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Commentary Last Updated: Jun 28th, 2007 - 01:09:51

Who's afraid of habeas corpus?
By JC Garrett
Online Journal Guest Writer

Jun 28, 2007, 01:07

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Terrorists are bad. If you don't believe it, just ask George W. Bush.

They are so bad, in fact, that just by bringing one of them before a real judge would put national security at grave risk. The very idea of giving them the chance to challenge the reason for their imprisonment gives the administration nightmares and goose bumps. After all, Bush has told us at least a bazillion times that his greatest responsibility as Supreme Decider is to "protect the American people from attacks by terrorists".

Never mind that Bush�s rhetoric is dead wrong. The Constitution itself makes that assertion a lie. According to the document that George W. Bush was reported to have called "just a goddamn piece of paper," the president's highest responsibility is to protect and defend the Constitution. Since he has failed miserably at this, he has decided to unilaterally change what the Constitution denotes as his utmost responsibility. Personally, I'd rather be free than to be so safe that the Constitution no longer applies.

Never mind that the Great Writ has long been considered by the greatest legal minds as the very foundation upon which our entire system of law is based. It is widely believed to be the cornerstone of all American jurisprudence.

Never mind that the Declaration of Independence points out that every person is endowed with inalienable rights by their Creator.

When pondering on just what national security concerns could be endangered by a half-hour habeas proceeding before a federal judge, it is difficult to come up with many. It's not like this is a full-fledged trial of a specific crime in which operational details of a classified nature would possibly be disclosed. It is simply a determination of whether or not the government has enough of a case of wrongdoing to justify the continued detention of a person until a trial is conducted.

What is the government afraid of? What awesome power is possessed by these prisoners that they can jeopardize the security of a superpower by their mere presence in a courtroom?

Is the detainee going to suddenly blurt out the components necessary to make a suicide bomb? Is he going to disclose the technique of growing anthrax in your basement? Will he reveal U.S. troop movements to �al-Qaeda� through secret body language, recorded by a spy with his cell phone?

There is just nothing that fits, nothing that makes sense . . . except the possible revelation of government sponsored torture and cruelty suffered by detainees in U.S. custody.

The lame excuse set forth by the administration that the revelation of torture and specific "enhanced" interrogation techniques would damage national security by allowing the enemy to train to resist those techniques is utterly ridiculous. Absurd on its face, this is nothing but the most juvenile contention Bush and his fellow torture enthusiasts could come up with to suppress the truth.

In any event, that contention is now moot because detailed documents describing those techniques have already been released and widely disseminated. What's more is that the few military commission hearings of detainee cases in which the detainees revealed details of their torture have already been widely reported, as reporters and lawyers attending those proceedings publicized the content of the testimony presented. Therefore, habeas proceedings do not present any more of a security risk than do military commissions.

The purported security concerns decried by Bush are nothing but an anemically thin smokescreen designed entirely to prevent the disclosure of the widespread use of torture sanctioned at the highest levels of the government. The only things habeas proceedings endanger are the continued use of torture on detainees, and the continued freedom of many administration officials, including George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Alberto Gonzales, and Don Rumsfeld.

So who's afraid of habeas corpus?

The depraved administration officials at the highest levels of the American government who may very well soon find themselves on trial for war crimes. And they damn well ought to be afraid.

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