- Post-9/11, America's moved steadily toward eroding democracy
entirely. Justification given is war on terror hokum. Incrementally, international,
constitutional and statute laws have been trashed.
- Equity, justice and other democratic values long ago
were abandoned to advance America's imperium. On May 26, the House voted
to abolish freedom entirely - HR 1540, 322 - 96.
- On December 1, the Senate did likewise - S. 1867, 93
to 7. Both versions assure no one anywhere is now safe, including law-abiding
- Senate no votes were cast by Thomas Harkin (D. IA), Rand
Paul (R. KY), Thomas Coburn (R. OK), Jeff Merkley (D. OR), Ron Wyden (D.
OR), Mike Lee (R. UT), and Bernie Sanders (I. VT).
- Of the Senate's 51 Democrats, only one voted no.
- At issue are Sections 1031 and 1032 of the FY 2012 National
Defense Authorization Act - NDAA (S. 1867).
- Section 1031 authorizes indefinitely detaining US citizens
without charge or trial. It exceeds previous police state laws. The provision
refers to US citizens or lawful resident aliens even though the Constitution
protects them. No longer.
- Enactment means anyone anywhere, including US citizens,
may be indefinitely held without charge or trial, based solely on suspicions,
baseless allegations or none at all.
- No reasonable proof is required, just suspicions that
those detained pose threats. Under subsection (b)(1), indefinite detentions
can follow mere membership (past or present) or support for suspect organizations.
- Presidents would have unchecked authority to arrest,
interrogate and indefinitely detain law-abiding citizens if accused of
potentially posing a threat.
- Constitutional, statute and international laws won't
apply. Martial law will replace them.
- Like the companion House bill (HR 1540), detention would
be authorized based on alleged prior associations with suspect groups.
- US military personnel anywhere in the world would be
authorized to seize US citizens and others.
- Section 1032 requires suspects held in military custody,
outside constitutionally mandated civil protections, including habeas rights,
due process, and other judicial procedures.
- Presidents could order anyone arrested and imprisoned
for life without charge or trial.
- Abuse of power would replace rule of law protections.
- Even someone erroneously arrested and cleared of wrongdoing
could be held indefinitely without charge, given non-civil trials, none
at all, or sent abroad to torture prison hellholes.
- On November 29, the Senate voted 60 - 38 against Mark
Udall's (D. CO) amendment. If adopted, it would have prohibited the military
from arresting and imprisoning anyone anywhere without charge or trial,
including US citizens.
- An orderly review of presidential and congressional detention
power would have been authorized. Before adjourning, House and Senate conferees
will resolve the issue one way or other. Removing harmful provisions is
- If not, Obama promised a veto. So far, he's broken EVERY
major promise made. Given enough congressional votes to override him, it
hardly matters what he does.
- December 8 is the House's targeted adjournment date.
The Senate date is yet to be announced. Key legislation must be completed
before leaving, including resolving language in FY 2012 NDAA.
- Obama must then sign or veto it. Congress returns on
January 5. Will he keep his promise or sign the bill to assure defense
funding continuity? Electoral politics suggests the latter.
- Moreover, S. 1867 sponsor Carl Levin said Obama officials
were involved in drafting the bill. Both sides apparently agreed on final
- Some Post-9/11 Background
- On September 18, 2001, a joint House-Senate Authorization
for Use of Military Force (AUMF) approved permanent war on humanity. Thereafter,
America's lurched from one to another. Expect more ahead.
- On November 13, 2001, George Bush issued Military Order
Number 1. It was a watershed coup d'etat action.
- It authorized presidents to capture, kidnap or otherwise
arrest non-citizens (citizens were later included) anywhere in the world
based on unproved allegations of involvement in international terrorism.
Moreover, it approved holding them indefinitely without charge, evidence
or due process rights.
- It stipulated that trials, if held, will be in secret
military commissions, not civil courts. Torture obtained evidence is allowed,
and appeal rights are denied those convicted.
