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Friday, October 20, 2006

Back in the USSR, part whatsoever

Many bloggers have bemoaned W's signing this week of the torture bill. I figured what little chance we had to preserve the Constitution died when the bill was passed in Congress in late September; the chance that W was going to veto it was even less than the chance that he knows how many Constitutional provisions it obliterates.

The NY Times lead editorial yesterday referred to a "dangerous new order." The Times, however, claims that "The law does not apply to American citizens, but it does apply to other legal United States residents." That's not what I've heard--I've read that we're all basically rightless now. Today, Robert Parry makes it clear:
While it's true that some parts of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 target non-citizens, other sections clearly apply to U.S. citizens as well, putting citizens inside the same tribunal system with resident aliens and foreigners.

"Any person is punishable as a principal under this chapter who commits an offense punishable by this chapter, or aids, abets, counsels, commands, or procures its commission," according to the law, passed by the Republican-controlled Congress in September and signed by Bush on Oct. 17.

"Any person subject to this chapter who, in breach of an allegiance or duty to the United States, knowingly and intentionally aids an enemy of the United States ... shall be punished as a military commission ... may direct...
The law states that once a person is detained, "no court, justice, or judge shall have jurisdiction to hear or consider any claim or cause of action whatsoever... relating to the prosecution, trial, or judgment of a military commission under this chapter, including challenges to the lawfulness of procedures of military commissions."

That court-stripping provision--barring "any claim or cause of action whatsoever"--would seem to deny American citizens habeas corpus rights just as it does for non-citizens. If a person can't file a motion with a court, he can't assert any constitutional rights, including habeas corpus.
Simply stated, this bill repeals the entire history of constitutional and common criminal law. Every member of Congress who voted for it should be removed, Democrats included. They take an oath to defend the Constitution, not to destroy it.

Keith Olbermann gets it, although he focuses too much blame on Bush. Without his lackeys on both sides of the aisles in Congress, Bush is just a pathetic dry drunk, of little danger to anyone. With their support, he may be the most dangerous man the world has ever seen.