January 1, 2012

Indefinite Military Detention of U.S. Citizens without Charge or Trial - The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) - Signed into Law on December 31, 2011



The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, December 7, 2011, The Senate passes a bill that jeopardizes Americans' civil rights.



After Congress passed a version of the National Defense Authorization Act last week that allows for indefinite military detention of citizens without a trial on America soil, we pointed out 20 of its most alarming provisions. [Jon Stewart Bashes Obama for Backing ‘Indefinite Detention’ Bill, gawker.com]

The NDAA would vastly enhance government powers, creating the authority to detain indefinitely without trial. Mere accusation would be enough to deny freedom to law-abiding people. Rather than face FBI harassment, those activists — and any others raising awareness about issues like foreign policy or corporate environmental policies — could face the American equivalent of a gulag.

The National Defense Authorization Act allows, among other things, the military to detain American citizens indefinitely, to conduct secret kidnappings of suspected terror suspects (even if they are Americans living on American soil), and murder of same if said suspect is deemed a threat to national security. All without a trial. All without any deference to any other constitutional protection.


In the video above, Ron Paul describes the National Defense Authorization Act as a slip into tyranny that virtually guarantees our descent into totalitarianism.

You must never forget the warning recorded for posterity by Martin Niemoeller, the Lutheran minister who lived in Hitler's Germany during the 1930s and 1940s. His words echo down to us over succeeding decades:
"In Germany they came first for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up."


The NDAA if passed will only go to further stifle our Constitutional Rights without the approval of the Americans, just as the Patriot Act was adopted WITHOUT public approval or vote just weeks after the events of 9/11. A mere three criminal charges of terrorism a year are attributed to this act, which is mainly used for no-knock raids leading to drug-related arrests without proper cause for search and seizure. The laws are simply a means to spy on our own citizens and to detain and torture dissidents without trial or a right to council. You can read much more about living in this Orwellian society of fear and see my visual response to these measures on my artist’s blog. - Brandt Hardin, Dreg Studios, December 28, 2011

The Senate voted on December 15, 2011, just before the Christmas break, to give this president — and every future president — the power to order the military to pick up and imprison without charge or trial civilians anywhere in the world. The power is so broad that even U.S. citizens could be swept up by the military, and the military could be used far from any battlefield. Military resources could be directed not at an enemy shooting at our military in a war zone, but at American citizens within the United States itself. The worldwide indefinite detention without charge or trial provision is in S. 1867, the National Defense Authorization Act bill, which is the bill on the Senate floor this Monday. [Source]

What we are dealing with here is the potential for the scope of the bill to expand from those who can legitimately be called violent terrorists and enemy combatants, to those who are simply political opponents and eventually to those who fail to support those in power. If this scope can be expanded, history shows us that inevitably it will. American citizens are guaranteed rights under the Constitution, rights which are natural rights, rights endowed by our Creator, not rights bestowed by government. If government can remove your rights by decree, and worse, by secret decree, you have no rights, only privileges at whim. - Yoda, Senate Rejects Udall Amendment to ‘Indefinite Detention’ Bill, TreeofLiberty.com, November 30, 2011

In attempt to kill the indefinite detention provision of S. 1867, Senator Rand Paul aims to strike Section 1031 from the bill, which reads as follows. “Congress affirms that the authority of the President to use all necessary and appropriate force…includes the authority for the Armed Forces of the United States to detain covered persons…Detention under the law of war without trial”. The “indefinite detention” sections of the NDAA bill would turn the whole of the United States into a “battlefield” and hand the executive branch the power to have the military arrest U.S. citizens and hold them without trial. The provision is merely an update to the “parallel legal system” had been in place under the auspices of the war on terror for over a decade, “In which terrorism suspects — U.S. citizens and noncitizens alike — may be investigated, jailed, interrogated, tried and punished without legal protections guaranteed by the ordinary system,” as the Washington Post reported in December 2002. [Source]

As Ron Paul has pointed out, Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen who has never been charged with any crime, was the victim of extrajudicial killing because of the same unconstitutional legalese that defines the entire globe as a “battlefield,” where the constitutional rights of U.S. citizens are declared null and void if they are designated as terrorists by the federal government. Indeed, national intelligence director Dennis Blair openly stated last year that, “Being a U.S. citizen will not spare an American from getting assassinated by military or intelligence operatives.” [Source]

The US Senate voted December 1, 2011, to pass a $662 billion defense spending bill, in the face of a veto threat from the White House over a provision that would mandate military custody for any suspected terrorist caught on US soil. The National Defense Authorization Act approves funding for US troop pay raises, weapons systems and action in Iraq and Afghanistan. The vote passed 93 votes to seven. The bill would ramp up the role of the military in handling terror suspects, giving the government the authority to have the military hold an individual suspected of terrorism indefinitely, without a trial. [Source]

On November 29, 2011, the Senate voted 37-61 to reject an important amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would have removed harmful provisions authorizing the U.S. military to pick up and imprison without charge or trial civilians, including American citizens, anywhere in the world. The amendment offered by Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), would have replaced those provisions with a requirement for an orderly congressional review of detention power. - Senate Rejects Amendment Banning Indefinite Detention, ACLU.org, November 29, 2011

It was Obama who required the bill have the language of U.S. citizens being held without rights! The only reason he would veto it is because it does not give him the absolute power as he wants! [Source]



Two protesting the loss of freedom brought about by the passage of the NDAA are promptly arrested and whisked out of public sight.

AG Holder: Obama Will Add Signing Statement to NDAAThe New American

The New American
December 23, 2011

In a story published by the Talking Points Memo Muckraker, Attorney General Eric Holder (left) has confirmed that before President Obama signs the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 into law he will append a signing statement. Although the President initially signaled he would veto the measure, the TPM Muckraker continued:
Holder said the language of the NDAA had been moved in a "substantial way" from some of the original language which led the president to issue a veto threat.
"So we are in a better place, I think the regulations, procedures that will help, and we’ll also have a signing statement from the president" which will help clarify how they view the law, Holder said.
This type of “stroke of the pen, law of the land” despotism is nothing new to President Obama. More on that in a moment. In the present case, the President’s original opposition to the NDAA had nothing to do with preserving liberty, but with preserving the President’s preeminence in matters relating to who has the final say on the tracking and torturing of those suspected of threatening the security of the homeland.

It is likely, therefore, that President Obama’s signing statement will give the Federal Bureau of Investigation plenary power over the disposition of issues related to the custody and prosecution of all terror suspects detained domestically.

The Obama administration warned earlier that cutting out the FBI would reduce the overall effectiveness of investigations, as well as hamstring the efforts of intelligence officers to gather reliable intel from those believed to be fighting against the United States in Afghanistan or Iraq. That will undoubtedly be prevented in the terms of his unconstitutional interpretations tacked onto the NDAA.

The bottom line is, the President was just satisfied enough with the acquiescence of congress to let the bill get to his desk, but he wants to make sure everyone knows (especially the legislative branch) just who is the arbiter of who is and is not an “enemy combatant” and just how “critical intelligence” will be wrung from those suspects and by whom.

Interestingly, during his campaign for President in 2008, Barack Obama criticized (and rightly so) former President Bush for his dictatorial usurpation of legislative power via the signing statement. Upon ascending to his seat of power, however, President Obama found that his own personal experience with the mounting congressional resistance to his agenda has given him second thoughts, and now he is as keen as his predecessor to sidestep congressional impediments to the achievement of his legislative goals by using executive orders and signing statements.

A presidential signing statement is a pronouncement that the President appends to a bill he signs into law. Nowadays, this executive addendum sets forth the President’s understanding of the law and gives guidance to the myriad departments under the executive branch umbrella on how to carry out the requirements of the new legislation.

Signing statements change the laws, revoking parts of them or adding provisions to them, at the same time redefining the Constitution and nullifying its checks and balances. Using them, the President assumes all power — executive, legislative, and judicial — unto himself and does so in a manner that is beyond question, beyond debate, beyond vote, and thus beyond the reach of the American people.

Constitutionally speaking, if a President does not like a piece of legislation, the only recourse allowed him is a veto. Modern Presidents, however, have two self-perpetuating habits that obviate the use of veto: engorging themselves with power not delegated to them by the Constitution and disregarding the Constitution altogether.

Given the recent run of success that previous Presidents have enjoyed with the “signing statement as law of the land” gambit, it is easy to understand why a President zealous for the codification of his own vision would not want to risk the public scrutiny which would accompany a veto. After all, why go to all that bother when a President can accomplish the same end by issuing a signing statement that will never be discussed?

