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U.S. under fire for mistreatment of detainees

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March 1, 2007

By EDITH M. LEDERER

The U.N. human rights chief expressed concern Wednesday at recent U.S. legislative and judicial actions that she said leave hundreds of detainees without any way to challenge their indefinite imprisonment.

Louise Arbour referred to the Military Commissions Act approved by Congress last year and last month’s federal appeals court ruling that Guantanamo Bay detainees cannot use the U.S. court system to challenge their detention. The case is likely to go to the Supreme Court.

Arbour was critical of the ruling, calling on the judicial system to “rise to its long-standing reputation as a guardian of fundamental human rights and civil liberties and provide the protection to all that are under the authority, control, and therefore in my view jurisdiction of the United States.”

Twice before, the Supreme Court issued ruling giving Guantanamo detainees full access to courts. But last June, the justices suggested President Bush could ask Congress for more anti-terrorism authority, prompting passage of the commissions act that in part stripped federal court review.

The act grants suspects at Guantanamo Bay the right to confront the evidence against them and have a lawyer present at specially created “military commissions.” But it does not require that any of them be granted legal counsel and specifically bars detainees from filing habeas corpus petitions challenging their detentions in federal courts.

“I am very concerned that we continue to see detention without trial and with, in my opinion, insufficient judicial supervision,” Arbour told a news conference after meeting with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

“I thought there had been progress in that direction. There’s been a legislative setback now recently in my view, a judicial decision,” she said. These people have “no credible mechanism to ascertain the validity of these … suspicious or allegations.”

Copyright © 2007 The Associated Press

9 Responses to U.S. under fire for mistreatment of detainees

  1. Ray

    March 1, 2007 at 2:50 pm

    No kidding. This is old news. This is Bush’s idea of the new Amerika

  2. carol

    March 1, 2007 at 4:06 pm

    This may be old news but it’s still just plain EVIL! Every red blooded American should be hopping up and down mad about this.

  3. Lexie Homewood

    March 1, 2007 at 4:36 pm

    This system and the creeping rights stealing legislation are America’s SHAME. If the Democratic Congress had any balls at all they would at least go after last June’s legislation.

  4. JimZ

    March 1, 2007 at 6:13 pm

    Yes, it would be nice if the new Congress would do something about this, but there’s so many turds to put back in the bag (thanks, Bu$hCo.) where do they start?

    You’ve got to wonder just how many of these people we continue to detain are actually guilty of any crimes. Secret evidence? C’mon. What a joke. And the joke’s on US.

    Just what did John McCain and Lindsey Graham actually get from Bu$h? NOTHING.

    He did a signing statement anyway, saying he would just do what he wants, no matter what the MC Act says.

    Interesting that just yesterday, in a very small article in my local newspaper, buried on the last page of the front section (where they usually put articles with negative things about Bu$hCo.; one of the least looked-at pages), that said yesterday the Canadian parliament voted to allow THEIR version of a “PATRIOT ACT” to expire. Of course the article was very small, with small font headline, and was surrounded by ads so it was less noticeable. I didn’t get to watch the CorpoMedia news last night, so I don’t know if it got any coverage from them.

    Also interesting that after 9/11 the Canadians crafted this thing under the LIBERAL party government and it had an expiration, but now the CONSERVATIVES are in charge, and somehow they allowed theirs to expire. Guess I’m envious. Why arn’t our “conservatives” REAL conservatives anymore and why do they still have a following? Of all people, the “Ultra Lib’ral” Russ Feingold was one of the people trying to fight this MC Act.

    Our “conservative” “plan” must be dictatorship.

  5. Fritz

    March 1, 2007 at 9:04 pm

    When will the comparisons be made to Adloph Hitler? He was as much in favor of democracy as George Bush. That is to say, as long as it is his way.

    I believe he took an oath to uphald the constitution. When does he intend to start? Or does he?

    Anyone who still supports this asshole and his administration is either a fascist or stupid. Which are you?

