U.S. Bill of Rights Amendments
- First Amendment – Establishment Clause, Free Exercise Clause; freedom of speech, of the press, and of assembly; right to petition
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
- Second Amendment – Right to keep and bear arms.
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
- Third Amendment – Protection from quartering of troops.
No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
- Fourth Amendment – Protection from unreasonable search and seizure.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
- Fifth Amendment – due process, double jeopardy, self-incrimination, eminent domain.
No person shall be held to answer for any capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
- Sixth Amendment – Trial by jury and rights of the accused; Confrontation Clause, speedy trial, public trial, right to counsel
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district where in the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.
- Seventh Amendment – Civil trial by jury.
In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
- Eighth Amendment – Prohibition of excessive bail and cruel and unusual punishment.
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
- Ninth Amendment – Protection of rights not specifically enumerated in the Bill of Rights.
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
- Tenth Amendment – Powers of states and people.
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.
How dare they rip the Fourth Amendment?
U.S. interrogators were taught Chinese coercion techniques
Why I’m Not Patriotic
By Matthew Rothschild
July 2, 2008
(In memory of George Carlin.)
It’s July 4th again, a day of near-compulsory flag-waving and nation-worshipping. Count me out.
Spare me the puerile parades.
Don’t play that martial music, white boy.
And don’t befoul nature’s sky with your F-16s.
You see, I don’t believe in patriotism.
It’s not that I’m anti-American, but I am anti-patriotic.
Love of country isn’t natural. It’s not something you’re born with. It’s an inculcated kind of love, something that is foisted upon you in the home, in the school, on TV, at church, during the football game.
Yet most people accept it without inspection.
For when you stop to think about it, patriotism (especially in its malignant morph, nationalism) has done more to stack the corpses millions high in the last 300 years than any other factor, including the prodigious slayer, religion.
The victims of colonialism, from the Congo to the Philippines, fell at nationalism’s bayonet point.
World War I filled the graves with the most foolish nationalism. And Hitler and Mussolini and Imperial Japan brought nationalism to new nadirs. The flags next to the tombstones are but signed confessions—notes left by the killer after the fact.
The millions of victims of Stalin and Mao and Pol Pot have on their death certificates a dual diagnosis: yes communism, but also that other ism, nationalism.
The whole world almost got destroyed because of nationalism during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
The bloody battles in Serbia and Bosnia and Croatia in the 1990s fed off the injured pride of competing patriotisms and all their nourished grievances.
In the last five years in Iraq, tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians have died because the United States, the patriarch of patriotism, saw fit to impose itself, without just cause, on another country. But the excuse was patriotism, wrapped in Bush’s brand of messianic militarism: that we, the great Americans, have a duty to deliver “God’s gift of freedom” to every corner of the world.
And the Congress swallowed it, and much of the American public swallowed it, because they’ve been fed a steady diet of this swill.
What is patriotism but “the narcissism of petty differences”? That’s Freud’s term, describing the disorder that compels one group to feel superior to another.
Then there’s a little multiplication problem: Can every country be the greatest country in the world?
This belief system magically transforms an accident of birth into some kind of blue ribbon.
“It’s a great country,” said the old Quaker essayist Milton Mayer. “They’re all great countries.”
At times, the appeal to patriotism may be necessary, as when harnessing the group to protect against a larger threat (Hitler) or to overthrow an oppressor (as in the anti-colonial struggles in the Third World).
But it is always a dangerous toxin to play with, and it ought to be shelved with cross and bones on the label except in these most extreme circumstances.
In an article called “Patriot Games” in the current issue of Time magazine (July 7), Peter Beinart, late of The New Republic, inspects his navel for seven pages and then throws the lint all around.
“Conservatives are right,” he says. “To some degree, patriotism must mean loving your country for the same reason you love your family: simply because it is yours.”
And then he criticizes, incoherently, the conservative love-it-or-leave-it types.
