Discussion in 'Freedom and Liberty' started by Seacowboys, Sep 29, 2006.

  1. Seacowboys

    Seacowboys Senior Member Founding Member

    In Case I Disappear
    By William Rivers Pitt
    t r u t h o u t | Perspective
    Friday 29 September 2006
    I have been told a thousand times at least, in the years I have spent reporting on the astonishing and repugnant abuses, lies and failures of the Bush administration, to watch my back. "Be careful," people always tell me. "These people are capable of anything. Stay off small planes, make sure you aren't being followed." A running joke between my mother and me is that she has a "safe room" set up for me in her cabin in the woods, in the event I have to flee because of something I wrote or said.
    I always laughed and shook my head whenever I heard this stuff. Extreme paranoia wrapped in the tinfoil of conspiracy, I thought. This is still America, and these Bush fools will soon pass into history, I thought. I am a citizen, and the First Amendment hasn't yet been red-lined, I thought.
    Matters are different now.
    It seems, perhaps, that the people who warned me were not so paranoid. It seems, perhaps, that I was not paranoid enough. Legislation passed by the Republican House and Senate, legislation now marching up to the Republican White House for signature, has shattered a number of bedrock legal protections for suspects, prisoners, and pretty much anyone else George W. Bush deems to be an enemy.
    So much of this legislation is wretched on the surface. Habeas corpus has been suspended for detainees suspected of terrorism or of aiding terrorism, so the Magna Carta-era rule that a person can face his accusers is now gone. Once a suspect has been thrown into prison, he does not have the right to a trial by his peers. Suspects cannot even stand in representation of themselves, another ancient protection, but must accept a military lawyer as their defender.
    Illegally-obtained evidence can be used against suspects, whether that illegal evidence was gathered abroad or right here at home. To my way of thinking, this pretty much eradicates our security in persons, houses, papers, and effects, as stated in the Fourth Amendment, against illegal searches and seizures.
    Speaking of collecting evidence, the torture of suspects and detainees has been broadly protected by this new legislation. While it tries to delineate what is and is not acceptable treatment of detainees, in the end, it gives George W. Bush the final word on what constitutes torture. US officials who use cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment to extract information from detainees are now shielded from prosecution.
    It was two Supreme Court decisions, Hamdi v. Rumsfeld and Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, that compelled the creation of this legislation. The Hamdi decision held that a prisoner has the right of habeas corpus, and can challenge his detention before an impartial judge. The Hamdan decision held that the military commissions set up to try detainees violated both the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the Geneva Conventions.
    In short, the Supreme Court wiped out virtually every legal argument the Bush administration put forth to defend its extraordinary and dangerous behavior. The passage of this legislation came after a scramble by Republicans to paper over the torture and murder of a number of detainees. As columnist Molly Ivins wrote on Wednesday, "Of the over 700 prisoners sent to Gitmo, only 10 have ever been formally charged with anything. Among other things, this bill is a CYA for torture of the innocent that has already taken place."
    It seems almost certain that, at some point, the Supreme Court will hear a case to challenge the legality of this legislation, but even this is questionable. If a detainee is not allowed access to a fair trial or to the evidence against him, how can he bring a legal challenge to a court? The legislation, in anticipation of court challenges like Hamdi and Hamdan, even includes severe restrictions on judicial review over the legislation itself.
    The Republicans in Congress have managed, at the behest of Mr. Bush, to draft a bill that all but erases the judicial branch of the government. Time will tell whether this aspect, along with all the others, will withstand legal challenges. If such a challenge comes, it will take time, and meanwhile there is this bill. All of the above is deplorable on its face, indefensible in a nation that prides itself on Constitutional rights, protections and the rule of law.
    Underneath all this, however, is where the paranoia sets in.
    Underneath all this is the definition of "enemy combatant" that has been established by this legislation. An "enemy combatant" is now no longer just someone captured "during an armed conflict" against our forces. Thanks to this legislation, George W. Bush is now able to designate as an "enemy combatant" anyone who has "purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States."
    Consider that language a moment. "Purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States" is in the eye of the beholder, and this administration has proven itself to be astonishingly impatient with criticism of any kind. The broad powers given to Bush by this legislation allow him to capture, indefinitely detain, and refuse a hearing to any American citizen who speaks out against Iraq or any other part of the so-called "War on Terror."
    If you write a letter to the editor attacking Bush, you could be deemed as purposefully and materially supporting hostilities against the United States. If you organize or join a public demonstration against Iraq, or against the administration, the same designation could befall you. One dark-comedy aspect of the legislation is that senators or House members who publicly disagree with Bush, criticize him, or organize investigations into his dealings could be placed under the same designation. In effect, Congress just gave Bush the power to lock them up.
    By writing this essay, I could be deemed an "enemy combatant." It's that simple, and very soon, it will be the law. I always laughed when people told me to be careful. I'm not laughing anymore.
    In case I disappear, remember this. America is an idea, a dream, and that is all. We have borders and armies and citizens and commerce and industry, but all this merely makes us like every other nation on this Earth. What separates us is the idea, the simple idea, that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are our organizing principles. We can think as we please, speak as we please, write as we please, worship as we please, go where we please. We are protected from the kinds of tyranny that inspired our creation as a nation in the first place.
    That was the idea. That was the dream. It may all be over now, but once upon a time, it existed. No good idea ever truly dies. The dream was here, and so was I, and so were you.
  2. Valkman

