Friday, June 26, 2009

R.I.P. (updated)

The Magna Carta, signed in 1215 and providing much of the basis for the U.S. Constitution
No, not Michael or Farrah: Habeas corpus (1215-2009).

The idea that we are citizens instead of subjects. The rule of law instead of Presidential whim.

ProPublica reports that the White House is considering an "executive order that would reassert presidential authority to incarcerate suspected terrorists indefinitely".

Citing "three senior government officials with knowledge of White House deliberations", the ProPublica article states Obama's administration has turned away from the option of creating a national security court "to supervise the incarceration of detainees deemed too dangerous to release but who cannot be charged or tried". The reason give for this decision is that "legislation establishing a special court would be both difficult to pass and likely to fracture Obama's own party."

No shit, Sherlock.

If you have legitimate grounds to detain someone in prison, you have enough grounds to charge and try them. At least, that used to be the way things worked, under habeas corpus. Even in 1215, they grasped the justice of this principle.

I hope this article is wrong, utterly wrong. I hope it's the work of Washington Post reporters who are in the pocket of the Religious Right, who would LOVE to see the gains insured by the Magna Carta rolled back to further their chances of restoring theocracy. I hope Obama and his power-hungry, manipulative terriers are not even considering such a step. But I'm starting my mourning now, because it looks bleak.

At least I was born into freedom.

UPDATE: Digby at Hullaballoo has two posts today I recommend reading. The first is Transparent Obscurity, where she speaks of seeing clearly through the "haze of hopenchange" to understand "The irony, of course, is that the man who ran on transparency is actually turning out to be less transparent than the president he excoriated on the campaign trail for his secrecy."

This is a follow-up to her post Legacy, where she directs us to The Nation's article reporting on and validating the ProPublica/Washington Post report I quoted above, Obama Courts Disaster With New Detention Plan.

In each post, Digby refers us to Glenn Greenwald, first to his fact-bearing report Overwhelming majority oppose preventive detention without charges. The second link is to his updated and definitive Obama contemplates Executive Order for detention without charges. Read 'em and do WHATEVER YOU CAN to stop this man's continuation of The Worst of Bush.

[Cross-posted at Group News Blog.]

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