America’s Darkest Hour: Bush’s Detention Act

October 6th, 2006 - by admin

R. Jeffrey Smith / The Washington Post & Richard Franklin / Franklin’s Focus & US Senator Dianne Feinstein – 2006-10-06 09:17:21

EAW has recently been subjected to a cyber-attack. Illegitimate emails have been sent to people under the pretense that they came from EAW. Meanwhile, one of our email accounts was nearly disabled with a flood of 12,000 spam messages.

These attacks followed the release of an essay in a neoconservative journal that accused America’s peace movement of heing an “enemy,” a “formidable foe… dedicated to ensuing America’s defeat in… war.” We are working to address this problem. In the meantime, please do not attempt to send any emails to EAW for the next seven days as we attempt to resolve this problem.
Our apologies to anyone who was inconvenienced by this act of vandalism.

• For the story containing the “Hit List” of US peace groups, see:
The War Against the War on Terror
John Perazzo / FrontPage (October 3, 2006 )

Are We Entering America’s Darkest Hour?
Dr. Richard Franklin / Franklin’s Focus

(October 2, 2006) — The passage of what can only be described as neofascist laws that dramatically undermine the American system of jurisprudence strikes me as a momentous bellwether. [1]

On top of this stunning event in American history, Attorney General Gonzales has issued a warning to all federal judges not to meddle with the newly garnered dictatorial powers of the president. [2]


So, you ask, what could happen to a judge snubbing his nose at this warning? Here’s what might happen: any judge ignoring such an implied threat of retribution might find himself actually facing an ‘in camera’ hearing during which the judge would find himself summarily impeached and removed from the bench.

‘In camera’ means ‘in a chamber’. The term is applied to hearings held secretly in a courtroom or judicial chambers. I absolutely do not put it past the cabal to stamp out judicial opposition using this blunt fascist maneuver. Would it be legal? Of course not, but legality long ago stopped being a consideration for the ruling cabal. The PNAC (“Plan for a New American Century”) gang members almost certainly are feeling their oats after their stunning victories on Capitol Hill.

They just might feel that now is the time to strike powerfully against what they see as an annoying American jurisprudence, and to do so with stunning forcefulness and secrecy before the country can even grasp what has happened. It is now apparent that a namby pamby Congress would not stand in the way of a move to crush the judiciary.


That fundamentally cripples justice in America. So where does the cabal go from there? Use your imagination. A final trampling of the judicial branch strikes me as likely, now that the cabal has steamrolled the legislative branch of government.


One can hardly overly inflate one’s speculations at this time in American history if as I suspect we now may be entering America’s darkest hour. I know this may seem like wild guessing, but it’s about time we started being honest about what has happened to this country.

Please understand that I’m not predicting anything. I’m only painting possible scenarios that may have seemed totally mad not so long ago, but now seem perilously close to being possible. This is an extraordinarily perilous moment in American history. Anybody who can’t see that is wearing blinders. We are now all sitting on the deck of Lusitania, while an orchestra plays to calm our fears.

I repeat, the Attorney General of the United States has warned federal judges not to meddle with the new powers of the president. I cannot remember an AG ever warning judges not to tamper with the expanding powers of a president. That warning has to be characterized as ominous.

Keep in mind that the cabal killed three thousand citizens on 9/11 without a twitching of moral conscience. Hence, the cabal that is now in control of this nation quite possibly sees a complete transmuting of America into a fascist state within their grasp.

They need only cross the Rubicon.