President Obama has learned well the lessons taught him by his hero and founder of the modern American welfare state, Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Roosevelt, facing perhaps the most milquetoast Congress of the modern era, removed all obstacles which impeded his program to drag the United States into the mire of his socialistic New Deal scheme. In a signing statement attached to the Emergency Price Control Act of 1942, which contained a provision he opposed that was intended to protect American farmers, Roosevelt adamantly declared,
“There is nothing contained therein which can be construed as a limitation upon the existing powers of governmental agencies, such as the Commodity Credit Corporation, to make sales of agricultural commodities in the normal conduct of their operations.”
In addition to this edict, Roosevelt promised Congress that if it did not remove the “offensive” portion of the bill, he would ignore it and treat it as nonexistent and inapplicable to his administration. Congress capitulated, and the protection for American farmers was removed from the bill.
Roosevelt was supported by a sympathetic legal adviser who assured him that if he decided “that a certain course of action is essential as a war measure, it supersedes congressional action.”
Signing statements gained teeth with the aid of a lackluster, inattentive Supreme Court. In the case of United States v. Lovett (1946), the Court agreed with Roosevelt's signing statement that the Urgency Deficiency Appropriations Act of 1943 contained restrictions on his management of the executive branch and struck down the restrictions citing the signing statement; the Court accepted Roosevelt’s signing statements as persuasive and held in dictum that presidential signing statements merited consideration and mention in their decision.

Presidential signing statements amount to “cherry-picking” the parts of a law that Presidents wish to follow or ignore. The uses that signing statements have been put to since they began to flourish in earnest during the Reagan administration show that no matter the “getting things done” tenor used to pronounce them by an ostensibly frustrated President, their clear intent is to subvert the law and slam the weighty wrecking ball of “executive discretion” into the paper barricades that divide the three provinces of power.

With all due respect to Attorney General Holder and his boss in the White House, ruling by fiat is not historically sound, and another more appropriate focus of historical research would be to ponder the words and warnings of our Founding Fathers and their political and philosophical influences regarding the primacy of the separation of powers in a good government.

James Madison, writing as "Publius," wrote in The Federalist, No. 47:
"The accumulation of all powers legislative, executive and judiciary in the same hands, whether of one, a few or many, and whether hereditary, self appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny."
Madison himself was restating in his inimitable style, one facet of federalism that was universally considered to be an essential pillar of liberty.

If the opinions of these men are a worthy metric of the size of the impending threat of despotism, then President Obama is filling the shoes of a tyrant heel to toe.

His latest decision to unilaterally demolish the walls of history, law, and constitutional barriers that separate the executive and legislative powers demonstrates his intent to persist down the path of despotism by decree so well trodden by many of his forerunners.

U.S. to Outline How U.S. Laws Employer the Government to Kill Americans Overseas Who Engage in 'Terrorism'

Reuters 
March 4, 2012 

The Obama administration on Monday plans to outline how U.S. laws empower the government to kill Americans overseas who engage in terrorism against their home country, a source familiar with the matter said, months after a drone strike killed a U.S.-born cleric who plotted attacks from Yemen.  Civil liberties groups have been pressuring the administration to offer justification for what has been described as a top-secret "targeted kill" program in which Americans who have joined al Qaeda or other militants are deemed legitimate targets to be killed overseas.
 
Attorney General Eric Holder plans to address the issue and the underpinning legal principles for using lethal force during remarks at Northwestern University School of Law on Monday afternoon in Chicago, the source said Sunday on condition of anonymity.


The Obama administration has stepped up using unmanned aerial drones against terrorism suspects including the September killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, the U.S.-born cleric who went into hiding in Yemen who had been directing al Qaeda militants to launch several attacks against the United States.


U.S. officials have refused to talk much publicly about the program but some officials said last year that Americans like Awlaki could be placed on a kill or capture list by a secretive panel of senior U.S. government officials which then informs the president of its decisions.
Holder will likely couple the justification with another argument that the administration has repeatedly made about terrorism: both traditional criminal courts and military tribunals work to prosecute terrorism suspects, the source said.


The speech will be the latest attempt by the administration to address the issue, an unusual break from past precedent of eschewing virtually any discussion about the top-secret program.

Defense Department lawyer Jeh Johnson last month referred to the so-called "targeted kill" program, saying that it pursued legitimate military targets overseas and rejected suggestions that the United States was engaged in assassination.

"Under well-settled legal principles, lethal force against a valid military objective, in an armed conflict, is consistent with the law of war and does not, by definition, constitute an 'assassination,'" Johnson said at Yale Law School.
The American Civil Liberties Union on February 1 sued the Obama administration in federal court, demanding that Holder's Justice Department release what it believes are legal memoranda justifying targeting Americans overseas using lethal force.
 
U.S. officials have linked Awlaki to several plots against the United States, including the 2009 Christmas Day attempt by a Nigerian man to blow up a U.S. commercial airliner as it arrived in Detroit from Amsterdam with a bomb hidden in his underwear.


When the bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, was sentenced to spend the rest of his life in a U.S. prison, authorities said that Awlaki himself approved and directed the plot from Yemen.


Civil liberties groups have complained that such militants should be captured and prosecuted in a U.S. courtroom where practical. They also fiercely oppose using military courts for terrorism cases.

 
The Obama administration has run into difficulties trying to prosecute terrorism suspects in the U.S. court system, facing criticism over giving terrorism suspects full legal rights and whether they addressed security for the trials sufficiently.


Republicans in Congress and even some of Obama's fellow Democrats have demanded that they be tried in military tribunals and blocked moving terrorism suspects from the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the federal prison system.

Administration officials have insisted that terrorism suspects can be successfully prosecuted and incarcerated in both legal systems and said that the Abdulmutallab case was an example of the traditional courts working effectively.

Obama Signs Phony ‘Policy Directive’ Claiming NDAA Indefinite Detention Provision Does Not Apply to U.S. Citizens

NaturalNews
March 5, 2012

After deliberately lobbying for the inclusion of provisions that summon Americans to indefinite detention without trial or due process, Liar-in-Chief Barack Obama has issued a meaningless Presidential Policy Directive (PPD) that supposedly now exempts Americans from the egregious and unconstitutional provisions of his National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) during the 2012 fiscal year.

InfoWars‘ Paul Joseph Watson reports that the White House has issued a new “Fact Sheet” on this directive outlining how Section 1022 of the NDAA, which deals with the indefinite detention of suspected “terrorists” by the U.S. military, will not necessarily apply to “U.S. lawful permanent residents” who are arrested in the U.S. under certain circumstances.

But this PPD is not law and it is not permanent, as it only expresses the procedures that are to take place during 2012. It also states that the procedures “do not apply to any individuals held in the custody of the Department of Defense, state and local law enforcement agencies acting under their authorities, or a foreign government,” which basically asserts that the illegal detention provisions of the NDAA still do apply to all Americans.

You can read the “Fact Sheet” for yourself here:

http://big.assets.huffingtonpost.com/NDAAFactSheetFINAL.pdf

NDAA still applies to all Americans

This political stunt is likely just an attempt to quell public outcry against the administration’s blatant betrayal of the U.S. Constitution. But the reality of the matter is that it really does nothing to reverse the NDAA’s authoritarian provisions concerning the illegal arrest and detention of Americans without due process.

Since Obama’s PPD only applies to 2012, the next occupier of the White House will have full reign to utilize the arsenal of government control tactics contained in the NDAA. And since Obama’s recent PPD “amendment” was birthed out of an apparent whim to begin with, it could just as easily be revoked should Obama suddenly change his mind again.

It is important to note that former Republican presidential candidate John McCain of Arizona, as well as Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) have all indicated their opposition to the PPD. Each of these traitors openly supports the illegal and indefinite detention of Americans deemed to be potential “terrorists,” and are working to have the PPD revoked.

So regardless of whether they are Republican or Democrat, these political puppets are all just posturing themselves in the social eye while working towards the same tyrannical end. Because no matter how you look at it, many of those on both sides of the aisle are in full support of the NDAA, the extension of the unconstitutional USA Patriot Act, which will further enslave Americans under the guise of fighting terrorism.

Obama Issues ‘Policy Directive’ Exempting American Citizens from Indefinite Detention

As with an executive order, a presidential directive would not lose its legal effectiveness upon a change of administration. Rather, in our view, because a presidential directive issues from the Office of the Chief Executive, it would remain in force, unless otherwise specified, pending any future presidential action. Skeptics fear the president will lift the directive and still incarcerate US citizens under NDAA.

Infowars.com
February 29, 2012

Despite the fact that it was his administration that specifically demanded the controversial ‘indefinite detention’ provisions of the NDAA be applied to Americans, President Obama has issued a ‘Presidential Policy Directive’ that forbids the law from being used against US citizens.

