S.1867: The Power to Detain, Imprison, Torture and Kill American Citizens Anywhere

by Luis R. Miranda
The Real Agenda
November 30, 2011

A new bill presented in the US Senate (S.1867) The National Defense Authorization Act, states that the President of the United States, whomever it is, can indefinitely detain, imprison, torture and murder anyone if he or she is considered a suspect of anything the US government wants to make up. The detention, imprisonment, torture and murder will occur without the person having been charged and without a trial. People can be picked up anywhere inside or outside the United States.

The recently approved law  is such a threat to the liberties and freedoms of the people, which its authors supposedly intend to protect by giving the president the power cited above, that fellow senators have taken to the Senate floor to seek support for amendments that eliminate the portion of the text that allows any president to detain anyone in the manner explained above.

Senator Rand Paul is one of those trying to preserve what many consider key liberties and freedoms protected by the Unites States Constitution. On the Senate floor, Mr. Paul reminded his colleagues that it is never a good idea to exchange liberty for security.  He also explained that taking the citizens’ right to be formally accused and found guilty in a court of law, as supposed to simply be designated as a suspect who can be abducted and taken away forever, would be equal to having let the terrorists win.

The most controversial part of the law reads “Congress affirms that the authority of the President to use all necessary and appropriate force pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force, includes the authority for the Armed Forces of the United States to detain covered persons pending depositions under the law of war.” Where is the beef many of you may think. It doesn’t say people can be tortured or killed! Well, the killing part had already been implemented earlier, when the President was awarded the power to take on and kill anyone who was found fighting with a terrorist group; even if it was an American citizen. That is how Mr. Anwar al-Awlaki, the CIA agent and supposed Al-Qaeda member was taken down.

But specifically in this newly approved law, the concept of giving the President power to decide when to use the Armed Forces to abduct and keep anyone within the US territory or abroad is clearly renewed. But not before trying to hide it from the public view. Earlier this month, Senator Lindsey Graham took to the floor of the Senate to clear the air regarding what the new bill would allow the President to do. “…the military custody provision, which has wavers and a lot of flexibility, doesn’t apply to American citizens. Section 1031 does apply to American citizens, and it designates the world as the battlefield, including the homeland.” In other words, anyone can now be detained in the US or abroad, as determined by the President, and be held without charges for an indefinite period of time. This treatment was only applied to prisoners of war (POW) many of which were sent to the Abu Ghraib prison and to Guantamo Bay in Cuba.

Other Senators like Kelly Ayotte, a Republican from New Hampshire, also defended S.1867 saying that “We are simply saying that you have the option to make sure you can put together intelligence gathering as the top priority.” Besides Lindsey Graham and Mrs. Ayotte, Bill sponsors included Senator John McCain, Republican from Arizona, and Carl Levin, a democrat Senior Senator. Although President Obama has threatened to veto the new law if the indefinite detention section is not removed, an amendment to do exactly that failed last night on the Senate floor, and the Bill, with the illegal detention provision and all,  was approved in its original form.

The legal situation for citizens in the United States and abroad gets even more serious when put into perspective. That is, when revising recent laws, provisions, presidential powers and law enforcement training literature. In fact, there has been an open plan to use the US military on the streets of the United States, and the military has already been put on the streets indeed. They have been seen on local roads and highways accompanied by local police stopping vehicles and requesting that drivers let them illegally search their cars. Along with these actions, the MIAC and Homeland Security reports state that the current drive to putting the military on the streets and highways has nothing to do with terrorism, but that it is all for American citizens themselves. It’s all about retired veterans, gun owners, libertarians, people who protests against government and its policies, war activists and so on.

“Just a few years ago they said, well that’s preposterous. We don’t want to use the marines and army against the American people. That’s tyranny, it’s a third world country, that is Martial Law.  Now they are well yes, we want to keep you safe from Al-Qaeda,” explains radio talk show host Alex Jones, who has spent the best part of the past 16 years talking about governments grabbing power uncontrollably and how that power is usually then employed to oppress the citizens. Jones stated on Russia Today television that the new law has a section that says that Americans are exempted from the detention, imprisonment, torture and murder, but that later it has another section that clearly states that the exemption goes as far as the President and the Army say so. In other words, the exemption can be waived at any point in time. Alex Jones’ observation is supported by Congressman Justin Amash, who said “It is carefully crafted to mislead the public.”

