Team Despot!

Mccain LiebermanIt seems the dynamic duo of Mccain and Lieberman have joined forces once again to produce one of the most horrifying pieces of legislation to date.

It’s called the “Enemy Belligerent, Interrogation, Detention, and Prosecution Act of 2010.”  A post on xpostfactoid notes on the atrocities of this legislation and provides a link to the bill. If passed, this would grant the federal government the legal authority to commit any individual it considered an “enemy combatant” to indefinite detention and suspend Miranda rights.

This bill is a response to the infamous “underwear bomber” incident that happened over the holidays. From 100 years in Iraq if necessary to legal abolition of Habeas Corpus; it seems powermongering is for Senator Mccain what Redbull is for college students cramming for finals. Here is a just a taste of what the bill entails as described by xpostfactoid:

The bill authorizes the President to establish an “interagency team” to make a “preliminary determination of the status” of an individual “suspected of engaging in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners through an act of terrorism, or by other means in violation of the laws of war, or of purposely and materially supporting such hostilities.”  That team will determine whether the suspect shall be accorded a preliminary designation as a “high value detainee” (a.k.a. “unprivileged enemy belligerent” — the bill makes no coherent distinction between these terms).  A final status determination is to be made by the Attorney General and Secretary of Defense; the President can only weigh in if these two disagree.  Incredibly, the entire procedure from capture to final status determination is to be completed within 48 hours….

The provision that removes all discretionary limits to this secret determination of status is in the Criteria for Designation of Individuals as High-Value Detainees. That section creates an initial impression that such “determinations” are subject to the rule of law by laying out specific criteria, beginning with “(A) The potential threat the individual poses for an attack on civilians…” (B) the potential threat the individual poses to United States military personnel…” etc. But the final criterion (E) zooms to infinity: it is simply “Such other matters as the President considers appropriate”….

Thus any individual, whether a foreign national or a U.S. citizen, can be designated an “unprivileged enemy belligerent,” forever denied access to civilian courts and subjected to indefinite detention “without criminal charge and without trial for the duration of hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners” — that is, forever — on the basis of such other matters as the President considers appropriate.

A statement from Senator Mccain about the bill can be found on his website. One can only hope President Obama would never sign off on this terrible piece of legislation if  it were ever to come across his desk. This bill proves that bi-partisanship usually prodcues more harm than good.

(I hope I am not labeled an “unprivileged enemy belligerent” for speaking ill of this legislation.)

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