The continuing Bushite erosion of rights and liberties

Morris Davis, former chief prosecutor for the military commissions at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, op-eds for the New York Times:

My policy as the chief prosecutor for the military commissions at Guantánamo was that evidence derived through waterboarding was off limits. That should still be our policy. To do otherwise is not only an affront to American justice, it will potentially put prosecutors at risk for using illegally obtained evidence.

Unfortunately, I was overruled on the question, and I resigned my position to call attention to the issue — efforts that were hampered by my being placed under a gag rule and ordered not to testify at a Senate hearing. While some high-level military and civilian officials have rightly expressed indignation on the issue, the current state can be described generally as indifference and inaction.

The general indifference and inaction on the question of whether torture is acceptable is starkly contrasted with the frenzied flapping of those who are spreading FUD about how the extension of the Protect America Act has expired:

“Because Congress failed to act, it will be harder for our government to keep you safe from terrorist attack,” Bush said.

Bush had offered to delay his Africa trip if House Democratic leaders would stay to enact “a good bill.”

Instead, he said, “House leaders chose politics over protecting the country — and our country is at greater risk as a result.”

The fearful people at the Heritage Foundation are so convinced by Bush’s arguments for warrantless wiretapping and retroactive immunity for telcos and ISPs against legal action for invasion of privacy, that they have added this clock to their front page:


Chet points out that clocks like this will be counterproductive: the longer it runs without anything happening, the more obvious it is that such retrogressive laws are in fact unnecessary for ensuring the safety of the citizenry, no matter how useful they may be to the government otherwise. (Chet also pointed out that they misspelled “extension” in their graphic above. This has now been corrected, but they seem to have reset the clock when they did so, as the countdown was only 2 hours without warrantless wiretapping when I just stopped by)

The dimming of the light of the bastion of liberty flickers on apace.

Categories: ethics & philosophy, law & order, Politics

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