Monday, October 16, 2006

The loathsome Military Commissions Act of 2006, part 1 (guest post by Uranus)

Rumor has it President Bush will sign the Military Commissions Act of 2006 Tuesday, October 17. I believed I could be finished reading the text of this new law a week ago. But, one thing leads to another. I'm still not finished reading the document as thoroughly as needed to write a complete summary. I will do that. I am ready to begin commenting about it, and I guarantee you won't be happy with what I'm going to tell you.

Many fine news stories and editorials have been written about the Act, including
this one by Stephen Rohde and this one by Keith Olbermann. I can recommend those. They cover all the usual, hard-to-find provisions of the Act mentioned time and time again. Those astonishing, unbelievable measures, to be applied to those who are taken into detention by our military, are surprising on their face; indeed, it's also hard to believe Sen. McConnell (R-KY) would put his name on this deplorable bill retroactively absolving the Bush administration, members of the service and contractors of criminal liability related to crimes committed upon people in detention, particularly torture, in view of the Constitutional prohibition of making such a law.

What is most striking to me are the provisions of this law which have escaped the attention of the usual popular writers, and which I suspect even the authors of the Act failed to take into consideration. How far are we willing to go to protect President Boy Idiot? I can only spend so many hours a day studying these materials, and in that I'm not an experienced military lawyer, I suffer from a considerable learning curve. It occurred to me early in the process all the lawmakers, analysts, commentators and I were missing the big picture with this law. Just minutes ago, I suddenly realized what that glaring omission is.

Sometimes the most obvious things are hiding in plain sight. I've spent most of the day comparing the language of the Act with titles in U.S. Code which the Act amends and appends. As if that matters! I rightfully threw up my hands days ago, deciding this law lets our errant government do most anything to most anyone in the world--talk about the long arm of the law. All Bush or an authorized minion has to do is attach your name to the descriptive term "unlawful enemy combatant" and you can be taken away, held indefinitely without charges and tortured to death with no one ever hearing what became of you. Or, you can be treated in a variety of other remarkable ways. But, I have a point to make, first and foremost, which, in the haste of writing the most horrible law I've ever seen, clearly the authors overlooked--or maybe they didn't--who the hell knows.

This law will become part of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Ask yourself this simple question: military commissions, tribunals, courts, provost courts, have jurisdiction over whom precisely? Active members of our military. Stop and let the meaning of that sink in for a few minutes.

In the big, last minute rush to protect Bush, Cheney and Rummy from a small aspect of their maiming and killing, Congress approved a law which, when enacted tomorrow, will legalize the indefinite detention and torture of our nation's finest, our own military--the people who volunteered to risk their lives to protect and serve America. That's some fine-ass lawmaking. Forget about whether they plan to imprison and beat war protestors. There isn't a single line in the document which says the law can't be used on our service members, and given half a reason, it will be.

Even the despicable people who support this legislation, wrongly believing it applies ONLY to torturing bad Islamic terrorists to death without a trial, won't care for the news that the Act provides for treating our men and women in uniform the very same way.

That's not the end of the bad news. It gets much worse. I'm suffering transmission failure and must go to my appointment with a master mechanic in a few hours, but will resume my series on the Military Commissions Act of 2006 soon. In conclusion, it is my opinion that everyone who signed off on this grievous, wholesale destruction of our system of criminal justice has earned a place in the town square stocks, or chained to a wall, where they should be left alone to starve, rot and sprinkle the ground with their dust. It is not appropriate to handle war prisoners through military tribunals; at least, not with such a ham-handed law as this. They should have established a system outside of military justice.

A patriot would give his life for his country. Any and every member of Congress, and the other two branches, should be willing to risk their career at least, if not their life at most, to say no to this law, which removes the words "with liberty and justice for all" from the pledge of allegiance, in that when Bush signs it there will be no liberty or justice for anyone. Without expressly exempting members of the military from denial of habeas corpus and legalized torture, he and Congress will have (inadvertently?) committed the greatest act of treason in American history.

Update: you can read part 2 here.


«—U®Anu§—» said...

What a mess. That's what happens when you get in too big a hurry. Posing an a "needed update," the Military Commissions Act impacts statutes dealing with the system of military justice as it applies to service people, not POWs. I didn't realize that until I started reading U.S. Code. Then, the new law just lumps them all together without making any distinction. It doesn't distinguish other things, as I'll show you.

rimone said...

thank you, «—U®Anu§—»

i'm totally sickened by this shit, much more that you--a private citizen--took the time to read and understand.

where are the headlines screaming this from American rooftops and news-stands?

