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What part of Habeas Corpus do people not understand? Here’s a short and simple explanation: The King (meaning the government) can’t say, “I don’t like that guy. Lock him up in a dungeon without a trial and throw away the key.” The right of habeas corpus is guaranteed in the original Constitution, which means Thomas Jefferson thought it was so important it should be included in the basic rules of the country’s legal system. This was before the first ten amendments (the Bill of Rights) were passed.

I think this might be a short diary, but as I start to get angry it might start to get longer.  I’m writing this because one of my Facebook friends linked to this Mother Jones article: Is the US Getting Domestic Indefinite Military Detention for Thanksgiving?, from which this is quoted:

Legislative language that emerged from the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday afternoon would mandate the automatic, indefinite military detention of noncitizens apprehended in the United States who are suspected members of Al Qaeda or associated groups. The wording, which is part of a must-pass bill to fund the military, also appears to allow the indefinite military detention of citizens and legal permanent residents.

Indefinite detention. Which means detention (lock them up in a dungeon) and indefinite (throw away the key). Indefinite detention. Possibly applying to all citizens. More below the Fleur de Kos squiggle of power.

I’m not going to ramble on. In my very first DKos diary in 2009, I wrote about Habeas Corpus. If you’re interested, you can read it here:  You shall have the body brought to me (Habeas Corpus). People seemed to like it and I seemed to like the people on DKos, so I kept writing diaries.

And here’s a great excerpt from the movie “A Man For All Seasons.” If you don’t want to watch all 3 minutes, skip ahead to about the 2:00 minute mark.

Arrest him!
For what?
Father, that man’s bad.

And continue watching for these delicious words (towards the end of the video):

William Roper: So, now you'd give the Devil the benefit of law!
Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
William Roper: Yes, I'd cut down every law in England to do that!
Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned 'round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man's laws, not God's! And if you cut them down, and you're just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake.

This debate happened in 16th century. Arrest him because he’s bad. Ignore Habeas Corpus.

What If?

What if a President of the U.S, let’s say Barack Obama, had the power to lock up people he didn’t like? Let’s say he declared Eric Cantor or Grover Norquist or Mitch McConnell or Rush Limbaugh was a terrorist and tossed them in a dungeon without a trial, without the benefit of Habeas. Or let’s say someone like GW Bush threw Teddy Kennedy or Al Franken in jail. That wouldn’t be fair, would it?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (7+ / 0-)

    But the angle said to them, "Do not be Alfred. A sailor has been born to you"

    by Dbug on Wed Nov 16, 2011 at 12:00:13 AM PST

  •  When Obama was elected (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Oh Mary Oh, Dbug

    we were really excited and seriously considered moving back to the US. We missed friends and family considerably as well as a some things about American culture which don't exist elsewhere.
    Then Habeas Corpus wasn't reinstated, even though there was a Democratic majority in Congress and a supposedly progressive president, so we stayed here and paid a ceremonial trip down to Salisbury to look at the original Magna Carta. Habeas Corpus should be one of the underlying principles of freedom that is non-negotiable.

    "Bootstraps are a fine invention as long as they are attached to boots." blueoasis

    by northsylvania on Wed Nov 16, 2011 at 02:30:43 AM PST

    •  it is astounding that habeas corpus, which is (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      northsylvania, Oh Mary Oh, Dbug

      institutionalized in English Common Law could be so easily abandoned.  This erosion predates 9/11 but 9/11 accelerated this movement
      https://litigation-essentials.lexisnexis.com/webcd/app?action=DocumentDisplay&crawlid=1&doctype=cite&docid=59+U.+Cin.+L.+Rev.+261&srctype=smi&srcid=3B15&key=0d23c96284f8f6dff1edc803dd97c83c
      for more discussion of the issue
      http://www.msnbc.msn.com/...
      http://www.civilfreedoms.org/...

    •  Habeas was reinstated. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dbug

      The SCOTUS did it.  Habeas hearings have been ongoing since.

      With so much press attention on the subject, I'm shocked that people are still this misinformed.

      •  Interesting. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dbug

        Then what is this quote from the linked article all about (emphasis mine)?
        Legislative language that emerged from the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday afternoon would mandate the automatic, indefinite military detention of noncitizens apprehended in the United States who are suspected members of Al Qaeda or associated groups. The wording, which is part of a must-pass bill to fund the military, also appears to allow the indefinite military detention of citizens and legal permanent residents. The bill would also extend restrictions on transfers of detainees from Guantánamo Bay, though only for one year.

        "Bootstraps are a fine invention as long as they are attached to boots." blueoasis

        by northsylvania on Wed Nov 16, 2011 at 06:23:46 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Should have block quoted that. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dbug

          And I apologise, the SCOTUS did reestablish it and Guantanamo prisoners now have recourse to a court of law.
          Nonetheless, Obama fought this tooth and nail and countered it by moving prisoners to Bagram as per this 2009 Salon article. This is the point when I lost my enthusiasm for Obama.

          "Bootstraps are a fine invention as long as they are attached to boots." blueoasis

          by northsylvania on Wed Nov 16, 2011 at 06:43:30 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  I note that reports are that DHS is engaged in (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Oh Mary Oh, Dbug

    strategic planning with various municipalities to evict protesters.  Since 9/11, the civil authorities and military and other governmental actors have seemed to work closer and closer together.  We have already seen that secret renditions of prisoners meant that they were either lost in a "black gulag" or foreign countries such as Libya or Syria.  For it to become more transparent that US citizens are now subject to being held in a military brig should come as no surprise.  We already have the Jose Padilla case as a possible template.  Already we have seen that the president evidently has the right to order the execution of a citizen by assassination in a foreign country without any sort of judicial oversight or review it seems.
    For information on the issue from a variety of sources (though I am not linking to the Hoover Institute and its articles)
    http://www.examiner.com/...
    http://www.peacecouncil.net/...
    http://www.hrw.org/...
    http://www.au.af.mil/...

  •  Take a mulligan on this one. (0+ / 0-)

    You're mixing up apples and oranges.  Habeas and indefinite detention are two totally separate things; one can be indefinitely detained while still granted habeas rights.  Interesting topic, but you need to research more.

  •  Yeah, that looks pretty Unconstitutional. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dbug

    This might just be a poison pill the military spending bill to try and make the Democrats look Weak on Terror (TM), though.

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