Sunday, September 11, 2005

Habeas Corpus 2005

The writ of habeas corpus is the fundamental instrument for safeguarding individual freedom against arbitrary and lawless state action.
- Harris v Nelson 1969 (US Supreme Court)

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.
- US Constitution, Article I, Section 9, Clause 2

On Friday the US Court of Appeals ruled that President Bush has the power to imprison without trial a US citizen arrested on American soil. The court concluded that Congress had implicitly granted Bush the power to hold American citizens as “enemy combatants” when it authorised the use of military force against those who carried out the attacks on September 11th, 2001.

In June, Murphy jumped down my throat, first on Riggs’ blog and then on his own, because I objected that the principle of habeas corpus was being ignored in American prisons in Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere. Murphy was very quick to point out that habeas corpus was not meant to protect “terrorists and enemy combatants”.

Well, Murphy, now we have a problem. Jose Padilla is an American citizen, you know, one of the people whom our Constitution is meant to protect. Jose Padilla, just like you or me, should be entitled to file a petition for a writ of habeas corpus and be released from custody or duly charged and tried.

Liberties and rights are chipped away at little by little rather than all being taken away at once. People are generally prepared to give up a few small freedoms for a feeling of greater security. Most people do not mind that habeas corpus has not existed all along for those imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay, and most people still do not care that habeas corpus has been denied to Jose Padilla.

It is nothing unusual that people remain complacent when other people’s rights are taken away. It is, however, extremely short-sighted and naïve to think that it will not go on to affect the rest of us sooner or later.


* * * * *

Europe is headed down the same path as the US, which obviously worries me because soon there will be nowhere that I want to live.

Director General of the British Security Service MI5, Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller, gave a speech in The Hague earlier this month in which she addressed the problematic relationship between security and civil liberties.

The world has changed and there needs to be a debate on whether some erosion of what we all value may be necessary to improve the chances of our citizens not being blown apart as they go about their daily lives.

Last Wednesday, in a speech to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, UK Home Secretary Charles Clarke warned that “the rules that currently govern our law-enforcement bodies seriously inhibit their ability to protect us,” and therefore it would be necessary to change them. Mr Clarke also pointed out that the European Convention on Human Rights was “established over 50 years ago in a quite different international climate,” implying that it has become obsolete.

Mr Clarke also spoke about retention of telecommunications data, the Schengen Information System (generation II currently in development), the Visa Information System and biometric data.

For anyone who still has any doubts, Big Brother is already here.

25 comments:

Sinister Steve said...

MM,

How did your fantasy football team do this weekend. Send me your roster again so I can keep track.

Sinister Steve said...

MM,

This is off the topic but I was curious as to what kind of benefits the average full time job offers in Prauge. For instance I have fully paid medical, 11 holidays, 1 floater, 3 other days off in the summer, 10 vacation and 6 sick days. On top of that we have matching 401k, free parking, etc. Just curious as to how the rest of the world operates.

Sinister Steve said...

Tits,

It would be interesting to hear what Canada has to offer as well.

Tits Malone said...

SS,

I can only speak for jobs in Toronto. I am sure that Canada has plenty to offer including "snow days" and "hockey play off days"...It just doesn't happen to offer interesting men...

Monkey said...

We get free beer for breakfast and goulash parties every afternoon at four.

Max said...

SS, I will answer your question tomorrow.

In the meantime, does no one have a comment on topic? I was pretty happy with this post.

Sinister Steve said...

Tits,

I take it you are not into sports

Tits Malone said...

MM,

I agree with everything that you have said and it scares the shit out of me...the question is how do you stop America's dismantling of civil liberties? Especially, when it appears to be the general mandate of the current American administration.

Civil liberties is also an issue right now with a Canadian citizen deported to Syria - these are terrifying times we live in...

SS,

You are right, I disagree with cheering for the home team when there is a national catastrophe. I know you love football but the fact any professional sport is being played in the USA right now seems like gross negligence...

Sinister Steve said...

Tits,

Most of the games being played donate proceeds or take up donations for the victims of the hurricane. Name a better way to gather 100,000 people at one time for a common cause. In the end 100's of millions of dollars in goods and cash will be collected through various college and pro football and baseball games. I would also be willing to say that the highpoint of the victims of N.O. last two weeks was the fact that the games were played and the fact that LSU and The Saints won. To date, the NFL alone has donated over 10 million dollars. That figure will be much more in the up and coming weeks. Even if you don't find professional sports of importance the amount of money it generates is huge part of many local economies. They don't play and venders don't make money and people who need the extra income don't work. Personally, I dont understand the mentality of sulking everytime something bad happens. There are plenty of people to take care of the disaster and carrying on sporting events.

Knottyboy said...

It seems like everyone in the u.s. is willing to just have a guard dog shoved in their ass. I don't remember that being a part of the country I voted for. Scary times dear lady.
hugs,
k

Max said...

SS, I am sending you an e-mail in answer to your question regarding benefits in the Czech Republic. I would rather not do it in public because I will probably get half of the information wrong and I may otherwise incriminate myself.

Tits Malone said...

SS,

I sympathise that you can't understand the enormity of such a disaster. I am sure all of those that have died will take comfort in the fact money was raised in their honour while the hotdogs and cold beer were being purchased. Especially those that died of thirst and in the dark or better yet - those that died tied to their hospital beds...niiiice

Go team Go!

Sinister Steve said...

Tits,

Have you been working? Should I be calling off work? Have you called for actors to quit making movies or doing plays durning this time? Should restaurants stop serving food? Should bands stop giving concerts? Should Ford shut down the assembly lines? Have you gone to a bar lately? Should that be open?

