Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Torture, Lies and Videotapes & THE DECLARATION OF THE RIGHTS OF MAN

" Of all the human emotions, there is none that corrupts as much as fear, none that distorts characters more, none that more effectively prevents the development of all the faculties. If the forms of judicial power – this power that never ceases to act on us – were such in a particular State that they inspired only fear, for example, no matter how wise we might presume the political Constitution of that State to be, no matter how favourable that Constitution might be to liberty, by the mere fact that judicial power created only fear in all souls, it would prevent all the natural effects of the Constitution. While the Constitution would inspire energetic manners and strongly marked customs, judicial power, on the other hand, would tend to give you only weak manners and servile customs. And because it is in the nature of judicial power... never to suspend its action, you will readily see that it would fairly quickly end by changing all characters and by disposing you to prejudice and to institutions that are conducive to despotism and that, unfortunately, make despotism easy to support."
---Nicolas Bergasse (1750-1832 French Lawyer During the French Revolution he delivered a report to the National Assembly on the organization of justice., REPORT ON THE ORGANIZATION OF JUDICIAL POWER, 17 August 1789.

" The aim of every political association is the preservation of the natural and imprescriptible rights of man. These rights are liberty, property, security and resistance to oppression.

The source of all sovereignty resides essentially in the nation. No body, no individual can exercise authority that does not expressly proceed from the latter.

Society has the right to call for an account of the administration of every public agent.Those who procure, expedite, execute or cause arbitrary orders to be executed, ought to be punished. "


" On August 27, the National Assembly issued its Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen - the draft of which had been discussed with Thomas Jefferson, then the U.S. ambassador to France. Rather than law, this was a statement of principles, the purpose of which was to educate and enhance love of liberty. The declaration spoke of man's natural right to liberty and right to resist oppression... Virtue and talent, it stated, should be the only requirements for public office. It claimed that all "men" should be equal before the law, that arbitrary arrests should be illegal, that people should be presumed innocent until proven otherwise in a court of law...

From The French Revolution at MacroHistory PREHISTORY TO YESTERDAY

As the Bush administration with the tacit approval of the so called opposition party " the Democrats " slashes away at the United States Constitution and The Bill of Rights at what point will we be forced to say that America is no longer a " Democracy ".
If this so called noble experiment known as " democracy " is to be undermined and tampered with to the point where it no longer reflects the ideals of liberty, justice and equality then in time it shall fade becoming a vague memory.If America slides into despotism or into a " police state " then will the rest of the " Free World " follow in its wake. As each sovereign free nation uses the fear of " Terrorism " to concentrate more power into the hands of a few setting aside the basic inalienable rights of its citizenry there will come a " Tipping Point " imperceptible to the populace in which the Democratic state ceases for all intents and purposes.

"Did CIA break the law destroying torture tapes?"
Michael Ratner: " U.S. law is clear - Torture is a crime and destroying evidence is a crime "
See transcript at The Real News Network

December 17, 2007 Michael Ratner: What the tapes represent is essentially The US torturing people-


" The whole controversy is remarkable because, of course, now they're focusing on the destruction of the tapes but almost not at all on what the tapes really represent, which is essentially the United States torturing people. I think really went on here and what clearly went on here is these tapes were destroyed to protect high-level administration officials and CIA people from criminal prosecution. And they were frightened about it, whether it was here in the United States or abroad. And I think that comes out because, as you said, they were actually requested to give these tapes over to the 9/11 Commission. In addition, we in our Guantanamo cases had orders from the court requesting that the government, the CIA and others, preserve all CIA materials that might be involved in torture or abuse. So they're in violation of a court order, not just the 9/11 order. So you have to ask yourself, what were they doing here? They were protecting their own."

for instance see commentary on the terrorism bill introduced to US Senate in Sep. 2006.
Unclaimed Territory by Glenn Greenwald Thursday, September 28, 2006

The legalization of torture and permanent detention ...
authorizes the use of interrogation techniques which, as this excellent NYT Editorial put it, "normal people consider torture," along with the power it vests in the President to detain indefinitely, and with no need to bring charges, all foreign nationals and even legal resident aliens within the U.S. But as Law Professors Marty Lederman and Bruce Ackerman each point out, many of the extraordinary powers vested in the President by this bill also apply to U.S. citizens, on U.S. soil.

As Ackerman put it: "The compromise legislation... authorizes the president to seize American citizens as enemy combatants, even if they have never left the United States. And once thrown into military prison, they cannot expect a trial by their peers or any other of the normal protections of the Bill of Rights." Similarly, Lederman explains: "this [subsection (ii) of the definition of 'unlawful enemy combatant'] means that if the Pentagon says you're an unlawful enemy combatant -- using whatever criteria they wish -- then as far as Congress, and U.S. law, is concerned, you are one, whether or not you have had any connection to 'hostilities' at all."

This last point means that even if there were a habeas corpus right inserted back into the legislation (which is unlikely at this point anyway), it wouldn't matter much, if at all, because the law would authorize your detention simply based on the DoD's decree that you are an enemy combatant, regardless of whether it was accurate. This is basically the legalization of the Jose Padilla treatment -- empowering the President to throw people into black holes with little or no recourse, based solely on his say-so.

and see : The New York Times Editorial Rushing Off a Cliff September 28, 2006

Republicans say Congress must act right now to create procedures for charging and trying terrorists — because the men accused of plotting the 9/11 attacks are available for trial. That’s pure propaganda. Those men could have been tried and convicted long ago, but President Bush chose not to. He held them in illegal detention, had them questioned in ways that will make real trials very hard, and invented a transparently illegal system of kangaroo courts to convict them.
It was only after the Supreme Court issued the inevitable ruling striking down Mr. Bush’s shadow penal system that he adopted his tone of urgency. It serves a cynical goal: Republican strategists think they can win this fall, not by passing a good law but by forcing Democrats to vote against a bad one so they could be made to look soft on terrorism.

