Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Military Commissions Act 2006 (HR6166)

A rather misleading title for a bill that has sealed the fate of America and its citizens.

The Military Commissions Act, which was passed by Congress on Thursday September 28th has now been signed by Bush, a bill which was hastily run through Congress with many members not even reading it.

Infowars.com website encapsulates the key features of HR6166:

  • 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 citizens 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. Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales has already threatened federal judges to shut up and not question Bush's authority on the torture of detainees.
Following in the wake of Patriot Acts I and II, this latest and final dismantling of the US constitution and Bill of Rights will render America a facsist military dictatorship - a veritable Nazi-style Germany.

Yet the American press have been totally unconcerned about what is the most damning piece of legislation in America’s history. The mainstream media, as always, are deliberately set up prevent Americans from hearing the truth.

According to Reuters "He is trying to help Republicans maintain control of the U.S. Congress by contending they are stronger on national security, a stance with which Democrats vehemently disagree".

Which way will this swing the pendulum next month in the mid-term elections?

It really is goodbye America.