Daily Archives: September 30, 2006

A Clarification, But Not a Retreat

I’ve been looking up a few more things, but I haven’t read the actual bill itself (which I suppose I should do). It appears as if the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus applies to aliens, and not citizens. I’m still not fully convinced that there isn’t any weaselly language in there that makes it possible for Bush and Rumsfeld to declare a citizen an enemy combatant. After all, the bill lets Bush define torture, but allows him to keep all the techniques secret. It’s not encouraging at the very least.

Although I’ve introduced that, do not view this as a retreat of any sort. The republic is still in grave danger when the executive branch can whisk away legal residents in America and detain them indefinitely.

Don’t let the term alien mislead you. These are your neighbors. These are your friends.

Don’t think it won’t happen?

Let me take you off on a tangent. Read this from the Washington Post, Why I’m Banned in the USA, by Tariq Ramadan. He’s not a terrorist nor has he aided the terrorists. Yet, the professor’s visa was denied. His offence?

The letter from the U.S. Embassy informed me that my visa application had been denied, and it put an end to the rumors that had circulated since my original visa was revoked. After a lengthy investigation, the State Department cited no evidence of suspicious relationships, no meetings with terrorists, no encouraging or advocacy of terrorism. Instead, the department cited my donation of $940 to two humanitarian organizations (a French group and its Swiss chapter) serving the Palestinian people. I should note that the investigation did not reveal these contributions. As the department acknowledges, I had brought this information to their attention myself, two years earlier, when I had reapplied for a visa.

In its letter, the U.S. Embassy claims that I “reasonably should have known” that the charities in question provided money to Hamas. But my donations were made between December 1998 and July 2002, and the United States did not blacklist the charities until 2003. How should I reasonably have known of their activities before the U.S. government itself knew? I donated to these organizations for the same reason that countless Europeans — and Americans, for that matter — donate to Palestinian causes: not to help fund terrorism, but because I wanted to provide humanitarian aid to people who desperately need it. Yet after two years of investigation, this was the only explanation offered for the denial of my visa. I still find it hard to believe.

But he has criticized some of the Bush administration’s policies, and Mr. Ramadan is becoming “increasingly convinced that the Bush administration has barred [him] for a much simpler reason: It doesn’t care for [his] political views.”

So, what does this have to do with what I said before? If indeed Mr. Ramadan’s views are being repressed, how long does it take before the views of legal residents are repressed based on bogus charges of having donated to a charity that “aids terror”?

Or let’s say that this was an error… Then, how do we know that other errors will not be committed in the name of defending the homeland. Can people be jailed for donating to a charity?

No, of course not, you will say. But then why should Donald Rumsfeld, George W. Bush be given discretion? They can lock them up indefinitely such that you won’t know whether or not this person is held on a bogus claim because the writ of habeas corpus has been suspended. The Bush Administration doesn’t need a reason to detain legal residents.

Furthermore, mistakes will happen. And a mistake only gives incentive to hold someone indefinitely. Why? To cover-up mistakes. No one will know you’ve made a mistake if the person is languishing in jail and never given a fair trial.

Given Bush’s previous ability to admit to mistakes… I’m not optimistic.