Monday, March 8, 2010

Eroding Civil Rights in America: Scary Indefinite Detentions Bill Introduced in Senate

A newly introduced bill by John McCain and Joe Lieberman, will allow for the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens, without trial if they are suspected of terrorist activities. There will be no distinction made between U.S. citizens and foreigners.
William Fisher, Global Research
Civil liberties advocates and U.S. constitutional law scholars lost no time in condemning proposed legislation introduced in the Senate Thursday that would hand the government the power to indefinitely detain terrorism suspects without charge and to conduct trials through military commissions only.
Typical was the response from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which said the proposed legislation would "deal a swift blow to due process and the rule of law."
And Larry Cox, executive director of Amnesty International USA (AI), said, "Military commissions were created to consider evidence too inadequate to submit to a valid court. The commissions do not conform to the due process standards established under international law and do not have legitimacy in the eyes of the global community."
The "Enemy Belligerent Interrogation, Detention and Prosecution Act of 2010," introduced by Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona and Independent Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, would also create a new system of interrogation, requiring intelligence officials to be consulted about how to handle terrorism suspects after their capture.
The bill was precipitated by the Senators' objections to the Barack Obama administration's decision to charge accused Christmas Day attacker Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab in the criminal court system.
Abdulmutallab, while in FBI custody, was read his rights, including his right to remain silent and his right to an attorney. These constitutional rights are enjoyed by all persons, whether they are citizens or not, who are arrested on U.S. territory.
U.S. officials insist Abdulmutallab provided valuable intelligence under civilian questioning despite being told he had the right to remain silent.
The McCain-Lieberman legislation would have a "high value detainee" team, made up of members of different intelligence agencies, interrogate and determine whether alleged terrorist suspects are "unprivileged enemy belligerents." If so, and if the suspect is then charged, the legislation would mandate the use of the military commissions for trial.
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