Still think that a Democrat or a Republican might save you? Here’s your final wake up call
By Anthony Gregory
hat tip: Campaign for Liberty
The following is based on a talk delivered at the Free State Project’s Liberty Forum in Nashua, New Hampshire, Saturday, March 20, 2010.
In the United States, civil liberties are seen as the province of the left. The ACLU, the Bar Association, the Democratic Party, people who err in favor of procedural protections for criminals and even terrorists — this is what tends to come to mind to conservatives who condemn civil liberties as a leftist interest, and to liberals who celebrate it as a great anchor of their political philosophy.
But what happens when the left-liberals are in charge of the executive branch, its police, its justice department, prosecutors and military courts? Predictably, conservatives fear the government will be soft on foreign and domestic villains. Liberals hold out hope that due process will be restored.
Libertarians, too, will often adopt this general lens through which to see political reality. Just as many progressive writers discussed the coming of Obama as a new dawn for the Bill of Rights — or, at least, the amendments they openly favor — many libertarians hoped that the Bush era of warrantless wiretapping, indefinite detention, torture and police statism would recede with the electoral victory of the Democrats.
But here we see the problem. For if the left are the most institutionally important guardians of civil liberties, then the ascent to power of one of their own will often mean a quieting of dissent. Left-liberals become caught up with economic policy, become corrupted, or simply tire of finding more reasons for their own partisan figurehead to be criticized, and look the other way. Just as Republican administrations can often implement domestic interventions with a freer hand — look at Bush’s effortless Medicare expansion compared to how long it has taken for Obama to move on health care — Democrats can expect a less hostile climate in which to build up executive power to the detriment of civil liberty. And indeed, even if they have good intentions, they run against political pressure from the opposition accusing them of being soft with the police power. A left-liberal in office is the perfect storm for the destruction of our privacy and the rule of law. Just remember what Clinton did at Waco, or the erosion of liberty after the Oklahoma City Bombing, and the truth of this was confirmed long before January of last year when Obama took the throne.
Legal Counsel for The Sovereign Society
March 17, 2010
I voted for John McCain for president, (did I have a choice?), but I’m wondering whether the senior senator from Arizona has taken leave of his constitutional senses.
Ten days ago, McCain and his might-have-been 2008 vice presidential candidate, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Ct), introduced a bill entitled the “Enemy Belligerent, Interrogation, Detention, and Prosecution Act of 2010.”
A close reading of the bill suggests it would allow the U.S. military to detain U.S. citizens without trial indefinitely in the United States based on suspected activity. Read the bill here and then continue reading…
The bill sets out a comprehensive policy for the detention, interrogation and trial of suspected enemy belligerents who are believed to have engaged in hostilities against the United States. It does so by requiring these individuals to be held in military custody, interrogated for their intelligence value and not provided with a Miranda warning.
But the bill makes no distinction between “U.S. persons,” (defined as green card holders or U.S. citizens) and non-U.S. persons. Any of them (of us) could be arrested by the military!
by Suzanne Ito
hat tip: ACLU Blog
Mar 2nd, 2010
On Friday, we filed a habeas corpus lawsuit on behalf of four Bagram detainees. The lawsuit requests that the four men be granted access to lawyers and be allowed to challenge the legality of their detention in court. The petition alleges they have never engaged in hostilities against the U.S., have never been a part of any group hostile to the U.S. and have never even been told why they’re being detained or had access to a lawyer.
We have two sets of clients. The first set is brothers Samiullah and Sibghatullah Jalatzai. Sibghatullah served as a translator for the U.S. military for four years before his capture nearly 20 months ago. Samiullah was arrested without explanation at his workplace nearly 23 months ago. The second set is Haji Abdul Wahid, an Afghan government employee, and Zia-ur-Rahman, his nephew. Both were taken from their homes by the U.S. military during a massive neighborhood sweep more than a year ago.
We’re afraid to say it, but it’s looking like Bagram is the new Gitmo. Bagram detainees lack access to courts or any meaningful process to challenge their detention. If that sounds familiar, it’s because it was the same at Guantánamo until the Supreme Court decided, in Boumediene v. Bush, that detainees are entitled to challenge their detention through habeas corpus.
The Liberty Voice Transcript Service
This segment of Steven Colbert’s “The Word” on the Colbert Report (Comedy Channel) aired on September 26, 2006. Bracketed comments denote text which appeared on-screen as part of Colbert’s monologue.
Now listen folks. We all know about the big dust-up between President Bush and Senate leadership over his wanting to change the language of the Geneva Conventions, right? Well, on Thursday, they reached a compromise. And that’s not just a victory for Bush—it’s a victory for the country. Because basic human rights is something we all need to compromise on.
You see, his opponents are a group of rebels within the Republican party, John McCain, Lindsay Graham and John Warner who stood up and said “NO!” to the President’s plan. Meanwhile, the Democrats also stood up and said, “We’re just gonna wait over here. You tell us when you’re done.”
Which brings us to tonight’s word, “Opposition Party.”
The United States has once again declared war, but this time it is a war on basic human rights.
The Bush administration has been fighting for the power to lock people up indefinitely simply on the nod of the president. The assurance that harsh treatment is reserved only for “terrorists” is meaningless when the process for determining who is a terrorist depends on the sole discretion of the executive. Strong constitutional procedures must be enforced through all three branches of government or basic human rights can not prevail.
Unfortunately, basic human rights deniers scored a disturbing victory on July 18, when a federal appeals court ruled that Ali al-Marri would likely continue his seven and a half year wait without ever having had the chance to defend himself. Now that the designation “enemy combatant,” applies to someone held inside the United States who was denied basic human rights, and that treatment is now unchallenged by US courts, the chilling implication is that the ruling may not only apply to foreign nationals, but to US citizens as well.