A “fact sheet” released by the White House last night contains details of a “Presidential Policy Directive” which explains that the administration will not seek to use the so-called ‘kidnapping provision’ of the National Defense Authorization Act to incarcerate American citizens without trial.
“Section 1022 does not apply to U.S. citizens, and the President has decided to waive its application to lawful permanent residents arrested in the United States,” states the White House fact sheet (PDF).
Obama’s PDD contains a number of other circumstances in which people would be exempt from indefinite detention, but the language concerning American citizens states that to be exempt, a US citizen must be “arrested in this country or arrested by a federal agency on the basis of conduct taking place in this country,” meaning Americans arrested abroad could still be kidnapped and held without trial.

The NDAA bill, which was signed into law by President Obama under the radar on New Years Eve while he was on vacation in Kailua, hands the federal government the power to “allow the military to indefinitely detain terror suspects, including American citizens arrested in the United States, without charge.”

There’s no doubt that this represents a victory for civil libertarians on both sides of the political spectrum, but skeptics will be keen to stress that just because the Obama administration, which could be out of office by this time next year, has indicated it will not indefinitely detain Americans under the NDAA, doesn’t necessarily mean that future administrations will also refrain from doing so.

Indeed, if the administration was so concerned about the indefinite detention provisions, why did it specifically lobby for them to be applied to American citizens in the first place?

As we documented at the time, shortly before the bill was signed into law, Senator Carl Levin revealed that it was the administration which demanded the removal of language that would have protected Americans from the ‘kidnapping’ provisions of the NDAA.
“The language which precluded the application of Section 1031 to American citizens was in the bill that we originally approved…and the administration asked us to remove the language which says that U.S. citizens and lawful residents would not be subject to this section,” said Levin, Chairman of the Armed Services Committee.
Don’t expect Obama’s PDD to be the end of the matter. Senators John McCain (Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and Kelly Ayotte (N.H.) have already indicated that they will argue against exempting American citizens from indefinite detention.
“Although we have not been able to fully examine all the details of these new regulations, they raise significant concerns that will require a hearing in the Senate Armed Services Committee,” they said in a joint statement. “We are particularly concerned that some of these regulations may contradict the intent of the detainee provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act passed by Congress last year.”
In issuing the policy directive, Obama is attempting to head off a potential states’ rights rebellion against the federal government. With Virginia already having passed a bill in the House and Senate that nullifies the indefinite detention provisions of the NDAA, Utah has introduced a resolution with the ultimate intention of doing the same, along with several other states.

Obama Signs NDAA into Law, Dismantles Bill of Rights

Salt Lake City Independent Examiner 
December 31, 2011

Rumors have been floating around the internet for the past week or so that Obama signed NDAA into law before Christmas. Well, he didn't. But that doesn't really matter now, because today he did. 

According to the ACLU, President Barack Obama just signed one of the most controversial bills into law since the Patriot Act. The sad part is that neither the House nor the Senate nor Obama seemed to think it was all that controversial, as it passed overwhelmingly in both the House and the Senate, and the president just signed it (even though he had at one time threatened to veto).

In case you haven't heard, H.R. 1540: National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 or NDAA, is not your typical defense spending bill. It gives authority to the president (or perhaps it'd be more fitting to call him king or ruler at this point) to order the military to indefinitely detain U.S. citizens without official charge or trial on the mere suspicion of being a terrorist or linked to a terrorist organization.

Many in government will argue that there is nothing for Americans to worry about -- unless you're a terrorist that is. But as our government slips further and further from the rule of law and the founding principles of our nation that once made us great, tyranny inevitably creeps in to take its place. And when tyranny reigns, the line between who is a terrorist and who isn't becomes easily blurred. A "terrorist" could simply mean a political enemy of the state.

The citizens of our country that understand what happened when Obama lifted his pen off the dotted line (while in Hawaii) wonder why their elected representatives don't remotely represent them or stand up for the Constitution as they swear to do. In a previous article I pointed out that the U.S. senators from Utah were divided in their vote on this bill. Senator Orrin Hatch voted for NDAA, while Senator Mike Lee was one of only seven senators in the country that voted against it.

68 percent of the House voted in favor, and only one of three U.S. congressmen from Utah earned his title of "representative" by voting against the bill: Rep. Jason Chaffetz.

Rep. Jim Matheson (of district 2) is going to have a difficult time defending himself next year against his opponent, a Constitutional conservative and Utah State Representative, Carl Wimmer, who says he would have voted against the bill because Section 1031 (of the Senate-passed version) remained intact. Wimmer told Examiner that anyone who took an oath to uphold the Constitution should have voted against the bill. He said,
We're well down a dangerous path, here -- trying to preserve our safety by trading away what makes us American. Being "suspected" of having connections to terrorism is not justification for removing our right to due process. Some people I respect voted for this, but I'm afraid I strongly feel that this is a really bad bill.
Out of all the main contenders for the presidency, there is only one who has voiced opposition for the egregious bill. It should be predictable at this point that the one who stood on the side of the Constitution was Rep. Ron Paul. He said of the bill,
Little by little, in the name of fighting terrorism, our Bill of Rights is being repealed...The Patriot Act, as bad as its violation of the 4th Amendment, was just one step down the slippery slope. The recently passed (NDAA) continues that slip toward tyranny and in fact accelerates it significantly. The main section of concern, Section 1021 of the NDAA Conference Report, does to the 5th Amendment what the PATRIOT Act does to the 4th. The 5th Amendment is about much more than the right to remain silent in the face of government questioning. It contains very basic and very critical stipulations about due process of law. The government cannot imprison a person for no reason and with no evidence presented or access to legal counsel.
He explains that the dangers of the new law are in its deliberate vagueness:
The dangers in the NDAA are its alarmingly vague, undefined criteria for who can be indefinitely detained by the US government without trial. It is now no longer limited to members of al Qaeda or the Taliban, but anyone accused of “substantially supporting” such groups or “associated forces.”

How closely associated? And what constitutes "substantial" support? What if it was discovered that someone who committed a terrorist act was once involved with a charity? Or supported a political candidate? Are all donors of that charity or supporters of that candidate now suspect, and subject to indefinite detainment? Is that charity now an associated force?

The Bill of Rights has no exemption for ‘really bad people’ or terrorists or even non-citizens. It is a key check on government power against any person. That is not a weakness in our legal system; it is the very strength of our legal system. The NDAA attempts to justify abridging the bill of rights on the theory that rights are suspended in a time of war, and the entire Unites States is a battlefield in the War on Terror. This is a very dangerous development indeed. Beware.
It should be painfully obvious to Americans by now that if they continue to vote for the status quo, no matter if it's Republican or Democrat, then the attack on civil liberties and the dismantling of the Constitution will inevitably continue.

So raise your glasses to toast the new year. It's not even midnight, and your right to due process has already been taken away. What's next?

(To see how your "representatives" voted, click here.)



Though the 9/11 attacks occurred more than a decade ago, Congress continues to exploit them to pass evermore draconian laws on “terrorism,” with the Senate now empowering the military to arrest people on U.S. soil and hold them without trial, a serious threat to American liberties, says ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.



Obama Signs Defense Bill Despite 'Reservations'

The Associated Press
December 31, 2011

President Barack Obama signed a wide-ranging defense bill into law Saturday despite having "serious reservations" about provisions that regulate the detention, interrogation and prosecution of suspected terrorists.

The bill also applies penalties against Iran's central bank in an effort to hamper Tehran's ability to fund its nuclear enrichment program. The Obama administration is looking to soften the impact of those penalties because of concerns that they could lead to a spike in global oil prices or cause economic hardship on U.S. allies that import petroleum from Iran.

In a statement accompanying his signature, the president chastised some lawmakers for what he contended was their attempts to use the bill to restrict the ability of counterterrorism officials to protect the country.

Administration officials said Obama was only signing the measure because Congress made minimally acceptable changes that no longer challenged the president's terrorism-fighting ability.
"Moving forward, my administration will interpret and implement the provisions described below in a manner that best preserves the flexibility on which our safety depends and upholds the values on which this country was founded," Obama said in the signing statement.
Signing statements allow presidents to raise constitutional objections to circumvent Congress' intent. During his campaign for the White House, Obama criticized President George W. Bush's use of signing statements and promised to make his application of the tool more transparent.

Obama's signature caps months of wrangling over how to handle captured terrorist suspects without violating Americans' constitutional rights. The White House initially threatened to veto the legislation but dropped the warning after Congress made last-minute changes.

Among the changes the administration secured was striking a provision that would have eliminated executive branch authority to use civilian courts for trying terrorism cases against foreign nationals.

The new law now requires military custody for any suspect who is a member of al-Qaida or "associated forces" and involved in planning or attempting to carry out an attack on the United States or its coalition partners. The president or a designated subordinate may waive the military custody requirement by certifying to Congress that such a move is in the interest of national security.

