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Bush Article of Impeachment XVII


Article XVII
ILLEGAL DETENTION: DETAINING INDEFINITELY AND WITHOUT CHARGE PERSONS BOTH U.S. CITIZENS AND FOREIGN CAPTIVES

In his conduct while President of the United States, George W. Bush, in violation of his constitutional oath to faithfully execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty under Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution "to take care that the laws be faithfully executed", has both personally and acting through his agents and subordinates, together with the Vice President, violated United States and International Law and the US Constitution by illegally detaining indefinitely and without charge persons both US citizens and foreign captives.

In a statement on Feb. 7, 2002, President Bush declared that in the US fight against Al Qaeda, "none of the provisions of Geneva apply," thus rejecting the Geneva Conventions that protect captives in wars and other conflicts. By that time, the administration was already transporting captives from the war in Afghanistan, both alleged Al Qaeda members and supporters, and also Afghans accused of being fighters in the army of the Taliban government, to US-run prisons in Afghanistan and to the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The round-up and detention without charge of Muslim non-citizens inside the US began almost immediately after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, with some being held as long as nine months. The US, on orders of the president, began capturing and detaining without charge alleged terror suspects in other countries and detaining them abroad and at the US Naval base in Guantanamo.

Many of these detainees have been subjected to systematic abuse, including beatings, which have been subsequently documented by news reports, photographic evidence, testimony in Congress, lawsuits, and in the case of detainees in the US, by an investigation conducted by the Justice Department's Office of the Inspector General.

In violation of US law and the Geneva Conventions, the Bush Administration instructed the Department of Justice and the US Department of Defense to refuse to provide the identities or locations of these detainees, despite requests from Congress and from attorneys for the detainees. The president even declared the right to detain US citizens indefinitely, without charge and without providing them access to counsel or the courts, thus depriving them of their constitutional and basic human rights. Several of those US citizens were held in military brigs in solitary confinement for as long as three years before being either released or transferred to civilian detention.

Detainees in US custody in Iraq and Guantanamo have, in violation of the Geneva Conventions, been hidden from and denied visits by the International Red Cross organization, while thousands of others in Iraq, Guantanamo, Afghanistan, ships in foreign off-shore sites, and an unknown number of so-called "black sites" around the world have been denied any opportunity to challenge their detentions. The president, acting on his own claimed authority, has declared the hundreds of detainees at Guantanamo Bay to be "enemy combatants" not subject to US law and not even subject to military law, but nonetheless potentially liable to the death penalty.

The detention of individuals without due process violates the 5th Amendment. While the Bush administration has been rebuked in several court cases, most recently that of Ali al-Marri, it continues to attempt to exceed constitutional limits.

In all of these actions violating US and International law, President George W. Bush has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as President and Commander in Chief, and subversive of constitutional government, to the prejudice of the cause of law and justice and to the manifest injury of the people of the United States. Wherefore, President George W. Bush, by such conduct, is guilty of an impeachable offense warranting removal from office.

Documentation:

Gonzales Memo.

Stephen Grey, America’s Gulag, The New Statesman, May 17, 2004.

Steven R. Weisman, U.S. Rebuffs Red Cross Request for Access to Detainees Held in Secret, N.Y. Times, December 10, 2005.

U.S. Constitution. Amendment V.
"No person shall be held to answer for a 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 offense 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."

Oscar Uhler et al., Geneva Convention IV: ICRC Commentary 51 (1958); Geneva Convention IV, art. 4(1) & 4(3); Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and Relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), art. 50, 1125 U.N.T.S. 3 (1977); FM 27-10 ¶ 73.

Article 118 of Third Geneva Convention states that "prisoners of war shall be released and repatriated without delay after the cessation of active hostilities." Third Geneva Convention, supra note 15, Art. 118. Article 134 of the Fourth Geneva Convention requires parties to “endeavour, upon the close of hostilities or occupation, to ensure the return of all internees to their last place of residence, or to facilitate their repatriation. Fourth Geneva Convention, supra note 15, Art. 134. Thus, repatriation of detainees upon cessation of hostilities is mandated by the Geneva Conventions.

Jean S. Pictet (ed.), GENEVA CONVENTION RELATIVE TO THE TREATMENT OF PRISONERS OF WAR: COMMENTARY, ICRC, Geneva, 1960, 543.

Commentary:

Torture Is Over (if we want it), by David Swanson.

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