portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article reporting united states

9.11 investigation

George W. Bush Fought the Law, But the Law Won!

In a landmark decision on June 28, 2004, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba, have all the same legal rights as an American...this is a huge slap in GWBush's face!
George W. Bush Fought the Law, But the Law Won!
By Kirsten Anderberg

The U.S. Supreme Court has left pie on G. W. Bush's face, after throwing down a ruling on June 28, 2004, making Shafiq Rasul's name history ( http://www.supremecourtus.gov/). Pulling in the reigns a bit on King George's fantasy that American military can detain hordes of people indefinitely, at their will, without charges or counsel, "interrogating" or torturing them, you choose the language, but in all reality, denying them the basic rights America touts and prides itself upon. In a hopeful move, the U.S. Supreme Court has finally overturned a District Court and then Court of Appeals ruling, saying foreign nationals apprehended on foreign soil, then detained in American prison camps, had no jurisdiction in American courts, thus could not go to them for help, leaving people in a nowhereland legally. This is a very important ruling and just dismantled a huge bit of legal fiction that was crucial to holding up yet one more leg of Bush's scandalous legacy.

Bush has been claiming all along that Guantanamo Bay was not on American soil so its prisoners could not use American courts, knowing full well that left the prisoners without any basic rights to representation, much less rights of information regarding the charges against them, things such as Miranda Rights, etc. Bush was literally trying to create a lawless haven at Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base in Cuba. Bush was trying to go around the U.S. Courts, to skirt them like he has the Congress with his WMD lies, and the courts caught him in the act, thank God. Again, one has to question an administration so hell bent on keeping its prisons free from pesky Red Cross visitors, nosey civil rights attorneys, and the entire American justice system! I am sure that many a state would love that situation for their own jails and prisons within America. The U.S. Supreme Court made the right move by finally telling GWBush, in no uncertain terms, that these 500+ prisoners, that Sharif Rasul represents as a class representative, ALL have a right to use the U.S. Supreme Court to assert their civil and human rights, which appear to have been grotesquely violated by none other than the president of the United, States, as that is the named defendant on the lawsuit!

Every law student learns about the classic case of Mayo Versus Satan. Mayo wanted to sue the Devil for causing continual havoc in his life, but the courts had to throw the case out as they could not establish whether they had proper jurisdiction over Satan as Satan's nationality was unknown. The other problem was they did not know where to send service paperwork to Satan, to make sure he was served with proper notice before his hearing. In a similar move, the District Court and Court of Appeals previously said that the U.S. Courts lacked jurisdiction over the prisoners being held at Guantanamo Bay as they were "foreign nationals held outside U.S. sovereign territory." This finding pleased the Bush administration and ruined hundreds of prisoners lives for yet more months, as appeals to the Supreme Court were sought out and won. The Supreme Court made legal history on June 28, 2004, by declaring that the U.S. Guantanamo Bay Naval Base IS considered to be on land under U.S. jurisdiction. The Court said that by all legal constructive means, America has exclusive control over the leased land at the Naval base until they abandon said lease, and although it is not "ultimately sovereign," it is still considered U.S. sovereign land under U.S. control, and subject to U.S. Court supervision and jurisdiction, lest Guantanamo Bay Naval Base end up a land of no legal rights at all. Which is apparently what Bush was aiming for.

Shariq Rasul's case is a class action against the president of the U.S., of which Rasul is the representative head of the class. The law suit represents 2 Australians and 12 Kuwaitis, (although its implications serve most of the prisoners there) who say they were never enemy combatants or terrorists, they were never charged with crimes or wrongdoings, nor have they been permitted counsel or been provided with access to courts in any land, while being held as prisoners in America's "War on Terrorism," for over 18 months.

Previously, at the District Court and Appeals Court levels, legal precedent of the Eisentrager case was triggered. But the Supreme Court has shown that the Eisentrager case does not reflect the current situation at Guantanamo, for those prisoners in the Eisentrager case were charged with crimes. But in the arguing of the Eisentrager case, the case of Braden vs. the 30th Circuit Judicial Court of Ky. is discussed. In that case, it is held that the jurisdiction that would accommodate the prisoners, would be determined by the jurisdiction that controls the person holding the prisoner, or the custodian of the prisoner. Ah, very important. Wherever the prison guards would be prosecuted, that is the same place the prisoners themselves would appeal to for their rights. That makes sense.

