I’ve been working all morning on letting people know about this.
What is it? The end of your safety in America. It’s a bill before the Senate that will:
– Let you or anyone else be imprisoned by the President
– Without evidence or a trial
– And be legally tortured and held indefinitely
– With no guarantee of a trial, ever
– And no court will have jurisdiction over your case even if people found out about it
But just explaining to people how it works has been an incredibly difficult thing to do. People just don’t want to believe that this is what happens in America. It must just be that Aron is going nuts.
But the House already passed it. The Senate is working on it today. To make matters more confusing, there was an amendment from the Democrats that would have toned the bill down, but the Senate killed the amendment and decided to run with the original, full-strength version of the new law after all—only the press is covering it as “Senate kills torture amendment,” so everyone I talk to thinks this is already done and the Senate killed the actual bill.
Basically, it’s like talking to myself in an echo chamber. The totalitarian state begins today, and I can’t even get people to listen to me say that, because the press is misleading them, they have too much faith in supermen and Gods and flags, and they’re too busy anyway. 🙁
Here is the biggest highlight from the bill:
SEC. 6. HABEAS CORPUS MATTERS.
(a) In General- Section 2241 of title 28, United States Code, is amended–
(1) by striking subsection (e) (as added by section 1005(e)(1) of Public Law 109-148 (119 Stat. 2742)) and by striking subsection (e) (as added by added by section 1405(e)(1) of Public Law 109-163 (119 Stat. 3477)); and
(2) by adding at the end the following new subsection:
`(e)(1) No court, justice, or judge shall have jurisdiction to hear or consider an application for a writ of habeas corpus filed by or on behalf of an alien detained by the United States who–
`(A) is currently in United States custody; and
`(B) has been determined by the United States to have been properly detained as an enemy combatant or is awaiting such determination.
`(2) Except as provided in paragraphs (2) and (3) of section 1005(e) of the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 (10 U.S.C. 801 note), no court, justice, or judge shall have jurisdiction to hear or consider any other action against the United States or its agents relating to any aspect of the detention, transfer, treatment, trial, or conditions of confinement of an alien detained by the United States who–
`(A) is currently in United States custody; and
`(B) has been determined by the United States to have been properly detained as an enemy combatant or is awaiting such determination.’.
(b) Effective Date- The amendments made by subsection (a) shall take effect on the date of the enactment of this Act, and shall apply to all cases, without exception, pending on or after the date of the enactment of this Act which relate to any aspect of the detention, transfer, treatment, trial, or conditions of detention of an alien detained by the United States since September 11, 2001.
What does this mean? Read it carefully. The bill claims to legalize torture only for “aliens,” which everyone takes to mean “foreigners and enemies.” But this part at the end of the bill, suspending or altering habeas corpus, says that if the government decides that you are an “alien” then no court has jurisdiction over you any longer. No matter what.
So you say something the government doesn’t like, or you join a party (say, the Democratic party) that the government doesn’t like. And they arrest you and begin to torture you even though you’re a citizen. You might think that all you have to do is prove that you’re a citizen.
But this law takes away the legal possibility to do that. There is nobody to hear your case. This law says that no court and no judge can even listen to your claim that you’re a citizen. Even if a judge were to somehow find out about your case (it would have to be 3rd-hand, because you can’t bring a claim, and you don’t get to present a defense) and that judge were to come to believe in his heart of hearts that you’re a citizen and deserve a trial, it doesn’t matter. No judge can offer you a trial. The law removes jurisdiction from the judiciary branch. Period. If the president orders you arrested and tortured as an “alien,” even if you have your passport and your social security card in your hand, that’s it. You’re no longer a citizen, because no judge can hear your defense or your claim that you’re a citizen and deserve the opportunity to present one.
You don’t get a defense. You don’t even get to ask to present a defense. No trial. No place to appeal. You are locked up, they throw away the key, and there is no legal way in the system to get you back out. It’s not a matter of “winning” something somewhere after making a good argument. Even if everyone in the government is on your side, there is still no legal way to get you out of this detention. All legal ways will have been written out of the law.
And this is going to be passed into law today. Everyone so takes for granted the right to a trial (not even a fair trial, just a trial) that they don’t understand how different it would be if you didn’t ever get to challenge your arrest and imprisonment. You get a trail never. Once you are arrested, there is no day in court. You are behind bars, being tortured, and that is that, there is no place, no chance, for you to ever present evidence that you’re even a citizen, much less that you’re innocent. Once the President, or the Secretary of State, or any higher-ups in the Republican party (read the first section of the bill) decides they want you out of the way, you’re gone forever, no more contact with the outside world.
And the thing is, this bill doesn’t just make that possible—it makes it **legal**.
But still people don’t understand. I can’t make anyone understand. Talk about despair and frustration. It’s days like these that I realize I don’t belong here anymore.