informazione dal medio oriente
    information from middle east
    المعلومات من الشرق الأوسط

[ home page] | [ tutte le notizie/all news ] | [ download banner] | [ ultimo aggiornamento/last update 02/02/2015 03:56 ] 19321

english italiano

  [ Subscribe our newsletter!   -   Iscriviti alla nostra newsletter! ]  


Uruknet on Alexa

End Gaza Siege
End Gaza Siege


:: Segnala Uruknet agli amici. Clicka qui.
:: Invite your friends to Uruknet. Click here.

:: Segnalaci un articolo
:: Tell us of an article

Tomgram: Nick Turse on Repealing the Magna Carta

Tom Engelhardt & Nick Turse

January 5, 2006

In my last dispatch, The Unrestrained President, I suggested that what we were dealing with in Washington was a virtual cult of the presidency and that its believers were more fervent than any religious fundamentalists in their focus on the quite un-Christian attribute of total earthly power. Their urge to create a President accountable to no one, overseen by no one, and restricted by no other force in his will to act was amply demonstrated in a simple bill-signing at the White House last Friday. It was then that George Bush inked the Defense Appropriations bill containing Senator John McCain's anti-torture amendment (vigorously opposed by the President and the Vice President), which was meant to close various loopholes in prohibitions on torture. The President, according to Charley Savage of the Boston Globe, issued a "signing statement" -- "an official document in which a president lays out his interpretation of a new law" -- in which he "quietly reserved the right to bypass the [McCain] law under his powers as commander in chief." So much for the ability of Congress to legislate, if the President can simply declare anything it passes whatever he decides it should be. ("A senior administration official, who spoke to a Globe reporter about the statement on condition of anonymity because he is not an official spokesman, said the president intended to reserve the right to use harsher methods in special situations involving national security.")

Nick Turse shines a new light on the Bush administration's cult of presidential power by showing just how far back its adherents would roll our constitutional and legal system -- back to the Middle Ages and the rule of kings. Tom

What Year Is This Anyway?

Rollback to 1214 AD
By Nick Turse

What might happen to an "often cruel and treacherous" national leader who "ignored and contravened the traditional" norms at home and waged "expensive wars abroad [that] were unsuccessful"?

On June 15, 1215, just such a leader arrived at Runnymede, England and --under pressure from rebellious barons angered by his ruinous foreign wars and the fact that "to finance them he had charged excessively for royal justice, sold church offices, levied heavy aids," and appointed "advisers from outside the baronial ranks"-- placed his seal on the Magna Carta. The document, which was finalized on June 19th, primarily guaranteed church rights and baronial privileges, while barring the king from exploiting feudal custom. While it may have been of limited importance to King John or his rebel nobles (as one scholar notes, "It was doomed to failure. Magna Carta lasted less than three months"), the document had a lasting impact on the rest of us, providing the very basis for the Anglo-American legal tradition.

Over the years, the Magna Carta came to be interpreted as a document that forbade taxation without representation and guaranteed trial by jury. In the U.S., it is seen as providing a basis for the 5th Amendment to the Bill of Rights that holds: "No person shallů be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of lawů" (The Magna Carta states: "No Freeman shall be taken, or imprisonedů but by lawful Judgment of his Peers, or by the Law of the Land.") While many progressive and democratic understandings of the document, popular from the seventeenth to the nineteenth century, have now been dismissed as misinterpretations, the Magna Carta has one absolutely significant feature. As the website of the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) notes, "When King John confirmed Magna Carta with his seal, he was acknowledging the now firmly embedded concept that no man -- not even the king -- is above the law."

Fast forward 561 years. Says NARA, "In 1776, the Founding Fathers searched for a historical precedent for asserting their rightful liberties from King George III and the English Parliament." They found it in the Magna Carta. Fast forward another 230 years. Their war for independence long since over, Britain's former rebel colonies begin the new year of 2006 on a precipice. During the previous 365 days, they saw, among other shocking displays, their Vice President publicly campaign against Senator John McCain's anti-torture amendment and, as such, essentially offer his support for illegal torture. Then, following a failed attempt by the President to quash a New York Times story on the National Security Agency (which the paper had already suppressed for a year), the people also found out that their President had ordered unlawful spying on American citizens.

After the latter scandal became public, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales (who, in 2002 as White House counsel, penned a memo advising the President on how to circumvent the 1996 War Crimes Act) claimed that George Bush had the right to violate the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (which makes it illegal to spy on U.S. citizens in the United States without prior or retroactive -- within 72 hours-- court approval) due to his "inherent authority as commander in chief under the Constitution." This, despite the fact that in 2004 Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, writing for the court, insisted, "A state of war is not a blank check for the president when it comes to the rights of the nation's citizens." Bush himself then came out swinging, claiming that he had no need for the courts since he acted as his own agency of oversight, and his acts were legal because he "swore to uphold the laws."

The President's threatened veto of the McCain anti-torture amendment, the Vice-President's pro-torture campaign, the President's illegal spying, which he proudly claimed he had re-authorized many times over, his attempt to squelch the free press (which Thomas Jefferson once called "the only security of all" and about which he stated, "Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter"), and his own and the Attorney General's defense of all of the above, are not only the latest examples of the administration's quest to shred the U.S. Constitution and expand already vast presidential powers past anything conceivably envisioned by the founders of the United States, but also a direct attempt to overturn nearly 800 years of Anglo-American legal precedent. In other words, the administration has launched nothing short of a bid to invalidate the guiding precepts of what the U.S. government acknowledges to be the Ur document that inspired and provided precedent for America's founders to issue their Declaration of Independence in 1776: the Magna Carta.