*crickets chirping*

Deb said...

Thou art very innocent if you believe it wasn't deliberate, of course it was. It falls right in with my theory that they are not going to give up power peacefully so I doubt if America is going to like the results of the elections.

I smell martial law in our future.

rimone said...

Debra, i totally agree w/you. :-(

«—U®Anu§—» said...

Rimone, without being as thoroughly acquainted with your writing as I should be, I am aware that your level of revulsion with things such as this is far more than most anyone's; also, I know it arises out of your natural ability to be very aware and compassionate, empathetic. I have a few pages of the Act left to study, and a couple-three miles of scroll of U.S. Code to examine. I hope to cough out part 2 of the series tonight, and maybe finish it tomorrow.

The problem with knowing the intended purpose of a superfluous law like this is the Bush administration's penchant for secrecy. It creates an information vacuum where conspiracy theories flourish. I told Janet about this and she told me, "you can't do anything about it." I said, "yes I can, I can blubber like a pussy." Being unable to make credible predictions, my extensive notes will certainly show you what's possible.

rimone said...

Uranus: Rimone, without being as thoroughly acquainted with your writing as I should be

i have two kinds of 'writing': copying and pasting (and getting outraged more) and babbling--and that's it.

I told Janet about this and she told me, "you can't do anything about it."

that's what they want everyone to think. but i figure that even one person can help US all out, if the right person sees their work and keeps passing it on, y'never know.

keep up the great work, Uranus.

«—U®Anu§—» said...

Oh, thanks Rimone. As you know, Bush signed this piece of shit into law today. I didn't make my post last night. After many hours of pouring through this material, I passed out. I started again at 4 a.m., worked until almost noon and had to sleep a couple hours. I'm in the last 20 pages of the Act, which is where a lot of the meat is. The stuff is very contradictory, and is revising laws I'm not familiar with, one being the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005, which is too new to be published in U.S. Code. So, I found a copy of it and, sure enough, there are numerous court challenges to that mess. All of these laws were far too voluminous before Bush and the rubber stamp Congress started on them, and they always think they're going to have the last word. What happens, then, is that their slipshod work creates a lot of litigation and confusion; meanwhile, they go ahead and do whatever maniacal thing they were doing before they tried to legislate their way out of a corner.

I've sure developed a keen sense of that. I'd like to finish this, it's more than gotten on my nerves. But I promised myself I'd see it through. There is a little good news, at least: as of today, there is no signing statement from Bush published on this law. I guess that doesn't mean there won't be one later.

I'm slightly familiar with civilian criminal law. I'm not at all familiar with military criminal law, which is very different. This new law attempts to turn military law into something altogether new. I can only render an opinion about it. I don't have the experience or legal brilliance to extrapolate the many unseen things the new law has the potential to do. I discarded my plan of how to comment about this at least twice, so as I finish the reading I'm wondering about how to do that. Anyway, thanks for the vote of confidence. Studying Bush era legislation makes my head hurt very, very much--and I just took the last of the aspirin. I know I'll have to take a break and go get more before I can finish.

lukery said...

yeah thnx uranus. great work.

am looking forward to the next installment if you get there without killing yourself!

lukery said...

debra - i'm with you. it's not difficult to imagine martial law after the election, or perhaps even before.


«—U®Anu§—» said...

It's some ugly shit. Reading it and thinking about it is ugly. Luke, you and everyone are doing a great job. People all over are noticing, too. I hope people read part 2, just posted it, so they know what that's about.

Demitria Monde Thraam said...

Why doesn't Congress do anything? I have your answer, and yes, it sounds crazy. Or would have before this benighted century.

I was looking at the congressional RECORD the other day, I wish the link was handy, I need to find it. It was about the resolution to continue the war on Terr(a) and "commit to support the troops", it read like one of those time waster feelgood resolutions but it had this line in it which essentially means Congress cannot pass a law that will pull the troops out of Iraq or Gods know where else.

So the thing goes into debate and the gentleman from this state and the gentlewoman from that state speak their pieces, some speak a blue streak and others the same old "America is under attack blah blah 9/11 blah blah" (How dare they STILL bring that into it when we are beginning to see it was a FAKE that killed 3,000 Americans just to give the neocons their New Pearl Harbour and their Afghan and Iraq wars, their Unocal pipeline and stealing rights over Iraq's oilfields.)

