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Indefinite detention for Americans? Senator Hatch isn't worried. Viewed 20,330 timesBy: Bill Tew
Published for Orem, Utah (Area-Info.net Mar. 13, 2012)
A John Birch Society friend from Washington State, Steven, sent me an e-mailed copy of a letter Congresswoman Cathy M. Rodgers sent him in reply to his concerns over the NDAA. This opinion piece stems from an email I sent him in reply.
Her letter claimed there should be no concern that Section 1021 of H.R. 1540, the National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2012 (NDAA), would be aimed at Americans. Her letter claimed there is no cause at all for alarm for Americans.
And yet, as Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers pointed out in her own message: "The law of war does not differentiate or discriminate between enemy combatants who are citizens or non-citizens." Section 1021 points out that people who fall under the Act’s authority also come under the “law of war.”
Senator Orrin G. Hatch of Utah also voted for H.R. 1540 in 2011. His letters regarding the NDAA also assure us that there is no danger to Americans under the act. But, I can’t help remembering that he also supported and voted for the Patriot Act under which Americans routinely have their rights, rights which were once protected by the 4th Amendment, violated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and other Federal agencies that are wire tapping our phones, reading our e-mails, or spying on our social network communications without search warrants. Such violations of the Constitution being permissible under the Patriot Act should worry all Americans.
Part of the concern then for cautious Americans who remember and learn from American history is the definition of "enemy combatants." Who fits into that description? Could an American, even without criminal charges brought against him/her, be called an enemy combatant by a government military agent and thus fall under the "law of war" mentioned by Congresswoman Rodgers? Will dissidents who oppose wars in Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, perhaps Syria and Iran be labeled "enemy combatants?"
During the George W. Bush administration people arrested under the CIA's Rendition program were called "enemy combatants" or "detainees" rather than "Prisoners of War." Why? Because most of them were nowhere near a battlefield when arrested and had never carried arms against the USA, therefore they were not prisoners captured on a battlefield. So were they actually “enemy combatants?” Sadly in many cases the answer is certainly "no."
Then Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Republican President Bush allowed people to be tagged as "enemy combatants" by the CIA. Once so tagged, they suffered RENDITION to foreign countries (i.e. Cuba or Middle Eastern countries) where they were sometimes held in cages (indefinite detention) and even tortured. What happens to the Geneva Convention Rights of prisoners if they are labeled enemy combatants?” For Americans, or Canadians, or others visiting our country thus suffering Rendition at the hands of armed federal agents where did their rights go as protected by the Constitution or by the Geneva Convention?
The RENDITION PROCESS included men arrested without being charged. Some were arrested at airports and then hustled off to a CIA plane to be flown to a place of detention where they were all too often tortured. The treatment of such individuals was horrific. Their habeas corpus right was suspended. They were not charged with a crime, didn't see an attorney, never received a trial, and were never convicted of a crime, but instead they got hand-cuffs applied, a mask put over their face, and laid on the floor of a plane to be flown off to an unknown destination without a word to their families! Some were in foreign prisons for months. If Congresswoman Rodgers or others haven’t heard of these abuses, I recommend the book: GHOST PLANE- THE TRUE STORY OF THE CIA TORTURE PROGRAM, by Stephen Grey.
Yes, I know, we have experienced some terror attacks such as the truck-bombing in 1993 of the World Trade Center, the Oklahoma City Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building bombing on April 19, 1995 and the hijackings on September 11, 2001. These terrorist attack resulted in catastrophes in Oklahoma City, New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania. But, there was evidence of FBI foreknowledge of the 1993 truck bombing,evidence of BATF foreknowledge and probably FBI foreknowledge of the Oklahoma Bombing, and some foreknowledge by President Clinton and Bush about the potential for the 9/11/01 hijackings. So these events might have even been prevented and the "war on terror" never been declared by George W. Bush.
