October 02, 2006

United States Of Torture

When I saw that the US Senate had passed Bush's torture legislation, I began to wonder (yet again) whether it is worth continuing this blog. Is the USA a lost cause?

I can't help wondering if the people of the USA have just lost control of their government:
Rather than reining in the formidable presidential powers that Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have asserted since Sept. 11, 2001, the law gives some of those powers a solid statutory foundation. In effect it allows the president to identify enemies, imprison them indefinitely and interrogate them -- albeit with a ban on the harshest treatment -- beyond the reach of the full court reviews traditionally afforded criminal defendants and ordinary prisoners.

Taken as a whole, the law will give the president more power over terrorism suspects than he had before the Supreme Court decision this summer in Hamdan vs. Rumsfeld that undercut more than four years of White House policy. It does, however, grant detainees brought before military commissions limited protections initially opposed by the White House. The bill, which cleared a final procedural hurdle in the House on Friday and is likely to be signed into law next week by Bush, does more than allow the president to determine the meaning and application of the Geneva Conventions; it strips the courts of jurisdiction to hear challenges to his interpretation.

And it broadens the definition of "unlawful enemy combatant" to include not only those who fight the United States, but also those who have "purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States." The latter group could include those accused of providing financial or other indirect support to terrorists, human rights groups say. The designation can be made by any "competent tribunal" created by the president or secretary of defense.
Some informed comment from Informed Comment:
Why is the Bush administration so attached to torturing people that it would pressure a supine Congress into raping the US constitution by explicitly permitting some torture techniques and abolishing habeas corpus for certain categories of prisoners?

Boys and girls, it is because torture is what provides evidence for large important networks of terrorists where there aren't really any, or aren't very many, or aren't enough to justify 800 military bases and a $500 billion military budget.
From Mike Whitney:
The Military Commissions Act is the culmination of 6 years of vigorous attacks on the Bill of Rights. From the very beginning, administration attorneys have set about to dismantle the basic protections which limit presidential power. This has resulted in a long list of systematic violations to international law including secret detentions, disappearances, torture, humiliating treatment, indefinite detention without charge, and criminal rendition. All of these activities are transparently illegal and beyond any conventional sense of human decency.

The pattern is unmistakable; the administration is contemptuous of our laws and will not respect any restrictions on the power of the executive. All of this is preparation for the New World Order and the end of American democracy...

When Bush signs The Military Commissions Act of 2006 into law, America, as we know it, will cease to exist.
And here is a very well presented post by the very well-informed Winter Patriot: One Day Forward, 900 Years Back : Democracy Murdered In Broad Daylight. This little bit is ringing bells:
In my twisted and frozen little mind, I harbor a tiny flicker of hope -- that this draconian legislation can somehow be used against those who begged for 9/11 to happen, who made it happen, who have striven endlessly to reap political benefit from a national tragedy, and who now -- once again -- have shamed us all, destroying our birthright in the process. And then, once they have all been hanged for treason, that this bill -- and every other anti-American, anti-democratic bill passed in the last five horrible years -- can be summarily repealed.
It seems likely that the former heads of the AWB, who broke UN sanctions to deal with Saddam, will now be tried under new Australian government anti-terror legislation. I've also heard talk of such Draconian anti-terror laws being turned against Blair and Bush.

Given how these people have demonstrably exacerbated the terrorist threat over the past five years, given how they have relentlessly terrorized their own populations, and given how sorely in need of prosecution they all are under any one of a myriad laws, and given how many goodly people they have pissed off completely with their Orwellian nonsense, perhaps the prospect is not as far-fetched as it may sound right now.

So how bad are things really, right now, in Bush's USA? Here's Tristero:
Americans are living in a fascist state. Don't like the word "fascism?" Neither do I. So what? It's ludicrous to call the gutting of habeas corpus, etc, etc, by near unanimous consent merely "authoritarian." We are living in a fascist state...

It's gonna get a lot worse than it is now before it gets better. We're gonna be lucky if more of us don't end up "persons of interest" to the Bush administration. Remember, if you're not with Bush, you're objectively pro-terrorist and I can't tell you how many times when commenting on rightwing blogs I've been accused of "aiding and abetting" the terrorists.

Does that mean not to resist Bush as some people suggested yesterday? I have no idea where that comes from. It never occurred to me.
And here's an Unhappy Camper from DU (again via Daou):
"In my 61 years on this planet, I thought I had seen most things. I have been married and divorced. I have children and have seen a child die. I have grandchildren and have seen a grandchild die. I watched my Mother suffer with Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia for years before passing away in 2005. I have spent 16 miserable days on a troopship from Oakland, California to Da Nang, Viet Nam. I witnessed Tet of 1968 up close and personal. In April 1970, I was in a forward base camp 100 meters inside the Cambodian border. I have learned to fly a helicopter, shoot a 4.2 mortar, repair teletype machines, high frequency and tactical radios, land mine detectors and pretty much everything in between. I have teed off a round of golf at midnight in Tronheim, Norway. I was at the 1972 Olympics in Munich when the unthinkable happened. Today I have been listening to the Senate debate about redefining Common Article Three of the Geneva Convention and revocation of habeas corpus. I have watched Senators argue that secret trials and secret evidence is good. Today our values may be time warped to pre-1215 values. I just can’t get my brain around what is being done to our dignity today. I can truthfully say I think I have seen everything. Something is really, really wrong here."


Winter Patriot said...

I began to wonder (yet again) whether it is worth continuing this blog

I've been wondering whether it is safe to continue blogging, but it seems to me that the objective of digging up morsels of truth and spreading it far and wide is more worthy of our efforts than ever.

Of course I respect your opinion, especially if you agree with me. ;-)

antiwisdom said...

with the death of our constitution and habeus corpus, I too have decided to quit blogging.

shouting into the wind is too much for me.

sorry you live in a fascist state, but so do we.

william melchior said...

To Gandhi, Winter Patriot and Antiwisdom:

You write to stand witness. It does not matter if others agree with you or not. It does not mater if anyone reads your blogs. It does not matter if you have comments. What matters is that you will not go back into that dark cave of irrationality and fear.

In my 66 years as an American I witness many lows by the powerful in the name of the American people , but I never imagined that my county would codify torture. Well, so be it. As they say, it will all come out in the wash. Remember, 48% of Americans voted in some way for your point of view.

Be not afraid or discouraged. Be of good cheer, the battle has just begun against fear. The side of reason and courage is winning.

gandhi said...

Well, another day, another massive news dump of Bush/GOP excrement... and I am still blogging. And I probably will keep blogging until my personal circumstances make it impossible, or until I start writing that book...

The latest news on Foley and all the dirt coming out of Bob Woodward's book make it look like Bush & Co COULD have a fight on their hands.

But we are still waiting to see Karl Rove's "October Surprise" and one thing is for sure - these bastards wont go down without a fight.

So... bring 'em on!


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