I received the following letter as a call to action against a Bush administration proposal that appears to look an awful lot like "Enabling Acts." This is no time for us to be timid. If we value our Constitution and the rights it guarantees, we must stand up now. Remember the Constitution does not grant the rights it merely defines and guarantees them. I have added the letter in its entirety.
Only weeks after the Supreme Court declared illegal the Bush Administration's military commissions -- which were set up to try and convict detainees held indefinitely without basic due process protections -- the White House and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales are pushing Congress on an illegal proposal that violates the Supreme Court's decision and abandons the rule of law.
The Bush plan would ask Congress to rubber-stamp these illegal commissions, effectively reversing the Supreme Court decision. It would also violate the Geneva Conventions, which were ratified by Congress, taking away the most basic process protections from detainees who are being held indefinitely. Don't let the White House strong-arm Congress and the Supreme Court.
Go to http: //action.aclu.org/tribunals to send a message to your Senators and Representative that the United States must abide by the Geneva Conventions and uphold American values of due process.
Specifically, the White House proposal would:
- Gut the enforceability of important Geneva Convention protections
- Allow the use of evidence obtained through coercion, including horrific abuse
- Sanction convictions based on secret evidence
- Bar a defendant from being present at his or her own trial
- Allow the use of hearsay evidence
During Senate hearings yesterday, even the Pentagon's top military lawyers agreed that no one should be convicted based on secret evidence and that every defendant has the right to be present at his own trial. They also made clear that coerced evidence -- such as "confessions" beaten out of witnesses -- has no place in any trial.
Your Senators and Representatives need to hear from you that Americans want the rule of law restored. Tell them that any legislation on criminal trials of detainees being held indefinitely must protect the Geneva Conventions and maintain basic due process protections respected by all Americans.
Take action now at http: //action.aclu.org/tribunals
Tell Congress that it should not take away the protections of the Geneva Conventions and basic American values like due process when trying detainees being held indefinitely by the federal government.
Thank you for taking action today.
Director, Washington Legislative Office
American Civil Liberties Union
P.S. To read more about the White House proposal before taking action, go here.
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