Former Gitmo prisoner Lakhdar Boumediene provides a glimpse of what the NDAA might mean for American citizens

    The following letter appeared in the New York Times this weekend. It’s author, a man named Lakhdar Boumediene, was held in U.S. military custody for seven years without an opportunity to defend himself in court, or for that matter, even being told why he’d been kidnapped from his workplace by armed men and shipped off to U.S. military prison. I think it demonstrates better than anything that I could ever write, why it is that we so desperately need to overturn the provisions in the recent National Defense Authorization Act, which formally bestowed upon the Executive branch the power to not only snatch and hold foreign nationals like Boumediene indefinitely, without either evidence or due process, which is itself unconscionable, but to also do the same with U.S. citizens, in clear violation of the Bill of Rights… Here’s the letter.

    On Wednesday, America’s detention camp at Guantánamo Bay will have been open for 10 years. For seven of them, I was held there without explanation or charge. During that time my daughters grew up without me. They were toddlers when I was imprisoned, and were never allowed to visit or speak to me by phone. Most of their letters were returned as “undeliverable,” and the few that I received were so thoroughly and thoughtlessly censored that their messages of love and support were lost.

    Some American politicians say that people at Guantánamo are terrorists, but I have never been a terrorist. Had I been brought before a court when I was seized, my children’s lives would not have been torn apart, and my family would not have been thrown into poverty. It was only after the United States Supreme Court ordered the government to defend its actions before a federal judge that I was finally able to clear my name and be with them again.

    I left Algeria in 1990 to work abroad. In 1997 my family and I moved to Bosnia and Herzegovina at the request of my employer, the Red Crescent Society of the United Arab Emirates. I served in the Sarajevo office as director of humanitarian aid for children who had lost relatives to violence during the Balkan conflicts. In 1998, I became a Bosnian citizen. We had a good life, but all of that changed after 9/11.

    When I arrived at work on the morning of Oct. 19, 2001, an intelligence officer was waiting for me. He asked me to accompany him to answer questions. I did so, voluntarily — but afterward I was told that I could not go home. The United States had demanded that local authorities arrest me and five other men. News reports at the time said the United States believed that I was plotting to blow up its embassy in Sarajevo. I had never — for a second — considered this.

    The fact that the United States had made a mistake was clear from the beginning. Bosnia’s highest court investigated the American claim, found that there was no evidence against me and ordered my release. But instead, the moment I was released American agents seized me and the five others. We were tied up like animals and flown to Guantánamo, the American naval base in Cuba. I arrived on Jan. 20, 2002.

    I still had faith in American justice. I believed my captors would quickly realize their mistake and let me go. But when I would not give the interrogators the answers they wanted — how could I, when I had done nothing wrong? — they became more and more brutal. I was kept awake for many days straight. I was forced to remain in painful positions for hours at a time. These are things I do not want to write about; I want only to forget.

    I went on a hunger strike for two years because no one would tell me why I was being imprisoned. Twice each day my captors would shove a tube up my nose, down my throat and into my stomach so they could pour food into me. It was excruciating, but I was innocent and so I kept up my protest.

    In 2008, my demand for a fair legal process went all the way to America’s highest court. In a decision that bears my name, the Supreme Court declared that “the laws and Constitution are designed to survive, and remain in force, in extraordinary times.” It ruled that prisoners like me, no matter how serious the accusations, have a right to a day in court. The Supreme Court recognized a basic truth: the government makes mistakes. And the court said that because “the consequence of error may be detention of persons for the duration of hostilities that may last a generation or more, this is a risk too significant to ignore.”

    Five months later, Judge Richard J. Leon, of the Federal District Court in Washington, reviewed all of the reasons offered to justify my imprisonment, including secret information I never saw or heard. The government abandoned its claim of an embassy bomb plot just before the judge could hear it. After the hearing, he ordered the government to free me and four other men who had been arrested in Bosnia.

    I will never forget sitting with the four other men in a squalid room at Guantánamo, listening over a fuzzy speaker as Judge Leon read his decision in a Washington courtroom. He implored the government not to appeal his ruling, because “seven years of waiting for our legal system to give them an answer to a question so important is, in my judgment, more than plenty.” I was freed, at last, on May 15, 2009.

