Last fall, Congress passed the Military Commissions Act; it prohibited any non-citizen in U.S. custody that the President designated an "enemy combatant" from going to court and exercising the most basic human rights. Then President Bush signed the Military Commissions Act of 2006, he was failing to protect and defend the Constitution by suspending Habeas Corpus, a legal principle dating back to the Magna Carta, and a cornerstone of our Constitution. The right to go before a court and ask the government to show that they have a basis for their detention. This prohibition on filing a writ of habeas corpus has meant that people who have been in U.S. custody for more than five years continue to be held with no meaningful judicial review.
The "Constitution" is clear about the right to trial. In fact, there's only one reference to habeas corpus at all, quoting: "The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it."
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D), Vermont said, "The bill before us would not merely suspend the great writ—the great writ—the writ of habeas corpus, it just eliminates it permanently."
Olbermann said, "OK, maybe the debate wasn't that considerable. Nevertheless, Countdown has learned that habeas corpus actually predates the Constitution, meaning it's not just pre-September 11 thinking, it's also July 4 thinking.
In this those days, no one could have imagined that enemy combatants might one day attack Americans on native soil. In fact, Countdown has obtained a partially redacted copy of a colonial "declaration," indicating that back then, depriving us of trial by jury was actually considered sufficient cause to start a war of independence based on the, then fashionable idea that "liberty" was an inalienable right.
But today, thanks to modern post-9/11 thinking, those rights are now fully alienable—for your protection."
Concerned Americans should tell Congress to restore the centuries-old writ of habeas corpus. Your elected official's vote is critical to the success of this initiative. Your voice is needed in support of due process and the rule of law to let Congress know that the America you believe in does not hold people indefinitely on the judgment of the executive. Our forefathers founded this United States with opposition to tyranny and oppression. This president has now become the oppressor? When due process is sacrificed to fight so called tyrants and terrorists, we become less safe right here at home.
Why should we Americans have to sacrifice our fundamental right to due process just because this President thinks we should? This very freedom of due process of basic habeas corpus is what has separated us from the rest of the uncivilized world and the real tyrants, like Hitler, Stalin, Castro, Noriega and now Chavez. These very freedoms are the basic foundation this country stands on. This very basic freedom should not be a casualty of America's War on Terror. To the contrary, it's one of the guiding principles that separates us from terrorists and should be restored immediately to safeguard our image as a beacon of hope.
On "Countdown" Keith Olbermann examined the Military Commission's Act of 2006 and what it does to habeas corpus. According Olbermann "The president has now succeeded where no one has before. He's managed to kill the writ of habeas corpus." That action does nothing less than kills the Bill of Rights. Because the Mark Foley story began to break on the night of September 28, exploding the following day, many people may not have noticed the bill passed by the Senate that night.
The passing of the bill according to the white house gives Mr. Bush the power to deal effectively with America's enemies,—those who seek to harm the country. According Olbermann "He has been very clear on who he thinks that is."
The MCA strips all detainees designated as alien unlawful enemy combatants of the right to file for habeas corpus to challenge the legality of their detention before an independent court or to seek relief from mistreatment, including torture. Detainees do have the right to appeal decisions made by CSRTs or military commissions to civilian courts, but detainees who are not brought before them have no way of getting a court to hear their claims. This provision also applies to detainees that were not tried after they are released — detainees who are not brought to trial have no way of seeking redress or compensation for their imprisonment, even if they are eventually cleared of any wrongdoing.
This provision echoes the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005, which barred detainees at Guantanamo Bay from bringing future habeas corpus challenges to their detention or the conditions of their detention.
Concerned Americans need to do the right thing and support the efforts to restore the right of Habeas Corpus in Bill HR 1415, the Restoring the Constitution Act of 2007 (http://capwiz.com/pdamerica/issues/bills/?billnum=H.R.1415&congress=110&size=full), which provides for the effective prosecution of terrorists and guarantees due process.
Contact your congressperson with the message that "due process" is a fundamental right and that abolishing Habeas Corpus is fundamentally wrong. Ask him/her to support the Restoring the Constitution Act of 2007, HR 1415, cosponsored by Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Jane Harman (D-CA), Janice Schakowsky (D-IL), Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Barney Frank (D-MA), and Barbara Lee (D-CA), which will provide for the effective prosecution of terrorists and guarantee due process rights.