July 2008

*The U.S. Constitution is not just for Americans-
A recommendation of Jacob Hornberger's article "A Presumption of Guilt
at Guantanamo" & Torture Facts/stats from Human Rights First
 
by Christine Smith*
 
This is fundamental to what American stands for: respect of the
individual...of the human rights of all.
 
To mistreat any human being (within our nation or those held by our
government) is to reject everything good America once stood for. It is
liberty for all that we once cherished and for which we were respected
for worldwide.  Regardless of one's guilt or innocence, our nation
stands (presumably) for justice for all, and that requires
implementation of what we know is true: The U.S. Constitution applies
not only to all within our country but also as in this case - those
foreigners being detained by our country. But detainees held by our
government (or by other nations for our government) are not receiving
justice - but torture. Our system of justice isn't perfect, but it is
the best yet developed and it must be there for American citizens as
well as foreigners.
 
As a nation, we've endured much struggle and bloodshed. But never must
we allow any crisis we face to turn us from the greatest thing we've
achieved: a belief in the immutable rights of the individual. For this
we must always be vigilant, for it is the core which separates us from
those who do permit their anger (fueled by fear) to govern rather than
their rational ability and certainly rather than their inherent moral
compass.
 
Every American should be outraged at the mistreatment of our fellow
human beings being held by (or for) the U.S. federal government. Their
suffering, at the hands of the U.S. government, is no secret. Thus, it
is up to all Americans to reject this...and rejecting it begins with
greater understanding of what's being done "in our name." Be it physical
torture or psychological torture, many worldwide are suffering - held
indefinitely - because our federal government is allowing the military
(Pentagon) to oversee what happens rather than federal courts. If
sufficient evidence exists for such detainees, they should be charged in
the federal courts -- and if no such evidence exists - they should be
freed.  That's due process.
 
The horrors detainees are subjected to has fortunately become much more
reported now than ever before.
 
Yet, still it seems to me the majority of Americans are unaware of this
great injustice our government is responsible for. It is imperative that
more Americans learn of the increasing tyranny of this government - and
the unjust cruel treatment of foreigners in their prison camps is a
prime example.  Add your voice for those who have none by learning the
facts, sharing them, and opposing all politicians (the majority of our
"representatives" in our federal government) who sanction/condone this
tyranny.
 
Thus, I wish to highly recommend a recent column written by Jacob
Hornberger entitled, "A Presumption of Guilt at Guantanamo" -
http://www.fff.org/blog/jghblog2008-04-28.asp   In it, Hornberger
examines the mistreatment of the federal government's detainees - locked
away so that the federal government can do whatever it wants to their
prisoners - free from due process of law and the judicial process in our
nation. It's an informative article which I believe many more Americans
would do well to read and share.
 
Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib are just two examples of such camps; I also
recommend that you visit (and share)
http://www.humanrightsfirst.org/us_law/etn/misc/factsheet.htm   -the
Human Rights Watch page regarding the torture the U.S. government is
responsible for.  Read facts about the tens of thousands of those who've
been held by the U.S. government, their deaths, those who have been
subjected to rendition, and other sad statistics on what the government
is doing.
 
/Christine Smith is a writer, humanitarian and political activist from
Colorado.  You may visit her website: http://www.ChristineSmith.us/