President-elect Donald Trump's transition team includes personalities like former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Giuliani is infamous for his institution of the “stop and frisk” policy which resulted in racial profiling of African-Americans and Latinos by New York City police. Many have pointed out the fundamentally unconstitutional nature of the “stop and frisk” policy. A policy which allows police officers to randomly stop and search any person whom they think is “suspicious.” This is a blatant violation of the US Constitution's Fourth Amendment protection of citizens from illegal search and seizure.
Given the frightening rise in power over the last several decades of the US national security state, should anyone be surprised?
Edward Snowden, Julian Assange and WikiLeaks
#Wikileaks burst onto the scene with the leaked footage of the video “collateral damage” showing the murder of civilians and journalists by the US military. Former US Army soldier Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning is serving a 35 year sentence for alleged violations of the Espionage Act for having the courage to reveal this footage to the world. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been detained for 5 years without charge in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. And Edward Snowden, the courageous former National Security Agency contractor who revealed the level of US spying on its citizens and allies, is still exiled in Moscow under Russian political asylum. Snowden demonstrated that #Obama's campaign promises to curtail these abuses were false..
The national security state
Spying on American citizens and the US national security state tragically increased under President Obama's administration. Critics and legal scholars critique Obama's alleged unconstitutional domestic actions and allegedly illegal international actions. Actions such as “targeted killings” which many scholars argue is a linguistic sleight of hand to get around the United Nations Charter which bans political assassinations. Drone strikes occur without due process of law. Without a criminal charge, indictment, arrest, or criminal trial of terror suspects. American attorney Robert H. Jackson recognized the importance of the rule of law. Even the Nazis, the worst criminals of the 20th Century, were given their day in court in an international legal tribunal. The precedent US normalization of drone strikes of criminal suspects sets under international law is frightening. Equally terrifying is the state of civil liberties in the US.
The NDAA and Posse Comitatus
After the devastation of the American Civil War, in 1878 Congress enacted the Posse Comitatus Act making it illegal for the federal government to use federal military personnel against the US civilian population.
This all changed with the enactment of section 1021(b)(2) of the National Defense Authorization Act. Pulitzer prize winning journalist Chris Hedges went so far as to sue President Obama in 2013 over the constitutionality of the new section of NDAA. Hedges won in trial court, lost on appeal, and petitioned to the Supreme Court. The Court determined Hedges did not have standing to bring suit.
The end of liberty
The section allows the US military to detain US citizens alleged to “substantially support” alleged terrorist forces and to be imprisoned indefinitely until the “end of hostilities” without due process of law. Many are still shocked that a former constitutional law professor would support such fundamentally unconstitutional measures. Should it be any surprise therefore, that under Obama's administration federal military personnel (i.e. the US National Guard) are being used to viciously violate the human rights of peaceful water protectors standing against Dakota Access? This is the neo-liberal national security state legacy that is now being handed over to #Donald Trump and his fascist regime of liberty-hating climate change deniers. The Resistance must not allow them to Trump liberty.