The administration also pushed Congress to change a provision that would have denied U.S. citizens suspected of terrorism the right to trial and could have subjected them to indefinite detention. Lawmakers eventually dropped the military custody requirement for U.S. citizens or lawful U.S. residents.
"My administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens," Obama said in the signing statement. "Indeed, I believe that doing so would break with our most important traditions and values as a nation."
Despite the changes, officials cited serious concerns that the law will complicate and could harm the investigation of terrorism cases.

For example, FBI Director Robert Mueller has said the measure would inhibit his bureau's ability to persuade suspected terrorists to cooperate immediately and provide critical intelligence. He told Congress it wasn't clear how agents should operate if they arrest someone covered by the military custody requirement but the nearest military facility is hundreds of miles (kilometers) away.

Other officials have said agents and prosecutors should not have to spend their time worrying about citizenship status and whether to get a waiver while trying to thwart a terror attack.

The administration also raised concerns about an amendment in the bill that goes after foreign financial institutions that do business with Iran's central bank, barring them from opening or maintaining correspondent operations in the United States. It would apply to foreign central banks only for transactions that involve the sale or purchase of petroleum or petroleum products.

Officials worry that the penalties could lead to higher oil prices, damaging the U.S. economic recovery and hurting allies in Europe and Asia that purchase petroleum from Iran.

The penalties do not go into effect for six months. The president can waive them for national security reasons or if the country with jurisdiction over the foreign financial institution has significantly reduced its purchases of Iranian oil.

The State Department has said the U.S. was looking at how to put them in place in a way that maximized the pressure on Iran, but meant minimal disruption to the U.S. and its allies.

This week, in response to the threatened penalties, Iran warned that it may disrupt traffic in the Strait of Hormuz — a vital Persian Gulf waterway. But on Saturday, Tehran seemed to back off that threat when a commander of its Revolutionary Guard, Gen. Masoud Jazayeri, said such discussion is a thing of the past and "belongs to five years ago." He said Iran had other, unspecified strategies for reacting to any Western aggression.

Iran also said Saturday that it had proposed a new round of talks on its nuclear program with the U.S. and other world powers. The invitation would come after the U.N. has imposed four rounds of sanctions. Separately, the U.S. and the European Union have imposed their own tough economic and financial penalties.

The $662 billion bill authorizes money for military personnel, weapons systems, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and national security programs in the Energy Department for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1.

The measure also freezes some $700 million in assistance until Pakistan comes up with a strategy to deal with improvised explosive devices.

Obama signed the bill in Hawaii, where he is vacationing with his family.

Indefinite Military Detention for U.S. Citizens Now in the Hands of a Secretive Conference Committee

OpenCongress.org

If Congress does not pass a Department of Defense Authorization bill that Obama will sign by the end of the year, almost all of the U.S. military’s activities around the world would be jeopardized.

At this point, the House and Senate have both passed their versions of the bill (H.R.1540 and S.1867), but they have disagreement on several provisions, including a provision opposed by the Obama Administration that would require the military to indefinitely detain terrorism suspects, including American citizens living in the U.S., without charge or trial.

With the House having voted 406-17 to “close” portions of the meetings and avoid public scrutiny, members from both chambers and both parties are meeting in a secretive conference committee to work on reconciling the differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill. 

On the military detention provision, their main task is going to be to find a solution that can pass both chambers (again) and not draw a veto from President Obama.

Contrary to popular perception, the Obama Administration is not strongly opposed to the provisions in the bills that would authorize indefinite military detentions for U.S. citizens.

Here’s what the Administration had to say in a Statement of Administrative Policy on the Senate bill:
Section 1031 attempts to expressly codify the detention authority that exists under the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107-40) (the “AUMF”). The authorities granted by the AUMF, including the detention authority, are essential to our ability to protect the American people from the threat posed by al-Qa’ida and its associated forces, and have enabled us to confront the full range of threats this country faces from those organizations and individuals.
Because the authorities codified in this section already exist, the Administration does not believe codification is necessary and poses some risk. After a decade of settled jurisprudence on detention authority, Congress must be careful not to open a whole new series of legal questions that will distract from our efforts to protect the country. While the current language minimizes many of those risks, future legislative action must ensure that the codification in statute of express military detention authority does not carry unintended consequences that could compromise our ability to protect the American people.
In other words, they’ll take it and recommend that Congress passes clarifying legislation in the future, which, of course, will never happen. What they oppose is the provision that would mandate that power be used for all terrorism suspects besides U.S. citizens. From the same statement:
The Administration strongly objects to the military custody provision of section 1032, which would appear to mandate military custody for a certain class of terrorism suspects.
As you can read for yourself here, Section 1031, affirming the “authority of the armed forces of the United States to detain covered persons…” does not contain an exemption for U.S. citizens. Section 1032, mandating the military detention authority be used for terrorism suspects, does, but that is the section that the Obama Administration says must be removed or else he will veto.

The Administration has been stressing the need for flexibility in their powers to collect information and incapacitate terrorists, which likely means that they want to retain the power to detain suspects outside the context of war and the Geneva Convention protections that would apply. 

The secretive conference committee may still be able to overcome Obama’s veto threat while also codifying the power to indefinitely detain U.S. citizens without having to charge them or give them a trial.

The Real Reason for Obama’s Threat to Veto the Indefinite Detention Bill

(Hint: It’s Not to Protect Liberty)
Washington’s Blog
December 6, 2011

Obama Wants to Veto the Indefinite Detention Bill Because It Would Hold the U.S. to the Geneva Convention

I – like everyone else – am horrified by the Senate’s passage of legislation that would allow for indefinite detention of Americans.

And at first, I – like many others – assumed that Obama’s threat to veto the bill might be a good thing. But the truth is much more disturbing.

As former Wall Street Street editor and columnist Paul Craig Roberts correctly notes:
The Obama regime’s objection to military detention is not rooted in concern for the constitutional rights of American citizens. The regime objects to military detention because the implication of military detention is that detainees are prisoners of war. As Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin put it: Should somebody determined “to be a member of an enemy force who has come to this nation or is in this nation to attack us as a member of a foreign enemy, should that person be treated according to the laws of war? The answer is yes.”
Detainees treated according to the laws of war have the protections of the Geneva Conventions. They cannot be tortured. The Obama regime opposes military detention, because detainees would have some rights. These rights would interfere with the regime’s ability to send detainees to CIA torture prisons overseas. [Yes, Obama is still apparently allowing "extraordinary renditions" to torture people abroad.] This is what the Obama regime means when it says that the requirement of military detention denies the regime “flexibility.”
The Bush/Obama regimes have evaded the Geneva Conventions by declaring that detainees are not POWs, but “enemy combatants,” “terrorists,” or some other designation that removes all accountability from the US government for their treatment.
By requiring military detention of the captured, Congress is undoing all the maneuvering that two regimes have accomplished in removing POW status from detainees.
A careful reading of the Obama regime’s objections to military detention supports this conclusion. (See http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/legislative/sap/112/saps1867s_20111117.pdf)
The November 17 letter to the Senate from the Executive Office of the President says that the Obama regime does not want the authority it has under the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), Public Law 107-40, to be codified. Codification is risky, the regime says. “After a decade of settled jurisprudence on detention authority, Congress must be careful not to open a whole new series of legal questions that will distract from our efforts to protect the country.”
In other words, the regime is saying that, under AUMF, the executive branch has total discretion as to who it detains and how it treats detainees. Moreover, as the executive branch has total discretion, no one can find out what the executive branch is doing, who detainees are, or what is being done to them. Codification brings accountability, and the executive branch does not want accountability.
Those who see hope in Obama’s threatened veto have jumped to conclusions if they think the veto is based on constitutional scruples.
Police State Started Years Ago

Even if Obama’s threatened veto was for more noble purposes, the fact is that it would not change anything, because the U.S. government claimed the power to indefinitely detain and assassinate American citizens years ago.

For example, law school professor and National Lawyers Guild president Marjorie Cohn pointed out in 2006:
The Military Commissions Act of 2006 governing the treatment of detainees is the culmination of relentless fear-mongering by the Bush administration since the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Because the bill was adopted with lightning speed, barely anyone noticed that it empowers Bush to declare not just aliens, but also U.S. citizens, “unlawful enemy combatants.”
***
Anyone who donates money to a charity that turns up on Bush’s list of “terrorist” organizations, or who speaks out against the government’s policies could bedeclared an “unlawful enemy combatant” and imprisoned indefinitely. That includes American citizens.
Glenn Greenwald and Fire Dog Lake’s Emptywheel have also documented that the White House has believed for many years that it possessed the power to indefinitely detain Americans. See this, this, this, and this.

