Sunday, October 10, 2004

The American Dream is dead

On Friday the US House of Representatives passed the inelligence reform bill 282 to 134. The bill restructures and reforms the US intelligence services in line with the reccommendations of the 9/11 Commission, but it also

  • allows the Secretary of Homeland Security to order the indefinite detention of suspected terrorists, with no possibility of judicial review;
  • allows the Secretary of Homeland Security to deport or remove suspected terrorists to any country in the world (even one where they have never visited or lived and do not hold residency or citizenship), again with no possibility of judicial review; and
  • allows the US government to outsource torture, by deporting suspected terrorists to nations where they are likely to be tortured, provided that the recipient nation gives an "assurance" ("nudge nudge wink wink") that said suspects will not be tortured.

Obsidian Wings has a few things to say about the worthlessness of such assurances, as does Human Rights Watch.

The bill has not yet become law - it still has to go through a conference committee and be signed by the President, but hope is fading; I can't imagine Bush vetoing this bill simply because it grossly violates human rights and all standards of common decency. Which means the American Dream is effectively dead. In 228 years the United States has gone from being a beacon of freedom and hope for the world to being a nation which allows indefinite detention without trial and endorses (and actively promotes) torture.