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A Plea for Habeas

by TChris

When senators complain that "terrorists" shouldn't be entitled to habeas corpus review of their detentions, they're missing the point. It isn't enough for the administration to claim someone is a terrorist. As P. Sabin Willett makes clear, the administration doesn't always get it right.

Willett represents a client at Guantanamo named Adel.

Adel is innocent. I don't mean he claims to be. I mean the military says so. It held a secret tribunal and ruled that he is not al Qaeda, not Taliban, not a terrorist. The whole thing was a mistake: The Pentagon paid $5,000 to a bounty hunter, and it got taken.

So Adel is now a free man, right? The Bush administration's secret tribunal did justice, right? Wrong.

The military people reached this conclusion, and they wrote it down on a memo, and then they classified the memo and Adel went from the hearing room back to his prison cell. He is a prisoner today, eight months later. And these facts would still be a secret but for one thing: habeas corpus.

Willett makes an impassioned defense of habeas corpus, a right that -- according to Article I, section 9 of the Constitution -- "shall not be suspended."

But the Senate voted to abolish it for Adel, in favor of the same "combatant status review tribunal" that has already exonerated him. That secret tribunal didn't have much impact on his life, but [Sen.] Graham says it is good enough.

The military's secret tribunals are no substitute for a full judicial review of a detention's legality.

Mistakes are made: There will always be Adels. That's where courts come in. They are slow, but they are not beholden to the defense secretary, and in the end they get it right. They know the good guys from the bad guys. Take away the courts and everyone's a bad guy.

Willett has a message for the senators who are so quick to trust the Bush administration to do the right thing.

I'm back in Cuba today, maybe for the last time. Come down and join me. Sen. Graham, Sen. Kyl -- come meet the sleepy-eyed young man with the shy smile and the gentle manner. Afterward, as you look up at the bright stars over Cuba, remembering what you've seen in Camp Echo, see whether the word "terrorist" comes quite so readily to your lips. See whether the urge to abolish judicial review rests easy on your mind, or whether your heart begins to ache, as mine does, for the country I thought I knew.

< There is No Justice at Guantanamo | Editorials Opposing the Graham Amendment >
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  • Re: A Plea for Habeas (none / 0) (#1)
    by Dadler on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:05 PM EST
    One can only imagine the percentage of guys like this, victims of the hard-on for bounty bucks we tossed around like candy. Hell, so far it seems to have been our only strategy for apprehending Bin Laden. All those who trust the administration so much here need to take a reality check.

    Re: A Plea for Habeas (none / 0) (#2)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:05 PM EST
    Great post. One of the reasons Castro is the Western Hemisphere's enemy #1 for Bushco (not to mention the "Miami Cubans" from the Elian Gonzalez days) is that he locks people up without judicial review or due process. People just dissapear. Presumably, they believe these people are "enemies of the Socialist Revolution". But maybe they just have the wrong name, or were in the wrong place at the wrong time or said something stupid while they were drunk. Funny think about American politics: The people most likely to use the word "Freedom" in political discourse are the ones most likely to support locking up "terrists" just because the Executive Branch says they need to be locked up -- forever.

    Re: A Plea for Habeas (none / 0) (#3)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:05 PM EST
    What really bothers me is why we; The People;" just sit by and allow the American Constitution to be dismanteled piece by piece. We always seem to rationalize it by saying "It only applies to those people without taking into account that we are those people. Once we have become ensnared within the grasp of the "Fascist Police State" we may find that we can't get back out.

    Re: A Plea for Habeas (none / 0) (#4)
    by Edger on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:05 PM EST
    [Adel is still] a prisoner today, eight months later. And these facts would still be a secret but for one thing: habeas corpus.
    "I hope I -- I don't want to sound like I've made no mistakes. I'm confident I have. I just haven't -- you just put me under the spot here, and maybe I'm not as quick on my feet as I should be in coming up with one. " --George W. Bush, April 13, 2004 - WH Press Conference

    Re: A Plea for Habeas (none / 0) (#5)
    by Dadler on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:05 PM EST
    Edger, Can you spell S-O-C-I-O-P-A-T-H? Dubya is certainly one.

    Re: A Plea for Habeas (none / 0) (#6)
    by Al on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:05 PM EST
    Congress is just as much part of the dictatorship as the executive is. They have facilitated all of Bush's mves. They are a rubber-stamp assembly, a parody of a legislative assembly.

