Civil Liberties & Privacy

Why Judges Can’t Free Torture Victims from Guantánamo

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Last December, I wrote about the case of Saeed Hatim, a Yemeni in Guantánamo whose habeas corpus petition had been granted by Judge Ricardo Urbina. At the time, Judge Urbina’s unclassified opinion had not been made publicly available, so all I had to go on were Hatim’s own statements at Guantánamo. In publicly available documents, he told ... [click for more]

The Slippery Definition of Extremism

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Americans are once again hearing of the perils of extremism. But the definition of this offense is slippier than a politician’s campaign promise. The definition of extremism has continually been amended to permit government policies that few sober people previously advocated. Prior to 2000, anyone who asserted that the Census Bureau was deeply involved with the roundup of Japanese-Americans for ... [click for more]

Abu Zubaydah: Tortured for Nothing

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The story of Abu Zubaydah a Saudi-born Palestinian whose real name is Zayn al-Abidin Muhammad Husayn has always been absolutely central to the war on terror. Seized in a house raid in Faisalabad, Pakistan, on March 28, 2002, he was immediately touted as al-Qaeda's chief of operations and top recruiter, who would be ... [click for more]

Will Obama Sell Out on Terrorist Trials?

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In the dark farce that is the Obama administrations counter-terrorism policy, decisions are now, it seems, being made by whoever makes the most noise, regardless of whether what they are shouting for actually makes sense. Since last November, when Attorney General Eric Holder first announced that five men including ... [click for more]

Guantánamo Uighers Back in Legal Limbo

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Last Monday, the Supreme Court declined to review a case brought on behalf of seven men in Guantánamo whose release into the United States ordered by a U.S. judge 17 months ago. The men in question are Uighurs, Muslims from Chinas Xinjiang province, and the ruling ordering them to be re-housed in the United States was made in ... [click for more]

The Folly of Blindly Trusting the Government

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Democracy breeds gullibility. Lord Bryce observed in 1921, “State action became less distrusted the more the State itself was seen to be passing under popular control.” The rise of democracy made it much easier for politicians to convince people that government posed no threat, because they automatically controlled its actions. The result is that the brakes on government power ... [click for more]

The Feds’ Post–9/11 Airport-Worker Purge

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In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, the federal government feared that people would lose faith in the government’s promise to protect them. The feds had dismally failed to stop the 19 hijackers who took down four planes and sowed panic from coast to coast. So the government did what it does best: Round up the usual suspects. Starting in ... [click for more]

The Only Way to Get Money out of Politics

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Last week’s Supreme Court ruling striking down the ban on corporate and union spending at election time is both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, removing a legal barrier to free speech is always a good thing in itself. Government shouldn’t dictate who can speak or from where people may get their information. This is more ... [click for more]

Prosecuting the Bush Administration’s Torturers

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Its a sign of how much the Bush administration skewed Americas moral compass that we are currently facing the possibility that the only way to bring the torturers to account is through a Nonpartisan Commission Of Inquiry essentially, a toothless truth and reconciliation commission of the type proposed by Sen. Patrick Leahy, the ... [click for more]
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