17 August 2007

R.I.P.: Right not to be imprisoned without trial; 1215-2001

Greenwald makes the excellent point that the Padilla guilty verdict, although dubious and certain-to-be-appealed due to the long history of extralegal procedures (including, unquestionably, torture) carried out against him, actually demonstrates the fallacy of the Bush administration's rationale for keeping executive imprisonment without charges: once they finally did charge him, he was convicted, so the claim they made that it was "too dangerous" to try him is obvious nonsense.

Elsewhere, Glenn has pointed out that the right to be charged with a crime, and not to be imprisoned merely at the whim or accusation of the king, has been Anglo-Saxon law since the Magna Charta. It was, in fact, one of the key provisions of that document. (In case you've forgotten, the MC dates from 1215, when the nobles forced King John the One and Only to sign it at Runnymede).

The Bush administration still claims the right to do this, upheld by an extremely right-wing Fourth Circuit panel. Supreme Court review will eventually occur, so there's hope for the restoration of our 800-year old rights.

**Please!** Don't misinterpret the above to be some kind of defense of Padilla. I'm not defending him. But the rights demonstrably guaranteed in law since long before the American constitution, and systematically violated by this Administration, must be protected. And if there is anyone who still claims, 'yeah, but it's wartime, and rights are always suspended in wartime,' I would ask that person to seriously ask himself if he really believes that this kind of war would ever end.


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