    Valkman Knifemaker Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Wow, seems this guy leaves a lot out when it doesn't serve his purpose. Yes the SCOTUS ruled against military tribunals, but only until Congress authorized them. Damn - liberals want it both ways and they can't have it! They wanted Geneva Convention protections for these guys (which is ludicrous) and when they get it they bitch because now the gov can hold combatants until "the end of the war", which may not happen in our lifetimes. Poor guys - all innocent and all. I say hold them in secret and waterboard the shit out of 'em.
  3. Seacowboys

    Seacowboys Senior Member Founding Member

    The Bush Leaguers tend to leave a lot out too, like how close the "Patriot Act" puts us to Nazi Germany. I am with the liberals on this one a hundred percent, and will be any time the Bush leaguers do something that impacts our Constitution. Bush totally lost me when he referred to the constitution as "That damned piece of paper" and has done everything in his power to destroy it in the name of security and just because a handfull of people wave their flags and shut their eyes to the irrevocable loss of our precious Freedom and try to sell the rest of us about how necessary it is to protect us all from evil terrorism, I don't buy it.
  4. E.L.

    E.L. Moderator of Lead Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Got a credible quote for that?
  5. Valkman

    Valkman Knifemaker Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    I've never heard that Bush quote either and don't believe it. I figured I'd see the "Patriot Act" argument where "we all know thousands have been victimized" yet no one can produce a factual case.

    This is typically liberal - criticize and criticize and have no plan of their own except for giving terrorists everything they could possibly ask for amd more.
  6. Seacowboys

    Seacowboys Senior Member Founding Member

  7. poacher

    poacher Monkey+++ Founding Member

    Not saying it didn't happen Not saying it did. One source published it and while they do look like they have a solid track record they also won't give say where or how they got it. Nowdays I don't believe crap that I can't get more than one source on. Just what I do and only my opinion.
    Take care Be safe Poacher.
  8. Valkman

    Valkman Knifemaker Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Never heard of that site and am not going to take their word for it. So let's recap:

    Bush ordered 9/11 and destroyed the WTC, damaged the Pentagon and even tried to hit his own residence.

    Started a war over what he did just to get Oil.

    Donned scuba gear and blew up the levees around NO or at least ordered it done. Then delayed all Fed response because everyone knows he hates black people!

    Now he's being way too mean to these "terrorists", 90% of whom are bakers and barbers. These guys gain an average of 22 pounds in Cuba, have everything they ask for and the Red Cross has unlimited access. Yet unspeakable things MUST be going on so it must be closed.

    I think the Dems are determined to knock down any way Bush has of fighting terrorism, then complain he hasn't done enough. When you have no plan tear down the other side's.
  9. E.L.

