Forgotten History...

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by Bullypulpit, Jan 13, 2005.

  1. Bullypulpit
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    Bullypulpit Senior Member

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    <center><h1><font color=red>Those Who Forget History...</font></h1></center>

    Of course, it helps to have learned history in the first place.

    In 1215, a document was produced that became the foundation for western jurisprudence and our own Constitution. That document was the Magna Carta. Most relevant to the discussion at hand are are articles 38 and 39 of the Magna Carta, which is the basis of <i>habeas corpus</i>.

    <blockquote>38 In future no official shall place a man on trial upon his own unsupported statement, without producing credible witnesses to the truth of it.

    "39 No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any other way, nor will we proceed with force against him, or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgment of his equals or by the law of the land.</blockquote>

    Heady stuff in those days, but the application was strictly for landed gentry and nobles until about 1628. Until then, the typical yeoman could be imprisoned by the king without charge or recourse to the courts.

    In 1628, several knights, imprisoned over a tax-dispute with the king. These knights invoked <i>habeas corpus</i>, where they were to be freed or on bail unless they have been convicted of a crime.

    In response, Charles I invoked his right, as king, to imprison anybody he wanted, any time he wanted. This led to the a series of laws over the next 50 years which strengthened <i>habeas corpus</i> to the point where only Parliament could revoke it, which they did in the case of Napoleon Bonaparte.

    Now, fast forward to the 21st century. Dubbyuh has invoked <i>per speciale Mandatum Domini Regis</i>, or the right to imrison anyone he wishes any time he wishes. But unlike George III in the case of Napoleon, Dubbyuh feels he needs no act of Congress to overturn the 4th through 8th amendments to the Constitution. In order to circumvent these protections, new legal terms such a 'enemy combatants' and 'terrorists' were created as well as a whole new set of laws to deal with them.

    Dubbyuh forgot one thing though. He does not have the right to suspend <i>habeas corpus</i>. While the Constitution provides a mechanism for the temporary suspension of <i>habeas corpus</i>, he does not have the power to do so...Only Congress has that power, and they have...not...done...so.

    Since this country was founded, there are two classses of people who can be legally imprisoned, prisoners of war and criminals. This first class is protected under the Geneva Convention and US law while the second class is protected under the US Constitution. These two classes have covered every threat to nations and their people in the 800+ years since the Magna Carta was signed on the banks of the Thames.

    But jast as Hitler and his fellow travelers used the burning of the Reichstag to justify an unending war on terrorism and suspension of <i>habeas corpus</i>, so to have George W. Buhs and his merry band, including Alberto Gonzalez.

    <blockquote> "The establishment of the writ of habeas corpus ... are perhaps greater securities to liberty and republicanism than any it [the Constitution] contains. ...[T]he practice of arbitrary imprisonments have been, in all ages, the favorite and most formidable instruments of tyranny. The observations of the judicious [British 18th century legal scholar] Blackstone, in reference to the latter, are well worthy of recital:

    "'To bereave a man of life,' says he, 'or by violence to confiscate his estate, without accusation or trial, would be so gross and notorious an act of despotism, as must at once convey the alarm of tyranny throughout the whole nation; but confinement of the person, by secretly hurrying him to jail, where his sufferings are unknown or forgotten, is a less public, a less striking, and therefore A MORE DANGEROUS ENGINE of arbitrary government.''' [Capitals all Hamilton's from the original.]</blockquote>

    This by Alexander Hamilton, one of the most conservative authors of the <i>Federalist Papers</i>. The Founding Fathers recognized no situation in which the President could arbitrarily suspend <i>habeas corpus</i>.

    While we are all familiar with Mr. Gonzales' involvement in the torture at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay, this is just a part of a larger issue. That being whether the POTUS has the right to ignore the Constitution, international law and treatties, violate civil and human rights and build concentration camps for the permanent imprisonment of untired and uncharged individuals. Dubbyuh's exercise of <i>per speciale Mandatum Domini Regis</i> puts us all at risk of imprisonment by presidential fiant. Do we really want a man as Attorney General of the US who agrees with such policy? They always start with the terrorists first.
     
