May 5, 2013
According to lawyers Derege Demissie and Susan Church, Robel Phillipos, the teenager accused of lying to investigators after the Boston Marathon bombings, was interrogated without the benefit of a lawyer.
“This case is about a frightened and confused 19 year old who was subjected to intense questioning and interrogation, without the benefit of counsel, and in the context of one of the worst attacks against the nation,” the lawyers wrote. “The weight of the federal government under such circumstances can have a devastatingly crushing effect on the ability of an adolescent to withstand the enormous pressure and respond rationally.”
The Sixth Amendment states:
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.
In Brewer v. Williams (1977) the court ruled that once an adversary proceeding has begun against a defendant, he has a right to legal representation when the government interrogates him.
It is unclear if the suspect was given his Miranda rights notification. Dzhokar Tsarnaev had asked several times for a lawyer, but that request was ignored because he was being interrogated under the public safety exemption to the Miranda rule. Obama’s DOJ has unilaterally expanded the exception far beyond what the Supreme Court has established.
Glenn Greenwald writes:
Delaying Miranda warnings under the “public safety exception” – including under the Obama DOJ’s radically expanded version of it – is one thing. But denying him the right to a lawyer after he repeatedly requests one is another thing entirely: as fundamental a violation of crucial guaranteed rights as can be imagined. As the lawyer bmaz comprehensively details in this excellent post, it is virtually unheard of for the “public safety” exception to be used to deny someone their right to a lawyer as opposed to delaying a Miranda warning (the only cases where this has been accepted were when “the intrusion into the constitutional right to counsel… was so fleeting – in both it was no more than a question or two about a weapon on the premises of a search while the search warrant was actively being executed”). To ignore the repeated requests of someone in police custody for a lawyer, for hours and hours, is just inexcusable and legally baseless.
“This is a US citizen arrested for an alleged crime on US soil: there is no justification whatsoever for denying him his repeatedly exercised right to counsel,” Greenwald continues. “And there are ample and obvious dangers in letting the government do this.”
DOJ boss Holder and the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Mike Rogers, complained about Tsarnaev’s appearance before a judge and his right to counsel. They have called for an investigation.
If Phillipos was indeed denied counsel during his interrogation, it is another indication that the government will arrogantly ignore the Sixth and the Fifth amendments in criminal cases it defines as terrorism.
As the Indefinite Detention clause of the NDAA demonstrates, the government is determined to use the war on terror as an excuse to violate the rights of Americans. “The statute is particularly dangerous because it has no temporal or geographic limitations, and can be used by this and future presidents to militarily detain people captured far from any battlefield,” the ACLU noted after Obama signed the bill into law.
Mission Creep Police State
The government is determined to exploit the war on terror to increase its reach. The Department of Homeland Security was established in late 2002 for the purpose of responding to terrorist attacks, man-made accidents, and natural disasters. It has since declared it is “responsible for investigating a wide range of domestic and international activities arising from the illegal movement of people and goods” and “immigration crime, human rights violations and human smuggling, smuggling of narcotics, weapons and other types of contraband, financial crimes, cybercrime and export enforcement issues.”
“September 11 provided the federal government with a bullet-proof excuse to further absorb and integrate state and local law enforcement, a project that has been underway at least since the late 1960s,” I wrote last March.
Over the last decade, the feds have established a number of efforts to nationalize law enforcement and create a number of organizations designed to supposedly “protect the homeland” from not only terrorists – most handled by the FBI and the CIA – but all sorts of domestic criminals, including those who engage in victimless crimes such as drug use and prostitution.
There are now dozens of organizations feeding off tax dollars dispensed by the feds – from FEMA’s Citizen Corps to Volunteers in Police Service and Infragard and beyond. In many ways, these federally-funded and organized groups rival the police state apparatus active in Nazi Germany and Stalin’s Soviet Union.
The DHS has strived to incorporate non-terrorist crime into its ever-growing agenda – and subsequently promote its raison d’être as another federal agency lining up at the tax trough to gobble up billions of dollars of wealth confiscated from the producers.
For example, the DHS now “protects victims” from “domestic violence and other violent crimes” that have nothing to do with the late CIA asset Osama bin Laden or the would-be nineteen hijackers who trained on U.S. military bases. The mega-bureaucracy now doles out money to everything from “Juvenile Accountability” to anti-counterfeiting, border security, and computer incident response.
But it really shines when it comes to acting as a political surveillance tool for the establishment. It has successfully exploited the global jihad terror myth to spy on antiwar and patriot groups and recently the Occupy movement. So-called fusion centers – centralized high-tech Orwellian snoop hubs – now dot the landscape and feed data into the DHS leviathan.
Obviously, the role of a radically expanded surveillance and police state is not to protect us from terrorists the government created – and continues to create for its political theater – but to undermine and subvert opposition to the government and the establishment status quo.
In order for a police state to work effectively, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights must be subverted and rendered useless as well. Political enemies of the elite must not be allowed access to counsel or appear before judges.
The United States is rapidly becoming a third world dictatorship where enemies of the state disappear. It is a long-term project going back decades.
In 1987 during the Iran-Contra hearings, Congressman Jack Brooks gave us a brief glimpse of what the government has in mind – the “suspension of the Constitution, turning control of the government over to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, emergency appointment of military commanders to run state and local governments and declaration of martial law during a national crisis,” and the roundup and internment of political enemies.