Monday, April 13, 2009

Obama to Appeal Detainee Ruling.

I just find this so bloody depressing it makes me want to scream:

The Obama administration said Friday that it would appeal a district court ruling that granted some military prisoners in Afghanistan the right to file lawsuits seeking their release. The decision signaled that the administration was not backing down in its effort to maintain the power to imprison terrorism suspects for extended periods without judicial oversight.

In a court filing, the Justice Department also asked District Judge John D. Bates not to proceed with the habeas-corpus cases of three detainees at Bagram Air Base outside Kabul, Afghanistan. Judge Bates ruled last week that the three — each of whom says he was seized outside of Afghanistan — could challenge their detention in court.

Tina Foster, the executive director of the International Justice Network, which is representing the detainees, condemned the decision in a statement.

“Though he has made many promises regarding the need for our country to rejoin the world community of nations, by filing this appeal, President Obama has taken on the defense of one of the Bush administration’s unlawful policies founded on nothing more than the idea that might makes right,” she said.
It is undeniable that Obama is now making the same arguments that Bush did regarding executive power and that he is now explicitly making the case that habeas corpus should not apply to certain prisoners, something which he abhorred when he was running for office.

When, at the height of the presidential campaign, the Supreme Court released it's Boudemiene ruling and McCain called it "one of the worst decisions in the history of this country," Obama had this to say:
Today's Supreme Court decision ensures that we can protect our nation and bring terrorists to justice, while also protecting our core values. The Court's decision is a rejection of the Bush Administration's attempt to create a legal black hole at Guantanamo - yet another failed policy supported by John McCain. This is an important step toward reestablishing our credibility as a nation committed to the rule of law, and rejecting a false choice between fighting terrorism and respecting habeas corpus. Our courts have employed habeas corpus with rigor and fairness for more than two centuries, and we must continue to do so as we defend the freedom that violent extremists seek to destroy.
Obama campaigned arguing that he rejected the "false choice" between fighting terrorism and rejecting habeas corpus and yet now, finds himself arguing that habeas corpus shouldn't apply.

Glenn Greenwald on Obama now and then:

Even worse, here is what Obama said on the floor of the Senate in September, 2006, when he argued in favor of an amendment to the Military Commissions Act that would have restored habeas corpus rights to Guantanamo detainees. I defy anyone to read this and reconcile what he said then to what he is doing now:

The bottom line is this: Current procedures under the CSRT are such that a perfectly innocent individual could be held and could not rebut the Government's case and has no way of proving his innocence.I would like somebody in this Chamber, somebody in this Government, to tell me why this is necessary.

I do not want to hear that this is a new world and we face a new kind of enemy. I know that. . . . But as a parent, I can also imagine the terror I would feel if one of my family members were rounded up in the middle of the night and sent to Guantanamo without even getting one chance to ask why they were being held and being able to prove their innocence.

This is not just an entirely fictional scenario, by the way. We have already had reports by the CIA and various generals over the last few years saying that many of the detainees at Guantanamo should not have been there. As one U.S. commander of Guantanamo told the Wall Street Journal:

"Sometimes, we just didn't get the right folks."

We all know about the recent case of the Canadian man who was suspected of terrorist connections, detained in New York, sent to Syria--through a rendition agreement--tortured, only to find out later it was all a case of mistaken identity and poor information. . . .

This is an extraordinarily difficult war we are prosecuting against terrorists. There are going to be situations in which we cast too wide a net and capture the wrong person. . . .

But what is avoidable is refusing to ever allow our legal system to correct these mistakes. By giving suspects a chance--even one chance--to challenge the terms of their detention in court, to have a judge confirm that the Government has detained the right person for the right suspicions, we could solve this problem without harming our efforts in the war on terror one bit. . . .

Most of us have been willing to make some sacrifices because we know that, in the end, it helps to make us safer. But restricting somebody's right to challenge their imprisonment indefinitely is not going to make us safer. In fact, recent evidence shows it is probably making us less safe.

In Sunday's New York Times, it was reported that previous drafts of the recently released National Intelligence Estimate, a report of 16 different Government intelligence agencies, describe "actions by the United States Government that were determined to have stoked the jihad movement, like the indefinite detention of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay."

This is not just unhelpful in our fight against terror, it is unnecessary. We don't need to imprison innocent people to win this war. For people who are guilty, we have the procedures in place to lock them up. That is who we are as a people. We do things right, and we do things fair.
I am simply astonished that Obama is now making arguments which are so contrary to all that he has previously told us that he believes. And, when he stated:
I would like somebody in this Chamber, somebody in this Government, to tell me why this is necessary.
He is actually expressing perfectly the way I feel at this moment. I want Obama to step up and publicly to make his case. I want him to explain why he is now asking for the very thing which he campaigned so passionately against.

Because I find it impossible to condone actions which I have spent the last eight years condemning simply because it is Obama who is now doing them.

Habeas corpus is a principle which Barack Obama ran for office declaring that he wanted to restore. The least Obama can do is explain to us why his actions in office are so contrary to what he led us to believe they would be.
As President, I will end the war in Iraq. We will have our troops home in sixteen months. I will close Guantanamo. I will restore habeas corpus.
I am finding it impossible to square those comments with his present actions. Perhaps the president might care to explain...

Click title for full article.


Steel Phoenix said...

Disturbing news indeed. We will have to keep an eye on this one. I'd like to hear him explain this one to the American people.

Kel said...

Exactly SP. I'd love to hear his reasoning behind this nonsense.

He can sell many things, but I don't think he could sell this.