I am sorry to be bringing this up in a technical forum, but I felt it’s too important to let go by the wayside.
I’m going to deviate from my normal XML discourse to point out that the US has officially become a police state. On September 27, 2006, the Military Commissions Act of 2006 was passed by Congress, and is being sent to the President who is only too eager to sign it. This particularly poorly thought out act includes the following provision:
“No court, justice, or judge shall have jurisdiction to hear or consider an application for a writ of habeas corpus filed by or on behalf of an alien detained by the United States who has been determined by the United States to have been properly detained as an enemy combatant or is awaiting such determination.”
The definition of alien, elsewhere within the same act, is written so broadly that it can mean not only foreign nationals but also US citizens, a choice of wording that was quite deliberately made by the framers of the bill.
Habeas Corpus - To have the body - is a very basic principle, but is, more importantly, one of the foundational principles put into the Constitution. It means that if you are detained by a federal, state or local police agent, that agent must announce that you have been taken captive within a limited period (usually three days), must announce why you have been taken captive, and if no crime is charged against you within that period you must be released.
The principle exists for a very simple reason - without it, people can be arrested and made to disappear. It means that you can be legally detained for no reason other than the fact that someone felt that it would be better if you were not free, and it means that if someone is arrested they can be held indefinitely with neither trial nor access to a lawyer. It was the bedrock principle upon which nearly all law and order within the United States was based. It no longer exists.
Fully legally (assuming that the Supreme Court does not turn it over), this essentially means that your Congress (if you are an American) has backdoored the United States into Martial Law. The president, or any agent of his choosing, can imprison you or your friends or neighbors simply because you represent a threat to them. That is what Martial Law is. The United States has only not had the protection of Habeas Corpus once before in its previous history, and that was during the Civil War. Lincoln declared Habeas Corpus invalidated for the duration of the war because he saw no choice, and one of the first acts of Congress after the war concluded was to restore it.
Remember that date: September 27, 2006. It is the day that the United States ceased being a democracy and become, for all intents and purposes, a dictatorship.