Why is Habeas Corpus
Such a Threat to those in Power?
By Maher Osseiran
-- Why is the Supreme Court's decision to uphold habeas corpus
rights for the Guantanamo detainees so scary that Senator
Lindsey Graham, with the support of McCain, will "explore the
possibility, if necessary, of a constitutional amendment to
blunt the effect of this decision"?
What is so fundamentally wrong with the Supreme Court's
decision, whose members are conservative or Bush appointees, to
warrant amending our constitution? Have Senators Graham and
McCain lost their minds?
I just finished reading a lengthy "friend-of-the-court" brief to
the Supreme Court in support of petitioner Boumediene v.
responder Bush, et al., a case resulting in a decision that
reinstate habeas corpus rights, not just for the detainees, but
for all Americans.
As a brief to the Supreme Court, the argument and the conclusion
were primarily based in constitutional law and precedent.
A similar brief to a habeas corpus court that would review the
legality of detaining the Guantanamo prisoners would undoubtedly
take a different form or approach
what the writ of habeas corpus has always ensured: that an
independent court can inquire into the legal and factual bases
for the Executive's assertion of its power to imprison. This
guarantee has always included a meaningful judicial evaluation
of the law and facts that underlie the Executive's asserted
basis to detain.
Other than the meaningful judicial evaluation of the law and
facts, a non-military tribunal would make it easier for a
detainee to produce exculpatory evidence, evidence that would
exonerate him or her; actually, anyone can produce such evidence
and anyone can inject it into the court proceedings simply by
providing it to any party.
Such exculpatory evidence is abundant and has been in the hands
of U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, governors, members of
congress such as Conyers and Graham, the judiciary committees to
the House and Senate, and a variety of law authorities that have
jurisdiction as early as 2005; I know that for fact since I
placed it there but no investigations resulted.
In February of 2007, Dr. James Zogby of the Arab American
Institute, after familiarizing himself with my work, found it
imperative to contact Conyers directly and received assurances,
conveyed to me by email, that an investigation would proceed in
due course; Conyers is still missing in inaction.
The evidence was uncovered when I decided to authenticate the
videotape released by the Pentagon on Dec. 13, 2001, a videotape
in which bin Laden was confessing to 9/11. My suspicions about
the tape quickly materialized but it took close to a year to
distill the information in to a format that would stand in a
court of law.
The authentication work, the only work of its kind put forth in
the public domain, unveiled the most heinous crime ever
committed by a sitting president whose victims not only include
the detainees in Guantanamo except for a handful, but the untold
number of dead and maimed Afghanis, Iraqis, American citizens
and soldiers who have died in this fake "war on terror".
The authentication work revealed that the taping of the bin
Laden confession was the result of a sophisticated sting
operation run by U.S. intelligence with the help of Saudi
intelligence and was taped on September 26, 2001, barely two
weeks after 9/11 and ten days before the invasion of
According to the UN charter, "All Members shall settle their
international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that
international peace and security, and justice, are not
Even though the Bush administration had the evidence that bin
Laden was responsible for the 9/11 attacks as early as September
26, 2001, such evidence was only shared with those who were
important for the execution of their war, such as NATO and
Pakistan, and kept away from those sane entities who were
looking for a just and peaceful outcome as the UN Charter
The Bush administration, with premeditation, ignored its
international obligations in deference to war. If the Bush
administration had supplied the evidence to the world and
specifically the Taliban who were requesting such evidence in
exchange for bin Laden, the war might not have taken place and
bin Laden would very likely be in custody.
Not pursuing that route makes the Afghanistan war an illegal war
under the UN Charter and The Geneva Convention; thereby, the
majority of the Guantanamo detainees can no longer be classified
as enemy combatants but victims of war crimes.
These findings, which were shared with various authorities, were
summarized in the "The Crime Behind the Criminal Wars!".
The authentication work also shows that the Bush administration,
with premeditation, aided and abetted bin Laden after 9/11 far
beyond any aid your average Guantanamo detainee could have ever
provided to Al-Qaeda or bin Laden. There are also very strong
indications, worthy of serious investigation, that the Bush
administration was very aware of the 9/11 operations beforehand
and allowed them to happen or even helped in making them happen.
This argument was summarized in "Is Bin Laden Responsible for
the 9/11 attacks?"
As a consequence of these findings, those handful of detainees
who are charged with the more serious crimes, after review and a
proper fact finding by a habeas corpus court, would have those
charges against them dismissed only to be re-arrested and
appropriately charged with less serious offenses; the rest of
the detainees would have to be released.
The same court, and the public at large, will reserve the more
serious offenses to high-ranking officials in the Bush
administration, including the president.
By not acting in 2005 on the information received, Conyers and
congress dug themselves a hole that kept getting deeper as time
went by. The implications of the findings are very serious and
the remedies go beyond those implemented after Water Gate and
might prove to be the remedies that would help us reclaim our
The fundamental and positive change in how our democracy
functions is what Senator Lindsey Graham, John McCain, and
others in power are afraid of; a fear worthy of a constitutional
Their fear is genuine because, unlike other evidence in the
public discourse of the Bush administration's abuse of power,
which the administration and its supporters have been able to
duck, this evidence is solid, all in the public domain, the
majority of which the administration mistakenly placed there, it
cannot be taken back, it cannot be spun, it is intact and most
importantly, will remain so.
I am told that proper investigations would start after Bush
leaves office. I do think though that no one should be above the
law and no criminal should be given special consideration,
especially those who hold public office, otherwise we are simply
a nation of outlaws.
Maher Osseiran is an Arab-American peace activist. As a close
observer of the Middle East, Maher's geopolitical analysis is
always ahead of many in big media. As an engineer who worked in
research, he uses his technical abilities to write investigative
articles exposing one of the most serious crimes of the Bush
administration, his work is published in print in The Lone Star
Iconoclast, Crawford, TX, and on the web at
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