Widgetized Section

Go to Admin » Appearance » Widgets » and move Gabfire Widget: Social into that MastheadOverlay zone

Torture is about to become the law of the land

By
September 28, 2006

Driven by bitter partisanship and lockstep Republican loyalty to a President and his failed politics, Congress is about to make torture of the law of the land.

The House Wednesday approved George W. Bush’s plan to codify "harsh interrogation techniques" for detainees along with expanded powers for the President to determine just what can and cannot be done to them while they are in custody.

The Senate is expected to approve their modified version today and both Houses of Congress expect to work out any differences and have the bill on the President’s desk by the end of the week.

And we can expect Republicans to spin the approval of torture as a political positive in the rapidly-approaching November mid-term elections, claiming anyone who opposes their barbarianism is "weak" on national security.

As The Associated Press reports:

Congress is on track to approve a White House plan for detaining and interrogating terrorism suspects — legislation Republicans likely will use on the campaign trail to assert that Democrats want to coddle terrorists.

Barring any last-minute hiccups, a Senate vote Thursday would send the legislation to the president’s desk by week’s end. The House approved a nearly identical measure Wednesday on a 253-168 vote.

Senate Republicans agreed on the measure with the exception of whether to allow terrorists the right to protest their detentions in court. Sen. Arlen Specter (news, bio, voting record), R-Pa., chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, contends the ability to file a "habeas corpus" petition is considered a fundamental legal right and necessary to uncover abuse.

Other Republicans contend that providing terror suspects the right to unlimited appeals would weigh down the federal court system.

Four Democrats and Specter were being given opportunities to offer amendments Thursday, but all were expected to be rejected along party lines.

Democrats have said the legislation would give the president too much latitude when deciding whether aggressive interrogations cross the line and violate international standards of prisoner treatment.

The legislation would establish a military court system to prosecute terror suspects, a response to the Supreme Court ruling in June that Congress’ blessing was necessary. While the bill would grant defendants more legal rights than they had under the administration’s old system, it nevertheless would not include rights usually granted in civilian and military courts.

The measure also provides extensive definitions of war crimes such as torture, rape and biological experiments, but gives the president broad authority to decide which other techniques U.S. interrogators may use legally. The provisions are intended to protect CIA interrogators from being prosecuted for war crimes.

For nearly two weeks the White House and rebellious Republican senators have fought publicly over whether President Bush’s plan would give a president too much authority. But they struck a compromise last Thursday, and Republicans are hoping approval will bolster their effort to cast themselves as strong on national security, a marquee issue this election year.

Democrats’ opposition to the bill likely will fuel political attack ads from their Republican challengers as lawmakers go into the Nov. 7 elections.

After Wednesday’s mostly party-line vote in the Republican-run House, House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., said in a statement that Democrats who voted against the measure "voted today in favor of more rights for terrorists."

He added, "So the same terrorists who plan to harm innocent Americans and their freedom worldwide would be coddled, if we followed the Democrat plan."

In response, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Democrats feared the House-passed measure could endanger U.S. soldiers by encouraging other countries to limit the rights of captured American troops, and be vulnerable to being overturned by the Supreme Court.

"Speaker Hastert’s false and inflammatory rhetoric is yet another desperate attempt to mislead the American people and provoke fear," she said, adding that Democrats "have an unshakable commitment to catching, convicting and punishing terrorists who attack Americans."

Pelosi and other Democrats said the bill would give the president too much power to decide whether interrogation standards go too far.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, said, "This bill is everything we don’t believe in."

Overall in the House, 219 Republicans and 34 Democrats voted for the legislation, while 160 Democrats, seven Republicans and one independent voted against it.

Bush, who planned to meet with GOP senators Thursday morning, has urged the Senate to approve the measure and in a statement issued after the vote congratulated the House for its "commitment to strengthening our national security."

Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, wanted to add language to improve congressional oversight of the CIA program, while Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., wanted the bill to expire after a limited time so Congress could revisit the matter.

Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., offered an amendment to add to the list of forbidden interrogation techniques and warn other nations that the United States would not tolerate abusive treatment of its citizens living abroad. Kennedy’s says the GOP bill opens the door to retaliation from other nations.

"The bill that has reached the floor would diminish the security and safety of Americans everywhere," he said.

___

The House resolution is HR 6166. The Senate bill is S 3930.


