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Senators John McCain and Joe Lieberman have introduced a 12-page bill that rivals the PATRIOT act and Military Commissions Act as the most short-sighted and therefore frightening piece of legislation introduced by a member of Congress. Essentially, it says that anyone anywhere in the world can be arrested as an "enemy belligerent", held without trial by the military for an indefinite period of time all because they "support" acts of terrorism or organizations who commit acts of terrorism against the US or its allies.

   Additionally, the law specifically forbids these detained "enemy belligerents" from being read their Miranda rights or otherwise being informed of any rights they may have. They don't even have to prove that you have supported terrorists, only to suspect it. (So much for innocent until proven guilty!) And the president gets to determine who is and who is not a terrorist.

Here are the actual House and Senate bills from The Library of Congress:

H.R.4892 : To provide for the interrogation and detention of enemy belligerents who commit hostile acts against the United States, to establish certain limitations on the prosecution of such belligerents for such acts, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep McKeon, Howard P. "Buck" [CA-25] (introduced 3/19/2010) Cosponsors (None)
Committees: House Intelligence (Permanent Select); House Armed Services; House Judiciary
Latest Major Action: 3/19/2010 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the Committee on Intelligence (Permanent Select), and in addition to the Committees on Armed Services, and the Judiciary, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned.

S.3081 : A bill to provide for the interrogation and detention of enemy belligerents who commit hostile acts against the United States, to establish certain limitations on the prosecution of such belligerents for such acts, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Sen McCain, John [AZ] (introduced 3/4/2010) Cosponsors (9)
Committees: Senate Judiciary
Latest Major Action: 3/4/2010 Referred to Senate committee. Status: Read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.

A Proposed Bill You Should Read More Closely

McCain and Lieberman's "Enemy Belligerent" Act Could Set U.S. on Path to Military Dictatorship | Civil Liberties | AlterNet

The Most Important Sentence In McCain/Lieberman's Nightmare Detention Bill: "An individual, including a citizen of the United States ... may be detained without criminal charges and without trial"
Full text (pdf)


You are walking out of the hardware store, where you've just bought a fire extinguisher for your home. On the way to your car, you have to pass a police car, with the officer sitting in it.

You trip, lose your hold on the fire extinguisher, and it falls through his open window and lands in his lap. He jumps out of the car, arrests you, calls his superiors and tells them you're a terrorist with a bomb. You are whisked off into military detention. You don't have Miranda rights. No phone call. No lawyer. The can keep you as long as they want to.

You're now an "enemy belligerent." I hope you said good-bye to your family because they might not see you again for years, and no one has to even tell them where you are.

That's what this bill allows, and that's what so dangerous about it.

Originally posted to midgebaker on Thu Apr 22, 2010 at 07:10 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

    •  I'm furious (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      with lieberman.  I could just pick up the phone and scream at his office staff right now.  I won't but I feel like it.

      How dare he put forward something so antithetical to everything America stands for?

      I'm truly ashamed that Connecticut re-elected him as senator.

    •  Thank you for posting this. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Would the President veto this bill if it passed, do you think?  Would the Supreme Court uphold its constitutionality?  They struck down the Military Commissions Act.

      When the United States becomes a low wage country, only bobbleheads shall go forth from American soil.

      by amyzex on Thu Apr 22, 2010 at 09:10:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  the bill is called (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      "A bill to provide for the interrogation and detention of enemy belligerents who commit hostile acts against the United States"

      This is something of a misnomer. The actual language as the diarist noted allows the detention, without rights, of anyone held to have knowingly given material support to "hostilities against the US"

      (Sec. 6, paragraph 9):The term 'unprivileged enemy belligerent' means an individual (a) has engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners; (b) has purposely and materially supported hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners; or (c) was a part of al Qaeda at the time of capture.

      So actually it's ""A bill to provide for the interrogation and detention of people we think might be enemy belligerents who either commit hostile acts against the United States or maybe, say, give to a charity that we think they ought to have known are connected to such people" - since people who have given to Islamic charities have in the past been charged with support for terrorism on the basis of the argument that they ought to have known where the money might well have ended up.

      Now, while the language implies we are talking about war in Iraq or Afghanistan (hence the mention of coalition partners), "hostilities" is not defined. Elsewhere in the bill, it is more specific, speaking of "terrorism" or "other violations of the laws of war" - which of course suggests that, were other forces to apply the same standards to the US military occupying their country, they'd have the perfect right to kidnap lots of US military personnel and hold them without any legal rights as well, since according to the usually recognized laws of war, much of what the US military does in Iraq and Afghanistan could well be seen as violations (i.e., many see the use of aerial bombardment on a city one already occupies and is hence effectively the government to itself be a war crime, and the US army in Baghdad does this regularly). (One might object that it's only "arguably" a violation, but of course, that's kind of the point: it's all arguable, who decides? In this law, it's the commander in chief of the US forces, and not any outside judicial authority, neither is any outside judicial authority allowed to weigh in at any point; presumably, then, if the other side were to apply this, it would be whoever their military leader is as well.) And of course by the logic of "material support", pretty much anyone else in the US military, including typists keeping track of coca cola supplies, would be fair game for kidnapping as well. Actually, since it's our patriotic duty to "support the troops," it sounds a lot like most US civilians who acted on this in any way would be fair game for kidnapping and interrogation by enemy forces as well.

