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Politics
By aphrael (Wed Sep 27, 2006 at 01:21:00 PM EST) (all tags)
Yesterday I was disgusted at the administration for classifying something which arguably didn't need to be classified. Today, i'm outraged, and more than a little bit sad; perhaps, even, a bit despondant. The Republic appears to be trying to commit suicide, and very few people can be bothered to care.



There's been a lot of buzz in the news of late about a big compromise on what i've come to think of as the "torture bill"; the bill which clarifies to what degree the Geneva Conventions apply to people held as enemy combatants. I've ignored most of it; it's been about negotiations on a bill which hasn't been settled on yet, and the details have changed from day to day. And, besides, on this issue alone I trust John McCain: he won't let people be tortured. It's just not going to happen.

But the lads at Balkinization point out that there is more to the bill than just torture, and the compromise agreement on those issues is a disaster. The bill, as expected, denies habeas corpus (essentially, the right to sue to challenge your detention) to anyone classified as an unlawful enemy combatant. What wasn't expected is the way the term "unlawful enemy combatant" is defined:


(i) a person who has engaged in hostilities or who has purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States or its co-belligerents who is not a lawful enemy combatant (including a person who is part of the Taliban, al Qaeda, or associated forces); or (ii) a person who, before, on, or after the date of the enactment of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, has been determined to be an unlawful enemy combatant by a Combatant Status Review Tribunal or another competent tribunal established under the authority of the President or the Secretary of Defense.

Yes, that's right: the Republicans in Congress have agreed on a 'compromise' which allows a tribunal established under the authority of the President, using whatever criteria or definition it wants (because the law, while it refers to the Military Commissions Act of 2006 does not apply its rules to the tribunal) to declare anyone to be an enemy combatant for any reason it desires, and takes away that person's right to sue to challenge their detention.

If the Democrats had an ounce of political courage or any belief in the founding principles of our country, they would filibuster this. But they won't, because they don't.

And so the Republic will die; the Congress is voluntarily handing over to the executive the power to detain anyone, at any time, forever.

"Game over, man."
Update [2006-9-28 1:49:49 by aphrael]:: OK, so apparently it's not as bad as I first thought. The version of the law passed by the House today only bars habeas claims for alien unlawful enemy combatants. So if you're a non-US citizen, the House has given the executive the power to pick you up arbitrarily and hold you indefinitely without legal recourse. But US citizens are still safe. Still ... it's less personally frightening, to be sure, but that doesn't make it much better. Freedom was always supposed to be a universal human right, not one conditioned on citizenship. And freedom from arbitrary imprisonment by the executive is a fundamental founding principal of all anglo-saxon political systems. This may not be the end of the Republic, as I think it would be if it applied to citizens; but it's still a damned dark day, either way.

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If you can keep it. | 89 comments (89 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
Sadly by debacle (4.00 / 4) #1 Wed Sep 27, 2006 at 01:33:38 PM EST
You're not gloom and doom enough about this.

On the bright side, I don't have to take time out of my day to vote in November.


IF YOU HAVE TWO FIRLES THOROWNF MONEY ART SUOCIDE GIRLS STRIPPER HPW CAN YPUS :OSE?!?!?!?(elcevisides).

I've Been Worried About America Lately by CheeseburgerBrown (4.00 / 1) #2 Wed Sep 27, 2006 at 02:02:17 PM EST
I thought I was just odd my meds and starting to feel paranoid and excitable, but then again I don't take meds in the first place.

Correct me if I have the gist of it wrong, but over the past few months it seems to this admittedly politically naive Canadian that the United States is, by design or ineptitude, defining itself as a tyrant in the eyes of the world.

When I hear that America has given itself the right to detain its own citizens and foreign nationals without trial, to systematically commit psychological and physical torture, to enact programmes of widespread domestic surveillance with little or no checks and balances, and to subvert the traditional lines of recourse or appeal -- well, I figure I'm living in a dystopia movie, probably directed by Ridley Scott.

Ooooh -- nice lighting!

In fact, I've seen this one before. It's the movie where the good guys take on charactertics of the bad guys they fight, by letting evil set the ante. "You are just like me!" hisses evil. Good goes, "NeVAR!" and then Does The Right Thing (TM). Roll credits. Budget for sequel.

America turns its back on its own founding principles. As a teenager I did think I'd live to see the day, but later on I decided I had just been being alarmist and dramatic (as teenagers are known to be).

Shows what I knew.


I am from a small, unknown country in the north called Ca-na-da.
It's not just you. by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #4 Wed Sep 27, 2006 at 02:07:54 PM EST
I never thought i'd live to see the day.

My faith in my government is gone.
My faith in my countrymen is rapidly declining, and i'm not sure what to do about it.

Or even if there is anything to be done.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

[ Parent ]
oh come now. by MM (4.00 / 2) #6 Wed Sep 27, 2006 at 02:40:20 PM EST
The rights being eroded today have been there for less than 100 years. I don't care if they were in the Constitution / Bill of Rights or not - the first amendment, for example, wasn't enforced the way we expect it to until some point in the 20th century, and it has ALWAYS been under attack. The elites will ALWAYS seek to contain the plebes by any means available. You're doomish outlook is based on an idealized world that never existed. I've also included this demeaning power point slide:



[ Parent ]
the first amendment, yes. by aphrael (4.00 / 1) #7 Wed Sep 27, 2006 at 02:43:34 PM EST
But habeas and the right to not be detained indefinitely have always been there.

