12 October 2006

oh, i wish i were an oscar meyer wiener

then none of this would even bother me!

every so often i stumble across events that even i would prefer to go about my business not thinking about ever again. i could just turn on the t.v. and make it all go away! how blissful it would be to worry about paris hilton's record sales, or contemplate indefinitely if my ass looks too big in my jeans, or watch one of 50 reality shows to replace this dreary, criminal political landscape instead. but no. some things gnaw away at me until i acknowledge them. and while i fully realize that this is old news by now, the gnawing continues. knowing that my very writing and posting this alone could theoretically (in our "you are either with us or against us" america) land me in some special detention camp with absolutely no
rights to speak of, thanks to congress.

i can't help but think of martin luther king jr.'s words - "never forget that everything hitler did in germany was legal."

from amnesty international, here are just a few snippets of what this administration can now do to anyone that they deem to be an enemy - say it with me, "you are either with us or against us":

# Strip the US courts of jurisdiction to hear or consider habeas corpus appeals challenging the lawfulness or conditions of detention of anyone held in US custody as an "enemy combatant". Judicial review of cases would be severely limited. The law would apply retroactively, and thus could result in more than 200 pending appeals filed on behalf of Guantánamo detainees being thrown out of court.

# Prohibit any person from invoking the Geneva Conventions or their protocols as a source of rights in any action in any US court.

# Permit the executive to convene military commissions to try "alien unlawful enemy combatants", as determined by the executive under a dangerously broad definition, in trials that would provide foreign nationals so labeled with a lower standard of justice than US citizens accused of the same crimes. This would violate the prohibition on the discriminatory application of fair trial rights.

# Permit civilians captured far from any battlefield to be tried by military commission rather than civilian courts, contradicting international standards and case law.

# Establish military commissions whose impartiality, independence and competence would be in doubt, due to the overarching role that the executive, primarily the Secretary of Defense, would play in their procedures and in the appointments of military judges and military officers to sit on the commissions.

# Permit, in violation of international law, the use of evidence extracted under cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, or as a result of "outrages upon personal dignity, particularly humiliating or degrading treatment", as defined under international law.

# Permit the use of classified evidence against a defendant, without the defendant necessarily being able effectively to challenge the "sources, methods or activities" by which the government acquired the evidence. This is of particular concern in light of the high level of secrecy and resort to national security arguments employed by the administration in the "war on terror", which have been widely criticized, including by the UN Committee against Torture and the Human Rights Committee. Amnesty International is concerned that the administration appears on occasion to have resorted to classification to prevent independent scrutiny of human rights violations.

# Give the military commissions the power to hand down death sentences, in contravention of international standards which only permit capital punishment after trials affording "all possible safeguards to ensure a fair trial". The clemency authority would be the President. President Bush has led a pattern of official public commentary on the presumed guilt of the detainees, and has overseen a system that has systematically denied the rights of detainees.

# Limit the right of charged detainees to be represented by counsel of their choosing.

# Fail to provide any guarantee that trials will be conducted within a reasonable time.

# Permit the executive to determine who is an "enemy combatant" under any "competent tribunal" established by the executive, and endorse the Combatant Status Review Tribunal (CSRT), the wholly inadequate administrative procedure that has been employed in Guantánamo to review individual detentions.

# Narrow the scope of the War Crimes Act by not expressly criminalizing acts that constitute "outrages upon personal dignity, particularly humiliating and degrading treatment" banned under Article 3 common to the four Geneva Conventions. Amnesty International believes that the USA has routinely failed to respect the human dignity of detainees in the "war on terror".

# Prohibit the US courts from using "foreign or international law" to inform their decisions in relation to the War Crimes Act. The President has the authority to "interpret the meaning and application of the Geneva Conventions". Under President Bush, the USA has shown a selective disregard for the Geneva Conventions and the absolute prohibition of torture or other ill-treatment.

# Endorse the administration’s "war paradigm" – under which the USA has selectively applied the laws of war and rejected international human rights law. The legislation would backdate the "war on terror" to before the 11 September 2001 in order to be able to try individuals in front of military commissions for "war crimes" committed before that date.

does this look anything like american freedom? seriously.

there's no way, you may say, that any american citizen could ever be treated this way! yes they can. and yes, it is now legal. take a moment and just imagine the implications and the possible scenarios that could unfold. imagine the abuses of power - those of which no government should ever be able to exact on a people. it's happened before. when we don't learn from history, history will repeat itself. so, go on - imagine. i'll wait.

but it gets worse. some years ago, i started hearing rumblings of certain camps being planned and erected in the united states for this very reason. after not being able to find much beyond the conspiracy theory type sites, i filed it away in the back of my mind. thanks to hillcountrygal's posting yesterday, it is alive and well again. she points to market watch, and includes this link: KBR awarded Homeland Security contract worth up to $385M. kellogg, brown and root. look familiar? one hint - halliburton. funny how the same names keep popping up, no? she also links to this alternet piece, Bush's Mysterious 'New Programs'.

this nightmare has officially out-ranked north korea's nukes.

over on musings of a working mom you will find keith olbermann's commentary, i invite you to go watch it.

and on i write. because this is my country too. because i want the america that i was promised that i had in school, from birth. because what is happening now is not american, by any definition. there is no longer any such thing as habeas corpus - and our constitution has taken yet another blow. will the criminal actions of this administration ever end? and the accomplices in congress, how could they? perhaps they are building these detention centers for themselves, knowing full well that this is exactly where they should be. seriously, who is hurting america right now? those destroying the constitution, or those speaking out, and making an attempt to protect the constitution of america?


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