LP Chair – Executive Orders And Military Tribunals Are NOT Due Process

For Immediate Release Tuesday, April 3, 2012

WASHINGTON — Libertarian National Chair, Mark Hinkle, released the following statement today:

‘Last month, the joint war on liberty by Republicans and Democrats continued, when Attorney General Eric Holder informed surprised students and faculty at Northwestern University Law School that President Obama can kill anyone in the world without charge or trial. This, of course, is just acceptance of the Unitary Executive Theory which President George W. Bush utilized to ignore the courts during his administration. Needless to say, both Presidents, Bush and Obama, assured us that they would be careful to only use their unlimited powers for the benefit of their subjects.

‘Libertarians say this is not good enough. Until recently, most Americans believed that they could not be deprived of their life, liberty or property without due process of law. The very idea of having people judged by a jury of their peers was to limit the ability of politicians to act as if they were monarchs.

‘Nowhere is this bipartisan disgrace better demonstrated than in the ongoing saga of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. Bush established this camp in January 2002 so that he could claim the prisoners held there were outside US legal jurisdiction. When the Supreme Court rejected that administration’s quaint new category of people who were neither accused criminals, subject to the protections of habeas corpus, nor prisoners of war, subject to the protections of the Geneva Convention, Bush began to use military tribunals in which US military officers operated as both judge and jury. As Groucho Marx once said, `Military justice is to justice what military music is to music.’

‘Conveniently, the Military Commissions Act of 2006 gave Bush both the legislative cover and official acceptance of his newly-minted category of enemy combatant. At that time, most Democrats voted against this law, while in 2008, then-presidential candidate Barack Obama called for regular civilian trials and the closing of Guantanamo. Needless to say, upon election President Obama decided instead to continue both the tribunals and the indefinite detentions at Guantanamo.

‘It is far too late to talk about due process for the Guantanamo prisoners. Of the nearly 800 men and boys sent there, most were released after years of imprisonment without ever being charged, let alone convicted of anything. Eight have died in custody. A total of three have been convicted: one for making an anti-American video, one for being a chauffeur for Bin Laden, and one in a vague plea bargain in exchange for his release. Of the remaining 171 detainees, most have already been cleared for release but are still being held. And for the few still awaiting a hearing, the legacy of torture based evidence taints the entire process. Fair trials are impossible at this point.

‘Let us end this farce NOW. While no single policy can ever guarantee our safety, we are far more endangered by a government which has justifiably earned the contempt of the world than we are by a few more people running free who are angry at the US. Releasing the innocent is far more important than accidentally keeping a few who might be guilty. Close Guantanamo and restore due process.

Which poses a bigger threat to America? Americans whom politicians claim are a threat? Or the politicians themselves?

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