LatinaLista — When historians look back on the rise of bloggers as a force that either replaced or aided newspapers (viewpoint is up for debate) in making public officials stay accountable for their actions, will bloggers be viewed as dissidents or the public conscience just gone online? As we know, history can be a lot kinder than present reality. There is reason to believe that today’s politicians see bloggers as an annoying group with too much time on their hands, and if one lawyer/author is right, our days may be numbered.
Marjorie Cohn is an international lecturer on human rights and U.S. foreign policy. She is also a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, president-elect of the National Lawyers Guild, and the U.S. representative to the executive committee of the American Association of Jurists.
(Source: Thomas Jefferson School of Law)
In an article for Alternet, an advocacy organization for such issues as human rights, the environment and social justice, Cohn explains that a recent bill that was pushed through Congress has some serious implications for all of us who disagree publicly with the Bush Administration.
In the Military Commissions Act of 2006, Cohn points out that a Halliburton subsidiary is constructing a “huge facility at an undisclosed location to hold tens of thousands of the government’s ‘unlawful enemy combatants’.”
According to Cohn, anyone who donates money to a charity that turns up on the government’s list of terrorist organizations or who speaks out against the government’s policies could be declared an “unlawful enemy combatant” regardless if you’re an American citizen or not.
The bill also strips the right of habeus corpus.
None of this is surprising or new news but it is bothersome to think that when this bill is signed into law, the government would have at their disposal a tool to silence bloggers who speak out against the government and its policies – including its immigration policies.
While some may think we’re stretching to connect this bill with the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, we need only look at the President’s words during his recent signing of that bill to see the connection has already been made.
While signing the Homeland Security Appropriations Act, the President stated that the bill would give money to bolster our security at the border to keep terrorists from entering the country. Yet, in the next breath he talks about undocumented immigrants.
He admits that new detention centers are being built to house over 6,000 detainees so they can stop the catch and release program.
Is it such a stretch to assume that today illegal immigrants are tomorrow’s enemy combatants? Or that today’s bloggers who speak out on behalf of the undocumented or criticize the government are to be declared, if we haven’t already, enemies of the state?
Who said that description would only apply to Al Queda members?
It’s times like these where history, or a crystal ball, would come in handy. Not that we would change our opinions, but we’d just be better at getting them out there for everyone to see.