Additionally, other case precedents used in the lower court rulings on this, were found to be inapplicable as they dealt with foreign nationals on foreign soil. This case really did revolve around a legal definition of whether Guantanamo Bay Naval Base is considered U.S. territory or not. Bush tried to claim it was not American territory. But then that begs the logical, yet illusive to Bush apparently, question: Well, then whose jurisdiction ARE those prisoners at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base under, if NOT the U.S.? In addition to asserting that Guantanamo Bay Naval Base is indeed under U.S. Court jurisdiction, the Supreme Court also asserted that the prisoners, although of foreign dissent, deserve the same rights as any American and that U.S. Courts have traditionally been open to nonresident aliens.

In another Guantanamo detainee case, "Hamdi v. Rumsfeld," the Supreme Court also ruled on June 28, 2004, that Hamdi must be afforded a "meaningful opportunity to contest the factual basis for that detention before a neutral decisionmaker," according to Justice O'Connor. Taken together, the Rasul and Hamdi cases mark the unwillingness of the nation's highest court to defer wholly to Executive branch claims of necessary insulation from any oversight during war. Writing in "Hamdi," Justice O'Connor asserted, "Any process in which the Executive's factual assertions go wholly unchallenged or are simply presumed correct without any opportunity for the alleged combatant to demonstrate otherwise fall constitutionally short."

Another can of worms these prisoner hearings will open is the fact that police questioning is used as a way to avoid Miranda Rights, both in the U.S. criminal system in America, and in Guantanamo Bay. I wrote an article a year ago on how police questioning before charges are filed is the police antidote to Miranda Rights. They only have to read Miranda Rights once you are under arrest. So police routinely try to get unsuspecting people to come on down and talk to police, on the record, without counsel or representation, BEFORE filing charges. Police con people into thinking they are doing them a favor by offering this questioning period, acting as if police will not drag them into the criminal system if they cooperate with the police questioning, which is misleading, if not fraudulent, behavior, at best. The Supreme Court ruled on June 28, 2004, that questioning people without reading them their Miranda Rights, (which clearly happened at Guantanamo, since part of the Miranda Rights is the statement that if you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed to you) is not usually legal. These cases will bring this questioning issue to a head, just as the Iraqi Prisoner scandal brought the issue of interrogation tactic to a head. And these issues are actually related. Questioning prisoners on American sovereign soil, with no Miranda Rights, and prisoner abuse in interrogation sessions, for supposed "free will" confessions, are not what American claims it is all about. Those are not the values we loudly proclaim to be "liberating" other countries to participate in! All this mess will need to be sorted out, due to the Bush administration's corrupt and illegal war tactics.

The rulings on these matters do not resolve the issues in the actual cases of the 500+ prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay, what these rulings do is open the door for the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay to finally get outside intervention against president of the U.S. and the U.S. War on Terrorism, that they became unfortunate victims within. Once these 500+ people are given a day in court, if the U.S. military cannot prove they committed crimes, and they go free, these people are not going to go home to their countries and extol the profound beauties of the U.S. Courts. No, they will extol the evils of the American military. We are breeding enemies as Americans, at every crossroads, at every turn. I remember Americans standing in tears on 9/11, saying "We are innocent, why us?" Well, next time that feigned ignorance will not be a believable act.

homepage: homepage: http://www.kirstenanderberg.com
address: address: seattle, Wa

Ruling was just more Bushit for the idiot public 29.Jun.2004 09:47

Me

While it's being hyped by most of the media as a "major defeat" for the Bush administration, the Supreme Court ruling really doesn't do much to alter the status quo and in fact serves to reinforce the Bush junta's positions on a number of important issues.

The Supreme Court placed no restriction on arrests and detentions, it merely said that those being held have a right to request that the reasons for their detention be reviewed in Federal Court. It also was suggested in the opinions that a reasonable alternative to Federal court would be a military tribunal.

The Court basically gave the okay to arrest and imprisonment based on nothing more than the administration's say-so, thereby scrapping completely the protections against unreasonable search and seizure, the guarantees of due process, equal protection, etc., and let stand the Bush administration's assertion of absolute authority regarding the detention of prisoners.

This ruling was a complete sham, and it's utterly amazing that almost everyone in the country is being sold not only on the idea that the Bush administration has been put in its place, but that the issues were addressed and the detainees' rights secured. This clearly isn't the case at all.

read the article 29.Jun.2004 09:59

abby

The article clearly says this ruling does not resolve the issues that the prisoners have. They have not had their day in court on their individual cases yet. But it does open the door to a hearing in a U.S. courtroom and the pushing forward of the U.S. Government pressing charges or giving these people their freedom. And yes, this was against GWBush's will. It IS a huge victory in the arena of GW trying to say what is and is not American jurisdiction. Basically the Supreme Court validated its presence, when GW wanted them to disappear. THAT is the very specific relevance of this ruling. And also, this could be used as precedence in other U.S. military prisons!

