Remember the Bill of Rights? Habeas Corpus? Innocent until proven guilty? Pass those scruffy old ideas down to your grandchildren as you sit by the fire you have to light when heating oil goes up to $25/gallon, because they won’t be around much longer.
Today’s (January 2, 2005) Washington Post has an article about the Bush Administration’s plans to lock up suspected terrorists indefinitely when there is insufficient evidence for a trial. (Note to less well-informed readers: In the Bush Administration, “indefinitely” means “forever.”) These alleged miscreants will be stored in American-built foreign prisons, in the care of foreign governments who have promised to treat the prisoners in accordance with the Geneva Convention and “cruel and unusual” guidelines. I guess this is why they have to be foreign prisons; we don’t meet those standards, if the Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib examples are guidelines.
This is a sweet deal. Now the DIA, CIA, FBI, or any acronymically-named governmental agency right up to the Orwellian Department of Homeland Security can snatch someone they feel hinky about and have an internally-appointed individual declare him or her to be a terrorist. Then the alleged potential scoundrel can be whisked away to the enlightened foreign government of choice (Saudi Arabia and Pakistan come to mind) for indefinite incarceration outside the accountability of the “responsible” U.S. government agencies.
Think of the potential. Drug money is sometimes used to subsidize terrorists. Soon all drug dealers may eligible for the Turkish prison lottery if the G wants to broaden the definition. Then drug users. A protester can get deluxe accommodations on the next trip to the Devil’s Island Hilton, if the right authority gets a bug up its ass about the protest in question interfering with a governmental activity, like alternate-side parking in a snow emergency. Think that’s a reach? Take a look at how the RICO and death-penalty statutes have expanded over the past twenty years. Indonesia’s luck we’re not bombing them, once Dubya found out there were Americans killed by a tsunami originating there. Oh, wait, Rumsfeld decided against bombing Indonesia; there aren’t any targets there.
It’s a good thing God talks directly to Dubya. We can all rest easy in the knowledge that we, or no one we know, will be scooped up by mistake, or because we cut some bureaucrat off in traffic.