  2. dilloduck
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    dilloduck Diamond Member

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    We're gonna have to deal with a lot of "Slippery slope" issues,bully. I'll get you out of guantanamo if they ever stick you in there.
     
  3. Comrade
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    Comrade Senior Member

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    Bulley,

    The United States Constitution underlines 'We the People'.

    The people are those governed by and for those same.

    When referencing events in a foreign land and involving non-US citizens, you may not introduce US constitutional law as a legal argument applying to those which lie outside of its protection.
     
  4. Bullypulpit
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    Bullypulpit Senior Member

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    Firstly, I am not introding constitutional law as applying to foreign citizens. I am, however, examining presidential powers under the Constitution. And the Constitution does not grant the POTUS the power to unilaterally suspend the right of <i>habeas corpus</i>.

    Secondly, there are two classes of people that may be lawfully imprisoned in this country, prisoners of war and criminals. Both are protected under US law, with the former falling under the auspices of the Geneva Conventions and the latter under that of the Constitution. The POTUS has neither the power or authority to revoke either those protections or <i>habeas corpus</i> under the Constitution. Only Congress has that power, and they have not, thus far, granted it.

    Thus, the president may not arbitrarily detain, indefinitely and without charge, either foreigners not declared either prisoners of war or criminals nor US citizens not adjudged to be criminals.
     
  5. rtwngAvngr
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    rtwngAvngr Guest

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    Hey braindead. Non-uniformed terrorists don't get Geneva Protection.
     
  6. 5stringJeff
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    5stringJeff Senior Member

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    I didn't think there were any US citizens in Gitmo any more after they were released last year (in a ruling that, BTW, I agreed wholeheartedly with). As far as the non-US citizen terrorists, if they do not follow the Law of War, how can they expect to be treated according to it when they are captured?
     
  7. Bullypulpit
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    Bullypulpit Senior Member

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    Why not? The VC did...They would have fallen under Dubbyuh's definition of "enemy combatants" and/or terrorists.
     
  8. Bullypulpit
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    Bullypulpit Senior Member

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    Jose Padilla is still rotting in a brig in North Carolina. He has been held incommunicado and without charge since he was taken into custody. He is a US citizen, and his right of <i>habeas corpus</i> has been denied by this administration. The only thing I can tell he's guilty of is being too stupid to live.

    And that's is the slippery slope the Administration leaves us poised on. Does the POTUS have the right to unilaterally suspend the Constitutional protections of US citizens? The Constitution says, "No.", in no uncertain terms.

    As for non-US citizens, even if they fail to follow the Law of War, the POTUS has no right to deny them protection under either US law or the Geneva Conventions. Again, it comes down to powers granted to Congress and not the Presidency.
     
  9. Hobbit
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    Hobbit Senior Member

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    First off:

    Wrong, hebeas corpus is Latin for "present the corpse," meaning there simply needs to be a charge in place to imprison, not a conviction. These people are charged with being enemy combatants and, as such, fall under the prisoner of war catagory. As for the Geneva convention, no subscribing nation is required to obey any rules their opponent has broken. It was originally designed to allow nuclear retaliation in case of a nuclear attack, but taken at face value, it wouldn't be against the convention if we videotaped these guys begging for their lives before sawing their heads off with a rusty bayonet. However, we're better than that, so we just make sure they never appear on the battlefield again. We tried doing it with the justice system, and it didn't work. 9/11 proved that. Now we're doing it with the military.
     
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  10. rtwngAvngr
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    rtwngAvngr Guest

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    The Geneva Convention does not protect terrorists blending into the civilian population, that's why. Maybe we were extra generous before. Now we're not.
     

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