If you think soldiers won't do it, think again. Some of the stupidest people on Earth join the Army, and they, in contrast to the many intelligent young patriots who join for the right reasons, will always be there. Reading blogs arguing about Posse Comitatus and martial law I've seen comments like “I expect I might be picking a few civvies (civilians) off the wire someday…but I like my home on base and my kids need the nice playground. Life is good.”
I also have close relatives in. I couldn't make this up.
The bill was drafted in secret by Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) and passed in a closed-door committee meeting, without even a single hearing….
Anders warns us that the worldwide indefinite detention without charge or trial provision is in S. 1867, the National Defense Authorization Act bill, which will be on the Senate floor on Monday (today) for the beginning of debate.
The Senate will be voting on a bill that will direct American military resources not at an enemy shooting at our military in a war zone, but at American citizens and other civilians far from any battlefield — even people in the United States itself. Senators need to hear from you, on whether you think your front yard is part of a “battlefield” and if any president can send the military anywhere in the world to imprison civilians without charge or trial.
In an unusual closing of ranks, many conservative websites have picked up and run the ACLU Alert either verbatim or as part of their own action alerts. ConservativeByte.com in “Senate Moves To Allow Military To Arrest Americans Without Charge Or Trial” writes:
The Senate is set to vote on a bill today that would define the whole of the United States as a “battlefield” and allow the U.S. Military to arrest American citizens in their own back yard without charge or trial.
Translation: this is not a liberal or conservative thing. This is an American thing.
In support of the bill, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said that the bill will “basically say in law for the first time that the homeland is part of the battlefield” and people can be imprisoned without charge or trial “American citizen or not.” Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) declared that the bill is needed because “America is part of the battlefield.”
Anders in his legislative alert asks a good question: Why now?
Hasn’t anyone told the Senate that Osama bin Laden is dead, that the president is pulling all of the combat troops out of Iraq and trying to figure out how to get combat troops out of Afghanistan too? And American citizens and people picked up on American or Canadian or British streets being sent to military prisons indefinitely without even being charged with a crime. Really? Does anyone think this is a good idea? And why now?
Although Obama has threatened to veto the bill over the provision, this is not the first time McCain has revealed his totalitarian, un-American impulses. Last year he was lead sponsor S. 3081 which outlined the process by which Americans may be held indefinitely, without notice of their Miranda Rights, and without ever being charged with a crime, after being arrested in their own country. Due to popular outcry, the bill never became law.
What today's action tells us is that this was not a one-off by McCain and whatever anti-Constitution gang he can round up at the moment. He will keep trying until this president or another one signs it. The ACLU is recommending people lobby their senators to support the Udall Amendment which will delete the harmful provisions and replace them with a “requirement for an orderly Congressional review of detention power.”
I have a better idea. In crafting this backroom deal and attempting to form what amounts to an anti-Constitution faction, McCain and Levin have betrayed their primary oath of office to “protect, uphold and defend the United States Constitution against all enemies both foreign and domestic.”
Although the Bill of Rights has been steadily eroded since the arrest of American citizen Jose Padilla as an “enemy combatant” by the Bush administration, Bush released him to a civilian trial just before his detention was properly tested in the Supreme Court, after being upheld in the Fourth Circuit. The test would have been whether “enemy combatant” or any other abrogation of the Bill of Rights which applied to traditional war could apply in the first open-ended “war” from which, as the “enemy” is a loose network rather than a hierarchy, there is no one from whom to accept surrender. Thus the question has been left open, until this attempt to codify what is in essence flatly unconstitutional.
At his trial none of the original plots alleged by the government against Padilla, such as a plan to blow up a “dirty bomb” in New York or blow up apartments using gas lines, were ever mentioned. He was convicted mainly on the strength of an Al-Qaeda “application form” which included a line for “emergency contact.” Not only would this laughable measure point an incriminating finger at whomever was listed, it flies in the face of interviews with Jihadis who say when you go to Jihad, if you tell your family anything, you tell them only that you will not be coming back.
Interestingly, the attorney for another terrorism suspect, Binyam Mohamed, said that during his imprisonment in CIA “black box” prisons, he was told that he would be implicating people such as Padilla, under torture, which included slicing his genitals with razor blades. Attorney Clive Stafford Smith said his client told him:
” Some of the time they said that some big people in al-Qaeda were talking about me. Some of the time they told me that the U.S. had a story they wanted from me and it was their job to get it. They talked about Jose Padilla and they said I was going to testify against him and big people. They named Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Abu Zubaydah and Ibn Sheikh al-Libi. I was meant to be working with these people, giving them ideas like the dirty bomb. It is hard to pin down the exact story, because what they wanted changed all the time. First in Morocco it changed, then when I was in the Dark Prison, then in Bagram and again in Guantanamo Bay.”
Smith explains this in his book “The Eight O'Clock Ferry to the Windward Side.” Andy Worthington writes:
“The U.S. authorities insisted that Padilla and Binyam had dinner with various high-up members of al-Qaeda the night before Padilla was to fly off to America. According to their theory the dinner party had to have been on the evening of April 3rd in Karachi, Binyam was meant to have dined with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Abu Zubaydah, Sheikh al-Libi, Ramzi bin al-Shibh and Jose Padilla.” What made the scenario “absurd,” as Stafford Smith pointed out, was that “two of the conspirators were already in U.S. custody at the time — Abu Zubaydah was seized six days before, on 28 March 2002, and al-Libi had been held since November 2001.“
The Founders created two categories of enemies in the Oath of Office: foreign and domestic. Furthermore, they stipulated that the enemies to be primarily defended against would be not enemies of the president, nor even of the nation at large, but specifically enemies of “the United States Constitution,” enshrined in the founding document. The Constitution declares in the Sixth Amendment of the Bill of Rights that:
“In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.”
The creation of a permanent state of war in the “war on terror” is precisely what the Founders warned of the most strenuously. McCain and Levin have treacherously undertaken to overturn the Bill of Rights of the Constitution permanently through this device. Since the Constitution, in the Oath of Office, essentially creates a class of criminal, a “domestic enemy” of the “United States Constitution,” it is incumbent upon loyal senators to declare treason within their midst, and to direct the Sergeant at Arms to effect the arrest of John McCain and Carl Levin as such domestic enemies.
This has been a long time coming.
“Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people. . . . [There is also an] inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war, and . . . degeneracy of manners and of morals. . . . No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare…” – James Madison
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