Sunday, November 13, 2005

Habeas Corpus

If you want to know the scariest thing that has happened in America under the Bush Administration, here it is:

From Paul Craig Roberts' column:

On Thursday November 10, the Republican controlled US Senate voted 49 to 42 to overturn the US Supreme Court's 2004 ruling that permits Guantánamo detainees to challenge their detentions. How dare the US Supreme Court defend the US Constitution and the civil liberties of Americans when we have terrorists to fight, argued the Republican senators. What are civil liberties, the Republicans asked rhetorically, but legal tricks that allow criminals and terrorists to escape.

Habeas corpus prevents authorities from detaining a person indefinitely without charges; the guarantee of habeas corpus ensures that no one can imprison you without a trial.

The Bush administration wants the power to detain indefinitely anyone it declares to be an enemy combatant or a terrorist without presenting the detainee in court with charges.

(From Walcott's column:

Roberts is right: without habeas corpus, we haven't got a democracy.

Under the rules as this current administration is running them, any of us can be declared an enemy, or an agent of the enemy, or as being suspected of working with the enemy, and then held -- forever.

Without being allowed access to a lawyer.

Without the government which is holding us having to show cause -- that government just has to declare it has cause, not show what the cause is,to anyone.

And -- this is charming -- we can be tortured, apparently.

That sound you just heard? It was the death of America.

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