    Today, I live in Provence with my wife and children. France has given us a home, and a new start. I have experienced the pleasure of reacquainting myself with my daughters and, in August 2010, the joy of welcoming a new son, Yousef. I am learning to drive, attending vocational training and rebuilding my life. I hope to work again serving others, but so far the fact that I spent seven and a half years as a Guantánamo prisoner has meant that only a few human rights organizations have seriously considered hiring me. I do not like to think of Guantánamo. The memories are filled with pain. But I share my story because 171 men remain there. Among them is Belkacem Bensayah, who was seized in Bosnia and sent to Guantánamo with me.

    About 90 prisoners have been cleared for transfer out of Guantánamo. Some of them are from countries like Syria or China — where they would face torture if sent home — or Yemen, which the United States considers unstable. And so they sit as captives, with no end in sight — not because they are dangerous, not because they attacked America, but because the stigma of Guantánamo means they have no place to go, and America will not give a home to even one of them.

    I’m told that my Supreme Court case is now read in law schools. Perhaps one day that will give me satisfaction, but so long as Guantánamo stays open and innocent men remain there, my thoughts will be with those left behind in that place of suffering and injustice.

    It’s hard to imagine that America at one time inspired people around the world with its dedication to human rights and the rule of law. We should all be very ashamed of what we’ve allowed to happen in our name. And, I’m sorry to say it, but we probably deserve what’s coming.

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      34 Comments

      1. dragon
        Posted January 9, 2012 at 1:09 am | Permalink

        “Former Gitmo prisoner Lakhdar Boumediene provides a glimpse of what the NDAA might mean for American citizens.”

        Why would you use someone who was arrested ten years ago and is not an American citizen to make this point?

      2. Posted January 9, 2012 at 4:03 am | Permalink

        This man was kidnapped and held captive (Not arrested and imprisoned–that would imply legal due-process) because the US government believed it had that authority. Now with the NDAA they have, in fact, given themselves that very authority. This treasonous act authorizes identical actions against both American Citizens and Foreigners.

        Obama said he wouldn’t let it pass the Senate, but it did.
        Obama said he wouldn’t sign it, but he did.
        Obama now says he won’t use it….do you believe him this time?
        Even if you do, Obama WON’T be president forever. History proves that any power that can be abused WILL be, eventually.

        Our only hope is that the Supremes will strike down this treasonous act. It is so clearly in violation of the US Constitution that I personally do consider every Congressman, Senator, and POTUS (Regardless of party affiliation) guilty of treason for supporting it.

      3. leviblues
        Posted January 9, 2012 at 4:51 am | Permalink

        I think Dragon missed the point.

      4. dilligras
        Posted January 9, 2012 at 6:18 am | Permalink

        I don’t see much here describing the life inside Gitmo, as the title suggests. I don’t care where a person is from, either. The law is the law. Unless the person was caught carrying a weapon in occupied territory, they should be treated like any other criminal, NOT like an enemy combatant out of uniform who is legally subject even to summary execution.

        Combatants fighting among a civilian population without uniforms or markings are not covered by the protections of the Geneva Conventions; for by doing so, they endanger those innocent bystanders and their families.

        Besides which, we are only given one side of this story, because the govt. dummies didn’t put him on trial and offer evidence, per the law. So it is their fault that we don’t have sworn testimony and hard evidence justifying even his arrest, much less his illegal detention. This means that, even if the “intelligence officers” are correct in their assessments of this man, by failing to charge and try him in court they lend credence to his arguments against them and their use of GItmo.

        If the man had been a citizen of the US, the mistake would be the same, only the degree of outrage might be raised — which is the reason for condemnation of the NDAA. We’re supposed to be better than that. Hail habeus corpus! Long live the Republic!

      5. Posted January 9, 2012 at 8:10 am | Permalink

        Please be more specific. An NDAA is a routine, yearly bill that outlines financial appropriations to federal programs related to defense.

        What you are talking about here are specific sections of this year’s particular NDAA.