In 1957, the American Bar Association erected a monument at Runnymede to "acknowledg[e] the debt American law and constitutionalism" owed to the Magna Carta. Today, the defining tenet of the American legal system is in jeopardy as the Bush administration has attempted to roll back the clock to the 13th century. Such a gambit seeks to do nothing short of shatter and effectively bury the framework for the Anglo-American legal tradition by transforming the chief executive into an unchecked despot and so plunging us into a pre-1215 world. The implications are dire. As Harold Hongju Koh, dean of the Yale Law School, observed, "If the president has commander-in-chief power to commit torture, he has the power to commit genocide, to sanction slavery, to promote apartheid, to license summary execution."

During the birth of the United States, John Adams -- who also proclaimed that Britain's rule under which "The Law, and the Fact, are both to be decided by the same single Judge" was "directly repugnant to the Great Charter [Magna Carta] itself" -- wrote of "a government of laws and not of men." During the Watergate crisis (to hop a couple of centuries) and just after he was fired by a President who wanted to shield his criminal acts by citing the doctrine of executive privilege, Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox warned, "Whether ours shall continue to be a government of laws and not of men is now for Congress and ultimately the American people." Just 33 years later, the question again begs answer -- is this to be a nation of laws or of men? Is this to be a nation that recognizes nearly 800 years of Anglo-American legal precedent in which even the nation's chief executive is subject to the rule of law, or one that allows that leader to assume the unchecked rights of a sovereign during the Middle Ages? Are we willing to accept the Bush administration's latest rollback campaign and reset the calendar to 1214?

Nick Turse is the Associate Editor and Research Director of TomDispatch.com. He has written for the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Nation, the Village Voice, and regularly for Tomdispatch. If you have whistles to blow or muck you think Nick should rake, send your insider information to fallenlegionwall@yahoo.com

Copyright 2006 Nick Turse

:: Article nr. 19321 sent on 06-jan-2006 05:10 ECT


Link: www.tomdispatch.com/index.mhtml?pid=47195

:: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website.

The section for the comments of our readers has been closed, because of many out-of-topics.
Now you can post your own comments into our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/uruknet

Warning: include(./share/share2.php): failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /home/content/25/8427425/html/vhosts/uruknet/colonna-centrale-pagina-ansi.php on line 385

Warning: include(): Failed opening './share/share2.php' for inclusion (include_path='.:/usr/local/php5_4/lib/php') in /home/content/25/8427425/html/vhosts/uruknet/colonna-centrale-pagina-ansi.php on line 385

[ Printable version ] | [ Send it to a friend ]

[ Contatto/Contact ] | [ Home Page ] | [Tutte le notizie/All news ]

Uruknet on Twitter

:: RSS updated to 2.0

:: English
:: Italiano

:: Uruknet for your mobile phone:

Uruknet on Facebook

:: Motore di ricerca / Search Engine

the web

:: Immagini / Pictures


The newsletter archive

L'Impero si è fermato a Bahgdad, by Valeria Poletti

Modulo per ordini


:: Newsletter

:: Comments

Haq Agency
Haq Agency - English

Haq Agency - Arabic

AMSI - Association of Muslim Scholars in Iraq - English

AMSI - Association of Muslim Scholars in Iraq - Arabic

Font size
1 2 3

:: All events


[ home page] | [ tutte le notizie/all news ] | [ download banner] | [ ultimo aggiornamento/last update 02/02/2015 03:56 ]

Uruknet receives daily many hacking attempts. To prevent this, we have 10 websites on 6 servers in different places. So, if the website is slow or it does not answer, you can recall one of the other web sites: www.uruknet.info www.uruknet.de www.uruknet.biz www.uruknet.org.uk www.uruknet.com www.uruknet.org - www.uruknet.it www.uruknet.eu www.uruknet.net www.uruknet.web.at.it

:: This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more info go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
::  We always mention the author and link the original site and page of every article.
uruknet, uruklink, iraq, uruqlink, iraq, irak, irakeno, iraqui, uruk, uruqlink, saddam hussein, baghdad, mesopotamia, babilonia, uday, qusay, udai, qusai,hussein, feddayn, fedayn saddam, mujaheddin, mojahidin, tarek aziz, chalabi, iraqui, baath, ba'ht, Aljazira, aljazeera, Iraq, Saddam Hussein, Palestina, Sharon, Israele, Nasser, ahram, hayat, sharq awsat, iraqwar,irakwar All pictures

url originale


I nostri partner - Our Partners:

TEV S.r.l.

TEV S.r.l.: hosting


Progetto Niz

niz: news management



digitbrand: ".it" domains


Worlwide Mirror Web-Sites:
www.uruknet.info (Main)
www.uruknet.us (USA)
www.uruknet.su (Soviet Union)
www.uruknet.ru (Russia)
www.uruknet.it (Association)
www.uruknet.mobi (For Mobile Phones)
www.uruknet.org.uk (UK)
www.uruknet.de (Germany)
www.uruknet.ir (Iran)
www.uruknet.eu (Europe)
wap.uruknet.info (For Mobile Phones)
rss.uruknet.info (For Rss Feeds)

Vat Number: IT-97475012153