Liberty under Siege

"An elective despotism was not the government we fought for."

Thomas Jefferson

Links Archive

Habeas Corpus - The Right to Trial

"The very core of liberty secured by our Anglo-Saxon system of separated powers has been freedom from indefinite imprisonment at the will of the Executive."

 Judge Antonin Scalia

Jose Padilla: No Charges and No Trial, Just Jail - Robert A. Levy, Cato Institute, Chicago Sun-Times

"Jose Padilla is the U.S. citizen who supposedly plotted to detonate a "dirty bomb." Since his capture -- not on the battlefields of Afghanistan or Iraq, but at Chicago's O'Hare Airport -- he has not been charged with any crime. Yet, for more than a year, Padilla has been held incommunicado in a South Carolina military brig....

"Consider this specious logic, endorsed by the Bush administration: Under the Sixth Amendment, the right to counsel does not apply until charges are filed. The government has not charged Padilla. Ordinarily, U.S. citizens cannot be detained without charge. But the administration has avoided that technicality by designating Padilla as an "enemy combatant," then proclaiming that the court may not second-guess his designation....

"Padilla may deserve the treatment he is receiving -- perhaps worse. That is not the point. When Americans are taken into custody, they have the right to retain an attorney. Congress must first set the rules. Then an impartial judge, not the president, should make the ultimate decision as to whether the arrest and imprisonment comport with the Constitution. James Madison, in Federalist No. 47, put it succinctly: "The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands ... may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny."        

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U.S. Can Confine Citizens Without Charges, Court Rules - Washington Post, September 10, 2005

Jose Padilla and The Death of Liberty  - Mike Whitney

Jose Padilla: Constitutional Unperson?  - Gene Healy, Cato Institute, Miami Herald, September 24, 2005

Shredding the Constitution     

U.S. is ordered to release U.S. citizen held as an enemy combatant   - Neil A. Lewis, New York Times, March 1, 2005

You Don't Need No Stinkin' Trial!

U.S. May Still Charge 'Enemy Combatant,' Gonzales Says  - Los Angeles Times, March 8, 2005

John Roberts and Enemy Combatants   

The Tools of Tyrants - Jose Padilla and the 10 Commandments  

Foreign Policy Threatens Our  freedoms  - Jacob Hornberger, Future of Freedom Foundation

The Bill of Rights: The Rights of the Accused  - Jacob G. Hornberger, Future of Freedom Foundation

Gitmo Threatens Us All - Jacob G. Hornberger, Future of Freedom Foundation

Injustice, in Secret   

The End of the Right to Counsel? - Scott Horton

The Bill of Rights: Due Process of Law - Jacob G. Hornberger, Future of Freedom Foundation

The Rule of Law - Is the President above the Law?
"All men having power ought to be mistrusted."

James Madison

Pentagon Report Set Framework for Use of Torture - Wall Street Journal, June 4, 2004 - original  by subscription

Bush administration lawyers contended last year that the president wasn't bound by laws prohibiting torture and that government agents who might torture prisoners at his direction couldn't be prosecuted by the Justice Department...

The complete draft document was classified "secret" by Mr. Rumsfeld and scheduled for declassification in 2013...

authority to set aside law is inherent in the president.

(

Talking Points Memo - Josh Marshall,  June 7, 2004

 ... To protect subordinates should they be charged with torture, the memo advised that Mr. Bush issue a “presidential directive or other writing” that could serve as evidence, since authority to set aside the laws is “inherent in the president.”

So the right to set aside law is “inherent in the president”.  That claim alone should stop everyone in their tracks and prompt a serious consideration of the safety of the American republic under this president. It is the very definition of a constitutional monarchy, let alone a constitutional republic, that the law is superior to the executive, not the other way around. This is the essence of what the rule of law means -- a government of laws, not men, and all that....

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President's power vs. laws against torture - Miami Herald, June 10, 2004

Ashcroft Refuses to Hand over torture Memo   

Text of the Torture Memo (pdf) - Working Group Report on Detainee Interrogations in the Global War on Terrorism

2001 Memo Reveals Push for Broader Presidential Powers
  - Michael Isikoff, Newsweek

A Justice Department lawyer may have been laying the groundwork for the Iraq invasion long before it was discussed publicly by the White House....

Just two weeks after the September 11 attacks, a secret memo to White House counsel Alberto Gonzales’ office concluded that President Bush had the power to deploy military force “preemptively” against any terrorist groups or countries that supported them—regardless of whether they had any connection to the attacks on the World Trade Towers or the Pentagon.

The memo, written by Justice Department lawyer John Yoo, argues that there are effectively “no limits” on the president’s authority to wage war—a sweeping assertion of executive power that some constitutional scholars say goes considerably beyond any that had previously been articulated by the department.

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Double Standards?   - Michael Isikoff, Newsweek

A Justice Department memo proposes that the United States hold others accountable for international laws on detainees—but that Washington did not have to follow them itself.

Probe Sought of Administration's Memos Exploring the Use of Torture   

"The most senior lawyers in the Department of Justice, the White House, Department of Defense and the vice president's office have sought to justify actions that violate the most basic rights of all human beings," said the group's statement, signed by 130 officials and lawyers, including former FBI chief William Sessions.