30 Responses to Torture is about to become the law of the land

  1. HB2P

    September 28, 2006 at 5:51 pm

    We are on our way to legally sanctioning a dictator. Are you ready for Der Fuhrer Bush?

    He decides who is imprisoned, for what reasons and for how long. We should all be scared, VERY scared.

  2. Steve Horn

    September 28, 2006 at 5:53 pm

    Were I current on the ground in a hostile zone, as an American soldier, I would be concerned about this action by my government. As American standards tend to be viewed as the standards of the world when it comes to the treatment of POW’s – the bar has just fallen off the uprights.

    Oh – and on another note – I just heard Bush on the BBC saying that he’s disappointed in the UN for their lack of direct action in Darfur – and that HIS government may have to take it’s own action. Great – guess we’re going to threaten Sudan now …

    Peace

    Steve

    http://www.deadwinorecords.com

  3. Barbara Peterson

    September 28, 2006 at 6:11 pm

    If you want to see misuse of the Constitution, look no further than Texas. George Bush, and I just can not call him President Bush, ruined Texas. Our children are not learning the basic three “R”‘s and our prisons are full and Texas will probably never recover. I can not believe those who still think Bush is a good person, in my personal opinion, he is a spoiled brat who is used to having his own way and when he does not get his way, he becomes vile and beligerant and wants to get even with those who dare disagree with the “decider”

  4. Lysistrata

    September 28, 2006 at 6:17 pm

    It is one more sign of the decline of a great nation. The government is corrupt and is kicking the honor of the nation in the dust bin, and that from the little worms who said they would return honor to the oval office. shame, shame to all the little people who vote for such an insult to all of us.
    Comon sense tells me, you can’t get reliiable information based on torture, but there will be a net loss of honor of a great nation. But what else can we expect from such an incompetent administration.
    Not one of these people has any honor left if they ever had any. I am ashamed too.

  5. Jerry

    September 28, 2006 at 6:30 pm

    Well it’s official. The Bush Administration has reduced our nation to a level no better than any other banana republic. Yay! Three cheers for George W. Bush! Heil George!

    Excuse me while I goose-step off to work now. Have to do my part in keeping our new corporate fascism running.

  6. Lysistrata

    September 28, 2006 at 6:33 pm

    HB2P
    The little man always said he was the leader, Fuehrer is the german word for Leader and he sure acts like it too.

    The moral values are not the numbers of killings, it is the motivation. Do the Bush people display any sense of conscience? I can’t see it.

  7. carol

    September 28, 2006 at 6:57 pm

    I’m disgusted, disappointed, horrified, and sickened but certainly not surprised.

    And also so ashamed of what we have for a government. These thugs and criminals all need to be either voted out(if that’s possible) or else forcibly removed. They are not leaders in any sense of the word, not now not tomorrow, not ever. We owe them NO loyalty at all.

    I’m also disgusted and openly contempable of every idiot fool american who so blindly and stupidly were out there with stars in their eyes lovingly help these monsters in human form into office. And for every idiot fool american who has refused to take off their rose colored glasses and face reality of the horror that Amerika has become.

  8. Ann

    September 28, 2006 at 8:10 pm

    Our president himself clearly told the Americans and the world he has no loyalty, allegience, or patriotism to the United States when he bragged he’d like to be the dictator of the world. Of course he’s trying to escape being tried for war crimes. Cowards always run when faced with accountability for their actions–just not always with their feet. First step is to eject him from office for failure to do his sworn Constitutional duty to protect America’s borders from illegals. Better long term choice than letting him be tried for war crimes would be to try him for treason over his role in the CFR authored, SPP plot to first eradicate the US Constition then to permanently destroy the national sovereignty of the United States of America. Bush can spout denials of intent to destroy our nation but the proof is in the pudding. One only need go to chronicled pages of Canadian papers for the end of June, 2001, wherein it is archived one of our president’s first actions was to send Paul Cellucci to Canada to announce that George Bush as President of the United States of America intended to erase America’s borders which he is Constitutionally obligated to defend.

  9. Sandy B

    September 28, 2006 at 8:38 pm

    I’ve been telling my friends, worldwide, that I’m ashamed of what this country has become. I’ve been apologizing for this corrupt government and it’s atrocities for 6 years, and I’m stunned by this final blow just delivered that breaks the back of all our laws and horrifies me.
    And, I’m sick of people calling themselves “Americans” when they won’t do one thing to remove these criminals from the our government. They just sit there! They do nothing! And, it’s obvious to me, by this time, that removal of these criminals will not be non-violent. After all, all they understand — and respect — is force. Can’t you tell? It’s time for the people in this country to decide whether they want to revolt and get their freedom, or just allow “The Fuhrer” to haul them all off the the concentration camps that Halliburton (or it’s subsidiary) is contracted to build.

