"An act for better securing the liberty of the subject, and for prevention of imprisonments beyond the seas."
Habeas Corpus Act, 1679
"Habeas corpus "shall not be suspended unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it."
Regarding Habeas Corpus - i.e., the body of evidence - it is strange that our Constitution contains the clause that habeas corpus "shall not be suspended unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it."
Invasion from an external enemy we can understand, but rebellion? The meaning here is dangerously vague.
Rebellion by whom? For what? Is it a rebellion by the vast majority? Was not our own rebellion in 1776 the very movement that led to the re-vitalization of habeas corpus and the defeat of the divine right of Kings and the arbitrary power of Regency?
In effect, does this exception condemn the people from ever re-taking their own government from ruling elites - all due to the fact a very small minority of people currently in power can suspend our rights, imprison us, and defeat reforms supported by the vast majority?
Is this "rebellion" exception a good idea? Did the founders screw up on this one, particularly in view of their own rebellion against the British? Did they simply copy the language of the British act without adequate forethought about applications of the "Great Writ" to future conditions in America?
"Habeas Corpus is an ancient common law prerogative writ - a legal procedure to which you have an undeniable right. It is an extraordinary remedy at law. Upon proper application, or even on naked knowledge alone, a court is empowered, and is duty bound, to issue the Extraordinary Writ of Habeas Corpus commanding one who is restraining liberty to forthwith produce before the court the person who is in custody and to show cause why the liberty of that person is being restrained. Absent a sufficient showing for a proper restraint of liberty, the court is duty bound to order the restraint eliminated and the person discharged. Habeas Corpus is fundamental to American and all other English common law derivative systems of jurisprudence. It is the ultimate lawful and peaceable remedy for adjudicating the providence of liberty's restraint. Since the history of Habeas Corpus is predominately English we must visit that history to gain understanding of American use of Habeas Corpus. "
Joseph Dale Robertson
Habeas corpus is simply a writ issued to bring a party before a court to prevent unlawful restraint. The premise is that you cannot be held against your will without some just cause. In short, you cannot be jailed if there are no charges against you. If you are being held, and you demand it, the courts must issue a writ of habeas corpus, which forces those holding you to answer as to why. If there is no good or compelling reason, the court must set you free.
It is our right, from our Bill of Rights. The importance of habeas corpus is illustrated by the fact that it was the sole liberty thought important enough to be included in the original text of the Constitution.
In any case, surely the safety of the people can be provided for by the military and police forces respectively, countering invasions and keeping demonstrations from becoming violent if need be. But suspending habeas corpus for domestic "rebellion" is another matter entirely.
Given the Bush administration's utterly fascist approach to fighting "terrorism" - which the "unitary executive" alone may define - we, the people, may now be unable to rebel against our own government without becoming "disappeared" as in Latin American dictatorships.
Today, when there is so much doubt about the reliability of voting machines and their privatization, and the people's rising up against globalization to protest what amount to forced "free trade" without the consent of the vast majority, these circumstances and the rebellion exception begin to have real meaning... and it is not good.
In the hands of a Bush-Cheney regime, or any other ruling-elite driven administration, the very people-power source of our own freedom from British rule may well be negated by this one word in the Constitution.
In effect, this is a license for fascism, for the arresting of dissidents, protesters, and even an entire majority of the American people who intend to rebel against a system controlled by old money with new powers.
"except by the lawful judgment of their peers or by the law of the land." "...no free man shall be taken or imprisoned or disseised or exiled or in any way destroyed
Magna Carta, 1215
Yet the Magna Carta's reference to the "lawful judgment of their peers" sounds like a fully-informed jury to me, and one adequately advised of jury nullification powers. Subverting this very power and recourse thru the use of military courts and secret detentions is the worst of evils, and the very birth of fascism.
Yes, we have terrorism by religious nuts today and, yes, we need extra vigilance to prevent innocent lives being lost. But these plenipotentiary powers in the wrong hands, utilized for the wrong reasons, and with the people's rightful powers trumped, are exactly why Habeas Corpus emerged in the first place.
"and if any person or persons shall be or stand committed or detained as aforesaid, for any
crime, unless for felony or treason plainly expressed in the warrant of commitment..."
Alternatively, we must ask whether the people can use their own "rebellion" clause against our predatory ruling elites... for the subverting of the constitutional powers of the people?
Does the meaning of rebellion include the on-going conspiracy of the rich against the poor and middle class? The rebellion of Corporations against governments? Of appointed bodies against the people? Of the "Federal" Reserve against the Congress and its constitutional money powers? Of corporate media against the public interest? Of the American people against a North American Union?
