Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Vote Democratic and Always Carry a Toothbrush

Another great article! The title says it all, I think. For more than a year I have been joking with my family and friends that if I don't come home from a peace march or other demonstration they should assume I have been "disappeared" to Gitmo.

By Dave Lindorff
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Wednesday 04 October 2006

I've decided to start carrying a toothbrush.

Incredibly, we've reached that point in America where, thanks to a bunch of spineless traitors in Congress (Republicans and Democrats), it is only a matter of time before the state begins rounding up people like me and whisking us off to dark cells without telling anyone.

Congress, with almost no discussion, has just approved a law ostensibly about authorizing military tribunals for alleged terrorists, which actually went way beyond that bad enough end run on the Constitution to include giving the president the Congressional sanction to torture captives and, as well, the power to snatch up any American citizen and declare her or him to be an "unlawful combatant," devoid of Constitutional rights.

Such a victim of presidential whim or pique could be shuttled off to a gulag anywhere in the world, or to Guantanamo Bay, or to a military installation somewhere in the US. Nobody, not even family members, would have to be notified of this capture and detention. No lawyer would be called.

This, sad to say, is America today, courtesy of your elected representatives, a majority of whom have violated their oaths of office to uphold and defend the Constitution. Our nation has become a place that the revolutionists of 1776 would easily recognize, not as the country they brought into being, but rather as a reprise of the tyrannical colonial British rule that they struggled to break free from.

Under the guidelines President Bush is using for the made-up term "unlawful combatant," anyone who is said to be giving aid to terrorists (a very slippery term itself, which has been used to describe everyone from a lone bomber to the elected presidents of Iran and Venezuela) could be subjected to secret, indefinite detention without charge, and to torture as well.

Such "aid" could be an innocent donation of money to a charity that, unknown to the donor, turned out to somehow be providing funds to an organization associated with a terrorist organization. A Christian charity that donates some of its funds to an Iranian state orphanage might easily if inadvertently fit that bill. Writing an article critical of the Bush administration's hoked up "war" on terror (like this one here), could qualify the author for arrest, too. Certainly a piece I wrote for The Nation's online edition last week, disclosing that the Bush administration had pushed forward deployment to the Iran Theater of an aircraft carrier battle group by a month in preparation for a probable attack on Iran before Election Day, could pass the terrorist-aid test.

Likewise, a report by Time Magazine reporters the same week, revealing that Navy personnel had received "prepare to deploy" orders to be ready to sail a fleet of minesweepers to the Persian Gulf on October 1, also in preparation for war against Iran.

Once Bush begins really using his new gift from Congress of dictatorial powers of arrest without charge and detention without trial, the brigs of the country's military bases will begin to fill with journalists, anti-war activists and little old ladies who gave to the wrong charity.

Make no mistake. This is going to happen unless this catastrophic sell-out bill passed into law by Congress is repealed or declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, because history has made it crystal clear that powers made available are powers used.


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