Obama: A Placebo for Civil Liberties
Wayne MADSEN | 27.11.2014 | WORLD

Obama: A Placebo for Civil Liberties

Barack Obama has served as nothing more than a placebo for steadily-eroding civil liberties in the United States. What was billed as the «most transparent» administration in the history of the United States has turned into its most opaque, with Obama prosecuting more government employees for violating the 1917 Espionage Act than any of his predecessors combined. The «crimes» of those being prosecuted were simply communicating to journalists the malfeasance and law-breaking of the federal government. 

Obama was also billed as the first African-American president of «post-racial» America. Instead, Obama’s term in office has seen a return to the dark days of Jim Crow America where young black men and teens run a fairly good chance of being shot, choked, or tasered to death by white racist police officers. Such an America was on full display as a grand jury in St. Louis County, Missouri decided not to prosecute Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for shooting 18-year old black youth Michael Brown. Wilson told the grand jury that the 6 foot 4 inch tall Brown «looked like a demon» when Wilson, who is of the same height, encountered Brown during what would not turn out to be a routine pedestrian stop. 

Wilson shot Brown multiple times, including a fatal shot to the head, because he felt «threatened» by the unarmed black teen. Wilson’s exact words were: «The only way I can describe it, it looked like a demon. That’s how angry he looked», referring to Brown. Hearkening back to the era of slavery, Wilson, like so many of his racist supporters, believe that black people are «things», thus their use of the word «it». We should not forget that in his 2008 presidential debate with then-candidate Obama, Senator John McCain pointed to Obama on the debate stage and referred to him as «that one». 

By shooting Brown, Wilson knew that the system would be stacked in his favor. Rarely are police officers indicted for murder or manslaughter. It is called the «blue wall», with cops, district attorneys, and prosecutors on one side and the citizenry on the other. Wilson has actually personally benefitted from his slaying of Brown. Wilson shopped his first post-grand jury decision interview around to a salivating media and hit the jackpot when ABC News reportedly paid him a well-into six figure prize for granting the interview to the Disney-owned network.

Rather than question jurors who sat on the grand jury in St. Louis County, prosecutor Robert McCulloch, who hails from a family of police officers and whose on-duty father was killed by a black man and who has a history of lying, decided to just present evidence that clearly favored Wilson. Photographs of Wilson’s alleged «injuries» were shown to the grand jury, even though they appeared to be nothing more than a razor burn self-inflicted while Wilson was shaving. There was no attempt by McCulloch to cross-examine witnesses to the shooting. In fact, McCulloch’s statement to the media, which informed them that the grand jury had returned what is known as a «no true bill», that is, a no indictment decision, contained several references about witnesses changing their stories before the jury. McCulloch also appeared to blame the press more than Wilson for the aftermath of Brown’s shooting.

Rather than deal with an American police state where prosecutors and senators are permitted to debase people of color, Obama has donned his rose-colored glasses to dance merrily down the lane to luxurious post-presidential retirement. Obama has done nothing to reverse course and restore the constitutional rights of Americans, freeing them from the omniscient surveillance carried out by the National Security Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Transportation Security Administration, and hundreds of law enforcement agencies around the country. Local police departments and even public school disciplinarians are now in possession of potentially lethal military equipment provided by the Department of Defense for civilian law enforcement use. This gear includes assault rifles, mortars, armored assault vehicles, and hand grenades. 

The corporate news media focused on the riots and arson in Ferguson that followed the grand jury’s decision. There were also suggestions that state and local law enforcement held back on taking any action against the violent rioting provocateurs in order to justify Missouri Governor Jay Nixon’s decision to call out the Missouri National Guard to quell the unrest. Obama’s America, at least from reading the newspapers, looks more like America in 1970 with headlines like: «Nixon Deploys More National Guard Troops».

The U.S. State Department issues an annual report on human rights around the world. The report covers everything from gay rights to anti-Semitism. However, one of the world’s guiltiest violators of human rights – the United States – is not found anywhere in the report. After the decision by the Missouri grand jury to absolve Wilson of murder or even manslaughter, a Cleveland cop shot and killed a 12-year old African-American boy who was carrying a toy gun. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, charged the United States with the systematic violation of the human rights of African-Americans and other minorities. He said that for many sectors among the American population there is a «deep and festering lack of confidence in the fairness of the justice and law enforcement systems».

Russia’s human rights ombudsman Konstantin Dolgov stated in a Twitter message, «Racial and ethnic tensions continue to rise in U.S. society. It’s about time the U.S. authorities paid attention to this rather than focusing on lecturing the rest of the world on human rights». Egypt’s foreign ministry previously asked the United States to show restraint in how it handled demonstrators in Ferguson. A Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson urged the United States to improve its record on human rights. China has been a target of repeated American complaints over its human rights policy. 

The only constant factor in America’s human rights failures, as evidenced by police killings of civilians in the St. Louis area, Cleveland, New York, and other cities, is that it refuses to recognize it has a civil liberties problem worthy of world condemnation while, in turn, inanely maintaining that America is an example for the rest of the world to follow. 

While Ferguson burned and National Guard troops were deployed to St. Louis County, Obama decided to head into familiar turf in Chicago, where his political career was launched. The so-called «community organizer» and «social activist» was heckled by protesters in his home town as he attempted to pitch his new immigration policy. Obama has always had a «tin ear» when it comes to the grievances and complaints of the average American, whether it is a black teen in a racist environment like Ferguson, Missouri or Sanford, Florida, or a minimum wage worker who cannot afford to pay the insurance premiums required under «Obamacare». 

Obama engaged in «regime change» antics in Ukraine, Syria, Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, and other countries only to have frustrated African-Americans call for regime change in Ferguson, the state of Missouri, Cleveland, Detroit, Oakland, and cities across America. 

For America, «the Obama campaign slogan of «Hope and Change» has become a cruel joke with Obama laughing all the way to Wall Street and a cushy retirement while pocketing huge corporate donations to his Barack Obama Presidential Museum and Library.

Tags: US  Obama 

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