Keith Olbermann’s Countdown on Oct. 10 discussed the Military Commissions Act of 2006, and what it does to “Habeas corpus.” Just as important is that he also discusses the slow but steady erosion of the rights and protections which were guaranteed in the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights.
According to the ACLU, this bill, “Removes important checks on the president by: failing to protect due process, eliminating habeas corpus for many detainees, undermining enforcement of the Geneva Conventions, and giving a “get out of jail free card” to senior officials who authorized or ordered illegal torture and abuse”.
This act empowers President Bush to declare foreign nationals; legal residents; or even U.S. citizens; whom he alone decides have given “material support” to terrorists, as “unlawful enemy combatants”. Once named, they can then be secretly imprisoned indefinitely without due process, legal recourse, or Constitutional protections.
Nothing could be less American than a government that can indefinitely hold people in secret torture cells, take away their protections against horrific and cruel abuse, put them on trial based on evidence that they cannot see, sentence them to death based on testimony literally beaten out of witnesses, and then slam shut the courthouse door for any habeas petition, but that’s exactly what Congress just approved. – Christopher Anders, an ACLU Legislative Counsel
On the face of it this does not sound like a bad thing, until you consider that Bush Administration officials have at various listed reporters, peace activists, Congressmen, Democrats, and anyone who speaks out against the Administration and Republican party policies, as having given “aid and support to terrorists”.
In his 1928 dissent in Olmstead v. United States, Justice Louis Brandeis cautioned, “The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding.” Seventy-three years later, former White House spokesman Ari Fleischer, speaking for a zealous President, warned Americans “they need to watch what they say, watch what they do.”
It should be noted that Kellogg Brown & Root, a subsidiary of Dick Cheney’s former company Haliburton, has already been given contracts to construct huge detention facilities at an undisclosed locations in the United States to hold tens of thousands of undesirables.
A Halliburton subsidiary has just received a $385 million contract from the Department of Homeland Security to provide “temporary detention and processing capabilities.”
The contract — announced Jan. 24 by the engineering and construction firm KBR — calls for preparing for “an emergency influx of immigrants, or to support the rapid development of new programs” in the event of other emergencies, such as “a natural disaster.”
America, It’s past time to wake up!
* Some text is courtesy of the Wikipedia.