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Monday, September 24
did you have any idea how doomed you are? probably you did but holy fuck this is 1937 berlin
HABEAS CORPUS BYE BYE from SF bay Guardain
(habeas corpus is a writ issued to bring a person before a court to release that person from unlawful detention)
The Military Commissions Act, passed in September 2006 as a last gasp of the Republican-controlled Congress and signed into law by Bush that Oct. 17, made significant changes to the nation's judicial system.
The law allows the president to designate any person an "alien unlawful enemy combatant," shunting that individual into an alternative court system in which the writ of habeas corpus no longer applies, the right to a speedy trial is gone, and justice is meted out by a military tribunal that can admit evidence obtained through coercion and presented without the accused in the courtroom, all under the guise of preserving national security.
Habeas corpus, a constitutional right cribbed from the Magna Carta, protects against arbitrary imprisonment. Alexander Hamilton, writing in the Federalist Papers, called it the greatest defense against "the favorite and most formidable instruments of tyranny."
The Military Commissions Act has been seen mostly as a method for dealing with Guantánamo Bay detainees, and most journalists have reported that it doesn't have any impact on Americans. On Oct. 19, 2006, editors at the New York Times wrote, in quite definitive language, "this law does not apply to American citizens."
Investigative journalist Robert Parry disagrees. The right of habeas corpus no longer
exists for any of us, he wrote in the online journal Consortium. Deep down in the lower sections of the act, the language shifts from the very specific "alien unlawful enemy combatant" to the vague "any person subject to this chapter."
"Why does it contain language referring to 'any person' and then adding in an adjacent context a reference to people acting 'in breach of allegiance or duty to the United States'?" Parry wrote. "Who has 'an allegiance or duty to the United States' if not an American citizen?"
Reached by phone, Parry told the Guardian that "this loose phraseology could be interpreted very narrowly or very broadly." He said he's consulted with lawyers who are experienced in drafting federal security legislation, and they agreed that the "any person" terminology is troubling. "It could be fixed very simply, but the Bush administration put through this very vaguely worded law, and now there are a lot of differences of opinion on how it could be interpreted," Parry said.
Though US Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) moved quickly to remedy the situation with the Habeas Corpus Restoration Act, that legislation has yet to pass Congress, which some suspect is because too many Democrats don't want to seem soft on terrorism. Until tested by time, exactly how much the language of the Military Commissions Act may be manipulated will remain to be seen.
Sources: "Repeal the Military Commissions Act and Restore the Most American Human Right," Thom Hartmann, Common Dreams Web site, www.commondreams.org/views07/0212-24.htm, Feb. 12, 2007; "Still No Habeas Rights for You," Robert Parry, Consortium (online journal of investigative reporting), consortiumnews.com/2007/020307.html, Feb. 3, 2007; "Who Is 'Any Person' in Tribunal Law?" Robert Parry, Consortium, consortiumnews.com/2006/101906.html, Oct. 19, 2006
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