Checkpoint monitoring and racial profiling

More on the racial profiling issue via this post from the Southern Coalition for Social Justice on BlueNC.

Over the past week the Southern Coalition for Social Justice has been ramping up its efforts to train checkpoint monitors, with public training sessions in Guilford Co, Alamance Co, and Durham, NC . Hundreds of community members, students, and immigrant’s rights allies have been trained in how to respond to police license checkpoints, in response to the growing number of checkpoints which lead to the deportation of thousands of undocumented immigrants which have devastated immigrant communities in the past few years.

Price wants to repeal Military Commissions Act

Changes being made. Seems we may return to the idea of rule of law.
This from Rep. Price’s office:

Price Introduces Bill to Restore the Rule of Law to the Handling of Terrorism Suspects
Comprehensive Legislation Aims to Fix a Broken System

***Section-by-Section Summary Attached***

WASHINGTON — Congressman David Price (D-NC), chairman of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, today introduced a proposal to initiate broad reforms in the practice of detention, interrogation, and prosecution of terrorism suspects by the United States.

His bill, the Interrogation and Detention Reform Act, would seek to end the abusive and ineffective policies of the past while presenting a way forward with a sound, law-abiding approach, which the Congressman says will improve the capacity of human intelligence collection efforts. He hopes the proposal will serve as a platform for collaboration between the incoming Obama Administration and the new Congress to address the deficiencies of the current system, and anticipates that the new Administration may act on some of his proposed measures early in its tenure through executive action.

“Our government’s approach to the interrogation, detention, and prosecution of terrorist suspects is badly broken,” Price said, as he explained the urgency of reform. “The Obama Administration should not waste a single day in reforming this system and putting our country back on firm moral ground.”

Price added, “Experts with the Intelligence Science Board have concluded that commonly used interrogation techniques are not rooted in science and may not be effective in obtaining accurate information. The Bush Administration’s system for prosecuting terrorism suspects is bogged down in procedural hurdles and court challenges. Worst of all, our ongoing use of the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center, along with reports of detainee abuse, have severely tarnished our government’s moral authority, which is crucial to our leadership in the global fight against terrorism.”

The Interrogation and Detention Reform Act would repeal the Military Commissions Act and endorse the existing civilian and military justice systems as the most appropriate venues for prosecuting terrorism. The Military Commissions system has achieved only three convictions in terrorism cases since 9-11, while civilian courts have convicted over 145 terrorists in the same span. The legislation would close Guantanamo Bay Detention Center, and it would establish uniform, government-wide standards for interrogation that prohibit torture.

The bill would also stop the practice of contracting out interrogations. Price was the author of amendments to the Defense and Intelligence Authorization bills last year that would bar private contractors from performing interrogations.

In addition to breaking from the damaging practices of the past, Price stressed the importance of plotting a new way forward for the country’s policies toward terrorism suspects.

“We cannot simply decry the abuses of the past; we must offer new approaches that both improve our effectiveness in fighting terrorism and restore our moral grounding.”

To that end his bill would enact forward-looking proposals designed to strengthen intelligence collection, including the creation of a center of excellence for interrogation training and research, as recommended by the Intelligence Science Board, and the development of an expert cadre of career military interrogators.

For more details see the attached section-by-section summary of the legislation.

“If our nation is to win our critical fight against terrorism, we must ensure that our tools for obtaining timely, accurate intelligence and for bringing terrorist suspects to justice are finely honed and do not violate human rights or the rule of law,” Price concluded. “We simply cannot afford to maintain the current broken system.”

Other House members who are cosponsoring Price’s legislation include Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson (D-CT), Intelligence Oversight Panel Chairman Rush Holt (D-NJ), Intelligence Committee member Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Judiciary Committee member Mel Watt (D-NC), Foreign Relations Committee member Brad Miller (D-NC), Jim McGovern (D-MA), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), John Olver (D-MA), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), and Maurice Hinchey (D-NY).