- Dr. Robert Chesney of the University of Texas, who is a nonpartisan expert on military detention wrote this piece a few days ago and it is MOST DEFINITELY worth reading!
- Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley said yesterday about this bill:
“The most bedrock principle of our government, one that our nation was founded on, is that it protects the freedom and liberty of our citizens. On this critical measure, the Defense Authorization bill falls short. Instead, it allows the government to circumvent a host of our citizens’ constitutional rights ranging from due process to public and speedy trials.
“This step takes us in a very dangerous direction and undermines the freedoms enshrined in our founding documents. While I support much of the Defense Authorization bill and the programs that support our troops and our security, I cannot support a bill that strikes at the heart of our constitutional protections.”
- Senator Lindsey Graham on the Senate floor attesting to the fact that this does apply to the American people, view this short video along with the transcript of his actual words HERE :
"And I would add that Senator Lieberman would have gone further than you, and nobody I respect more than Senator Lieberman but trying to find a balanced way. So in summary here, 1032, the military custody provision, which has waivers and a lot of flexibility, doesn't apply to American citizens.
1031, the statement of authority to detain, does apply to the American citizens and it designates the world as the battlefield, including the homeland.
Are you familiar with the Padilla case? That is a federal court case involving an American citizen captured in the United States that was held for several years as an enemy combatant. His case went to the fourth circuit. The fourth circuit court of appeals said an American citizen can be held by our military as an enemy combatant even if they're caught here in the United States because once you join the enemy forces, then you present a military threat and your citizenship is not a sort of get-out-of-jail free card.
That the law of the land is an enemy combatant that went to the fourth circuit and that as I speak is the law of the land."
The Senator is a dangerous man as is anyone who supports this. What Graham suggests is that our Congress circumvent the Bill of Rights under the guise of national security. This idea of "once you join the enemy forces, then you present a military threat" is ludicrous. Whether or not a person or persons is a military threat or threat to national security is purely subjective. Some people think street gangs are a danger to our national security. Others think drug dealers are a threat. And there are those who think people like me, who speak out against atrocities like this, are a threat to our national security.
Who decides? What constitutes a threat and what doesn't?
By the definition of some elected officials in this country, speaking out against the American government is essentially assisting the enemy. Technically some would say that the mere act of writing this is consistent with aiding and abetting the enemy.
Do you see why this is so important? It's a slippery slope. Right now it's those affiliated with Al-Qaeda and other related forces, but really this can be expanded, all under the guise of "threat to national security."
For your reading pleasure, I've posted here verbatim sections 1031 and 1032. You can view the entire bill at:
Subtitle D – Detainee Matters
Sec 1031. Affirmation of Authority of the Armed Forces of the United States to detain covered persons pursuant to the authorization for use of military force.
In General. Congress affirms that the authority of the President to use all necessary and appropriate force pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107-40) includes the authority for the Armed Forces of the United States to detain covered persons (as defined in subsection (b)) pending disposition under the law of war.
(b) Covered Persons. – A covered person under this section is any person as follows:
(1) A person who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001 or harbored those responsible for those attacks
(2) A person who was part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, including any person who has committed a belligerent act or has directly support such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces(c) Disposition under law of war. – The disposition of a person under the law of war as described in subsection (a) may include the following:
(1) Detention under the law of war without trial until the end of the hostilities authorized by the Authorization for Use of Military Force
(2) Trial under chapter 47A of titl 10, United States Code (as amended by the Military Commissions Act of 2009 (title XVIII of Publix Lw 111-84))
(3) Transfer for trial by an alternative court or competent tribunal having lawful jurisdiction
(4) Transfer to the custody or control of the person’s country of origin, any other foreign country, or any other foreign entity(d) Construction. – nothing in this section is intended to limit or expand the authority of the President or the scope of the Authorization for Use of Military Force.
(e) Authorities. – nothing in this section shall be construed to affect existing law or authorities, relating to the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States.
Section 1032. Requirement for Military Custody.
(a) Custody pending disposition under law of war.
(1) In General. Except as provided in paragraph (4), the armed forces of the united states shall hold a person described in paragraph (2) who is caputred in the course of hostilities authorized by the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107-40) in military custody pending disposition under the law of war.
(2) Covered Persons. – The requirement in paragraph (1) shall apply to any person whose detention is authorized under section 1031 who is determined –
(a) To be a member of, or part of, al-Qaeda or an associated ofrce thatacts in coordination with or pursuant to the direction of Al-Qadea and
(b) To have participated in the course of planning or carrying out an attack or attempted attack against the United States or its coalition partners
(3) Disposition under law of war. – For purposes of this subsection, the disposition of a person under the law of war has the meaning given in 1031©, except that no transfer otherwise described in paragraph (4) of that section shall be made unless consisten with the requriments of section 1033
(4) Waiver for National Security. – The Secretary of defense may, in consulation with the Secretary of State and the Director of National Intelligence, waive the requirement of paragraph (1) if the Secretary submits to Congress a certification in writing that such a waiver is in the national security interests of the United States.(b) Applicability to United States Citizens and Lawful Resident Aliens
(1) United States Citizens. – The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to citizens of the United States.
(2) Lawful resident aliens. – The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to a lawful resident alien of the United States on the basis of conduct taking place within the United States, except to the extent permitted by the Constitution of the United States.
So...what are your thoughts on this? Do you even care? You should.