Fix the Military Commissions Act
Fri Feb 9, 2007 12:34

Fix the Military Commissions Act
ACLU, 125 Broad Street, 18th Floor New York, NY 10004

The Un-American Military Commissions Act needs to be fixed because it:

* Allows the president alone to decide who is and who is not an enemy of this country.
* Eliminates the Constitution’s due process right of habeas corpus for people the president decides are enemies of our country, and permits the government to keep hundreds of detainees imprisoned indefinitely and without charge.
* Lets the president make up his own rules on what is torture and abuse, instead of simply following the rules in the Geneva Conventions; and
* Removes accountability for top government officials, which means that we can’t know that torture and abuse has stopped and won’t happen again.

Senator Dodd’s bill fixes these problems by stopping the president from designating anyone he wants as an enemy combatant, and instead defines enemy combatants as those people who are actually fighting against us.

Urge your senators to cosponsor Senator Dodd's bill, and to restore American vales by fixing the Un-American Military Commissions Act.

The Dodd bill would make clear that the federal government must comply with the Geneva Conventions, and that no one in the federal government can make up their own rules on the use of torture and abuse. Not an army private in the field. Not a top official sitting in a cushy office in Washington. Not even the president.

It restores habeas corpus and due process at Guantanamo Bay and to the rest of America by:

* Stopping the President from deciding on his own who is an enemy of the country and then taking away the person’s habeas corpus due process right against unlawful imprisonment. The new bill would limit enemy combatants to people actually fighting our country, and not innocent people snatched from streets far from any battlefield. For those detainees being held at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere, it restores the Constitution’s habeas corpus protection of having a court decide whether a person is being imprisoned unlawfully.
* Blocking the federal government from making up its own rules on torture and abuse. The Geneva Conventions has been the law for decades on how we behave during war. The new bill makes clear that the federal government must comply with the Geneva Conventions, and no one in the federal government even the president--can make up their own rules on the use of torture and abuse.
* Making sure that there aren’t two different standards--one for privates and sergeants and the other for top government officials. When Congress passed the Military Commissions Act, it left men and women in the military subject to comprehensive laws against torture and abuse, but gave top government officials a get-out-of-jail free card. The new bill makes sure that all felony torture and abuse can be prosecuted, even if the perpetrator is sitting in a cushy office in Washington instead of serving as a private in the field.

When the Military Commissions Act was signed into law in October, many Americans realized that the only thing scarier than a government that would take away our basic freedoms is a Congress and a people that would let it happen. We need to let Congress know that it is time to correct the October mistake and restore habeas corpus and due process in America, stop the president from deciding on his own who is an enemy of our country, and make sure that we all follow the same set of rules.

Urge your senators to co-sponsor Senator Dodd's bill, and to restore American vales by fixing the Un-American Military Commissions Act.


H.R. 6166: Military Commissions Act of 2006

Update 12/07/06: S. 4081, Habeas Corpus Restoration Act of 2006

Count The Votes - The MCA Torture Bill Didn't Pass
By Douglas Herman
Am I missing something or did the Military Commissions Act pass the Senate using fuzzy math? Please explain to me how 65 votes out of 99 Senate votes cast equals two thirds majority? Seems they missed by one vote.

According to the link at Wikipedia (below) the Torture Bill breezed through the House of Representatives with a passing vote. Such luminaries as Florida representative, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, self-styled critic of Cuba' s torture regime, voted to continue the US government-sponsored torture sessions at Quantanamo prison in Cuba. Not content with Gitmo, IRL and her co-conspirators voted to add MORE torture provisions to the US government here in the country that gave her shelter. From torture.

Then the good old boys in the Senate got to vote on the Torture Bill. Championed by other victims of torture like John McCain, they followed the example of Ros-Lehtinen, figuring that what was good for Communist military dictatorships overseas must be good for America .

So these worthies stomped on the Bill of Rights and pissed on the graves of REAL patriots like Madison, Jefferson and Franklin, and passed a bill into law allowing state security (SS) orgs to arrest anyone, torture them and hold them indefinitely without recourse.

But wait.

Did the law really pass?

I counted 65 votes of approval from the Reichstag, I mean Senate. Here are the House votes (HR 6166) and the US Senate votes (S3930).

To pass, the Senate would have needed at least 67 Ayes. Or 66-33 if one senator abstained. Correct? GOP Senators Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), Lincoln Chafee (R-R.I.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) signaled their support but, at the last minute, Snowe dodged the vote by being absent. Guess the good people of Maine must have flooded her office with calls. Thank you Maine .

At least two-dozen former military leaders penned a letter to the Senate Armed Services Committee outlining their objections to the bill (But, who gives a damn what high-ranking military leaders think, right?) They rightly believed the bill would put U.S. military personnel---captured soldiers as prisoners of war--- at risk in current and future military conflicts. Some expressed their concern that the bill would weaken the moral authority of the U.S. in the War on Terror.

But NEARLY two thirds of US Senators, lacking in spine and moral authority, and having no grasp of history or the US Constitution (That goddamned piece of paper), decided to vote for 666, otherwise known as the Military Commissions Act.

BUT wait once again. They were still a few quislings short.

34 Senators voted No while Olympia Snowe remained a no show. So, it seems as if the Act never passed and whatever goddamned piece of paper GWB signed into law was illegal.

USAF veteran and Constitutional Rights Scholar (actually just an Intern) Douglas Herman writes regularly for Rense. Email him if you know how the MCA passed.

Killing Habeas Corpus

During his October 18, 2006 broadcast of MSNBC's Special Report, commentator Keith Olbermann chided President Bush for signing the Military Commissions Act of 2006 into law.

While we certainly don't agree with every detail of Olbermann's commentary, a recent MSNBC news article printed excerpts which we certainly find to be right on target:

We have lived as if in a trance.
We have lived as people in fear.
And now – our rights and our freedoms in peril – we slowly awake to learn that we have been afraid of the wrong thing.
Therefore, tonight, we have become the true inheritors of our American legacy.
For, on this first full day that the Military Commissions Act is in force, we now face what our ancestors faced, at other times of exaggerated crisis and melodramatic fear-mongering:
A government more dangerous to our liberty, than is the enemy it claims to protect us from.

On September 28, the U.S. Congress passed the Military Commissions Act of 2006 (MCA). Though its title refers to military commissions, the new legislation does much more than authorize and establish procedures for military tribunals of foreign terrorist suspects. As Congress’s first comprehensive foray into detainee policy, it affects an array of important issues, including the role of U.S. courts in protecting the fundamental rights of detainees, the implementation of the Geneva Conventions under U.S. law, and the prosecution of abuses by U.S. officials.



11/14/06 Air America... Peter B. Collins Show
INTERVIEW: authors of the new book “Torture Taxi:
Fix the Military Commissions Act ACLU,, Fri Feb 9 12:34

Main Page - Thursday, 02/15/07

Message Board by American Patriot Friends Network [APFN]


messageboard.gif (4314 bytes)