John McCain, in his dotage, has proffered a bill that should have either a laugh track or horror movie music attached to it. It's called: ‘‘Enemy Belligerent Interrogation, Detention, and Prosecution Act of 2010’’.
And it's a doozy. A good, old-fashioned, lock-you-up-and-throw-away-the-key kind of law.
Essentially, if the President determines that someone is, or may be a, or might help some terrorists, the military gets to take them into custody, no Miranda provided, no habeus corpus, no lawyer, and no need for a trial. A whole new category of un-person is designed with this bill, an "Unprivileged Enemy Belligerent." Our thanks go out to Jose Padilla, who beta-tested this program back in 2002.
While there is a lot of high-minded nonsense, with the inclusion of Al Qaeda as the primary boogeyman, what it boils down to is that if the President so chooses, bang, you're busted by the military, sent off to a place like Gitmo, interrogated by a specific interrogation team created by this new law, imprisoned for potentially the rest of your life, and no one can utter a peep against the system. It specifically denies the Federal Courts any jurisdiction over these poor bastards, and denies funding to the Justice Department to do any prosecution. So no matter what, you will never enter the Federal judicial system once this label has been applied, and the only person who can legally let you go is the President.
I really, really hope that Obama is not the kind of President who would sign a bill like this. But I'm not sure any more. If Congress and the Senate pass this thing, and Obama signs it, it might be time to move away from The United States of Detentionland.