Thursday, September 28, 2006

Congress grants president the right to torture, indefinitely detain

Today the Senate, following the House, voted to legalize the right for the government to engage in physical interrogation techniques that most people would consider to be torture and to detain individuals permanently without criminal charges by designating them "unlawful enemy combatants," even if they are U.S. citizens who have never left the country. As Glenn Greenwald puts it, Congress has legalized tyranny.

Both of Arizona's Senators (John McCain and Jon Kyl) voted for the bill, S. 3930.

Arizona's Representatives voted as follows on the detainment bill, H.R. 6166 (the Senate bill is S. 3930):

In favor:

Jeff Flake (R-District 6)
Trent Franks (R-District 2)
J.D. Hayworth (R-District 5)
Jim Kolbe (R-District 8)
Rick Renzi (R-District 1)
John Shadegg (R-District 3)


Raul Grijalva (D-District 7)
Ed Pastor (D-District 4)

Once again, a completely partisan vote in which the Republicans demonstrate their disregard for this constitutional republic. You can find the complete House vote results here.

UPDATE September 29, 2006: Ed Brayton has more at Dispatches from the Culture Wars.

The founders of this country would have found this grounds for revolution.

UPDATE October 1, 2006: I fully expect the courts to overturn this, since the U.S. Constitution allows only two conditions for the temporary suspension of habeas corpus in Article I, Section 9 ("when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it").

It is also worth noting that there is some simplification, above. The designation of "unlawful enemy combatant" (UEC) in the bill is made by "a Combatant Status Review Tribunal or another competent tribunal established under the authority of the President or the Secretary of Defense."

Also see Richard Epstein's testimony to the Senate (PDF) urging them to kill this bill, which they disregarded.

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