Think about it. [3]-[14]


• [1] Jerry Mazza’s 10/2/06 Online Journal essay, “Desperate Measure From Desperate Men” [The US Senate passed the Military Commissions Act of 2006 that discards key human rights protections. This is an act of a desperate president, seeking to rally support for his failed and brutal wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, by further rallying the spineless and frightened Congress around the flag. The more Bush is cornered by failure, the more he goes on the attack and flails fearful legislators with the loss of their jobs if they’re not “patriotic” enough.]:

• [2] Michael Sniffen’s 9/29/06 Truthout/AP article, “Gonzales Cautions Judges On Interfering” [In an unprecedented public statement, US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales warned federal judges to neither oppose nor interfere with the extra-constitutional expansion of George W. Bush’s presidential powers.]:

• [3] Marjorie Cohn’s 10/1/06 CounterPunch essay, “A Constitutional Shredding: Rounding Up US Citizens” [Because the Military Commissions Act of 2006 governing the treatment of detainees was adopted with lightning speed, barely anyone noticed that it empowers Bush to declare not just aliens, but also US citizens, “unlawful enemy combatants.”]:

• [4] Richard Kim’s 10/1/06 The Nation essay, “RIP, Bill Of Rights, RIP” [The US now holds 14,000 detainees in prisons in Iraq, Guantanamo, Afghanistan and other undisclosed locations. 14,000 people who can be held indefinitely, without a fair trial, by secret evidence they have no access or that may be obtained by what most consider torture.]:

• [5] Michael Duffy’s 10/1/06 Time Magazine article, “Why Torture Is Still An Option: The Compromise Terrorism Detainee Bill Limits Interrogation Abuses — And Lets Bush Set The Limits” [Last week, both houses of Congress approved a bill — the Military Commissions Act — that would permit the indefinite, extrajudicial incarceration of terrorist suspects and their interrogation using torture in all but name.]:,9171,1541238,00.html

• [6] Robert Kuttner’s 10/1/06 Common Dreams/Boston Globe essay, “The John McCain Charade” [On the surface, it looks like US Senator John McCain (R-AZ) is the anti-Bush; underneath, he is clearly Bush’s enabler. Just look at McCain’s self-contradictory words and actions in relation to the terrible compromises the Senate reached last week on Bush’s military commissions and warrantless domestic spying.]:

• [7] Ralph Nader’s 9/30/06 Common Dreams essay, “Democracy As The Biggest Loser On Habeus Corpus” [The messianic, authoritarian George W. Bush and the minds of his cohorts have further collapsed the rule of law with his bulldozing through a divided Congress more dictatorial powers in his increasingly self-defined, self-serving and failing “war on terror.”]:

• [8] Ed Kinane’s 9/30/06 Common Dreams essay, “On Torture” [It’s frightening and pathetic that, at this time and in this nation, torture must be discussed as if it were a legitimate issue. What’s next — the pros and cons of child molestation?]:

• [9] Richard Behan’s 9/29/06 Common Dreams essay, “How George Bush Admitted His War Crimes” [Buried in the 94 pages of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 — the “detainee act” or the “torture bill” — the Bush Administration tacitly admits it has committed war crimes.]:

• [10] Molly Ivins’ 9/29/06 Information Clearing House essay, “Habeus Corpus, R.I.P. (1215-2006)” [With a smug stroke of his pen, President Bush is set to wipe out a safeguard against illegal imprisonment that has endured as a cornerstone of legal justice since the Magna Carta.]:

• [11] See Ian Inaba’s documentary film “American Blackout” (watch the trailer at): http://www.American The early reviews of this documentary film have been excellent: Finally, read Greg Palast’s article:

• [12] As Brasscheck TV correctly notes, “Take away the official 9/11 story and:
1. George Bush and his colleagues are out of office;
2. There would have been no Iraq invasion;
3. Israel would have been restrained from its recent slaughter of Lebanese civilians;
4. Civil liberties in the US (such as they are) would be intact;
5. Our economy would not have been bled of nearly $1 trillion in ‘Terror War’ and Iraq invasion waste and fraud.”

