Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The president needs an Enabling Act!

It's not as if there seems to be a death row inmate being exonerated every other day in the U.S., even after numerous trials and appeals, but now the Army wants the power to execute Guantanamo detainees, who never had a trial and don't even know what they're accused of.

WASHINGTON (AFP) - New US military rules mean that executions of condemned "war on terror" detainees could be carried out at the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, the US Army said. The new rules authorize the army to set the location for executions "imposed by military courts-martial or military tribunals and authorized by the president of the United States."

"Enemy combatants could be affected by this regulation," said Sheldon Smith, a spokesman for the US Army.

I don't think there is anything imminent but eventually there might be," said Richard Deiter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center in Washington. "I suspect it is aimed at the military tribunals in Guantanamo. They don't want to bring people from Guantanamo and put them on US soil," he said.

Of course not, because then they might be under the jurisdiction of the courts and they don't want that. Senator Lindsay Graham's amendment to the Military Authorization Bill recently signed by W., which ironically also contained John McCain's anti-torture bill (which W. has decided to ignore)was, according to the Center for constitutional Rights:

"Brought up on the floor of the Senate without committee deliberations and virtually no advance warning to the American people that it was happening...The Graham amendment will create a thousand points of darkness across the globe where the United States will be free to hold people indefinitely without a hearing and beyond the reach of U.S. law and the checks and balances of the courts ensuring in our Constitution. The last time this country suspended habeas corpus was for the internment of tens of thousands of Japanese Americans during World War II, a travesty that is now universally recognized as a blot on our nationÂ?s history. The purpose of the writ of habeas corpus has always been to relieve those wrongfully held from the oppression of unchecked executive power. The most reliable way to determine whether someone is properly held or a victim of injustice is to have a right to judicial review of the detention. This has been understood at least since the proclamation of the Magna Carta in 1215."

The Magna Carta! That dusty old thing? We're in a new war, NEW, NEW, NEW! We're afraid of our own shadows, we need a strong president who will protect us from more Reichstag fires!

We need a NEW Enabling Act! How about something like this?

The Reichstag has enacted the following law, which has the agreement of the Reichsrat and meets the requirements for a constitutional amendment, which is hereby announced:

Artikel 2

Laws enacted by the government of the Reich may deviate from the constitution as long as they do not affect the institutions of the Reichstag and the Reichsrat. The rights of the President remain undisturbed.


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