Last fall, Congress passed the Military Commissions Act; it prohibited any non-citizen in US custody whom the president designated as an “enemy combatant” from going to court and exercising the most basic human rights. Then President Bush signed the Military Commissions Act of 2006, it did not protect or defend the Constitution by suspending Habeas Corpus, a legal principle that dates back to the Magna Carta and the cornerstone of our Constitution. The right to appear in court and ask the government to show that they have grounds for your arrest. This prohibition on filing a writ of habeas corpus has meant that individuals who have been in the custody of the United States for more than five years continue to be held without significant judicial review.
The “Constitution” is clear about the right to trial. In fact, there is only one reference to habeas corpus, citing: “The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus will not be suspended unless in cases of rebellion or invasion the public security requires it.”
Senator Patrick Leahy (D), Vermont said: “The bill before us would not just suspend the great injunction, the great injunction, the writ of habeas corpus, it simply removes it permanently.”
Olbermann said: “Okay, maybe the debate wasn’t that considerable. However, Countdown has learned that habeas corpus actually predates the Constitution, which means it’s not just pre-9/11 thinking, too. is the thought of the 4th of July.
These days, no one could have imagined that enemy fighters could one day attack Americans on native soil. In fact, Countdown has obtained a partially redacted copy of a colonial “declaration,” which indicates that at the time, depriving us of a trial by jury was actually considered sufficient cause to start a war of independence based on the then fashionable idea of that “freedom” was an inalienable right.
But today, thanks to modern post-9/11 thinking, those rights are now fully alienable, for your protection. “
Concerned Americans should ask Congress to restore the centuries-old writ of habeas corpus. The vote of your elected official is critical to the success of this initiative. Your voice in support of due process and the rule of law is needed to let Congress know that the United States you believe in does not hold people indefinitely in the executive’s judgment. Our ancestors founded this America in opposition to tyranny and oppression. Has this president now become the oppressor? When due process is sacrificed to fight so-called tyrants and terrorists, we become less safe here at home.
Why do Americans have to sacrifice our fundamental right to due process just because this president thinks we should? This very freedom from basic habeas corpus due process is what has separated us from the rest of the uncivilized world and from true tyrants, like Hitler, Stalin, Castro, Noriega, and now Chávez. These same freedoms are the basic foundation on which this country stands. This very basic freedom should not be a victim of America’s War on Terror. Rather, it is one of the guiding principles that separates us from terrorists and must be restored immediately to safeguard our image as a beacon of hope.
In “Countdown” Keith Olbermann examined the Military Commission Act of 2006 and what it does to habeas corpus. According to Olbermann, “the president has now succeeded where no one has before. He has managed to end the writ of habeas corpus.” That action does nothing less than end the Bill of Rights. Because the Mark Foley story began breaking out on the night of September 28, and erupted the next day, many people may not have noticed the bill passed by the Senate that night.
Passage of the bill in accordance with the White House gives Bush the power to effectively deal with America’s enemies, those who seek to harm the country. According to Olbermann “He has been very clear about who he thinks he is.”
The MCA deprives all detainees designated as illegal enemy foreign combatants of the right to file a writ of habeas corpus to challenge the legality of their detention before an independent court or to seek redress for ill-treatment, including torture. Detainees have the right to appeal decisions made by CSRTs or military commissions to civilian courts, but detainees who are not brought before them have no way of getting a court to hear their claims. This provision also applies to detainees who were not tried after their release; detainees who are not brought to trial have no way of seeking rectification or compensation for their incarceration, even if they are ultimately acquitted of any crime.
This provision echoes the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005, which prohibited detainees at Guantanamo Bay from submitting future habeas corpus challenges to their detention or the conditions of their detention.
Concerned Americans should do the right thing and support efforts to restore habeas corpus in HR 1415, the Constitution Restoration Act of 2007 = 110 & size = full), which provides for the effective prosecution of terrorists and guarantees due process.
Reach out to your congressman with the message that “due process” is a fundamental right and that abolishing Habeas Corpus is fundamentally wrong. Ask her to support the Constitution Restoration Act of 2007, HR 1415, co-sponsored by Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Jane Harman (D-CA), Janice Schakowsky (D-IL), Sheila Jackson-Lee (D- TX ), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Barney Frank (D-MA) and Barbara Lee (D-CA), who will provide effective prosecution of terrorists and guarantee due process rights.