Unlawful Detention

Issue Bush Obama Change?
Unlawful Detention
(4th & 5th Amendment violation)
Began Gitmo. Instituted policy of Military Commissions rather than fair trials as required by the Constitution. Undermined the ancient tradition of habeas corpus. Rather than reverse course, Gitmo remains open, Obama continues with the military commissions process.

But the real capper, is Obama's signature on the National Defense Authorization Act, an act which gives Obama the power to jail Americans without trial, evidence, or any due process or habeas rights whatsoever. And while Obama has promissed not use that power against Americans, one can only shudder when thinking of the tsunami of broken promisses from this administration. Or, imagine if Cheney claimed this power? Democrats need to wake up and realize that just because they like (without reason) Obama, doesn't mean they'll always have a president they do like, and then what?

The 4th and 5th Amendments really aren't that difficult -- it is only the mental gymnastics required to undermine freedom that is difficult.
4th Amendment:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

5th Amendment:
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

NOTE: I've colored in green a portion that tends to confuse people. This portion applies to people who are serving in the armed forces, arguably the US Armed forces, during wartime -- it does not apply to civilians.

Closely related is the ancient (700 years) English legal principal of habeas corpus, which gives people essential rights: 1) the government needs to publicly acknowledge the detention, and 2) a limited right for the detainee to attempt to prove they got the wrong guy. It is difficult to understand, unless the purpose is to hide malfeasance and mistake, why Obama is so hard pressed by terrorism that he can't identify who gets picked up and give at least some explanation of why. The indefinite detention bill is law fit N. Korean gulags, not the land of the free/home of the brave.

Do not be confused by headlines stating Obama has reservations about this bill -- the reservations stem from the fact that Obama already thinks he has this power, and codifying it in law makes it more likely that the Supreme Court will have to issue a decision on the issue, one which if the Constitution is given a plain reading, will strip the presidential office of this usurped power to detain in secrecy, anyone without evidence, trial, or due process.

Finally, for an excellent legal analysis by a constitutional lawyer, Glenn Greenwald's piece "Three Myths About the Dention Bill should not be missed.

Comments, corrections, or additions: obamaisaneocon@nothingchanged.org

Updated Jan 15, 2012