illegal military courts . More worse spying on Americans continue in challenge with American Justice . So what is left for Bush to be proud of except Nazi attitude ?! US today is a police state. What happens to Muslim suspects tomorrow will be applied to European suspects. What a decline of human rights in U.S. ?!
Bush signs law authorizing harsh interrogation
By Steve Holland
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush signed a law on Tuesday allowing tough CIA interrogation and military trials for terrorism suspects, triggering bitter election-year denunciations from Democrats.
With Republicans in danger of losing control of the U.S. Congress in November 7 elections because of voter anger over the Iraq war, Bush sought to put back on the campaign agenda a more favorable issue for him -- national security and dealing with those blamed for the September 11 attacks.
In a White House ceremony, Bush signed the Military Commissions Act of 2006. He said the new law, the product of frantic September negotiations when senior Republicans broke with him, would bring to trial some of those believed complicit in the September 11 attacks.
The new law means Bush can continue a secret CIA program for interrogating terrorism suspects whom he believes have vital information that could thwart a plot against America.
Human rights groups charge that the measure, likely to face legal challenges that go up as far as the Supreme Court, would allow harsh techniques bordering on torture, such as sleep deprivation and induced hypothermia.
At the signing ceremony, Bush could not resist a swipe at Democrats, an indirect shot far short of campaign stump speeches in which he charges they are soft on terrorism.
"Every member of the Congress who voted for this bill has helped our nation rise to the task that history has given us. Some voted to support this bill even when a majority of their party voted the other way," Bush said.
Democrats wasted no time firing back.
"I am deeply disappointed that Congress enacted this law," said Wisconsin Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold (news, bio, voting record). "We will look back on this day as a stain on our nation's history."
Vermont Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy (news, bio, voting record) said: "The Republican-led Congress missed another opportunity to write a good law because this administration was mostly interested in trying to score political points in the run-up to the elections and avoiding accountability for its unlawful actions."
Bush said the law would allow intelligence professionals to question suspects without fear of being sued by them later.
"This bill spells out specific recognizable offenses that would be considered crimes in the handling of detainees so that our men and women who question captured terrorists can perform their duties to the fullest extent of the law," he said.
The White House has refused to describe what techniques will be allowed. Bush insisted "the United States does not torture."
The law also establishes military tribunals for terrorism suspects, most of whom are held at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The Pentagon expects to try under the new law more than 70 of the 435 detainees held at Guantanamo and is aiming for the first pre-trial proceedings to be held in early 2007, according to a U.S. defense official.
Trials, however, will not occur before summer 2007 because of the time needed to build courtrooms and facilities and to move enough staff and lawyers to the base, the official said.
Critics and legal experts have predicted the law will draw vigorous court challenges and could be struck down for violating rights guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution.
They cited provisions that strip foreign suspects of the right to challenge their detentions in U.S. courts and what they described as unfair rules for military trials.
The law was prompted by a Supreme Court ruling in June that Bush lacked legislative authority in setting up his first system of military commissions.
Shortly after Bush signed the law, the Republican National Committee issued a press releasing headlined, "Democrats would let terrorists free" and listed the names of many Democrats in the House of Representatives and the Senate who opposed it.