Sean King

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Knoxville, Tennessee, United States

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Makings of A Police State

Robert Folsom:

Suppose the U.S. Senate passed a law which gives the Federal Government the power to do the following to American citizens who are suspected of a crime:

1.Forbid interrogators from telling the person of their right to remain silent.
2.Forbid interrogators from telling the person of their right to legal counsel.
3.Deny the person habeas corpus protection (the government cannot keep a person in custody without charge).
4.Do all the above not only to a person suspected of a crime, but also to a person who may know about a possible future crime.
Note that I began with "Suppose," because the U.S. Senate has not passed such a law. But I know for a fact that the Senate is considering a bill that undeniably will grant the government those powers and more. Senators McCain and Lieberman introduced the legislation earlier this month (March 4).

Not much information is available about the bill (S 3081), apart from snippets on blogs and websites I've never heard of. You may find my description too outrageous to accept: I understand. I didn't believe it either. That's why I went to the Library of Congress database (THOMAS), found the bill and read the language myself.

Your initial response to such a law may be a loud "Why?" If so please keep reading -- I can at least offer a very plausible explanation regarding "Why now?"

In the interest of accuracy, the bill's title is "Enemy Belligerent Interrogation, Detention, and Prosecution Act of 2010" -- in other words, how to treat terrorists. Yet the supposed purpose of a law is one thing, while the actual language may be a different thing indeed.

In this case, the bill's broad language is different from its purpose in the same way the Mississippi River is different from a spring-fed creek. For example:

■"An individual who is suspected...shall not, during informed of any counsel or to remain silent consistent with Miranda v. Arizona."
■"An individual, including a citizen of the United States...may be detained without criminal charges and without trial..."
■It even says that a citizen can be designated a suspect based on "[s]uch other matters as the President considers appropriate."
You read that right: "Such other matters as the President considers appropriate." Broad enough for you? Why has the mainstream media said virtually nothing?

A dang good question. Full story here.

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