Count The Votes - The MCA Torture Bill Didn't Pass

Count The Votes - The MCA Torture Bill Didn't Pass
Wed Nov 8, 2006 01:45

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.

H.R. 6166: Military Commissions Act of 2006
Our Grandchildren are Going to Hate Us!'

On Tuesday, your president signed into law the Military Commissions Act of 2006. This law, among other things, allows him to have anyone suspected of terrorist activity imprisoned without trial indefinitely.
We now live in a country where one man, for any reason he sees fit, can have another man or woman picked up off the street and placed in a cell without having to justify it to anyone, including the person imprisoned.
For the past few years, the neo-conservative Republican Party has been the self-appointed judge of what is and is not patriotic. So I would like to be the first registered Democrat to say that this is the most disloyal and un-American act undertaken by our government since the internment of the Japanese during World War II. Not only has this law betrayed the people of the America, it has betrayed the very ideals that our founding fathers built this nation upon.
Along with voting and freedom of speech, the ability to quickly challenge any imprisonment handed down from our government in a court law, judged by a jury of our peers, is one of the most basic rights that we have. It is part of what made this country a beacon of hope to so many throughout the world, and it is now being chipped away at using fear as a justification.
What this law does, in conjunction with previous legislation, is allow the president to name anyone, including American citizens, an "Unlawful Enemy Combatant," a term applied to anyone working to attack the United States who is not a uniformed member of a national army.
Once this label is applied, the person no longer has the right to petition any court, see any evidence, or even hear what crime they are accused of committing.
If the government does decide to hold a trial for anyone arrested under these laws, and I say "if," because it is under no obligation to do so within any time frame, it will be done not in civilian court but by military tribunal.
Away from the public eye, a military official will judge the innocence or guilt of anyone brought before him based on evidence that the defendant is not allowed to even see or dispute if it has been labeled as classified.
The act also prohibits the use in military trial of any statements coerced out of the defendant by torture, but allows the judge to make a decision to include such statements should he find that it would better serve justice to allow them into evidence.
When this is combined with the very loose regulations we have implemented about what is and is not torture, it makes the rules prohibiting it meaningless.
So basically, what this law does is create a clear legal path for our federal government to pick up anyone they like, lock them away without charges until they can be tortured into confessing, and try them without public knowledge in a less then impartial setting.
Some would say that this is a good thing, that terrorists have no rights. I agree, anyone found to be plotting terrorist should be dealt with swiftly and have the harshest penalty the law allows come down upon them. It is not the rights of terrorists I am concerned about but the rights of Americans to defend themselves against charges leveled upon them. Terrorists and murderers are tried transparently in civilian courts because mistakes are made, people are falsely accused, everyone is innocent until proven guilty, and the public has a right to know who its government is locking up and why.
The original language of this bill made it only apply to those caught outside the borders of America, but before passage through Congress, it was amended to apply to any non-citizen of the United States, within our borders or not. This includes all legal immigrants like the international students at WVU, as well as 12 million permanent residents who pay taxes and are part of this country.



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