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Home > Politics

WAWIBF... The Land of the
Free

20 October 2006

'It is a rare occasion when a President can sign a bill he knows will save American lives. I have that privilege this morning... And now, in memory of the victims of September the 11th, it is my honor to sign the Military Commissions Act of 2006 into law.'

- President George W. Bush, Tuesday

Phew. Thank heavens for George W Bush, a man who actually cares about saving lives, a man who actually cares about the legacy of the victims of 9/11. And thank heavens for the Military Commissions Act of 2006. According to the 'fact sheet' on the Whitehouse website, the new act 'Will Preserve The Tools Needed To Help Save American Lives.' Their capitals. It 'will allow the CIA to continue its program for questioning key terrorist leaders and operatives like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed - the man believed to be the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. This program has been one of the most successful intelligence efforts in American history, and the Military Commissions Act will ensure that we can continue using this vital tool to protect the American people for years to come. With this bill, America reaffirms our determination to win the War on Terror.'

Sadly, there is a downside. Isn't there always? Well, this is quite a hefty one. Habeas corpus, that cornerstone of any legal justice system worth its salt, has, in the process of this law coming to pass, taken a critical punch to the throat. Habeas corpus was terribly important if you ever happened to find yourself arrested, detained and - god forbid - tortured by the authorities. Essentially, it gave the detainee the right to have his or her detention legally challenged in a court of law. A fair trial. Recourse. To the law. It was basically all that stood between good government and Robert Mugabe, and on Tuesday of this week, in signing the Military Commissions Act, George Bush rolled the sacred writ up into a tiny little ball and, in front of the whole nation, shoved it right up his ass.

The Military Commissions Act suspends habeas corpus for anyone deemed to be an 'unlawful enemy combatant engaged in hostilities or having supported hostilities against the United States'. And who does the deeming? Why, the United States government of course! Sweet. As of this week then, anyone in the United States may be arrested, detained and even tortured (but not inhumanely or to the point of death) on the government's say-so. Furthermore, said 'enemy' will have no recourse to legal
representation. They may be detained at the government's pleasure for as long as the government's pleasure pleases. Furthermore, any evidence, including hearsay evidence and evidence teased from suspects with the threat of drowning, will be admissible in a court of law - if it ever gets to a court of law that is, and if the judge in said court deems said evidence damning enough.

So there it is. The day George Bush killed freedom once and for all, and actually had the balls big enough to blame it on the victims of 9/11.

What a guy. Somebody. Please. Stop him.

Dissent.

'Facts'.



Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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