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Obama Attacks Habeas Corpus

President Barack Obama has learned the ultimate ventriloquist’s trick: He has figured out a way to talk out of both sides of his mouth at once.

jcliffordOn the very same day that the Obama White House declared that it would be closing down George W. Bush’s secret torture prisons, the Obama Adminsitration declared its intention to disregard a district court ruling that prisoners at the American military base at Bagram, Afghanistan, have habeas corpus rights.

Incidents of torture at Bagram by agents of the U.S. government have been confirmed. Denying prisoners habeas corpus rights keeps their imprisonment a secret and places them beyond the reach of the law. So, President Obama’s action in continuing George W. Bush’s denial of habeas corpus to people imprisoned at Bagram establishes the base as a home to a secret torture prison. President Obama has announced no intention to close the Bagram prison, so how can we believe the White House’s claim that it is really closing all of Bush’s secret torture prisons?

We spent many years pushing back against George W. Bush’s unconstitutional revocation of habeas corpus rights under the Military Commissions Act. Now that it’s Barack Obama who is revoking habeas corpus using the Military Commissions Act, are we going to hold our tongues, just because President Obama is a Democrat?

obama habeas corpusNo. No president who ignores the Constitution and revokes the right of habeas corpus can be trusted. President Obama has proven that he has no genuine respect for the Constitution that he swore to uphold and defend.

This issue doesn’t just matter to a few prisoners at Bagram. It affects us all. Keep in mind that many of the people imprisoned by the US military at Bagram were not captured within a field of battle at all. They were seized far from any combat, even outside of Afghanistan itself, often on the basis of hearsay and testimony given in return for cash rewards.

If President Obama maintains the Bagram prison as a place beyond the reach of law, then he places himself in a position beyond the reach of law. If President Obama maintains the Bagram prison as a place beyond the reach of habeas corpus, then he is also maintaining the power to wrongfully imprison anybody, even Americans, merely by shipping them off to Bagram. Unless a person is granted habeas corpus rights, after all, they never have the chance to prove that they are wrongfully imprisoned, or even that they are imprisoned at all.

President Obama is keeping Bagram as an oubliette, a dungeon where prisoners can be dumped and forgotten forever, away from the eyes of justice. The International Justice Network, representing prisoners at Bagram, has made the following apt comment about Barack Obama’s dark turn to follow George W. Bush’s policies of absolute power:

“The Justice Department’s announcement today that it intends to ignore the court’s ruling and continue the Bush administration’s policy of denying any semblance of due process to civilians held in U.S. custody for more than 6 years represents a particularly dark day in American history. Last January, we watched in awe as President Obama was sworn in with a solemn promise to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay and to recommit our nation to the rule of law and the international obligations that the prior administration had willfully disregarded.

Today, we must express our serious dismay, as President Obama disregards the law, tosses aside people’s human rights, and wields an illegitimate power to seize citizens of other nations from anywhere in the world, render them to foreign countries against their will, interrogate them indefinitely without charge, and deny them access to lawyers or any court of law. Though he has made many promises regarding the need for our country to rejoin the world community of nations, by filing this appeal, President Obama has taken on the defense of one of the Bush administration’s unlawful policies founded on nothing more than the idea that might makes right. In what now must be considered his own policy on detention and rendition, President Obama follows directly in the footsteps of his predecessor in claiming the right to assert unconstitutional and unchecked powers.”

11 comments to Obama Attacks Habeas Corpus

  • Tom

    Well, i guess now we know who’s really calling the shots – the corporate sector or some body who’s really in power behind the scenes. If Obama gets his tune called by some entity above him, who can “fix” everything so that there’s no prosecution for this unconstitutional action and who can coerce him into doing the very opposite of what he campaigned for, then i would surmise that our government isn’t anything at all like we are lead to believe (via history class) in the way that it actually works.

    After the assassination of Kennedy, it seemed like the real power began to assert itself and that this same source can make Obama disappear too, if he doesn’t do what he’s commanded. This is also what i’m suspecting is behind Pelosi’s quick turn-around after she was elected (recall: “elections have consequences” – which they apparently don’t).

    Is it the CIA the NSA or some other “black ops” agency we don’t even know about? Whatever, it doesn’t seem that our supposedly elected leaders are in actual control of things and policies.

    i can’t think of another reason that Obama would turn on his core principles, the Constitution (he was a Constitutional Law professor somewhere), or the people who elected him. If anyone else has any plausible ideas, i’m all ears.