      From a serious civil liberties perspective, the question is: would they apply the "hostilities" and "terrorism" rubric to domestic political opponents who are not engaged in - well, you know, anything involving the use of guns or bombs or anything like that. I'm actually temperamentally inclined to assume they wouldn't, but speaking as someone who has, over the years, participated in the global justice movement, which never uses guns or bombs, I am disturbed to say: well, yeah. Moves have increasingly been made in this direction, especially in the last few years. Terrorism charges have been applied first in the Green Scare, to people who clearly were not attempting to hurt (let alone "terrorize") anyone, even though they did damage property, and now, I know of cases where it's being applied even to people connected with the global justice movement accused only of conspiring to damage property. (Quite remarkable when you observe that terrorism charges have yet to be applied to right-wingers who actually do use guns and bombs and do try to terrorize and hurt people, but that's another story.) So I would say that yes, this is putting a very dangerous weapon in the hands of people who have been known to abuse such weapons in the past.

  •  Well (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sherlyle, QuestionAuthority

    I'm certainly belligerent. An enemy? Well, I guess that's in the hands of the President.

    God this stuff is scary dumb.

    "No one has the right to spend their life without being offended." Philip Pullman

    by zaynabou on Thu Apr 22, 2010 at 07:15:16 AM PDT

  •  This is the stuff that scared the crap (3+ / 0-)

    out of me under Bush.  The idea that whoever's in charge can decide if we're an enemy.  And do anything they want to an enemy.
    Was Joe Lieberman EVER a Dem?  And if anyone should know better, you'd think it would be McCain.  So much for the idea of democracy.  So much for integrity.  Honor.  Courage.  Honesty.
    Do anything it takes to get on top.  Destroy anyone if it means you win.  

  •  The GOP (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Oh Mary Oh, QuestionAuthority

    never met a Civil Right they didn't hate other than gun ownership.

    ~War is Peace~Freedom is Slavery~Ignorance is Strength~ George Orwell "1984"

    by Kristina40 on Thu Apr 22, 2010 at 07:31:40 AM PDT

  •  I went to Thomas to look up this bill (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    klompendanser, QuestionAuthority

    and discovered some of the the other crap that McCain has been sponsoring.

    One of the most amusing is the McCain-Ensign "I want to fly home nonstop from National Airport because I'm too lazy to go to Dulles" bill.

    To save you the trouble of looking it up, section 49109 of Title 49 U.S.C. says that you can't fly nonstop from DCA to any airport more than 1250 miles away.

    Abolishing Aviation Barriers Act of 2009 (Introduced in Senate)

    S. 36

    To repeal the perimeter rule for Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, and for other purposes.


    January 6, 2009

    Mr. MCCAIN (for himself and Mr. ENSIGN) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation

    A BILL

    To repeal the perimeter rule for Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, and for other purposes.

         Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


         This Act may be cited as the `Abolishing Aviation Barriers Act of 2009'.


         (a) In General- Chapter 449 of title 49, United States Code, is amended by striking section 49109.

         (b) Clerical Amendment- The chapter analysis for chapter 449 of title 49, United States Code, is amended by striking the item relating to section 49109 and inserting the following:

               `44901. Repealed.'.


         Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no Federal funds may be obligated or expended after the date of enactment of this Act to enforce the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey rule banning flights beyond 1,500 miles (or any other flight distance related restriction), from arrival or departure at New York LaGuardia Airport.

  •  tea partiers are pretty (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    hostile and belligerent. So is John "Hell no!" Boehner. And Crankypants McCain. Lieberman is dour, and often hostile.

    The debates on this one could be very entertaining.

    You go to war with the TROLLS you have, not the TROLLS you might want or wish to have at a later time.

    by klompendanser on Thu Apr 22, 2010 at 07:54:17 AM PDT

  •  Hmph (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I'm grumpy, sleepy, sneezy, but I ain't no doc.

    No one ever died from laughing too often

    by googie on Thu Apr 22, 2010 at 08:05:16 AM PDT

  •  Reminds me of a blast from the past (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Follow in your book and repeat after me, as we learn three new words in Turkish...'towel'...'bath'...'border'...may I see your passport please?"

    Firesign Theater

    The folded coffin flag is nothing but a receipt from the Masters of War to the pawns in their game.

    by BOHICA on Thu Apr 22, 2010 at 08:07:17 AM PDT

  •  Do these reprehensible bills (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    have a joekull's chance in helviti of being even voted out of committee, much less passed?

    I get "suaviter in modo", Mr President. May we now have some "fortiter in re"?

    by tapu dali on Thu Apr 22, 2010 at 08:08:33 AM PDT

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