I noted Friday:
The police state started in 2001.
Specifically, on 9/11, Vice President Dick Cheney initiated Continuity of Government Plans that ended America’s constitutional form of government (at least for some undetermined period of time.)
On that same day, a national state of emergency was declaredand that state of emergency has continuously been in effect up to today.
The Obama administration has also said for more than a year and a half it could target American citizens for assassination without any trial or due process.

In 2005, Chris Floyd pointed out that the ability of the government to assassinate U.S. citizens started the very week of 9/11:
On September 17, 2001, George W. Bush signed an executive order authorizing the use of “lethal measures” against anyone in the world whom he or his minions designatedan “enemy combatant.” This order remains in force today. No judicial evidence, no hearing, no charges are required for these killings; no law, no border, no oversight restrains them. Bush has also given agents in the field carte blanche to designate “enemies” on their own initiative and kill them as they see fit.
The existence of this universal death squad – and the total obliteration of human liberty it represents – has not provoked so much as a crumb, an atom, a quantum particle of controversy in the American Establishment, although it’s no secret. The executive order was first bruited in the Washington Post in October 2001 …. The New York Times added further details in December 2002. That same month, Bush officials made clear that the dread edict also applied to American citizens, as the Associated Press reported.
The first officially confirmed use of this power was the killing of an American citizen in Yemen by a CIA drone missile on November 3, 2002. A similar strike occurred in Pakistan this month, when a CIA missile destroyed a house and purportedly killed Abu Hamza Rabia, a suspected al Qaeda figure. But the only bodies found at the site were those of two children, the houseowner’s son and nephew, Reuters reports. The grieving father denied any connection to terrorism. An earlier CIA strike on another house missed Rabia but killed his wife and children, Pakistani officials reported.
But most of the assassinations are carried out in secret, quietly, professionally, like a contract killing for the mob. As a Pentagon document unearthed by the New Yorker in December 2002 put it, the death squads must be “small and agile,” and “able to operate clandestinely, using a full range of official and non-official cover arrangements to…enter countries surreptitiously.”
The dangers of this policy are obvious, as a UN report on “extrajudicial killings” noted in December 2004: “Empowering governments to identify and kill ‘known terrorists’ places no verifiable obligation upon them to demonstrate in any way that those against whom lethal force is used are indeed terrorists… While it is portrayed as a limited ‘exception’ to international norms, it actually creates the potential for an endless expansion of the relevant category to include any enemies of the State, social misfits, political opponents, or others.”
It’s hard to believe that any genuine democracy would accept a claim by its leader that he could have anyone killed simply by labeling them an “enemy.” It’s hard to believe that any adult with even the slightest knowledge of history or human nature could countenance such unlimited, arbitrary power, knowing the evil it is bound to produce. Yet this is what the great and good in America have done. Like the boyars of old, they not only countenance but celebrate their enslavement to the ruler.
[Note from Washington's Blog: 9/11 allowed those who glorify war to implement plans they had lusted after for many years (and see this), even though 9/11 happened because Dick Cheney was - at best - totally incompetent, and the government is now doing things which increase the risk of terrorism, instead of doing the things which could actually make us safer.]
***
This was vividly demonstrated in … Bush’s State of the Union address in January 2003, delivered to Congress and televised nationwide during the final frenzy of war-drum beating before the assault on Iraq. Trumpeting his successes in the Terror War, Bush claimed that “more than 3,000 suspected terrorists” had been arrested worldwide – “and many others have met a different fate.” His face then took on the characteristic leer, the strange, sickly half-smile it acquires whenever he speaks of killing people: “Let’s put it this way. They are no longer a problem.”
In other words, the suspects – and even Bush acknowledged they were only suspects – had been murdered. Lynched. Killed by agents operating unsupervised in that shadow world where intelligence, terrorism, politics, finance and organized crime meld together in one amorphous, impenetrable mass. Killed on the word of a dubious informer, perhaps: a tortured captive willing to say anything to end his torment, a business rival, a personal foe, a bureaucrat looking to impress his superiors, a paid snitch in need of cash, a zealous crank pursuing ethnic, tribal or religious hatreds – or any other purveyor of the garbage data that is coin of the realm in the shadow world.
Bush proudly held up this hideous system as an example of what he called “the meaning of American justice.” And the assembled legislators…applauded. Oh, how they applauded!
This is, of course, the real meaning of the famous Star Wars scene:

"Attorney General John Ashcroft's announced desire for camps for U.S. citizens he deems to be 'enemy combatants' has moved him from merely being a political embarrassment to being a constitutional menace. Ashcroft's plan, disclosed last week but little publicized, would allow him to order the indefinite incarceration of U.S. citizens and summarily strip them of their constitutional rights and access to the courts by declaring them enemy combatants... The camp plan was forged at an optimistic time for Ashcroft's small inner circle, which has been carefully watching two test cases to see whether this vision could become a reality. The cases of Jose Padilla and Yaser Esam Hamdi will determine whether U.S. citizens can be held without charges and subject to the arbitrary and unchecked authority of the government... Ashcroft hopes to use his self-made 'enemy combatant' stamp for any citizen whom he deems to be part of a wider terrorist conspiracy." - Jonathan Turley, Camps for Citizens: Ashcroft's Hellish Vision, Los Angeles Times, August 14, 2002

Senate Approves $662 Billion Defense Bill

The Associated Press
December 1, 2011

Ignoring a presidential veto threat, the Democratic-controlled Senate on Thursday overwhelmingly approved a massive, $662 billion defense bill that would require the military to hold suspected terrorists linked to al-Qaida or its affiliates, even those captured on U.S. soil, and detain some indefinitely.

The vote was 93-7 for the bill authorizing money for military personnel, weapons systems, national security programs in the Energy Department, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in the fiscal year that began Oct. 1. Reflecting a period of austerity and a winding down of decade-old conflicts, the bill is $27 billion less than what President Barack Obama requested and $43 billion less than what Congress gave the Pentagon this year.

Shortly before final passage, the Senate unanimously backed crippling sanctions on Iran as fears about Tehran developing a nuclear weapon outweighed concerns about driving up oil prices that would hit economically strapped Americans at the gas pump. The vote was 100-0.
"Iran's actions are unacceptable and pose a danger to the United States and the entire world," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said. "Iran supports terrorist groups, arms the killers of American soldiers, lies about its nuclear program, violates its citizens' basic rights and threatens Israel's security."
The Senate's version of the defense bill still must be reconciled with the House-passed measure in the final weeks of the congressional session.

In an escalating fight with the White House, the bill would ramp up the role of the military in handling terror suspects. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and FBI Director Robert Mueller both oppose the provisions as does the White House, which said it cannot accept any legislation that "challenges or constrains the president's authorities to collect intelligence, incapacitate dangerous terrorists and protect the nation."

Late Thursday, a White House official said the veto threat still stands.

The bill would require military custody of a suspect deemed to be a member of al-Qaida or its affiliates and involved in plotting or committing attacks on the United States. American citizens would be exempt. The bill does allow the executive branch to waive the authority based on national security and hold a suspect in civilian custody.

The legislation also would deny suspected terrorists, even U.S. citizens seized within the nation's borders, the right to trial and subject them to indefinite detention. Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., had sought an exception to the provision for U.S. citizens, but her effort failed, 55-45.

Lengthy negotiations produced a face-saving move that the Senate backed 99-1, a measure that said nothing in the bill changes current law relating to the detention of U.S. citizens and legal aliens.  Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., repeatedly pointed out that the June 2004 Supreme Court decision in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld said U.S. citizens can be detained indefinitely.

The series of detention provisions challenges citizens' rights under the Constitution, tests the boundaries of executive and legislative branch authority and sets up a showdown with the Democratic commander in chief. Civil rights groups fiercely oppose the bill.
"Since the bill puts military detention authority on steroids and makes it permanent, American citizens and others are at greater risk of being locked away by the military without charge or trial if this bill becomes law," said Christopher Anders, senior legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union.
The bill reflects the politically charged dispute over whether to treat suspected terrorists as prisoners of war or criminals. The administration insists that the military, law enforcement and intelligence agents need flexibility in prosecuting the war on terror after they've succeeded in killing Osama bin Laden and Anwar al-Awlaki. Republicans counter that their efforts are necessary to respond to an evolving, post-Sept. 11 threat, and that Obama has failed to produce a consistent policy on handling terror suspects.

The Senate rejected an effort by Feinstein to limit a military custody requirement for suspects to those captured outside the United States. The vote was 55-45.
Feinstein said her goal was to ensure "the military won't be roaming our streets looking for suspected terrorists."
The issue divided Democrats, with nine senators, many facing re-election next year, breaking with their leadership and administration to vote against the amendment. Republicans held firm, with only Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Mark Kirk of Illinois and Mike Lee of Utah backing Feinstein's effort.
"We need the authority to hold those individuals in military custody so we aren't reading them Miranda rights," Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., said in defense of the legislation.
Last week, the administration announced a new set of penalties against Iran, including identifying for the first time Iran's entire banking sector as a "primary money laundering concern." This requires increased monitoring by U.S. banks to ensure that they and their foreign affiliates avoid dealing with Iranian financial institutions.

