"Dedicated to exposing the lies and impeachable offenses of George W. Bush"


Bush signs torture bill; Americans lose essential freedom
San Francisco Chronicle/others
October 17, 2006

George W. Bush got what he wanted, ostensibly as a tool in his unfocused "war on terror": By signing into law the Military Commissions Act of 2006, Bush has made it legal for the C.I.A. to continue operating torture facilities in undisclosed, foreign countries, and for the writ of habeas corpus to be suspended for individuals who are designated "enemy combatants" against the U.S. (Designated by whom? That question remains unanswered.) The law also "establishes military tribunals that would allow some use of evidence obtained by coercion [that is, torture], but would give defendants access to classified evidence being used to convict them." (Reuters) http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2006/10/17/worldupdates/2006-10-17T105552Z_01_NOOTR_RTRJONC_0_-272555-1&sec=Worldupdates

The provisions of Bush's new torture law mean that Americans have lost the key, constitutional right on which Anglo-American criminal law (and criminal-law procedures in true democracies in general) is founded; that's the basic right of an individual to know why he or she is being apprehended and detained. Now, technically, as in Stalin's Soviet Union, Hitler's Germany, Mao's China or Pol Pot's Cambodia, anyone labeled an "enemy combatant" - again, by whom; by Bush? - can be whisked away and never heard from again. That kind of authority, in the hands of corrupt or untruthful politicians, may or may not be an effective tool in some kind of "war on terror," but it certainly can be a useful tool when it comes to silencing their opponents.

"Officially, the Military Commissions Act protects detainees from blatant abuses during questioning, such as rape, torture and 'cruel and inhuman' treatment, but it does not require that any of them be granted legal counsel....Bush said that it was 'fair, lawful and necessary.'" (Times) http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,11069-2408546,00.html

During the bill-signing ceremony yesterday, religious groups protested outside the White House. Demonstrators declared, "Bush is the terrorist" and "Torture is a crime."

In an Orwellian pronouncement dutifully reported by Voice of America, the taxpayer-funded "news" service that acts as a mouthpiece for the administration, Bush said: "The United States does not torture....It is against our laws and it is against our values. By allowing the C.I.A. program to go forward, this bill is preserving a tool that has saved American lives." Bush's claim flies in the face of numerous reports of torture conducted by American officials at U.S. military prisons or secret locations overseas. (See Human Rights Watch) http://www.hrw.org/english/docs/2004/06/07/usdom8778.htm

China's Xinhua, the state-controlled news agency of a country that knows a thing or two about suppressing human rights, reports: "Of the hundreds of detainees being jailed at the U.S. military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, only ten have been selected for trial. The indefinite detention of others has been condemned by human-rights groups as violating international law." Xinhua adds: "Some or all of the 14 suspects held by the C.I.A. in secret prisons [outside the U.S.] and recently transferred to military custody at Guantánamo might also be tried." (And then again, given the imprecision of Bush's new law and the ever-greater power that he keeps claiming as president, they might not.)

Xinhua observes: "Three weeks before the midterm congressional elections, [Bush's] signing of the bill was believed to be a deliberate move aimed to shift public attention...from the scandals that could cost Republicans their control of Congress." http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2006-10/17/content_5216124.htm

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