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Archive for the ‘Guantanamo’ Category

Supreme Court to Bush: The Constitution Is Still in Effect

Posted by MEC on June 12, 2008


The Supreme Court did its duty today.

The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that foreign terrorism suspects held at Guantanamo Bay have rights under the Constitution to challenge their detention in U.S. civilian courts.

In its third rebuke of the Bush administration’s treatment of prisoners, the court ruled 5-4 that the government is violating the rights of prisoners being held indefinitely and without charges at the U.S. naval base in Cuba….

Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the court, said, “The laws and Constitution are designed to survive, and remain in force, in extraordinary times.”


The court specifically struck down a provision of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 that denies Guantanamo detainees the right to file petition of habeas corpus.

It’s worth repeating: “The laws and Constitution are designed to survive, and remain in force, in extraordinary times.”

The shame is that the Court’s ruling was not unanimous. I wasn’t surprised, however, that the ruling was 5-4, with the predictable “justices” dissenting: Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, and Alito.

[Edited to add:] The incomparable Glenn Greenwald has an analysis of the ruling.

[Another update:] Salon has the text of the decision.

Posted in civil rights, Constitution, dope slaps for Dubya, Guantanamo | 4 Comments »


Posted by Charles II on April 8, 2008

Via Avedon Carol, Scott Horton brings us the tale of an American hero, here:

Matthew Diaz served his country as a staff judge advocate at Guantánamo. … Matthew Diaz found himself in a precarious position—as a uniformed officer, he was bound to follow his command. As a licensed and qualified attorney, he was bound to uphold the law. And these things were indubitably at odds….

Diaz resolved to do something about it. He knew the Supreme Court twice ruled the Guantánamo regime, which he was under orders to uphold, was unlawful. In the Hamdan decision, the Court went a step further. In powerful and extraordinary words, Justice Kennedy reminded the Administration that Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions was binding upon them, and that a violation could constitute a criminal act….

One of the crimes the Administration committed was withholding from the Red Cross a list of the detainees at Guantánamo, effectively making them into secret detainees. Before the arrival of the Bush Administration, the United States had taken the axiomatic position that holding persons in secret detention for prolonged periods outside the rule of law (a practice known as “disappearing”) was not merely unlawful, but in fact a rarified “crime against humanity.” Now the United States was engaged in the active practice of this crime.

The decision to withhold the information had been taken, in defiance of law, by senior political figures in the Bush Administration. Diaz was aware of it, and he knew it was unlawful. He printed out a copy of the names and sent them to a civil rights lawyer who had requested them in federal court proceedings.

For this, he received six months in prison, and was rendered penniless and jobless. The Department of “Justice” is trying to strip him of his law license.

We need fewer heroes and more lawfulness. But, alas, we are liable to need many more heroes before that is achieved.

Posted in Department of Injustice, Guantanamo, heroes | 4 Comments »

DC Circuit Court rules reality is out of order

Posted by Charles II on January 12, 2008

I think the Nazi courts would have been embarrassed by this ruling. Even Bush appointee Janice Rogers Brown was. Greg Gordon, McClatchy, via t/o (emphasis added):

The three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that the detainees captured in Afghanistan aren’t recognized as “persons” under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act because they were aliens held outside the United States. …

The court rejected other claims on the grounds that then-Attorney General John Ashcroft had certified that the military officials were acting within the scope of their jobs when they authorized the tactics, and that such tactics were “foreseeable.”

It was foreseeable that conduct that would ordinarily be indisputably `seriously criminal’ would be implemented by military officials responsible for detaining and interrogating suspected enemy combatants,” Circuit Judge Karen LeCraft Henderson wrote in the court’s main opinion.

Judge Janice Rogers Brown dissented with parts of the opinion, saying that “it leaves us with the unfortunate and quite dubious distinction of being the only court to declare those held at Guantanamo are not `person(s).’

Just select “Reality” and hit Ctrl Alt Del.

Posted in abuse of power, activist judges, anti-Muslim, Busheviks, Department of Injustice, Guantanamo, judicial rulings, judiciary | 2 Comments »

They Hate Our Freedoms

Posted by MEC on September 19, 2007

Senate Republicans quashed a bill to restore habeas corpus.

The Reuters headline says the “Senate” barred the bill, but a quick check of the roll call in the Senate’s web site confirmed that every vote against the bill was cast by a Republican. (I include Joe Lieberman in that count.)

Senator Leahy explained briefly and clearly why habeas corpus is necessary:

“Any of these people could be detained forever without the ability to challenge their detention in federal court” under the changes in law Congress made last year, Leahy said on the Senate floor. This was true “even if they (authorities) made a mistake and picked up the wrong person.”

But the Republicans — with the exception of Chuck Hagel, Richard Lugar, Gordon Smith, Olympia Snowe, Arlen Specter, and John Sununu — obviously want innocent people punished for others’ mistakes and suspects condemned without a trial.

Bush is fond of saying that our enemies hate our freedoms.

In the words of the immortal Walt Kelly, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”

Posted in abuse of power, Congress, Constitution, Gitmo, Guantanamo, habeas corpus | 4 Comments »

Bush’s Worst Nightmare: Guantanamo Whistleblower

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 23, 2007

Just Us

From the NYT via Hudson at DailyKos (emphases mine):

Stephen E. Abraham’s assignment to the Pentagon unit that runs the hearings at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, seemed a perfect fit.A lawyer in civilian life, he had been decorated for counterespionage and counterterrorism work during 22 years as a reserve Army intelligence officer in which he rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel. His posting, just as the Guantánamo hearings were accelerating in 2004, gave him a close-up view of the government’s detention policies.

It also turned him into one of the Bush administration’s most unlikely adversaries.

In June, Colonel Abraham became the first military insider to criticize publicly the Guantánamo hearings, which determine whether detainees should be held indefinitely as enemy combatants. Just days after detainees’ lawyers submitted an affidavit containing his criticisms, the United States Supreme Court reversed itself and agreed to hear an appeal arguing that the hearings are unjust and that detainees have a right to contest their detentions in federal court.

Some lawyers say Colonel Abraham’s account — of a hearing procedure that he described as deeply flawed and largely a tool for commanders to rubber-stamp decisions they had already made — may have played an important role in the justices’ highly unusual reversal. That decision once again brought the administration face to face with the vexing legal, political and diplomatic questions about the fate of Guantánamo and the roughly 360 men still held there.

Of course, the dead-enders in the Cheney-Bush Junta will still blow this off. If they can blow off Jack Murtha and Walter Jones, they can blow off Colonel Abraham. But the sane among us will not.

Posted in abuse of power, Afghanistan, Gitmo, Guantanamo, Iraq war, madness of King George | 2 Comments »

Can It Be True?

Posted by MEC on June 21, 2007

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White House near decision to close Guantanamo

The Bush administration is nearing a decision to close the Guantanamo Bay detainee facility and move the terror suspects there to military prisons elsewhere, The Associated Press has learned.


Cheney’s office and the Justice Department have been dead set against the step, arguing that moving “unlawful” enemy combatant suspects to the U.S. would give them undeserved legal rights.

If it is true, this could be the reason:

In Congress, recently introduced legislation would require Guantanamo’s closure.

The Busheviks will want to make it appear that it was their decision, and have control over where the detainees end up.

Posted in Gitmo, Guantanamo | 6 Comments »

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