I found this Opinion in my local newspaper today, the Arco Advertiser, Dec. !5, 2011 and thought it was worth typing out and sending out. This article will give you some insight to the nature of a couple of senators also.
Could Target Americans for Military Detentilon
by Dr. Harold Pease
Civil libertarians and constitutional buffs are angrier witht he Federal Governemnt now than at any time since the Bush Patriot Act was pushed onto the American People ten years ago. Buried deep within the over 600 pages, $662 billion National Defense Authorization Act is language that "would require the military to hold suspected terrorists linked to Al Qaeda or its affiliates, even those captured on U.S. soil indifinitely" and without trial on the say so of the miliarty though the President alone. Moreover, even Americans could be removed to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, against their will and deprived fo their constitutional rights.
The fury has to do with U.S. citizenship. Origianlly Senators Carl Levin and John McCain, who sponsored the bill, did not exempt U.S. citizens - a serious omission which dumps sizable portions of Amendemnts 4, 5, and 6 of the Bill of Rights. Senators Paul, Dianne Feinstein and others demanding a citizen exclusion proposed amendments to do so, all of which were rejected. Senator Fienstein noted that her goal "was to assure the military won't be roaming our streets looking for suspected terrorists." The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, following the Civil War forbade the U.S. miliary from performing law enforcement functions of American soil. The American Cilil Liberties Union was also blunt. "Since the bill puts miliarty detention authority on steroids and makes it permanent, Amercian citizens and others are at greater risk of being locked away by the militarty without charge or trial if this bill becomes law." When asked if it were possible for an American to be shipped to Guantanamo Bay, John McCain, a co-author of the bill, said yes. Senator Lindsey Long was more blunt. "When they say 'I want my lawyer,' you tell them. 'Shut up. You don't get a lawyer."
Finally, Dianne Feinstein successfully got Senate colleagues to accept a weakened version of the same thing, "nothing in the bill changes current law relating to the detention of U.S. citizens and legal aliens." Even while getting this clarification Senator Levin was still arguing, "that the June 2004 Supreme Court decsision n Hamdi v. Runsfeld said U.S. citizens can be detained indifinitely." So, since it was so difficult to get an exclusion, for American, and the co-autohors of the bill, Senators Levin and McCain, say that it does include U.S. citizens as well. Why would a weak exclusion give civil libertarians any comfort? It doesn't.
Some things are very clear. The terms "terrorists" and "affiliates" are not adequately defined, the President is given way to much power, and it violates the U.S. Constitution upon which everyone voting has sworn to uphold. It is hard to trust the government's precise definititon of terrorists when Vice President Joe Biden, a few weeks ago referred to Tea Partiers as terrorists and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a few months prior to this referred to them as mobsters, (a term also implying a threat to society). What guarantee to we have that the "new" enemy does not simply rotate to anyone defined as "anti-government," citizen or not?
The measure places to much power and trust in the office of the President which has not proved particularly trustworthy in the past with respect to the Constitutional and civil libery. Franklin D Roosevelt, with the storke of a pen, detained thousands of Japanese Americans in "relocation camps" in World War II on the basis of race and potential terrorism alone. Jose Padilla, allegedly an affiliate of al Qaeda, a U.S. citizen arrested in Chicago for having plans to "detonate a dirty bomb," was tortured and confinded, without benefit of a lawyer for three years, by then President George W. Bush; all this within the borders of the United States. No acutal evidence of a d "dirty bomb" wa ever produced, nor was Padilla ever charged with a crime. Two other Americans, Donald Vance and Nathan Ertel, had similar torture experiences as did Padilla but with less time in solitary confinement, again without chares. (see details in the December 5 issue of the New American). Ulitmatley, with no evidence to support their confinement, they were set free.
And if Americans are sent to Guananamo Bay under this law, how much confidence can we have that if found innocent they would be set free, especially given President Barrack Obama's recent assertion, cited in the above referenc, that were miliatary commission to find them innocent they still "wound never be set free from prison." This is so wrong. Why should we have confidnece in any president to not use this power as seemeth him good?
The threat of potential incarceration without recourse to a lawer, judege and trial is very serious. The miliatary performing police duties here to for rednederd by civil authorities is unconscionable in a free society. Only seven understood the Constitution well enough to vote no. Should President Obama sign this bill into law, I will follow with a column on how it emasculates Amendments 4, 5, and 6 of the Bill of Right. Until then pass this column alon gto others. It is your liberty at stake.
Dr Harold Pease is an expert on the United States Constitution. He has dedicated his career to studying the writtings of the Founding Fathers and applying that knowledge to current events. He has taught history and political science from this perspective for over 25 years, at Taft College. To read more of his weekly articles, please visit
Need I remind you that the relocation camps are already built on American soil and waiting for their guests... Arrow