09 July 2016

Evidence and the Rule of Law

As the years march on post-2001 we're still only beginning to grasp the full implications of the Patriot Act and the fundamental changes that have swept through our society.

So-called Constitutional Originalists who defend the Unitary Executive and the provisions of the Patriot Act are clearly frauds because no concept, piece of legislation or political faction has worked to undermine the Constitution's principles and protections more than they have.
The FBI now has the power to probe. No longer hindered by the 4th ammendment or any kind of due process the FBI can now poke around and if it can't find the crime it wants, it will likely find something. Innocent until proven guilty is becoming an all but meaningless concept.
And if they can't find sufficient evidence to produce a conviction, then it now would seem (as has long been rumoured) they will manufacture it.
This brings us to the recent story of Keith Gartenlaub, a worker at Boeing. Married to a Chinese wife he's been accused of espionage. The US is concerned that the Chinese are after some of the technologies associated with the USAF C-17 as well as some of the latest fighter aircraft.
I don't doubt it.
But in this instance, they can't seem to make the case against Gartenlaub. Suddenly the nature of the indictment changed. No longer is he being accused of espionage but instead of child pornography... supposedly discovered while investigating his computer for evidence related to the espionage charge.
While it's not quite possible to prove (without doubt) that Gartenlaub is innocent of the pornography charges, they are highly suspicious. There's no evidence to suggest he downloaded them, transferred them, or anything else. In fact they appear to be unopened files, not even viewed by him.
Not a few are warranted in believing these files were likely planted in his computer and the charges are false. Now incarcerated the FBI can widen their investigation and probe his wife's family.
By all definitions this is tyranny akin to what has taken place in some of the darkest and most brutal regimes. Lives are being destroyed on a hunch, out of a bureaucratic need to justify and exercise power. Even if he's exonerated, his reputation is forever tarnished.
The Constitution is truly dead and has been for a long time, but here's the difference.
For the past 15 years the US government is openly acting on this reality. They were violating the Constitution before but in a more covert fashion. Today the veil is removed and cases like this are becoming more common.
It's a disturbing trend that should be generating ethical tangles for many people in various professions. Who will stand their ground and speak out? Who will refuse to participate?
This is why I can't help but roll my eyes when I hear about some 'Christian' FBI agent or something of that order. All they're demonstrating is that they are unprincipled and obviously unfamiliar with the teachings of the New Testament.
Men will do evil and governments are little more than a framework of legitimate power and violence. That's no great shock and it will always be thus. But it's clear from the New Testament that we are to have nothing to do with them.
And the idea that we're going to fix it or that we should be out there promoting this or that candidate who will all but ratify the system is absurd.
Democracy is at its root immoral and unprincipled. It cannot wield real power or hold it and thus it fails and turns into something else. The Rule of Law is also something of a joke. The idea that power will follow rules is a fiction. Power seeks to subvert and undermine the rules. The rules are for the subjects not the rulers. While the political drama sometimes brings people down and their falls can be stunning, the nature of the system does not change.
Render unto Caesar... pay your taxes and obey the laws but this isn't our home. Caesar has no claim on our thoughts, worship or even our lives. He will take it if he wishes but it is done wrongfully. We need to make sure that we are not the object of vengeance, engaged in political evildoing or some kind of plotting against Caesar's power.
Let them have their Rome. They will destroy it themselves.
The very moves that the US has made since WWII and 9/11 are the seeds sown for its own destruction. It won't be today or even tomorrow but it may come sooner than many realise.
This story about the FBI is disturbing and offensive but it shouldn't fill us with fear. In fact we can be thankful because it's an example of what power really is and perhaps if more people (more Christians) begin to see this they will re-think their allegiance to the government and re-think the entirety of the question.
But I doubt it.
Bear witness, suffer, and live our lives... that's our calling.