But lawmakers pressed ahead with even tougher penalties despite reservations by the administration.

Sens. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., and Kirk had widespread bipartisan support for their amendment that would target foreign financial institutions that do business with the Central Bank of Iran, barring them from opening or maintaining correspondent operations in the United States. It would apply to foreign central banks only for transactions that involve the sale or purchase of petroleum or petroleum products.

The sanctions on petroleum would only apply if the president determines there is a sufficient alternative supply and if the country with jurisdiction over the financial institution has not significantly reduced its purchases of Iranian oil.

Testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, David Cohen, a senior Treasury Department official, and Wendy Sherman, an undersecretary of state, warned that the amendment could force up oil prices — a financial boon for Iran.
"There is absolutely a risk that in fact the price of oil would go up, which would mean that Iran would in fact have more money to fuel its nuclear ambitions, not less," Sherman said. "And our real objective here is to cut off the economic means that Iran has for its nuclear program."
Cohen said the amendment would tell foreign banks and companies "that if they continue to process oil transactions with the Central Bank of Iran their access to the United States can be terminated."
"It is a very, very powerful threat," Cohen warned. "It is a threat for the commercial banks to end their ability to transact in the dollar and their ability really to function as major international financial institutions," and one that could push allies away from contributing to a coordinated effort against Iran.
Roll call of the House version of this "Detention Bill":

H.R. 1540: National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012
http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h112-1540

S. 1253 will Allow Indefinite Military Detention of American Civilians without Charge or Trial

By Madison Ruppert, Activist Post
November 26, 2011

A sinister bill has quietly been introduced, so expansive in scope and dangerous in nature that it makes the PATRIOT Act look like the Bill of Rights.

This bill, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2012, or S. 1253, has received tragically sparse coverage, and I must admit that I was not aware of it until a reader emailed me about it.

If you think the PATRIOT Act is bad, just wait until you check out sections 1031, 1032, 1033, and 1036 of this horrific bill.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) wrote a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee on July 1st of this year, addressed to the Chairman of the Committee, the “Honorable” Patrick Leahy, and Ranking Member of the Committee, the “Honorable” Charles Grassley who strongly decried the bill.

The title of the four-page letter itself reveals the truly dangerous nature of this legislation,
“Judiciary Committee Should Assert Its Jurisdiction Over Those Aspects of the Detention Authority Provisions in S. 1253, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (Sections 1031, 1032, and 1036), That Affect Civilians Who Are Otherwise Outside of Military Control, Including Civilians Within the United States Itself.”
If these provisions are enacted, it would give the federal government the explicit power to imprison civilians, including American citizens, indefinitely with no charges or trial.

This would include individuals apprehended both inside and outside of the United States, meaning that this could give the federal government the ability to openly detain American citizens for their entire lives without so much as a single charge.

While the federal government already murders American citizens abroad based upon the decision of an unlegislated secret death panel within the National Security Council, this would be the first time since 1950 that Congress has explicitly authorized indefinite detention of Americans without charges or a trial.

This provision includes people who had absolutely no role in the attacks of September 11th, 2001, or any hostilities whatsoever and would mandate military detention of certain civilians.

This includes civilians arrested within the United States who would otherwise be outside of military control while also transferring all responsibilities to the Department of Defense.

Instead of the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, National Security Division, or the United States Attorneys, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Prisons, the Marshals Service and/or the state attorneys general handling the prosecutorial, investigative, law enforcement, penal and custodial authority, the Department of Defense would handle it all.

That means that all control would be taken out of the hands of civilians and put into the brutal grip of the American military, essentially meaning a military takeover of our so-called justice system.

All they would have to do is classify you as a terrorist, no need for actual charges or participation in hostilities; you could be locked up indefinitely for any reason or no reason at all if the Department of Defense saw fit under this NDAA.

This is so fundamentally un-American, the ACLU can’t help but write that the provisions are “inconsistent with fundamental American values embodied in the Constitution and in the country’s adherence to the rule of law.”

These provisions of the NDAA are so radical that they actually remove much of the protections American citizens have had since 1878 under the Posse Comitatus Act and the Non-Detention Act of 1971.

Section 1031 of S. 1253 would be the first time in more than 60 years that our so-called representatives in Washington would allow indefinite detention of American citizens with no charges or trial without Congressional authorization.

Since 1971 the Non-Detention Act has stipulated, “No citizen shall be imprisoned or otherwise detained by the United States except pursuant to an Act of Congress,” but S. 1253 could make this a thing of the past.

The ACLU points out that while Subsection 1031(c) of S. 1253 claims that it does not apply to lawful residents of the United States or citizens “on the basis of conduct taking place within the United States except to the extent permitted by the Constitution,” glaring loopholes remain.

If the government’s track record is any indicator, we can expect these loopholes to be exploited at every possible opportunity.

Just as the federal government has used the PATRIOT Act’s so-called “Sneak-and-Peek,” or delayed notice, warrants for over 1,600 drug cases and only 15 cases of terrorism in 2006-2009, we can expect the government to use S. 1253 for detaining people for completely illegitimate reasons.

These loopholes allow suspects to be imprisoned without charge or trial, especially citizens or lawful residents who are suspected of some sort of wrongdoing outside of the United States.

The most unsettling aspect is that the deciding factor in determining if an individual can be detained indefinitely is not any proof of guilt, but instead entirely by officials in the Executive Branch, which, according to the ACLU would be “following some future agency regulations.”

This, just like the unlegislated death panel that resulted in the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki and his 16-year-old son, leaves it up to the Executive without any guidelines whatsoever.

It is quite shocking how much the federal government is attempting to push us towards a dictatorship with no legal protection whatsoever from being locked up with no hope of a fair trial or even charges.

Indeed the legislation would allow American citizens to be imprisoned “until the end of hostilities” under 2001's Authorization for Use of Military Force, or S.J. Res. 23.

Yet this represents no concrete timeframe whatsoever, and Section 1031 would allow American citizens and non-citizen civilians who had no role in 9/11 or any other hostilities whatsoever to be detained who would otherwise not be detainable under the laws of war.

Section 1032 puts civilians who would otherwise not be subject to military control into military detention, thus removing the protections of the Posse Comitatus act.

Like Section 1031, this would include indefinite imprisonment of civilians apprehended inside of the United States. Section 1032 does not authorize the military to detain civilians without charge or trial -- it in fact it mandates it.

The protection against the government using the military for law enforcement activities within the United States under Posse Comitatus would be eliminated under Section 1032; and the ACLU points out that, “all state and federal law enforcement would be preempted by the military.”

Previously the state and local law enforcement agencies and the Department of Justice had the primary responsibility to enforce anti-terrorism laws within the United States.

The NDAA would, in the case of many civilian suspects, remove federal state and local law enforcement from the process of investigation, arrest, criminal prosecution and imprisonment and hand said powers over to the military.

The ACLU “strongly urges” the Senate’s Judiciary Committee to conduct hearings on sections 1031, 1032, and 1036 and assert their jurisdiction to mark up these sections before the NDAA makes it to the Senate floor.

They say that the Judiciary Committee should assert their jurisdiction over these provisions in order to prevent civilian law enforcement against civilians who would otherwise be out of the purview of the military to fall into the hands of the military.

The ACLU’s letter does not, however, cover Section 1033 which Human Rights Watch claims would apply to the many detainees already being held for years without trial who have been cleared for release.

In a form letter with the subject, “Stop Militarization of Law Enforcement,” they write that Section 1033 would, “force the administration, for example, to continue to hold a Guantanamo detainee simply because they were from a country of an accused terrorist.”

I highly recommend that you send out this form letter along with a note written by yourself to all of your supposed representatives, along with as many phone calls as you can afford to make it clear that you do not support the United States being turned into a total militarized police state.

While we are already in dire straits in terms of civil rights in this country, codifying indefinite military detention into law is one of the most dangerous developments since the introduction of the PATRIOT Act.

If you even remotely care about the principles of freedom, liberty and justice which this nation is supposed to stand for, you will do us all a favor and stand up against this wholly unacceptable legislation that could represent the end of America as we know it.

Madison Ruppert is the Editor and Owner-Operator of the alternative news and analysis database End The Lie and has no affiliation with any NGO, political party, economic school, or other organization/cause. He is available for podcast and radio interviews. If you have questions, comments, or corrections feel free to contact him at admin@EndtheLie.com.