• [13] See three documentary films that search for the truth about 9/11:
[A] “9/11 MYSTERIES” gives serious attention to the scientific issues:
[B] “9/11: PRESS FOR TRUTH” [Documents: the fruitless efforts of 9/11 families to get credible answers from the Bush administration (e.g., Bush and Cheney refused to testify under oath before the 9/11 Commission); the disturbing possibiity that the CIA is still backing the Taliban through the Pakistani ISI; that the US let Osama Bin Laden escape from Tora Bora and allowed the air evacuation of Taliban cadres from Tormuz; much more to expose the official 9/11 story as a cover up.]:
[C] “LOOSE CHANGE, 2ND EDITION” [This blockbuster film reveals the direct connection between the attacks on 9/11/01 and the United States government. The evidence is derived from news footage, scientific fact, and eyewitness accounts from Americans who suffered through that day. You can download Google’s free posting of “Loose Change 2E” here (scroll down to find it in many languages other than English).]:

• [14] Visit the must-see website SCHOLARS FOR 9/11 TRUTH [You will find many excellent articles by American and international scientists, researchers, engineers, diplomats, scholars, etc., who provide compelling answers to: “What really happened on 9/11?”; “What is happening to our world?”; and “How can we improve our situation?”]:

Many Rights in US Legal System Absent in New Bill
R. Jeffrey Smith / The Washington Post

WASHINGTON (September 29, 2006) — The military trials bill approved by Congress lends legislative support for the first time to broad rules for the detention, interrogation, prosecution and trials of terrorism suspects far different from those in the familiar American criminal justice system.

President Bush’s argument that the government requires extraordinary power to respond to the unusual threat of terrorism helped him win final support for a system of military trials with highly truncated defendant’s rights. The United States used similar trials on just four occasions: during the country’s revolution, the Mexican-American War, the Civil War and World War II.

Included in the bill, passed by Republican majorities in the Senate yesterday and the House on Wednesday, are unique rules that bar terrorism suspects from challenging their detention or treatment through traditional habeas corpus petitions. They allow prosecutors, under certain conditions, to use evidence collected through hearsay or coercion to seek criminal convictions.

The bill rejects the right to a speedy trial and limits the traditional right to self-representation by requiring that defendants accept military defense attorneys. Panels of military officers need not reach unanimous agreement to win convictions, except in death penalty cases, and appeals must go through a second military panel before reaching a federal civilian court.

By writing into law for the first time the definition of an “unlawful enemy combatant,” the bill empowers the executive branch to detain indefinitely anyone it determines to have “purposefully and materially” supported anti-US hostilities. Only foreign nationals among those detainees can be tried by the military commissions, as they are known, and sentenced to decades in jail or put to death.

At the same time, the bill immunizes US officials from prosecution for cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment of detainees who the military and the CIA captured before the end of last year. It gives the president a dominant but not exclusive role in setting the rules for future interrogations of terrorism suspects.

Written largely, but not completely, on the administration’s terms, with passages that give executive branch officials discretion to set details or divert from its protections, the bill is meant to provide what Bush said yesterday are “the tools” needed to handle terrorism suspects US officials hope to capture.

For more than 57 months after the 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Bush maintained that he did not need congressional authorization of such tools. But the Supreme Court decided otherwise in June, declaring the administration’s detainee treatment and trial procedures illegal, and ruling that Bush must first seek Congress’s approval.

Now Bush has received much of the authority he desired from party loyalists and a handful of Democrats on Capitol Hill. “The American people need to know we’re working together,” Bush told senators before yesterday’s vote.

But Tom Malinowski, the Washington office director for Human Rights Watch, said Bush’s motivation is partly to protect his reputation by gaining congressional endorsement of controversial actions already taken. “He’s been accused of authorizing criminal torture in a way that has hurt America and could come back to haunt our troops. One of his purposes is to have Congress stand with him in the dock,” Malinowski said.

The bill contains some protections unavailable to the eight Nazi saboteurs who came ashore in the United States in 1942 and were captured two weeks later. Six were executed that year after a closed military trial on the fifth floor of Justice Department headquarters. That proceeding was upheld by the Supreme Court in a decision it explained two months after the electrocutions.

