The most disturbing recent news I've read was not actually about the Euro. It also wasn't about Iran/Israel or a Chinese recession. It was about Mr. Obama's ability to imprison me indefinitely or even kill me. Just because he desires so.
Now, I'm usually a supporter of the current US president. He just makes a lot of sense to me. But then I realized some time ago that the Unites States reserve - and regularly execute - the right to kill anybody on this planet (including US citizen), who is not currently in the US, by decision of the government alone. I guess they call that lean and effective government as in contrast to checks and balances which make for big and expensive government.
Now, in my case I have the hope that this would cause some diplomatic trouble with Germany. But since Germany is just Germany at this point and not Europe, that would hardly deter Mr. Obama. The US already put a guy from Bremen into Guantanamo a few years ago. The German government complained. The US laughed. Five years later the guy was set free. He was innocent. US didn't even apologize because, you know, shit happens.
I guess that is just the way things are if you are the head of the only remaining super power with a GDP about three times as large as that of the next big political player and a military spending lobby that easily beats any banana republic.
But what if I were a US citizen and also in the US right now? Well, in that case Mr. Obama would be in trouble as his executive power (literally) would be kept in check by an applied constitution (as in contrast to a not-applied one). Lately, Congress decided to close this loophole. Under the new law every US citizen in the US (the rest is fair game, anyway) could be detained until the end of the hostilities; that is until the end of the war on terror. Yeah, right: it might be funny if it wasn't so sad.
I know what you're thinking at this point. I'm overreacting. First, you say, I would have to be suspected of terrorism. And secondly, why would the president want to detain innocent people anyway?
Well, there are these abstract arguments. For example, the idea that if the only difference between a dictator who can kill a 'voter' and the US president, is the actual person and not the system, there's not that much of a difference.
But I guess the more convincing argument is that me, Nils, obviously am not a terrorist.
Well, I like to think that. But then what I think is irrelevant. What counts is what the president - or those acting in his name - think. And what would they think if I had a friend with the wrong skin color - you know Arabic-like skin color?!
And what if this friend introduced me to a (facebook ?) friend who, a year later, turns out to be a terrorist? (That means he is officially part of a group who has probably the goal to kill US citizen - if you plan to kill non-US citizen you are not really a terrorist).
Now, that would certainly make me a suspicious subject. And that means that the president and all those acting in his name could imprison me - until the end of the war on terror. No lawyer for me. No judge. 20 years? 40 years? 60 years?
And the longer I am imprisoned the more suspicious I become! First, because after having been detained for a long time I would certainly hate the US (correct) and had nowhere else to go but to join others like me to get my revenge. God forbid that I actually became friends with one of the other detainees - instead of looking at a wall 24 hours a day. And second, because few people are as suspicious as those who are detained under the charge of being a terrorist.
More interesting than to detain me, is of course, to detain the leader of the opposition. Let's assume Mr. Obama finally shows his true self: a radical socialist with the aim to finally create real communism. Unfortunately time for change is running out and Mr. Gingrich might win the elections.
Here's the solution. First, you send a few people into the Moslem world (the other side of the planet, the dark one). There you capture somebody who really looks like a die-hard terrorist. You know, long beard, just the right skin color. Maybe missing a finger from experimenting with explosives. Really small eyes. (The finger can actually be removed later on).
Second, you torture him or use extensive interrogation practices (whatever works best) until he admits that Mr. Gingrich plans a terroristic act, like poisoning water supplies. Next, you put a few suspicious things into Gingrich's house. That's not really necessary, but it does help speed things up. Finally you put the whole confession on television.
Nobody at this point could deny that Mr. Gingrich is suspicious. And suspicion is enough! No judges, no court hearings, no lawyers, no trial. Bye bye Mr. Gingrich, I think you'd be a bad president, but I don't actually think you're a terrorist (well - not until I see the confession of that other "terrorist" on TV, anyway).
But of course this won't happen and I, personally, certainly don't need to worry. Since I am not a US citizen I would rather be killed than imprisoned indefinitely. In a way I'd actually prefer that. But suspicious I am certainly at this point. After all I have just written a post that hampers US's capability to imprison terrorists. Even worse, this post actually harms US interests all over the world! I even threatened to kill US citizen should I ever have been detained for any period of time, didn't I? Let's see how well I am received when I next visit my sister.
One last thing: the president vetoed the law. For strange reasons, but still.
Good links on the subject:
Jon Steward and Aljazeera