Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Gonzales's Labyrinth

Huh, so those expecting full-blown fantasy were disappointed by Pan's Labyrinth (see comments on the blog, previous days) because it's about the horrors of war? Reckon I should have posted my comments last week. I'll get to it, but in the meantime, needless to say, I'm perversely bemused by the echoes of Goya and the current Bush era, which abound. The film is more timely than almost any film now on US screens, especially for its fusion & collision of fairy tales, wish-fulfillments dashed, and the face of real war (embodied most memorably in its pro-Franco commander, among the greatest ogres of contemporary cinema).

Recently, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales gobsmacked members of the Senate Judiciary Committee with his liberal -- nay, radical -- interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. In Gonzales's labyrinth, the citizens of the United States have no constitutional right of or to habeas corpus.

This isn't news, per se, given Gonzales's previous statements and writings, but it does represent a new extreme in the increasingly transparent, utterly blatant fascistic beliefs of the current Administration.

Per the recent editorial in The Sacramento Bee and other print and online editorials, it's worth noting that the writ of habeas corpus ("produce the body") predates the U.S. Constitution and has been a bedrock legal premise for over eight centuries of Western civilization. That's a lot of precedent for an Attorney General to buck, but Alberto flinches not. Like the general in del Toro's film, he doesn't blink, even as he smashes a bottle across an innocent man's face and grinds the shards into eyes, lips, nose -- Gonzales is likewise a tough cookie, folks. He tramples rights and wipes his culo clean with the Constitution without a hint of regret.

In short, habeas corpus requires that any time a person is detained, the government must produce the prisoner in person and then clearly state why the individual is being detained; the prisoner (aka "detainee") must then either be charged or released. Period.

But Gonzales, with a somber face, testified to the Judiciary Committee, "...there is no express grant of habeas in the Constitution; there is a prohibition against taking it away."

Senator Arlen Specter (Republican, Pennsylvania): "Now, wait a minute. Wait a minute. The Constitution says you can't take it away, except in the case of rebellion or invasion. Doesn't that mean you have a right of habeas corpus, unless there is an invasion or rebellion?"

Gonzales: "I meant by that comment, the Constitution doesn't say, 'Every individual in the United States or every citizen is hereby granted or assured the right to habeas.' It doesn't say that."

Specter: "You may be treading on your interdiction and violating common sense, Mr. Attorney General."

Make no mistake, the ogres are in power, and they're indeed eating children... including our own.

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