Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Putting the damper on your St. Paddy's parade

While Second Thoughts is all for knocking back a few and briefly forgetting about what ails us on St. Patrick's Day, this item couldn't pass without comment.

At issue is the "Enemy Belligerent Interrogation, Detention and Prosecution Act." Essentially, it would let federal agencies like the CIA detain pretty much anyone — apparently including U.S. citizens — without criminal charges provided that person is deemed a terrorist suspect. And who gets to make the call as to who is a "high-value terrorist suspect"? Why, members and agencies within Executive Branch, of course.

From's Glenn Greenwald:

Meanwhile, the bill recently introduced by Joe Lieberman and John McCain -- the so-called "Enemy Belligerent Interrogation, Detention and Prosecution Act" -- now has 9 co-sponsors, including the newly elected Scott Brown. It's probably the single most extremist, tyrannical and dangerous bill introduced in the Senate in the last several decades, far beyond the horrific, habeas-abolishing Military Commissions Act. It literally empowers the President to imprison anyone he wants in his sole discretion by simply decreeing them a Terrorist suspect -- including American citizens arrested on U.S. soil. The bill requires that all such individuals be placed in military custody, and explicitly says that they "may be detained without criminal charges and without trial for the duration of hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners," which everyone expects to last decades, at least. It's basically a bill designed to formally authorize what the Bush administration did to American citizen Jose Padilla -- arrest him on U.S. soil and imprison him for years in military custody with no charges.

This bill seems to be a true danger to the idea that all are innocent until proven guilty. Yet folks are worried this is what's endangering American liberty. *Sigh*

Think about it over your next St. Patrick's Day pint.

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