- If enacted, it will advance what this writer addressed
in a December 2007 article titled, "Police State America - A Look
Back and Ahead," covering numerous Bush administration laws, Executive
Orders (EOs), National and Homeland Security Presidential Directives, edicts,
and various illegal acts targeting designated domestic and foreign adversaries,
dissent, civil liberties, human rights, and other democratic freedoms.
- Straightaway post-9/11, George Bush signed a secret finding
empowering the CIA to "Capture, Kill or Interrogate Al-Qaeda Leaders."
He also authorized establishing a covert global gulag to detain and interrogate
them without guidelines on proper treatment.
- Other presidential directives ordered abductions, torture
and indefinite detentions. In November 2001, Military Order Number 1 empowered
the Executive to capture, kidnap or otherwise arrest non-citizens (and
later citizens) anywhere in the world for any reason and hold them indefinitely
without charge, evidence, due process or judicial fairness protections
- The 2006 Military Commissions Act authorized torture
and sweeping unconstitutional powers to detain, interrogate and prosecute
alleged suspects and collaborators (including US citizens), hold them (without
evidence) indefinitely in military prisons, and deny them habeas and other
- Section 1031 of the FY 2010 Defense Authorization Act
contained the 2009 Military Commissions Act, listing changes that include
discarding the phrase "unlawful enemy combatant" for "unprivileged
enemy belligerent." More on that below.
- Seamlessly, Obama continues Bush administration practices
and added others, including:
- -- greater than ever surveillance;
- -- ruthless political persecutions;
- -- preventively detaining individuals ordered released
- "who cannot be prosecuted," he said, "yet who pose a clear
danger to the American people;"
- -- a secret "hit list" authorizing CIA and
Pentagon operatives to kill US citizens abroad based on unsubstantiated
evidence they're involved in alleged plots against America or US interests;
- -- weaker whisleblower protections;
- -- state secrets privilege to block lawsuits by victims
of rendition, torture, abuse or warrantless wiretapping; and
- -- other anti-democratic measures.
- Now, the March 4 S. 3081: Enemy Belligerent, Interrogation,
Detention, and Prosecution Act of 2010 to interrogate and detain "enemy
belligerents who commit hostile acts against the United States to establish
certain limitations on the prosecution of such belligerents, and for other
- On the Senate floor, John McCain explained it, saying
"we still don't have a clear mechanism, legal structure, and implementing
policy for dealing with terrorists who we capture in the (alleged) act
of trying to bring about attacks on the United States and our national
security interests at home and abroad."
- These suspects have no right to "Miranda warnings
and defense lawyers. Instead, the priority and focus must be on isolating
and neutralizing the immediate threat and collecting intelligence to prevent"
- "I (also) believe we must establish a system for
long-term detention of terrorists who are too dangerous to release, but
who cannot be tried in a civilian court" because no evidence exists
to convict them.
- At a March 4 press conference, Senator Joe Lieberman
- "These are not common criminals. They are war criminals.
Anyone we capture in this war should be treated as a prisoner of war, held
by the military, interrogated for information that will protect Americans
and help us win this war and then where appropriate, tried not in a normal
federal court where criminals are tried but before a military commission."