... the White House and three Republican senators announced a terrible deal on this legislation that gave Mr. Bush most of what he wanted, including a blanket waiver for crimes Americans may have committed in the service of his antiterrorism policies. Then Vice President Dick Cheney and his willing lawmakers rewrote the rest of the measure so that it would give Mr. Bush the power to jail pretty much anyone he wants for as long as he wants without charging them, to unilaterally reinterpret the Geneva Conventions, to authorize what normal people consider torture, and to deny justice to hundreds of men captured in error.

and from the New York Times : Experts Say Bush's Goal in Terrorism Bill Is Latitude for Interrogators' Methods By SHERYL GAY STOLBERG & KATE ZERNIKE September 19, 2006

In his showdown with rebellious Senate Republicans over bills to bring terrorism suspects to trial, President Bush has repeatedly called for clarity in the rules for what he calls ''alternative interrogation techniques'' used by the Central Intelligence Agency.

What Mr. Bush really wants, legal experts on both sides of the debate say, is latitude so the interrogators can use methods that the military is barred from using under a recently issued Army field manual.

Despite his call for clarity, the president has been vague in talking about the alternatives, which have in the past included sleep deprivation, playing ear-splittingly loud music and waterboarding, which induces a feeling of drowning.
''They can't come out and say we want more leeway to rough these people up,'' said John Radsan, who was assistant general counsel for the intelligence agency from 2002 to 2004 and now teaches at the William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul. ''That doesn't sell. So he says we need clarity. It doesn't play well to say we need to deprive them of sleep and play loud music.''


Just a reminder that democracy , freedom & Justice require the vigilance of the people if they are to endure: For those who have forgotten . For those who merely ape the cynicism of this age .For those who think the struggle is over .


The representatives of the French people, organized in a National Assembly, considering that ignorance, forgetfulness or contempt of the rights of man are the sole causes of public miseries and the corruption of governments, have resolved to set forth in a solemn declaration the natural, inalienable and sacred rights of man, so that this declaration, being ever-present to all the members of the social body, may unceasingly remind them of their rights and duties; in order that the acts of the legislative power and those of the executive power may at each moment be compared with the aim of every political institution and thereby may be more respected; and in order that the demands of the citizens, grounded henceforth upon simple and incontestable principles, may always take the direction of maintaining the constitution and welfare of all.

In consequence, the National Assembly recognizes and declares, in the presence and under the auspices of the Supreme Being, the following rights of man and citizen:

Article 1. Men are born free and remain free and equal in rights. Social distinctions can be based only on public utility.

2. The aim of every political association is the preservation of the natural and imprescriptible rights of man. These rights are liberty, property, security and resistance to oppression.

3. The source of all sovereignty resides essentially in the nation. No body, no individual can exercise authority that does not expressly proceed from the latter.

4. Liberty consists in the power to do anything that does not injure others; accordingly, the exercise of the rights of each man has no limits except those that secure the enjoyment of these same rights to the other members of society. These limits can be determined only by law.

5. The law has only the right to forbid such actions as are injurious to society. Nothing can be forbidden that is not interdicted by the law, and no one can be constrained to do that which the law does not order.

6. The law is the expression of the general will. All citizens have the right to take part personally, or by their representatives, in its formation. It must be the same for all, whether it protects or punishes. All citizens, being equal in its eyes, are equally eligible to all public dignities, places and employments, according to their capacities, and without other distinction than that of their virtues and talents.

7. No man can be accused, arrested or detained, except in the cases determined by the law and according to the forms it has prescribed. Those who procure, expedite, execute or cause arbitrary orders to be executed, ought to be punished. But every citizen summoned or seized by virtue of the law ought to render instant obedience; he makes himself guilty by resistance.

8. The law ought only to establish penalties that are strictly and obviously necessary, and no one can be punished except by virtue of a law established and promulgated prior to the offence and legally applied.

9. Every man being presumed innocent until he has been pronounced guilty, if it is thought indispensable to arrest him, all means that may go beyond what is strictly necessary to secure his person ought to be strictly suppressed by law.

10. No one should be bothered on account of his opinions, even religious, provided their presentation does not upset the public order established by law.

11. The free communication of ideas and opinions is one of the most precious rights of man. Every citizen can therefore speak, write and print freely, subject to responsibility for the abuse of this freedom in cases as determined by law.

12. The guarantee of the rights of man and citizen requires a public force; this force is therefore instituted for the advantage of all and not for the personal benefit of those to whom it is entrusted.

13. A general tax is indispensable for the maintenance of the public force and for the expenses of administration; it ought to be equally apportioned among all citizens according to their means.

14. All citizens have a right to ascertain, by themselves or by their representatives, the necessity of the public tax, to consent to it freely, to follow the employment of it and to determine its amount, basis, collection and duration.

15. Society has the right to call for an account of the administration of every public agent.

16. Any society in which the guarantee of the rights is not secured, or the separation of powers is not determined, has no constitution at all.

17. Property being a sacred and inviolable right, no one can be deprived of it, unless a legally established public necessity demands it, under the condition of a just and prior indemnity.

Take care,

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