 "....they advised on how the executive branch can violate statutes and treaties and avoid prosecution."  - retired federal appeals Judge John Gibbons

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No Other Way To Say This: Torture Memos Reveal Fascist Mentality -  Bernard Weiner

"What is being discussed here is not the torture of detainees or prisoners in the "war on terror." That is an important issue all its own, one that flows naturally from the philosophy being advanced in the leaked memos. (And, by the way, even though Ashcroft has asserted that he will not turn over the memos to the Congress -- which could be grounds for citing him for contempt of Congress -- at least two of the memos already are out on the internet.

"What IS being examined here is the proclaimed right of this Administration to torture anyone, to imprison anyone, to invade any country, simply because (it is claimed) as Commander-in-Chief in a war, he has the sole right to decide who should be prosecuted, imprisoned, tortured, invaded, killed."

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Do Bush Defenders Place Any Limits on His Wartime Powers - Glenn Greenwald

This debate is about the President's claimed wartime power to break the law, not his power to order surveillance. Put another way, for those who want to advocate this theory of unilateral executive power -- but who then also want to deny that they are foisting upon America the King it never wanted -- the question that must be answered is this:

Are there any limitations at all on what the President can do under the guise of national security and, if so, what are they? And, given this theory of the "wartime" President who can violate the laws of Congress and who can ignore the courts in areas of national security, what legal foundation could exist to argue for any such limitations?

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Civil Liberties 

"so this how liberty ends. with thunderous applause."

Padme Skywalker, Star Wars Episode 3

Upholding Liberty in America  - Edward H. Crane and William A. Niskanen, Cato Institute

"What is needed now is for limited government conservatives of the variety exemplified by Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater to join forces with libertarians and enlightened liberals who respect civil liberties. They should speak out in support of America's heritage of liberty."

Dick Armey's Farewell Speech,  Representative Dick Armey (R-TX),  retiring Majority Leader,  U. S. House of Representatives, December 6, 2002, National Press Club  -  also here

Dick Armey's Farewell Address, Nat Hentoff, Jewish World Review

Armey Might Team Up With ACLU      

Patriots to Restore Checks and Balances ,  former U. S. Rep. Bob Barr (R-GA)

Conservative Voices Against the USA Patriot Act      

Why Does the Religious Right Ignore Civil Liberties Issues?  - Pastor Chuck Baldwin

42% of Russians Want a New Stalin   

One in Four Americans Would Use Nukes Against Terrorists     

The Brownshirting of America, Paul Craig Roberts

Dr. Roberts served as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. During the Cold War era, he was a member of the Committee on the Present Danger. He is a former Associate Editor and columnist for the Wall Street Journal editorial page and a former contributing editor of National Review. During 1986-87 he assisted the French government’s privatization of socialized firms and was awarded the Legion of Honor. He is the co-author of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.

Authoritarian Conservatism -  Bill Barnwell

Pinochet and the Conservative Threat to America - Jacob G. Hornberger, Future of Freedom Foundation

Hunger for Dictatorship
- Scott McConnell, editor, The American Conservative

America's New Nationalism - Scott McConnell, editor, The American Conservative - review of 
Anatol Lieven’s America Right or Wrong

Preserving Liberties in a Time of War - Orange County Register

Conservative Jacobins - Darrell Louisville

What Is the Meaning of Freedom? - U. S. Representative Ron Paul (R-TX)

An Astounding Remark - Sheldon Richman, Future of Freedom Foundation

Brits, Yanks Asleep as Ancient Liberties Fade - William Hughes

A Despotic Act - 80 Years of Libery at Risk and Nobody CaresThe Spectator (UK)

British Conservative Party opposition to Blair's infringement of habeas corpus     

The Emergence of the Homeland Security State  - Nick Turse, Tom Dispatch 

Posse Comitatus: Remembering Why  - Alan Bock

Bush's Soviet State - William Rivers Pitt

1984 Coming Close to Reality under Bush - Ed Tant, Athens (Georgia) Banner-Herald - original (subscription)

The War Against Civil Liberties: How Bush and Ashcroft Have Dismantled the Bill of Rights - Elaine Cassel - review by Noah Leavitt

The Bush Betrayal - James Bovard - review by former U. S. Rep. Bob Barr (R-GA) in The American Conservative

Behaving Like Soviets Won't Make America Safer - Eric Margolis

Are Civil Rights the Best Anti-Terror Defense?  -  Peter Ford and Lesa Abend, Christian Science Monitor   

Rejecting Fear Is the Key to Stopping Terror - Randolph P. Holhut

Abandoning Liberty, Gaining Insecurity - Paul Craig Roberts

Free Speech & a Free Press

“Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us.”

Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas

Perilous Times: Free Speech in Wartime from the Sedition Act of 1798 to the War on Terrorism - Geoffrey R. Stone, former dean, University of Chicago School of Law - review by 
Christopher Capozzola

First Amendment no big deal, students say   

Our Battered Constitution - Bob Herbert, New York Times - original (subscription)

An Old Law Turns Protesters into Threats against the President  - Jonathan Katz

Opposing Bush Becomes Unpatriotic - William Saletan

al Jazeera Banned from Iraq - Columbia Journalism Review

al Jazeera Banned from Iran   -  The Guardian  

China Gags Civil Society Groups - Asia Times   

Zimbabwe Shuts Another Newspaper - BBC News


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Habeas Corpus  - Right to Trial

Rule of Law - Is the President above the Law?

Civil Liberties

Free Speech & a Free Press

Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government's purposes are beneficent.

Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis

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