Institutionalizing Indefinite Detention

truther 2
Stephen Lendman

Since taking office, Obama has authorized numerous police state measures. They follow earlier ones under George Bush.

They’re heading America for full-blown tyranny. It’s already a hair’s breadth away. It could arrive any time full force. It’s been wrapped in the American flag all along.

Most people don’t know how seriously their rights are compromised. Thousands of political prisoners in America’s gulag hell testify about police state harshness. Much worse ahead looms.

On March 7, 2011, Obama’s Executive Order 13567 authorized indefinite detentions and military commission trials. Doing so violated America’s Fifth Amendment. It states:

No person….shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law….

Bush administration officials, of course, originally authorized military commissions. They’re lawless by any standard. They permit torture. They deny international law protections.

They let presidents convene them against “unprivileged enemy belligerents” or anyone designated a threat to national security. Any reason can be claimed or none at all.

They deny speedy trials or any at all. They legitimize torture extracted evidence. They also permit hearsay and secret evidence unavailable to counsel.

They deny due process and judicial fairness. They destroy human dignity. They mock rule of law principles. They sanction kangaroo court justice.

At the time, Obama contemptuously claimed that indefinite detentions and military commissions “broaden our ability to bring terrorists to justice, provide oversight for our actions, and ensure the humane treatment of detainees.”

He lied. He spurned inviolable international and constitutional principles. On December 31, 2011, he went further. He signed the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

It legitimized indefinite detentions. It included US citizens at home and abroad. America’s military may arrest and imprison them uncharged. It permits holding them without trial based on suspicions, hearsay, secret evidence, or none at all.

No reasonable proof is needed. Presidential diktat authority has final say. No one anywhere is safe.

Due process, civil protections, and judicial fairness became null and void. Presidents may order anyone arrested and imprisoned for life without charge or trial. Abuse of power replaced rule of law protections.

It’s US statute law. It violates international and constitutional provisions. It’s one step closer to full-blown tyranny. Administration lawyers claim US citizens are legitimate targets. Presidential authorization alone is needed.

Inviolable rights no longer apply. Protesting imperial lawlessness, social injustice, corporate crime, government corruption, or political Washington run of, by and for rich elites can be criminalized.

So can free speech, assembly, religion, or anything challenging America’s right to kill, destroy and pillage with impunity. America’s less safe to live in than ever. There’s no place to hide anywhere.

On December 19, Russia Today headlined “NDAA 2013 – Indefinite detention without trial is back.”

It never went away. Senator Dianne Feinstein’s amendment claimed to limit military detention. It nominally exempted US citizens and permanent residents apprehended domestically.

It did more harm than good. It hardened indefinite detention. It legalized detaining students with visas, tourists, immigrants and others indefinitely.

It left citizens and permanent residents vulnerable. If arrested, it authorized due process. NDAA mandates military commissions. Civil ones aren’t allowed. Kangaroo justice is certain.

Feinstein’s amendment made bad 2012 legislation worse. Habeas rights were denied. Freedom took another body blow. Police state harshness hardened. Presidential diktat authority was endorsed.

Weeks earlier, senators approved it. On December 18, Senator Carl Levin said “language of the Senate bill was dropped.” He stopped short of explaining more.

On December 19, lawmakers removed her amendment. Deceptive language replacing it said:

(NDAA) shall be construed to deny the availability of the writ of habeas corpus or to deny any Constitutional rights in a court ordained or established by or under Article III of the Constitution to any person inside the United States who would be entitled to the availability of such writ or to such rights in the absence of such laws.

Is means no one entitled to habeas “availability” shall be denied it. Anyone authorities arrest is assumed ineligible.

On September 12, Southern District of New York federal Judge Katherine B. Forrest blocked Obama’s indefinite detention law.

She called it “unconstitutional: it impermissibly impinges on guaranteed First Amendment rights and lacks sufficient definitional structure and protections to meet the requirements of due process.”

She added that:

If, following issuance of this permanent injunctive relief, the government detains individuals under theories of ‘substantially or directly supporting’ associated forces, as set forth in’ the National Defense Authorization Act, and a contempt action is brought before this court, the government will bear a heavy burden indeed.

Plaintiffs successfully argued that ambiguous language like “substantially supported,” “associated forces,” and “directly supported” leave them and others vulnerable to lawless indefinite detention.

In response to Judge Forrest’s ruling, administration officials appealed. They said she exceeded enjoining NDAA’s Section 1021.

They claimed doing so “threatens irreparable harm to national security and the public interest by injecting added burdens and dangerous confusion into the conduct of military operations abroad during an active armed conflict.”

They granted a stay on her injunction. She questioned 2001 Authorization for use of Military Force (AUMF) interpretation. Its language and NDAA’s Section 1021 aren’t the same, she said.

“They are not co-extensive. Military detention based on allegations of ‘substantially supporting’ or ‘directly supporting’ the Taliban, Al Qaeda, or associated forces, is not encompassed within the AUFM and is enjoined by this order regarding” NDAA.

Obama officials argued she overstepped. She took “it upon (herself) to disagree with an interpretation of the military’s detention authority that had previously been endorsed by all three branches of government,” they claimed.

What is more, (she) expressly invites actions for contempt sanctions if the military exercises detention authority in a manner inconsistent with the court’s deeply flawed understanding of that authority.

In June, she issued a preliminary injunction against enforcing statute provisions she questions. While appealing her ruling, Obama officials didn’t block it.

sjlendman.blogspot.com

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2 Comments »

  1. Dan December 27, 2012 at 10:18 am - Reply

    We do have concentration camps for the indefinite detention of illegal government and Elite’s connected to illegal banking operations.

  2. gary December 26, 2012 at 3:28 am - Reply

    There are always unexpected consequences to actions such as this one. Here are a few that come to mind:
    1) Foreign students decide to go get their eduction at other countries, thus reducing US College enrollments. This can impact jobs at colleges and reduce income, especially to those small college towns that thrive around the university.
    2) Foreign countries shun tourism in the USA as they worry they could be imprisoned. Reducing Tourism dollars.
    3) US citizens shun tourism in foreign countries due to fear that they could be arrested, detained, and tortured because Fed Gov is paranoid and treats everyone as a intelligence threat.
    4) Foreign citizens decide not to buy our entertainment and communications products in protest.
    5) Foreign citizens decide not to buy our food products.
    6) Foreign countries decide not to sell us any more raw or rare earth minerals.

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