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Good News Sparks More Fear Mongering

Jim Babka

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"The test for determining the scope of this provision must not be subject to manipulation by those whose power it is designed to restrain."

-- from the Supreme Court's decision restoring the writ of habeas corpus

"Ours is not a system designed to unleash the power of the government. It's a system designed to control it."

-- Steve Chapman

Subject: Good news sparks more fear mongering

On Thursday, June 12, the United States Supreme Court issued a ruling restoring the writ of habeas corpus. Those being held as suspected terrorists should now be able to challenge their detentions in a court of law, as our Constitution requires.

This is good news! The Judicial Branch has moved to block the overreaching power of the Executive Branch. This means America's system of "checks and balances" still has some life! But more must be done to restore and preserve the rule of law. We must . . .

  • Continue to use our right to "petition Congress for a redress of grievances"
  • Compel the Legislative Branch to deny the Executive Branch the power to spy on Americans without a warrant
  • Ensure that both the Executive and Judicial branches execute the laws of the land

This means . . .

  • The lawsuits against the telecom companies that aided the President's warrantless spying must have their day in court -- no immunity for the telecoms!
  • Congress must block the President's relentless drive for "legalized" warrantless spying powers -- the existing Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) must NOT be replaced. 

To accomplish these goals we must overcome the fear-mongering propaganda of those who favor unchecked presidential power.

  • On last Friday's Bill O'Reilly show Laura Ingraham claimed that the habeas decision would result in the release of vast numbers of terrorists

Both of these claims are dishonest. Here's the truth . . .

  • The right of habeas corpus is the right to challenge a detention in court, not a guarantee that anyone accused of terrorist actions will actually be released -- no one will be released if the government has solid legal grounds for detaining them.
  • Back in February, before the Protect America Act expired, the Executive Branch had the power to renew surveillance warrants for 12 months. If any surveillance actually lapses in August (and we have no way of knowing if that's true), it will be because the Bush administration failed to renew their so-called warrants for 12 months -- perhaps so that they could make this a campaign issue.

We must continue to resist this kind of fear mongering, and give Congress the courage to do the same. We must maintain our drumbeat of opposition to replacing FISA with so-called compromise legislation that grants telecom immunity and legalizes warrantless spying. Send Congress a message opposing immunity and any replacement for FISA.

Use your personal comments to tell Congress that you know the Bush administration is using fraudulent scare tactics to win immunity for the telecom companies and to "legalize" warrantless spying.

Also . . .

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Jim Babka

President, Inc.

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