        I realize that it may appear to be splitting hairs to point this out, but to ignore this distinction is to display a certain level of ignorance and reinforce the overall public ignorance of how their government actually operates.

      6. Thom Elliott
        Posted January 9, 2012 at 8:44 am | Permalink

        If only Kafka were here, this whole business reads like “The Trial”, but I am still failing to see what the big deal is. Hasn’t the facade of enlightenment era values of transcendentally true objects and moral catagorical imparatives completely erroded long ago? How long since ‘Ruby Ridge’ or the extra judicial killing/unjust imprisionment of certain afroamerican civil rights groups? Why do you think Obama didn’t close Gitmo proptly upon electon, and has infact now strengthened it? Maybe because it would be impossible? Because to a certain extent our society depends on kidnapping/extortion/entrapment/murder/endless planetary war to support our modern amoral population’s grotesque and unreasonable status quo??

      7. Mr. X
        Posted January 9, 2012 at 9:10 am | Permalink

        I don’t understand the confusion. Here’s a man that was snatched away from his family and held in high security military prison for seven years, denied the ability to see his children grow up, and not given an opportunity to hear the evidence against him. We’ve known for years that our government has been doing this to citizens of other countries, and we’ve largely sat by and allowed it to happen. Now, with the passage of the NDAA, the government has given itself the authority to do the same thing to American citizens. This post, as I understand it, is trying to accomplish two things. First, it’s saying, “Hey, American citizens, you’d better pay attention. This same thing can now happen you.” And, second, it’s saying essentially that we’re somewhat deserving of this fate, having sat back and allowed it to happen to others for so long. People should not be held indefinitely without evidence brought against them, access to attorneys, and the ability to challenge their accusers in a court of law. Those are the foundations upon which democracy is built. If we’re not presently on the course to tyranny, we’re already there.

      8. Mr. X
        Posted January 9, 2012 at 9:16 am | Permalink

        Peter, we’re talking about this specific National Defense Authorization Act, the 2012 NDAA. I believe everyone is aware of this fact. Such authorization acts, in and of themselves, are not a problem. This one in particular, however, contains wording that codifies the egregious elements outlined above.

      9. Edward
        Posted January 9, 2012 at 9:21 am | Permalink

        This cannot be true. Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize.

      10. POS
        Posted January 9, 2012 at 9:24 am | Permalink

        If you’re not a terrorist or criminal, you don’t have anything to worry about.

      11. Posted January 9, 2012 at 9:29 am | Permalink

        One candidate is making his disgust over the new provisions in the NDAA an election issue. And most of the people hate him. I don’t get it. Do we really think Obama or the supreme court is going to do anything to keep the CIA or army from snatching people up?

        Get real.

      12. Meta
        Posted January 9, 2012 at 9:30 am | Permalink

        Al Franken on why he voted against the NDAA:

        Yesterday, the Senate passed a bill that includes provisions on detention that I found simply unacceptable. These provisions are inconsistent with the liberties and freedoms that are at the core of the system our Founders established. And while I did in fact vote for an earlier version of the legislation, I did so with the hope that the final version would be significantly improved. That didn’t happen, and so I could not support the final bill.

        The bill that passed on Thursday included several problematic provisions, the worst of which could allow the military to detain Americans indefinitely, without charge or trial, even if they’re captured in the U.S.

        At their core, these provisions will radically alter how we investigate, arrest, and detain individuals suspected of terrorism. What’s more, they could undermine the safety of our troops stationed abroad, and they introduce new and unnecessary uncertainty into our counterterrorism efforts.

        But before I get into the details of why I opposed these detainee provisions, I think it is important to recognize that September 11th irrevocably and unalterably changed our lives. I was in Minnesota that terrible day. A number of Minnesotans died — in the towers, in the air, and at the Pentagon. In New York in the months following the attacks, I attended the funerals of brave firefighters and law enforcement officers who sacrificed their lives to help rescue Americans from the towers. I can’t shake those images from my mind, and I am guessing like many of you, I won’t ever be able to erase the horrors of September 11th from my head.

