Thursday, October 19, 2006

L'État, c'est moi

"I am the State" - The infamous words uttered by the French Monarch Louis XIV.

This is often attributed to the absolutism the King represented - amassing all powers - judicial, legislative. I am reminded of these words when reading about the latest "Military Commissions Act" passed by the US Congress and recently signed into law by George Bush.

Although there have been a lot of discussion of this law, there is a dangerous section in this law which enables the government (DoJ, President) to deny the centuries old protection of Habeas Corpus to all non-citizens who have been imprisoned and declared as an unlawful enemy combatant. This New York Times Editorial puts it best:
"It sets up a separate system of justice for any foreigner whom Mr. Bush chooses to designate as an 'illegal enemy combatant.' It raises insurmountable obstacles for prisoners to challenge their detentions. It does not require the government to release prisoners who are not being charged, or a prisoner who is exonerated by the tribunals.

The law does not apply to American citizens, but it does apply to other legal United States residents. And it chips away at the foundations of the judicial system in ways that all Americans should find threatening. It further damages the nation's reputation and, by repudiating key protections of the Geneva Conventions, it needlessly increases the danger to any American soldier captured in battle."

I just hope that someone challenges this law in US Supreme Court.

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