Monday, November 14, 2005


Have you defended your Magna Carta rights today?

You don't have much time. Lindsay Graham, who has in other circumstances defended the basic rights of those accused of terrorism, has succeeded in passing an amendment to strip them of one of the most basic rights: the right to challenge their detention. As Marjorie Cohn says on Truthout (who you should send a nickel or so in thanks) In blatant defiance of the Constitution's guarantees of Habeas Corpus and separation of powers, the Senate on Thursday approved the Graham Amendment to the Department of Defense Authorization Act by a vote of 49 to 42. Five Democrats joined all but 4 Republican Senators in giving the President unfettered power to hold prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, for the rest of their lives, with no criminal charges, and no right to challenge their confinement by Habeas Corpus. This is a Pastor Niemoller moment, a moment when you either stand for human rights or you stand for nothing. Habeas corpus is one of the oldest rights, one that people have relied on for the better part of a millenium, probably pre-dating the Magna Carta, but being enshrined there as Article 39 No freeman shall be taken or imprisoned or disseised or exiled or in any way destroyed, nor will we go upon him nor will we send upon him except upon the lawful judgement of his peers or the law of the land." [PW butts in: Go to to go holler at your Senators over this. Also, don't forget to write your newspapers.]

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