Under the new procedures, trials are supposed to be open, but can be closed to protect the security of individuals or information expected to harm national security. Defendants have a right to be present, unless they are disruptive, and a right to examine and respond to the evidence against them. Proof of guilt must exceed a reasonable doubt.

Many constitutional experts say, however, that the bill pushes at the edges of so much settled US law that its passage will not be the last word on America’s detainee policies. They predict it will shift the public debate to the federal courts, a forum where the administration has had less success getting its way on counterterrorism policies.

“This is a full-employment act for lawyers,” said Deborah Perlstein, who directs the US Law and Security Program at the New York-based nonprofit group Human Rights First.

Former White House associate counsel Bradford A. Berenson, a supporter of the bill and one of the authors of the rules struck down by the Supreme Court, agreed. “Some of the most creative legal minds are going to be devoted to poking holes in this,” he said.

Anticipating court challenges, the administration attempted to make the bill bulletproof by including provisions that would sharply restrict judicial review and limit the application of international treaties — signed by Washington — that govern the rights of wartime detainees.

The bill also contains blunt assertions that it complies with US treaty obligations.

University of Texas constitutional law professor Sanford V. Levinson described the bill in an Internet posting as the mark of a “banana republic.” Yale Law School Dean Harold Koh said that “the image of Congress rushing to strip jurisdiction from the courts in response to a politically created emergency is really quite shocking, and it’s not clear that most of the members understand what they’ve done.”

In contrast, Douglas W. Kmiec, a professor of constitutional law at Pepperdine University, said Congress “did reasonably well in terms of fashioning a fair” set of procedures. But Kmiec and many others say they cannot predict how the Supreme Court will respond to the provision barring habeas corpus rights, which he said will leave “a large body of detainees with no conceivable basis to challenge their detentions.”

There are other likely flashpoints. In the Supreme Court’s June decision overturning previous administration policies, four members of the court who joined the majority opinion said conspiracy is not a war crime. The new bill says it is.

Georgetown University law professor Neal Katyal said the bill’s creation of two systems of justice — military commissions for foreign nationals and regular criminal trials for US citizens — may violate the Constitution’s 14th Amendment, which requires equal protection of the laws to anyone under US jurisdiction.

“If you’re an American citizen, you get the Cadillac system of justice. If you’re a foreigner or a green-card holder, you get this beat-up-Chevy version,” he said.

• Full copy of the USA Detainee Torture Act, HR 6166

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The Importance of the War Crimes Act
Hon. Dianne Feinstein / US Senate

Dear Environmentalists Against War:

(October 2, 2006) — Thank you for writing to me about the War Crimes Act. I
welcome the opportunity to respond.

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, the Senate Committee on the Judiciary has already held one hearing on the War Crimes Act, and may hold others as well. The War Crimes Act has never been used to prosecute war crimes, and so much about its meaning and parameters remains unclear. Nevertheless, I will keep your thoughts in mind as this issue progresses.

We have an obligation as a constitutional democracy to engage in a serious dialogue about difficult issues like protection of an individual’s due process rights, while doing everything in our power to protect our national security.

I am also aware that this issue extends beyond the Administration’s immediate desire to prosecute al-Qaeda detainees for war crimes, and reaches into the subject of ensuring reciprocal treatment and the safety of our military and government personnel in the field.

I firmly believe that detaining and interrogating enemy combatants is a justified and necessary part of war. How we find a proper balance is not an easy question to answer. Nevertheless, the treatment of detainees must be conducted under the rule of law and subject to the checks and balances upon which our government is built.

I will keep your thoughts in mind as the Senate reviews legislation regarding the treatment of detainees or proposed changes to the War Crimes Act.

Again, thank you for writing. If you have any further comments on this issue, please contact my Washington, DC. office at (202) 224-3841. Best regards.

Sincerely yours,
Dianne Feinstein
United States Senator