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Jewish World Review
Jan. 12, 2010
/ 26 Teves 5770
Death by 1000 cuts
Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.
Seasoned observers understand that, in official Washington, the so-called "death of a thousand cuts" technique is the preferred means of stealthily undermining, and ultimately defeating, initiatives and institutions too strong to be taken on via a frontal assault. The Obama administration appears intent on applying this approach of inflicting myriad attacks on the essential ingredient of American exceptionalism - our sovereignty - in ways that seem individually innocuous but that will, over time, surely prove lethal to our Constitution and country.
Mr. Obama's recent Executive Order 12425 is a case in point. Issued with no fanfare on December 17th in the run-up to the Christmas holidays, this document amends an earlier order promulgated by President Ronald Reagan in 1983. The Reagan directive granted the International Criminal Police Organization (popularly known as Interpol) limited immunity with respect to its operations inside the United States. Mr. Reagan, however, ensured that Interpol was subject to constitutional protections (notably, the Fourth Amendment's prohibition of unreasonable searches and seizures) and U.S. laws (including the Freedom of Information Act).
By contrast, the Obama executive order strips away those limitations, granting the international law enforcement agency blanket immunity from official and private efforts to assess its activities in the United States. The question is why?
To date, no explanation has been forthcoming from the Obama administration, despite a rising chorus of questions from legislators, pundits, talk radio show hosts and concerned citizens. The best we have so far is, as was noted by Andy McCarthy, the former, highly accomplished federal prosecutor and author of Willful Blindness: A Memoir of the Jihad, in his column at National Review Online, an after-the-fact statement by Ron Noble, Interpol's Secretary General. He declared: "It's international custom that international organizations are exempt from the Freedom of Information Act. We're no different than any other international organization."
Unfortunately, as Mr. McCarthy trenchantly observes, what Noble calls "international custom" is another name for "'customary international law,' so beloved by transnational progressives."
Andy McCarthy, the nation's most assiduous monitor of these "Transies" and their sovereignty-sapping agendas, lays bare what is going on: "Here's how the game works. International-law professors, jurists, and bureaucrats announce some piety that they think everyone should follow (e.g., the death penalty is an unconscionable human-rights violation). Once enough of them have followed it for long enough (in recent years, 'long enough' seems to have become 'ten minutes'. . . or the time it takes to announce these new international standards), the piety is deemed - at least by transnationalists - to be universally binding. In their view, it thus becomes the obligation of every nation to fall into line, changing their laws to whatever extent is necessary to do so. That is, the sensibilities of the 'international community' (i.e., the elites of the global Left) void the democratic self-determinism of the American people."
In other words, it appears that, in giving Interpol carte blanche, the transnationalists in the Obama administration - a group that includes, notably, State Department Legal Advisor Harold Koh, UN Ambassador Susan Rice and, not least, the President himself - have sliced away at the corpus of American sovereignty. They have done so in order to ensure that America conforms to the same standards as the other nations that host Interpol offices (namely, Third World nations like Cameroon, El Salvador and Zimbabwe).
Unfortunately, the Transies are whacking away at our rights and liberties in a host of other ways, as well. The administration wants to subject the United States to: the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST), which would allow (among other travesties) international regulation of U.S. air and water, even in the absence of the sort of climate change treaty sought at Copenhagen; the International Criminal Court, exposing our officials, troops and citizens to capricious, politicized foreign prosecution; radical "international norms" governing what the UN considers to be the "rights" of women and children; and a Shariah-mandated Islamic blasphemy code barring and criminalizing speech that offends Muslims, a blatant threat to the First Amendment.
Even if these myriad "cuts" were not in the offing, there would be powerful reasons for rejecting Team Obama's efforts to expand Interpol's powers in the United States. Towards the end of last year, the Islamic Republic of Iran enlisted Interpol in its campaign to intimidate, hunt down and, if possible, silence its opponents outside the country. Ten Kurds who became Swedish citizens after fleeing Iran twenty years ago are now on the international police organization's wanted list - and at risk of arrest if they leave Sweden. The basis for these charges? Nothing more than Tehran's unproven and highly political accusations that they have been involved in "terrorism" and "organized crime."
Whether such abuses might be made more likely in America if this order is not rescinded or countermanded by Congress can only be speculated about at this point. What is unmistakable, though, is the cumulative effect of the thousand cuts being inflicted by the Obama transnationalists: a perilous bleeding out of the liberties and freedoms enshrined in and protected by our Constitution and sovereignty.
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JWR contributor Frank J. Gaffney, Jr., Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear Forces and Arms Control Policy in the Reagan Administration, heads the Center for Security Policy. Comments by clicking here.
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© 2006, Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.