The passage of this Bill on the Senate floor spells the end of the Rule of Law as well as the end of Posse Comitatus, which prohibits the use of the United States Army on US soil. Quoting James Madison, Senator Rand Paul warned the Senate last night that “The means to defense against foreign dangers historically have become instruments of tyranny at home,” and then added Abraham Lincoln’s take on the importance of true liberty and freedom: “America will never be destroyed form the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed it ourselves.”

The Junior Senator from Kentucky said that during conflicts there have always been struggles to keep and protect civil liberties, such as Habeas Corpus and Freedom of the Press. Mr. Paul warned that rights and liberties being given away now would hardly come back as it happened in the past for the simple reason that the State itself has managed to maintain a constant state of war and conflict. “These rights we may give up now, may never be restores.” said Senator Paul.

The whole basis of the law is to, under the President’s directive, give the military the power to arrest people suspected of being associated with a determined terrorist group. The detention and further police actions imposed on the suspects would waive the due process, one of the most important pillars of any democratic nation; the right to be formally accused and tried in a court of law, in the presence of a judge and a jury of peers and the right to defend oneself in that court of law. Again, the law clearly states that this applies to American citizens at home and abroad. “This proposal is reminiscent of what Egypt did with its permanent emergency law,”  highlighted Senator Paul.

As the law stands now in the United States, legislation passed by the US Congress already declares it a crime to aid a terrorist or a terrorist organization in any way, shape or form. Anyone who is detained, prosecuted and found guilty for violating the Material Assistance Prohibition. “Jose Padilla was convicted and sentences to 17 years in prison for conspiring to provide material assistance to Al-Qaeda,” asserted congressman Paul. S.1867 will only have the House of Representatives as the last hope to vote it down, because although President Obama has said he would veto it, the truth is Obama himself has approved much of what is written on the National Defense Authorization Act, that is, secret arrests and torture of detainees. These measures are approved under the Military Commissions Act and the Patriot Act, whose powers have been enhanced since George W. Bush first approved it. So no, we cannot count on the current US President to stop the implementation of practices such as the detainment, imprisonment, torture and murder of American citizens neither at home nor abroad.

You can be grabbed and no one ever even knows where you go forever“, warned Alex Jones on Russia Today.

Perhaps one of the most telling facts about S.1867, is that no one on the American press is talking about it. Only so called alternative news media and foreign media are addressing the fact that people in Congress want to enable the military to run the country. But this behavior by the main stream media is not a surprise, as it has done the same regarding other news that directly affect Americans at home and abroad. For example, while foreign media, or American media published and distributed overseas describes the rise of the citizenry of the world against austerity measures, banker bailouts, the conflict in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Syria against American and NATO bombings in their countries, local American media concentrates on diversions such as how many women accuse Herman Cain of sexual harassment, when will the NBA season start or how many years in prison did Michael Jackson’s get after being found guilty.  The mainstream press hasn’t even talked much about some Congressmen and Congresswomen insider trading corruption cases, where they and their relatives have taken advantage of information to invest and divest their monies successfully with the help of insiders from Wall Street. Neither has the main stream media pounded on the fact that John Corzine hasn’t even been called to declare in the financial scandal at MF Global.

They are crooks who want the military to protect their crimes, asserted Alex Jones. A long time ago, the Americans were the best informed people in the developed world, but in recent decades they have become the least informed of all. That is due to the fact that the media has taken it upon themselves to feed only information that makes people play along with an ever more corporate-dominated Washington, DC.

The problems with S.1867 is that it was crafted with dangerously vague terms, giving vague and open-ended powers to those who seek to have them. For example, a decade after 9/11, no one in law enforcement has precisely defined the concept of membership or affiliation to any supposed terrorist organization. As of now, law enforcement uses accusations as the base to run the kind of schemes sought to be imposed through legislation like S.1867. That is so, because most of the accusations made by law enforcement agencies are almost impossible to prove. The consequence of this is that new legislation is crafted with as vague language as possible so that more and more people (suspects) can be included under the new umbrella.

