Justice is Blind… or at least, Invisible

The Associated Press is reporting that over 5,000 federal criminal cases (of which it is aware) have been conducted in complete secrecy. While some of these cases do apparently involve terrorism allegations, for the most part, the cases involve drug gangs and plea bargain and other deals given to cooperating witnesses. As the A.P. piece notes, one is hard-pressed to criticize the government’s actions in such cases if one has no idea what they are. The Sixth Amendment’s right to a public trial is not only a protection for the defendant, but for the people themselves, to know that their justice system is proceeding in front of them, fair or unfair, better or worse.
We’ll juxtapose this with some other items. Let’s take a look at this WaPo article identifying a Bush Administration policy initiative to step up punishment of whistle-blowing and reporting… deeming all attempts to disclose to the public what the government is doing that is not coming off of GOP and White House political propaganda blast faxes as treason. If you think I’m exaggerating– read the damned article.
How about efforts to re-classify tens of thousands of pages of documents at the National Archives that were previously public? Cheerleaders for the Bush Administration (a declining category these days, but still out there!) can note that this program started under the Clinton Administration… but appears to have picked up with a vengeance under the Bush Administration.
I’m merely scratching at the surface of a vast and alarming trend. The obvious question, of course, is… why is the government so eager to hide everything from us? Indeed, desperate to do so. Occam’s razor tells us that the simplest explanation is usually the best… the simplest explanation for a democratically elected government desperately trying to hide things from the people who elected them is because it has something to hide. Probably a great deal.