The US Senate has voted not even to consider upholding habeas corpus those designated an “enemy combatant” by the U.S. government (that could be you or me, folks).
This means that anyone can be held – STILL – for an indefinite amount of time without even being told why they are being detained (“arrested” “held” “imprisoned” “tortured”). They have no right to question or challenge detention, even if such detention is in violation of US and international law.
The draft legislation needed approval by 60 votes in order to be considered in the Senate (a cloture vote to block GOP filibuster).
It received only 56, with 43 voting against.
Of my own senators, Saxby Chambliss didn’t vote (which is a little strange – usually he’s right there doing whatever the Fuhrer wants). Johnny Isakson (who I sometimes have teeny-tiny hopes for) voted NAY.
Oh, yeah, Lieberman voted NAY, too.
Arlen Specter – a prominent Republican and one of the three sponsors of the bill – noted that the right to habeas corpus dates back at least to the English Magna Carta of 1215, and is enshrined in the US Constitution.
Look, habeas corpus is a very basic protection against arbitrary arrest. No country that tries to claim it is an any way democratic should be without it. Even non-democratic countries often honor thabeas corpus.
Habeas Corpus empowers the individual in holding accountable the exercise of the state’s awesome power to restrain liberty.
To put this in the context of the current situation, the aim of the ‘Habeas Corpus Restoration Act’ – in combination with the ‘Restoring the Constitution Act’ – was to restore some sort of credibility to the process of detaining terrorist suspects.
Right now, everything we are doing is – well, the least you can say is that it runs counter to American values and traditions. These would would have put detentions in a more tenable legal framework by restoring the ancient tradition of habeas corpus, narrowing the definition of unlawful enemy combatants, prohibiting evidence obtained under torture, and returning to an affirmation of the Geneva Conventions.
I spit in the faces of all the Senators who voted against even seriously considering the issues involved here. You have not upheld your oath, and you do not deserve to be in office.