* Jihadists should never be taken prisoners…
*Â Keeping terrorists alive is a good reason why we’re not ‘winning the War on Terror’
Taliban prisoners freed in Afghan prison suicide attack: officials
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (AFP) â€” Taliban rebels blasted into a prison using a suicide car bomb and guns late Friday, freeing as many as hundreds of militant prisoners and killing at least two guards, officials said.
The brazen attack under cover of darkness ripped through the front entrance of the main jail in the insurgency-hit southern city of Kandahar, Justice Minister Sarwar Danish told AFP.
The raid is a blow to President Hamid Karzai, coming one day after world donors pledged 20 billion dollars to rebuild Afghanistan at a conference in Paris but also called on him to strengthen the rule of law.
“A suicide attacker drove his way into the main gate of the prison, it was very strong and destroyed the gate and two sides of the surrounding wall,” Danish told AFP.
He said it was followed by an “armed attack inside the prison.”
“After the massive explosion, which was heard across the city and destroyed the gate and a police checkpoint, reports say up to 30 motorcycles raced forward, carrying armed men firing rocket-propelled grenades, machine-guns and AK-47s.”
“1,000 inmates escape from Afghan prison after blast,” by Doug Schmidt for Canwest News Service, June 13:
Miranda rights for terrorists?
How US Supreme Court judges sabotage the war effort
This Investor’s Business Daily editorial (June 12, thanks to JW) nails today’s Gitmo ruling from the Supremes:
Supreme Court: In a historic first, the right to habeas corpus has been bestowed upon prisoners of war â€” in wartime. Five justices gave terrorists a new weapon to kill more Americans with: our own Constitution.
There are many reasons why this year’s election may be the most consequential ever, but Thursday’s Boumediene v. Bush 5-to-4 decision in the Supreme Court is the most chilling reminder yet of how much our national security is at stake….
The court held that foreign enemy combatants at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. base in Cuba have the right to pursue habeas challenges to their detention in U.S. courts.
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It is unprecedented in the history of U.S. law, and for all the soaring rhetoric in Justice Anthony Kennedy’s opinion that “the laws and Constitution are designed to survive, and remain in force, in extraordinary times,” the fact is that Gitmo detainees already had the equivalent of habeas corpus rights.
As Chief Justice John Roberts noted in his dissent, those terrorist POWs enjoy “the most generous set of procedural protections ever afforded aliens detained by this country as enemy combatants.”
The real issue, according to Roberts, writing also for Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, “is whether the system the political branches designed protects whatever rights the detainees may possess. If so, there is no need for any additional process, whether called ‘habeas’ or something else.”
But it was left to Justice Scalia, in a separate dissent also joined by the other three ‘no’ votes, to describe Boumediene’s disastrous real-world consequences: It “will make the war harder on us,” Scalia declared, reading from the bench. “It will almost certainly cause more Americans to be killed.”
Of detainees already released from Gitmo, Scalia pointed out that one “masterminded the kidnapping of two Chinese dam workers, one of whom was later shot to death when used as a human shield against Pakistani commandoes.” Another “promptly resumed his post as a senior Taliban commander and murdered a United Nations engineer and three Afghan soldiers. . . . Still another murdered an Afghan judge.” And last month came news that another detainee committed a suicide bombing against Iraqi soldiers in Mosul.
Boumediene will force military attorneys to release evidence against enemy combatants to the terrorists’ own lawyers. It will likely see U.S. troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan be called as witnesses. And detainees will have a legal right of access to classified information.
The decision “sets our military commanders the impossible task of proving to a civilian court, under whatever standards this Court devises in the future, that evidence supports the confinement of each and every enemy prisoner.” He concluded: “The Nation will live to regret what the Court has done today.”…
I think that is very likely.
It’s hard to summarize a decision as long and complicated as the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling last week in Boumediene v. Bush. But we can try. Unprecedented. Reckless. Harmful. Breathtakingly condescending.
The Court, in an opinion written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, ruled that non-citizens captured abroad and held in a military installation overseas–the remaining 270 or so inmates at the terrorist prison in GuantÃ¡namo Bay, Cuba–have the same constitutional right as U.S. citizens to challenge their detention in court. Furthermore, the current procedures by which a detainee’s status is reviewed–procedures fashioned in good faith and at the Court’s behest by a bipartisan congressional majority in consultation with the commander in chief during a time of war–are unconstitutional.
The upshot is the prisoners at Camp Delta can now file habeas corpus petitions in U.S. district courts seeking reprieve. Hence lawyers, judges, and leftwing interest groups will have real influence over the conduct of the war on terror. Call it the Gitmo nightmare.
As it happens, some of the most effective arguments against Boumediene come from the decision itself. For example, Justice Kennedy wrote that in cases involving terrorist detention, “proper deference must be accorded to the political branches.” Then he overrode them.
Kennedy further noted that “unlike the President and some designated Members of Congress, neither the Members of this Court nor most federal judges begin the day with briefings that may describe new and serious threats to our Nation and its people.” They had better start, because the courts are about to be flooded with
petitions to release terrorists sworn to America’s destruction.
He also wrote that now the “political branches can engage in a genuine debate about how best to preserve constitutional values while protecting the Nation from terrorism.” But that is precisely what Congress and the president were doing when they passed legislation laying out a process for detainee review, one that in fact addressed concerns previously raised by the Court. The Court now says this process is inadequate. What would be adequate? Kennedy’s answer: I’ll get back to you on that.
In his opinion, Kennedy conceded that “before today the Court has never held that non-citizens detained by our Government in territory over which another country maintains de jure sovereignty have any rights under our Constitution.” Inventing rights seems to be what some of today’s Supreme Court justices do best. In 1950 the Court ruled in Johnson v. Eisentrager that foreign nationals held in a military prison on foreign soil (in that case, Germany) had no habeas rights. But, without overruling Eisentrager, Kennedy said the GuantÃ¡namo detainees are different from the German prisoners 58 years ago.
Why? Kennedy wrote that Eisentrager had a unique set of “practical considerations,” and the United States did not have “de facto” sovereignty over Germany as it does over GuantÃ¡namo Bay. That territory, “while technically not part of the United States, is under the complete and total control of our Government.” But these slippery distinctions only raise more questions. Doesn’t the United States government exercise “complete and total control” over its military and intelligence facilities worldwide? If so, what’s to stop foreign combatants held in those locations from asserting their habeas rights?
And what precise form will these habeas hearings take? What standards of judgment are the courts to apply? Will plaintiffs’ attorneys be allowed to go venue shopping and file their petitions in the most liberal courts in the nation? Will they conduct discovery? Will they recall soldiers and intelligence agents from the field to testify? What happens when the available evidence does not satisfy judges who are used to adjudicating under the exclusionary rule? Will the cases be thrown out? Will the detainees be freed, able to return to the battlefield? That, after all, is what some 30 released detainees seem already to have done.
The Supreme Court does not worry about such things. Instead it piously reminded the people that “the laws and Constitution are designed to survive, and remain in force, in extraordinary times.” No kidding. Has anyone ever argued otherwise?
Kennedy’s sanctimony points to the ultimate tragedy of the Boumediene mess. In their visceral, myopic hatred of President Bush, liberals will see the ruling as a blow to the president and not the broad, foolish, and dangerous judicial power grab it is. The New York Times’s editorialists wrote that “compliant Republicans and frightened Democrats” allowed Bush to deny foreign enemy combatants during wartime “the protections of justice, democracy and plain human decency.”
Give us a break. One day soon Bush will be gone. But thanks to the Court, we’ll still all be living the Gitmo nightmare.
–Matthew Continetti, for the Editors