As I writer I cast my net far and wide for "temperature checks" on various issues, and I can tell you that whether it is Tea Party, mainstream GOP, the Ron Paulers, apolitical sports forums, it is the same: no one can believe this is happening. In the heated discussion rooms of the blogosphere I have never seen such agreement among people who loath each other and have never agreed on a single thing.
Even ConservativeByte.com ("Take a byte of of liberalism") greets the ACLU like they were old pals. The S. 1867 National Defense Authorization Act to be voted on tomorrow in the Senate:
...would define the whole of the United States as a “battlefield” and allow the U.S. Military to arrest American citizens in their own back yard without charge or trial. “The Senate is going to vote on whether Congress will give this president—and every future president — the power to order the military to pick up and imprison without charge or trial civilians anywhere in the world. The power is so broad that even U.S. citizens could be swept up by the military and the military could be used far from any battlefield, even within the United States itself,” writes Chris Anders of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office.
True, it is no secret that Constitutional rights have been steadily eroded since 9/11, but until now, politicians have at least had the decency to to be wary of how people might react. The changes have been subtle and couched in assurances that wholesale erasure of rights are not the case. Jose Padilla was arrested on American soil, yes, but he was stepping off a plane on the last leg of a return trip from a "battlefield." The Military Commissions Act of 2006, according to Yale law professor Bruce Ackerman,
"...authorizes the president to seize American citizens as enemy combatants, even if they have never left the United States. And once thrown into military prison, they cannot expect a trial by their peers or any other of the normal protections of the Bill of Rights."
However, there has been some disagreement among legal scholars over whether the Act includes American citizens because it does not exclude them, leaving some measure of ambiguity.
And although Obama ordered and carried out the extrajudicial execution of an American citizen, Anwar Al-Awlaki, earlier this year, defenders of the policy argue that, again, the setting was a "battlefield" outside the United States, in this case a car on the highway in Yemen.
In the National Defense Authorization Bill S. 1867, for the first time since 9/11, there is to be no ambiguity, no doubt as to the intent of the senators. Given the chance to strip out the offending provisions, 61 senators made abundantly clear that burying the Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution is their clear intent, and voted against the change. The senators were told point blank by Senator Lindsey Graham,one of the co-sponsors of the provision, in a speech on the Senate floor:
“1031, the statement of authority to detain, does apply to American citizens and it designates the world as the battlefield, including the homeland.”
The Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees:
"In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence."
There is no need to guess or argue anymore. Graham said it. Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) declared that the bill is needed because “America is part of the battlefield.” Some who have apparently not heard Graham's words have taken comfort in a ruse which Republican Congressman Justin Amash told the The Grand Rapids Press is “carefully crafted to mislead the public.” This shows that, despite Graham's treasonous boldness, other senators still retain some of Jefferson's "fear" of "the people" ("When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.")
But Senior Legislative Counsel for the Washington office of the ACLU dispels any remaining doubt behind which senators less brazen than Graham seek to hide:
"Don’t be confused by anyone claiming that the indefinite detention legislation does not apply to American citizens. It does. There is an exemption for American citizens from the mandatory detention requirement (section 1032 of the bill), but no exemption for American citizens from the authorization to use the military to indefinitely detain people without charge or trial (section 1013 of the bill). So, the result is that, under the bill, the military has the power to indefinitely imprison American citizens."
And so the dilly-dallying after 9/11 is over. If the clear intent and the language of the law is to codify the "homeland" as the "battlefield," where does that leave the now established claim of authority to assassinate American citizens deemed "terrorists" without charge or trial, on the say so of the "national security" establishment, on the newly codified "battlefield?" It is not high-profile alleged terrorists like Al-Awlaki who we need to be worried about. The Washington Post has confirmed that:
"The military's Joint Special Operations Command maintains a target list that includes several Americans...U.S. officials have said that the government is prepared to kill U.S. citizens who are believed to be involved in terrorist activities that threaten Americans."
The list is secret, and so there is no way to determine who is on it, or presumably, who is no longer because they have already been killed. If Americans do not see this as a recipe for mischief they are not Americans any longer.
This is the question no one has been asking. If the senators succeed in establishing the U.S. as the "battlefield, if S. 1867 passes the Senate vote tomorrow in the late afternoon, the place where JSOC can carry out its assassinations becomes everywhere, including your bedroom while you sleep. Alarmism? Sen. Graham said the bill "designates the world as the battlefield, including the homeland." Al-Awlaki was killed by executive order "on the battlefield." The Senate was given the chance to show this is not what it means, in the vote on the Udall Amendment yesterday to strip out the offending provisions. Not only did they fail to remove the provision, they approved it by a 61- 37 vote majority, which is just six votes short of veto-proof.
Fortunately, the Founders of the republic foresaw that corrupt and vicious men might attempt to change the Constitution they had written on their own, without a Constitutional Convention. They therefore commanded that all officers of the United States understand that their primary duty was to defend, even unto the death, not the president, not any of the institutions that they had established, not even the territory or the people of the United States. Because the Oath was given such an elevated place, to be not sworn or signed at some point in the commencement of duties, but sworn in public before the eyes of all before any other official action, it was to be understood that defense of the Constitution, against all enemies both foreign and domestic, comes first, and would require the dropping of all other business in the hour of mortal danger.
The Oath of Office of both US senators and military officers creates the class of criminal "domestic enemies" of the "United States Constitution."
"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic;...So help me God."
Notably absent is any mention of enemies of our territorial integrity, or of elected office holders. The intriguing possibility is that the Founders didn't really care what the territory consisted of, or who was nominally in charge of it. America was to be an idea, which must never die, where citizens had certain inalienable rights.
By completely clarifying the intent and the effect of S. 1867 to be voted on tomorrow, political posturing will be over and senators will finally step from the shadows, to declare themselves loyal, or the "domestic enemies" of the "United States Constitution." Some will vote to approve the new law. Officers of the United States military will stand on firm legal ground to arrest every single one of them on sight.
Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people. . . . [There is also an] inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war, and . . . degeneracy of manners and of morals. . . . No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare..." - James Madison
Capitol switchboard (24/7, both Senate and House):
"Arrest McCain and Levin Now: Vote on Military Detention of Americans"
The traitors who voted not to strip out the military detention provisions:
NAYs ---61 (Occupy their front yards with all-night drum circles.)
Grassley (R-IA) Hagan (D-NC)
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