Congress to Vote Next Week on EXPLICITLY Creating a Police State (Excerpt)

If You Thought Police Brutality Was Bad … Wait Until You See What Congress Wants to Do Next Week

Washington's Blog
November 27, 2011

As I pointed out in May:
The ACLU noted yesterday [that] Congress is proposing handing permanent, world-wide war-making powers to the president – including the ability to make war within the United States:
As I noted in 2008:
An article in the Army Times reveals that the 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team will be redeployed from Iraq to domestic operations within the United States.

The unit will soon be under the day-to-day control of US Army North, the Army service component of Northern Command. The Army Times reports this new mission marks the first time an active unit has been given a dedicated assignment to Northern Command. The paper says the Army unit may be called upon to help with “civil unrest” and “crowd control”.
The soldiers are learning to use so-called “nonlethal weapons” designed to subdue unruly or dangerous individuals and crowds.
This violates Posse Comitatus and the Constitution. But, hey, we’re in a “national emergency”, so who cares, right?
(We’re still in a declared state of national emergency).

I noted a couple of months later:
Everyone knows that deploying 20,000 troops on U.S. soil violates Posse Comitatus and the Constitution.
And everyone understands that staging troops within the U.S. to “help out with civil unrest and crowd control” increases the danger of overt martial law.

But no one is asking an obvious question: Does the government’s own excuse for deploying the troops make any sense?

FEMA Camps on 72-hour Notice and Military Authorized to Arrest = Verifed

The United States congress has approved a bill that AUTHORIZES THE MILITARY power to arrest U.S citizens on U.S SOIL! Not only can they arrest you without cause, they can hold you indefinitely, without a lawyer and without anyone knowing your whereabouts. Under the new military authorization bill passed in congress...if the Government labels you as being beligerent towards them, they may label you as being a 'terrorist sympathizer,' this therefore allows the military to intern you without a trial. [Source]



dutchsinse
December 9, 2011

For the record, I said months ago that I did NOT believe that there was a REAL plan to round up American/US citizens and put us into "FEMA camps"... being that I am from the "show me state" of missouri.. I felt this claim required more proof that what was offered months/years ago.

Now, the tables have turned, and I surely / sorely stand corrected.

The US congress has approved a bill which AUTHORIZES THE MILITARY to be able to arrest US citizens on US SOIL !!! Not only can they arrest us without cause, they can hold you indefinitely -- with no lawyer and no one knowing your location !! ( they can do this now through this "law" that was passed...by labeling you belligerent towards the government thus being a terrorist sympathizer -- therefore allowing the military to take you to a secret prison without a trial)

Also this very same short period of days, this week, KBR (security corporation which handles FEMA emergency camps) put out a call to staff these FEMA camps.. and to be ready on a 72 hour notice.

Take these two events together.. same week... FEMA camps being alerted to staff on a short notice, and the US military authorized to arrest people at the drop of a hat.

Here is the s. 1867 military authorization bill:
thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c112:S.1867:
Here is the link to KBR security corporation needing to staff FEMA camps with a 72 hour notice:
static.infowars.com/2011/12/i/general/kbr-doc.pdf
Here is the general link to Alex Jones / Infowars -- who has been staying on top of this issue.. (I know a lot of people thumb their nose at AJ -- but this is just one of MANY news outlets covering this issue -- just search on google s.1867 or KBR FEMA if you don't like Alex Jones or agree with his other work). This issue transcends "personalities"... we need to put any differences aside and deal with this together in unison!
www.infowars.com
www.prisonplanet.com
www.prisonplanettv.com


FEMA Pulls Document on the Coming Lockdown under Martial Law

Within an hour of posting FEMA continuity of government plans, PDF pre-bid noticed deep sixed.

Infowars.com
December 21, 2011

Within an hour of posting a critical FEMA document sourced publicly on a government website that discloses plans to hire contract employees under a continuity of government plan, that document was removed and replaced by the following cryptic warning against posting ‘classified’ documents:
ATTENTION: Agency users are responsible for properly uploading controlled, unclassified materials to FBO using the access control procedures for document packages and attachments detailed in the FBO Buyers Guide. Do not upload ANY classified materials to FBO.
The government-linked document we posted was marked ‘Source Selection Sensitive’ but not considered classified. Further, it was listed publicly on a government website that was soliciting bids for government contracts. However, despite its public classification, it contains information that clearly is NOT intended to gain wide publicity.

As we reported earlier, the highly contentious federal government plans for Continuity of Government (COG) are largely classified, yet have come to light in shards. Congressman Peter de Fazio made waves after going on the House floor to give a speech raising hell about how the plans for COG, including martial law, were not only classified, but kept secret from Congress, the only organ of public officialdom still tied directly to the people. Similarly, this clip shows the 1980s investigations into the Iran-Contra Affair where questions about the Rex 84 plan for martial law were met with sharp calls for silence for national security reasons:



However, there are plenty of completely public Homeland Security and FEMA documents detailing parts of the secretive COG plans for a national emergency. Among these is the document we covered earlier, as this document reveals not only detailed aspects of the COG personnel relocation plans and martial law takeover of communications, but a plan to militarily-target Americans and designate them as enemy combatants – dramatically, through a blue/red high-tech surveillance matrix aimed at suppressing dissidents and occupying the homeland.

Click below to read the restored pages of that suppressed document now: Page 1, Page 2, Page 3, Page 4, Page 5, Page 6, Page 7, Page 8, Page 9, Page 10, Page 11

The important clip above also documents numerous executive orders specifying a takeover of civil America. FEMA, and its overlord mother the Department of Homeland Security, have been given enormous powers, and are now beginning to use them. That’s why this new document is compelling enough for the government to cover up. FEMA camps are being staffed for stand-by operation – that’s what the recent KBR documents covered by Infowars.com show.

RELATED: Detention Camp Order Follows Preparations For Civil Unrest
 
Now, we find FEMA soliciting personnel to run a military-COG program that designates Americans as an enemy population. It is a perfect storm, timed with the Bill of Rights-destroying 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that puts on paper the indefinite detention of Americans without trial.

Yet the smoking gun document is a public bid for contracting companies. It’s designation at FBO.gov is as a “Pre-Solicitation Notice for Program and Mission Support Services.”

Why don’t they want you to know? What HAS been exposed publicly points directly to overt takeovers of the constitutional government via martial law, the use of troops on the street (in violation of Posse Comitatus) and a definitive takeover of all communications, including the establishment of secure emergency communications lines for the the Continuity of Government controllers. More to the point, it validates the worst of fears – that rhetoric issued from political leaders in America demonizing its people as potential terrorists relates to real plans, albeit obscured from popular public knowledge, to target and indefinitely detain dissidents and other ordinary citizens any during declared emergencies, or for any pretext of national security.

That’s right. The stuff out of cautionary tales like Seven Days in May, reviewed here by Alex Jones, and translated onto screen in 1964, has come true. Whether for a worthwhile pretext or not, plans have been put into place to transfer power outside of elected government. In its place is a constitution-circumventing framework to share power between the special interests who have bought/run the executive branch and legislative branch, including the National Security shadow powers given precedent there, including military and CIA capabilities.

Military to Designate Americans as Enemy During Collapse: DOD Contact Joe Joseph Reports:



The U.S. Army Now Offers a Prison Guard Specialty Securing 'Civilian Detainees'

Business Insider
December 7, 2011

Every soldier that enlists in the Army chooses a Military Occupational Specialty (MOS). Designated by a number and a letter, the 31E MOS now includes advanced responsibilities including command and control of prisoner of war and civilian internee camps. 

While the civilian designation likely applies to foreign nationals in their home countries, it reads more ominously now that the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is getting nods from legislators as it makes its way through the Senate.


Part of the NDAA includes amendments allowing for the arrest and indefinite detention of U.S. citizens both at home and abroad.

Below is a portion of the MOS listing at GoArmy.com. 

