Why Is Bush Waiting On Military Commissions Act?
Many fear pre-election event will lead to expansion of bill, hold on Bush's signature provides window of opportunity for attempt at repeal
Paul Joseph Watson & Alex Jones/Prison Planet.com | October 16 2006
The Military Commissions Act of 2006 was passed by the Senate over two weeks ago yet, as Keith Olbermann pointed out in his excellent MSNBC commentary last week, Bush has not yet actually signed HR 6166 and it doesn't become law until his signature is on it. Whatever the reason for the delay, this represents an opportunity to get the story about how America died on the evening of Thursday September 28th back on top of the headlines.
Will Bush choose to ignore legislation passed by Congress and the Senate as he has done in the past with other bills and essentially veto the act? There's probably more chance of Mark Foley getting re-elected but this momentary pauses at least gives us the opportunity to keep the legislation in the media spotlight and rally for a repeal.
Olbermann outlined the fact that the act expeditiously nullifies nine of the first ten freedoms clarified in the bill of rights. It seems the McCain "compromise" at least left us with one remaining "bill of right." Many of the members of Congress who voted in favor of the bill to officially end America didn't even read it.
The big question at the moment is why Bush has delayed signing the legislation even in the midst of fast-tracking other bills of little significance?
It was reported by the Washington Post over the weekend that Bush and Karl Rove are "inexplicably upbeat" about the upcoming midterm elections and expected the Democrats to easily fall short of the 15-seat threshold that would see them recapture the House.
In the face of scandals piled atop scandals and the universal unpopularity of the ongoing quagmire in Iraq, how on earth can Bush and Rove expect to employ successful damage limitation, absent some intervening event or the "October surprise" that Rove himself promised.
The arrogance of the Neo-Cons has led many to fear that HR 6166 is being maintained in a holding position in anticipation of a major event that will give the Bush administration carte blanche to expand its provisions and sharpen its focus to further target American citizens.
WHAT THE MILITARY COMMISSIONS ACT OF 2006 "LEGISLATES"
- Doesn't suspend, as is accommodated for in the Constitution, but completely abolishes Habeas Corpus permanently - the right of the detainee to see the evidence against him and not be locked up for eternity based on the arbitrary will of the state.
- Contains a definition of "wrongfully aiding the enemy" which labels all American citizens who breach their "allegiance" to President Bush and the actions of his government as terrorists subject to possible arrest, torture and conviction in front of a military tribunal.
- The definition of torture that the legislation cites is US code title 18 section 2340 . This is a broad definition of torture and completely lacks the specific clarity of the Geneva Conventions. This definition allows the use of torture that is, "incidental to lawful sanctions." In alliance with the bill's blanket authority for President Bush to define the Geneva Conventions as he sees fit, this legislates the use of torture.
- Destruction of any property is defined as terrorism, which is deemed punishable by any means of the military tribunal's choosing.
- Any violent activity whatsoever is defined as terrorism if it takes place near a designated protected building, such as a charity building.
- A change of the definition of "pillaging" turns all illegal occupation of property and all theft into terrorism. This makes squatters and petty thieves enemy combatants.
- In light of Greg Palast's recent hounding by Homeland Security , after they accused him of potentially giving terrorists key information about U.S. "critical infrastructure" when filming Exxon's Baton Rouge refinery (clear photos of which were publicly available on Google Maps), sub-section 27 of section 950v. should send chills down the spine of all investigative journalists and even news-gatherers. It defines collecting information clandestinely which is then used against the interests of the U.S. government as terrorism.
- The bill allows hearsay evidence (obtained via phony confessions after torture) to be considered by the military tribunal and bars the suspect from even having knowledge of the charges against him - making a case for defense impossible. This is guaranteed to produce 100% conviction rates as you would expect in the dictatorships of Uzbekistan or Zimbabwe and other torture protagonists who are in many cases allied with the Bush administration and provide phony confessions obtained from torture that allow the U.S. government to scare its people with the threat of imaginary Al-Qaeda terror cells waiting to kill them.
- All of these provisions apply to American citizens. Yale Law Professor Bruce Ackerman states in the L.A. Times , "The compromise legislation....authorizes the president to seize American citiz ens as enemy combatants, even if they have never left the United States. And once thrown into military prison, they cannot expect a trial by their peers or any other of the normal protections of the Bill of Rights." Similarly, law Professor Marty Lederman explains : "this [subsection (ii) of the definition of 'unlawful enemy combatant'] means that if the Pentagon says you're an unlawful enemy combatant -- using whatever criteria they wish -- then as far as Congress, and U.S. law, is concerned, you are one, whether or not you have had any connection to 'hostilities' at all."
- In section 950j. the bill criminalizes any challenge to the legislation's legality by the Supreme Court or any United States court. Alberto Gonzales has already threatened federal judges to shut up and not question Bush's authority on the torture of detainees.
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