Apr 10, 2006
“I’m not going to rule it out,” said Attorney General Alberto Gonzales when asked in a congressional hearing whether the president can authorize wiretapping without a court order.
Responded one Congressman: “... if the administration believes it can tap purely domestic phone calls between Americans without court approval, there is no limit to executive power.”
He’s right. But the unlimited executive power didn’t just start with Bush, and is not just about listening to phone calls. The government has not hesitated to throw thousands in jail, beat and torture them, even kill them, when popular mobilizations threatened the wealth of the capitalist class. Sacco and Vanzetti, two 1920s victims of the government’s attempt to crush the workers’ movement in this country, could have testified to this – if the government hadn’t framed them up and executed them (the verdict against them was officially repudiated – but not until 1977). Julius and Ethel Rosenberg could have testified to the government’s lawlessness – except they were framed up and executed for supposedly handing over the secret of the atomic bomb to the Russians in the 1950s, a “secret” “any Russian physicist would have known.” George Jackson, Malcolm X and dozens of other leaders of the black movement in the 1960s and early 1970s could have testified to the bloody repression of the government, except they were also murdered by government agents.
The Bush administration is no different from all the administrations that preceded it – except that it says openly that it wants no limits on its powers.