    Re: A Plea for Habeas (none / 0) (#7)
    by Tracy on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:05 PM EST
    Don't the senators take some oath, you know, defending the Constitution? The oath is not that they will achieve the ends, it is that they will defend the means. You can't have a society of free people if you tear down the method by which they remain free.

    Re: A Plea for Habeas (none / 0) (#8)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:05 PM EST
    off topic deleted. Commenter is warned one last time to stay on topic and put links in html format.

    Re: A Plea for Habeas (none / 0) (#9)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:06 PM EST
    Blaming all of Congress for the failure of American democracy to have an answer to a vote-fraud produced COUP is just whining to the stars because Bobby broke your heart, or the cream is sour because it was left out of the fridge. If you have a group, let's call it the CIA, that studies how to destabilize and destroy foreign governments, and then when they DO so, they get very little opposition from Americans (Mosadegh, in '59 or so, was the first, not the last), then do you really think that this group won't think -- hey, what is good for the goose, is good for the gander? Had Bush senior's Iran-Contra TREASON been properly prosecuted, we wouldn't be having the George and Dick show. It would have been cancelled. But to pretend that the Congress is to blame for weavils eating our grain is to ignore the twin problems: 1) a poorly-informed electorate; 2) the stolen vote which packed that Congress. Put together a muffled media, a vote-fraud system using whizbang technology, a concerted coup from within the criminality of the CIA spreading to all three branches of government, and a willingness to commit treason and genocide, and you have Amerika 2000 -- the Shaming. Bear your shame, put aside the generalized blamegame, and fight back. They are weaker than they look, and they are more bark than bite. Bush Must Resign.

    Re: A Plea for Habeas (none / 0) (#10)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:06 PM EST
    et al... Attention..... Attention.... If can you ever show you any proof that all the right wing neocons/conspirators...( ect...etc) don't want to lock up and throw away the key...(never to be heard from again... etc..etc) .....anybody that doesn't like Bush... etc...etc.. I give you Paul in La La land (aka - sideshow paul)...for if he is still out and free to spout all is insane ramblings about how mean, evil & corrupt the Government is... the rest of us have nothing to fear... LMAO.....

    Re: A Plea for Habeas (none / 0) (#11)
    by Edger on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:06 PM EST
    BB, Do you have even the remotest idea of the subject of this thread? Have you even read Tchris's post about Abel? You might check with your doctor re your LMAO fits....

    Re: A Plea for Habeas (none / 0) (#12)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:07 PM EST
    While shocking, it should really come as no surprise considering how much contempt The Bush League has for the rule of law. Because the rule of law knows no masters, it can't be controlled and outcomes can't be predicted. It's all about control. What The Bush League wants is total control. Exiles from The Bush League have been telling us this all along, but no one wants to listen. Ideology has bled into everything in The Bush League; now it's bleeding into the bedrock of Anglo-American law. Here's a dark game to play: wherever and whenever The Bush League finds something or someone they don't like, merely substitute the word "Jew(s)" for the object of their scorn and ridicule. You'll start to see an eerie resmeblance.

    Re: A Plea for Habeas (none / 0) (#13)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:07 PM EST
    Where are our impeachment rights? The antiamerican Bushoviks just don't care. They laugh while innocent women and children are burned alive in their beseiged cities.

    Re: A Plea for Habeas (none / 0) (#14)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:08 PM EST
    Paul In La LA Where are our impeachment rights? They are there.. but first you have to have grounds...and you don't...plain & simple. Speaking of simple...don't you think all the simple minded Dems would be calling for impeachment if they had any grounds for it? They laugh while innocent women and children are burned alive in their beseiged cities. The innocent people being burned are at the hands of the terrorists (oh...excuse me..."freedom fighters") that you so dearly love, who are blowing them up while they try to shop & go on about their lives! Speaking of laughing....I'm sure you did plenty of that while watching people jump to their deaths from 100 floors on 9/11 ... all the while pointing a finger at Bush...weren't you?

    Re: A Plea for Habeas (none / 0) (#15)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:08 PM EST
    Paul In LA:Where are our impeachment rights? BB: They are there.. but first you have to have grounds...and you don't...plain & simple.
    You STINKING liar.

    Re: A Plea for Habeas (none / 0) (#16)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:08 PM EST
    Paulie... You STINKING liar. LMAO... There you go again.... calling names. (I know... I have no response... so I'll just call him a liar...) After all I siad in my previous post..that's all you can come up with? You didn't disappoint me dude. How is me pointing out something I beleive to be true make me a liar? Are you applying "lefty logic" here Paulie? Or just your warped sense of what YOU believe to be right & wrong? If you libs come up with evidence for impeachment, you'll do it won't you? And you haven't yet have you? So , there are no grounds...yes? Please point out to me where I "Lied".... and please, consult a dictionary before you respond. LOL You are truly pathetic!