Before 9/11/01, President Bush had been briefed about “BOJINKA,” an al Qaeda plot to hijack airplanes to destroy buildings in America including the Twin Towers. In fact the FBI knew about the “Bojinka” plan in 1995.**
Section 1021 does in a sense bring the undeclared wars, or "war on terror" as the wars are collectively called, to America's soil to be pursued by our military forces here, instead of allowing our local police authorities and federal police (FBI, U.S. Marshalls) to act in their protective capacity and law-enforcement capacity to do surveillance on suspects and make lawful arrests when there is evidence of conspiracy to commit a crime or other evidence of a crime in progress, or a crime that has been committed.
U.S. Representative Ron Paul, a twelve-term Congressman, sponsored a bill to remove the Section 1021 provisions that have many American worried. Undoubtedly he is familiar with both the potential abuses and historical abuses of power (as in the case of many of the renditions carried out) that the NDAA bill could bring upon citizens. So I would speculate these are concerns Representative Paul has about the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (NDAA).
Americans must not forget the atrocity Democratic President Franklin Roosevelt committed upon innocent Americans when he ordered the forceful military arrest of some 120,000 innocent American citizens of Japanese descent. He ordered them arrested and shipped under armed military guard to inland internment camps during 1942.
Those Japanese-American citizens were not charged with a conspiracy or crime. They received no trial and were not convicted of a crime. Dictator Franklin D. Roosevelt, in violation of his oath of office to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution, issued Executive Order 9066 and by his presidential decree simply violated the Rights of 120,000 innocent Americans and condemned them to live in concentration camps “indefinitely detained” for the remaining years of World War II!They were released in October 1945.
Years ago, as I rode my horse through prairies of yellow grass and sagebrush covered desert in central Utah not many miles from the town of Delta, to my surprise I came upon a sign that identified the former location of one of the internment camps where the Japanese-Americans were confined during World War II. The camp called “Topaz,” at the height of its use, held over 9,000 detainees within its confines. They lived in wooden barracks with tarpaper roofs in the heat of summer or the windy cold of snowy Utah winters.
In 1942, those Americans had been forced by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, whom many of them had probably voted into office, to leave their lovely homes, farms and businesses in California, Washington, and Oregon, sell most of their possessions at fire sale prices, and carry a few belongings in suitcases as they were herded on to trains to be brought to the Utah desert and interned in the “Topaz internment camp.” Why? Because President Roosevelt believed, without evidence, that Americans of Japanese descent were, as a race, disloyal to America and untrustworthy. FDR had ordered them to be arrested in mass and incarcerated under military armed guard in American concentration camps.
This view of Franklin D. Roosevelt towards Americans of Japanese descent could best be described as a racist view point that held an entire race of Americans in disregard without any evidence to believe as he did. Congress did not stop the president from destroying the lives of 120,000 Americans. The Supreme Court did not protect those Americans from Roosevelt’s racial views and abuse of power. I ask you, could such abuse of power by a president happen to Americans again?
Therefore, it should not be a surprise that many vigilant Americans are nervous when their Senators and Representatives approve of the NDAA and provisions that allow indefinite military detentions of people without trial within our own borders. Under the Obama administration we have seen an enabling act passed that allows for potential “indefinite detention” of Americans without habeas corpus. Despite President Obama’s assurances that he will never use the provision for “indefinite detention” against any Americans, history’s bitter lessons should be remembered.
Presidents shouldn’t be granted power to detain Americans indefinitely without allowance for their exercise of rights to be charged with a crime, to be represented by an attorney, to have a hearing in front of a judge to determine if there is a basis for their arrest, to have a fair trial and power to subpoena witnesses on their behalf, and to be convicted of a crime before being confined to prison. Wouldn’t you agree?
March 15th, two days from now, the Republican caucus meetings will be held. I hope the NDAA and those who supported it is a topic that Utah citizens who attend will discuss.
**Lance, Peter-TRIPLE CROSS-HOW BIN LADEN'S MASTER SPY PENETRATED THE CIA, THE GREEEN BERETS, AND THE FBI, published by HARPER, 2006. Page 150.
Hold a BS degree from USU with a double major and an Associates degree from UVU. Works in political education field.
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