The moral folly of his argument he himself exposes: “If liberals love America purely because it embodies ideals like liberty, justice, and equality, why shouldn’t they love Canada—which from a liberal perspective often goes further toward realizing those principles—even more? And what do liberals do,” he asks, “when those universal ideals collide with America’s self-interest? Giving away the federal budget to Africa would probably increase the net sum of justice and equality on the planet, after all. But it would harm Americans and thus be unpatriotic.”
This is a straw man if I ever I saw one, but if the United States gave a lot more of its budget to eradicating poverty and disease in Africa and other parts of the developing world, it might actually make us all safer.
At bottom, note how readily Beinart disposes of “liberty, justice, and equality.”
He has stripped patriotism to its vacuous essence: Love your country because it’s yours.
If we stopped that arm from reflexively saluting and concerned ourselves more with “universal ideals” than with parochial ones, we’d be a lot better off.
We wouldn’t be in Iraq, we wouldn’t have besmirched ourselves at Guantanamo, we wouldn’t be acting like some Argentinean junta that wages illegal wars and tortures people and disappears them into secret dungeons.
Love of country is a form of idolatry.
Listen, if you would, to the wisdom of Milton Mayer, writing back in 1962 a rebuke to JFK for his much-celebrated line: “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”
Mayer would have none of it. “When Mr. Kennedy spoke those words at his inaugural, I knew that I was at odds with a society which did not immediately rebel against them,” he wrote. “They are the words of totalitarianism pure; no Jefferson could have spoken them, and no Khrushchev could have spoken them better. Could a man say what Mr. Kennedy said and also say that the difference between us and them is that they believe that man exists for the State and we believe that the State exists for man? He couldn’t, but he did. And in doing so, he read me out of society.”
When Americans retort that this is still the greatest country in the world, I have to ask why.
Are we the greatest country because we have 10,000 nuclear weapons?
No, that just makes us enormously powerful, with the capacity to destroy the Earth itself.
Are we the greatest country because we have soldiers stationed in more than 120 countries?
No, that just makes us an empire, like the empires of old, only more so.
Are we the greatest country because we are one-twentieth of the world’s population but we consume one-quarter of its resources?
No, that just must makes us a greedy and wasteful nation.
Are we the greatest country because the top 1 percent of Americans hoards 34 percent of the nation’s wealth, more than everyone in the bottom 90 percent combined?
No, that just makes us a vastly unequal nation.
Are we the greatest country because corporations are treated as real, live human beings with rights?
No, that just enshrines a plutocracy in this country.
Are we the greatest country because we take the best care of our people’s basic needs?
No, actually we don’t. We’re far down the list on health care and infant mortality and parental leave and sick leave and quality of life.
So what exactly are we talking about here?
To the extent that we’re a great (not the greatest, mind you: that’s a fool’s game) country, we’re less of a great country today.
Because those things that truly made us great—the system of checks and balances, the enshrinement of our individual rights and liberties—have all been systematically assaulted by Bush and Cheney.
From the Patriot Act to the Military Commissions Act to the new FISA Act, and all the signing statements in between, we are less great today.
From Abu Ghraib and Bagram Air Force Base and Guantanamo, we are less great today.
From National Security Presidential Directive 51 (giving the Executive responsibility for ensuring constitutional government in an emergency) to National Security Presidential Directive 59 (expanding the collection of our biometric data), we are less great today.
From the Joint Terrorism Task Forces to InfraGard and the Terrorist Liaison Officers, we are less great today.
Admit it. We don’t have a lot to brag about today.
It is time, it is long past time, to get over the American superiority complex.
It is time, it is long past time, to put patriotism back on the shelf—out of the reach of children and madmen.
How dare they rip the Fourth Amendment?
By Joseph L. Galloway
July 03, 2008
Early next week the U.S. Senate will vote on an extension of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, with a few small amendments intended to immunize telecommunications corporations that assisted our government in the warrantless and illegal wiretapping it has grown to love.
That such a gutting of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution even made it out of committee is yet another stain on the gutless and seemingly powerless Democratic majority in both houses of Congress.
That a majority on both sides of the aisle — not least of them the presumptive nominees for president of both political parties — intend to vote for such a violation of Americans’ right to privacy and of the sanctity of their personal communications is a stunning surrender to those who want us to live in fear forever.
