Saturday, September 10, 2005

Treason doth never succeed

What ever happened to good, old-fashioned treason? I just read about a very disturbing case, in which it was decided that the President can "indefinitely detain a U.S. citizen captured on U.S. soil without any criminal charges, holding that such authority is vital during wartime to protect the nation from terrorist attacks."

First, there are times when suspension of the writ of habeas corpus are necessary. I refer to article one, section nine, clause two of the U.S. Constitution. "The privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it." If plotting terrorism can be constituted as rebellion, so be it--but CHARGE them with rebellion, don't do this Gestapo crap.

Second, the "war on terror" is such an ill-defined concept that the term "wartime" is meaningless. Essentially, unless this is overturned in a higher court, habeas corpus has been overturned. It is my opinion that democracy can survive terrorist attacks. I am not sure that democracy can survive this.

Third, there are things with which a person suspected of attempting terrorism can be charged with, sedition for example, or shall we say, treason? Heck, come up with a new legal category, attempted terrorism. Conspiracy to commit terrorist acts, or something. Don't detain people without charges. If we don't have a legal reason to detain people who are dangerous, we need to create a new law, not subvert the laws and legal protections we already have.

4 Comments:

Blogger Noumenon said...

I said nothing when they held innocent Afghans at Gitmo for four years without a trial, because I was not an afghan. (More of a down comforter, that's me.)

There was already a Supreme Court ruling that a U.S. citizen deserved at least a hearing while being held as an enemy combatant, in the Yaser Esam Hamdi case. But despite the "our freedom is safe" press coverage, the ruling doesn't seem to have done a thing to Bush's policy of holding people indefinitely without trial. In fact two prosecutors at Gitmo resigned recently because the process is still so unjust.

This is one of the issues that over time led me to believe that Bush is evil, the only person in politics who I'll no longer give the benefit of the doubt.

12:42 PM  
Anonymous NicholaiRostov said...

I appreciate both the posts here. I think you can look at the patriot act and terrorism in two ways. It all depends on whose shoes you wish to put on. If you put on the shoes of the devout Saudi, the recent developments in the legal code of the United States are most disturbing. When you put on the shoes of the person who barely escaped death at the World Trade Center, it is a reasonable trade off to detain someone without trial. I am convinced that Bush had a couple screws come loose four years ago and it is impossible for him to look at terrorism from an objective perspective. (In his defense, I think it would take an exceptional character to remain calm when the country that he or she is charged with the protection thereof has been attacked in such a dramatic fashion.) Bush has declared a crusade and pursues terrorism with a zeal that refuses to take into consideration anything that diminishes the pathos of 9/11. In this, he is very much in tune with the rest of America. I am convinced that the American public is quite comfortable with the shoes they walk in and would rather buy the shoes of another people than get a couple blisters. Also, "Hoi poloi" rarely care about what aristocratic know-it-alls have to say. So I don't see much resistance to the infringement of civil rights. This is especially true since a lot of those who know better about habeus corpus, have learned long ago that cynicism is the best way to avoid psychosis.

4:06 PM  
Blogger Noumenon said...

If you put on the shoes of the devout Saudi, the recent developments in the legal code of the United States are most disturbing.

::looks down:: What do you know, I am wearing my Islamic Nikes today. Why did I never notice the obvious Middle East reference on my "Air Jordans." Just wait a minute while I go put on some American shoes and get a better perspective on this whole constitutional rights thing.

9:37 PM  
Blogger Octavo Dia said...

The ruling doesn't seem to have done a thing to Bush's policy of holding people indefinitely without trial.

I seem to be advocated Congress a lot lately. They seem to be the most underpowered of the three official branches, and, theoretically, the most easily influenced.

Bush is right, to a certain extent. They were illegal combatants, and we don't have a standard means of dealing with them and it is necessary to detain them... and here's where the Bush Administration goes wrong. We need to detain them until such time as we establish what to do with them. The proper response would be, first, Congressional decisions for the U.S. military on the treatment of illegal combatants and, second, the calling of a convention on the Geneva conventions concerning illegal combatants.

In way of explanation to the above, I count five branches of government. The three official ones, the medit, who decides which of the myriad issues available are discussed and acted upon, and the bureaucracy, who create law in its applications. I remember reading, for example, in Cooper, Phillip J. Public Law and Public Administration. 3rd ed., that the Social Security administration handles a larger legal case load than the entire Justice Department.

11:53 PM  

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