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America is No Longer Free
Thursday, 19 October 2006 01:57

by Paul Lehto

Habeas corpus -- it's your most fundamental legal right, your right to go to a court and get an order requiring the government to prove that it is holding you in prison with proper legal authority to do so. Without that right, one necessarily lives in a dictatorship. President Bush today on October 17, 2006 signed a bill repealing that law, meaning that the administration need not comply or show compliance with law any more with regard to who goes to prison or Gitmo.

While it supposedly applies just to terrorism cases, that doesn't prevent it from ending the rule of law in the United States for our newly all-powerful Executive. This is true not just because terrorism is construed so broadly in the prohibition of "material support" for terrorism (which by the way has already been held to include a lawyer's press release on behalf of a terrorist client) but because the administration NEED NOT PROVE IT'S REALLY TERRORISM because they don't need to answer to any court in the land at any time.

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Even "Justice" Scalia wrote in the Hamdan case that "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." That very core of liberty died on October 17, 2006 with the signing of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 and its elimination of habeas corpus.
Oh yeah, it also legalized torture wholesale. While misleadingly purporting to prohibit a few forms, upon full analysis it prohibits none. But who's going to know since your relatives won't be able to find out where you are anyway, right? Habeas corpus ("produce the body") was not supposed to mean habeas corpses. Habeas corpus started as soon as human beings had the yearning to breathe free of the abuses of unchecked power of a king, aristocrat or lord, starting around the year 1215. We now have a pre-1215 mentality, all because of fear of some primitive and violent guys living in caves somewhere. Many of us are not intimidated.

Yet the same day as the signing of this Military Commissions Act of 2006, a lawyer following her ethical duty to represent her client and ill with breast cancer was sentenced to 2 and a half years in prison for the simple act of issuing a press release on behalf of a terrorist client in prison, which was judged "materially aiding" terrorism. (Such press releases for unpopular clients are hardly ever printed verbatim in any respect by newspapers, yet the allegation was that there could be a coded communication in the press release and there was a no-communication order in effect.) While this terrorist is a genuine terrorist, there's nothing in the law that distinguishes between representing serious terrorists and representing "innocent terrorists" (if there is such a thing) or minor ones, but in any case, remember, they don't need to comply with habeas and show that you are guilty anyway! At most, they just think to themselves "this guy's a terrorist" and you disappear into the torture chamber with no right to be heard from, even indirectly through your lawyer, which you have no enforceable right to anyway.

Even public opinion will likely not catch up with this because people will just disappear and who knows, maybe the missing person just went off on a lark or a fugue to start a new life, right?

Consequently, on October 17, 2006 freedom died in the United States of America. We now live in a dictatorship. We live in a dictatorship even if you think George W. Bush will be a wise and beneficent king or dictator. It is defined as the possession of absolute power as opposed to checks and balances.

In the Keith Olbermann commentary at the first youtube link below; I agree with Professor Turley (Constitutional Law) that people "really have no idea how significant this is." Turley says we now have an "absolute ruler" which is really just another way of saying dictatorship. He's not kidding. I'm not kidding.


I'll be releasing an extended (and devastating, early readers say) critical piece on this within 48 hours, but in the meantime and after that please consider the importance of this issue is at a WHOLE OTHER LEVEL. It's not an "issue" that we form polite activist groups to respond to.

The Executive Branch now has full discretion to imprison anybody they want to without charge or trial or bail and there will be nothing anybody can do except beg the King. I.e. there's no rule of law applicable to the administration. EVERY SINGLE AMERICAN LAW was essentially repealed, because the administration need not prove to anybody that it has complied with the law by indefinitely detaining you, your relative or anyone else.

The only thing I don't agree with Turley on is this: There is not a giant Yawn, there are a lot of people shocked, many crying, millions disturbed, millions more waking up. It's always hard to be among the first to know and to wait for the rest of the country to catch up, but somebody has to be in that position. Let's not, because we are among the first millions to wake up, send out the message that getting the American dream back is relatively hopeless based on the Yawn seemingly heard today. After all, there is no media echo besides Olbermann to get the word out and reinforce it. But there will be. I also disagree with Turley's approach, even as he makes strongly worded comments that are nevertheless scholarly and restrained in tone and volume, because it's inappropriate and (if you believe in Constitutional rights) not unlike talking in a similar dispassionate tone when a masked man walks into your local elementary school with automatic weapons drawn.

For a more appropriate tone, here's another two minute video below that was filmed right before this bill was signed but it nevertheless applies to this situation, and gives advice on what to do when "they come for your freedom." Paul Revere said "the Redcoats are coming". Today, "the Redcoats already came."

