Tuesday, December 06, 2011

The End of The Republic? Congress votes to establish military power of arrest without warrants or courts

While you weren't looking, those hilarious pranksters in Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act, which among other things authorizes the military to detain U.S. citizens arrested in this country "without trial until the end of the hostilities authorized by the Authorization for Use of Military Force," meaning until the "War on Terror" is over, meaning never.

That's seriously what just happened.

I don't want you to think your representatives took a collective dump on the Sixth Amendment without talking it over first, because they did debate a little before voting to end the Republic. In particular, they discussed whether the indefinite-military-detention provision really applied to citizens, because it wasn't clear as drafted. Seems like it would have been pretty easy to make clear that it didn't apply to citizens if that's what you wanted, maybe by adding something like, "the authority granted by this section shall not extend to American citizens," but I'm no legislator. Your Supreme Court has held that it is okay to detain a citizen forever if arrested overseas, you may recall, and if you enjoyed that then you'll love this bill, which extends that to citizens arrested in the U.S. That is, as Lindsay Graham conceded on the Senate floor, this bill makes the homeland is a "battlefield" where the laws of war apply.

Under Section 1031 of the bill, the military is authorized to detain "covered persons" under the law of war, and you are "covered" if you were connected to 9/11 or have "substantially supported" anybody who was. Under 1031(c), a covered person may be held indefinitely. The debate was over 1032, "Requirement for Military Custody," which required that detainees be held by the military (as 1031 authorized). Did that cover citizens, some cared enough to ask? The end result was that 1032(b) now provides that "[t]he requirement to detain a person in military custody ... does not extend to citizens of the United States." Feel better? Don't. All that says is that military detention isn't required. It's still authorized.

But wait, you say, I'm not a "covered person" because I'm not a terrorist and I totally think 9/11 sucked. Well, of course I believe you, but how will you prove that, person in military custody? At your trial? I see. Well, you can either have a military tribunal now or a trial when the War on Terror is over. In America we give you the freedom to choose!
Read the rest here.


gdelassu said...

Regrettably, I will not count on Pres. Obama to veto this abomination. While I think that the current president is orders of magnitude better than his immediate predecessor on many issues, he is every bit as bad as Pres. Bush when it comes to civil liberties.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

My theory is that this is what happens when we no longer think in organic terms of "the rights of Englishmen" and instead go off into a posteriori "human rights" which, contrary to the hysterical 'anti-fascists,' the centralized, secular State is only too happy to hand out like candy. This would include such non-rights as sodomy, abortion, education, medical care, etc.

We are completely unmoored from our English common law traditions: 'citizenship' is just a status granted by government, not an inherited patrimony by virtue of blood-membership in the nation. The rights and privileges adhering to this status are therefore purely administrative criteria which may be expanded or curtailed in whatever way the administrators see fit.

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

And similarly, "rights" are something governments dole out or take back instead of being inalienable.

Stephen said...

You can thank the Progressive Movement and all its tributaries and adherents, historically found in both parties, but now much more concentrated in the Democratic party.

Lee Lovelock-Jemmott said...

Isaiah Berlin calls this attack 'positive freedom' and calls the innate and natural organic rights that have become positivized 'Negative' freedoms. And the funny thing is, he was writing about this back in the 1950's, before the modern day ancestors of the hideous French Revolution started 'sprinting' amok as opposed to running.