ADVANCED RESPONSIBILITIES

Advanced level Internment/Resettlement Specialist provides guidance, supervises and trains other Soldiers within the same discipline. As an advanced level I/R Specialist, you may be involved in:
  • Supervise and establish all administrative, logistical and food support operations, confinement/correctional, custodial, treatment, and rehabilitative activities

  • Responsible for all personnel working in the confinement/correctional facility, including security, logistical, and administrative management of the prisoner/internee population

  • Provide command and control, staff planning, administration/logistical services, and custody/control for the operation of an Enemy Prisoner of War/Civilian Internee (EPW/CI) camp

  • Provide command and control, staff planning, administration/logistical services, and custody/control for the operation of detention facility or the operation of a displaced civilian (DC) resettlement facility

Army Posts Job for “Internment Specialist” Following KBR Call for FEMA Camp Subcontractors

Infowars.com
December 9, 2011

Following our report on December 6 documenting KBR’s outfitting of FEMA internment camps in the United States, Business Insider posted an article entitled The US Army Now Offers A Prison Guard Specialty Securing ‘Civilian Detainees.’
“Every soldier that enlists in the Army chooses a Military Occupational Specialty (MOS),” writes Robert Johnson. “Designated by a number and a letter, the 31E MOS now includes advanced responsibilities including command and control of prisoner of war and civilian internee camps.”
The job is related to the subcontractor work announced by KBR:
“Supervise and establish all administrative, logistical and food support operations, confinement/correctional, custodial, treatment, and rehabilitative activities.”
The listing is posted under “Careers & Jobs” on the GoArmy.com website. It reads in part:
Internment/Resettlement (I/R) Specialists in the Army are primarily responsible for day-to-day operations in a military confinement/correctional facility or detention/internment facility. I/R Specialists provide rehabilitative, health, welfare, and security to U.S. military prisoners within a confinement or correctional facility; conduct inspections; prepare written reports; and coordinate activities of prisoners/internees and staff personnel.
Some of your duties as an Internment/Resettlement Specialist may include:
– Assist with the supervision and management of confinement and detention operations
– Provide external security to confinement/corrections facilities or detention/internment facilities
– Provide counseling and guidance to individual prisoners within a rehabilitative program
– Prepare or review reports and records of prisoners/internees and programs
The job is similar to one offered by the Army National Guard. We covered it in July of 2009. Following our original post, the Army National Guard removed the job posting from its website.



This week, KBR Security Corporation (who handle the FEMA camps) put out an urgent call in order to staff them, and said the camps needed to be ready on giving only 72 hours notice. KBR Security Corporation's Project Overview and Anticipated Project Requirements: static.infowars.com/2011/12/i/general/kbr-doc.pdf

Army Post Jobs for FEMA Camps, DHS Shuts Down Blog & More: Infowars Nightly News

Infowars.com
December 10, 2011

Another unsettling sign post has cropped up in the wake of the Senate’s passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), as the Army has now reportedly designated a special prison guard unit for securing ‘civilian detainees.’ A similar job posting was advertised under the National Guard in 2009, which Infowars reported on at the time.

Only days ago, leaked documents from inside KBR, a Halliburton subsidiary, announced the activation of FEMA camps, with calls to staff a wide array of services inside the temporary emergency facilities.




Exclusive: Government Activating FEMA Camps Across U.S.

Infowars.com
December 6, 2011

Infowars.com has received a document originating from Halliburton subsidiary KBR that provides details on a push to outfit FEMA and U.S. Army camps around the United States. Entitled “Project Overview and Anticipated Project Requirements,” the document describes services KBR is looking to farm out to subcontractors. The document was passed on to us by a state government employee who wishes to remain anonymous for obvious reasons.

Services up for bid include catering, temporary fencing and barricades, laundry and medical services, power generation, refuse collection, and other services required for temporary “emergency environment” camps located in five regions of the United States.

Internment Camp Services Bid Arrives After NDAA

KBR’s call for FEMA camp service bids arrives soon after the Senate overwhelmingly passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which permits the military to detain and interrogate supposed domestic terror suspects in violation of the Fourth Amendment and Posse Comitatus.

Section 1031 of the NDAA bill declares the whole of the United States as a “battlefield” and allows American citizens to be arrested on U.S. soil and incarcerated in Guantanamo Bay.

A number of civil liberties groups have come out in strong opposition to the legislation, most notably the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), the nation’s oldest and largest Asian American civil and human rights organization.

In a letter addressed to Congress, S. Floyd Mori, the national director of JACL, said the NDAA is the first time that Congress has scaled back on the protections provided by the Non-Detention Act of 1971. Mori said the legislation, if enacted and put into use, would be reminiscent of the unconstitutional indefinite detention of Japanese Americans during World War II.


Police State 4: The Rise of FEMA.

KBR Instrumental in Establishing Camps in 2006

In 2006, KBR was awarded a contingency contract from the Department of Homeland Security, allegedly to support its Immigration and Customs Enforcement facilities in the event of an emergency, Market Watch reported.

The contract was effective immediately and provided for establishing temporary detention and processing capabilities to expand existing ICE Detention and Removal Operations Program facilities in the event of an emergency influx of immigrants into the U.S., or to support the rapid development of new programs, KBR said. The contract may also provide migrant detention support to other government organizations in the event of an immigration emergency, as well as the development of a plan to react to a national emergency, such as a natural disaster, the company explained.


The regions indicated in the KBR document.

Army Releases Civilian Inmate Labor Program Document

Soon after KBR’s announcement, a little-known Army document surfaced. Entitled the “Civilian Inmate Labor Program,” the unclassified document describes in detail Army Regulation 210-35. The regulation, first drafted in 1997, underwent a “rapid act revision” in January 2005 and now provides a policy for the creation of labor programs and prison camps on Army installations.

National Emergency Centers Act

In 2009, the National Emergency Centers Act or HR 645 was introduced in Congress. It mandates the establishment of “national emergency centers” to be located on military installations for the purpose of providing “temporary housing, medical, and humanitarian assistance to individuals and families dislocated due to an emergency or major disaster,” according to the bill.

In addition to emergencies, the legislation is designed to “meet other appropriate needs, as determined by the Secretary of Homeland Security,” an open ended mandate which many fear could mean the forced detention of American citizens in the event of widespread rioting after a national emergency or total economic collapse, as Paul Joseph Watson noted in January of 2009.


Clergy response teams.

Also in 2009, the Army National Guard began posting advertisements calling for Internment/Resettlement Specialists, a fact noted by Infowars.com, Prison Planet.com and other alternative media outlets but ignored by the establishment media.

Precursor: Rex 84 Mass Detention Operation 

Rex 84, short for Readiness Exercise 1984, was established under the pretext of a “mass exodus” of illegal aliens crossing the Mexican/US border, the same pretense used in the language of the KBR request for services.

During the Iran-Contra hearings in 1987, however, it was revealed that the program was a secretive “scenario and drill” developed by the federal government to suspend the Constitution, declare martial law, assign military commanders to take over state and local governments, and detain large numbers of American citizens determined by the government to be “national security threats.”



Rex 84 was devised by Col. Oliver North, who was with the NSC and appointed liaison to FEMA. John Brinkerhoff, the deputy director of “national preparedness” programs for FEMA, and North designed the plan on a 1970 report written by FEMA chief Louis Giuffrida, at the Army War College, which proposed the detention of up to 21 million “American Negroes” in the event of a black militant uprising in the United States.

DHS Coordinating Occupy Arrests 

Following a crackdown by police on Occupy Wall Street protesters around the nation, Oakland, California, mayor Jean Quan mentioned during an interview with the BBC that she was on a conference call with leaders of 18 US cities shortly before a wave of raids broke up Occupy Wall Street encampments across the country. It was later discovered that the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and other federal police agencies had coordinated the often violent response to the protests.

New York Rep. Peter King, who heads up the House Homeland Security Subcommittee, signaled a sense of urgency when he said the federal government has “to be careful not to allow this movement to get any legitimacy. I’m taking this seriously in that I’m old enough to remember what happened in the 1960′s when the left-wing took to the streets and somehow the media glorified them and it ended up shaping policy. We can’t allow that to happen.”

The federal government responded similarly in the 1960s and 70s when the FBI organized and unleashed its unconstitutional secret police under the covert banner of COINTELPRO.

In addition to the DHS characterizing Americans supporting states’ rights and the Constitution as terrorists, the Defense Department’s Antiterrorism and Force Protection Annual Refresher Training Course in 2009 advised its personnel that political protest amounts to “low-level terrorism.”

Elements of the Police State Coming Together

The KBR document is more evidence that the federal government has established internment camps and plans to fill them with dissidents and anti-government activists that have been demonized consistently by the establishment media.

The NDAA was crafted precisely to provide the legal mechanism for tasking the military to round up activists it conflates with al-Qaeda terrorists. The plan was initially envisioned by Rex 84 and, in particular, Operation Garden Plot, an operational plan to use the Army, USAF, Navy, and Marine Corp. in direct support of civil disturbance control operations. It has since added numerous elements under the rubric of Continuity of Government, the overall war on terror, civil disturbance and emergency response.

The government has patiently put into place the crucial elements of its police state grid and overarching plan for the internment of political enemies.

We are quite literally one terror event away from the plan going live. As the DHS and the establishment media keep telling us, the next terror event will be on American soil and not the work of al-Qaeda but domestic patriot political groups. The FBI has specialized in creating domestic terrorists – or rather patsies – and shifting the blame over to their political enemies.

Related:
Go to The Lamb Slain Home Page