These situation of legalizing torture and eliminating habeas corpus is WAY WAY WAY "out there" in terms of extreme. Bush and his administration are incredibly isolated now, seeking to legalize the very things we prosecuted ourselves in WWII like waterboarding. If I hear anyone even IMPLY that we live in a free country, the correction will be swift. WE DO NOT LIVE IN A FREE COUNTRY ANY MORE. PERIOD.

The hopeful note is this: We can recognize how incredibly isolated both in the world and in our own country this Administration is, and we can turn away, and withdraw any remaining support and respect. But, if we react just in fear, whether fear of Gitmo or fear of torture or fear of terrorists, the dark curtain of dictatorship will descend further and their power will consolidate. In the end, Americans will not be denied freedom in a struggle for freedom on their own soil.

  "Freedom is Under Attack" -- Rollins (f-bomb warning, but appropriate IMHO in this context)


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Comments (9)add comment

a guest said:

February 26, 2007
Votes: +3

becky said:

No suprise
Oh look at that the videos were removed. The reason why people arnt talking about it is because it goes out of its way to be covered up.
April 11, 2010
Votes: +5

jim said:

Let me get this straight. The World's number one cash crop has been outlawed in the US by the Federal Government since 1937, the Federal Government confiscated Gold in 1933 (after this theft, it immediately jumped from $20 to $35 and ounce), workers have 15.3% of their wage stolen in the name of Social Security, all landowners pay exorbitant land taxes on houses they already paid for, you have money taken from you to give to pay for foreign wars to benefit multinational corporations and powers such as Israel by bankers since 1913, and losing Habeas Corpus indicates we have lost our freedom? Americans have not been free for the last 100 years.

No other so called civilization before in history has outlawed alcohol and narcotics. No other civilization before in history has imprisoned over 1% of their adult population. Anyone who refers to America as the land of the free is clinically insane, and Habeas corpus is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
April 11, 2010
Votes: +13

James de Juste II said:

We the people have to insist on a return to the writ of habeas corpus. This November ask the candidates if they are willing to actively back that.
April 11, 2010
Votes: +2

ERS said:

How can one have what one never had?
Read "Hologram of Liberty"; the "Constitution" does not apply to us, it applies to the states. We HAVE no rights. We have not only been bamboozled into believing we have something we never had, we are still British subjects. Also read Lysander Spooner's the "Constitution of No Authority."
We have been dumbed-down, ripped off. Political parasites and bought-and-paid-for congressional stooges have sold us out to the moneyed elite robbers.
America - Land of the Fee, Home of the Slave...
April 11, 2010
Votes: +1

m said:

too busy to care
Americans care about movie stars and super bowls more than anything else.

The dumbing-down has been totally successful.
April 11, 2010
Votes: +2

Dominic said:

More than 50% of informed Americans do not support this system by resisting it.
We refuse to vote in this system, because a vote in it is a vote for it.
America the beautiful is in good hands.
The corporation known as the US Government has the problem with freedom.
If an American desires real freedom, they must do it for themselves.

I'm free. I was born with sovereignty.
I realize that I have rights and I'll declare them independently.
I'm free to speak, if I have life then I have liberty.
I'm free to pursue that which makes me so happy.
And it makes me happy when you don't tread upon me and you leave my life alone.
And it makes me happy to live the life that I choose and you leave my life alone.
April 12, 2010
Votes: +1

AgreeToDisagree said:

Be An Example Again
I hope you guys get your act in order. There really aren't alot of good examples outside of what Hollywood paints as American reality. The spirit of the law in the US seems to be 3rd World as hell these days, alongside it's nepotism and mindless consumerism and Capitalism dependency. Try the 2 sites below guys, and stay in touch there too if you don't mind. I love what America should be, but not what it is.

April 12, 2010
Votes: +1

jennifer Chen said:

Princess of Hell
oppressing others is only temporary like all evil-the tables eventually always turn and by the law of reality(you get back what you give)-you will have to change places and be the ones oppressed and by those you formerly oppressed. That is what is happening now-wonder why your leaders those in Power are taKing away your freedom, why they are perverted satanists? They are those who you oppressed in the past-sent to prison-forced to become homosexuals, pederasts, perverts, separated from love/God/compassion/empathy, isolated, freedom denied them, -made into sociopaths to survive--those you allowed to be tortured in prison and felt so good about doing it proud even about it-calling it justice. Look at your prison system of the past-that is your future at the hands of those you put there--be prepared it only gets worse over time-and it will be the mockery of justice you meted out to those you placed beneath yourselves-Jesus said do not punish when he said cast the first stone-that stone always hits you back eventually-don't ask for freedom to be given to you when you refused to give it to those who now have power over you.
April 12, 2010
Votes: -2

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