Friday, February 24, 2006

Portgate II: Extraordinary rendition of national security

A few days ago, I wrote a diary (excerpted and frontpaged by Kos here) about how George Bush had violated the "security presidency" post-9/11 mentality ethic that had governed all of his previous unconstitutional and illegal endeavors with regard to national security issues.

The only thing I couldn't really figure out is why.  Many Kossacks had speculated that the Carlyle Group had a role to play in arranging the deal, but that didn't seem enough of an explanation for something that could appear to be such a callous violation of the public trust.

But after Sunqueen212's diary on the secret agreement between the Bush Administration and the UAE, it has all become clear to me:

This is the extraordinary rendition of our national security.

More below.

I assume most of us know what extraordinary rendition is.  In case you don't, Wikipedia sums it up nicely:

Extraordinary rendition refers to an American extra-judicial procedure, widely believed to be illegal, of sending criminal suspects, generally suspected terrorists or supporters of terrorist organisations, to countries other than the United States for imprisonment and interrogation. Critics have accused the CIA of rendering suspects to other countries in order to avoid US laws prescribing due process and prohibiting torture and have called this "torture by proxy" or "torture flights".

In short, extraordinary rendition is a method of letting the executive branch get done what it wants to do with regard to torture, interrogation and even summary execution of suspects without interference from Congress and the Judiciary, who would actually make decisions on whether such practices were in violation of the laws and customs of the United States.

Well, that's the exact same thing that has happened with Port security.  I shall now quote from the AP Article that Sunqueen212 wrote her diary on:

(They) did not require Dubai Ports to keep copies of business records on U.S. soil, where they would be subject to court orders. It also did not require the company to designate an American citizen to accommodate U.S. government requests. Outside legal experts said such obligations are routinely attached to U.S. approvals of foreign sales in other industries.

now why on God's green earth would they do that?

Well, let's say that you're interested--as this administration is--in not letting Congress or the Judiciary know what the executive branch is up to, what information it's requesting, and why it wants the information it's requesting.  There really is only one way to get that done:  make secret deals with foreign governments for the obtaining of information over which our courts have no jurisdiction.

And that's exactly what's going on here.  Why would the bush administration intentionally omit the requirement that records be kept on U.S. soil?  intentionally omit the requirement that a U.S. citizen be designated to handle all information requests on behalf of the government?  Because they are interested in making sure U.S. law doesn't apply.

Imagine that this port deal goes through with the specifications detailed in the AP article referenced above.  You will have a situation where the Bush administration--and perhaps any subsequent administration--can request any records, or any other piece of information at all, from any port owned by the UAE, without any judicial or congressional oversight.

It's my opinion that the reason Bush is so adamant about this deal is not so his daddy and his friends at the Carlyle group can make more obscene amounts of cash.  My opinion on it is that this is all part of Bush's power grab for the executive branch.

The travesty of it all, however, is that as bad as extraordinary rendition is with regard to torture suspects, this port deal is even worse.  At least with torture we export people to foreign countries of questionable merit to do our dirty work.  With this port deal, however, the Bush administration has imported a country of questionable merit into the United States--making a secret deal with a foreign government to be able to avoid the oversight and separation of powers mandated by the U.S. constitution.

To me, that constitutes treason.

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