A Day in Court


Jose Padilla's getting some company. The Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit has ruled that Gitmo detainees have a right to lawyers and access to the U.S. court system. From the decision:

We cannot simply accept the government's position that the Executive Branch possesses the unchecked authority to imprison indefinitely any persons, foreign citizens included, on territory under the sole jurisdiction and control of the United States, without permitting such prisoners recourse of any kind to any judicial forum, or even access to counsel, regardless of the length or manner of their confinement.

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  1. What the heck is this country we’re living in? America or something?

    I’m shocked.

  2. This is perhaps the most important decision in a while about Bush’s very (to use the right’s own terminology) ANTI-AMERICAN policies.

    Nothing is more unamerican than holding a US citizen (OR AN ALIEN!) without charges, indefenetally, without access to a lawyer.

    In short: the psudo second-tier justice system (if justice is even the right term) reserved for only those with no voice has largely been ignored by the general public because ‘it takes away ‘their’ rights, not ours.

    The erosion of liberty for those detained at Gitmo quickly made its way to US citizens in the case of Mr. Padila.

    I applaud the 2nd District Court’s Majority ruling. If one person looses a right, we all do.

  3. “If one person loses a right, we all do.”

    Um, yeah. Whatever. The detainees in Gitmo never had the rights afforded the citizens of the USofA. They were captured during wartime. Using your logic, I suppose we should trot on down to Africa and ensure that the poor people there have “pursuit of happiness”, freedom of speech, etc. They are essentially prisoners of war.

    What is the sound of one hand applauding? Who knows. But the 2d DC is setting an expensive precedent with this ruling. The lawyers will make a killing, all in the name of a misplaced sense of “justice”.


  4. “The detainees in Gitmo never had the rights afforded the citizens of the USofA.”

    Human rights are not dependent on the say-so of the US Constitution. Holding *anyone* without charges and without the ability to defend themselves is wrong.

    “Using your logic, I suppose we should trot on down to Africa and ensure that the poor people there have “pursuit of happiness”, freedom of speech, etc.”

    Sure, that would be a good thing to do, but the US is incapable of ensuring freedom to everyone in the world, and it has no such responsibility. But it does have a responsibility to respect the basic human rights of people it imprisons.

  5. Right on Andy, and shame on you Steve.


  6. And shame on me how, exactly? This pluralistic society that we live in is being taken advantage of by the scum of the earth who come here and demand equal time for unequal birthright. My forebears didn’t fight and die to ensure that non-citizens would live as well, or as freely, as we do. They fought so that I would be able to sink or swim on my merits, or lack thereof.

    The Gitmo detainees are not entitled to a single damned right that the rest of us enjoy.

    And, “H”, no. Our mission in Iraq was not to “liberate” the populace. Our primary goal was one of national security. Of course, I doubt you see it that way. One could make the dysfunctional argument that we are on an imperialistic tear, and that “the rest of the world” is next, but that is hopefully tongue-in-cheek.

  7. Also, Andy D., in respect to “basic human rights”, we address that much more positively than any other nation on earth. The detainees are well-fed (on a custom diet suited to their religious principles), clean (something they didn’t have the luxury of in their desert hovels), get religious guidance courtesy of the USMilitary, free Korans, etc. ad nauseum. What “basic human right” is missing?

    The “right” to counsel is damned near unique to the United States. And, regardless of your desire to wish it ain’t so, that “right” doesn’t get extended to war criminals and terrorists…or shouldn’t.

  8. Padilla isn’t one of the Gitmo detainees, for whatever it’s worth. He was arrested on US soil, and he is (was?) a citizen. He wasn’t arrested in the heat of battle (which would be clear evidence of his enemy combatant status), he was instead arrested in the course of an investigation, and at the time of his arrest he was not in the heat of battle (although he very well could have been planning something). He’s being held in a naval brig on US soil.

    As to whether Padilla should have the right to a trial:

    I know, I know, I know, terrorists have no rights. And if the evidence shows beyond a reasonable doubt that he’s a terrorist, lock him up and throw away the key, and make him do hard labor in prison.

    But how do we know he’s a terrorist? He’s certainly accused of being a terrorist. Those of you who have complete faith in the federal government can take George Bush at his word. The President (or some other executive officer serving under the President) said that Padilla is a terrorist, and would they ever lie to you?

    But for those of us who believe the executive branch’s decisions should be subject to checks and balances by the other 2 branches, I’d like a trial to see if the evidence supports the executive branch’s claims.