We are living in a time when the right of habeas corpus — which simply put is your right to be brought before a proper court of law where the government is made to prove that there is good and legal reason to detain you — recently survived by a margin of only one vote at the U.S. Supreme Court.
Now these bad actors are prepared to set aside your right to privacy — written into the Constitution as a key part of our Bill of Rights — with hardly a nod in the direction of the true patriots who rebelled against an English king and his army to guarantee those rights.
That they will do this while the last empty phrases of the political windbags at the Fourth of July celebrations are still echoing across a thousand city parks and the bright red, white and blue bunting and blizzard of American flags still flap in the breeze is little short of breath-taking.
How dare they?
Those denizens of the White House and Capitol Hill and all those gray granite buildings that line avenues with names like Constitution and Independence in the nation’s capitol would have us believe that we must trade our rights, all of our rights, for some measure of security from the terrorists.
They would have us believe that a nation of 300 million people must surrender what a million other Americans gave their lives in war to protect in order to protect us from a couple of hundred fanatics hiding in caves in Waziristan.
Benjamin Franklin himself wrote of such a debate:
“Those who can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
The fact that British troops, operating on flimsy general warrants handed out by local magistrates, were kicking in the doors of ordinary Americans and rifling through their pantries and papers in search of smuggled, untaxed goods was a prime reason why our ancestors rebelled against their king and went to war.
This is WHY we celebrate the Fourth of July. This is why the vote on renewing the expanded version of FISA and whitewashing the egregious violations of the Fourth Amendment for seven long years by our government is important.
If neither John McCain, the Republican, or Barrack Obama, the Democrat, can find the courage to oppose such a violation of so basic a right, then what are we to do for a president, a successor to George W. Bush, The Decider, who has since 9/11 decided what rights you are entitled to keep, what laws he will or will not obey, and whether you will be protected by these words of the Constitution:
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
That’s it. That’s the Fourth Amendment. That is what these folks in Washington, D.C., have violated continuously and in secret for seven long years.
Somewhere across an ocean and a desert, hiding in his cave, a man of hate named Osama bin Laden is laughing up the sleeve of his dirty robe at the thought that he and a small handful of fellow fanatics could tie a great nation in knots — knots of fear stoked by our own leaders.
We have done incalculably more and greater damage to ourselves since September 11, 2001, than a thousand bin Ladens and ten thousand al Qaida recruits could ever have done to us.
Franklin D. Roosevelt famously declared that “we have nothing to fear but fear itself.” Now it would seem that we have no one to fear but ourselves and our leaders.
The questions I pose are these:
How can even one senator on either side of the aisle in good conscience vote in favor of this law that does nothing to enhance our security and everything to diminish our rights as a free people?
How can both men who seek to become our next president cast such a vote when both should be standing shoulder-to-shoulder declaring that they would govern by our consent and with our approval, not by wielding the coercive and corrosive and corrupt powers that King George III and his latter-day namesake from Texas thought are theirs by divine right?
U.S. interrogators were taught Chinese coercion techniques
By Scott Shane
July 2, 2008
The military trainers who came to Guantánamo Bay in December 2002 based an entire interrogation class on a chart showing the effects of “coercive management techniques” for possible use on prisoners, including “sleep deprivation,” “prolonged constraint” and “exposure.”
What the trainers did not say, and may not have known, was that their chart had been copied verbatim from a 1957 air force study of Chinese techniques used during the Korean War to obtain confessions, many of them false, from American prisoners.
The recycled chart is the latest and most vivid evidence of the way Chinese interrogation methods that the United States long described as torture became the basis for interrogations both by the military at the base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and by the Central Intelligence Agency.
Some methods were used against a small number of prisoners at Guantánamo before 2005, when Congress banned the use of coercion by the military.
The CIA is still authorized by President George W. Bush to use a number of secret “alternative” interrogation methods.
Several Guantánamo documents, including the chart outlining coercive methods, were made public at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on June 17 that examined how such tactics came to be employed.
