By Janet Phelan
Every now and then, there is a blip on the political radar so vast and significant that our attention freezes on it. Some of these blips require some sort of explanation—and some of the official explanations—like for the Kennedy and King assassinations of the sixties, like for the events of September 11—produce an entire subculture involved in shredding the official explanations.
Others, however, do not generate Warren Reports, etc. because there is simply no explanation possible. While these events may indeed get some media coverage, they are generally relegated to positions “below the fold” and little explanation or commentary is given.
In the spirit of further examining one such event, which spanned a number of years but wound its way to a legal—that is, an “official”—conclusion in 2021, this article will attempt to further highlight the significance of a court case involving Bilal Abdul Kareem.
If your gut response to his name is to think that he is some Middle Eastern goatherd or a Gitmo detainee, you should know right off the bat that Kareem is US born and bred. He was born in New York—his birth name was Darrell Phelps—and he attended CUNY before converting to Islam. He was covering the civil war in Syria, for such outlets as CNN and Al Jazeera, when he was attacked and nearly blown up in a drone attack.
When it happened again, and again, and again, Kareem came to the logical conclusion that he was targeted for assassination. As at least one of the attacks on him involved deployment of an identifiable US weapon, a Hellfire missile, he became concerned that he was being targeted by the US government.
Kareem then did what any US citizen who believed that his government was trying to kill him would do. With the assistance of human rights lawyers from the British outfit, Reprieve, he filed a lawsuit concerning the legality of his being put onto a kill list. The suit was filed in US District Court, District of Columbia in 2017 against the United States government, claiming they had attempted to assassinate him, and requesting his removal from the “kill list.”
Another journalist, Ahmad Muaffaq Zaidan, who was also thought to have also been placed on the American kill list, co-sued with him. Zaidan was subsequently removed from the lawsuit by judge Rosemary Collyer, who stated that Zaidan’s perceptions were “speculative.” In addition, Zaidan is not a US citizen.
Initially the judge was responsive to Kareem’s claims; and when the US government attempted to have the suit dismissed on grounds of “national security,” in 2018, she ruled against the defendants, stating that “Due process is not merely an old and dusty procedural obligation … It is a living, breathing concept that protects US persons from overreaching government action even, perhaps, on an occasion of war.”
WHAT HAPPENED TO JUDGE COLLYER?
However, her initial determination was short lived and in 2019 Judge Collyer granted the government’s petition to dismiss Kareem’s suit on the grounds that any evidence that might be used in his case was protected by “state secrets privilege.”
Judge Collyer’s decision was profoundly illustrative of the current status not only of any First Amendment protections that may have once existed but no longer exist, but also of the status of a citizen vis a vis the government. Her decision advances the power and scope of the government in relationship to an individual who protests that his rights to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” are being violated along with his nearly sacrosanct rights to due process. What this case reveals is that fundamentally, these rights enshrined in the US Constitution can and will be overridden by government imperatives.
In other words, these rights only exist on paper. In reality they can and will be dispensed with if the government so chooses, leaving us without any protections whatsoever, should a nameless bureaucrat in Washington, DC decide that one of us, or many of us, are dispensable.
WHAT HAPPENED TO SCOTUS?
In 2021, the Supreme Court of the United States rejected Kareem’s petition for an appeal. No reason was given for this action by SCOTUS.
Kareem continues to report on conditions in the Middle East. A fairly recent series for “On the Ground News,” aptly titled “The Justice Series,” finds Kareem focusing on the lack of due process currently being levied in cases by the Salvation Government in Syria.
One has come to expect a brutal disregard for human rights and lack of justice in war-torn countries. The fact that the “leader of the free world” has tacitly evidenced a similar disregard for the very existence of its citizens should have been front page news across America.
This journalist continues to daily receive contacts from US citizens outraged by court decisions which fly in the face of legal and constitutional rights. Some of these decisions result in loss of assets and some result in loss of life. In the hopes of clarifying the fundamental relationship between citizen and government, not as regards some far away country or some foreign individual without any standing or rights in the US, this report has revisited the Kareem case.
So fundamentally, we have no rights. Any questions?
Image: Middle East Monitor
Janet Phelan has been on the trail of the biological weapons agenda since the new millennium. Her book on the pandemic, At the Breaking Point of History: How Decades of US Duplicity Enabled the Pandemic, has been published in 2021 by Trine Day and is available on Amazon and elsewhere. Her articles on this issue have appeared in Activist Post, New Eastern Outlook, Infowars and elsewhere. Educated at Grinnell College, UC Berkeley and the University of Missouri Graduate School of Journalism, Janet “jumped ship” and since 2004 has been writing exclusively for independent media. Her articles previously appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Oui Magazine, Orange Coast Magazine, the Long Beach Press Telegram, the Santa Monica Daily Press and other publications. She is the author of the groundbreaking expose, EXILE and two books of poetry. She resides abroad. You may follow Janet on Parler here @JanetPhelan and Twitter @JanetPhelan14. To support her work, please go to JanetPhelan.
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