    Go ahead, call me a liberal Democrat, a statist, a traitor, a wimp, whatever you want. I subscribe to the radical notion that people accused of using (or plotting to use) violence should be given a right to contest the government’s claims. I never thought this would be controversial on a libertarian forum.

  9. What “basic human right” is missing?”

    Well freedom, obviously.

    “get religeous guidance courtesy of the US Military”???

    Is that supposed to make me feel good?

    “free Korans”

    I bet you anything the US’ll want them back.

    “clean (something they didn’t have the luxury of in their desert hovels)”

    Are you trying to be an asshole?

    Seriously, the issue here is that the government was doing whatever they wanted to. You’re never, ever supposed to let the government do that. “Trust us – we just need some unrestricted power to make things better.” Yeah.

  10. Hey skh… remember this line?

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

    hmmm… I notice that it says “all men” and not just “all citizens of these United States.”

    I also notice somthing about a certain unalienable right to liberty…

    So innocent people are being held captive by the US government, and you somehow think that this is acceptable and in keeping with the founding principals of the nation?

    I specifically said “innocent” not because I think that they’re fine upstanding people, because I certainly don’t, but until they’re tried, they can’t be arbitrarily declared guilty of anything. If their guilt is so glaringly obvious, then that would only lend support to having a trial since getting a conviction should be a snap.

    Sure, some were enemy combatants, caputured in combat in Afghanistan. Seems to me that combat in Afghanistan ceased long ago. They’re continued detention is drifting further and further from the “enemy combatant” rationale.

    (As a side-note, they’d be more strategically valuable if you released them back into their neighbourhoods and secretly monitored their activities.)

  11. This is perhaps the most important decision in a while about Bush’s very (to use the right’s own terminology) ANTI-AMERICAN policies.

    The decision will be overturned on appeal, so I wouldn’t get excited if I were you. The Ninth Circuit just has itself confused with Congress again.

  12. Game, set, and match, to Russ.

  13. I thought the Declaration of Independence said “We hold these truths to be self evident. That all men with the proper birthright are created equal…..”

    Anyway, I’m glad “skh”‘s foolishness has been shot down by several people here. I’d hate to think that talk of a “birthright” would play well here at Reason.

  14. Uhm, you don’t believe in birtrights? How comes?

  15. “Game, set, match,” my arse.

    Russ, the continued detainment of the Gitmo cretins is cause for alarm to those who refuse to acknowledge that they *all* were taken during battles in the midst of a damned WAR. Not “some” of them, mind you, but every last one of them. I guess the basic problem here is that my ethnocentric nature is not allowing me to give two shakes for a group of radical extremists who were trying to kill our people.

    Anonymous, nope, I wasn’t trying to be an asshole. I spent 6 months in the deserts of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Iraq during the 1st Gulf War. The hygiene of these people leaves quite a lot to be desired. And, as far as the government “doing whatever it wants,” again I say, these fine folks were captured during a war. They are receiving treatment that American POW’s have never received by any nation we’ve been at war with…ever.

    I read a news clip yesterday about a detainee released from Gitmo who was recaptured in the midst of more terrorism somewhere (can’t remember where), and his quote was something like “Once Al Qaeda, always Al Qaeda.”

    I would hope that on a libertarian forum, at least some pride in the US would peek through. I’ve identified myself as a libertarian for years, voting for local candidates when possible. But if lack of concern for the safety of our citizens apparent here is the libertarian status quo, I want no part of it. Some of you sound more like the black-clad apologists who smash windows and prattle on about corporations ruling the world.


  16. “the continued detainment of the Gitmo cretins is cause for alarm to those who refuse to acknowledge that they *all* were taken during battles in the midst of a damned WAR. Not “some” of them, mind you, but every last one of them.”

    So you’re not only wrong philosophically, you’re wrong on the facts, too. A number of the Gitmo detainees were taken into custody after being turned in by people from their communities, or from hostile neighboring communities, in exchange for monetary rewards from the US military.

    “I spent 6 months in the deserts of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Iraq during the 1st Gulf War. The hygiene of these people leaves quite a lot to be desired.” Wow, you mean people enduring a military assault by the US military don’t get in two showers a day with chamomile soap? Shocking. I bet they were all, like, bruisy and jumpy and couldn’t hear too well, either. Let’s put it this way; you probably didn’t catch them (heh) at a good time.

  17. You’re xenophobic ranting really gives away your racism, skh. You were trained to shoot darkies over a decade ago, you haven’t been able to undo that mind conditioning yet?

