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Detaining US citizens: How did we get here?

December 18, 2011
The US Senate is pushing to give the military the option of indefinitely detaining US citizens without trial.

Aziz Rana, professor of constitutional law at Cornell University, explains the significance of provisions in the 2012 National Defense Authorisation Act that define the entire world as a battlefield, allowing for open-ended detainment of US citizens, without a trial.

Rana tells Al Jazeera that these provisions are merely the latest round in a long battle between Congress, the executive branch, and rights activists.

On the executive branch versus civil liberties:
“One of the positions in the legal community, for example, around the assassination of [Anwar] Al Awlaki, is that this is a constitutional violation.

A new US law will declare the world a battlefield, making virtually anyone vulnerable to indefinite military detention. Read more

But the executive branch has pretty systematically defended this – not that it can, under the Constitution – but it has systematically defended its ability to pursue a variety of different practices.

For example, various officials in speeches and statements have implied that the battlefield extends beyond Afghanistan or Iraq and indeed may be global. If an individual is suspected of engaging in terrorism but is in a friendly or non-hostile country – such as Yemen – that still would count as the battlefield.

So the executive branch is already defending the idea of the world as a battlefield.
They’re also already defending the idea that you can extinguish citizen rights in various places if someone is suspected of being a terrorist. So, for example, Al Awlaki was a US citizen, and the claim is that you can engage in a targeted assassination even of a US citizen that contests whether or not he or she is a suspected terrorist.

There are these practices on the ground that have been backed up by a series of Executive Branch statements, legal opinions, speeches, et cetera. And the thing that’s really telling about the current climate in the US, is that there has been very little judicial pushback and very little popular or political pushback.

So, for example, in the context of Al Awlaki, his family attempted to raise the legality of the fact that he was on a targeted assassination list last December in a case before the Federal court, and that case was dismissed on ‘justiciability’ grounds, specifically that [Al Awlaki’s] father didn’t have standing to sue on his son’s behalf. Although the decision never reached the merits of the case, the judge also seemed to indicate that on the merits he would have sided with the Obama administration under the ‘state secret privilege‘.

The courts were unwilling to address the underlying claims that were being presented, to there are questionable practices that are being pursued, but there hasn’t been much institutional or political pushback.”

Codification of rights violations
“The concern, potentially, with codification [of indefinite detentions without trial] is a longstanding debate on whether or not it’s better for emergency practices to be discretionary – in other words, they’re being pursued unilaterally by the Executive Branch – or to actually be codified.

The claim about the value of practices being codified is that if these practices get codified, they’re under some form of statute, then there’s some process that attaches to it, there’s some clarity about what the various institutional actors can and cannot do.

The critique on the other side is if what you’re codifying, if the statues are giving legal imprimatur, the Congress’ stamp that we already think of as deeply problematic because they contradict civil liberties and civil libertarian goals – then, in a sense, the process can be quite coercive.

There’s nothing about having a codified framework that makes it less likely to infringe on rights.
Think comparatively. A place like Egypt…where you have emergency laws that create an infrastructure of authoritarian rule. Just because it exists in the law, it doesn’t mean that it necessarily going to be rights-protective.

These are two problematic options. One option is discretionary power as articulated by the executive branch, but with very little institutional pushback from the judiciary or the public at large, or new statutory frameworks that validate these processes as articulated by Congress but that are themselves quite coercive.

Manipulation of case law
“The Hamdi case [Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, 2004] where you had a US citizen of Saudi decent, who was captured on the [Afghan] battlefield by the Northern Alliance and turned over to US custody – he was initially sent to Guantanamo before they realised he was a US citizen, and then he was imprisoned in a military brig in South Carolina.

The legality of his detention ended up going all the way to the Supreme Court. … the opinion by Justice O’Connor, which became the law of the case, is that you can detain even a US citizen as an enemy combatant, and that detention can be for the duration of hostilities. But there have to be certain procedural safeguards that are provided to the individual that’s being detained.

Now, O’Connor, when she wrote that opinion, when she was talking about the duration of hostilities, she was actually attempting to limit or constrain – though not ultimately successfully – the framework that had been applied by the Bush administration. Because the Bush administration’s framework was that the war on terror is a global war, and that it’s going to last indefinitely, perhaps forever.

And she [O’Connor] was trying to focus on the fact that, no, the battlefield is Afghanistan, and the reason that this person can be detained is because there’s an authorisation for the use of military force that allows an individual to be picked up in Afghanistan. And that detention lasts as long as there are extensive military operations in Afghanistan.

Now, what we’ve seen since then is that her language was still not specified enough, like when do military operations in Afghanistan end? We’ve been involved in various phases in war there for now a decade and so there is still the implication that hostilities can be long-standing and permanent.

And the way that both administrations [Bush and Obama] have interpreted that language is by using the language from the Hamdi case to essentially justify near-permanent detention, because hostilities are endless.

What you see in the [NDAA] bill is the effort to use phrases from cases in order to justify the practice, but to strip out in various ways the meaning of the phrase that might have limited the reach of detention powers.”

Al Jazeera

See original article here


The right to due process in America is coming to a sudden end as traitorous members of Congress have now passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which gives the U.S. military the power to arrest, detain, interrogate, torture and murder U.S. citizens inside the United States, with no due process.

