Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The corpse of Habeas Corpus a grim reminder of our danger

Padilla gets all the press but Glenn Greenwald reminds us he is not alone in his plight. Take the less publicized case of Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri, a grad student from Peoria, IL that has been held without charge for five years. Al-Marri was swept up in the post 9/11 frenzy. He had been in the country for years and lived a quiet life with his wife and five children.

He was initially charged with some terrorism related crimes -- mainly allegedly lying to the FBI. He suffered through two years of pre-trial motions and was about to get his day in court to prove his innocence but on the eve of his trial, Bush himself charged the man with being an enemy combatant. He was at that point effectively removed from the judicial system and the criminal charges against him were dropped previous to his being turned over to US military custody. He has been imprisioned since then, held without charges in solitary confinement and has been denied contact with the outside world -- including lawyers.

This man was a resident alien, living here legally and peaceably contributing to society when he snatched from his home and clapped behind bars on what seems destined to become a life sentence without having been proved guilty of crime. In fact, one must presume he was innocent all along or else why would the White House not have pursued the case through the criminal courts? Surely an actual conviction of a proveable terrorism related crime would play well not only with the base, but also with all Americans. The only reason it would make sense to have locked him away, is that the government couldn't prove its case and it would have been too embarassing to admit they screwed it up.

This could happen at any time, to any of the miilions of resident aliens who are legally living here. It makes a mockery of everything this country used to stand for. Hell, we've financed and/or fought wars against governments for just these sort of fascist tactics. It's a sad day for the USA when this sort of presidential misconduct is not only allowed to happen -- it's virtually ignored.

It's a frightening reminder of just how far our president has run amok and it should serve as a warning against complacently easing our vigiliance over this administration now that we have restored some small balance of power to the Congress. We're not out of the danger zone yet and we remain in peril until Bush turns over the reins of power to the next president -- that is assuming he doesn't declare martial law first and suspend future elections.
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Blogger Kathy said...

The Free Press just had an article about a Moroccan immigrant in the Detroit area who was arrested 5 years ago following 9/11. A federal judge just ordered his tether to be removed. The government withheld crucial evidence when they tried him the first time and his conviction was set aside. Now he's being tried for insurance fraud. Fraud is a crime, but not exactly terrorism as the gov't originally charged.

How many people have actually been convicted of terrorism after all these years? Three or four maybe?

9:36:00 AM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

I don't know that anyone has actually proven to be a terrorist but if they have, it wasn't because of the Patriot Act or any other secret surveillance program.

8:23:00 PM  

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