Right now, only people detained in the battlefield can be kept in undisclosed locations for indefinite times. That is why S.1867 seeks to legally label the homeland as part of the battlefield, so that anyone who lives or at any point in time moves around the US territory can be legally abducted and taken away forever without any legal repercussion. The provision that seeks to indefinitely detain any suspect in fact implies a perpetual state of war, because as it has happened with earlier legislation, it does not set limits or goals for conflicts the United States is involved in. The provision says that nothing therein contained implies any restriction in the use of military force. The legislation does not provide for congressional review or any definition as to what victory would be or when would the provisions adopted under S.1867 would end.

“The use of military force must begin in Congress. Congress has the power to declare war, and we shouldn’t give that power to the President. We shouldn’t allow the President to unilaterally engage in war. Congress must reclaim its constitutional duties,” concluded congressman Paul.

Dead Men Tell No Tales: The CIA and the Awlaki Assassination

by Tom Burghardt
Global Research
October 12, 2011

On September 30, the CIA and Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) assets under the Agency’s control, assassinated the alleged “external operations” chief of the Afghan-Arab database of disposable Western intelligence assets, also known as Al-Qaeda, Anwar al-Awlaki, and a second American citizen, Samir Khan, the 25-year-old editor of Inspire magazine, in a drone strike in Yemen.

As The Washington Post reported last month, the “commingling” of CIA officers, JSOC paramilitary troops and contractors “occupy an expanding netherworld between intelligence and military operations” where “congressional intelligence and armed services committees rarely get a comprehensive view.”

Or any “view” at all, which is precisely what the CIA and Pentagon have long desired; an oversight-free zone where American policymakers operate, as Dick Cheney infamously put it, on the “dark side,” a position fully-embraced by the “hope and change” administration of Barack Obama.

Awlaki’s state-sponsored killing, like the May 2 murder of Osama Bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan, resurface many unanswered questions concerning the 9/11 attacks, the so-called trigger for America’s global “War on Terror.”

But before turning to those issues, it is necessary to take a detour and examine administration actions; specifically the deliberations undertaken by Obama’s national security team which culminated in Awlaki’s death.

White House “Death Panel”

Unlike the fantasies of the corporate-controlled Tea Party who charged during the run-up to the White House sell-out of health care reform that the administration would create “death panels” to deny care to the elderly, it has since emerged that Team Obama has stood-up the authentic article.

According to The Washington Post, President Obama’s Justice Department “wrote a secret memorandum authorizing the lethal targeting” of Awlaki. The Post reports that the memorandum “was produced following a review of the legal issues raised by striking a U.S. citizen and involved senior lawyers from across the administration. There was no dissent about the legality of killing Aulaqi.”

That memorandum, according to The New York Times, was drafted in June 2010, some six months after Awlaki had been placed on the White House hit list, by Office of Legal Counsel attorneys “David Barron and Martin Lederman.”

Both former OLC lawyers are prominent “liberals” from prestigious universities; Barron at Harvard and Lederman at Georgetown University.

Ironically enough, in several scholarly articles they had railed against the previous administration’s adaptation of the “Unitary Executive Theory” promulgated by “torture memo” authors Jay Bybee and John Yoo.

Under Bush, OLC opinions were used to justify everything from warrantless wiretapping, the domestic deployment of the military to arrest Americans, to the torture and indefinite detention of “terrorist” suspects at the Guantánamo Bay prison gulag and CIA “black sites.”

This of course begs the question: if Awlaki’s murder was “legal,” why then was the authorization to do so reached in camera by officials following a deliberative process which can’t be shared with the public because of “national security”?

The answer should be chilling and shocking to all Americans: because the nucleus of a death squad state recalling those stood-up in Chile and Argentina during the “dirty war” period of the 1970s may now exist.

Reuters disclosed that Americans “are placed on a kill or capture list by a secretive panel of senior government officials, which then informs the president of its decisions, according to officials.”

“There is no public record of the operations or decisions of the panel,” reporter Mark Hosenball wrote, “which is a subset of the White House’s National Security Council. … Neither is there any law establishing its existence or setting out the rules by which it is supposed to operate.”