Another view -- Elaine Cassel 29.Jun.2004 10:01

Me

 http://www.counterpunch.org/cassel06292004.html

Hamdi, Padilla and Rasul v. Rumsfeld and Bush
Who Really Won?

By ELAINE CASSEL

Forget what the media's talking heads have told you about these three Supreme Court decisions that tested the power of George W. Bush. The President won far more than he lost, so administration "officials" who pronounce themselves victors are more on target than the press who tell you that the decisions represent a defeat for the Administration, or rein in its power. Taken together, the decisions are more important for what they did not do. Their significance for the future, particularly if Bush is reelected, cannot be underestimated.

[Continued at above website]

i disagree with elaine 29.Jun.2004 12:40

kirsten anderberg kirstena@resist.ca

I think there are flaws in Elaine's argument...first of all, for her to say that these rulings declared all that has happened to the prisoners to be legal is false. And until they have their day in court, one cannot go around saying what was or was not found legal in these detention cases, is my take on it. Although I agree, due to past experience, that the Bush administration will most probably get away with murder, I still think that equating the recent Sup Ct rulings to those assumed corrupt outcomes of their cases is jumping the gun. The issue is that the road has been paved for these prisoners to have a day in court now. Whether the courts give them justice or not once there is another issue entirely. And not one that can be second guessed this early in the game, though we all assume huge reparations will not be doled out, even if guilt is found on the part of the American military, etc...Again, these are only my opinions...and I could be wrong...but from what I have read, this is how it seems to me.


Every journey starts with one small step. 29.Jun.2004 14:02

Bird dog

It's up to the American people to fight for what is right and just.

And history has proven what happens when the self-righteous get in power as they are in this country today.

Could this be a lesson to the American people and the world?

One day at a time!

One step at a time!

One could say that society just now learning how to walk after crawling as a child for so long!

This is why truth is so important!

Have We Won or Lost? 29.Jun.2004 17:44

read the constitution

This is a real bullshit ruling. The summary of the article says detainees:

have all the same legal rights as an American...


Not true. Even American citizens no longer have the rights of American citizens. yes, the have access to a lawyer and a hearing, but the right to a speedy trial is no more. Previously, the gov't had to convict/acquit or release a defendant. No more. They can still be held indefinitely without trial--they just get to talk to a lawyer and appeal their detention.

Sure, I'm glad they get to talk to a lawyer. But this decision violates our basic rights guaranteed by the Constitution.

utter nonsense. 29.Jun.2004 17:44

this thing here

>The article clearly says this ruling does not resolve the issues that the prisoners have. They have not had their day in court on their individual cases yet. But it does open the door to a hearing in a U.S. courtroom and the pushing forward of the U.S. Government pressing charges or giving these people their freedom.<

but can't you understand? this is the whole reason why this ruling is a terrible sham. a person is supposed to be free based on their day in court, based on the outcome of their individual cases.

this sick compromise of a decision says that american citizens should have to go through two trials to get one justice.

now, the citizens can challenege the basis of their detention. and then, in a separate trial, they can challenge the criminal evidence against them.

say WHAT? this is a complete and total mockery of justice and law and the meaning of the consitution and the bill of rights.

if the constitution means anything anymore, no american citizen should have to face two trials for one justice. what if, in one trial, it is found that one of these citizens can be held as an enemy combatant, and can be held indefinitely. then, according to this ruling, the government can bring a second case to court trial involving the criminal evidence. but isn't it the criminal evidence which was the determining factor in the first trial? isn't it the criminal evidence which MAKES it legal for the citizen to be held against their will? so why the fuck should this citizen have to go through two trials to see his or her day in court?

and which decision in which trial takes precedence? the first trial or the second? because what if the citizen is found NOT to be an enemy combatant? can the government still try this individual on criminal charges using the same evendence? and when a decision is finally handed down, is the citizen innocent of being considered an "enemy combatant", or is the citizen innocent of all criminal charges?

and isn't it criminal EVIDENCE, and not a legal category, such as "enemy combatant" or "cocaine dealer" or "car thief", which is supposed to determine how a citizen is held and tried and sentenced? so now, according to this decision, i could challenge whether or not i'm a "car thief", and then in a separate trial i can challenge whether i committed the crime of grand larceny the prosecution alleges i committed.

needless to say, this is total fucking bullshit.

it goes against everything. it is simply wrong. this is the fucking bullshit that happens when compromises are made where there is no room, nor reason, for compromise.