Saturday, January 14, 2012

Griffin Misleads on NDAA Part 2

Griffin: Telling it like it isn't on NDAA.

The NDAA is a grotesque and un-American piece of legislation which re-defines your rights into meaningless shadows of their former substance.     This abomination degrades your rights under the fourth, fifth, sixth, and possibly seventh amendments as well as rendering all but meaningless your former right to habeas corpus (the right to challenge your detention by the government).    NDAA is the foundation for the police state.   Democrats voted for it.  Republicans voted for it.   If you are against a police state, you now have no political party in Washington D.C. to represent your interests.

They don’t want you to realize that of course.   That’s why men like Republican Congressman Tim Griffin put out misinformation about the bill, all the while accusing those on the other side of doing so.  In my first analysis of his deceitful assurances, I focused on why his claim that the bill was OK because it only codified what the Supreme Court ruled in Hamdi vs. Rumsfeld was absurd.   Please read the article for more details, but in short the court gave mixed messages in Hamdi, the facts of the case were about a citizen caught on an actual foreign battlefield where the NDAA would apply similar standards over the entire United States, and Scalia was correct in his dissent.
Does “the right to petition for habeas corpus” still exist under the act as Griffin claims?  Only in name, not in substance.  In the new version, hearsay evidence is allowed and the government does not have the burden of proof, you do.  And you don’t get to stand in front of a real judge anymore, just an officer from a “military tribunal.”  Paid government informants could give false second hand information about your supposed involvement in an “anti-government plot” and based on that you could be indefinitely detained.  The government does not have to show that the hearsay evidence from the paid informants is true in order to keep you detained, rather you have to persuade whoever the executive branch picked to run your kangaroo court that it’s false.   
In his defense of the Police State Act (my name for the NDAA), Griffin tries to reassure readers with these words: “I would never support legislation that granted the government authority to indefinitely detain U.S. citizens in the U.S. without the right to challenge the legality of any such detention through a petition for habeas corpus. Nor would any judge, court, or attorney in this nation uphold such an infringement of our rights.”  
This man is so slippery it is scary.  He parses better than Bill Clinton. Everything he claims he would never do and no judge would ever do has already been done in Justice Thomas’ dissent in Hamdi- the very case he cites as the legal foundation for the NDAA.   In Hamdi, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that the government did not have to provide due process rights to persons it alleged were “enemy combatants” even when they were U.S. citizens. 
When Griffin inserts the words “in the U.S.” to his statement above he sneaks around the fact that a Supreme Court Justice has already agreed that the government can do everything that Griffin claims that neither he nor they would ever agree to.   The only difference is that the “battlefield” in that case was overseas.  But the NDAA makes no distinction in geography.  The entire United States is now treated as “the battlefield” in a never ending “war on terror.”  As Griffin himself says, the NDAA was codified Hamdi, and it applies the chaotic opinions in that case to the homeland.
(continued on jump)


Anonymous Mark Moore said...

But the real threat to our liberties is not the straight-forward but flawed approach of Thomas, but rather the craftiness of men like Griffin and a plurality of the court justices.

People would be ready to reject Thomas’ blunt decision that you don’t get due process rights if the government declares you are an “enemy combatant”. This would be the same as saying the government only has to give rights to the people that it wants to give rights to, which of course undermines the whole purpose of rights against the state.

But what Griffin and company are doing is setting up a “due process lite” system whereby the government declares that persons it accuses of certain acts don’t get what is traditionally and constitutionally meant by “rights”, rather you get a very different sort of treatment that they are deceptively calling the same thing. They maintain the illusion and name of due process, while implementing a conniving death blow to its substance.
Griffin declares that he would “never support legislation that granted the government authority to indefinitely detain U.S. citizens in the U.S. without the right to challenge the legality of any such detention through a petition for habeas corpus….” But he has done something which has the same practical effect of doing that by slanting the conditions under which a citizen might prevail in such a challenge, and even limiting whose ears such a petition might reach, so that the state can always win when it wants to win.

He has voted for a new set of rules which might retain the name, but reject the substance, of due process. Thomas was at least honest in the error he approved. Griffin’s claims have so such redemptive quality. Not only has he voted away your rights, he is not even being honest with you about what he has done.

8:32 AM, January 14, 2012  

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