Something I blogged a bit about sometime previously has finally reared its ugly head in the mainstream Press (oh yes, do I ever feel omniscient and overbearingly important). This article from the Washington Post speaks to the secretive disloyalty of our government when it comes to openness and transparency concerning legal moves. Why is it so important to drug up illegal aliens when removing them from our soil? is it because they could be a danger to those around them? How? How, when they are obviously going to be unarmed and surrounded by CIA or FBI or Secret Service or Federal Marshal goons who are armed and the subject will have obviously been searched and relieved of anything that could be thought of as a potential weapon? Most likely, it's because those "officials" concerned don't want to run the risk that the detainee might talk to other passengers, because these "undesirables" are being deported on commercial flights (something the Washington Post did not report, but I did some time ago...ooh, that feeling of self-righteousness is getting even more powerful). This is so fucking Big Brother...if we are to be seen by ourselves and the world as a true (cough, cough) "beacon of hope", then we cannot allow our leaders to engage in or otherwise condone this type of action against anyone. And these are not necessarily aliens being flown to secret foreign prisons (renditions in case any one's forgotten those). They are often simply being kicked out of the country. If they are in the country illegally, by all means make them leave if it's such a dangerously big deal. But drug them, sedate them to the point of unconsciousness or inability to speak? That is not American, that is not the hallmark of a Democracy that wants to "spread" its "love" (ala OB/GYNs and female patients to semi-quote the Commander in Crawford) to every corner of the world. That is Syrian and North Korean and Iranian and Libyan and Lebanese and Israeli and Russian (okay, to be honest, most of these countries would just kill the poor son of a bitch and dump him just on the other side of their borders if they cared even that much, but you get the idea...).
But what are we doing here and why? And what message are we sending out? This, obviously, is an action that the administration hoped would never be seen in public print. It is, also, an action that someone in the Administration decided was not only good for our country, but was somehow potentially legally defensible like electronic eavesdropping without a warrant (national security trump card) or waterboarding because no international treaty we ever signed actually spelled that one out (although one or more did).
Are we truly being protected by this activity, because foreigners are outstaying their visas or lied on their applications about crimes committed in their home countries? The Saudis who flew planes into the Trade Center Towers didn't lie about past crimes. I don't know if any of them outstayed their visas. But they were doing stuff that should have raised red flags from here to the moon (like wanting to learn to steer a plane but not take off or land) and no one in power paid any attention to the alerts from field agents (FBI). Now, they're taking out anyone who doesn't toe the line to a T. And physically abusing them to boot whether it's warranted or not.
I am not a supporter of the Wall On The Rio. I think it's a waste of money and penalizes those who actually help our economy (keeping produce prices low) and do their best to stay on the right side of the law (minus that little matter of coming into the country illegally) and deflects our attention from more important problems like our economy crumbling because of a certain war in Iraq and a certain dependence on oil and politicians and Big Business stealing as many of our freedoms as they can in as short a time as they can by crying out that more people could fly a plane into a building at any given time and they'd love to tell us how many times they've saved us from this exact scenario since 9/11, but they are constrained by the National Security Act so we just have to take their word for it. How many times have we been told that, by the way? 100? 200?
But back to the Washington Post story. It's been reported many times before over two or three years and now, finally, a big paper is talking about it. Why? Are the big papers just now getting over their fear of Big Government? Or do they know that Bush is a lame duck and is too involved in putting out so many other fires created by his and his advisers' incompetency? Are they now truly pissed off at and shamed by their involvement in this Administration's Covert War On Americans that they feel a need to atone for their sins? I mean, I'll take it for whatever reason even if it's only this one topic. But there is so much more for the big papers and overall media to do before they can make it up to me for the last seven years of lapdog complacency.
But I'll take it.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. government has injected hundreds of foreigners it has deported with dangerous psychotropic drugs against their will, The Washington Post reported on Wednesday, citing medical records, internal documents and interviews with people who have been drugged.
The newspaper said it has identified 250 cases in which the government has, without medical reason, given drugs meant to treat serious psychiatric disorders to people it has shipped out of the United States since 2003.
Involuntary chemical restraint of detainees without medical justification is a violation of some international human rights codes, the Post reported.
Records show that the government has routinely ignored its own rules, which allow deportees to be sedated only if they have a mental illness requiring the drugs, or if they are so aggressive that they imperil themselves or people around them.
The Department of Homeland Security's new Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) took over deportations in 2003.
ICE has stepped up the arrest and removal of foreigners who are in the United States illegally, who have been turned down for asylum or have been convicted of a crime in the past, the Post reported.
A spokesman for the agency was not immediately available for comment.