We are The Good Guys...

When you go to the polls you may wish to remember what the folks you sent to mind the store have wrought in your name while you were earning a living and not watching them. Both New Hampshire Senators voted for the Military Commissions Act and both voted for the Patriot Act. Now before you dismiss these votes as something acceptable to you, assuming you know what these ‘laws’ are making legal, ponder for a moment just what these authorize in the context of our state motto: “Live Free Or Die”.

The Military Commissions Act allows the president to apply the moniker of “enemy combatant” to any terror “suspect” taken into US custody and strip them of their human rights. The president is under no obligation to file charges or provide evidence of guilt. The arrest is completely arbitrary and depends entirely on the discretion (whims?) of the executive and his minions. It is a flat rejection of the basic belief that “men are innocent until proven guilty”.

Yale Law Professor Bruce Ackerman states in the L.A. Times, "The compromise legislation....authorizes the president to seize American citizens as enemy combatants, even if they have never left the United States. And once thrown into military prison, they cannot expect a trial by their peers or any other of the normal protections of the Bill of Rights."

Similarly, law Professor Marty Lederman explains: "this [subsection (ii) of the definition of 'unlawful enemy combatant'] means that if the Pentagon says you're an unlawful enemy combatant-- using whatever criteria they wish -- then as far as Congress, and U.S. law, is concerned, you are one, whether or not you have had any connection to 'hostilities' at all."

To quote the statute: "No court, justice, or judge shall have jurisdiction to hear or consider any claim or cause of action whatsoever, including any action pending on or filed after the date of the enactment of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, relating to the prosecution, trial, or judgment of a military
commission under this chapter, including challenges to the lawfulness of procedures of military commissions under this chapter." This simply means there’s zero judicial review after you’re picked up. No appeal, no lawyer, no Supreme Court - nothing. This is precisely what the case was in Nazi Germany when the Gestapo picked someone up; they simply disappeared into Buchenwald, Sachsenhausen, Ravensbruueck or any one of the other “internment centers”.

When a law uses the nebulous phrase “in breach of an allegiance or duty to the United States” to describe people who are subject to these “military tribunals” - draconian provisions in contravention to the Bill of Rights, common law and Constitutionalprotections which were the foundation of the Republic, one must ask oneself if or when they themselves might be subject to these interpretations. Perhaps when one dissents, files a Freedom of Information request, when one protests outside designated (fenced) protest zones or, perhaps, when one writes something which might be construed as disloyal orderogatory towards the President or his clearly illegal policies (such as writing this missive)? For whatever whimsical reason one mightbe construed as having been disloyal or “in breach of an allegiance” to the United States then the terms of this legislation kick in: "No person may invoke the Geneva Conventions or any protocols thereto in any habeas corpus or other civil action or proceeding to which the United States, or a current or former officer, employee, member of the Armed Forces, or other agent of the United States is a party as a source of rights in any court of the United States or its States or territories." But hey, this is only going to be used against the “terrorists” so who cares about them, right?

The folks you sent to Washington also approved the Patriot Act which redefined an enemy combatant (those ‘bad guys’ they can now lock up without charges, without trial, without legal representation and then torture). The new definition applies now to any American citizens who "may" have violated any provision of Section 802 of the first Patriot Act. (Section 802 is the new definition of domestic terrorism, and the definition is "any action that endangers human life that is a violation of any Federal or State law.")  By this wide open definition were you drunk & driving ("endangering human life" in violation of State law) one can be deemed a "terrorist" subject to their new law authorizing detention and torture.

Here’s what Winston Churchill said about habeas corpus: “The power of the executive to cast a man into prison without formulating any charge known to the law, and particularly to deny him the judgment of his peers, is in the highest degree odious, and the foundation of all totalitarian government whether Nazi or Communist.”

Leaders and representatives deciding IF our government will comply with the Geneva Conventions, dismissing hundreds of years of Constitutional protections and Rights? Our elected representatives approving warrant less searches, warrant less wiretaps, arrests without charges, secret evidence and secret prisons?

Once upon a time I swore an oath, as did some of you who have served this country or state, to “protect and defend the Constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic”; the folks we elected to represent us had to swear the same oath. Unfortunately, by their actions and their votes our Constitution is being kicked to the curb. They are effectively destroying the foundations of our old Republic that we swore allegiance to are transforming it into something else.

Only you can decide if you’re a person of principal. If you are, do something about it before it’s too late to act.




Christopher T. Sununu

District 1

Mike J. Cryans

District 2

Andru Volinsky

District 3

Russell E Prescott

District 4

Theodore L. Gatsas

District 5

Debora B. Pignatelli

Click on the above photos to read about each of our council members.


Home Q & A Rules Q  & A Answers RC's Column