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  1. #1
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    camps for U.S. citizens

    Camps for Citizens: Ashcroft's Hellish Vision
    Attorney general shows himself as a menace to liberty.

    By JONATHAN TURLEY, Jonathan Turley is a professor of constitutional law at George Washington University.

    http://www.latimes.com/la-oe-turley14aug14.story

    Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft's announced desire for camps for U.S. citizens he deems to be "enemy combatants" has moved him from merely being a political embarrassment to being a constitutional menace.

    Ashcroft's plan, disclosed last week but little publicized, would allow him to order the indefinite incarceration of U.S. citizens and summarily strip them of their constitutional rights and access to the courts by declaring them enemy combatants.

    The proposed camp plan should trigger immediate congressional hearings and reconsideration of Ashcroft's fitness for this important office. Whereas Al Qaeda is a threat to the lives of our citizens, Ashcroft has become a clear and present threat to our liberties.

    The camp plan was forged at an optimistic time for Ashcroft's small inner circle, which has been carefully watching two test cases to see whether this vision could become a reality. The cases of Jose Padilla and Yaser Esam Hamdi will determine whether U.S. citizens can be held without charges and subject to the arbitrary and unchecked authority of the government.

    Hamdi has been held without charge even though the facts of his case are virtually identical to those in the case of John Walker Lindh. Both Hamdi and Lindh were captured in Afghanistan as foot soldiers in Taliban units. Yet Lindh was given a lawyer and a trial, while Hamdi rots in a floating Navy brig in Norfolk, Va.

    This week, the government refused to comply with a federal judge who ordered that he be given the underlying evidence justifying Hamdi's treatment. The Justice Department has insisted that the judge must simply accept its declaration and cannot interfere with the president's absolute authority in "a time of war."

    In Padilla's case, Ashcroft initially claimed that the arrest stopped a plan to detonate a radioactive bomb in New York or Washington, D.C. The administration later issued an embarrassing correction that there was no evidence Padilla was on such a mission. What is clear is that Padilla is an American citizen and was arrested in the United States--two facts that should trigger the full application of constitutional rights.

    Ashcroft hopes to use his self-made "enemy combatant" stamp for any citizen whom he deems to be part of a wider terrorist conspiracy.

    Perhaps because of his discredited claims of preventing radiological terrorism, aides have indicated that a "high-level committee" will recommend which citizens are to be stripped of their constitutional rights and sent to Ashcroft's new camps.

    Few would have imagined any attorney general seeking to reestablish such camps for citizens. Of course, Ashcroft is not considering camps on the order of the internment camps used to incarcerate Japanese American citizens in World War II. But he can be credited only with thinking smaller; we have learned from painful experience that unchecked authority, once tasted, easily becomes insatiable.

    We are only now getting a full vision of Ashcroft's America. Some of his predecessors dreamed of creating a great society or a nation unfettered by racism. Ashcroft seems to dream of a country secured from itself, neatly contained and controlled by his judgment of loyalty.

    For more than 200 years, security and liberty have been viewed as coexistent values. Ashcroft and his aides appear to view this relationship as lineal, where security must precede liberty.

    Since the nation will never be entirely safe from terrorism, liberty has become a mere rhetorical justification for increased security.

    Ashcroft is a catalyst for constitutional devolution, encouraging citizens to accept autocratic rule as their only way of avoiding massive terrorist attacks.

    His greatest problem has been preserving a level of panic and fear that would induce a free people to surrender the rights so dearly won by their ancestors.

    In "A Man for All Seasons," Sir Thomas More was confronted by a young lawyer, Will Roper, who sought his daughter's hand. Roper proclaimed that he would cut down every law in England to get after the devil.

    More's response seems almost tailored for Ashcroft: "And when the last law was down and the devil turned round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? ... This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast ... and if you cut them down--and you are just the man to do it--do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then?"

    Every generation has had Ropers and Ashcrofts who view our laws and traditions as mere obstructions rather than protections in times of peril. But before we allow Ashcroft to denude our own constitutional landscape, we must take a stand and have the courage to say, "Enough."

    Every generation has its test of principle in which people of good faith can no longer remain silent in the face of authoritarian ambition. If we cannot join together to fight the abomination of American camps, we have already lost what we are defending.
    Bukhari:V3B48N826 “The Prophet said, ‘Isn’t the witness of a woman equal to half of that of a man?’ The women said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘This is because of the deficiency of a woman’s mind.’”