    E.L. Moderator of Lead Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

  10. Seacowboys

    Seacowboys Senior Member Founding Member

    I assume by credible, you mean issued by the Bush administration?
  11. Seacowboys

    Seacowboys Senior Member Founding Member

    The problem with a two party system is that we have to totally support our devil because he is less than their devil? I have to either totally support a Bush Dictatorship because it makes some of us feel safer or I am a panty-waist democrat; that makes sense.
    If I question events that do not add up within my own fields of expertise and life experiences, then I have to go to the "Tinfoil Hat" line?
    The truth will lie somewhere in-between; it isn't an either/or thing.
    If I don't like Bush then I must be the enemy? Well, I'm sure that eventually the BATF will kick in my doors and locate a couple of hacksaw blades that I could convert into a lightning-link machinegun and dissappear me for years along with my survival wheelbarrow and you guys can post my picture photoshopped behind a firing squad, but wrong is wrong and that won't change. It just makes me sad that so many good people just want to believe "Trust Us, we're your government" and are willing to defend any action that they take, any measure of liberty they trample in the name of security. And the saddest thing is that those of us that express anger at any encroachment on our constitution, for whatever justification, are being sold out as Domestic terrorists.
  12. E.L.

    E.L. Moderator of Lead Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    No, I mean issued by a credible news organization. An acknowldeged credible source. Not heresy.
  13. HBA

    HBA Monkey+++

    Just a few thoughts on the above thread....

    I agree with seacowboys that we are on the slippery slope comming up fast on the edge of the abyss..
    1) best case.... Bush is pure of heart and spirit and truly feels this is needed to protect the people of this country and make the world a better place. Even if this is so, what about the next president or the one after that, they can use this legislation to legally supress our/your freedom to speak or act against what most, in their hearts, know is wrong.
    2) Torture is wrong, no matter the motive, no matter the cause. As a goverment or a people we must stand for what is best in the human spirit and be willing to sacrefice our peace and our saftey for what is right. As an individual in an individual situation the choice is yours and I would do what I felt was needed depending on my judgment of the circumstance, and face the consiquences of God and Law. But as a Country, we should hold ourselves above the level of the people that would distroy us.
    3)My own feelings.... Look at Bush and the way he acts, he may pronunce himself Christian and a follower of what is good, but what do you see. Would you let your children act like this, lie to you for you're own good, lie to get their own way. The Truth in my mind :) ... He walks a dark path, where he manipulates and creates information to serve his own agenda. He wraps it in a pretty box that everyone wants to buy but holds nothing of value. And he keeps wrapping boxes and people keep buying even though the last box they bought was empty. Hey but it has such pretty wrapping....

    anyway there is what I think

    As a sideline I've been lurking for a few months, fun forum, dark times are comming, get ready.

  14. ghostrider

    ghostrider Resident Poltergeist Founding Member

    Welcome aboard, we always need and will listen to another viewpoint. I fully agree with your #1, what if Hillary gets in, and uses the new powers against the American people, and we have 100 Wacos. Your #2 is where I get confused from all the rhetoric, what is the torture they are talking about. I don't think we cut on them, or behead them, that's what they understand is torture, and 1000s of young Muslims would LOVE to do to you.

    I don't have all the answers, I just know historically, we have lost freedoms during wartime, and gotten them back afterwards. Look at Lincoln suspending Habeus Corpus during the Civil War, and even imprisoning a newspaper man until the end of the war.
  15. ColtCarbine

    ColtCarbine Monkey+++ Founding Member

    I do not agree with the Democrats giving illegal immigrants or terrorists the same rights as American citizens, either you earn it by becoming a citizen or you're born with it.

    Aren't those at Gitmo, terrorists suspects? Not the same, if Americans are being held at Gitmo, that's a different story. These same folks are the ones willing to behead your countrymen, I say do what it takes to get 'em to talk. Our boys aren't afforded the same, why be so generous to them. I don't feel we are being tough enough on terrorism. OSB
  16. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

    Maybe we can behead all of the Gitmo, terrorists suspects, or drag their bodies through town and burn them ona bridge while hanging?
    that seems to be ok with the liberals its done to us.
  17. ColtCarbine

    ColtCarbine Monkey+++ Founding Member

    It would get the Muslims attention real quick when they realized, we don't **** around. Fight fire with fire, maybe pour a little gas on it. Healthy fear put upon your adversary never hurts, IMO.
  18. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    These birds don't fear, they have it pounded in that martyrdom is good. I am afraid the doomsayers have a point, the more we eliminate, the more they can and will generate. The total elimination of the radicals is probably the only cure. What is the lesser of two evils, kill all of them, or put up with endless threats of starting things in our house?
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