The Constitution goes to the brig.
February 25, 2007 6:02 AM   Subscribe

The Navy's detention facility at Hanrahan has a created a secret prison-within-a-prison and, per the article, developed elaborate plans to dodge public scrutiny of its operations to detain enemy combatants. "In detaining American citizens, full constitutional rights are afforded except where curtailed by higher guidance or accepted prison practice," the report said.
posted by Malor (23 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
full constitutional rights are afforded except where curtailed by higher guidance or accepted prison practice

Afford ? EXCEPT ? Rights don't succumb to "higher guidance" or prison practice.
posted by elpapacito at 6:30 AM on February 25, 2007

Yeah, that "higher guidance" is pretty ominous. I grew up believing that the US constitution was the highest guidance in the land. Any government official or body that claims to stand above it has, according to my understanding, usurped it.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:40 AM on February 25, 2007 [1 favorite]

I didn't write this up as well as I probably should have: proof positive that it's not a good idea to make an FPP while steamed.

This is an article about an internal Navy report, in which they describe both the procedures to separate "enemy combatants" from the mainstream prison population (probably a good idea), and how even American citizens no longer have their full Constitutional rights, per executive fiat. This is an appallingly bad idea, IMO, and I'm deeply disappointed that the Navy is going along with it.
posted by Malor at 6:40 AM on February 25, 2007

Meanwhile, at Guantanamo:

The men imprisoned in Camp 6 are alone in cells with walls, floors and ceilings of solid metal 22 hours a day. There is no natural light or air and no windows except strips of glass next to the solid metal door that allow only a view of an interior corridor. During cell time, the men have no contact with any human beings other than guards.

“Rec time” consists of a transfer in shackles to a “pod” of five pens separated by chain-link fences. Each detainee is placed alone in a 12- by 9-foot pen for two hours and allowed to communicate with others should there be men in adjacent pens. The two-story-high concrete walls of the pod are covered by barbed wire, allowing a glimpse of the sky but no view of the horizon. Though this outdoor time is offered each 24-hour period, it is sometimes offered very late at night. Other than heavily censored letters to family and from family, the imprisoned men are completely cut off from information about the outside world.

The kicker? The prisoners at Camp 6 are the ones our own government says are innocent.
posted by EarBucket at 7:01 AM on February 25, 2007

Well, they can't possibly hate you for your freedoms anymore...
posted by DreamerFi at 8:22 AM on February 25, 2007 [3 favorites]

there is no higher guidance than the Constitution--are these people torturing too??
posted by amberglow at 8:51 AM on February 25, 2007

... but did say an entire wing was set aside for one detainee. ...

Years in brig left Padilla unfit for trial, experts testify---...
...Defense lawyers hope to delve more deeply into Padilla's treatment at a Navy brig in Charleston, S.C., later in the federal hearing, when they are allowed to question brig officials directly involved in his custody. Those officials have never spoken publicly about the case, and the hearing will continue Monday.

"He is immobilized by his anxiety," said Patricia Zapf, a forensic psychologist from New York who did tests in October. "He believes he will go back to the brig and he will die there." ...

posted by amberglow at 9:00 AM on February 25, 2007

While on the subject of rampant abuse of power by the existing sack of bastards, would anyone flag a speech or comment by any putative 2008 Presidential candidate saying they will put an end to the abuse? I know most of the candidates approve of kittens and are against boll weevils, but you'd think at least one of them would be against these (flapjax has it) usurpations, and would make it an issue.
posted by jet_silver at 9:06 AM on February 25, 2007

Wow, I like, drove by there every day. I never went to the brig itself though. (That's a huge base, by the way, and mostly filled with either unused harbor or wild vegetation so I suppose it makes an ideal place to hide things.)
posted by Lord Chancellor at 9:31 AM on February 25, 2007

I google newsed "hanahan brig navy". This story was not picked up by anyone nationally. It was only picked up by a couple of local news stations on their websites.

I am not in Charleston, so I don't know if it actually made air.

And it did make the AP wire. So you have proof right there that this is being ignored by the network news outlets- cable or otherwise.
posted by wfc123 at 10:10 AM on February 25, 2007

Hello? You lose some of your rights while you're in jail. Can anyone read English anymore?
posted by ikkyu2 at 10:55 AM on February 25, 2007


Looks like Kucinich is against it. Edwards doesn't seem to address it this round (although one of his bloggers does), but did in a letter to MoveOn in 2004, when he discussed his original support and vote for the Patriot Act (about halfway down the page, under "Freedom"). Obama doesn't seem to say much about civil liberties. I can't find much on Richardson at all, but he doesn't seem to address it. Vilsack dropped out. Clinton - why even ask? Who else is running?

