Does the recently passed Defense Authorization Bill allow the indefinite detention of American citizens without trial by our military? Why, yes it does, all mis-information
from politicians like Sen. John Boozman notwithstanding. Unlike the politicians of both parties who are trying to conceal from you the fact that they have just voted to repeal your 4th amendment rights, I am going to show the full text of the two relevant sections of the bill so you can get everything in context.
Look at that first section highlighted in red.
A person who was a part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, including any person who has committed a belligerent act or..."
Notice how vague it is. What does "substantial" support for forces "associated" with al-Quaeda or the Taliban mean? How is it determined that this standard is met? The answer can only be that the President alone determines who is "substantially" supporting a group that he alone can determine is "associated" with "al-Quaeda or the Taliban". Is blogging that America should get out of Afghanistan giving "substantial" support to the Taliban? Is passing on Taliban claims about massacres committed by American forces providing such support? Is organizing protests against the policies of "the Commander and Chief" a "belligerent act"? If the President says so, it could be under this act. That's the whole point. The executive branch alone gets to decide which citizens might be detained indefinitely.
There are no checks and balances. There is no judicial oversight. You don't get a lawyer and it does not matter if the government makes a mistake. All the President has to do to make you go away is say that he decided you were giving substantial support to a group associated with the Taliban. He does not have to present any evidence to that effect, he does not need any evidence to that effect. These powers are dictatorial in nature.
The CIA and the military itself provided substantial support (as in weapons and information) to both Al-Quaeda and the Taliban back in the 1990s when the Soviet Union occupied Afghanistan.
There have been some attempts to claim that the detention powers are not indefinite. They point to the fig leaf that says (second part in red below) those detained will be held "until the end of hostilities." Please. This is a forever war. They want it to be a forever war. It's a war against a tactic and a shadow. Its designed to be perpetual. It has been said that war is the health of the state. "The end of hostilities" is the same as indefinite, unless one of them wants to give us a definite date as to when the hostilities referred to will end, or even what criteria they will use to say that the war on "terror" has been "won" and they can rescind the Authorization to Use Military Force.
I have seen a couple of politicians use the excuse that "the bill does nothing to expand the existing powers of the President." That's the third section in red below. These claims are without value, except for their value to fool you into thinking they have not stolen your rights away. This is an environment where the President has already assumed the power to assassinate American citizens without trial, including a 16 year old whose only crime seems to be that he had the wrong father. How much more "expanding" does he need? The President himself gets to determine what his powers are to detain under this bill! And note that the provision they are citing says that this bill does nothing to LIMIT his powers either! So just because they have only explicitly granted him the power to detain you indefinitely without trial does not mean that he doesn't also have the authority (in their twisted minds) to assassinate you!
I have included section 1032 in this piece because it is an illustration of just how deceptive and tricky these oath-breakers are (including Boozman). The claim is that American citizens will still get a trial because of section 1032. The truth is section 1032 just says that the military is not REQUIRED to detain citizens indefinitely, but they are still ALLOWED to do so under section 1031.
One last note, Senator Rand Paul from Kentucky, one of the few good ones in there, cleverly defeated an amendment
that would have specified that the President has the power to detain American citizens as "terrorists suspects" indefinitely even in cases where a jury trial has acquitted them! This tyrannical amendment was being rushed through by the leadership on both sides by voice vote. When Paul insisted on a roll call vote, even those trying to rush it through voted against it! While I am glad that amendment went down, its the main bill itself that is troubling, so defeating an amendment to that bill that would have made it even worse does not undo the original problems.
The text of the relevant sections follows.........................................
SEC. 1031. AFFIRMATION OF AUTHORITY OF THE ARMED FORCES OF THE UNITED STATES TO DETAIN COVERED PERSONS PURSUANT TO THE AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF MILITARY FORCE.
(a) In General – Congress affirms that the authority of the President to use all necessary and appropriate force pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107-40) includes the authority for the Armed Forces of the United States to detain covered persons (as defined in subsection (b)) pending disposition under the law of war.
(b) Covered Persons – A covered person under this section is any person as follow:
(1) A person who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored those responsible for those attacks.
(2) A person who was a part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, including any person who has committed a belligerent act or has directly supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces.
(c) Disposition Under Law of War – The disposition of a person under the law of war as described in subsection (a) may include the following:
(1) Detention under the law of war without trial until the end of the hostilities authorized by the Authorization for Use of Military Force.
(2) Trial under chapter 47A of title 10, United States Code (as amended by the Military Commissions Act of 2009 (title XVIII of Public Law 111-84)).
(3) Transfer for trial by an alternative court or competent tribunal having lawful jurisdiction.
(4) Transfer to the custody or control of the person’s country of origin, any other foreign country, or any other foreign entity.
(d) Construction- Nothing in this section is intended to limit or expand the authority of the President or the scope of the Authorization for Use of Military Force.
(e) Requirement for Briefings of Congress – The Secretary of Defense shall regularly brief Congress regarding the application of the authority described in this section, including the organizations, entities, and individuals considered to be ‘covered persons’ for purposes of subsection (b)(2).
SEC. 1032. REQUIREMENT FOR MILITARY CUSTODY.
(a) Custody Pending Disposition Under Law of War -
(1) IN GENERAL – Except as provided in paragraph (4), the Armed Forces of the United States shall hold a person described in paragraph (2) who is captured in the course of hostilities authorized by the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107-40) in military custody pending disposition under the law of war.
(2) COVERED PERSONS – The requirement in paragraph (1) shall apply to any person whose detention is authorized under section 1031who is determined–
(A) to be a member of, or part of, al-Qaeda or an associated force that acts in coordination with or pursuant to the direction of al-Qaeda; and
(B) to have participated in the course of planning or carrying out an attack or attempted attack against the United Statesor its coalition partners.
(3) DISPOSITION UNDER LAW OF WAR – For purposes of this subsection, the disposition of a person under the law of war has the meaning given in section 1031(c), except that no transfer otherwise described in paragraph (4) of that seciton shall be made unless consistent with the requirements of section 1033.
(4) WAIVER FOR NATIONAL SECURITY – The Secretary of Defense may, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Director of National Intelligence, waive the requirement of paragraph (1) if the Secretary submits to Congress a certification in writing that such a waiver is in the national security of the United States.
(b) Applicability to United States Citizens and Lawful Resident Aliens -
(1) UNITED STATES CITIZENS – The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to citizens of the United States.
(2) LAWFUL RESIDENT ALIENS – The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to a lawful resident alien of the United States on the basis of conduct taking place within the United States, except to the extent permitted by the Constitution of the United States.