Friday, January 22, 2010

Excising the Troublemakers

Greenwald lays out the Obama administration's long day's journey into the nightmare created by the Bush adminstration during the '00s:
Today, The New York Times' Charlie Savage reports:
The Obama administration has decided to continue to imprison without trials nearly 50 detainees at the Guantánamo Bay military prison in Cuba because a high-level task force has concluded that they are too difficult to prosecute but too dangerous to release, an administration official said on Thursday.
...Once that rationale is accepted, it necessarily applies not only to past detainees but future ones as well: the administration is claiming the power to imprison whomever it wants without charges whenever it believes that -- even in the face of the horrendously broad "material support for terrorism" laws the Congress has enacted -- it cannot prove in any tribunal that the individual has actually done anything wrong. They are simply decreed by presidential fiat to be "too dangerous to release." Perhaps worst of all, it converts what was once a leading prong in the radical Bush/Cheney assault on the Constitution -- the Presidential power to indefinitely imprison people without charges -- into complete bipartisan consensus, permanently removed from the realm of establishment controversy.

There are roughly 200 prisoners left at the camp, which means roughly 25% will be held without any charges at all. Using the administration's perverse multi-tiered justice system, the rest will either be tried in a real court, sent to a military commission or released...The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2008 that the Military Commissions Act unconstitutionally denied the right of habeas corpus to Guantanamo detainees -- a principle the Obama administration has vigorously resisted when it comes to Bagram detainees -- but mere habeas corpus review does not come close to a real trial, which the Bill of Rights guarantees to all "persons" (not only "Americans") before the State can keep them locked in a cage.
This definition of "persons" has certainly seen plenty of plasticity in the last couple days. Perhaps since the Supreme Court has stretched forth its hand to shelter corporations under its wing by virtue of their "personhood", it may also choose to re-vist the definition as it applies to living beings. If the Obama Justice Department can get a ruling excluding actual humans from the definition, the destruction of the Constitution will be complete, and these troubling complaints will be put to rest along with their authors.

Nice work.

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