    Re: A Plea for Habeas (none / 0) (#17)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:09 PM EST
    Paulie.... If someone makes a statement they believe to be true, but it turns out the statement itself was false, they are mistaken, not lying. Got it now ? Not too smart are you? By the way. Did Bush lie? Why not google it... that's what you ask everyone to do isn't it? Look it up for yourself....

    Re: A Plea for Habeas (none / 0) (#18)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:09 PM EST
    "How is me pointing out something I beleive to be true make me a liar?" When you KNOW it's a lie. Apply the Clinton 'is' scandal to any of the hundreds of impeachment causes of Baby Doc Bush. An impeachment is not a conviction, it is a RIGHT TO TRIAL -- OUR right. For Katrina alone, he should be impeached. Malfeasance, negligence, and hiring incompetant cronies. If he can beat it at the Senate, then so be it. But you are refusing to allow impeachment, for the obvious reasons. And you stink like a skunk.

    Re: A Plea for Habeas (none / 0) (#19)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:09 PM EST
    Paulie.... me - "How is me pointing out something I beleive to be true make me a liar?" you - When you KNOW it's a lie Ok... you do understand and comprehend the English language do you not? OK, read this again real slow... I believe what I have read about all the Dems now changing their tune, and that they all saw the SAME info GW did. The problem is you 'think' this is a lie, therefore me repeating it makes me a liar? yes? Understandable that you (in your warped way) would think this ... BUT YOU ARE WRONG.... I handed you your ass on this one Paulie! But you are refusing to allow impeachment, for the obvious reasons. Once again my old misguided one... you are wrong. Nobody can 'refuse' impeachment! If there is enough evidence, the left will at least try it won't they? But, they haven't got the evidence my dimwitted friend...so therefore they can't.. So when can we count on you shutting your yapper about all this erroneous BS? Stolen elections & all this crap?...hummmm? Put up or shut up!

    Re: A Plea for Habeas (none / 0) (#20)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:09 PM EST
    deleted

    Re: A Plea for Habeas (none / 0) (#21)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:10 PM EST
    Paulie... Go back to Troll Central for a refill, BB ZZZZZ.... witty comback dude. So how does it feel to be totally out gunned? I handed you your ass & you know it!

    Re: A Plea for Habeas (none / 0) (#22)
    by squeaky on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:10 PM EST
    bb-your powers of self delusion are remarkable. Hope that you can keep them going when you get 'inadvertently' arrested find out that your right to a trial is gone due to the seriousness of the charges....false charges you say... minor point when it comes to protecting America from terrorism. Terrorism is a threat to our way of life and a few sacrifices should be expected. bb you may want to give a small donation to ACLU before it is too late.

    Re: A Plea for Habeas (none / 0) (#23)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:11 PM EST
    squeaky... Hope that you can keep them going when you get 'inadvertently' arrested find out that your right to a trial is gone I'm delusional??? LOL Yeah squeaky... that's gonna happen.... Tell you what...as soon as you know somebody...or better yet, know somebody that knows somebody that it happens to... let me know & then I'll jump over to your (the dark) side...ok?

    Re: A Plea for Habeas (none / 0) (#24)
    by squeaky on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:11 PM EST
    bb-ever hear of Jose Padilla? no trial, no charges, could be you. link

    Re: A Plea for Habeas (none / 0) (#25)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:13 PM EST
    Squeaky... Yeah I heard of him.... so what? Again...if I planned on damaging my country with a nuke....I'd then worry about being locked up. So Squeaky...even with your radical views of this government...you have nothing to worry about. Unless of course you have a nuke in your basement?? Agin I'll ask...do 'you' know of anybody 'personally' that has been picked up? I didn't think so

    Re: A Plea for Habeas (none / 0) (#26)
    by squeaky on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:13 PM EST
    bb-Do you have psychic powers?
    if I planned on damaging my country with a nuke....I'd then worry about being locked up.
    Or do you usually assume the accused are guilty without evidence or trial.
    Agin I'll ask...do 'you' know of anybody 'personally' that has been picked up? I didn't think so
    When that happens it will be to late. You are a perfect lapdog for any run of the mill right wing dictator. Once you sign away all your rights they will chew you up and spit you out into the toilet as you will no longer be of any use. You are no better than a TV rental lapdog that gets sold to a medical testing lab once it is no longer cute enough to enable fidelity.