Riggs is Crazy said...

Steve, I'd help you out in this argument, but it would just be piling on.

Sinister Steve said...

Bengals match donation to Hurricane Katrina victims
9/12/2005 - Brings total from team and fans to more than $250,000


Bengals players and staff have collectively pledged $55,350 to relief efforts for victims of Hurricane Katrina, and team management said today it will match that contribution, bringing the Bengals organization total to more than $110,000.

Together with more than $150,000 that was raised on Sept. 2 from fans attending the Cincinnati-Indianapolis preseason game at Paul Brown Stadium, the total contribution from the team and its fans now totals more than $250,000.

Donations on Sept. 2 were collected at stadium entrance points, through the volunteer efforts of The Salvation Army, the Bengals and Clear Channel.

The donations helped the Salvation Army mobilize over 100 movable feeding units – 54-foot long mobile kitchens on tractor trailers. More than 600,000 hot meals were served within the first week of the hurricane’s aftermath.

Regarding the player/staff contribution and the team’s decision to match it, Bengals president Mike Brown said:

“We thank our players and staff for their recognition of fellow citizens in dire need, and we are happy to double that total. The words and pictures from the Gulf Coast have saddened us all. We are just one of many organizations which are striving to help. We trust this will lessen the burdens for some.”

The $250,000-plus total noted above is in addition to the $1 million donated to the Red Cross by the NFL and its member clubs.

Riggs is Crazy said...

Tits, what have you done personally to help all these "victims"?

Sinister Steve said...

That brings a tear to my eye. I was thinking though. Isnt this a perfect time for the US to change the name of New Orleans to New Venice? We could save billions and provide proscription drugs to all of our elderly. Two birds - One stone.

chatsy malone said...

From watching the news here in Canada I believe they also imprison the accused for their crimes before trial. For example, In Quebec two guys were in jail while awaiting trial for the rape and attempted murder of a girl. Don't quote me on this. However, I believe that the US is doing this to prevent "terrorists" from fleeing the country.
On the one hand I would not apply to everyone seeing as there are many people in jail for crimes they did not commit. though I wouldnt' want a known rapist or killer walking the streets either.
I am fully aware that Big Brother is here. Mobile phones are tracking devices, internet, IP adresses....
All these hot sexy gadgets are really tools for big brother to use to keep an eye on us if you think about it.
As for new orleans, I have a lot of feelings about this. I am upset, sad horrified at how the situation was ignored before and handled after. I think the US's negligence in the evacuation and rescue could be a racial and social status issue. I think that the most "powerful country" in the world is very vulnerable. I also think that the US is putting too much emphasis on terrorism and neglecting other important issues, such as poverty, education, health care etc... The states are beautiful, it's just not governed properly.
I can't watch Bush on TV because I don't understand what he is saying, is it me or can this man not complete a sentence let alone say a full sentence without a hhummm or uh in it. Who does his PR? Who writes his speeches?
I don't think he is very smart and therefore he is a very dangerous man.
I will probably do what I always do when something tragic happens, go to church and light a candle for all the people who lost everything and will be having a very hard time in the next few months.

Tits Malone said...

Riggs,

As you asked...I am currently waiting to be deployed to the area through the Canadian Red Cross.

Unfortunately, the numbers currently requested by agencies outside the USA is not huge - and the number of volunteers such as myself have overwhelmed the CDN Red Cross and they need assistance with sorting that out.

Instead of sitting on my ass stuffing my face and watching sports, I have contacted charities in my neighbourhood to find out what was being organised.

Since they said they needed clothing, I have organized a clothing and dry goods drop with my friends and asked some of the drug stores in the area to donate baby supplies. We are currently waiting to find out if there will be any issues crossing the border...

I have also been in contact with other relief agencies in the Houston area and I am waiting for calls back to find out if I can assist them with anything at this end.

So piss off.

Sinister Steve said...

Tits,

You have a hard time answering questions without getting angry. I dont know if I should be exposed to this type of environment. Just admit you are wrong and we'll call it even and you can buy us a beer. No hard feelings.

Sinister Steve said...

Tits,

Please don't talk about charity while football is going on. We can save that for when the NBA starts.

Tits Malone said...

SS,

I am sorry my answers upset you...the only thing I will admit to is actually caring about what happens to people on this planet. What a monster I am.

Sinister Steve said...

Chasty,

Every time something tragic happens I get a beef and bean burrito from 7-11 and watch a good snuff film.

Riggs,

Would you classify OSU losing as tragic? If so you have two options; go to church and light a candle or 7-11 and get a burrito. You decide

Riggs is Crazy said...

Tits,

I appreciate you do all of those things to help the "refugees" in the south. I'm busy working, watching football, thinking about football and drinking beer, so I'm glad to see that someone else is helping those dumbasses out.

By the way, when I get killed in an earthquake, feel free to laugh and ridicule me for being a dumbass. I can take it.

Sincerely,

Riggs

Max said...

Chatsy, once again you have missed the point. You refer to "before trial" and "awaiting trial". I am writing about people who are being denied trials, people who have not even been charged with crimes, people who are being held indefinitely with no hope of a trial.

Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller explained the "necessity" for the suspension of habeas corpus in her speech in The Hague on the 1st of September. We cannot try people like Jose Padilla because there is not enough evidence to convict them. Not enough evidence to convict, so therefore they should be held without trial. Sorry, I fail to see the logic in that, and it does not make me feel more "secure".