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The detainee bill before Congress... [Sep. 27th, 2006|01:59 pm]
Maybe it won't be used. Sure, it might not be. Things might quiet down, and we might have no need to use the provisions of the bill. That way, when people ask what you did to stop this abomination, you won't have to answer, because, after all, it wasn't all that abominable, because it wasn't used.

Do you want to take that chance?

Let's say you hear some suspicious stuff from a friend. You think your friend is maybe - just maybe - plotting against America. But maybe your friend was just angry, blowing off steam, and he didn't actually say anything incriminating. In fact, honestly, you just wish that the FBI would run a background check, or something... not even spy on him, but just make sure he's a decent kind of person, with no reason for suspicion.

After this bill passes, he could be picked up and branded an unlawful enemy combatant, whether he's a US citizen or not... it just takes the judgment of a competent tribunal. Once that happens, he has no right to demand that the government show cause to hold him or release him. He has no right to demand to be treated humanely. If he is tortured, he has no grounds to sue the government.

Will he be tortured? They won't cut off his fingers, or intentionally break his bones... at least, if they do that intentionally, to force him to answer questions, it would still be against the law. But there's a lot you can do to a man that won't leave marks on the body. And you know, if a prisoner "attacks" a guard (by, say, mouthing off, or refusing to eat, or refusing to continue to stand for 40 hours), hey, a guard needs to use "appropriate force" for protection.

If he is tried, he might have access to the evidence against him... or he might get access to a summary of what the evidence tends to prove. How will he point out that this witness has a grudge against him, and that witness is someone he's never heard of? How will he find a witness who can place him far, far away from where a crime took place, if he doesn't know the time and place of the crime, because it's been deemed a secret?

Would you still report on your friend?

Here's a better question: can you imagine a man from the Middle East, who recently came to this country, reporting on his angry and agitated friend who probably isn't a terrorist, but is sounding a bit creepy?

How about if that man's friend would have access to habeus corpus, if all forms of torture were illegal, and he would get a fair trial, if charged with a crime? You think that might change things? You think maybe folks will have an easier time reporting worries and suspicions to us if we're the good guys?

Or do you think they'll turn in their friends and neighbors when they're worried or suspicious because, after all, we're not as bad as al Qaeda? Sure, we might imprison, torture, and falsely convict an innocent person, but we won't treat them as badly as al Qaeda would treat an American they captured....

We sent an innocent Canadian man to be tortured. Will Canada ever trust us with a terror suspect again? If they did, I'd think they were criminally negligent in protecting their own citizenry!

Go ahead. Call it irrational hatred of Bush. Do it to my face. First, I'll laugh. Then I'll point out that if I hated Bush, and I don't, it wouldn't be irrational.

Then, I'll point out that it doesn't take malice to imprison, torture, and convict an innocent person, it just takes an absence of careful legal protections against mistakes. Bush doesn't want to torture the innocent? Then he should be making double-damn sure that there are enough checks in the system to make sure that reckless mistakes can't occur. And he isn't. He's removing those careful safeguards that protect the innocent.

This is about justice... a concept that Bush might not hate, but that he doesn't seem to be all that concerned with. Certainly not concerned enough to be willing to take a few chances.

And the Republicans are letting him get away with it, for fear of losing their majority.

And yes, the Democrats are, too, and that's even more disgusting, because they don't even have the excuse of putting party loyalty ahead of doing what's right.

Talk to your representative, and your Senators. Stop this bill from becoming law.

So that, when someone asks, "why didn't all of America rise up to put a stop to this terrible injustice?" you'll be able to say that you did.

From: kightp
2006-09-27 10:05 pm (UTC)
E-mails sent this morning to my (fortunately e-mail friendly) Congressmen.

This weekend marks the 60th anniversary of the Nuremburg trials.

Lo, how the mighty have fallen.
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From: siliconshaman
2006-09-27 10:09 pm (UTC)
Well, I would, but I'm kinda on the wrong side of the atlantic here...

however, I am fighting against our own versions!
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From: penitence69
2006-09-27 10:40 pm (UTC)
what i wouldn't give to have murrow back. oh wait, maybe olbermann *is* the new murrow. without him, dubya's gonna have everyone seeing "reds" everywhere. . .
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[User Picture]From: trdsf
2006-09-27 11:13 pm (UTC)
Consider yourself high-fived, sir. Well said!
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[User Picture]From: pagawne
2006-09-28 01:24 am (UTC)
Well written, John. The more I look at the things the madman in the White House is doing, the beter Canada looks.
And me a born and raised Texan.
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[User Picture]From: ms_interpret
2006-09-28 07:37 pm (UTC)
Very much agreed. There's no way I'd consider calling authorities on a suspicious person. Not even in Canada, because we're under the American thumb so much.

We sent an innocent Canadian man to be tortured. Will Canada ever trust us with a terror suspect again? If they did, I'd think they were criminally negligent in protecting their own citizenry!

Well now, if you're talking about Maher Arar, it wasn't completely the US's fault. The RCMP gave them false information about him. That being said, I still fail to see why he'd be sent to Syria when he's a Canadian citizen, regardless of where he was born. It makes no sense.
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[User Picture]From: johnpalmer
2006-09-28 07:49 pm (UTC)
I know that Arar was a screwup on the RCMP's part as well, but there's still part of me that can imagine the folks who handed him over with a sick look on their faces, saying "but... we handed him over to, you know, the land of the free and the home of the brave. You know? The shining city on the hill? A place you'd figure he'd get all the protections of the law before anything really nasty happened?"

Torn between "Holy crap, we should have known better!" and "how could we have guessed that would happen?"
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