        The rest:
        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/al-franken/why-i-voted-against-the-n_b_1154327.html

      13. Posted January 9, 2012 at 9:34 am | Permalink

        Mark,

        You know what you are talking about and you might assume that everyone else knows what you are talking about, but is that really the case?

        Is it really that difficult to state “provisions in the 2012 NDAA” rather than “NDAA”? I realize this is splitting hairs, but honestly, there has been a lot of ignorance regarding this issue flying around. I think the relevant sections of this NDAA attest to the importance of semantics.

      14. Thom Elliott
        Posted January 9, 2012 at 9:37 am | Permalink

        …Yes, I understand that this has never been written into law before, but our govt has murdered civillians/kidnapped people internationally and at home for over a century. How many trade unionists, black radicals, white supremacists, anarchists etc have been murdered by our govt? Kent State anyone? How many international spys/”terrorists” have we iced overseas or here? I think the angst over this is rooted in our unwilllingness to face ourselves, and what we and our ancestors have comfortably allowed & accepted to keep the sugery solvent and fried plastic coming.

      15. dilligras
        Posted January 9, 2012 at 11:05 am | Permalink

        Peter, I’m wondering why you think that the distinction between a routine law with irregular and unconstitutional provisions and a law that is a one-time shot with some of the same provisions is an important one?

        The only way I can see it making any difference in outcome is if the routine-ness of the process of the Act’s passage could have caused some Congresscritters vote ‘yea’ as a matter of course, rather than as a result of due consideration of its actual provisions. It’s the only way I can see them being able, albeit sheepishly, to rationalize this treasonous action in the R-controlled House: “I thought it was just another NDAA.”

        Such an argument might save their jobs, but hopefully, only if accompanied by an immediate revocation of the law’s errant provisions.

      16. Posted January 9, 2012 at 11:51 am | Permalink

        Again, National Defense Authorization Acts have appeared every year for the past 49 years.

        People have been continually referring to NDAA as being synonymous with sections 1021 and 1022 in the 2012 NDAA, which is misleading. The controversy is not with the NDAA, but rather with these two sections specifically. Calling for for the “repeal” of NDAA or discussions of what the NDAA does or does not do is misleading. The NDAA does what it does, which is appropriate funds and directs how those funds are spent by the military. Outside of sections 1021 and 1022, there is nothing unconstitutional about the current NDAA.

        Again, it is problem of semantics, but it helps when calling for “repeal”, shouting on the street or writing blog posts to at least acknowledge that one knows what one is talking about.

        Also, really the only novelty of sections 1021 and 1022 are that the executive is required to handle terrorism cases in military court and bypasses federal, state local law enforcement. The issue of “infinite detention” has long been facilitated through the interpretation of relevant sections of the Authorization to Use Military Force Against Terrorists Act of 2001 by the Bush and Obama Administrations. Section 1021 is nothing new.

        I can’t help but think that this was a political ploy by the Republican establishment in an election year. I’m sure that they wanted to codify these powers and would have not wanted to do it under the next Presidency, which could very well be Republican.

        Blaming it on the Obama admin strikes me as too convenient. The American people bought it, and, worse yet, liberals bought it.

      17. Demetrius
        Posted January 9, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

        The latest from James Howard Kunstler:

        “… As for the other side, the “folks” now occupying the White House and its folkster-in-chief, Mr. Obama – the time has come to abandon them. Their failure is complete with the new national security act that allows for suspension of due process of law. The cheek of Mr. Obama in offering a “signing statement” to the effect that his administration would not enforce the law! – as he signed it! For one thing, Obama tacitly invited his own impeachment by declaring he had no intention of enforcing federal law, since enforcement is the chief duty of his office. If John Boehner were not himself such a fraud, he would have started a motion for impeachment before sundown that day.
        Occupy Wall Street will seem like a mere harvest dance when we look back from the uproars later in 2012. Both organized parties have managed to banish the rule of law in America. Both parties need to be driven into the wilderness of history and the rule of law has to be rescued from the oblivion they sent it to. What group of clear-thinking adults can get behind that simple project? What voices will resolve out of the phenomenal noise of gadget America, with its deafening tweets, incessant advertising, instant messaging, idiotic robo-calling, and ever-present flat-screen assault on the senses?
        I discern the distant sound of rebellion, a spirit that won’t be appeased by bytes of Disney-babble from the pandering snouts of Romney, Santorum, Gingrich, Paul or Obama. They are interested only in keeping a set of suicidal rackets going. All the yammer about “freedom” and “liberty” is hollow when the rule of law is AWOL. This ripe time is the natural moment for a true opposition to rise. A few months from now neither major party will have a credible candidate or a plausible platform of ideas. This will be painfully obvious. What angels and demons will rush into that awful vacuum?”

