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Aug 19 2010

More on Obama’s disdain for due process and civil liberties

As an example of the disdain that the Obama administration has for the rights of even US citizens, take the case of Yahya Wehelie, a 26-year old US-born citizen. His case, though not involving torture, illustrates how government power can be abused when we allow it to operate in secrecy. While Wehelie was traveling abroad, he was placed on a no-fly list for no stated reason (though it may be because he went to Yemen to study) and as a result he was now stuck in Cairo for months and unable to return to the US, even though he offered to travel handcuffed and accompanied by US marshals. The ban was lifted without any reason given after the ACLU filed suit challenging the constitutionality of the no-fly list, and he is now home in Virginia.

But there are worse cases. Obama is also breaking new ground such as trying child soldiers for war crimes. This is the case of Omar Khadr, a Canadian national captured outside Kabul in 2002 when he was just 15. As Chase Madar writes, “no nation has tried a child soldier for war crimes since World War II, and the decision to prosecute Khadr has drawn protests from UNICEF, headed by a former U.S. national security adviser, as well as every major human-rights group.” And yet, the government is prosecuting him in a military tribunal, a system that has few of the legal protections of a normal court of law. The judge has already ruled that Khadr’s confessions can be used against him although they may have been obtained under duress and torture.

As Glenn Greenwald says in discussing this case, the abuses by the government in this case involve far more than torturing a child into confessing and then using those confessions.

As I’ve written before about the Khadr case (as well as the very similar case of child soldier Mohamed Jawad), what is most striking to me about this case is this: how can it possibly be that the U.S. invades a foreign country, and then when people in that country — such as Khadr — fight back against the invading army, by attacking purely military targets via a purely military act (throwing a grenade at a solider (sic), who was part of a unit ironically using an abandoned Soviet runway as its outpost), they become “war criminals,” or even Terrorists, who must be shipped halfway around the world, systematically abused, repeatedly declared to be one of “the worst of the worst,” and then held in a cage for almost a full decade (one third of his life and counting)? It’s hard to imagine anything which more compellingly underscores the completely elastic and manipulated “meaning” of “Terrorist” than this case: in essence, the U.S. is free to do whatever it wants, and anyone who fights back, even against our invading armies and soldiers (rather than civilians), is a war criminal and a Terrorist.

Once again, role-reversal reveals that hypocrisy. If a foreign army were to occupy the US, would we view a 15-year old boy who takes up arms to attack those troops as a terrorist or a hero?

In fact, the Obama regime seems to take a positive delight in demanding for the right to indefinitely incarcerate people even if they know they are innocent. This is consistent with Obama pretending to want to close down Guantanamo while backing off from doing anything about it.

Tomorrow: Yet more violations of due process

POST SCRIPT: Our corrupt government

Readers will recall my many posts about how the fix was in from the start so that the health care ‘reform’ bill would serve the interests of the very organizations that make health care in this country so bad, primarily the health insurance companies. Glenn Greenwald has a must-read item about the revolving door between government and the health insurance companies that guaranteed this outcome. In fact, Obama has put a person from one of the worst of these companies (WellPoint) in charge of running the new program.

This five-minute clip of Bill Moyers, made just before the health care ‘reform’ bill passed, shows how the public option was sabotaged despite wide support for it, how Congress bought off, and highlights the ever-revolving door that guarantees that the companies win and the people’s voice will never be heard.

9 comments

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  1. 1
    Easy Guitar Songs To Learn

    Isn’t it amazing that even after all the “change”, some things remain the same?

  2. 2
    How To Unclog A Toilat

    While I understand your concern for the rights of “children”, the 15 year old in question was our enemy. I don’t know about “war crimes” but he should count himself lucky he wasn’t killed in action. In my opinion he has already been shown the mercy of being allowed to live after trying to kill our soldiers. Never forget “War is hell”.

  3. 3
    How To Unclog A Toilet

    Also, I understand that we were the aggressors in the conflict in question but, in many peoples opinion, we were fighting for a greater good.

  4. 4
    Jared A

    Toilet (?),

    Based on what you said, would it be fair to suggest that you think the Japanese were justified for the Bataan Death March? After all, those Americans were trying to kill their soldiers! War is hell, and the survivors should just count themselves lucky that they weren’t outright killed.

    Jared

  5. 5
    Mano

    How to…,

    Jared A makes a good point. We cannot make rules of behavior that don’t apply to us as well. By your reasoning, you presumably would think it ok if al Qaeda or someone captured a US soldier, tortured him for eight years, and then tried him before a judge that allowed his confession as evidence.

  6. 6
    Eric

    Khadr’s lawyer actually spoke at a class I was in about 2 years ago. He mentioned that one of the interesting things about the case was that Khadr was charged with “murder in violation of the laws of war.” Because the U.S. was officially at war with Afghanistan at the time, Khadr had to be classed as either an enemy combatant, in which case he was a POW and couldn’t be tried for doing his job, or a civilian, in which case he was entitled to a civilian trial for simple murder, with all the due process therein.

    So, the DOD found a third option: try him for a war crime. POWs can be put on trial for war crimes. The problem was, Khadr threw a grenade. That’s it. So, they had to come up with a war crime to charge him with, “murder in violation of the laws of war,” which is a made-up war crime. It’s not in the Geneva Conventions. The sole justification for holding Khadr without either POW or civilian status is…that a 15-year-old boy wasn’t wearing a uniform when he threw the grenade.

  7. 7
    Mano

    Eric,

    Thanks a lot for that insight. I had wondered how they arrived at the war crimes charge…

  8. 8
    SEO London

    In my opinion he has already been shown the mercy of being allowed to live after trying to kill our soldiers.but, in many peoples opinion, we were fighting for a greater good.Thanks a lot for that insight.

  9. 9
    Jeff Hess

    Shalom Mano,

    I don’t understand what our government is so afraid of.

    Perhaps our government is not afraid at all, but is doing its level best to ensure that we are afraid.

    That is not good.

    B’shalom,

    Jeff

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