President Obama, who had previously said he would oppose the bill (because he claimed he already had the power to kill Americans outside the law), now says he will support it and presumably sign it. The White House even issued a statement, which is one of the most astonishing and Big Brother-ish examples of doublespeak yet observed coming out of the Obama administration:

“We have concluded that the language does not challenge or constrain the President’s ability to collect intelligence, incapacitate dangerous terrorists, and protect the American people, and the President’s senior advisors will not recommend a veto…”

Of course, by “protect the American people” what they really mean is that they will shred the Peoples’ protections under the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

“It’s something so radical that it would have been considered crazy had it been pushed by the Bush administration,” said Tom Malinowski of Human Rights Watch. “It establishes precisely the kind of system that the United States has consistently urged other countries not to adopt. At a time when the United States is urging Egypt, for example, to scrap its emergency law and military courts, this is not consistent.” (…)

Obama’s Christmas gift to Americans: Complete nullification of the Bill of Rights

Under the NDAA:

• You may be arrested and indefinitely detained merely for being “suspected” of any involvement whatsoever with “terrorism” — a term that can be twisted to mean almost anything, including protesting against animal testing laboratories or chaining yourself to a tree as an environmental protester.

• You no longer have a right to legal representation.

• You can be held for life without ever being charged for any crime.

• You no longer have a right to a trial by a jury of your peers.

• You can be murdered by the government — legally! — without ever being charged with a crime.

• The government does not have to present ANY evidence against you to take all these actions. The government merely has to assert that you are “suspected” of being involved in “terrorism.” Such suspicion, of course, could be dreamed up against anyone! Political opponents, Free Speech proponents, protesters, dissenters… anyone at all.

283 traitorous, criminal members of the House voted YES

The complete list of the traitorous, criminal members of the House who voted YES on this bill — all of which must now be arrested and prosecuted under the laws of the U.S. Constitution — is available here:…

Read these names well, because they will go down in history as the seditious elitists who betrayed the American people in their most desperate hour, unleashing total police state tyranny against the innocent.

That these people in Congress somehow think they have the right to strip away the very freedoms GUARNTEED the American people under the U.S. Constitution is an outright violation of their own sworn oaths to protect that Constitution. It is also a deeply spiritual violation of natural law and a fundamental betrayal of the very principles upon which this country is founded.

We warned ya, and you didn’t listen

Here at NaturalNews — and even more so at places like — we warned you about this very thing, sometimes screaming at the top of our lungs that if we didn’t reverse the Patriot Act and stop the irrational and unrelenting “war on terror,” we would all end up slaves under a system of total government tyranny.

The public laughed and mocked us. “That will never happen in America. We’re a free country,” they insisted. The trolls accused us of fear mongering. The mainstream media said we were crazy.

And now, here we are, with the indefinite military detention bill passed by both houses, and the White House saying it will sign it, granting the military the “administrative right” to kidnap you in the middle of the night, steal you away from your family, throw you in a secret military prison and hold you there for the rest of your life without ever being charged with a crime or given legal representation of any kind.

The time for denial is over, friends. We warned ya! Over and over again, screaming for anyone intelligent enough who might listen, we warned about the Patriot Act, the Bush-era “war on terror,” the government’s false flag 9/11 attack, the secret military prisons, and the criminality of key people within the Obama administration such as Eric Holder who ran Operation Fast & Furious.

We warned you, and you didn’t listen. So now here we are on the verge of the Bill of Rights being nullified by Congress and President Obama, and most of America remains hopelessly asleep at the wheel, having no idea what they have allowed to unfold right in front of them. Tyranny is like a serpent that slithers into your tent, silently and maliciously, coiling around your torso and neck while you sleep. By the time you notice what’s happen and try to scream, it’s already too late.

People will start to “disappear” across America

So now, thanks to the NDAA and the Obama administration — which has proven to be a far greater threat to our liberties than even the Bush administration was — people in America will simply “disappear” in the middle of the night, as covert military teams kidnap them, take them away, and torture them — all with the full approval of President Obama who once promised he would close Gitmo.

Close it? Heck, this guy’s planning on filling Gitmo with Americans!

Every President, when sworn into office, swears upon a bible that they will protect and defend the United States Constitution. The NDDA law is a gross violation of that oath to God, and that makes the passage of this act not merely a betrayal of the American people, but a spiritual betrayal to a higher power. And that’s something these members of Congress who voted for this bill will have to answer for.

Their souls are marked for eternity. This is a betrayal of natural law and spiritual truth. It is also, of course, a gross violation of U.S. law and the Constitution itself. That the passage of such a law is even contemplated by members of Congress is, all by itself, such a malicious violation against America that if a law with the exact same wording were proposed in 1789, those who voted for such a law would have been shot on sight and memorialized as criminal traitors to the United States of America.

It only took 222 years for the American people to forget what freedom means, apparently. And now, Americans are so asleep, drugged up and ill-informed that they won’t even speak out against the very government that’s coiling around their necks and strangling them to death.

“It turns out that destroying the American democratic republic was easy to accomplish,” writes David Seaman from (…). “Simply get the three major cable news networks to blather on about useless bull**** for a few days, while legislators meet in secret behind closed doors to rush through the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 (NDAA), and its evil twin sister, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which is a clever name for an Internet censorship bill straight out of an Orwellian nightmare.”

Sources for this story include: (must read)………………………


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