      18. Posted January 9, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

        Also, I take issue that even liberal outlets phrase (including this blog post) this as being an issue of US Citizenship.

        It is my opinion that all people detained should have the right of due process, be they US citizens, permanent residents or anyone else. That, I think, is lost is this discussion.

      19. Thom Elliott
        Posted January 9, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

        “Section 1021 is nothing new.” That’s how it strikes me for sure, the panic over this seems so strange, is it a delayed reaction from the ipod dulled, post-reading populace? Has the shock of the reality of our brave new world finally overcome the subconcious xenophobic and racist ego formations of our people? Has it become clear that no one is immune from our endless planetary war, even people who look like us? Technology has completely blotted out the horizon in the most thought-provoking age, we can no longer discern other ways of relating to the earth or each other, we are all fastfood employees on planet Tacobell, but in reality; food and the eater of food.

      20. dilligras
        Posted January 9, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

        “Again, National Defense Authorization Acts have appeared every year for the past 49 years.”
        —-

        Did there appear to be some confusion about that on my part? Did you have some doubt as to why I referred to them as “… a routine law with irregular and unconstitutional provisions… ?”
        ———-

        “People have been continually referring to NDAA as being synonymous with sections 1021 and 1022 in the 2012 NDAA, which is misleading. The controversy is not with the NDAA, but rather with these two sections specifically. Calling for for the “repeal” of NDAA or discussions of what the NDAA does or does not do is misleading.”
        —-

        It is not misleading in an important way, since the protesters are clear about why they oppose the legislation. They are not calling for the repeal of all previous NDAAs, so why get your knickers in a twist over labels? Did you also get excited when “people” claimed that “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” had been repealed, when there was actually never a piece of legislation enacted by that name?
        ———–

        “The NDAA does what it does, which is appropriate funds and directs how those funds are spent by the military. Outside of sections 1021 and 1022, there is nothing unconstitutional about the current NDAA.”
        —-

        So what? If people say “repeal the NDAA!” instead of “repeal sections 1021 and 1022 of the NDAA!” is that a big deal? Color me bored.
        ————

        “Again, it is problem of semantics, but it helps when calling for “repeal”, shouting on the street or writing blog posts to at least acknowledge that one knows what one is talking about.”
        —-

        Actually, I find such claims to be shamefully self-serving. One need not be informed of every boring detail of an issue in order to add their voice to the din of outrage being raised in a just cause. As long as their goal is proper and they’re not the spokesman for the movement, who the hell cares what they don’t know?
        ———-

        “Also, really the only novelty of sections 1021 and 1022 are that the executive is required to handle terrorism cases in military court and bypasses federal, state local law enforcement.”
        —-

        You make it sound as if Posse Comitatus was repealed long ago. I think not. But, if this is allowed to stand, it has certainly been rendered null and void now.
        ———–

        “The issue of “infinite detention” has long been facilitated through the interpretation of relevant sections of the Authorization to Use Military Force Against Terrorists Act of 2001 by the Bush and Obama Administrations. Section 1021 is nothing new.”
        —-

        Nonsense. There are only two sections in the Authorization to Use Military Force. The first is the short title of the Act and here is the second:

        SEC. 2. AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES.

        (a) IN GENERAL-

        That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.

        (b) War Powers Resolution Requirements-

        (1) SPECIFIC STATUTORY AUTHORIZATION- Consistent with section 8(a)(1) of the War Powers Resolution, the Congress declares that this section is intended to constitute specific statutory authorization within the meaning of section 5(b) of the War Powers Resolution.