I tried to stick to what candidates had on their own sites, with an idea that this would provide some insight into how important they really think the issue is. However, I also searched for [candidate name]+Padilla on each, and specifically searched for "John Edwards" + "Patriot Act", because I thought I remembered that he had voted for that abomination in the first place, but wanted to confirm that.
posted by dilettante at 10:57 AM on February 25, 2007

ikkyu2: you lose some of your rights if you are convicted of a crime. These people have not been convicted of anything; they've simply had The Finger pointed at them.
posted by Malor at 12:10 PM on February 25, 2007

the best part is that there is an awesome song about Cmdr. Flex Plexico

well the name is awesome anyway
posted by headless at 12:18 PM on February 25, 2007

Malor, no. You're wrong. You lose some rights as soon as you're thrown in jail. The right to liberty of movement, for example. The right to vote, and to speak to whoever you please, and all kinds of other rights.

This article is about the difficulty the Naval prison is having in keeping its high-profile prisoners safe. You're trying to make it into something it's not.
posted by ikkyu2 at 12:45 PM on February 25, 2007

Now it is 1984
Knock-knock at your front door
It's the suede/denim secret police
They have come for your uncool niece
posted by augustweed at 1:01 PM on February 25, 2007

ikkyu2, what part of 'held forever without a trial' is covered under the Constitution?
posted by Malor at 1:48 PM on February 25, 2007

Is it just me, or is Kucinich the only putative candidate to the left of Richard Nixon, and therefore unelectably liberal?
posted by [expletive deleted] at 4:50 PM on February 25, 2007

Hanrahan Hanahan

I'm glad that was a typo in the FPP. For 10 years I wore a POW/MIA bracelet with the name Eugene Handrahan. Gene was apparently killed in action in Hua Nghia, Republic of South Vietnam on Oct. 10, 1968 (when I was six years old), but it took 11 years until he was listed as KIA. His body was never recovered. I wore the bracelet into the 1980s when I found out that he was finally listed as KIA. His name is on Panel 41W - Line 40 on the Vietnam Veteran's memorial.

When I saw Hanrahan, I thought Handrahan.

Peace Gene.
posted by three blind mice at 10:27 PM on February 25, 2007

Candidates hell - where the fuck is congress and the judiciary NOW? This is their authority the administration is encroaching on. You’d think “enemy combatant” would be under the war powers vested in congress. Apparently they’re willing to cede this piece of it along with all the other responsibilities they don’t have time for. Matter of time before it’s their necks on the block. But they don’t see it coming. And that’s what we get for having an electoral system vested only in the labels and affectations of principle rather than principles and the actions that stem from them.
Call someone a “liberal” or “conservative” and they’ll get voted for or against or supported or not simply because of that. Irrespective of what they vote in favor of or against or any reasoning they have to back it up.

(“Hey, I’m a conservative. And I believe that all life should be valued, but the government has no place to make those kinds of decisions in our lives therefore I must support a woman’s right to...”
“You’re a conservative? Fuck you Smedleyman! Get out of women’s right to choose!”)

Etc. etc. ad nauseum.
Same thing with the label “terrorist.”
(“Do you think terrorists should be held without trial?”
“Well, y’know. Freedom. Democracy. Good. Not bad. If we must. Blah blah blah.”
“What if they’re citizens?”
“Buh ... buh... but they can’t be citizens...they’re TERRORISTS!!!”)

We’ve elected a bunch of mercenaries. Is it any surprise that they sell out to the highest bidder or the easiest path?
Or indeed, that the core principles of the country have been subverted?
It’s so much easier to redefine words and twist meanings than it is to actually stand for something. And if it gets you elected dichotomizing minorities or distorting someone elses argument, or whatever, why the hell not?
posted by Smedleyman at 8:35 AM on February 26, 2007

Congress is now finally working on it--Leahy and Spector are. (Habeas Corpus Restoration Act)--call your congresspeople about it.

The bigger question is why Congress didn't act at all while it was happening in the first place and why they actually passed the horror that is the Patriot Act.
posted by amberglow at 9:43 AM on February 26, 2007

Hey headless, that's not a bad little song there, thanks. It's better knowing the name is attached to a real guy.
posted by JHarris at 3:23 PM on February 26, 2007

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