Why We Need Habeas Corpus: Dozens to Hundreds of Non-Terrorists Shoved into Guantanamo
A McClatchy Newspapers investigation reveals that “dozens and perhaps hundreds of men” have been wrongfully detained at the Guantanamo Bay indefinite detention facility without charge and without the habeas corpus right to challenge the basis for their detention. A review of the cases by McClatchy journalists revealed “fabricated evidence, old personal scores or bounty payments” to be the basis of these detentions.
How botched were the detentions of supposed “terrorists”? Some of those detained actually turned out to have been working… for the Americans. And how shoddy was the collection of evidence regarding these supposed “terrorists”? People were sent to Guantanamo and kept there for years on the basis of the unsubstantiated claims of the people who handed them over for cash. That’s how some of these people ended up in Guantanamo as “terrorists.” Where they were beaten. And subjected to “enhanced interrogation techniques.” Federal law and international law call it torture.
Newspaper employees did a better job gathering evidence in these cases than all the Homeland Security apparatus of the Bush administration, which just didn’t bother itself with completing the thorough task.
That’s why simply trusting the government when it tells you it’s got “the terrorists” is a bad idea.
That’s why a review of the evidence, not by a partial military panel but by an impartial judge, is crucial.
That’s why an all-powerful executive is dangerous.
That’s why we need separation of powers in this country.
That’s why we need habeas corpus in this country.
Not to protect the actual terrorists.
But to protect the people our government calls “the terrorists.” Then detains for years. And tortures. When they are nothing of the sort.
Next time around, to protect you.