Republicans in Congress are trying to insert a language that would allow the US to deport terrorism suspects to countries known to use torture; this practice is known as extraordinary rendition. Not only is it morally reprehensible, it is also contrary to several conventions that the US has signed. It’s just wrong. As Represenative Ed Markey’s press release says:
The provision Rep. Markey referred to is contained in Section 3032 and 3033 of H.R. 10, the �9/11 Recommendations Implementation Act of 2004,� introduced by House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL). The provision would require the Secretary of Homeland Security to issue new regulations to exclude from the protection of the U.N. Convention Against Torture and Other Forms of Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, any suspected terrorist � thereby allowing them to be deported or transferred to a country that may engage in torture. The provision would put the burden of proof on the person being deported or rendered to establish �by clear and convincing evidence that he or she would be tortured,� would bar the courts from having jurisdiction to review the Secretary�s regulations, and would free the Secretary to deport or remove terrorist suspects to any country in the world at will � even countries other than the person�s home country or the country in which they were born. The provision would also apply retroactively.
- Discussion at Tacitus.
- Ed Markey’s press release (PDF requiring Acrobat Reader or Mac OS X Preview).
- The canonical blog entry on the subject.
- The sad case of Maher Arar, a Canadian resident of Syrian descent who was deported to Syria and tortured. No charges have ever been made against him.
I’d love to make a witty remark here about how the terrorists could win and they are us but that just doesn’t seem funny right now. This is not the position of an advanced society. It’s the kind of thing that’s so wrong, it’s genuinely not even funny. Especially the part where they place the burden of proof on the accused, circumventing the whole “innocent until proven guilty” thing the founding fathers were so keen on.