Republican congressional candidate Ray Meier has come out in favor of the Bush / McCain torture legislation. What does that mean? Oh, good question.
The Republicans want you to believe that this legislation is a "compromise" that's reasonable and in accordance with the Constitution of the United States. They want you to believe that, but frankly, it's a load of bull. It's a shell game. It's a scam.
Pay attention to what the law proposed by John McCain and George W. Bush actually would do, and you'll be terrified.
1. The law would remove the right of habeas corpus. That means that, whatever laws are in place protecting the other legal rights of people imprisoned by the federal government, they have no practical effect. After all, if a prisoner does not have the right to be legally acknowledged by the judicial system of the United States, then that prisoner has no legal access to any legal protections at all. This measure endorses the international system of CIA prisons established by George W. Bush.
2. The new version of the legislation actually provides fewer legal protections for people than the earlier version proposed by Bush did. Don't believe me? Believe the Washington Post, which runs the story on its front page this morning: Detainee Legislation to Have Fewer Restrictions.
3. The legislation takes away the right to a speedy trial.
4. The legislation removes the freedom to choose not to incriminate oneself. That freedom is guaranteed to all people, citizen and non-citizen alike, in the 5th Amendment to the Constitution in the Bill of Rights.
5. The legislation would deprive people of the right to know what why they are being imprisoned, including what criminal charges are being made against them. Section 810, article 10 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice states that "When any person subject to this chapter is placed in arrest or confinement prior to trial, immediate steps shall be taken to inform him of the specific wrong of which he is accused and to try him or to dismiss the charges and release him." The McCain - Bush legislation would nullify Section 810, article 10 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
6. The McCain / Bush legislation would permit the use of testimony that was forced from prisoners through the use of torture. That's currently prohibited, even in military trials, by the Uniform Code of Military Justice, Section 831 d, which reads, "No statement obtained from any person in violation of this article, or through the use of coercion, unlawful influence, or unlawful inducement may be received in evidence against him in a trial by court-martial." The new law removes this protection. Torture away!
7. Under the new law, prisoners could be put on trial on criminal charges even before an investigation into the charges took place! Section 832 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice makes this guarantee: "No charge or specification may be referred to a general court-martial for trial until a through and impartial investigation of all the matters set forth therein has been made." What kind of criminal trial could you have before an investigation into the charges has been made? the trial of a kangaroo court, that's what. A kangaroo court is just what John McCain, George W. Bush and Ray Meier have proposed.
8. Under the new law, prisoners will not have the right to cross-examine witnesses against them. In the new system, someone can testify against you and you'll never have the opportunity to question or refute what the witness claims.
9. Have you heard that the new "compromise" legislation guarantees protection under the Geneva Conventions? John McCain says it does. John McCain is lying. Here's verbatim text from the new law: "Geneva Conventions Not Establishing Source of Rights- No alien unlawful enemy combatant subject to trial by military commission under this chapter may invoke the Geneva Conventions as a source of rights."
Think you're safe from this new law? People who were found to have nothing to do with terrorism were seized in the United States and thrown into those secret CIA prisons, where they were tortured while being interrogated. Why couldn't it happen to you? If you're thrown into one of those CIA prisons, under the law pushed by George W. Bush, John McCain and Ray Meier, you wouldn't even have the right to be recognized by a court of law. They could keep you there for the rest of your life, and torture, you, and no one would ever know what happened to you.
The law allows a special government committee, with members appointed by George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld, to declare you an enemy combatant - and neither you nor your family will have the right to appeal this decision.
Don't just believe what the Republicans and the people on the TV tell you about this law. Read it yourself.
Ray Meier thinks that's okay. Are you willing to go along with it?