Obama Justifies “Prolonged Detention”
My friend Ken posted this on his Facebook page last night:
It seems that Michael Moore has discovered the NDAA 2012, and has come out against it (This legislation is currently being challenged in the Supreme Court). More importantly, if you think that the Republicans are looking out for our rights, think again. This legislation was passed in the Republican controlled House, and it essentially suspends the Writ of Habeas Corpus, which, according to the Constitution, can only be done in times of rebellion. Is there some unknown rebellion going on in this country, or are they preparing for one? You have to wonder, with all the weaponry, bullets and armored vehicles DHS is purchasing.
John Cusack, Hollywood actor, is concerned about Obama’s use of drones. In Cusack’s interview with George Washington Law School Professor Jonathon Turley, Turley says:
Truth be known President Obama has never been particularly driven by principle. Right after his election, I wrote a column in a few days warning people that even though I voted for Obama, he was not what people were describing him to be. I saw him in the Senate. I saw him in Chicago.
It is, in my opinion, no excuse to vote for someone who has violated core constitutional rights and civil liberties simply because you believe the other side is no better. You cannot pretend that your vote does not constitute at least a tacit approval of the policies of the candidate.
Yet, both of these men voted for Obama again. So, why the concern over drones? You voted for him, so you tacitly approved of his policies.
This video of The Rachel Maddow Show was posted on February 3, 2013, but I have no idea when the footage actually aired.
In it, Maddow is expressing shock (while still taking shots at the “lawless Bush regime”) that Obama is claiming the power to detain anyone because they “might commit a crime”.
In this country, you can arrest and detain someone who has committed a crime. You can arrest and detain someone for attempting to commit a crime. You can arrest and detain someone for conspiring to commit a crime.
But you can’t arrest and detain someone on the suspicion that they might commit a crime.
This is the same man who insists that we must close Guantanamo. Yet he claims he can hold them here in the US? How is that morally different from Bush holding them indefinitely in Guantanamo. Personally, I think they should be held in Cuba, not here, but what difference does it make, really?
This is the same administration that justifies droning American citizens overseas by virtue of it not being feasible to go capture them. The Department of Justice claims they have the right to drone someone if some ambiguous, unnamed “high level government official” decides they are an imminent threat. In other words, we can kill an American overseas if we feel they are about to commit a crime. Nothing about having evidence against them, just a feeling by a government official who will decide if they die today.
After Rand Paul’s filibuster, Eric Holder came out and said the Constitution does not give them the authority to drone American citizens. I guarantee two things.
- Holder only said that to get Paul off his back.
- The administration will ignore what Holder said and do it anyway.
It is only one small step from droning Americans overseas to droning them here, especially with the increase in drone usage by law enforcement.
There are those who argue that law enforcement shoots and kills people all the time without due process. That’s a huge difference from droning or “prolonged detention”. Police usually shoot anyone who shoots at them, brandishes a weapon, or is deemed a threat to others in a situation that they are present at and have to make a judgement call. Much different than a decision being made by someone 10,000 miles away.
Even though the video is entitled Obama explains the FEMA camps, nowhere in this video are FEMA camps mentioned. There is no credible evidence that these places exist. People need to stop listening to Alex Jones and Jesse Ventura. They are both crackpots, and the media trots them out to make our side look bad.
With regards to Maddow, she has a paid staff of researchers, or at least I assume she has researchers. With MSNBC, you never know. Sometimes it seems like they are just making stuff up. Watching the video she seems to have never heard of the NDAA 2012, particularly sections 1021 and 1022, the bits that shred our rights.
The NDAA of 2013 has passed Congress and is awaiting signing by the President. Obama added a signing statement to the NDAA 2012 promising that he wouldn’t abuse the authority given him. We all know what his promises are worth. The NDAA of 2013 still contains the same provisions as 2012, but has been amended by both Chambers that it would not apply to American citizens. This amendment came from, you guessed it, Dianne Feinstein, the same woman who wants to take away your Second Amendment rights. So we can trust her (wink, wink).
I admit that I’m shortcutting a bit here going to Wikipedia:
“Nothing in the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107–40; 50 U.S.C. 1541) or the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (Public Law 112–81) shall be construed to deny the availability of the writ of habeas corpus or to deny any Constitutional rights in a court ordained or established by or under Article III of the Constitution to any person inside the United States who would be entitled to the availability of such writ or to such rights in the absence of such laws.”
The Huffington Post noted that the replacement version appeared to do little, because the Supreme Court has already declared that the writ of habeas corpus i.e. the requiring that someone be presented to a judge applies to all people. This was echoed from the civil liberties groups. “This language doesn’t do anything of substance,” said Raha Wala, a lawyer in the law and national security program of Human Rights First. “It doesn’t ban indefinite detention within the United States or change anything about existing law.” Chris Anders from the American Civil Liberties Union called the language on indefinite detention of Americans “completely meaningless” and added there’s no doubt that habeas rights are available to anyone who’s detained in the U.S.
Scott Higgins, a lawyer for the group of journalists and activists suing the U.S. government over the 2012 NDAA, explained that the above quoted provision gives U.S. citizens a right to go to civilian (i.e. Article III) court based on “any [applicable] constitutional rights,” but since there are no rules in place to exercise this right, detained U.S. citizens currently have no way to gain access to lawyers, family or the court itself once they are detained within the military. Afran [ed. note: Afran is never fully identified in the context of the article] added that the new statute actually states that persons lawfully in the U.S. can be detained under the Authorization for the Use of Military Force [AUMF], while the original statute from the 2012 NDAA which he is fighting never went that far. Afran concluded: “Therefore, under the guise of supposedly adding protection to Americans, the new statute actually expands the AUMF to civilians in the U.S.”
So what happens if the administration refuses to comply, under the guise of “national security”? It could happen. Administrations claim national security all the time, as well as Executive Privilege, so it should come as no surprise if they were to do that.
In addition to the NDAA, Maddow’s researchers seem to have missed the Alien Enemies Act of 1798 (used by John Adams to arrest his anti-Federalist enemies), which is still in effect today. This Act was the justification for the Roosevelt administration to detain Japanese-Americans indefinitely without trial, including many American citizens, during the Second World War. If Japanese-Americans can be held, why not African-Americans, or Mexican-Americans, or Caucasian-Americans? I’m not being snarky or racist, here. Since it has been established that the government can hold Japanese-American citizens indefinitely, why does it have to apply to just Japanese-Americans? Do you see where I am going with this? The government has the authority, in law, to hold any of us indefinitely, and until these laws are overturned by the Supreme Court, they will continue to have these powers.
Near the end of the video, Obama says that he is going to build an “appropriate legal regime” to make sure all of this is done legally. Building more government to watch the government. Isn’t that like hiring a convict to run a prison?
Regime, however, is such a strange word to use in this context. A regime is not a watchdog agency. It is a government, or system of government, such as the Bush regime or the Obama regime. The wording makes me nervous.
The last thing that really bothered me about Maddow’s crack research staff. At the end of the video, she claims that there is no English Bill of Rights. I beg to differ. She should start reading my blog. She might learn something.
Oh, that’s right. She’s a New York Times bestselling author. Just goes to show that you can be a know-nothing and still be successful.
More importantly, Ms. Maddow, Mr. Moore, Mr. Cusack and Mr. Turley, you are among those who voted to reelect this president. You gave him the pass. You tacitly approved of his policies by voting for him both times. We tried to warn you about him, both times. If he follows through with any of this, you have no one to blame but yourselves.