Disappearing, Inc.: The Bush Regime's Human Shell Game

Here's a brief follow-up to a post from last week, Burma on the Potmac. It's another story of security apparatchiks gone wild at the federal Agency for Control of Scary Darkies, also known as Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The controllers have now "disappeared" more than 100 detainees, suddenly dispersing them from a California holding pen to points unknown. Not even the captives' lawyers know where they are:

U.S. Immigration officials were under fire Sunday for moving detainees from a California immigration detention center to other states without warning. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency did not release the number of detainees moved, nor did it release their whereabouts, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The American Civil Liberties Union said more than 100 detainees were moved Saturday from the Terminal Island facility to various facilities in the southern United States.
Their attorneys -- caught by surprise -- were stymied in their efforts to find their clients.

ACLU attorney Ahilan Arulanantham called the move "a serious injustice by the government" and predicted many trial delays will result. Arulanantham said dozens of his clients -- locked up while fighting deportation -- were among the missing.

"I don't know where they are," he told the Times. "I have to hope that they will call sometime. It's a nightmare."

The "disappeared" -- that horrifying designation which first gained currency in Stalinist Russia then later spread throughout Latin America in the militarist regimes carefully cultivated by Washington -- is now a present and growing reality in the United States itself. As we said the other day, anyone who believes that this kind of arbitrary treatment

by a lawless and vindictive regime will be confined to immigrants is living in a fool's paradise. Step by step, Americans have been led into a Leader-State, where the "Unitary Executive" can exert his arbitrary and unrestricted power throughout the government -- and over the life and liberty of every citizen, indeed every person on the planet. Bush has claimed – and exercised – the power to ignore laws passed by Congress; he has stated quite specifically, over and over, in his signing statements, that he will follow only those laws – or parts of laws – that suit him while disregarding the others.

As the man said, it's a nightmare.