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Habeas Corpus, Rest in Peace 7/12/1215 - 10/17/2006

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Nedra Pickler, Canadian Press

Published: Tuesday, October 17, 2006

WASHINGTON (AP) - President George W. Bush is signing into law new standards expediting interrogation and prosecution of terror suspects, a bill the White House says strengthens his hand in a time of war.

Bush's plan becomes law just six weeks after he acknowledged that the CIA had been secretly interrogating suspected terrorists overseas and pressed Congress to quickly give authority to try them in military commissions.

The bill ready for signing would protect detainees from blatant abuses during questioning - such as rape, torture and "cruel and inhuman" treatment - but does not require that any of them be granted legal counsel. Also, it specifically bars detainees from filing habeas corpus petitions challenging their detentions in federal courts.

White House press secretary Tony Snow said that after Bush signs the legislation Tuesday, the government will immediately begin moving toward the goal of prosecuting some of the high-value suspects being held at the U.S. detention centre at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He expected it would take a month or two to get "things moving toward a trial phase."

The swift implementation of the law is a rare bit of good news for Bush as casualties mount in Iraq in daily violence. Legislators are increasingly calling for a change of strategy and political anxieties are jeopardizing Republicans' chances of hanging onto control of Congress.

Bush was able to divert attention from Republican troubles when he first asked for the legislation during a dramatic speech on Sept. 6 in the White House East Room attended by some families of victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

But the distraction was short-lived as new revelations of Bush's handling of the Iraq war in a book by Bob Woodward raised fresh criticism of his administration.

And Republican Representative Mark Foley's resignation from Congress amid revelations of tawdry e-mails sent to former House pages drowned out Bush's terrorism agenda.

The signing ceremony offered Bush the chance to bask in a legislative victory. About 150 people were invited to the White House for the event, including military officers, members of Congress and members of Bush's cabinet.

"President Bush is going to mark this bill signing as a historic moment because it is a law that he knows will be effective in preventing terrorist attacks and keeping Americans safe," said White House spokeswoman Dana Perino.

Bush needed the legislation because the Supreme Court in June said the administration's plan for trying detainees in military tribunals violated U.S. and international law.

The legislation, which sets the rules for court proceedings, applies to those selected by the military for prosecution and leaves mostly unaffected the majority of the 14,000 prisoners in U.S. custody, most of whom are in Iraq.

The bill also eliminates some rights common in military and civilian courts. For example, the commission would be allowed to consider hearsay evidence so long as a judge determined it was reliable. Hearsay is barred from civilian courts.

The legislation also says the president can "interpret the meaning and application" of international standards for prisoner treatment, a provision intended to allow him to authorize aggressive interrogation methods that might otherwise be seen as illegal by international courts. Snow said Bush would probably eventually issue an executive order that would describe his interpretation.

Many Democrats oppose the legislation because they said it eliminated rights of defendants that are considered fundamental to American values, such as a person's ability to go to court to protest their detention and the use of coerced testimony as evidence.

Earlier this year, an anti-torture panel at the United Nations recommended the closure of Guantanamo and criticized alleged U.S. use of secret prisons and suspected delivery of prisoners to foreign countries for questioning.

The legislation nonetheless won overwhelming approval in the House of Representatives and the Senate.

© The Canadian Press 2006

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Seriously, they're setting up all of these laws for what? To catch terrorist? I haven't seen any terrorists on trial! I haven't seen any one held responsible for the countless errors and atrocities! No one is carrying the blame for over 600,000 lives, though I know who to blame, and its not terrorists.

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I was uber pissed when the senate passed it a few weeks ago. I don't like also how Bush can't be charged with war crimes now pretty much.

Conservative things happen when there is a Republican Congress and a Republic Presidency in charge. Besides, every time these allegations come up they shrug them off.

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*shakes head sadly*

All of these laws are going to be so fun when our leaders decide that its ok to start using them against "Domestic Terrorists" a.k.a. regular Joe's who's only crime is speaking out against a corrupt and brutal government.

I wish I couldn't see that happening... but I can.

God damn it. *puts on Guy Fawkes mask*

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A list of who voted for and against the MCA. That's right. Our hitlist. These are the scumbags, the morons, the sick, twisted and malformed fuckheads who have dared defile a key and central tenet of the American culture. These are the rubes, the jerkwads, the shitheads, the dung-kings of this kingdom of fear and loathing that have trampled straight over the vineyards of the American Dream, smearing their filth and hatred across the lives of every true patriot, every true American in their hatred and bigotry.

Their crime cannot be borne.

The American Dream, the key separation between us and the howling deserts of tyranny and fascism, is tied inseparably to our ability to protest, to disagree, to hold opinions and express them without fear of retribution. That our freedom of speech is defended by the necessity of those in Power to retaliate only with Just Case has always been a thorn at their side- that they cannot silence their critics, enshroud their duplicities and hide their embarrassments has always needled them... as it should. But now? Now all of that is out the window. Now your vote doesn't matter. Now political activism is a joke. Now, with Haebus Corpus not suspended but dead?

Now we're all in the deepest of shit.

The Supreme Court will kill this legally dead- but the Supreme Court has lost what effectiveness it's had. It tried to kill wiretapping- but do you really think that its edicts have any force if the executive branch of the government refuses to carry out its duty... against itself?

Search through that list. Find a representative within your state- and I guarantee you will- that has supported, or abstained, from the voting of this bill. Do what you feel is necessary.

It's the duty of all Americans to secure their liberties in the face of tyranny. If this isn't an attempt at tyranny, then there is very little that is.

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Okay, Belial? You know about all that stuff I said about the necessity of voting in the small-scale context, with ramifications at the national level? Just went out the window. All that shit only applies if the legal process is nominally workable.

Gimme a mask.


The system is so broken, and has been so broken since the end of WWII that we can't go back and fix it.

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You all do know that Lincoln suspended the writs of Habeas Corpus during the Civil War, right...? W isn't the first President has done so openly.

Yeah, but there was a hostile country about a 40 minute walk from the white house.

...And that's the end of that chapter. *dusts off hands and rides off into the sunset*

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There are still people who want the government to go as far as it can to "protect" us. I wonder how much further must this go before they realize what is going on.

39% (give or take) of our country still supports Bush and they more than likely all reside in red states that contain no ideal targets for terrorists.

Be paranoid and fearful Branson, Missouri.

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Lincolns suspension of haebus corpus was almost indisputably necessary. But we're not in a civil war- we're not facing an enemy swarming our coasts and battering at our defenses. We're not facing a massive front of bullets and hellfire and aerosol poisons.

All we truly have to fear is not a bunch of howling desert fanatics wasting bullets upon the blood-strewn plains of Iraq and Afghanistan... but our own duly elected government, twisted irrevokably by a power trip of such magnitude as to make Nixon look like a wimpy Democrat.

The attack on the Twin Towers caused the loss of three thousand lives... but this bill strips basic human dignity from hundreds of millions. It might not be any worse of a crime, but I question whether it's any better.

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