They were an essential part of the "Glorious Revolution" of 1688. They have always been observed in the United States, even before the Revolution.

Congress didn't suspend the writ of habeas corpus during WW2. Nor during WW1. Nor, outside of extremely limited areas, during the fucking civil war.

But it is doing so now.

For anyone the administration says is a bad person.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

[ Parent ]
the difference between words and actions by MM (4.00 / 1) #8 Wed Sep 27, 2006 at 02:57:34 PM EST
Congress may not have suspended habeas corpus during WW2, but that didn't stop them from rounding up Americans of Japanese descent and taking ALL of their rights away. This happened just over 60 years ago. You're using the official reading of history to make it look better than it was.

[ Parent ]
Aye. by aphrael (4.00 / 2) #10 Wed Sep 27, 2006 at 02:59:13 PM EST
And you know what the difference is?

Those Americans had the ability to sue to challenge their detention, and they eventually won their lawsuit.

The Americans rounded up tomorrow won't have that ability.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

[ Parent ]
always been observed by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #29 Thu Sep 28, 2006 at 02:16:54 AM EST
Except during the Civil War, when Lincoln suspended Habeas.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
in some areas by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #39 Thu Sep 28, 2006 at 06:24:02 AM EST
not everywhere. Habeas was not suspended in areas far from the rebellion --- eg, Maine and California, for example.

If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.
[ Parent ]
But nowhere is far from tairists! by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #44 Thu Sep 28, 2006 at 07:14:52 AM EST
I fully expect the Goon Squad to show up on a Certain Island off of the Maine Coast to enquire about the knife a Certain Monocled Person carries on airplanes...

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
Indeed. by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #45 Thu Sep 28, 2006 at 07:15:58 AM EST
Also, habeas was suspended on the order of the President, not by Congress.

That makes it different somehow.

If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

[ Parent ]
also by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #9 Wed Sep 27, 2006 at 02:57:55 PM EST
thank you for proving my point.

you're a reasonably intelligent liberal man. your response upon being told that Congress is giving the President the power to detain anyone, at any time, forever, with the detained person having no right to challenge it, is basically "it can't be that bad," with a historically inaccurate sense of "until recently they could do that anyway."

And predictably you think I shouldn't be worried about my countrymen. (No offense intended; you're better than most. But if you're having this reaction, the republic may already be lost.)

If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

[ Parent ]
a terribly insulting response by MM (4.00 / 1) #11 Wed Sep 27, 2006 at 03:06:34 PM EST
Of course it's bad. How on earth did you read my comment as "it can't be that bad?" America has faced this and worse in the past, the question is whether or not the people will fight against it. Will you yourself fight against it, or will you talk down to myself and others for their failures?

[ Parent ]
my apologies by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #12 Wed Sep 27, 2006 at 03:17:38 PM EST
i'm really very upset right now.

America has NOT faced worst in the past.

That's my point.

Congress is passing a bill allowing the executive to lock up anyone it wants with no legal recourse to the person so locked up.

There's never in the history of the republic been anything remotely like it.

Yeah, i'll fight it, such as I can; i've written letters to both of my Senators imploring them to withdraw consent to the schedule. And you're right that being insulting to you, or to other people, won't help me fight it.

But neither will minimizing it.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

[ Parent ]
and it doesn't help by aphrael (4.00 / 1) #13 Wed Sep 27, 2006 at 03:36:26 PM EST
that I think the battle is already lost.

It may be possible to win a battle to undo the damage, although I doubt that as well. But I think it's too late to stop it becoming law.

Right this minute, I honestly believe that when the history of the twenty-first century is written, today will either directly or indirectly (through 9/11) be viewed as the day the American Republic died.

I'm looking desperately for anything on which to hang the hope that i'm overreacting. But i'm not seeing anything.

If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

[ Parent ]
another question by MM (2.00 / 0) #14 Wed Sep 27, 2006 at 03:48:40 PM EST
will it stand up in the supreme court?

I view history differently than you. I don't see it through the lens of the word of law. To me rough times are 100 hour work weeks and being shot at during labor strikes. Law only comes into my view insomuch as it is actually applied.

America has NOT faced worst in the past.

I think it's easy to romanticize the Constitution, the bill of rights, or even the federalist papers, and miss how life was actually experienced during earlier American generations. You've read far more history than me - you know how people had to fight and die for the rights that they already often had on paper. Almost no one of our generation has had to go through that. That's why I don't agree with you.

[ Parent ]
supreme court by aphrael (4.00 / 1) #16 Wed Sep 27, 2006 at 04:25:24 PM EST
that's pretty much anybody's guess. but the constitution explicitly provides for conditions in which habeas may be suspended, and you can make a good argument that this is one of those conditions. and we already know from the copyright cases that "indefinitely" isn't constitutionally problematic unless you can prove that it's equal to forever, which of course you can't.

100 hour work weeks and being shot at during strikes are rough times, sure. But that's sort of a different question, right? And even during those rough times, if the army picked you up and held you, you had the legal right to demand to see a judge and ask that the army provide a legal reason for holding you, and the army would comply.

That right has been one of the bedrock rights of our society and our society's predecessors since the seventeenth century. It's only been abrogated once in the history of the United States, and then only in those areas in which there was active fighting during the civil war.

Now? It's been abrogated everywhere for anyone the administration doesn't like.

This appears to be about law, but it isn't. It's about power, and legitimizing the use of power. Congress has said that if the DoD picks you up off the train and disappears you, as long as they say you're a bad person, you have no right to contest it.

What does freedom of speech mean if the executive has the power to disappear you for saying things it doesn't like and you have no right to contest it?

What does the right to a speedy trial mean if, when the executive says you are a bad person, you have no right to demand a trial at all?

What do any of our rights mean? And how does the fact that we only have to work forty-hour days and have air conditioned offices and health care benefits make it better that the state can now arbitrarily do with us as it will?

I agree that it's easy to romanticize the constitution and miss how life was experienced. But I don't think that's what i'm doing; i'm looking at an act of Congress which essentially nullifies all of our legal rights and saying "holy shit, look at what Congress is doing."

Saying it's unprecedented is understating the situation.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

[ Parent ]
replies by MillMan (2.00 / 0) #19 Wed Sep 27, 2006 at 05:45:54 PM EST
But that's sort of a different question, right?

It's part of the all encompassing quality of life, so no.

It's about power, and legitimizing the use of power.

When I referenced the plebes vs. elites this is what I was getting at.

What does freedom of speech mean if the executive has the power to disappear you for saying things it doesn't like and you have no right to contest it?

They already have and use this power, of course formalizing it into law makes it orders of magnitude worse. It means we have to fight for these rights again outside of the formal political process.

Everybody still hates me in this city and I hate everybody.

[ Parent ]
responses by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #23 Wed Sep 27, 2006 at 08:55:55 PM EST
It's part of the all encompassing quality of life, so no.

I think this is part of what I was getting at in my rude post above. There's an element here which suggests that, as long as quality of life is good, freedom doesn't matter. This reads to me like you are saying we can tote up the good (40 hr work week! vacation time! family leave act!) and balance them against the bad (arbitrary government arrest!) and say, ok, on balance the good is greater.

I think that's misguided in this case; because without the fundamental freedom of having your person not subject to arbitrary arrest, none of the rest of it matters.

They already have and use this power, of course formalizing it into law makes it orders of magnitude worse

I think this may be one of the core parts of where you and I disagree. I don't believe this power was being used prior to 2001. And I believe that formalizing it into law makes it impossible to undo without armed revolution ... and armed revolution against a nuclear power is basically impossible.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

[ Parent ]
further replies by MillMan (2.00 / 0) #26 Wed Sep 27, 2006 at 09:20:32 PM EST
I think this is part of what I was getting at in my rude post above. There's an element here which suggests that, as long as quality of life is good, freedom doesn't matter. This reads to me like you are saying we can tote up the good (40 hr work week! vacation time! family leave act!) and balance them against the bad (arbitrary government arrest!) and say, ok, on balance the good is greater.

Freedom is part of quality of life, I don't know why you assume that I would exclude it from the equation.

I don't believe this power was being used prior to 2001.

I find it hard to believe that the government doesn't disappear people on occasion, although in the grand scheme this is a minor point.

And I believe that formalizing it into law makes it impossible to undo without armed revolution

I guess we'll have to disagree on this one.

Everybody still hates me in this city and I hate everybody.

[ Parent ]
I'm not saying I think you would exclude it by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #27 Wed Sep 27, 2006 at 09:23:16 PM EST
I'm saying that you seem, to my mind, to be adding things together and coming up with a positive balance when, again in my mind, lack of freedom from arbitrary arrest renders a positive balance impossible, no matter how good the other things are.

If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.
[ Parent ]
Puh-leeze... by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #28 Wed Sep 27, 2006 at 10:03:14 PM EST
Congress is passing a bill allowing the executive to lock up anyone it wants with no legal recourse to the person so locked up.

There's never in the history of the republic been anything remotely like it.

Yeah, except for THE ENTIRE STATE OF MARYLAND, et al.
Seriously, your patented "Chicken Little" approach won't garner you any supporters.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
c'mon ti by cam (2.00 / 0) #30 Thu Sep 28, 2006 at 02:35:37 AM EST
Tyranny doesnt have to be absolute to be destructive. In the parliamentary systems which mix executive and legislative we have seen arbitrary government being put into legislation. It appears the US is doing the same at the executives and party machines insistence.

cam
Freedom, liberty, equity and an Australian Republic

[ Parent ]
My point being... by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #55 Thu Sep 28, 2006 at 09:32:04 AM EST
Maryland survived, the Union survived, and aph's "crisis" shall pass.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
will it? by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #60 Thu Sep 28, 2006 at 10:17:22 AM EST
other freedom-loving democracies have degenerated into tyrannical dictatorships before.

why should we be different?

especially if the people don't stand up in outrage and protest?
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

[ Parent ]
Because we're Americans. by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #71 Thu Sep 28, 2006 at 11:59:08 AM EST
The indomitable American Spirit won't allow the dissolution of the Union.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
if nobody's fighting it by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #74 Thu Sep 28, 2006 at 02:02:31 PM EST
It implodes. by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #76 Thu Sep 28, 2006 at 05:13:20 PM EST
That sort of system can't sustain itself indefinitely.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
It lasted for centuries in Venice. by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #83 Thu Sep 28, 2006 at 07:44:17 PM EST
"Implosion" sometime after my sister-in-law's grandchildren are dead just isn't good enough for me.

If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.
[ Parent ]
Like I said it doesnt have to be absolute to by cam (2.00 / 0) #75 Thu Sep 28, 2006 at 04:16:51 PM EST
destructive. Tyranny is insidious.

cam
Freedom, liberty, equity and an Australian Republic

[ Parent ]
Also, Darth Tyrannus is Darth Sidious. by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #77 Thu Sep 28, 2006 at 05:14:35 PM EST
Oooops! *SPOILER*

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
So George Lucas is plagiarising both me by cam (4.00 / 1) #78 Thu Sep 28, 2006 at 05:58:22 PM EST
Actually by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #15 Wed Sep 27, 2006 at 04:20:27 PM EST
If you are talking about workers rights, the curve is more U-shaped. Before and after the revolution, wages were high and working conditions were good. (Ignoring slavery in the south.) This did not change until the post-civil war period, when massive immigration from Europe decreased the cost of labor. England's worst was during the Dicken's era, in the first half of the century, but it didn't really get bad in the US until the second half, and even then, it was only a segment of the population that got the shaft. (Immigrants, essentially.) At almost the same time period, in the West, there was so much freedom that it was nearly anarchy.

You're right...industrial workers have it better now then they did in 1890. But then, workers in Nazi Germany in 1940 had it better than workers in the 1890 US...that doesn't mean they had more freedom.
---
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

[ Parent ]
I threw in the strike reference by MillMan (2.00 / 0) #17 Wed Sep 27, 2006 at 04:59:34 PM EST
to contrast with today where striking workers have a reasonable expectation that they won't be killed for doing so.

Everybody still hates me in this city and I hate everybody.

[ Parent ]
sure. by garlic (2.00 / 0) #32 Thu Sep 28, 2006 at 02:57:18 AM EST
except it may just be aainst the law for them to strike, or nobody winks at the company firin all the strikers and hirin scabs.


[ Parent ]
still better than death by MillMan (2.00 / 0) #43 Thu Sep 28, 2006 at 07:05:54 AM EST
anarchy by MillMan (2.00 / 0) #18 Wed Sep 27, 2006 at 05:16:10 PM EST
that does underscore one of the problems of comparing now to then. Today no human can escape the state, but that wasn't true until probably sometime in the 19th century.

Everybody still hates me in this city and I hate everybody.

[ Parent ]
Workers rights were good, ignoring slavery?!? by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #35 Thu Sep 28, 2006 at 03:49:48 AM EST
Yeah, and civil rights are great, ignoring the treatment of minorities.

--
Faith, and the possibility of weaponized kissing?
[ Parent ]
Er... by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #38 Thu Sep 28, 2006 at 06:11:28 AM EST
You realize that half the country had no slaves, right?

The fact that labor was expensive in the North had a massive impact on the development of the US.
---
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

[ Parent ]
Not to mention how by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #34 Thu Sep 28, 2006 at 03:47:17 AM EST
many of the things that are being marked as "the end of freedom" are things that are generally accepted in Europe.

Quick question for non-USians here: Are you required to carry ID? Do you need to show ID to vote? There was a map on Digg the other day that purported to show that, with the exception of the US and Canada, the entire world has strict ID card policies. For example, I'm still gapping on the idea that in Europe you have to surrender your passport when you check into a hotel...

--
Faith, and the possibility of weaponized kissing?

[ Parent ]
European states by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #41 Thu Sep 28, 2006 at 06:30:56 AM EST
allow the executive to hold someone indefinitely without that person having any right to a legal challenge to their detention?

I know the UK doesn't have that, and I know Germany doesn't. Can you tell me which states do?
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

[ Parent ]
In the case for POWs? by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #51 Thu Sep 28, 2006 at 08:55:53 AM EST
This is the fundamental problem with all of this; the administration is pushing for treating such people as prisoners of war, not civil criminals.

My personal problem is that neither category fits; treating them as POWs when there will never be a clear end to the conflict is obviously wrong, but it's not clear to me that the civil model is the right approach either. What I would rather see is for someone to develop a definite model that would sort such individuals out in one box or the other.


--
Faith, and the possibility of weaponized kissing?

[ Parent ]
Yes. by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #53 Thu Sep 28, 2006 at 09:14:27 AM EST
A model with rules which can be applied for the sorting, and which allows people to contest the application if the system gets it wrong.

My original reaction was to be seriously outraged that the Congress was applying to citizens a kafkaesque set of rules in which there was, in essense, no oversight and no appeal.

I'm somewhat less outraged now that it doesn't apply to citizens, but it's still a kafkaesque set of rules in which there is no oversight and no appeal, and that's still a violation of what I thought were our core political principles.

But i'm rapidly learning that i overestimate our core political principles badly.

If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

[ Parent ]
November's coming. by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #56 Thu Sep 28, 2006 at 09:45:13 AM EST
Warm up your voting finger!

But, I have a question about your assertion that there is no oversight at all - the prisoners at Gitmo are receiving (now) legal representation, and the military tribunals - whatever form they take - will have a vested interest in releasing anyone who isn't evidentally useful in "prosecuting the war".

Who, do you feel, needs to be the overseers?

--
Faith, and the possibility of weaponized kissing?

[ Parent ]
The law the House passed by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #58 Thu Sep 28, 2006 at 10:14:27 AM EST
denies to all courts the right to hear habeas claims from alien enemy combatants; and it does not require that every "unlawful enemy combatant" have a hearing before a military tribunal.

So, who is overseeing here? As far as I can tell, if the administration chooses not to go to a tribunal, nobody.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

[ Parent ]
See, I'm missing that part. by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #62 Thu Sep 28, 2006 at 10:35:21 AM EST
Yes, the law includes a provision to deny habeas claims from combatants; but I don't see the part where it says they don't get military tribunals either. Just the opposite - it authorizes tribunals that, while apparently flawed, are still better than what's been going on so far.


--
Faith, and the possibility of weaponized kissing?
[ Parent ]
Comments about the law by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #65 Thu Sep 28, 2006 at 10:57:11 AM EST
The law says that people found to be unlawful enemy combatants are subject to trial by military commission, but lays out no rules for who can be found to be an unlawful enemy combatant.

There are no rules which require a speedy trial, or a trial at all; a person can be subject to trial and the trial just never happens. It's generally understood, from what I can discover from the press, that the law will implicitly authorize detention without trial for UECs. The law doesn't say that, but neither does it (a) require that all UECs be tried or (b) require a speedy trial for everyone subject to the military tribunal jurisdiction.

Convictions can be appealed to the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia and to the Supreme Court. But neither of those courts can hear challenges to detention; only appeals of convictions. All courts are prohibited from hearing challenges to detention.

Depending on how one reads Section 950g(b), the appeals courts may not be allowed to review the classification as an enemy combatant at all.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

[ Parent ]
The older bill seems to allow pre-conviction.. by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #68 Thu Sep 28, 2006 at 11:11:50 AM EST
review.

Detainee Treatment Act of 2005:

(C) SCOPE OF REVIEW- The jurisdiction of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on any claims with respect to an alien under this paragraph shall be limited to the consideration of--

(i) whether the status determination of the Combatant Status Review Tribunal with regard to such alien was consistent with the standards and procedures specified by the Secretary of Defense for Combatant Status Review Tribunals (including the requirement that the conclusion of the Tribunal be supported by a preponderance of the evidence and allowing a rebuttable presumption in favor of the Government's evidence); and...

This seems to say detainees are permitted to challenge their designation as enemy combatants; apart from habeas writs. I didn't see anything in the new law that overrides that.

--
Faith, and the possibility of weaponized kissing?

[ Parent ]
that is completely superceded by this: by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #70 Thu Sep 28, 2006 at 11:26:55 AM EST
Sec. 950g. Review by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and the Supreme Court

      `(a) Exclusive Appellate Jurisdiction- (1)(A) Except as provided in subparagraph (B), the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit shall have exclusive jurisdiction to determine the validity of a final judgment rendered by a military commission (as approved by the convening authority) under this chapter.

      `(B) The Court of Appeals may not review the final judgment until all other appeals under this chapter have been waived or exhausted.

      `(2) A petition for review must be filed by the accused in the Court of Appeals not later than 20 days after the date on which--

            `(A) written notice of the final decision of the Court of Military Commission Review is served on the accused or on defense counsel; or

            `(B) the accused submits, in the form prescribed by section 950c of this title, a written notice waiving the right of the accused to review by the Court of Military Commission Review under section 950f of this title.

      `(b) Standard for Review- In a case reviewed by it under this section, the Court of Appeals may act only with respect to matters of law.

      `(c) Scope of Review- The jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals on an appeal under subsection (a) shall be limited to the consideration of--

            `(1) whether the final decision was consistent with the standards and procedures specified in this chapter; and

            `(2) to the extent applicable, the Constitution and the laws of the United States.

      `(d) Supreme Court- The Supreme Court may review by writ of certiorari the final judgment of the Court of Appeals pursuant to section 1257 of title 28.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

[ Parent ]
Incorrect. by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #79 Thu Sep 28, 2006 at 07:24:24 PM EST
That applies to appeals of the conviction. It says nothing about appealing your status as a UEC.

The older law explicitly states that the circuit court can hear appeals of UEC status. Thus, a person who has been declared UEC by the military can appeal to the circuit court, but if that is upheld they at that point have no further recourse until final judgement is reached.

Not completely ideal, but does give the guys who were rounded up for bounties in Afghanistan a chance to appeal their status.

--
Faith, and the possibility of weaponized kissing?

[ Parent ]
Hrm. I suppose I should remember that IANAL by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #82 Thu Sep 28, 2006 at 07:32:26 PM EST
I mean, I could be wrong in this, but my reading of the two laws would seem that they compliment each other, the newer one explicitly states that it amends the old one, not supersedes it.

--
Faith, and the possibility of weaponized kissing?
[ Parent ]
Update... by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #63 Thu Sep 28, 2006 at 10:39:54 AM EST
From the WaPo (I've failed to find the text of teh bill on line at this point)...

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) complained that "many myths" have arisen regarding the military commission legislation. He said the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 not only provides for review by a Combatant Status Review Tribunal of a prisoner's designation as an unlawful enemy combatant, but allows the right to challenge the tribunal's ruling before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. "Those who claim we're stripping habeas corpus rights are flying in the face of facts laid out in the Detainee Treatment Act," he said.

--
Faith, and the possibility of weaponized kissing?

[ Parent ]
He's either wrong by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #64 Thu Sep 28, 2006 at 10:50:27 AM EST
or he's lying.

The bill is HR6166; the text as passed by the House can be found at thomas.loc.gov.

I quote Section 7:

"(e)(1) No court, justice, or judge shall have jurisdiction to hear or consider an application for a writ of habeas corpus filed by or on behalf of an alien detained by the United States who has been determined by the United States to have been properly detained as an enemy combatant or is awaiting such determination."

If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

[ Parent ]
Neither. by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #66 Thu Sep 28, 2006 at 11:00:16 AM EST
Denying habeas corpus writs and saying that they can appeal the tribunals decisions are two different things.

Once this law is passed the tribunals will begin processing people; and the mechanisms are in place to appeal the decisions of the tribunals. Denying the writs prevents the prisoners from trying to go around the tribunals, that's all.

--
Faith, and the possibility of weaponized kissing?

[ Parent ]
Yes and no. by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #67 Thu Sep 28, 2006 at 11:07:15 AM EST
I agree that denying habeas and saying they can appeal decisions are different things.

But I see no way to reconcile the quoted statement
"Those who claim we're stripping habeas corpus rights are flying in the face of facts laid out in the Detainee Treatment Act" with the law "No court, justice, or judge shall have jurisdiction to hear or consider an application for a writ of habeas corpus filed by or on behalf of an alien detained by the United States who has been determined by the United States to have been properly detained as an enemy combatant or is awaiting such determination."

Either his statement is wrong or he is lying.

Unless "No [judicial entity] shall have jurisdiction to hear or consider an application for a writ of habeas corpus" can somehow be construed as not "stripping habeas corpus rights". But I think that's a tough slog unless you're going to argue that the aliens never had habeas corups rights to begin with, which is not, AFAICT, Cornyn's argument.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

[ Parent ]
I'll agree that it's an over-simplified sound bite by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #69 Thu Sep 28, 2006 at 11:14:09 AM EST
but there do seem to be mechanisms in the 2005 law that function similarly to habeas writs.

--
Faith, and the possibility of weaponized kissing?
[ Parent ]
Also by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #59 Thu Sep 28, 2006 at 10:15:28 AM EST
while I will certainly vote against Feinstein if she votes for this law (that is, i'll vote for the Libertarian, as Mountjoy would be worse), my Congressman voted against. The trouble does not lie with my representatives.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.
[ Parent ]
quick point by LinDze (2.00 / 0) #72 Thu Sep 28, 2006 at 12:22:26 PM EST
theyre specifically not being classified as POWs. To classify them as POWs is to grant them very specific rights under multiple international treaties.

The entire point of making up this new "Unlawful Enemy Combatent" classification is that they are now neither governed by the UCMJ nor US Civil law.

-Lin Dze
Arbeit Macht Frei

[ Parent ]
Did you read my whole post by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #80 Thu Sep 28, 2006 at 07:27:08 PM EST
umm by LinDze (2.00 / 0) #84 Fri Sep 29, 2006 at 11:31:57 AM EST
I suppose I was confused when you said "the administration is pushing for treating such people as prisoners of war, not civil criminals."

My point is that if they were truly treated as POWs they would have more rights than they do now.

-Lin Dze
Arbeit Macht Frei

[ Parent ]
In what way? by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #85 Fri Sep 29, 2006 at 06:46:40 PM EST
I missed the part were WWII POWs had access to American courts.

In fact, last time I checked, POW camps usually just warehouse prisoners until the end of a conflict - which, given the nature of this conflict, could be several decades.


--
Faith, and the possibility of weaponized kissing?

[ Parent ]
No, they didnt have access to civil courts by LinDze (2.00 / 0) #86 Sun Oct 01, 2006 at 11:43:01 AM EST
as they werent civilians. But they were tried (if necessary) in courts martial in accordance to the UCMJ, just like US servicemen. In addition they had access to outside representation, the red cross, postal mail, etc.

With regard to the second part thats partially true. Enemy POWs were typically held until the cessation of hostilities. However the "global war on terra" is no more a war then the "war on drugs". Holding "terrorists" without charge indefinitely is no more sane then holding "drug dealers" without charge indefinitely.

-Lin Dze
Arbeit Macht Frei

[ Parent ]
Yes. Which is why by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #87 Sun Oct 01, 2006 at 12:58:40 PM EST
I don't think pushing for POW type rules is appropriate; better to come up with a new category with some of the features of each.


--
Faith, and the possibility of weaponized kissing?
[ Parent ]
I could possibly see that by LinDze (2.00 / 0) #88 Mon Oct 02, 2006 at 10:22:14 AM EST
but then why are the new "tribunals" affording less protections than either courts civil or martial?

-Lin Dze
Arbeit Macht Frei
[ Parent ]
Because it's a lousy law. by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #89 Mon Oct 02, 2006 at 10:31:27 AM EST
I guess I didn't make that clear; the law as it stands has some terrible aspects; while I understand the desire to avoid having every single detainee file a habeas complaint, it wouldn't hurt them to have some sort of annual review of every detainee's status, would it?


--
Faith, and the possibility of weaponized kissing?
[ Parent ]
also by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #42 Thu Sep 28, 2006 at 06:34:20 AM EST
"surrender your passport" is an overstatement. I've never had to do that; i've had to hand it to the clerk so he could record the information, at which point he handed it back to me.

Damned good thing, too, since most european states require you to carry ID at all times.

If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

[ Parent ]
Ah. thanks for that. by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #50 Thu Sep 28, 2006 at 08:49:23 AM EST
I actually didn't remember having to do it during my brief trip to London many years ago; all I knew was what I saw in Bond movies.

:-/

--
Faith, and the possibility of weaponized kissing?

[ Parent ]
false by garlic (2.00 / 0) #73 Thu Sep 28, 2006 at 12:54:10 PM EST
as I just did this without showing my passport in Paris.


[ Parent ]
Okay. by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #81 Thu Sep 28, 2006 at 07:28:51 PM EST
As I mentioned to another reply, I'm glad to be proven wrong - perhaps things changed with the loosening of internal EU borders?


--
Faith, and the possibility of weaponized kissing?
[ Parent ]
Heinlein by jimgon (4.00 / 1) #5 Wed Sep 27, 2006 at 02:33:49 PM EST
I remember reading Heinlein novels when I was in high school.  The ones where he discusses future history.  The ones where he discusses how the United States came to be a dictatorship.  The ones where he saw the United States destitute and a second world nation.  I always thought it would never happen.  Now it seems to be I'm living it.  And it scares the shit out of me. 




---------------
Technician - "We can't even get decent physical health care. Mental health is like witchcraft here."
[ Parent ]
Revolt in 2100 by R343L (4.00 / 1) #21 Wed Sep 27, 2006 at 07:16:35 PM EST
In 2012, there was no election because a theocratic, authoritarian regime took over. Sound familiar? I love that series and ditto...until Bush was elected (and after 9/11) I didn't think it could happen here.

My husband and I intermittently get paranoid and wonder if the current administration (with or without Bush himself) will actually relinquish power in 2009. Or will there be a convenient emergency???

It sounds so paranoid, and yet...

Rachael

"There will be time, there will be time / To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet." -- Eliot

[ Parent ]
wouldn't it be easier by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #24 Wed Sep 27, 2006 at 08:57:42 PM EST
to just ensure the election of their handpicked successor? i mean, how would we ever know?

it is paranoid, and i'm not willing (yet) to say I believe it; but part of me wouldn't be surprised.

We've come a long way in the last six years.

If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

[ Parent ]
Inherent authority of the President by jimgon (4.00 / 2) #3 Wed Sep 27, 2006 at 02:07:51 PM EST
One of the things I was hearing earlier and haven't bothered to follow up on is some language concerning the inherent authority of the President to conduct these interrogations and investigations.  That is chilling in that it cedes Congressional authority to the President in a bill.  Whenever the debate arises over the authority of the President this bill can be referenced. 

I personally don't trust John McCain to prevent the tortures from happening.  I trust that he'll try, and I trust that he'll fail. 

And once this bill passes the President will have the inherent authority to pursue torture reaffirmed by the Congress.  The Democrats won't block it now, and even if they win the House and Senate in November they won't try to repeal it and if they did they won't have the votes to overturn a veto. 

So as you say.  Game over man. 




---------------
Technician - "We can't even get decent physical health care. Mental health is like witchcraft here."

You're right, it is that bad by theboz (2.00 / 0) #20 Wed Sep 27, 2006 at 05:55:16 PM EST
However, what can we do about it? This especially holds true if the majority of our fellow countrymen have become worthless morons. It's not like there are enough people that we can form a new political party, have an armed revolution, go on strike, etc. We have about enough people that all we can do is bitch and moan with the knowledge that there are others out there who see what is going on and are also powerless.
- - - - -
That's what I always say about you, boz, you have a good memory for random facts about pussy. -- joh3n
is it possible by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #25 Wed Sep 27, 2006 at 09:10:48 PM EST
that it is our belief in our powerlessness which makes us powerless?

remember: communism fell. so did the apartheid regime.

it's never so dark that there is no hope. we have but to see it.

If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

[ Parent ]
This is different by theboz (2.00 / 0) #33 Thu Sep 28, 2006 at 03:26:22 AM EST
Our values have been twisted to a point where the things we place the most importance on are not necessary. For example, it is more important to most people to be able to watch their favorite TV shows than it is to eat healthy food and have a long life. I really think that the only way to make real change would be to somehow shut down all the TV networks in the U.S.
- - - - -
That's what I always say about you, boz, you have a good memory for random facts about pussy. -- joh3n
[ Parent ]
That is conflating two different issues by cam (2.00 / 0) #37 Thu Sep 28, 2006 at 05:22:18 AM EST
You have to let people live how they want to live, and if that includes watching tv and eating pizza ad-infinitum, so be it.

The issue with this legislation is giving legislative authority (and hence removing judicial checks and balances from executive action) to the executive so they can act in an arbitrary and tyrannous manner.

cam
Freedom, liberty, equity and an Australian Republic

[ Parent ]
They are related by theboz (2.00 / 0) #57 Thu Sep 28, 2006 at 09:49:52 AM EST
If we live in an environment where freedom is key, we have to stay constantly vigilant to maintain it. Unfortunately, we as a culture have become detached and distant from reality. As a result we are allowing politicians to take away freedom and our collective laziness prevents us from reacting.

To put it in a metaphor, if you are a kid and your mother buys you a pet dog with the condition that you will be responsible to feed it every day, who is to blame when your dog dies of starvation? The U.S. is in the hands of the people, and we are collectively letting it die. Who can we blame but ourselves?
- - - - -
That's what I always say about you, boz, you have a good memory for random facts about pussy. -- joh3n

[ Parent ]
Yes. by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #61 Thu Sep 28, 2006 at 10:30:06 AM EST
It is our freedom, to protect or to let go, as we will.