- Capitalizing on a window of hysteria, numerous laws,
Executive Orders, findings, memoranda, and memos, as well as National and
Homeland Security Presidential Directives followed (NSPDs and HSPDs). Constitutional
rights eroded. Unchecked police state powers hardened.
- On October 26, 2001, 45 days post-9/11, Congress overwhelmingly
passed the USA Patriot Act. Civil liberties were eroded, including Fifth
and Fourteen Amendment due process rights by permitting indefinite detentions
of undocumented immigrants that now apply to anyone anywhere.
- First Amendment freedom of association was compromised.
Now anyone may be prosecuted for their alleged association with "undesirable
- Fourth Amendment protections from unreasonable searches
and seizures are gone, including personal privacy rights.
- Unchecked government surveillance powers were authorized
to access personal records, monitor financial transactions, as well as
student, medical and other records.
- Secret evidence may be obtained lawlessly and withheld
from defense lawyers.
- For the first time, "domestic terrorism" was
criminalized. It applies to US citizens and aliens. It states criminal
law violations are considered domestic terrorist acts if they aim to "influence
(government policy) by intimidation, coercion (or) intimidate or coerce
a civilian population."
- In other words, anti-war, global justice, environmental
and animal rights activism, as well as Occupy Wall Street activism may
be designated "domestic terrorism." So may civil disobedience
and dissent of any kind to prevent it entirely.
- On October 1, 2002, USNORTHCOM's establishment was step
one to militarizing America.
- The November 25, 2002 Homeland Security Act (HSA) centralized
unprecedented executive branch military and law enforcement powers.
- The October 17, 2006 Military Commissions Act scrapped
habeas protections for domestic and foreign enemies alike, citizens and
- "Any person is punishable... who....aids, abets,
counsels, commands, or procures" and in so doing helps a foreign enemy,
provides "material support" to alleged terrorist groups, engages
in spying, or commits other offenses previously handled in civil courts.
- It also authorized torture and empowered presidents to
convene military commissions to try anyone called "unlawful enemy
combatants." They now designated "unprivileged enemy belligerents."
- On the same date, little know FY 2007 NDAA provisions
(Sections 1076 and 333) amended the Insurrection Act of 1807 and Posse
Comitatus Act of 1878.
- They prohibit using federal and National Guard troops
for law enforcement domestically except as constitutionally allowed or
expressly authorized by Congress in times of a national emergency like
- Presidents may now claim public emergency powers, effectively
declare martial law, suspend the Constitution for "national security"
reasons, and deploy federal and National Guard troops on America's streets
to suppress whatever he calls disorder.
- The key April 4, 2007 NSPD-51/HSPD-20 combined directive
established "Continuity of Government (COG)" procedures under
Catastrophic Emergency conditions, defined as:
- "any incident (such as a terrorist attack), regardless
of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage,
or disruption severely affecting the US population, infrastructure, environment,
economy, or government functions."
- COG is then defined as:
- "a coordinated effort within the Federal Government's
executive branch to ensure that National Essential Functions continue to
be performed during a Catastrophic Emergency."
- The combined directive gave the president and DHS unprecedented
police state powers to declare martial law without congressional approval,
and be able to rule extrajudicially, free from constitutional constrains.
It also let the vice-president assume dictatorial powers. Clever wording
marginalized Bush, saying:
- NSPD 51 "shall be implemented in a manner that is
consistent with, and facilitates effective implementation of, provisions
of the Constitution concerning succession to the Presidency or the exercise
of its powers, and the Presidential Succession Act of 1947 (3 U.S.C. 19),
with consultation of the Vice President and, as appropriate, others involved."
- "Heads of executive departments and agencies shall
ensure that appropriate support is available to the Vice President and
others involved as necessary to be prepared at all times to implement those
- Civil liberties were further eroded by institutionalized
spying, other forms of surveillance, waging war on Islam, criminalizing
dissent, creating a culture of secrecy, militarizing police, punishing
whistleblowers, using courts as persecution instruments, and governing
- If FY 2012 NDAA includes Sections 1031 and 1032, America
more than ever will be repressive and unfit live in.
- How can it be if constitutional, statute and international
law protections no longer apply.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
- Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and
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