According to Reuters, “targeting recommendations are drawn up by a committee of mid-level National Security Council and agency officials. Their recommendations are then sent to the panel of NSC ‘principals,’ meaning Cabinet secretaries and intelligence unit chiefs, for approval.”

A “former official” told Hosenball that “one of the reasons for making senior officials principally responsible for nominating Americans for the target list was to ‘protect’ the president,” i.e., provide Obama legal cover under the thin veneer afforded by “plausible deniability.”

McClatchy News reported that “broadly speaking” White House orders to kill Awlaki were based on claims that “the nation’s inherent right of self-defense [is] recognized under international law.” However, “international law also imposes limits: Targeted killing is banned except to protect against ‘concrete, specific and imminent’ danger.”

And although the administration now claims that Awlaki was targeted for death because “his role in AQAP had gone ‘from inspirational to operational’,” Reuters disclosed that “officials acknowledge that some of the intelligence purporting to show Awlaki’s hands-on role in plotting attacks was patchy.”

In fact, the White House has failed to provide any proof whatsoever that Awlaki posed an “imminent danger” to the United States, although there is considerable evidence that he was on the radar of U.S. and allied secret state intelligence agencies for more than a decade, had close ties to several of the 9/11 hijackers and could have been picked up and indicted at any time.

Instead, federal law enforcement officials gave Awlaki a green light to leave the United States, unlike thousands of innocent Muslim-Americans swept-up and detained by the FBI in the post-9/11 hysteria that followed the attacks.

A “former military intelligence officer who worked with special operations troops to hunt down high-value terrorism targets,” told the right-wing Washington Times: “I think it’s pretty easy to understand why they didn’t take him alive. Would you want to deal with the hassle of trying to put him on trial, an American citizen that has gotten so much press for being the target of a CIA kill order? That would be a nightmare. The ACLU would be crawling all over the Justice Department for due process in an American court.”

That about sums up the dominant mindset of an Empire in sharp decline: the rule of law and due process for criminal suspects reduced to a “hassle.”

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Ron Paul: Government Assassinations a Move Towards Tyranny

Department of Justice issued secret memo to authorize the strike on Anwar al-Awlaki, who according to the FBI,  dined at the Pentagon months after the 9/11 attacks.

by Dan Hirschhorn
October 13, 2011

Ron Paul said Monday that President Barack Obama’s targeted killing of Anwar al-Awlaki might be an impeachable offense.

Asked at a Manchester, N.H. town hall meeting about last week’s killing of the American-born Al Qaeda leader, the Texas congressman said impeachment would be “possible,” but that he wants to know more about how the administration “flouted the law.”

Paul called the killing a movement toward “tyranny.”

“I put responsibility on the president because this is obviously a step in the wrong direction,” Paul said. “We have just totally disrespected the Constitution.”

The comments once again put Paul at odds with his Republican rivals over foreign policy and the war on terror in the latest indication of how his foreign policy views stray far from Republican orthodoxy even in a GOP that’s taken on an increasingly isolationist bent. Candidates like Michele Bachmann and Mitt Romney — who included the president in a list of people he commended in a statement released Friday — have generally been supportive of the killing. No one else in the field has spoken out against it.

But Paul’s stuck with the civil libertarians who’ve criticized the targeted killing of an American citizen without public due process.

Paul, speaking at the University of New Hampshire’s Manchester campus as part of a brief swing through the state, also made another pitch for eliminating the federal income tax.

“If our lives and our liberty are our own, we ought to be able to keep the fruits of our labor,” he said.

But he modulated a bit when asked about eliminating social welfare programs, offering a caution that he said “might be a bit too pragmatic for some.”

“I have an ideal of what we should strive for and a goal, and that would be no social services,” he said. “But for me it’s trying to work our way out of this. … I don’t argue we should drop those cold. I don’t even believe in closing down the Federal Reserve in one day.”

Pentagon Asset Anwar al-Awlaki allegedly killed in Yemen

Anwar al-Awlaki met and dined with officials in the Pentagon weeks after the 9/11 attacks

September 30, 2011

Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S.-born radical Islamic preacher who rose to the highest level of al Qaeda’s franchise in Yemen, has been killed.