    It takes a small mind to translate a need for rights into being soft on citizen killers. Did you not hear the story about the 100+ detainees that were released back to Afghanistan? Did you not hear that many of these people were picked up by warlords and handed over to American authorities as terrorists for the reward money? Due process is not some simple legal tradition, its there to insure the rights of the innocent. If the government can prove these people to be guilty, I wish they would so that justice may be carried out.

    And, believe it or not, your perception that Arabs are unhygienic is part of your original conditioning, dehumanizing the enemy and all that.

  18. skh,

    I’m not about to resort to calling you a racist for pointing out some clear differences between cultures.

    I spent the first half of 2002 in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman intercepting refugee smugglers (in search of Taliban/Al Qaida leaders trying to escape Afghanistan by sea). I’ve seen the conditions that some people live in. It’s eye opening to say the least. For the most part, the refugees were happy to see warships because we gave them food and water.

    Anyhow, on the subject of enemy combatants, yes, their detention and protection is a necessary condition of gentleman’s warfare. To call this “War on Terrorism” a conventional war is a stretch, since there is no nation with which we are currently in a state of war. Even if you considered the governments of Afghanistan and Iraq to have been belligerent, they have already ceased to exist and have been replaced.

    So we’re holding enemy combatants long after having eradicated the enemy. It no longer makes sense.

    In fact, you mentioned a released detainee heading straight back into the terrorist trade… what better intelligence gathering could you hope for? He’ll lead you right to the people that he wouldn’t talk about.

    The strategic benefits of holding these guys are diminishing, while the political costs are rising. The status quo is becoming less advantageous every day.

  19. Did it occur to you that the physical condition of refugees hiding in the hold of a ship might not be indicative of the norms of their culture?

  20. I didn’t for a moment suggest that the groups of dozens of refugees undertaking a 30 hour boat crossing from Iran to UAE in a 26′ boat were in any way representative of the greater population of the region. Obviously, this small sample was the ultimate extreme case.

    I’ve never seen a comparable sight on this side of the world. The only conclusion I can draw is that they’re poor have it much worse than our poor, or anyone else I’ve seen for that matter.

    However, the living condition of the poorest members of society is a reflection on the culture as a whole. Before you complain about the gap between rich and poor in western capitalist nations, take a trip to the middle east.

  21. Who said the war in Afghanistan is over? We still have troops fighting (and dying) there, AND in Iraq. As long as soldiers are there, at least, the detainees have value– not only for intellegence, but possibly even for exchanges (something that would be far more difficult, if not impossible, if they entered the US justice system).
    “Lawless combatant” is the Geneva Conventions designation for pirates, spies, mercenaries and free-booters who can be executed without trial in combat situations– not just war…pirates were pursued in peacetime.
    The gtmo detainees should be held, if the govt. deems it useful, for at least as long as our troops are in harm;s way.

  22. Good to see Reason shedding some darkness on the issue.

    Here’s the facts in Padilla.

    He landed in Chicago, charged with locating materials to construct “dirty bombs” – conventional bombs wrapped in radioactive waste. They won’t kill you right away unless you are in the blast radius. They may kill you long term, if the area isn’t cleaned up and you have long term radiation exposure. Being environmentally fastidious as we are, we would shut down entire cities while EPA certified contractors scrubbed the whole place down. Panicky folks would flee, leaving behind their belongings and heading… well, who knows where. So this was a clever attempt to take advantage of our overweening environmental regulatory scheme, and out NBC Dateline-fueled semi-informed obsession with public health issues.

    Padilla, who at the time he landed in Chi-town was using the name Mohammad -something-or-other, had just come from meeting with his Al Qaida masters. He was seized, put in the criminal court docket, and then transferred to military custody around the time the Moussaoui case started going pear-shaped. He is now held in a Navy brig, in Charleston or Norfolk.

    Padilla’s attorneys have not filed a habeas corpus claim, the proper motion for a U.S. citizen held in the U.S. to challenge his detention. Instead, they have filed a charge under the Anti-Detention Act, which says no U.S. citizen may by detained by the government in the absence of an Act of Congress.

    A three judge panel of the Second Circuit, in a split 2-1 decision, agreed that the Anti-Detention Act required Padilla be freed.

    The problem is, the Joint Resolution Authorizing Use of Force, which authorizes the Executive Branch actions pursuing Al Qaida, delegates to the President the authority to “use force” to apprehend all “persons or organizations” responsible for the 9/11 attacks, all those “harboring or assisting” and all of >those

  23. EMAIL: nospam@nospampreteen-sex.info
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    DATE: 05/21/2004 05:45:16
    God had some serious quality-control problems.

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