July 1st, 2007

Big Brother is Watching You

Cheney: The Imperial Vice President

If there was ever a doubt that we in the US have been living under a dictatorship these past few years, this article, along with the four-part series on Dick Cheney published by the Washington Post this week, should erase all such doubts. I have pasted in links to that series (it's long) at the end of the Blumenthal piece.

The Imperial Vice Presidency

New details about his secret mission to expand the power of the president show that Cheney, at the end of his career, refuses to loosen his grip.
By Sidney Blumenthal
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Two months after 9/11, on the day of the fall of Kabul, Afghanistan, Nov. 13, 2001, Vice President Dick Cheney appeared in the Oval Office with a four-page executive order designating terrorism suspects as enemy combatants to be held indefinitely, with no right to have their detention reviewed by any court except newly created military commissions, where they would not be permitted to learn the accusations or evidence against them, or be represented by counsel, or even know that their case had been heard and decided.

The secretary of state and the national security advisor were deliberately kept uninformed as the White House staff secretary prepared the order for signature. According to a four-part series published this week in the Washington Post on the extraordinary power of the vice president, "When it [the order] returned to the Oval Office, in a blue portfolio embossed with the presidential seal, Bush pulled a felt-tip pen from his pocket and signed without sitting down. Almost no one else had seen the text." Colin Powell was stunned when he learned of the fait accompli. "What the hell just happened?" he asked. Condoleezza Rice was described as "incensed." But neither of them, then or later, effectively challenged Cheney's usurpation of executive authority. And, as can be gathered inferentially, Bush never bothered to ask Cheney about their opinions on the executive order or to call them; nor did he seem to care.
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Scary stuff, folks: We've been part of a dictatorship where even the figurehead (Bush) that Cheney uses was unaware of the full extent of the machinations... not that he cared.

Here are the full articles online:
http://blog.washingtonpost.com/cheney/chapters/chapter_1/
http://blog.washingtonpost.com/cheney/chapters/pushing_the_envelope_on_presi/index.html http://blog.washingtonpost.com/cheney/chapters/a_strong_push_from_back_stage/index.html
http://blog.washingtonpost.com/cheney/chapters/leaving_no_tracks/

Best,
Chris