Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Today is a dark day

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It's the day President Bush signed the Military Commissions Act of 2006. It's the day we lost the right to a lawyer. It's the day we are legally able to be "disappeared". As CNN reports:

"The president can now, with the approval of Congress, indefinitely hold people without charge, take away protections against horrific abuse, put people on trial based on hearsay evidence, authorize trials that can sentence people to death based on testimony literally beaten out of witnesses, and slam shut the courthouse door for habeas petitions," said ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero.

"Nothing could be further from the American values we all hold in our hearts than the Military Commissions Act," he said.

I am grieving today. I really feel as if somebody had died. And that makes sense, doesn't it? That which has died is my country.

Please look at part of what Timothy Gatto says in his article "America's Dark Day":

What is a terrorist? This is a very important question. After October 17, 2006 (that's today), anyone that is considered a terrorist has no rights. This means that we should be told what determines a terrorist. If I write articles criticizing the administration, am I considered a terrorist? If someone puts a few sticks of dynamite and a timer in my Jeep in the middle of the night, and FBI agents, working on a "hot tip" search it at 3AM, will I be taken away, never to be heard from again? Under the present law the President will sign today it could happen. They wouldn't have to tell me the charge against me, and they wouldn't have to show me the evidence they have against me, and they could lock me up for as long as they want. If you never read anything I write again, maybe I'm just gone.

When I was in Germany from 1976 to 1980, I met some of the nicest, gentlest people I have ever met. They worship their children, and the family is a very important part of their life. They are a very friendly people, and will share a meal with a stranger and go out of their way to help someone stranded on the side of the road with a broken car. I know this because I have experienced it. They really impressed me as a people that have good moral values.

I made it a point to ask older Germans that survived World War II, how they let their country be taken over by Hitler. Almost to a man, they told me that one-day they woke up and it had just happened. They said if a person spoke out against the Nazis, they were never seen again. They told me again and again that they never saw it coming.

Of course, some of us have seen it coming. Some of us are seeing it coming right now. The knocks on our doors in the middle of the night haven't started yet but the law is now in place that will make them possible.

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