But here's the sick part. Law gets passed. You read the yays and nays. That's funny. Why are some of the congresspersons who spoke like liberals voting with Bush? Why is it, when the result is called, a whole bunch of retractions are suddenly listed, of course, not ENOUGH to MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

Go and study this and look at some other sessions. The answer to the Democrat Party problem is not "lack of focus" at all, it's that it's full of PLANTS. I think Pelosi might even be a plant and it makes me ill how many times I voted for her. She voted for the latest Iraq money appropriation and has voted yes on every one and sends me form letter after form letter telling me how horrified she is by the war she keeps voting to pay for.

That's the behaviour of an infiltrator. These people are evil, patient and have absolutely no scruples. They will put a candidate into Democratic congressional races who will look like God's Gift to Liberal America and then on Election Day, most of the Democrats lose, but the ones in the blue states? THEY'RE ALMOST ALL BEHAVING LIKE THIS. Pelosi! Good god. I nearly hit the floor with shock.

The next day, I went out and became a registered Libertarian. They probably don't bother to put plants in that party and since it's so damn centerless I want to help pick its primary candidates. Third parties that REALLY pull together (a Green/Libertarian alliance that got a serious move on could have done it but it's too late now - but they'd beter by '08) might confuse things for the vote stealers if they do it properly.

Otherwise, the only way we're ever going to see the end of this is if the EU or another nation or coalition of nations goes to war with the US and wins. That will not be fun, either, and yet here I am thinking this because it's less traitorous than this horrid law. This makes my reaction to the DSEA back in '02 nothing by comparison.

All my friends are leaving the country, I feel like a Jew in Berlin in 1937. (Shudder)

lukery said...

demetria - great comment. thnx. i think you are correct about the infiltrators - it's either that or blackmail. the result is the same.

and yep, it's difficult to see any internal/self correction in the system - which seems to indicate that it'll take something external to fix it. scary thoughts.

rimone said...

reading Demetria's comment made me (more) ill ...if she's right, i don't think i could be more disgusted by this crew or hate them more or wanna stop them more.

All my friends are leaving the country, I feel like a Jew in Berlin in 1937. (Shudder)

i wish them the best of luck. but where are they going? do they have jobs waiting for them, i hope? or can they just pick up and leave cause they're independentaly wealthy?

as i've said so many times, we're gonna need outside help to stop this bunch.

«—U®Anu§—» said...

I've been trying to figure out what goes on in these guys' minds, and I've come to the conclusion it's all about the killing--killing and more killing, making up excuses and avoiding prosecution. Even seizing other countries' oil is just an excuse for more killing. Any day now people in the U.S. are going to figure it out. They know that, and their machinery is in place to deal with it. That would be the avenue of first resort, killing. Even a supporter is a potential dissident--or some other excuse--so eventually it becomes okay to kill those people, too. If the GOP is left in place, the U.S. will become a country with only enough people as needed to build and transport weapons. When republicans say democrats don't have a plan, what they mean is they know democrats don't plan to exterminate the world, which they believe is a biological necessity because psychopaths must be served, and have their killing.

I've been saying that for awhile, and I think most people don't believe it. But the criticism I'm an off-the-hinges radical never comes. After our ships reach Iran, we're going to find out whether or not this is true. I fear it is, and the mother of lessons in the high cost of an education.

rimone said...

they're all a bunch of motherfucking chickenshits who never served themselves but loooooove to play toy soldiers w/real bodies to compensate for their cowardice and tiny dick syndrome.

«—U®Anu§—» said...

Just as I suspected. The vote was set before this law was written. Some hacks wrote it, no one in Congress read it--it all came down to who wanted to give Dubya something else he wanted. Their minds (???) were on other things. They don't care about their jobs, the country, or anything else. They've transcended to the next plane. It's apocalyptic and shit.

rimone said...

i cannot say here what i wanna say, something about airplanes crashing and lots of people dying all at once (not 9/11 stuff)

remember, i wasn't like this at all until 2000.

luke, feel free to delete this if it makes you uncomfortable.

Anonymous said...

Ah yes,

The Treason of September

Remember, Remember, the 29th of September, Military Commissions Act,
Assault on the Bill of Rights by a Vile Lot,
I see no reason why that day of high treason
Should ever be forgot.