Saturday, July 29, 2006
Welcome to the Police State: Bush submits new terror bill
A new AP report shows that Bush has now submitted a new terror bill which now says any U.S. citizen "suspected" of terror ties can now be held "indefinitely". Forget the Bill of Rights. Forget due process. Forget the courts of law. Welcome to our own Guantanamo Bay, right here inside the United States.
This is more in Bush and Rove's playbook to step around the ruling of Hamdan, rendering the Supreme Court irrelevant (when Scalia's opinion isn't in the majority).
WASHINGTON - 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.
A 32-page draft measure is intended to authorize the Pentagon's tribunal system, established shortly after the 2001 terrorist attacks to detain and prosecute detainees captured in the war on terror. The tribunal system was thrown out last month by the Supreme Court.
Welcome to your new police state.
Legal experts are obviously not happy with this legislation.
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.
Scott L. Silliman, a retired Air Force Judge Advocate, said the broad definition of enemy combatants is alarming because a U.S. citizen loosely suspected of terror ties would lose access to a civilian court -- and all the rights that come with it. Administration officials have said they want to establish a secret court to try enemy combatants that factor in realities of the battlefield and would protect classified information.
The administration's proposal, as considered at one point during discussions, would toss out several legal rights common in civilian and military courts, including barring hearsay evidence, guaranteeing "speedy trials" and granting a defendant access to evidence. The proposal also would allow defendants to be barred from their own trial and likely allow the submission of coerced testimony.
Sen. John W. Warner, R-Va., chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said Friday he expects to take up the detainee legislation in September.
Who's on the Armed Services Committee? Here are the Senators along with their offices' phone numbers.
John Warner, Chairman (Virginia): (202) 224-2023
John McCain (Arizona): (202) 224-2235
James Inhofe (Oklahoma): (202) 224-4721
Pat Roberts (Kansas): (202) 224-4774
Jeff Sessions (Alabama): (202) 224-4124
Susan Collins (Maine): (202) 224-2523
John Ensign (Nevada): (202) 224-6244
James Talent (Missouri): (202) 224-6154
Saxby Chambliss (Georgia): (202) 224-3521
Lindsey Graham (South Carolina): (202) 224-5972
Elizabeth Dole (North Carolina): (202) 224-6342
John Cornyn (Texas): (202) 224-2934
John Thune (South Dakota): (202) 224-2321
Carl Levin, Ranking Minority Member (Michigan): (202) 224-6221
Edward Kennedy (Massachusetts): (202) 224-4543
Robert Byrd (West Virginia): (202) 224-3954
Joe Lieberman (Connecticut): (202) 224-4041
Jack Reed (Rhode Island): (202) 224-4642
Daniel Akaka (Hawaii): (202) 224-6361
Bill Nelson (Florida): (202) 224-5274
Ben Nelson (Nebraska): (202) 224-6551
Mark Dayton (Minnesota): (202) 224-3244
Evan Bayh (Indiana): (202) 224-5623
Hillary Rodham Clinton (New York): (202) 224-4451
Who determines the level of suspicion necessary to jail U.S. citizens? Given all that we know about what the Bush administration has already done, the possibility of jailing innocent U.S. citizens under this bill seems almost a guarantee. Don't let Bush and Alberto Gonzales get away with this.