Sunday, July 30, 2006

Guantanamo, Stateside

Well, well, well. The Boy King didn't like the fact that the Supreme Court determined that his "military tribunals" were unconstitutional and violated the Geneva Convention. The response? To propose a new "terror" bill that reinstates his ability to do so, at will. He apparently still doesn't get the idea that he's not a king, and he can't just ignore Supreme Court rulings (well, ignore any where Scalia isn't the majority opinion, I guess).
The legislation is the administration's response to a June 29 Supreme Court decision, which concluded the Pentagon could not prosecute military detainees using secret tribunals established soon after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The court ruled the tribunals were not authorized by law and violated treaty obligations under the Geneva Conventions, which established many international laws for warfare.
The new law proposes that:
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.
The definition of "enemy combatant" is so vague that it could include just about anyone, at the whim of the government. Think we aren't going to have "political dissapearances" in this country? Well, this legislation certainly opens the door to it by allowing the rather arbitrary whim of a president who has a serious god-complex. He's already shown a tendency to drop people into a detention center on the thinnest of evidence, and then deny them even basic access to the legal process, and seems willing to extradite them to other countries where they can be questioned without that pesky oversight process. This legislation is a slap in the face to anyone who believes in the three-part, checks-and-balances types of government that we're supposed to have.

Don't like the SC decision? Ignore it. Don't like legislation as it was passed? Issue a signing statement. It doesn't matter. Just do whatever you want.

At one point, the legislation considered actually stripped most of the general legal protections from someone labelled an "enemy combatant" (without, it must be noted, defining just what that is):
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
Our "legal system", when dealing with the vague and nebulous "terrorist" -- which can be anyone that the government labels a terrorist, I guess -- is beginning to sound much like that of some of the world's worst human-right's violators. It's not even a trial (fair or otherwise) if the defendent can't attend and defend themselves, or if evidence is allowed that has been 'discovered' through torture. It's a sham. A kangaroo court of the worst sort:
A kangaroo court is a 'judicial' proceeding that denies proper procedure in the name of expediency; a fraudulent or unjust trial where the decision has essentially been made in advance, usually for the purpose of providing a conviction, either going through the motions of manipulated procedure or allowing no defence at all.
I used to scoff at comparisons between the US and repressive regimes like China and N. Korea, or the old, Cold-War Soviet Union. I'm not feeling that confident anymore.

More info at Ameriblog, and DailyKos

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