  10. David Rosenberg

    September 28, 2006 at 9:13 pm

    It is a sad day that Republicans have caved in to bush, one more time. It is obvious thay want to keep their jobs regardless of what it will cost the Nation. I suspect we will see more Americans kidnapped in Iraq, to be followed by their gruesome deaths. Republicans have never understood what drives the Muslim Insurgents. They have taken an oath of death, which is higher then any torture we will give them. Usable information that will be gotten by torture will be of little use, fighting them. The entire debate on torture has been a waste of time. In a short time, the doors will be closed and it will be Business as usual for interagators. What methods they were using, will be continued, you will prove otherwise? Without Habeus Corpus the matter is moot.

  11. David Ellis

    September 28, 2006 at 9:20 pm

    Considering most Americans are too stupid to even spell the word FASCISM, much less say what it means, speaks volumes for this filthy country. We’re about to get what we deserve. And I’m talking about something a lot more powerful than Bin Laden or Israel.

  12. susie

    September 28, 2006 at 10:00 pm

    I never thought we could sink so low. I am sick at heart.

  13. ITMF

    September 28, 2006 at 10:03 pm

    Naturally the common people don’t want war, but they can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. Tell them that they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and endangering the country. It works the same in every country.

    Herman Goering, Hitler’s ReichsMarshall at the Nuremberg trials.

  14. South Point Man

    September 28, 2006 at 10:23 pm

    Send them Leavenworth. Journalists, do your jobs and expose their complicity in the demolition of the WTC buildings.

  15. beyond

    September 29, 2006 at 12:45 am

    No longer a beacon of light but a beacon of death.The empire crumbles on top of its people as they all run away.your country now stands for death”rape”pillage”burn” good luck at getting your new hitler leader out of power you have about 6 weeks.or you could come to the land of oz gday mate.

  16. Lance

    September 29, 2006 at 2:03 am

    You know whats really horrible..?

    If the Dems actually take back power…What do you think will happen to Bush?

    Nothing…..Nothing at all…

    I am just counting the weeks till I head for Canada..

    51 weeks till my Med degree is finished…

  17. Sandy Price

    September 29, 2006 at 2:15 am

    I took this information to several Conservative forums about the Senate and House votes and was laughed off the forums. If someone had told me 10 years ago the GOP would be FOR prisoner torturing I would have called them a liar but today I see that there is no depth the GOP won’t go to protect Bush’s dictatorship.

    Those glorious members of the religious right will torture anyone to make Bush look good and our only hope is to throw the bums out of office. I’ve been in a state of shock all day.

  18. Alex

    September 29, 2006 at 2:39 am

    Are we supposed to, like, say “seig hiel” now?

  19. Lance

    September 29, 2006 at 2:39 am

    I don’t think we will get the opportunity to throw them out.

    I think there is a good chance we will have marital law before the Nov Election.

  20. Bluestateman

    September 29, 2006 at 5:42 am

    I don’t understand why everyone is so upset about the death of the U.S.

    Our country died when the Supreme Court stopped the Florida recount. We’re just starting to SMELL the putrescence now.

  21. Taras

    December 10, 2006 at 7:03 am

    Most Americans have NO idea how the horrors that the Russians, Poles, Ukrainians, Czechs, Romanians, Bulgarians and other Slavic peoples suffered are lying in wait for them. It’s only a matter of time before the U.S. government openly goes after it’s own citizens and imprison, torture, rape, brutalize and kill them enmasse. Just because they dare challenge or question the status qou. Just because they’re of the wrong color or speak the wrong language, or even have the wrong name. Just because they want a better future for their children. A government that tortures it’s own citizens cannot by definition stand, it will either be overthrown by enraged victims, who’ll then start a reign of terror of their own to avenge the attoricities agains them, or it’ll attack one country too many. Who’ll then likely defeat it in a war, with any and all weapons up to and including thermonuclear bombs. Either way, we’re not just looking at Americans dying in droves like countless people in Iraq already have, we’re looking at a holocaust on the way.

