The Military Commissions Act and the twilight of American civil liberties

This probably won’t get the attention it deserves in the mainstream press tomorrow (“your liberal media…still not liberal”), but it’s worth reading this entire post from Glenn Greenwald to get a sense of just how dark the lights have gotten in the “shining city upon a hill. Easily the most awful bill related to civil liberties in my lifetime, the Military Commissions Act of 2006 would allow for immigrants to be detained indefinitely, without knowing the reasons for their imprisonment (and they would be robbed of any means of contesting their detention).

From Greenwald:

There is no greater betrayal of the core principles of American political life than to have the federal government sweep people off the streets, throw them into a black hole with no contact with the outside world and no charges asserted of any kind, and simply keep them there for as long as the President desires.

If you care at all about what it means to be an American citizen, you should hope that the incoming congress can at least untangle some of this abomination and restore habeas corpus for anyone currently being held under these pretenses. Those who only see this act through the prism of the “war on terra” don’t seem to grasp the sprawling scope of what this means. From the A.P. article linked above:

It’s pretty stunning that any alien living in the United States can be denied this right,” said Jonathan Hafetz, an attorney for Al-Marri. “It means any non-citizen, and there are millions of them, can be whisked off at night and be put in detention.

It is shocking that we as citizens of this country, a country that has done more for the advancement of human rights around the world than any other nation, would allow our president to let something this draconian become the law of the land. Shameful is just one of many words that come to mind.

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~ by uvasig on November 15, 2006.

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