But committee investigators were not aware of the chart’s source in the half-century-old journal article, a connection pointed out to The New York Times by an independent expert on interrogation who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The 1957 article from which the chart was copied was entitled “Communist Attempts to Elicit False Confessions From the Air Force Prisoners of War” and written by Alfred Biderman, a sociologist then working for the air force, who died in 2003.
Biderman had interviewed American prisoners returning from North Korea, some of whom had been filmed by their Chinese interrogators confessing to germ warfare and other atrocities.
Those orchestrated confessions led to allegations that the American prisoners had been “brainwashed,” and prompted the military to revamp its training to give some military personnel a taste of the enemies’ harsh methods to inoculate them against quick capitulation if captured.
In 2002, the training program, known as SERE, for Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape, became a source of interrogation methods both for the CIA and the military. In what critics describe as a remarkable case of historical amnesia, officials who drew on the SERE program appear to have been unaware that it had been created as a result of concern about false confessions by American prisoners.
Senator Carl Levin, a Democrat from Michigan and chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said after reviewing the 1957 article that “every American would be shocked” by the origin of the training document.
“What makes this document doubly stunning is that these were techniques to get false confessions,” Levin said. “People say we need intelligence, and we do. But we don’t need false intelligence.”
A Defense Department spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Patrick Ryder, said he could not comment on the Guantánamo training chart. “I can’t speculate on previous decisions that may have been made prior to current DOD policy on interrogations,” Ryder said. “I can tell you that current DOD policy is clear – we treat all detainees humanely.”
Biderman’s 1957 article described “one form of torture” used by the Chinese as forcing American prisoners to stand “for exceedingly long periods,” sometimes in conditions of “extreme cold.” Such passive methods, he wrote, were more common than outright physical violence. Prolonged standing and exposure to cold have have been used by American military and CIA interrogators against terrorist suspects.
The chart also listed other techniques used by the Chinese, including “semi-starvation,” “exploitation of wounds” and “filthy, infested surroundings,” and with their effects: “makes victim dependent on interrogator,” “weakens mental and physical ability to resist” and “reduces prisoner to ‘animal level’ concerns.”
The only change made in the chart presented at Guantánamo was to drop its original title: “Communist Coercive Methods for Eliciting Individual Compliance.”
The documents released last month include an e-mail message from two SERE trainers reporting on a trip to Guantánamo from Dec. 29, 2002, to Jan. 4, 2003. Their purpose, the message said, was to present to interrogators “the theory and application of the physical pressures utilized during our training.”
The sessions included “an in-depth class on Biderman’s Principles,” the message said, referring to the chart from Biderman’s 1957 article. Versions of the same chart, often identified as “Biderman’s Chart of Coercion,” have circulated on anti-cult sites on the Web, where the methods are used to describe how cults control their members.
Dr. Robert Jay Lifton, a psychiatrist who also studied the returning prisoners of war and wrote an accompanying article in the same 1957 issue of The Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine, said in an interview that he was disturbed to learn that the Chinese methods had been recycled and taught at Guantánamo.
“It saddens me,” said Lifton, who wrote a 1961 book on what the Chinese called “thought reform” and became known in popular American parlance as brainwashing. He called the use of the Chinese techniques by American interrogators at Guantánamo a “180-degree turn.”
The harshest known interrogation at Guantánamo was that of Mohammed al-Qahtani, a member of Al Qaeda suspected of being the intended 20th hijacker in the Sept. 11 attacks. Qahtani’s interrogation involved sleep deprivation, stress positions, exposure to cold and other methods also used by the Chinese.
Terror charges against Qahtani were dropped unexpectedly in May.
Officials said the charges could be reinstated later and declined to say whether the decision was influenced by concern about Qahtani’s treatment.
Bush has defended the interrogation methods, saying they helped provide critical intelligence and prevented new terrorist attacks. But the issue continues to complicate the long-delayed prosecutions now proceeding at Guantánamo.
Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, a Qaeda member accused of playing a major role in the bombing of the American destroyer Cole in Yemen in 2000, was charged with murder and other crimes on Monday. In previous hearings, Nashiri, who was subjected to waterboarding, has said he confessed to participating in the bombing falsely only because he was tortured.