    Taras

  22. Joe Keegan

    September 28, 2006 at 3:21 pm

    WE ARE AMERICANS! In our past history, we never officially sanction torture. These “harsh interrogation techniques” will be applied to us some day. I can only hope that they include those who approved of this legislation.

  23. Bill Cowan

    September 28, 2006 at 3:49 pm

    Americans once had reason to feel pride in the rights enshrined in our Constitution and in our fierce commitment to human rights. But this administration is relentlessly destroying the soul of the country. It has systematically dismantled the Bill of Rights, and now it has officially sanctioned the use of torture in our name. This is yet another nail in the coffin of a coutry that once was seen as a beacon of hope and democracy. Never have I been so horrified or ashamed.

  24. Dolores

    September 28, 2006 at 4:32 pm

    You forgot to add that they stuck a little addition to that bill. It would give bush and his cronies ‘RETROACTIVE IMMUNITY” from being prosecuted from war crimes. Does this not tell you that they know they have already commited war crimes with their illegal interogations. Any Congressman that votes to give bush ‘RETROACTIVE IMMUNITY” should be voted out on Nov 7th, whether they be Democrat or Republican. I know it will affect my vote and I am a staunch Democrat. Like my husbands bumper sticker says :I never thought I would ever miss Nixon”

  25. Dolores

    September 28, 2006 at 4:32 pm

    You forgot to add that they stuck a little addition to that bill. It would give bush and his cronies ‘RETROACTIVE IMMUNITY” from being prosecuted from war crimes. Does this not tell you that they know they have already commited war crimes with their illegal interogations. Any Congressman that votes to give bush ‘RETROACTIVE IMMUNITY” should be voted out on Nov 7th, whether they be Democrat or Republican. I know it will affect my vote and I am a staunch Democrat. Like my husbands bumper sticker says :I never thought I would ever miss Nixon”

  26. Dolores

    September 28, 2006 at 4:32 pm

    You forgot to add that they stuck a little addition to that bill. It would give bush and his cronies ‘RETROACTIVE IMMUNITY” from being prosecuted from war crimes. Does this not tell you that they know they have already commited war crimes with their illegal interogations. Any Congressman that votes to give bush ‘RETROACTIVE IMMUNITY” should be voted out on Nov 7th, whether they be Democrat or Republican. I know it will affect my vote and I am a staunch Democrat. Like my husbands bumper sticker says :I never thought I would ever miss Nixon”

  27. Dolores

    September 28, 2006 at 4:33 pm

    You forgot to add that they stuck a little addition to that bill. It would give bush and his cronies ‘RETROACTIVE IMMUNITY” from being prosecuted from war crimes. Does this not tell you that they know they have already commited war crimes with their illegal interogations. Any Congressman that votes to give bush ‘RETROACTIVE IMMUNITY” should be voted out on Nov 7th, whether they be Democrat or Republican. I know it will affect my vote and I am a staunch Democrat. Like my husbands bumper sticker says :I never thought I would ever miss Nixon”

  28. Dolores

    September 28, 2006 at 4:33 pm

    You forgot to add that they stuck a little addition to that bill. It would give bush and his cronies ‘RETROACTIVE IMMUNITY” from being prosecuted from war crimes. Does this not tell you that they know they have already commited war crimes with their illegal interogations. Any Congressman that votes to give bush ‘RETROACTIVE IMMUNITY” should be voted out on Nov 7th, whether they be Democrat or Republican. I know it will affect my vote and I am a staunch Democrat. Like my husbands bumper sticker says :I never thought I would ever miss Nixon”

  29. voxmin

    September 28, 2006 at 4:59 pm

    Since 9/11, I’ve been alarmed at this usurpation of power. Now the adm. has become the barbarians our ancestors fought in centuries past. There is no humanity. I am reminded of the kid in my town when I was growing up who trapped frogs in tin cans and put them on the railroad track so they would be crushed when the train came through, just for the sadistic joy of it. He’s in jail now and is classified as a conduct disorder. He has no conscience and no remorse. Does this remind you of anyone???

  30. Howard

    September 28, 2006 at 5:48 pm

    It was bad enough to be steamrollered into an unwarranted war but to now have the very same legislators show the very same cowardice when it comes to protecting the Constitution makes a mockery of all we teach in our schools about the American way.

    Bush and his crowd , after they are finished destroying the US in 2008, will most likely never travel out of the US if they do not want to be arrested for war crimes.