Wednesday, April 18, 2007
SENATOR LEAHY FEARS LOSS OF LIBERTIES
Speaking at the University of Portland, Senator Patrick Leahy offered the following comments on the loss of liberty in America since 9/11:
In his 32 years in the Senate, Leahy said he has never seen Congress so willfully derelict in its duties as it has been since 9/ll.
He cited recent examples of attempts by some in Washington to “cut a path through the law to fight what they have termed evil do-ers.
“During this time, our Constitution was under assault, our legal and human rights were weakened, our privacy and other freedoms were eroded,” he said.
The Georgetown University alum said last fall’s midterm elections sent a strong message. “The American people rose up to take away Congress’ rubber stamp, and to demand a new direction with more accountability and a renewed respect for the rule of law.”
Leahy said Americans cannot put their liberties in a blind trust in return for temporary security. “We end up with neither,” he said.
He cited the suspension of habeas corpus, the law requiring a person to be brought before a judge to determine whether the person has been detained illegally. He called habeas corpus a keystone of American liberty. Its suspension “needlessly undercut our freedoms and values, and allowed the terrorists to achieve something they never could win on the battlefield,” he said.
He also cited U.S. treatment of detainees, saying the Bush administration ignored the rule of law on the issue of torture and Congress failed to respond. He said this led to the nation’s embarrassing involvement in Abu Ghraib and the continuing problems in Guantanamo Bay.
“Not only did the president redefine ‘torture,’ his policies effectively allowed for the outsourcing of torture known as ‘extraordinary rendition.’”
Read all of his comments here...