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  xThursday, June 19, 2003

jim henley is outraged...


...and says you should be, too, about yesterday's odious appeals court ruling asserting the Administration's ability to entirely abrogate due process on a whim, if it desires to do so. Check out his excellent rant, and prepare to be outraged.
What has the appeals court authorized?

Secret detentions.

Please say those words aloud. "Secret detentions." Now use them in a sentence:

The US government engages in the practice of secret detentions.

The US government has broadly asserted its right to engage in the practice of secret detentions.

A federal appeals court has affirmed that the US government may engage in secret detentions.

Here's a more complex sentence, for the bonus section: There is nothing in the logic of Judge David Sentelle's affirming opinion that the United States government may engage in secret detentions that would limit the practice to illegal aliens, naturalized aliens or foreign visitors to our shores. And another: With its decision allowing the US government to engage in the practice of secret detentions, a federal appeals court has left citizen and non-citizen alike at the mercy of federal discretion.

Secret arrests obviously require arrestees. There is a term for these people, ready for use:

The Disappeared.

...I've said it before and I'll say it again. The question is not "Do terrorists deserve the same rights as ordinary criminals?" The question is "Are terrorist suspects terrorists?" That's exactly congruent with the question "Are criminal suspects criminals?" We have centuries of experience on what can go wrong trying to answer that question, and developed an elaborate system of rights and procedures to minimize the potential for disaster - depriving the innocent of the liberty, property and even lives. We know that politicians, bureaucrats, law enforcement agents and intelligence operatives are human and fallible - that such people have lied, bungled, covered up lies and bungling, been gripped by a fever of wrongheaded enthusiasm and arrogance. From LA to Tulia to Boston, these human actions have devastated innocent people, in the case of Tulia an entire innocent town. We can be absolutely sure that terrorism investigations will lead to similar incidents and likely already have.

...This is wrong. This is not about how many or where from. It is about whether, in an case and the answer of any decent country is no, never. And until and unless the full Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court reverse this decision, we are every one of us naked to the threat. If we endorse this - if we even stand for it - were are worse than a nation of cowards.

By the way, the two judges who ruled thus were appointed by Republicans; the deissenter, by a Democrat. Of course.

(via CalPundit, who has some thoughts on the matter as well.)





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