“It is a sad reality that in the ten years since the first detainees were brought to Guantanamo Bay not a single one has been fully tried or convicted of any crime. Despite this, the Government has fought to deny detainees the ability to challenge their indefinite detentions through habeas proceedings.” ~U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth
168 Muslims sit behind bars in Cuba. The courts have cleared more than 50% for immediate release. Yet, there they sit.
Every day for the past 11 years — over repeated objections of two presidents and their attendant party faithful — Muslim prisoners have been knocking on the Federal courthouse door, thereby indirectly laboring to ensure that your Bill of Rights remains intact.
They call them “detainees” because “prisoners” have rights. We call that “good lawyering.”
On September 18, 2001, President Bush signed a law authorizing the individual who happens to be president to kill citizens of the United States with Hellfire Missiles. The law does this by placing no limits on what a president can do once he yells: “Terrorist!”
Given the unlimited authority Congress handed presidents, it should come as no surprise that today the President actually kills citizens with Hellfire Missiles, and that he reserves the right — under the same law — to do the same on U.S. soil.
It should come as no surprise that one of these presidential missiles incinerated a 16 year old boy from Denver. It should come as no surprise that no speaker at either convention mentioned the name: Abdulrahman Awlaki. It should come as no surprise that when a reporter cornered the President in Ohio on Thursday and was like: “WTF with assassinating citizens?!” (paraphrasing) — the President lied.
It doesn’t get anymore transparent than that.
The President doesn’t want you to know that:
- he can kill you
- he can fit you with an ankle bracelet
- he doesn’t want you to know — Gun Nut Alert — that he can take your guns
- he can order the Secretary of the Treasury to freeze your assets
- his defense lawyer is in Federal court in New York likening you — an innocent citizen — to a Nazi.
But, this is the President we’re going to have until January 2017, so I’m going to be writing about for the benefit of the nation’s two or three remaining civil libertarians.
Politicians like their citizens stupid. They like you like Todd Akin likes his women — helpless. They want you reciting the Lord’s Prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance; not the First Amendment. They don’t want you to know that a subset of the 1,000 or so Federal judges scattered across America, actually await the opportunity to push the Reset Button.
The Homeland Battlefield Provision is what you get when you look to politicians for the love you never had from your father. But, when you’re that needy — that co-dependent — it should come as no surprise when Daddy no longer guarantees you a grand jury or an indictment or a lawyer or Miranda or a judge or a trial or discovery or cross-examination or privacy or property rights.
That’s how is was in the United Stats from 1776-1791. No Bill of Rights. Those were fifteen bad years. And, that’s exactly where we are today. The President can apply the Bill of Rights, or not. In other words, no rule of law.
The New York Times really got its pen out today:
“Judge Lambert is completely right in his insistence that the administration respect the rule of law.”
I am so moved.
It would have been nice for the Times to mention Abdulrahman Awlaki in the 7,000 word brochure it published advertising the President’s Assassination Program. See, Secret Kill List Tests Obama’s Principles.
It’s about shaping your relationship with war, so that you never question the fact that war — in this case, the final war — is on you. If this is not the tipping point to awaken the citizenry — and it doesn’t seem to be — grab the SPAM, head for the hills and put a fork in the so-called “American Experiment.”
Against the foregoing absurd backdrop Chris Hedges is fighting back.
Earlier this year, Hedges filed a lawsuit against the United States, for the purpose of nullifying the Homeland Battlefield Provision of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, which specifically authorizes presidents to perpetually detain citizens of the United States — without trial — just like we do the Muslims in Guantanamo.
GTMO is nothing but a beta-site for U.S. citizens, and that’s all it’s ever been.
In Hedges, Benjamin Torrance, the President’s defense lawyer, has gone out of his way to ensure the court that while citizens may well be detained not “indefinitely,” but “perpetually,” under military authority, they are guaranteed access to habeas review.
Not “indefinite,” but “perpetual.” Isn’t that clever? Mr. and Mrs. Torrance must be so proud.
What the President’s lawyer never reveals, is that it his client who decides the terms and conditions under which you have access to legal advice, thereby reducing to zero the chance that any habeas review will be meaningful, even under the kangaroo rules governing military tribunals.
Now you know why they don’t have cameras in Federal courts. (What they really need are showers.)
Quick backstory: In 1995, I was released from Federal prison — no — not for stabbing an anonymous commenter.
When I was 28 — 25 years ago — I gave the bank a couple of tax returns that were not what they appeared to be and the judge gave me a three year timeout. I can’t say for sure whether I am the first citizen to serve time when his payments were current. All I can say is that I’ve been reading law for 25 years and it is possible.
Today I actually own my very own copy of the law, which I rent to the lawyers. God bless them, every one!
As a broke, bankrupt, high school graduate with a young family on welfare — representing myself — instead of doing 1,600 days as the Government proposed at sentencing, I won a couple of appeals and ended up serving 700 days on the installment plan; 15 months in, two years out pending further litigation (because, “yes” my original sentence was that unconstitutional) and then six months back in to serve what I like to call “the balance due.”
In all, I did time in five Federal prisons, including maximum security, due to a clerical error by the people in shipping and receiving.
Instead of working out in the gym, I worked out in the law library. Upon release, I had the opportunity to collaborate with F. Lee Bailey in a bank fraud case involving a functionally, illiterate defrocked bank president with an eighth grade education.
You need a license to cut hair. Turns out, any asshole can be a bank president.