    • Xcaliber

      Obama has a lot on his plate for a president who took office after Bush.
      Then, u have the nerve to make him look like he’s a bad president. Once
      again, blame the CIA and agencies like Homeland Security and cut Obama
      some slack, the agencies are the ones who WANT inhumane torture. Besides,
      he’s got rid of Guantanamo Bay and eliminated many of Bush’s policies on torture.
      So stop tryin to turn radicals against other radicals. U act like ur tryin to bringing justice
      just against bcuz Obama isn’t quick enough to cover little loopholes the CIA can
      penetrate through illegally. President Obama’s administration is the best thing
      running since the Bush administratIon so all of u need to find something better to
      do wit ur spare time than just complaining about how Obama isn’t perfect.

  • Jim

    “Today’s Supreme Court decision ensures that we can protect our nation and bring terrorists to justice, while also protecting our core values. The Court’s decision is a rejection of the Bush Administration’s attempt to create a legal black hole at Guantanamo — yet another failed policy supported by John McCain. This is an important step toward reestablishing our credibility as a nation committed to the rule of law, and rejecting a false choice between fighting terrorism and respecting habeas corpus.

    “Our courts have employed habeas corpus with rigor and fairness for more than two centuries, and we must continue to do so as we defend the freedom that violent extremists seek to destroy. We cannot afford to lose any more valuable time in the fight against terrorism to a dangerously flawed legal approach. I voted against the Military Commissions Act because its sloppiness would inevitably lead to the Court, once again, rejecting the Administration’s extreme legal position. The fact is, this Administration’s position is not tough on terrorism, and it undermines the very values that we are fighting to defend. Bringing these detainees to justice is too important for us to rely on a flawed system that has failed to convict anyone of a terrorist act since the 9-11 attacks, and compromised our core values.”

    – Barack Obama, June 12, 2008 http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2008/06/12/1135957.aspx

    “Oh, to hell with all that.”

    – Barack Obama, April 13, 2009

  • chezaray

    At least you are ONE liberal who is consistent. WHERE is the MSM on this? Kissing Obama ASS, thats where.

    • To be fair, many journalists are not kissing Barack Obama’s ass. Many of them are, instead of reporting on Obama’s decision to break his promises on habeas corpus, writing about other, much more serious stories.

      For example, did you know that Hannah Montana’s movie did well in the box office this weekend? Also, the iPhone is getting a new camera. Mel Gibson is getting a divorce, and Simon Cowell might be planning to leave American Idol.

  • Bob

    What is not discussed by the media today is liber fascism a very disturbing trend that began well before Obama took office. The reason the media does not mention this is because of it’s involvement with those that wish to control what we hwear and how we think. To understand this conspiracy it is necessary define what is taking place today. Fascism and totalitarian philosophy of government that glorifies the state and nation and assigns to the state control over every aspect of national life. Fascism, especially in its early stages, is obliged to be anti-theoretical and frankly opportunistic in order to appeal to many diverse groups. Nevertheless, a few key concepts are basic to it. First and most important is the glorification of the state and the total subordination of the individual to it. The state is defined as an organic whole into which individuals must be absorbed for their own and the state’s benefit. This “total state” is absolute in its methods and unlimited by law in its control and direction of its citizens. To this end the fascists will gain control by inciting anger of the mob against the establishment such as ethnic groups or as what is being done today in our capitalist symbols, CEO’s, banks, and other easily identifiable self-defined villains. The Fascists offer Salvation from rule by the mob and the destruction of the existing social order which can be affected only by an authoritarian leader who embodies the highest ideals of the nation. This concept of the leader or messiah is there to save the day and restore peace and prosperity to the nation. Doesn’t this sound like Obama and the left wing leadership of the Democratic Party. Think it over and be objective in your reasoning.

  • B Otter

    It is a war folks… I don’t think it is the place or time for a love in

    • Yeah, it’s a war! So we need to lock up people who turn out not to have anything to do with it! And it’s not a time or place for worrying about our freedoms, because we need to win, um, to defend our freedoms!

      And who thought they would be electing someone to change Bush’s attacks on the Constitution when they elected Obama, anyway?

  • Xcaliber

    And one last thing don’t even compare Obama to Bush

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