Monday, September 12, 2005

In Other News 

Although I do have a lot to say about Katrina, I'm going to let all the rest of the blogoshpere take care of it for a while, being a day late and more than a dollar short in the excellent race to shame the mainstream media with breaking stories relating to the corruption and crisis it caused. When a story dominates the news cycle like Katrina has done, I always ask myself, "I wonder what else is going on in the world?"

hat tip to Unknownnews who found this Financial Times link:

President George W. Bush was handed a major victory on Friday in his effort to assert sweeping presidential powers in the war on terrorism as a US appeals court upheld his authority to imprison indefinitely a US citizen captured on American soil.

On the eve of the fourth anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks, the US Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously that Jos? Padilla, a suspected al-Qaeda operative who US officials say was planning to carry out a terrorist attack inside the US, could be detained as an ?enemy combatant? without any review by US civilian courts.

The detention of Mr Padilla has been sharply criticised by US civil liberties groups, who argue the president does not have the authority in the struggle with al-Qaeda to suspend the basic right of US citizens to a court hearing before they can be imprisoned.

But the court's ruling, written by Judge Michael Luttig, who is considered a potential Supreme Court nominee, said definitively that Mr Bush had been given such powers by the congressional declaration authorising military force following the September 11 terrorist attacks.

That resolution, the court said, provided the president all powers necessary and appropriate to protect American citizens from terrorist acts, including the power to detain committed enemies even if they are US citizens.

In the decision, the court relied heavily on a narrow Supreme Court ruling last year, which found that another American who was captured in Afghanistan, Yaser Esam Hamdi, could legally be held as an enemy combatant, though found the government had failed to follow all proper procedures for his detention. Following the ruling, Mr Hamdi was stripped of his citizenship and sent to Saudi Arabia.

The appeals court found that the same arguments gave the president the power to imprison Mr Padilla, who has been held in a military brig in South Carolina for three years, even though he was captured on US soil.

The appeals court correctly held that this case is legally indistinguishable from Hamdi, said Richard Samp, chief counsel of the Washington Legal Foundation, a conservative advocacy group. Padilla should not be exempt from detention simply because he managed to elude capture and make his way to this country.

But Eugene Fidell, president of the National Institute of Military Justice, said the issue would certainly be reviewed by the Supreme Court, where several judges have already expressed concern over Mr Padilla's detention.

This is the ultimate issue, because it deals with a US citizen apprehended within the territorial limits of the United States, he said. ?The fact that the federal courts are open for business militates strongly against open-ended detention.

There's a lot to be said here, and I encourage everyone to go read the whole FT article. But to my mind, the "years" of detention part is what bothers me the most. Except for the loony leftist blogosphere and some crazy attorneys who still think the Constitution is good for more than some Republican version of two-ply toilet paper, I wonder how many Murkins understand the implications of this case.

Here's some helpful writing by a guy who tends to breathe fire on this issue:

The government has no case against Jose Padilla, a hapless Chicago gang-banger who allegedly visited Pakistan before he was arrested at O'Hare airport 3 and a half years ago. He is simply an unwitting victim of circumstance; a convenient scapegoat for eviscerating the rule of law. The Bush administration has used its extraordinary influence in the media to demagogue the case and keep him locked-away without producing one shred of evidence against him. The entire affair has been a grotesque mockery of justice. The hard-right groups that engineered this plot know exactly where the fault-lines in American jurisprudence lie; in the inalienable protections of its citizens.

Padilla became the test-case for shattering the Bill of Rights with one withering blow. It has succeeded beyond anyone's wildest expectation.

We've been reading stories about people getting testy with the Veep, and recklessly trying to get actual photos of Katrina victims to the public, heck- there are even obvious terrorists warning us about possible biohazard disasters.

So basically, if Dear Leader decides these folks aren't Amurkin enough, he can lock them up and tell us all to just pray for them.

Well look at me. Sneaking in a Katrina post by the back door.

Thanks to everyone here at Corrente for giving me a place share my rants. It's good to be aboard.

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