Published on Friday, January 8, 2010 by Agence
Rights of Hundreds at Bagram Prison Still Denied
US Wary Over Granting Bagram Inmates' Rights
Watchtowers sit along the perimeter of Bagram prison, north of
Judges here were wary of extending three detainees such rights at the military prison at the Bagram Air Base north of Kabul, indicating such a ruling could lead to other prisoners held oversees by the
In April last year, US District Judge John Bates recognized the right of the detainees, held at Bagram without charge for at least six years, to challenge their detention in the United States, according to their lawyers.
He based the ruling on the landmark Supreme Court move in 2008 to allow such rights to prisoners held at the
"These detainees have been denied a due process," insisted attorney Tina Foster on Thursday.
The three appeals court judges however expressed concern that an approval of Bates' ruling would open the door to more than 670 prisoners currently held at Bagram, and serve as precedent for other people detained in US military bases around the world.
The Bagram prison has served since 2002 as a holding site for terror suspects captured outside
In September, the
Bates originally ruled that foreign prisoners held at Bagram should also be provided the right enshrined in the writ of habeas corpus.
In responding, however, the administration has argued Bates's ruling "reverses long-standing law, imposes great practical problems, conflicts with the considered judgment of both political branches, and risks opening the federal courts to habeas claims brought by detainees held in other theaters of war during future military actions."
Many of the detainees at Bagram have languished for years.
But unlike prisoners at
© 2010 AFP
URL to article: http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2010/01/08-1
Published on Friday, January 8, 2010 by The
US Is Now Reaping the Whirlwind
Greed, war, partisanship and economic disparity will hinder
by William Dimma
In the rose-coloured and relentlessly upbeat years that preceded the nearly unprecedented meltdown that surfaced first in the
In retrospect, those golden years may have been the modern-day equivalent of what nearly 150 years earlier and just before the end of the
Based on an average annual inflation rate of 3 per cent, the per capita cost of the U.S. federal government has risen in a century by nearly 55 times.
Consider health care alone. In 2009, this constituted 18 per cent of GNP and is continuing to rise with no resolution to date on what to do about it. And up to 50 million Americans were still uninsured before the latest planned reforms. Best estimates are that absolute health-care costs will double over the next decade to unsustainable levels without yet any credible plan to restrain this massive increase.
Then there's the
Well beyond sobering fiscal realities are several sociological and cultural phenomena, some historically based, some more recent in origin. They reinforce the view that the
More than two centuries later, what has evolved is a political culture in which these branches compete for power more and more counterproductively, mischievously, even viciously. Far too often this leads to collective stalemate and impotence, ineffectual compromises, massive frustration, deep animosities and a "pox on both their houses" sentiment increasingly felt by mainstream
Those fervent constitutionalists, mostly at the far right end of the political spectrum, who defend to the death (occasionally literally) every clause, sentence, comma and nuance of the
Process aside, there is the daunting reality that each of the two mainstream parties has a profoundly different view of the world. At the most visceral level, too many Republicans look backward to the good old days that weren't as good as nostalgia remembers. Too many Democrats look forward to the good new days that likely won't be as good as promised.
A special case of looking backward more than forward is religious fanaticism. In a society where, formally and structurally, church and state are separated, religious zealotry and extremism shouldn't count for much. But they do. On issues like birth control, abortion, gay rights, what's taught in schools, they count for a great deal.
Then there's the growing economic disparity between those at the top and the bottom of the income scale, without even considering the unemployed and partially employed. Changes over the past half-century have been widely publicized. In 1960, the annual compensation of an S&P500 company CEO in the
Once upon a time, General Motors was the largest and most successful corporation in the world. Later, when it faltered, a perceptive explanation was that it was "a victim of past success." This expresses both a regret and a judgment. I wish fervently and not at all hypocritically that this same judgment was less applicable than I fear it is to the
© 2010 Toronto Star
William A. Dimma is a former dean of
URL to article: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/01/08-11
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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs