Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
The McCain-Lieberman Police State Act
By Stephen Lendman
Al-Jazeerah, ccun.org, March 29, 2010
If enacted, it will advance what this writer addressed in a
December 2007 article titled, "Police State America - A Look Back and
Ahead," covering numerous Bush administration laws, Executive Orders (EOs),
National and Homeland Security Presidential Directives, edicts, and various
illegal acts targeting designated domestic and foreign adversaries, dissent,
civil liberties, human rights, and other democratic freedoms.
Straightaway post-9/11, George Bush signed a secret finding empowering the
CIA to "Capture, Kill or Interrogate Al-Qaeda Leaders." He also authorized
establishing a covert global gulag to detain and interrogate them without
guidelines on proper treatment.
Other presidential directives
ordered abductions, torture and indefinite detentions. In November 2001,
Military Order Number 1 empowered the Executive to capture, kidnap or
otherwise arrest non-citizens (and later citizens) anywhere in the world for
any reason and hold them indefinitely without charge, evidence, due process
or judicial fairness protections of law.
The 2006 Military
Commissions Act authorized torture and sweeping unconstitutional powers to
detain, interrogate and prosecute alleged suspects and collaborators
(including US citizens), hold them (without evidence) indefinitely in
military prisons, and deny them habeas and other legal protections.
Section 1031 of the FY 2010 Defense Authorization Act contained the 2009
Military Commissions Act, listing changes that include discarding the phrase
"unlawful enemy combatant" for "unprivileged enemy belligerent." More on
Seamlessly, Obama continues Bush administration
practices and added others, including:
-- greater than ever
-- ruthless political persecutions;
preventively detaining individuals ordered released - "who cannot be
prosecuted," he said, "yet who pose a clear danger to the American people;"
-- a secret "hit list" authorizing CIA and Pentagon operatives to kill
US citizens abroad based on unsubstantiated evidence they're involved in
alleged plots against America or US interests;
-- state secrets privilege to block
lawsuits by victims of rendition, torture, abuse or warrantless wiretapping;
-- other anti-democratic measures.
Now, the March 4 S.
3081: Enemy Belligerent, Interrogation, Detention, and Prosecution Act of
2010 to interrogate and detain "enemy belligerents who commit hostile acts
against the United States to establish certain limitations on the
prosecution of such belligerents, and for other purposes."
Senate floor, John McCain explained it, saying "we still don't have a clear
mechanism, legal structure, and implementing policy for dealing with
terrorists who we capture in the (alleged) act of trying to bring about
attacks on the United States and our national security interests at home and
These suspects have no right to "Miranda warnings and
defense lawyers. Instead, the priority and focus must be on isolating and
neutralizing the immediate threat and collecting intelligence to prevent"
"I (also) believe we must establish a system for
long-term detention of terrorists who are too dangerous to release, but who
cannot be tried in a civilian court" because no evidence exists to convict
At a March 4 press conference, Senator Joe Lieberman told
"These are not common criminals. They are war criminals.
Anyone we capture in this war should be treated as a prisoner of war, held
by the military, interrogated for information that will protect Americans
and help us win this war and then where appropriate, tried not in a normal
federal court where criminals are tried but before a military commission."
S. 3081 Provisions
The bill imposes harsh police state
-- targeting anyone worldwide, including US
citizens, "suspected of engaging in (or materially supporting) hostilities
against the United States or its coalition partners through an act of
terrorism, or by other means...;"
-- placing such individuals "in
military custody for purposes of initial interrogation and determination of
status in accordance with the provisions of this Act;"
transporting them to intelligence officials for more interrogation;
-- determining who may be a "high-value detainee (HVD);"
interrogating those individuals by a "High-Value Detainee Interrogation
Group (HVIG)....utiliz(ing) military and intelligence personnel, and
Federal, State, and local law enforcement personnel....;"
HVIGs submit their determination to the Defense Secretary and Attorney
General after consulting with the Directors of National Intelligence, FBI,
and CIA. "The Secretary of Defense and Attorney General (will then) make a
final determination and report (it) to the President and the appropriate
committees of Congress. In the case of any disagreement between the
Secretary of Defense and the Attorney General, the President will make the
-- designating seized individuals "unprivileged
-- denying them Miranda rights:
deciding on a "Final (status) Determination" within 48 hours, "to the extent
-- letting the President establish HVD interrogation
group operations and activities, including whether detainees "meet the
criteria for treatment as a high-value detainee for purposes of
interrogation....," including the potential threat held individuals pose:
(1) for an attack against America, its citizens, US military personnel
(2) their potential intelligence value;
membership in or affiliation with Al Qaeda; and
(4) "such other
matters as the President considers appropriate."
determination, detainees "shall be treated as unprivileged enemy
belligerent(s)," defined as:
"An individual, including a citizen of
the United States (to) be detained without criminal charges and without
trial for the duration of hostilities against the United States or its
coalition partners in which the individual has engaged, or which the
individual has purposely and materially supported, consistent with the law
of war and any authorization for the use of military force provided by
Congress pertaining to such hostilities."
An "unprivileged enemy
belligerent" means anyone (with or without evidence) suspected of "engag(ing)
in (or materially supporting) hostilities against the United States or its
coalition partners," including alleged Al Qaeda members.
Designating individuals "unlawful enemy combatants" or
"unprivileged enemy belligerents" places them in legal limbo, contrary to
international law, the Constitution, and three recent Supreme Court
-- Rasul v. Bush (2004) establishing US court system
jurisdiction to decide if Guantanamo-held non-US citizens were wrongfully
-- Hamdi v. Rumsfeld (2004) granting US citizen Yaser
Hamdi and other Guantanamo detainees habeas rights to challenge their
detentions in federal courts; and
-- Hamdan v. Rumsfeld (2006)
denying Guantanamo military commissions "the power to proceed because
(their) structures and procedures violate both the Uniform Code of Military
Justice and the four Geneva Conventions signed in 1949."
Obama-ordered preventive detentions (against uncharged persons) and S. 3081
violate international law, the Constitution, and the above Supreme Court
Writing for the Jurist Legal News & Research, University
of Utah Law Professor, Amos Guiora, calls the proposed bill "the latest
example of panic-based legislation" in the wake of the (false flag) December
airplane bombing and whether alleged 9/11 suspects will be tried in federal
or military courts - Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and others falsely charged based
on tortured-extracted confessions.
Holding detainees through "end of
hostilities in the terrorism paradigm is a euphemism for indefinite
detention....subject(ing) an extraordinarily broad group of persons" to
cruel and inhumane treatment based on unsubstantiated charges, and denying
them due process and judicial fairness.
Guiora calls the proposed
"a fundamental miscarriage of justice created by the
unconstitutional denial of the right to counsel, the right to remain silent,
the right to be free from arbitrary, let alone indefinite detention, and the
right to a day in court." Unfortunately, too often "legitimacy and
justification take a back seat" to expediency and the political climate of
As a result, innocent victims are unjustly arrested,
called terrorists, interrogated, tortured, indefinitely detained and denied
all rights despite constitutional and international law protections.
"Republicans and Democrats alike have failed to articulate, create and
implement a lawful interrogation, detention and trial regime for post-9/11
detainees. That is shameful and reflects negatively on two Presidents, the
Congress and the Supreme Court."
The major media also. Their
reports hype the threat, pre-determine guilt, and influence public opinion
to believe government-charged individuals are dangerous, guilty, and should
be confined to deter "terrorism."
Yet the Constitution's Fifth
"No person shall....be deprived of life, liberty,
or property without due process of law....;" and
The 14th Amendment
No "State (may) deprive any person of life, liberty, or
property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its
jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."
Yet in a climate of
fear and intimidation, everyone is potentially vulnerable to legislative
lawlessness if congressional timidity lets S. 3081 pass in an election year.
According to Guiora, it comes down to "the rule of law or the rule of
fear." Protecting American citizens and national security is one thing.
Discarding core legal principles to do it reflects the worst elements of
police state justice.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be
email@example.com. Also visit his blog site at
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