  2. #2
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    I'm glad someone decided to posted this, thanks Tedob. Ashcroft seems to have lost his marbles(or perhaps not). I mean being conservative is one thing, but he's acting like a fascist. He's slowly turning into an albatross around Bush's neck( or however the term goes ).
    \"When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist.\" -- Dom Helder Camara

  3. #3
    It seems Mr Ashcroft is following a certain style of German politics from the '30's. Or it could even be based on Pol Pot's "re education" of South East Asia. Either way, what a man.....

  4. #4
    John Ashcroft is a jackass.

  5. #5
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    Maybe...

    Have you ever considered how deep politics has been, or has gotten? I agree what Ashcroft is proposing is an outrage, but maybe just maybe these 9/11 propositions being made are just for show. Have you ever considered the fact that possibly, Ashcroft knows its not going to go anywhere? Or that maybe Bush knows no one will accept his TIPs program?? I don't think you have a good grasp as to the inner workings that carry on every day up on capital hill, once you are involved in politics as in any field you begin to know the ins and outs of the job.

    Maybe these bills being proposed are playing cards being set down to be used at a later date, for example Bush knows the Democrat controlled house will not pass any bills that interfer with their agenda, it also seems that the Republican party is growing increaseingly more and more spineless, so this bill he proposes is an ace in his sleeve, a stratigic move that will benefit his parties agenda at a later date, because what Democrat in their right mind will interfer with the well being of America? And how can you pass a bill without that kind of force considering the position the both Bush and Ashcroft are both in?

    So you could be reading this all wrong and I agree it is a risk,just transform the bill later on into something that is needed,but the job of stradigy, is stacking the deck. Now of course this doesn't always work, and it is risky but I think there is an amount of trust in our president that every person should have, now considering what I just
    said above about the situation that Bushs party faces I would think you would want to use every available resource in a positive mannor to your benefit. I believe the battle is no longer in the house but it has been takin directly to Bushes position. And he is being forced to use the Bully Pulpit.

    I believe this entire post is being way to judgemental of an ELECTED offical, I believe there have been greater outrages to hem and haw at that eclipse that of these bills proposed by two very specific people, it leads me to wonder if the person posting it has not been caught up in the very political correctness that might have pushed our own president into taking these measures.

  6. #6
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    Well said, all of you. This is a time of great peril for both our country and our liberties. While I may desire safety from the obvious threat that terrorism represents, I would much rather be left to take my chances as a free man than live in a state of safe but indentured servitude to my government. Come November, my friends, it is time for us to begin urging the winds of change to blow across our fair country.
    Al
    It isn't paranoia when you KNOW they're out to get you...

  7. #7
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    Hey Lenin, we dont elect the Attorney General(if thats who you're referring to, my apologies if you arent), he gets nominated by the Prez, and then gets confirmed(or not) by the Senate. Thats how Ashcroft got his job. Another fact that you guys might find interesting is that Ashcroft could not beat a dead candidate for the Governor's office.
    http://www.who2.com/johnashcroft.html
    \"When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist.\" -- Dom Helder Camara

  8. #8
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    lenin1928 maybe its a ploy to scare the arab-american population into working more closely with the fbi, maybe its allot of things or maybe its exactly as it appears. these words are not just irresponsible cards to play, these words are treasonous.

    *********************
    Come November, my friends, it is time for us to begin urging the winds of change to blow across our fair country.

    *********************
    jp's system will not allow me to give points to this post at this time, but nothing ive read ever deserved it more. These ass-holes have got to go!
    Bukhari:V3B48N826 “The Prophet said, ‘Isn’t the witness of a woman equal to half of that of a man?’ The women said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘This is because of the deficiency of a woman’s mind.’”

  9. #9
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    must simply accept its declaration and cannot interfere with the president's absolute authority in "a time of war."
    Okay, that's just scary. Quite scary. Since when should a president ever have absolute authority?
    Elen alcarin ar gwath halla ná engwar.

  10. #10
    AO Curmudgeon rcgreen's Avatar
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    It is my opinion that we are not legally at war.
    War is more than engagement in military operations.
    War is a legal and constitutional justification for
    the use of force.


    It is, then, a blessing that Article I, Section 8, of our Constitution clearly vests the power to declare war in Congress. Yet we have fallen from this democratic element of our own Constitution to the point at which the public expresses little or no outrage when the president speaks and acts as though he has the unilateral prerogative to initiate a war in nonemergency conditions.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...2002Aug25.html

    http://bcn.boulder.co.us/government/...hes/spch2.html
    I came in to the world with nothing. I still have most of it.

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