Al-Awlaki, born in New Mexico, has been linked to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s (AQAP) attempted bombing of a U.S. passenger jet over Detroit on Christmas day, 2009, and was thought to be a leader of the group.

A U.S. government official confirms to CBS News senior security correspondent David Martin that al-Awlaki was killed. Yemen’s Defense Ministry was first to tell CBS News of the strike, but given previous reports which turned out to be erroneous, the relatively rapid U.S. confirmation is crucial, and bolsters witness accounts that it was a U.S. drone strike that killed the al Qaeda figure.

The Associated Press reported that an unidentified source said the U.S. believes al-Awlaki was killed in a strike by U.S. jets and drones on his convoy.

U.S. officials considered al-Awlaki a most-wanted terror suspect, and added his name last year to the kill or capture list – making him a rare American addition to what is effectively a U.S. government hit-list.

Al-Awlaki’s father, who still lives in the U.S., filed a lawsuit against the federal government, claiming his son’s civil rights were violated by the U.S. call for his killing.

A federal court dismissed Nasser al-Awlaki’s suit on Dec. 7, 2010, on the grounds that he had no legal standing to challenge the targeting of his son.

A statement from Yemen’s foreign press office said the al Qaeda suspect “was targeted and killed 8 KM (about 5 miles) from the town of Khashef in the Province of Jawf, 140KM (about 80 miles) east of the Capital Sana’a.”

Al-Arabiya television network cited local tribal sources as saying suspected U.S. drone aircraft – which are known to operate in Yemen – fired two missiles Friday at a convoy of vehicles believed to be carrying al-Awlaki and his guards.

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A Texas Ranger Warns about Government Enabling Terrorism

by Chuck Norris
September 6, 2011

Ten years ago, after 9/11, Americans chanted, “We will never forget.”

Today the White House is chanting that it is not “just about us.”

Chuck Norris on his role as a Texas Ranger

Alex Jones’ Infowars.com recently documented several examples of how the feds have “dispensed with all pretense of the war on terror being focused on Al-Qaeda Muslims.”

In April 2009, The Washington Times reported that Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano stood by a DHS intelligence assessment report that “lists returning veterans among terrorist risks to the U.S.” And in the same month, The Wall Street Journal reported that the FBI was running a probe targeting returning veterans as extremists and a major domestic threat.

At the end of last year, an Atlanta station, WSB-TV, reported that “the State Department is sending hundreds of millions of dollars to save mosques overseas.” The anchor noted that the U.S. Agency for International Development granted enormous funds for mosques in Cairo, Cyprus, Tajikistan and Mali.

In March, Judicial Watch obtained new documents via a Freedom of Information Act request that revealed that U.S. officials had apprehended 663 illegal immigrants last year with suspected ties to terrorist groups. Yet our borders and ports remain as porous for illegals as a screen through which gnats slip.

In the same month, ABC News reported that the “U.S. government formally requested the early release of a convicted terrorist (Mohammed Babar) from federal prison, even though the terrorist admitted that he continued to support the killing of U.S. soldiers serving in Muslim countries.”

Just a few weeks ago, as a part of its “If You See Something, Say Something” stoolie campaign, Homeland Security released two videos, in which nearly every segment shows a shift in federal strategy from catching foreign terrorists to targeting white middle-class Americans who are against big government as terrorists, including tea partyers, anti-Fed activists and even veterans. (These videos echo Vice President Joe Biden’s recent remarks that tea partyers are like “terrorists.”)

On Aug. 26, Fox News reported that the State Department is protecting the privacy of terrorists by refusing to release documents about Anwar al-Awlaki, the Muslim cleric who became the first American on the CIA’s kill or capture terrorist list. In response to a Fox News FOIA request for al-Awlaki’s passport records, the State Department replied, “The release of this information to you would be an invasion of personal privacy of another person, without written authorization from that person.”

It’s official: The feds have lost their minds, this time at the cost of forgetting the heart of 9/11 and all the sacrifices made to fight militant Islam since. Ten years after 9/11, the federal government has become an acute enabler of terrorism. It is suffering from a self-inflicted terrorist amnesia, despite the fact that even in the past two years, there have been 126 terror-related arrests, and all have been Muslims.

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