- S. 3081 Provisions
- The bill imposes harsh police state measures, including:
- -- targeting anyone worldwide, including US citizens,
"suspected of engaging in (or materially supporting) hostilities against
the United States or its coalition partners through an act of terrorism,
or by other means...;"
- -- placing such individuals "in military custody
for purposes of initial interrogation and determination of status in accordance
with the provisions of this Act;"
- -- transporting them to intelligence officials for more
- -- determining who may be a "high-value detainee
- -- further interrogating those individuals by a "High-Value
Detainee Interrogation Group (HVIG)....utiliz(ing) military and intelligence
personnel, and Federal, State, and local law enforcement personnel....;"
- -- having HVIGs submit their determination to the Defense
Secretary and Attorney General after consulting with the Directors of National
Intelligence, FBI, and CIA. "The Secretary of Defense and Attorney
General (will then) make a final determination and report (it) to the President
and the appropriate committees of Congress. In the case of any disagreement
between the Secretary of Defense and the Attorney General, the President
will make the determination;"
- -- designating seized individuals "unprivileged
- -- denying them Miranda rights:
- -- deciding on a "Final (status) Determination"
within 48 hours, "to the extent practicable;"
- -- letting the President establish HVD interrogation
group operations and activities, including whether detainees "meet
the criteria for treatment as a high-value detainee for purposes of interrogation....,"
including the potential threat held individuals pose:
- (1) for an attack against America, its citizens, US military
personnel or facilities;
- (2) their potential intelligence value;
- (3) membership in or affiliation with Al Qaeda; and
- (4) "such other matters as the President considers
- Pending final determination, detainees "shall be
treated as unprivileged enemy belligerent(s)," defined as:
- "An individual, including a citizen of the United
States (to) be detained without criminal charges and without trial for
the duration of hostilities against the United States or its coalition
partners in which the individual has engaged, or which the individual has
purposely and materially supported, consistent with the law of war and
any authorization for the use of military force provided by Congress pertaining
to such hostilities."
- An "unprivileged enemy belligerent" means anyone
(with or without evidence) suspected of "engag(ing) in (or materially
supporting) hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners,"
including alleged Al Qaeda members.
- Raised Concerns
- Designating individuals "unlawful enemy combatants"
or "unprivileged enemy belligerents" places them in legal limbo,
contrary to international law, the Constitution, and three recent Supreme
- -- Rasul v. Bush (2004) establishing US court system
jurisdiction to decide if Guantanamo-held non-US citizens were wrongfully
- -- Hamdi v. Rumsfeld (2004) granting US citizen Yaser
Hamdi and other Guantanamo detainees habeas rights to challenge their detentions
in federal courts; and
- -- Hamdan v. Rumsfeld (2006) denying Guantanamo military
commissions "the power to proceed because (their) structures and procedures
violate both the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the four Geneva Conventions
signed in 1949."
- Obama-ordered preventive detentions (against uncharged
persons) and S. 3081 violate international law, the Constitution, and the
above Supreme Court decisions.
- Writing for the Jurist Legal News & Research, University
of Utah Law Professor, Amos Guiora, calls the proposed bill "the latest
example of panic-based legislation" in the wake of the (false flag)
December airplane bombing and whether alleged 9/11 suspects will be tried
in federal or military courts - Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and others falsely
charged based on tortured-extracted confessions.
- Holding detainees through "end of hostilities in
the terrorism paradigm is a euphemism for indefinite detention....subject(ing)
an extraordinarily broad group of persons" to cruel and inhumane treatment
based on unsubstantiated charges, and denying them due process and judicial
- Guiora calls the proposed law:
- "a fundamental miscarriage of justice created by
the unconstitutional denial of the right to counsel, the right to remain
silent, the right to be free from arbitrary, let alone indefinite detention,
and the right to a day in court." Unfortunately, too often "legitimacy
and justification take a back seat" to expediency and the political
climate of the times.
- As a result, innocent victims are unjustly arrested,
called terrorists, interrogated, tortured, indefinitely detained and denied
all rights despite constitutional and international law protections.
- "Republicans and Democrats alike have failed to
articulate, create and implement a lawful interrogation, detention and
trial regime for post-9/11 detainees. That is shameful and reflects negatively
on two Presidents, the Congress and the Supreme Court."
- The major media also. Their reports hype the threat,
pre-determine guilt, and influence public opinion to believe government-charged
individuals are dangerous, guilty, and should be confined to deter "terrorism."
- Yet the Constitution's Fifth Amendment states:
- "No person shall....be deprived of life, liberty,
or property without due process of law....;" and
- The 14th Amendment reads:
- No "State (may) deprive any person of life, liberty,
or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within
its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."
- Yet in a climate of fear and intimidation, everyone is
potentially vulnerable to legislative lawlessness if congressional timidity
lets S. 3081 pass in an election year.
- According to Guiora, it comes down to "the rule
of law or the rule of fear." Protecting American citizens and national
security is one thing. Discarding core legal principles to do it reflects
the worst elements of police state justice.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com
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