Friday, August 04, 2006

You Could Be Donald Rumsfeld's Bitch

This post was originally published on Independent Opinions on August 2, 2006

I wish I could rephrase the title in milder terms, but I can’t. Earlier today, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales told the Senate Armed Forces Committee how the Bush administration plans to skirt the Supreme Court ruling on military tribunals --by admitting hearsay evidence, limiting rights against self-incrimination before a trial, limiting defendants’ access to classified information, and allow testimony obtained by coercion if it was reliable and useful.

This is very disturbing because if this legislation is allowed in its current form, interrogation techniques not consistent with the Geneva Convention would be allowed. If you’ve been reading my blog posts on the subject, this move shouldn’t come as a surprise. On Saturday morning, I had mentioned in my first Bloggers Against Torture post that the Bush administration sought to weaken Article 3 of the Geneva Convention.

Even worse, Gonzales pressed Congress to refine the definition of war crimes. What’s with the feigned stupidity and arrogance? If Gonzales is serious about defining what constitutes a war crime, I invite him to read the following reports:

As if that wasn’t bad enough, this article in Saturday’s edition of the Helena Independent Record states some very disturbing facts about legislation the Bush administration is proposing to conform to the Supreme Court’s ruling on military tribunals.

U.S. citizens suspected of terror ties might be detained indefinitely and barred from access to civilian courts under legislation proposed by the Bush administration, say legal experts reviewing an early version of the bill.

According to the draft, the military would be allowed to detain all ‘‘enemy combatants’’ until hostilities cease. The bill defines enemy combatants as anyone ‘‘engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners who has committed an act that violates the law of war and this statute.’’

This shouldn’t make headlines. This is what the Bush administration has been doing to "enemy combatants" in Guantanamo Bay, Abu Gharib, and other secret prisons for the past four and a half years. What should get your attention is the last two paragraphs of the article, which state the following:

Legal experts said Friday that such language is dangerously broad and could authorize the military to detain indefinitely U.S. citizens who had only tenuous ties to terror networks like al Qaeda.

‘‘That’s the big question ... the definition of who can be detained,’’ said Martin Lederman, a law professor at Georgetown University who posted a copy of the bill to a Web blog.

Under this legislation, you could become a passenger on Air Torture’s next flight to nowhere. All it would take is for Donald Rumsfeld to determine you are an enemy of the state, a dangerous criminal, or associated with terrorists in any way.

Why should you be concerned about this? Do you remember my post on Khalid al-Masri’s case of mistaken identity during Blogathon 2006? That could happen to you if the Bush administration sees you as an enemy of the state. This legislation isn’t aimed at suspected terrorists. It’s broad enough in scope to include American citizens. That’s why you need to contact your elected officials and voice your concerns about your disappearing civil rights.

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Blogger Jeremiah Bullfrog said...

You jez dont unnerstand...let me put it in a silly-jizm like they do in those fancy lurnin schools;

-America is a free country
-Bush and Co. are American leaders
-Therefore, Bush and CO. are free to do as they please.

Dont you care about us Americans? We is vulnerable cuz of 9/11...

Oceans dont protect us anymore, like they did in the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and WW II...maybe if they wuz nucular oceans...

8:43 PM  
Blogger Chuck Cliff said...

My jaw fell open when I read most of what you write in a WaPo article.

What struck me the most was that you could be tried at a trial you could not attend, of charges you cannot be allowed to know, on testimony you cannot be allowed to hear and sentenced to a term of imprisonment which will not be revealed to you -- all if it is in the interests of National Security.

It goes without saying that you cannot know who determines these things and if you have any recourse to appeal, you cannot learn what it is, where or how to apply.

I used to think I was a fan of Kafka, but these guys take the cake and run out the door with it!

10:04 AM  
Blogger Ingrid said...

chuck, at least you're in denmark (if memory serves me right), tell me denmark and the US don't have friendly relations??
seriously though, it boggles the mind that no one in the established media (besides WaPo) cries foul and screams bloody murder over this..unbelievable, great post Robster, as usual

7:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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12:39 AM  

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