Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Liberty Lost Forever

By Robert Romano

There is a “good chance” that Obama Administration special counsel John Durham will recommend prosecuting Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Bush Administration officials for torture and other war crimes, as he concludes an inquiry Attorney General Eric Holder appointed him to undertake.

So says the Wall Street Journal’s Dorothy Rabinowitz. Last week on FOX News’ "The Journal Editorial Report," Wall Street Journal editors discussed predictions for the New Year. Paul Gigot noted that Durham is due to make his recommendations on whether “CIA and Bush administration officials should be indicted for their antiterror policies.”

Replied Rabinowitz, “There's a good chance he'll make that recommendation.” If he does, it will open an unprecedented Pandora’s Box of political prosecutions against outgoing administration officials for perceived political grievances. And a political bloodbath will be the result.

It is a process that, once unleashed, will be nearly impossible to stop. And it may ultimately lead to subsequent prosecutions made by future administrations. Reciprocity will be invoked on both sides of the political aisle.

In short, what were once mere political disagreements for the people to decide at large when electing their representatives could quickly escalate into a political war. One in which the executive branch unleashes law enforcement against government and military officials who thought they were doing their jobs in enforcing administration policies and prosecuting a war.

In this case, CIA officials who, acting in good faith, waterboarded the mastermind of the September 11th terrorist attacks and extracted information that thwarted another catastrophic attack by al Qaeda will be prosecuted like Nuremberg war criminals — by an American administration.

Deputy U.S. Attorney John Durham was originally chosen by the Bush Administration to investigate the destruction of CIA tapes. Attorney General Eric Holder recently expanded his role to include the investigation of Bush-Era interrogation techniques.

Ultimately, though, the prosecutions will not stop there. Even if that is the limit of what Barack Obama and Eric Holder are able to get away with immediately, it will set a dangerous precedent. Namely, the conduct of war by U.S. personnel will become a prosecutable offense in civilian courts. And politics will never be the same.

As Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson stated yesterday, “Not since the fall of the Roman Republic has a free nation sought to aggressively prosecute outgoing administrations for political grievances. This is a lethal threat to the Constitution. Barack Obama is playing with fire.”

He’s right, of course. If America goes down the rarely-traveled road of political prosecutions, it will change the rules of politics forever. And winning or losing will become a life or death struggle.

In short, it is a path that will almost certainly to tyranny and the loss of liberty.

But, believe it or not, it gets worse. The danger here is also a threat to the very sovereignty of the American nation.

As noted by Americans for Limited Government Assistant Research Director Richard McCarty, even if the Justice Department does not pursue prosecutions of CIA and Bush Administration officials, “it appears that [Barack Obama]’s enabling the international community to pursue [the] indictments. Obama just quietly signed an executive order giving INTERPOL even more immunity.”

Pursuant to the executive order, INTERPOL (International Criminal Police Organization), which works closely with the International Criminal Court, will no longer have to answer to the U.S. courts or be subject to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. In addition, Interpol officers will now have some immunity for crimes they commit on U.S. soil.

According to National Review’s Andy McCarthy, “This international police force (whose U.S. headquarters is in the Justice Department in Washington) will be unrestrained by the U.S. Constitution and American law while it operates in the United States and affects both Americans and American interests outside the United States.”

McCarthy asks, “Why would we elevate an international police force above American law?” Good question.

Probably to prosecute without any restraint whomever INTERPOL deems to have violated international law. According to an analysis done by’s Steve Schippert and Clyde Middleton: “[T]his immunity and protection — and elevation above the US Constitution — afforded INTERPOL is likely a precursor to the White House subjecting the United States under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC). INTERPOL provides a significant enforcement function for the ICC, just as our FBI provides a significant function for our Department of Justice.”

Predicted Schippert and Middleton, “[T]he next move from President Obama is likely an attempt to dissolve the agreements made between President Bush and other states preventing them from turning over American military forces to the ICC (via INTERPOL) for war crimes or any other prosecutions.”

As McCarthy, McCarty, et al, make clear, it is a tragedy in the making. Barack Obama is prepared to push America to the brink of political civil war to pursue a radical agenda that forbids the exercise of the national right to self-defense by the American people. Unfortunately, the consequences will not be his alone to bear.

For, as John Adams wrote in 1775, “a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty once lost is lost forever.”

Original posting at ALG

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