Democracy under attack in the U.S.

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The U.S. Congress has just passed a law that fundamentally changes the rights and protections afforded people under the U.S. Constitution. The law is called the Military Commissions Act of 2006 (S.3930). Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he knew the law violated the Constitution, as did others. That didn't stop them from voting for it.

What is the significance of this new law? Essentially, it provides legal cover for the executive branch of government to violate the rights of the people in the U.S. The law says that if the government suspects that someone is an enemy of the U.S. or gives material aid to someone who is an enemy, that person can be taken into custody and held indefinitely with no way of challenging his or her detention. Only if the government decides to carry out a military trial -- a trial that is held in a way that is different from normal military trial procedures -- only then would that person have the ability to respond to being held in detention. This ability is also seriously limited by the way the new law modifies the processes and procedures that a person accused of a crime would have available.

source: Article 'Democracy Under Attack in the U.S.';; OhmyNews; 4 October 2006