Thursday, September 28, 2006

Bye Bye Habeas Corpus

The torture bill which will soon pass will allow any President to declare anyone an enemy combatant, have him tortured (as long as he calls it something else), and imprison him forever.

Today's Republicans (except two), who refused to even allow an Amendment to allow suspected terrorists the right to challenge their imprisonment, are a disgrace to our country.

The Senate today rejected an amendment to a bill creating a new system for interrogating and trying terror suspects that would have guaranteed such suspects access to the courts to challenge their imprisonment.

The vote was 51 to 48 against the amendment, which was offered by the Republican and Democratic leaders of the Judiciary Committee, Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania and Senator Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont. The action set the stage for final passage of the bill, which was approved on Wednesday by the House of Representatives.

The bill’s ultimate passage was assured on Wednesday when Democrats agreed to forgo a filibuster in return for consideration of the amendment. Any changes in the Senate bill, however, would have made it impossible for Republican leaders to meet their goal of sending the bill to the White House before adjourning on Friday to hit the campaign trail.

Underscoring the political stakes involved, White House spokesman Tony Snow said today that President Bush will emphasize Democratic opposition to the bill in campaign appearances.

“He’ll be citing some of the comments that members of the Democratic leadership have made in recent days about what they think is necessary for winning the war on terror,” Mr. Snow told reporters en route to a fundraiser in Alabama, according to a transcript provided by the White House.

This afternoon, the Senate was due to vote on two remaining amendments, but the one defeated this morning was the only one that had any Republican support.

The amendment introduced by Mr. Specter would have guaranteed to non-American citizens who are held as unlawful enemy combatants the right to appeal their detention in federal court. The bill now contains no such guarantee.

“What this bill would do is take our civilization back 900 years,” to before the adoption of the writ of habeas corpus in medieval England, Senator Specter said.

Mr. Leahy said the bill as written would allow the executive branch to hold any lawful immigrant in the United States indefinitely without charge. “We are about to put the darkest blot on the conscience of the nation,” he said, charging that the push for quick passage was purely for political gain.

“There is no new national security crisis,” he said. “There’s only a Republican political crisis.”

NY Times


CyberKitten said...

Well... I guess that you can put out the shinning beacon of Democracy now..... I don't think you need it any more. [shakes head saddly].

CyberKitten said...

For Democracy read (of course) Liberty - it's late here & I'm tired...

Do you think that the French will be asking for their Statue back?

asher said...

We have to extend Constitutional rights to non-citizen enemies who want to destroy us. Their rights are more important than those of
US citizens. It doesn't matter that this right has never extended to enemy soliders in any war in the history of the world.

And surely, those members of Al Quida who aren't signatories of any Geneva convention would certainly extend those very rights to soliders they capture. that an absurd argument?

Jack's Shack said...

Do you think that the French will be asking for their Statue back?

Who cares what the french think. They and the British bear quite a bit of responsibility for the state of the world.

The US has its share of issues, but we are still far and beyond the overwhelming majority of the world.

More freedom, more opportunity.

dbackdad said...

History will not look back kindly on these Republicans that vote for this torture bill.

"... enemies who want to destory us" -- A favorite phrase of W, The Right, and preachers. This isn't about security. It's about a Crusade. It's about pissing away every liberty we have in the name of fear. You shouldn't be worrying about the foreign enemy. You need to be worrying about the enemy within because he's doing a lot more damage right now.

Random said...

"“What this bill would do is take our civilization back 900 years,” to before the adoption of the writ of habeas corpus in medieval England, Senator Specter said."

Total, utter, undiluted garbage. Asher is actually right on this - far from taking away a pre-existing right, all that this is doing is refusing to grant a new one. According to all relevant treaties the US military and government is perfectly entitled to do what ever it wants to unlawful combatants - up to and including a bullet in the back of the head. The Geneva conventions etc. only protect lawful combatants, and although the definitions of what that comprises are fairly loose, I know of no legal authority that says they stretch to include Al Qaeda terrorists.

Which isn't to say I support this bill. There's a whole lot of stuff about it I find worrying - but to describe it as the biggest violation of human rights since the signing of the Magna Carta is so self-evidently ridiculous as to defy rational comment.

Peter said...

I'm searching for Bloggers around the world interested in helping spread the word for a rather simple idea: