Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The End of America: Congress ready to pass bill green-lighting torture & denying basic rights

By Diane Silver

This is my view from the Heatland of the United States, from Kansas: This is the way the great American Dream dies. Out of fear and a desperate Republican need to win the mid-term election, we turn our backs on basic decency; we sell our souls.

AP is reporting that Republican leaders have cleared the way for the detainee bill -- the infamous let's - torture - it - out - of - them bill -- to pass Congress. AP says:
Debate on the bill began almost simultaneously (Wednesday) on both sides of the Capitol after hours of behind-closed-doors negotiations. The House was expected to pass it by late afternoon and the Senate could complete late Wednesday night or Thursday.
Although the version of the bill that is likely to pass isn't as bad as that originally proposed, this is still a horrible bill as Nancy Jane Moore noted in her post "The Bill Legalizing Torture Just Got Worse:
"Did you get that? They aren't just attacking foreigners -- they want to apply these rules, which clearly violate due process and other right guaranteed under the Constitution, to US citizens. And they don't just plan to detain those who have "engaged in hostilities;" they also want anyone who has "purposefully and materially supported" hostilities. How long do you think it will take before they definite "purposefully and materially" as "spoken out in support of opponents of the US?"
AP reports that House Republicans blocked any Democratic amendments, and GOP Senate leaders have "graciously" allowed Republican Sen. Arlen Specter and four Democrats to offer amendments that are expected to fail. Ap says Specter's amendment would strike a provision in the bill that denies terrorism suspects the right to appeal their detention in court.

This version of the bill also includes language that says the president can "interpret the meaning and application" of the Geneva Conventions. AP reports:
While he would not be allowed to authorize interrogation techniques that would violate prohibited war crimes, he would be allowed to decide whether interrogation techniques are within bounds.
Let me ask you. If George W. Bush has the power to interpret the meaning and application of the Geneva Conventions and is allowed to decide whether torture -- sorry, I mean "techniques" -- are "within bounds," what do you think he will do? Shouldn't we judge him on his past actions?

It seems impossible to hope we can stop this, but still, call your senator our House member now.

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