Since the establishment media is convinced that tea party members, 9/11 truthers, libertarians, Ron Paul supporters, and basically anyone with a dissenting political opinion is a likely domestic terrorist, they should be celebrating the fact that a new bill would allow the government to detain such people as “enemy belligerents” indefinitely and without trial based on their “suspected activity”.
The “Enemy Belligerent, Interrogation, Detention, and Prosecution Act of 2010,” introduced by Senators John McCain and Joseph Lieberman on Thursday with little fanfare, “sets out a comprehensive policy for the detention, interrogation and trial of suspected enemy belligerents who are believed to have engaged in hostilities against the United States by requiring these individuals to be held in military custody, interrogated for their intelligence value and not provided with a Miranda warning,” writes the Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder.
The full bill can be read here (PDF).
The bill does not distinguish between U.S. citizens and non-citizens, and states that “suspected belligerents” who are “considered a “high-value detainee” shall not be provided with a Miranda warning.”
A person is considered a “high value detainee” if they fulfil one of the following criteria.
(1) poses a threat of an attack on civilians or civilian facilities within the U.S. or U.S. facilities abroad; (2) poses a threat to U.S. military personnel or U.S. military facilities; (3) potential intelligence value; (4) is a member of al Qaeda or a terrorist group affiliated with al Qaeda or (5) such other matters as the President considers appropriate.
Now that the Southern Poverty Law Center and the federal government, via the MIAC report and innumerable other leaked documents, now consider virtually anyone with a dissenting opinion against the state as “posing a threat,” millions of peaceful American citizens could be swept up by this frightening dragnet of tyranny.
However, according to the bill, an individual doesn’t even have to pose a threat to be snatched, detained and interrogated – they can merely be deemed to be of “potential intelligence value” or come under the vague and sweeping mandate of “such other matters as the President considers appropriate”.
This last designation hands Obama dictator powers to have any American citizen kidnapped, detained, and interrogated on a whim.
The only proviso that even hints at some form of check or balance is the measure that states, “The High-Value Detainee Interrogation Team must make a preliminary determination whether the detainee is an unprivileged enemy belligerent within 48 hours of taking detainee into custody.”
“The High-Value Detainee Interrogation Team must submit its determination to the Secretary of Defense and the Attorney General after consultation with the Director of National Intelligence, the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. The Secretary of Defense and the Attorney General make a final determination and report the determination to the President and the appropriate committees of Congress. In the case of any disagreement between the Secretary of Defense and the Attorney General, the President will make the determination,” states the bill.
The ACLU has expressed its vigorous opposition to the legislation, labeling it nothing less than a “direct attack on the Constitution”.
“Indefinite detention flies in the face of American values and violates this country’s commitment to the rule of law,” states Laura W. Murphy, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office.
Of course, such positions from the ACLU as well as Amnesty International will only be used as grist for the neo-con propaganda mill about how the bill ought to be passed in order to avoid being “soft on terrorists,” a piece of spin still being swallowed whole by millions of conservatives who are blissfully unaware of the fact that the apparatus of the war on terror is now being aimed squarely at politically active American citizens.
“Torture, indefinite imprisonment, secret trials and limited staged hearings are the stuff of cheap dictatorships,” writes Ian McColgin. “They are the sort of idiocy we scorned in the Soviets, the Koreans and the Vietnamese. It is astonishing that we have senators and citizens even discussing this bill which is not a capitulation to terrorism – it’s the triumph of terrorism.”
Homeland Security is already implementing technology to be enforced at “security events” which purportedly reads “malintent” on behalf of an individual who passes through a checkpoint. Perhaps the video here explains just how “enemy belligerents” will be identified on American soil.