Obama argued that respecting the fact that children had grown up here for most of their lives was an undue burden, and that those years before a child turns 18 don’t count towards the 5/7 requirement. Obama’s argument centered around the need to deport “criminals”. The crimes that most of these hardened, 19 year old criminals have committed?? It won’t surprise you that petty drug charges make up a majority (as is the case with our society as a whole). To read the MSM account of the most recent slap to the face by the Obama Administration jump here:
Obama Continues Military Backing of Bahrain as Doctors are Tortured and Killed For Treating Patients
The Obama Administration has decided to continue multi-million dollar arms deals with the Bahraini monarchy that continues to murder pro-democracy protesters and doctors alike. Democracy Now! has an exclusive interview with one of the three neuroscientists in Bahrain, who was arrested, beaten, and tortured simply for treating protesters. Originally he was charged with murder himself. It should disgust any American to know that this is what their tax money and liberal president are doing.
Full video here:
I’m taking this opportunity – this anniversary – to make an urgent call out to you my brothers and sisters. May 1st marks the anniversary of the deaths of our martyrs in the labor struggle. There are numerous reasons why it is of the utmost importance that you remember, just as your brothers and sisters before you, that we are in a life and death struggle. I speak of these things not in hyperbole, but in their realest sense. I also speak of our deaths not simply at the slow hands of the levers of capitalism, the utopia of which all good modern-middle classes strive for, but by the sudden impact of drone missiles and the blunt force of militarized police batons. But in order to fully understand this distress signal, you must have even the shortest memory of your own history.
A (Very) Brief History of 21st Century America
The century began not on new years day 2000 but on November 2, 1999, when George W. Bush stole his first term as President. This was the foundation for the decade to follow: an unprecedented move and the fatal blow to American democracy. However, there is not one simple way to frame the circumstances and reaction of the 2000 election. So I choose only one: the American people’s acquiescence with barely a whimper. If your nationalist upbringing makes that hard for you to accept, then look no further than to the Iranian people’s reaction to their stolen Presidential election in 2009.
9/11 and it’s Aftermath
The destruction of civil liberties in the aftermath of 9/11 is undeniable . The Patriot Act paved the way for the next decade of destruction of not only individual civil liberties, but of the entire socio-economic structure of the United States. (Highly recommend you see “The Shock Doctrine” by Naomi Klein)
The end result politically was the devastation not only of the last bits of hope the Baby Boomers held that they too could be the Greatest Generation, but that of the real future, the teenagers and college students who had just voted for their first time. In a sign of the once unfathomable decline of the “free-est county in the world,” the part of the American public that still voted in 2004 (less then those that watched that years finale of “American Idol”) actually voted Bush in for a second term. You can spend days reading commentary on the disgusting nature this represents, but I’ll move on to the longest lasting repercussions of Bush’s second term.
20+ Years of a Conservative Supreme Court
On November 2, 2003, I was devastated, heart broken and going through the stages of denial. Why? Because the foundation of my nationalistic, dream inspired upbringing inside the machine was dead. Although I was still in undergrad, I knew the legal ramifications of Bush’s second term. Rehnquist was near death and O’Connor was staying around only long enough to give the voters a choice. Bush got 2 appointments in his second term, enough to swing the Court for the first time in a half century.
And just like that the “sacred cows” of the actual social progression of the United States were gone. Not in the sense that they were overturned with the appointments of the baby fascists’ legal scholars, but in the historical sense. It will matter little whether it took 1 year or 15 years when: affirmative action, abortion, the 4th Amendment, and Habeas Corpus are gone. (8 years on and the NDAA of 2012 has done away with 2 of the 4 already.) Affirmative action has been decimated and will be put out of it’s misery in the coming term. Hopeful dreamers still have a couple months to believe that the only positive action by Obama, his health care program, still has life( it doesn’t).
However, what’s even more alarming than the regressive tactics of the 4 horseman of the Apocalypse and their dispatcher (Justice Kennedy), is the progression of a neo-fascist agenda that even the bravest little middle class progressive would never have dreamed possible.
Indefinite Detention of American Citizens
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2012 has an unforeseeable strength for destruction. However, what is obvious about the law, even at this early stage, is devastating enough for the Republic. The NDAA, specifically Sec. 2, Title X, Subtitle D., Sec. 1021-22., authorizes the “Indefinite Detention” of anyone, American or non-American citizen alike, who is accused of being a terrorist or providing material support to terrorists. I’m going to go into these terms deeper. However, it is extremely important to note that there are no legal requirements for anything more than a non-legal accusation of such activities and anyone (you, your family, your professors) can be “indefinitely detained” for life.
It is of historical note, particularly important for those Americans still delusional enough to vote, that Obama feigned a veto to this, the most destructive Act in a century, all the way through the legislative process until he cowardly signed it into law, not only on a Saturday night, but New Years Eve.
Much like it sounds, Indefinite Detention in the American 21st Century is the internment of individuals without charge or formal “legal” accusation for an unending period. Because it’s been 11 years since 9/11, that is the upper limit to indefinite detentions so far, but these are ongoing and continue in Guantanamo Bay and in black site prisons across the globe. Occasionally, if political and social tide winds collide just perfectly, there can be formal charges brought against those labeled as “suspected terrorists,” or even more rarely, you can provide evidence in the blind hopeful optimism of release. Most likely, and much more commonly, you can and will be held definitively without charge, regarless of how young or old you are.
Habeas Corpus and the Bill of Rights
Because the NDAA allows indefinite detention of American Citizens, without charge, these linchpins of our Republic are effectively obliterated. In mockingly futile ways, the ideas of Habeas and the Bill of Rights still enjoy feigned importance when advantageous to the state; however, one need only be accused of aiding a “terror organization” to see the real effectiveness of these sacred doctrines.
Providing Material Support to Terror Organizations
Even assuming that the Government has or desires evidence against an individual being held under the NDAA (becuase there need be none as you will never come near the inside of a court room), the idea of “providing material support” is in itself an unexpectedly dangerous tool of the State. As the case of Terek Mehanna exemplifies, “providing material support” can be as little as translating documents or speeches from one language to another (google translator anyone?).
Implementation of NDAA
Obama, after his cute dance around the veto threat, turned his back on yet another campaign promise and issued a signing statement when he authorized the NDAA into law promising not to use the powers of indefinite detention (but leaving them open for every other president after him). You need not hold your breath on whether this promise will be kept, as the Obama Administration is already using the NDAA to justify indefinite detentions.
Here is a perfect opportunity for you to use your CISPA crystal ball (via Mashable). You need not even step on the slippery slope to see how a civil rights activist fleeing to a Chinese Embassy for protection would require the People’s Republic of the United States to invoke “National Security” and “State secrets” grounds to choke the internet.