Who decides what rebellion is? Is protest rebellion? Is protest-rebellion treason? Is oligarchy and "managed democracy" treason? Is fighting against oligarchy rebellion or treason? Will we arrest, imprison, and torture the people, or, our predatory ruling elites? Clearly, it depends upon who's doing the deciding... and we still have "the decider" in office. Worse, a decider might not even be known to the public, as in the case of a rogue intelligence agency figure dictating who gets disappeared. And who would he be working for?
Section 948a(7) of the new Military Commissions Act essentially defines "Unlawful Enemy Combatant" as anyone the president, Secretary of Defense, or lesser officials acting on their behalf "determines."
In short, they don't have to prove this to anyone. They simply determine it... all on their own. In effect, anyone, anywhere, and whether a citizen or not, can be determined straight into a secret jail, without anyone being able to challenge the determination, or given any right to go to a court to prove the allegation.
The other piece of fascist legislation is the John Warner Defense Authorization act of 2007 (H.R.5122) which effectively gives the powers to declare Martial Law to the Federal Government and President of the United States.
In effect, the Local State Governments will no longer have control of their own National Guard Troops. They can be now moved from one state to another without the consent of the States Governors. So if the President declares Martial Law he can send National Guard Troops from Michigan to squash what he deems a threat to civil order in Arizona, and regardless of the Governors objections to the order.
This makes any rebellion of the people against their own government exceedingly difficult, unless our troops and police have the courage to defy orders and join the people's rebellion against tyranny.
The above act, which Bush signed in a stealth maneuver, will actually encourage the President to declare martial law. It revises the Insurrection Act, laws that limit the President's ability to deploy troops in the United States. The Insurrection Act has, along with the Posse Comitatus Act, served to enforce prohibitions on any military involvement in domestic law enforcement.
Bush is seeking to undo those prohibitions with the "John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007." Signed by the president on October 17th, 2006, in a private Oval Office ceremony, it allows the President to declare a "public emergency" and station troops anywhere in America and take control of state-based National Guard units without the consent of the governor or local authorities, in order to "suppress public disorder."
President Bush thus seized unprecedented power on the very same day he signed the Military Commissions Act of 2006. One act allows for torture and detention abroad, while the other orders the military onto the streets of America for "major public emergencies,"
Here, the President determines that authorities of the State or possession are incapable of ("refuse" or "fail" in) maintaining public order, "in order to suppress, in any State, any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy." Or is it rebellion?
With the President alone acting to "restore public order" he can order guardsmen from any state, despite the objections of local governmental, military, or police entities; ship them to another state; conscript them, and then turn them loose against "disorderly" citizenry.
This law facilitates police round-ups and the detention of protesters, illegal aliens, "potential terrorists" and various "undesirables" for detention in facilities under construction by Halliburton. This law also provides for the newest in "crowd control" technology, and other weaponry designed to suppress dissent, from the Pentagon to local militarized police units.
Senator Leahy of Vermont noted "the implications of changing the (Posse Comitatus) Act are enormous." He said "there is good reason for the constructive friction in existing law when it comes to martial law declarations. Using the military for law enforcement goes against one of the founding tenets of our democracy. We fail our Constitution, neglecting the rights of the States, when we make it easier for the President to declare martial law and trample on local and state sovereignty." Indeed.
So the police state apparatus in the USA is now in full working order... for the benefit of the New World Order gang, I presume. As ruling elites are masters of distraction, and own the weapons of mass distraction, it is hard not to believe the entire 9-11, war on terrorism, exercise is not simply a "false flag" operation to prepare the USA, and its Constitution, for a slow death and merger into the planned North American Union. 9-11 and Muslim fanatics are simply the ways and means to this end.
Indeed, it appears we are being groomed and corralled for the North American Union fascism, now proceeding in secret and virtually buried in the corporate media during the recent election. Clearly, the corrupt legislative coup and fait accompli is the ruling-elite way, witness GATT-NAFTA, and their abuse of our media for their purposes.
In any case, it is now evident that with "our" President given the right to detain Americans, and claim anyone he deems as 'enemy combatant' not entitled to the protection of Habeas Corpus, AND with the power to call Martial Law anywhere in the United States, and move National Guard Troops anywhere without the consent of state governments, we are no longer living in the United States Of America as we once knew it.
If we had a National Initiative process with which to override "our" president and big money-controlled legislators, and we could be assured of honest vote counts, perhaps one would not need to be quite so alarmed at the passage of these acts as a people's remedy could then be readily employed. But, in fact, we do not have either of these and alarmed we should be.
This incredible, constitution-crushing, legislation is why thousands of lawyers around the country are aghast at what has transpired in this "land of the free" and so are now working to correct this full scale step into fascism. God speed, join them, and may we forever rebel against such tyranny.