  6. skyguy

    March 1, 2007 at 9:09 pm

    WHAT IS REALLY GOING ON WITH OUR CONGRESS AND SENATE? Aside from the ongoing facts that members of both Houses have sold this nation out for over 50 years (and for the life of me I cannot understand how the majority of Americans have let this happen) and nowhere does there seem to be an active and full-blown outcry to have the vast majority of members of those two Houses recalled for TREASON!

    I never thought for a minute this time last year that I would be becoming as cynical about our government as I have (and it scares me considerably to try to imagine what I’ll be like this time next year.) As I’ve read and compared all sorts of INformation, DISinformation and pure-tee REdirection from all manner of websites (to attempt to piece together some semblance of what might be the truth), I am truly saddened by how effective all of the DISinformation is at causing fear and confusion to take over where common sense and decency once ruled.

    The nation is under the spell of about 12 men and one woman. Think about that – ONLY 13 CENTRAL PEOPLE ARE HOLDING A CONSIDERABLE NEGATIVE SWAY OVER NEARLY 300 MILLION U.S. CITIZENS. And Congress and the Senate and even our Supreme Court are acting like they’re scared _hitless, are immobile and cannot get their collective common sense to function because of those 13 evil people.

    We are living in truly dire times, my friends. And we ALL had better get up the courage to get rid of those 13 evil people before it gets much later.

    This time next year will be even darker if ALL OF US don’t wake up!!!

  7. SEAL

    March 2, 2007 at 12:12 am

    The bedrock of our system is access to the courts. The right of all citizens to petition the government for redress. That right has always been extended to anyone held in US custody. The legislation passed by congress denying that right is unconstitutional.

    The thing that amazes me the most is that Bushco has packed the federal courts with lawyers that will issue rulings and decisions they know are wrong. Last I heard it was about 600 such judges Bush has appointed in 6 years. Where in the hell did they find that many traitors to the Constitution qualified to be judges? That is scary.

  8. JimZ

    March 2, 2007 at 12:57 am

    SEAL – you would dare suggest that Bu$h has appointed ACTIVIST JUDGES? Geez, all along he has said that is the very thing he was “trying to rid our nation of”. He has said one of the biggest “threats” to our “Democracy” IS “activist judges”. I’ve seen him say it myself numerous times. Perhaps those statements have been scrubbed from the White House website?

    I agree the court system has been the only real last resort of justice for any common American citizen to get it. Guess they don’t want the courts to side with either “Lib’rals” or “commoners” anymore. Just side with the government and corporations and 1% of us will be happy…

  9. RLewis

    March 4, 2007 at 1:22 am

    JimZ. I agree with you – “Yes, it would be nice if the new Congress would do something about this, but there’s so many turds to put back in the bag (thanks, Bu$hCo.) where do they start?”

    This is not only the problem for Congress, but for the individual activist… with Bush’s evil tentacles spread over so many areas, where does one devote their time? Personally, I believe impeachment is the best first solution… get rid of Bu$hCo before they can do any further damage, then, go back & undo all the problems they created. I do NOT understand why Pulosi said impeachment is OFF THE TABLE!??! It’s not like Bu$hCo has not committed multiple impeachable offenses. If Congress is unable or unwilling to impeach Bush, and restore the rule of law & our treasured freedoms, it seems the only solution that will be left to the people will be a massive civil uprising. Congress is either complicit with Bu$hCo or they just don’t ‘get-it’ – understand how threatened & angry Americans are feeling in regards to their Constitution, Bill of Rights, etc.

    Perhaps, massive mailings calling for the impeachment of Bu$hCo to our Congressmen, Senators, MS Pulosi, & MSN media? They’re all so focused on the Iraq turmoil, they can’t see the civil unrest in America…

    The PROBLEM everyone needs to address is not all the problems, but the PROBLEM MAKERS! Otherwise, more problems will keep springing up faster than we can fix them (AEB the ACLU’s multiple ongoing court cases to date). Compare Bush to a bank robber – we can patch the injured, bury the dead, & clean the banks – but, until we STOP the bank robber, we will be continually cleaning up after his robberies.

    FOCUS: IMPEACH,IMPEACH,IMPEACH,IMPEACH

    There’s a village somewhere in Texas missing their idiot.