In a wonderful example of our representatives doing what's best for the American and the American way...the Senate has rejected an amendment to the pending "Torture bill" which would have allowed detainees to challenge their detention.
In other words, if you're locked up as a suspected terrorist, you can't question why you've been taken in. It's called Habeus Corpus. The use of Habeus Corpus has basically ensured that everyone gets a day in court. It's been a common concept since 1305 - or for the mathematically challenged, it's been around for 700 years! And America has stood for the best of this concept since day one. Not any more though.
Okay, just so I don't come off looking like a partially informed idiot, Habeus Corpus still applies to regular crimes, but it would no longer be common law for any one who has supported terrorist activity. But let's also be clear here, the government has made it pretty easy to call anyone a suspected terrorist. If you've donated to a charity which later is identified as possibly supporting terrorism, then you're on the hook and could be taken in. Heck, if you've ever talked to a brown man with a beard and turban, you're on the hook. So that may not happen much, but it has happened since 9/11 and don't be fooled into thinking it's just a corner case. Is this the start of a slippery slope? Umm, in case you were sleeping, we're half way down the slope and should be fearful of hitting bottom.
In fact, this torture bill that's coming through right now allows the government to take in a US-born citizen for anything deemed to be in support of terrorism. And don't expect a court date because a suspected terrorist doesn't have to be tried in court. They can be held indefinitely unless and until the govt decides to charge them with a crime. And that's the only time it can be challenged.
Good stuff here.
So you say, well, we need to make sure the terrorists don't get us. Well, let's be clear here, the government has always had the ability to detain suspect terrorists in a time of war. There have always been rules and protocal which could be followed to spy on anyone and to arrest them before they start blowing shit up, especially in a time of war. Beyond in addition to everything else, this bill allows all this non-sense to occur at any time, war or not.
Here's a great run down of so many little tidbits about this bill: Dan Froomkin's White House Briefing is a great daily read, but today's version just left me shaking my head. I'm beyond pissed...I'm dazed. Spend 10 minutes and read his pretty thorough summary about where this bill takes us.
And in case you haven't put two and two together, this was rushed through Congress at the urging of Pres. Bush before Congress adjourns for their elections push. Of course, now they can go back to their districts with this feather in their hats. Yeah, as we all cheer on our representatives to electoral victory, we can be assured that the terrorist next to us could be taken in and just disappear. No court date, no charges. Nothing. And then be tortured with clarity until a confession is extracted.
All for a mid-term elections push.