If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.
[ Parent ]
yep, pretty much by R343L (2.00 / 0) #22 Wed Sep 27, 2006 at 07:34:56 PM EST
RIP for the Republic. You were great while we had you. Like you, I don't see any hope the Democrats will actually block this. So it will be up to the courts, but of course, how do you challenge something like this (what does it mean to have standing in this case?)

Not sure what we can do right now, except write letters and hope...

Rachael

"There will be time, there will be time / To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet." -- Eliot

From the Salt Lake Tribune by wiredog (4.00 / 2) #31 Thu Sep 28, 2006 at 02:39:45 AM EST


Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

US Citizenship can be revoked by lm (2.00 / 0) #36 Thu Sep 28, 2006 at 05:09:51 AM EST
There are a number of situations where US citizenship can be revoked by the US government. I don't know that the revised version that only applies to aliens has any meaningful difference. Would not a person stripped of US citizenship for fighting as an enemy combatant against US forces qualify as an alien?

I'm not going to despair until November. If a peaceful regime change doesn't begin to take place through the wonders of the ballot box, then I'll start to despair.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
how does it improve thigns by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #40 Thu Sep 28, 2006 at 06:28:13 AM EST
to turn the Senate over to democrats who can't be bothered to filibuster the thing?

I mailed Senators Boxer and Feinsten yesterday in my outrage. Here's Feinstein's response:

       Thank you for writing to me about the War Crimes Act.  I welcome the opportunity to respond.

       In the wake of the Supreme Court's decision in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, the Senate Committee on the Judiciary has already held one hearing on the War Crimes Act, and may hold others as well.  The War
Crimes Act has never been used to prosecute war crimes, and so much about its meaning and parameters remains unclear.  Nevertheless, I will
keep your thoughts in mind as this issue progresses.

            We have an obligation as a constitutional democracy to engage in a serious dialogue about difficult issues like protection of an individual's due process rights, while doing everything in our power to protect our national security.  I am also aware that this issue extends
beyond the Administration's immediate desire to prosecute al-Qaeda detainees for war crimes, and reaches into the subject of ensuring
reciprocal treatment and the safety of our military and government personnel in the field.

       I firmly believe that detaining and interrogating enemy combatants is a justified and necessary part of war.  How we find a proper balance is not an easy question to answer.  Nevertheless, the treatment of detainees must be conducted under the rule of law and
subject to the checks and balances upon which our government is built.  I will keep your thoughts in mind as the Senate reviews legislation
regarding the treatment of detainees or proposed changes to the War Crimes Act.

       Again, thank you for writing.  If you have any further comments on this issue, please contact my Washington, D.C. office at [redacted]. Best regards.

This shows zero comprehension of the problem.

Zero!

And somehow the Democrats taking control of the Senate is going to fix the problem?

If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

[ Parent ]
Boxer's a flake by lm (2.00 / 0) #46 Thu Sep 28, 2006 at 07:28:53 AM EST
It looks like Feinstein's office just wanted to get out of answering the question. Most senator's have canned responses like this that they send in reply to any letter remotely related to a given topic.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
i'm not sure this means boxer's a flake by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #47 Thu Sep 28, 2006 at 07:39:53 AM EST
i mailed yesterday. a response today might be expecting too much.

beisdes which ... i think it's far more likely that boxer would support a filibuster on this than feinstein.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

[ Parent ]
Right, pardon my ill thought out message by lm (2.00 / 0) #48 Thu Sep 28, 2006 at 07:52:45 AM EST
I don't think Boxer is a flake because of this situation. I think Boxer is a flake because of the various interviews that I've heard with her over thes past two years. My estimation of her flakiness would stand regardless of where she stands on this particular issue.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Hmm. by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #49 Thu Sep 28, 2006 at 08:48:27 AM EST
I actually prefer Boxer to Feinstein.

Boxer is very leftist. She represents the Bay Area particularly well, in that regard. But she'll stand on principle, even when her principles are nutty.

Feinstein, on the other hand, is the master of political triangulation, and won't stand for a damned thing if she doesn't think there is some political advantage to it.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

[ Parent ]
I honestly don't know much about Feinstein by lm (2.00 / 0) #52 Thu Sep 28, 2006 at 08:59:00 AM EST
Which is why my only point about her was that her office's response to you reads like what it is, a form letter which only serves to let you know that they've received your communication and have read it well enough to generally categorize it. It says nothing about her actual position or her actual plans.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
That's fair. by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #54 Thu Sep 28, 2006 at 09:17:14 AM EST
Feinstein has been our Senator since 1992. Her political career can be summarized as follows:
  • elected as the conservative candidate to the san francisco board of supervisors.
  • ran for mayor three times, lost.
  • suddenly promoted to mayor when a deranged former county supervisor killed the mayor
  • generally conservative mayor of san francisco
  • term limitted out, ran for governor, lost
  • ran for senate on a "year of the woman!" platform, against an appointed carpetbagger. won.
  • magically became the most popular politician in california, generally by being a conservative democrat who tacks left or right with the political wind.
the honest-to-goodness liberals I know all hate her. Most of the moderates I know vaguely dislike her. But there she is.

If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.
[ Parent ]
If you can keep it. | 89 comments (89 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback