Update #2: It has been brought to my attention that my initial analysis on the subject of this diary, originally titled "SCOTUS legalizes TORTURE and creates legal 'unpersons'", and then edited to state 9th Circuit . . . is factually incorrect. I apologize for the confusion and will be writing a thorough dairy tomorrow based on the facts of the ruling by the 9th Circuit court.
I have left the full text of the original diary intact below the fold and will be glad to be further corrected. I seek to learn as well as to share what knowledge I have.
But I will ask this: When? When do we start to see accountability, for the super rich, for the Corporations and their CEO class, and for the crimes and other excesses of the politically powerful. When?
Thank you, and apologies to all.
I want accountability, equality and respect for the rule of law, not this. Not this.
Here's how the bad deal went down. After hearing passionate arguments from the Obama Administration, the Supreme Court acquiesced to the president's fervent request and, in a one-line ruling, let stand a lower court decision that declared torture an ordinary, expected consequence of military detention, while introducing a shocking new precedent for all future courts to follow: anyone who is arbitrarily declared a "suspected enemy combatant" by the president or his designated minions is no longer a "person." They will simply cease to exist as a legal entity. They will have no inherent rights, no human rights, no legal standing whatsoever -- save whatever modicum of process the government arbitrarily deigns to grant them from time to time, with its ever-shifting tribunals and show trials.
bold added by the diarist
UPDATE: To address a few points of contention
- I am NOT a constitutional scholar. Many readers here are likely to know 1000 times what I do about the law. I welcome and appreciate any and all corrections or other useful information.
- The title of the diary states LEGALIZES. I stand by that. If something is not illegal it is legal. If something is illegal doing it has consequences under the law. If there are no consequences for war crimes than war crimes are legal. Logic dictates this.
- An "unperson" is simply someone with NO RIGHTS. If someone can have their rights stripped away for being a "suspected" enemy combatant (as many people were in Iraq, Afghanistan, etc) than they have no rights. If someone is DENIED those rights, whether citizen or no, then they can be considered and "Unperson" in the sense that they have no rights at all. This is EXACTLY what has happened to all of the foreign "enemy combatant" people detained by America since the beginning of the Afghani war straight on through today. I seek to ask why this is allowed to be, and how it effects our own rights in the society we live in which claims to stand for "Equality for all"
- In publishing this diary I wish to accomplish only one thing, which is to present the reader with an idea of what accountability means and should mean in a Democracy based on the rule of law. That is the discussion I wish to have.
Rights? You used to have the right to remain silent. Not anymore.
The Constitution is clear: no person can be held without due process; no person can be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment. And the U.S. law on torture of any kind is crystal clear: it is forbidden, categorically, even in time of "national emergency." And the instigation of torture is, under U.S. law, a capital crime. No person can be tortured, at any time, for any reason, and there are no immunities whatsoever for torture offered anywhere in the law.
And yet this is what Barack Obama -- who, we are told incessantly, is a super-brilliant Constitutional lawyer -- has been arguing in case after case since becoming president: Torturers are immune from prosecution; those who ordered torture are immune from prosecution. They can't even been sued for, in the specific case under review, subjecting uncharged, indefinitely detained captives to "beatings, sleep deprivation, forced nakedness, extreme hot and cold temperatures, death threats, interrogations at gunpoint, and threatened with unmuzzled dogs."
bold added by the diarist
Is this what YOU voted for? Not I.
And if NO ONE is held accountable for the Iraq War which we were LIED into because of false evidence of WMD's that were gained by illegal torture, well, then you can just wipe the Constitution with your ass because it means nothing. You have no real rights, just allowances and privileges, privileges that can be taken away at a moments notice. If Dick Cheney is above the law than everyone else is below it, and there s no equality, there is no justice, not when some men are above the law and everyone else is subject to it. That is how Kings are made, not citizens who are equal under a Democracy.
After almost a full year in office we can NOT continue to excuse this from our Democratic President. You can try to if you wish. I will not. I will not be silent.
You used to have the right to remain silent, but not if you are a SUSPECTED enemy combatant. If you are a "suspected enemy combatant" torture is legal and you are not a legal person. That means we can do inhumane things to you because, under law, you aren't really human anymore. Silence? You don't even have the right to that anymore.
As a "suspected enemy combatant" you have no rights at all. You just need to be "suspected", you don't have to commit a crime, thought crime is good enough to make you an "unperson", and once that happens you will disappear from history and go straight to room 101. Once in room 101, where everything is perfectly legal and you have no rights, well, you can let your imagination take over from there.
And what rights will we lose next? How many are left? Is it okay to trump Bush/Cheney policy if you are a Democrat? I say NO, but the Obama DoJ and the Supreme
Council Court say differently.
...Channeling their predecessors in the George W. Bush administration, Obama Justice Department lawyers argued in this case that there is no constitutional right not to be tortured or otherwise abused in a U.S. prison abroad.
The lower court also dismissed the detainees’ claims under the Alien Tort Statute and the Geneva Conventions, finding defendants immune on the basis that "torture is a foreseeable consequence of the military’s detention of suspected enemy combatants."
bold added by the diarist
You can be named an "unperson" now. We went from Prisoner of War to Enemy Combatant outside of Geneva Law under Bush/Cheney, now Obama's DoJ and the Supreme
Council Court has taken us from Enemy Combatant to "Unperson", someone with no rights as a human being at all, let alone rights under USA Law.
I need something stronger than WTF.
In order to keep us safe from one guy on a plane with a half assed home made bomb we must slowly whittle away all of our civil rights until we are perfectly safe. That means we are no longer free. Freedom is the ability to risk things and to put yourself at risk. Slavery, serfdom is when you are so controlled you can do nothing without permission, direction and an eye over your shoulder.
Freedom = Slavery
My hope was that this shit would stop under the Obama Administration. The fact that his Administration is arguing FOR the protection of torturers and FOR the ability to strip civil and human rights from certain groups of people is beyond appalling.
The fact is, if Bush/Cheney had done this people on the let would have gone apeshit. So why are we so quiet now? Is it okay if a Democratic President does it? I so, why?
Under the Obama Presidency torturers are protected from the consequences of the law, a law that they have broken. The authors of the Torture Crimes of the Bush years face no repercussions for their failure To Uphold The Law and Defend The Constitution. Rather, they perverted and dismantled the Constitution, but that seems to be okay under this Democratic Administration. Why?
Meanwhile, the United States of America under President Barack Obama has made it our official policy that torture is NOT illegal DESPITE previous American and International law, and not only does the USA under President Obama wish to continue to use torture as a policy, it has justified and legalized it through the American Supreme
Council Court, and now the USA under President Obama has the right to deny ANYBODY their Constitutional and Human rights if they happen to be "suspected" of a crime. They will then lose all rights they might have had, they will be declared the equivalent of a legal "unperson" and may be safely whisked away so that they can be legally tortured somewhere on foreign soil where their confessions my be used to justify the next Iraq or Iran or Yemen or whatever other country we must invade to ensure that America is better than 99.9999% safe.
And when that policy of legal unperson status based on the thought crime of "suspected" behavior comes home to America who will We The People turn to? Who will keep the average man, woman or child from becoming the next inconvenient Syme, a man who disappeared one day just as millions were "disappeared" in Chile, Brazil, Argentina and other places where free market Capitalism deemed that civil rights were no longer economically viable.
How can we pretend to be equal with the same rights and consequences when some of us are ABOVE the law and it's consequences while others are less than equal, less than persons with rights. If one person has no rights, no one has any rights at all.
This is how democracy slowly vanishes.
Syme had vanished. A morning came, and he was missing from work: a few thoughtless people commented on his absence. On the next day nobody mentioned him. On the third day Winston went into the vestibule of the Records Department to look at the notice-board. One of the notices carried a printed list of the members of the Chess Committee, of whom Syme had been one. It looked almost exactly as it had looked before -- nothing had been crossed out -- but it was one name shorter. It was enough. Syme had ceased to exist: he had never existed.
George Orwell ~ 1984
Democracy ceased to exist: it had never existed.
Wishing for peace,
You can follow me on twitter @JesseLaGreca
Crossposted at The Progressive Electorate.com and Docudharma.com