        (2) APPLICABILITY OF OTHER REQUIREMENTS- Nothing in this resolution supercedes any requirement of the War Powers Resolution.

        That’s it. There ain’t no more. No more “relevant sections” to be ominously “interpreted” to “facilitate” a damned thing! So, ring up a “no sale” on yer little pink Malibu Barbie Bikini Boutique cash register, pilgrim.
        ————

        “I can’t help but think that this was a political ploy by the Republican establishment in an election year. I’m sure that they wanted to codify these powers and would have not wanted to do it under the next Presidency, which could very well be Republican.”
        —-

        Given the above, I can only feign surprise at anything you can’t help but think, mon ami.
        ———

        “Blaming it on the Obama admin strikes me as too convenient. The American people bought it, and, worse yet, liberals bought it.”
        —-

        Sooooo, yer stickin’ with “Bush did it?” lol. Who signed it, when they said they wouldn’t… Bush? Riiiiight. Damn, you lefties are gonna have me defending that liberal twit for the rest of my life! I hate you! (obligitory hate speech.)

        As you were.

      21. Posted January 9, 2012 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

        Pete,

        I took your advice and pointed out that it’s certain provisions within the NDAA that I found objectionable, and not the act in its entirety. While I can certainly see how some might find it confusing, I don’t personally think the distinction is all that important. What matters, I think, is that it’s bad legislation that codifies principles incompatible with democratic government. People should not be held without trial, without an opportunity to hear the evidence agains them, face their accusers, etc. As for your other point, reprinted here, I agree completely.

        Also, I take issue that even liberal outlets phrase (including this blog post) this as being an issue of US Citizenship.

        It is my opinion that all people detained should have the right of due process, be they US citizens, permanent residents or anyone else. That, I think, is lost is this discussion.

        I’m not sure, however, what you mean when you say that it’s lost in this discussion. I said what we did with non-American prisoners, like Boumediene, was unconscionable. Furthermore, I said that we, the American people, deserve what we were getting (by way of the NDAA), as we sat by and allowed it to happen to others. So, I’m not sure what you mean when you say that it wasn’t addressed.

        I love you anyway.

      22. Benji the Dog
        Posted January 10, 2012 at 1:23 am | Permalink

        I think you were correct before, Peter. You are a sellout.
        Now you are just arguing about minutiae to help your conscience. It’s obvious. Stop.

      23. Thom Elliott
        Posted January 10, 2012 at 7:15 am | Permalink

        Mark,
        Where in the hell do find all these military legal experts? Now I know I’m just a jejune 19th century man with a philosophy degree in the direst formation of modernity imaginable, trying to make sense of some seemingly troubling and obscure information, but can one of you elite consitutional law brainiacs please explain what is going to change? How this is different? It seems people from both sides of the spectrum are concerned about this, but I can’t make out why? Is it that we are no longer interested in appearing just in the things we say about ourselves? What is the rub? PLEASE ENLIGHTEN US.
        thx

      24. Robert
        Posted January 10, 2012 at 9:40 am | Permalink

        This explains a lot: http://t.co/x31xVhw0

      25. Robert
        Posted January 10, 2012 at 11:22 am | Permalink

        Good thing we have level-headed anonymous analysts like dragon around to dismiss all the outlandish comspiratory speculation that goes on here.

        http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2084710/Mikolaj-Pryzybl-Polish-prosecutor-shot-reveals-death-threats.html?ITO=1490

        ‘I KNEW A BOUNTY OF 1M HAD BEEN PUT ON MY HEAD’: POLISH MILITARY PROSECUTOR REVEALS WHY HE SHOT HIMSELF IN THE HEAD MOMENTS AFTER NEWS CONFERENCE

      26. Edward
        Posted January 10, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

        Pollock jokes, Robert? I expected better of you.

      27. anonymous
        Posted January 10, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

        Sorry, Thom, the elite consitutional law brainiacs must be tied up elsewhere today.

      28. TaterSalad
        Posted January 10, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

        Our great Commander-in-Thief is now considering the release of GITMO Taliban detainees. The list and their past terrorist connections are listed below. This will make your blood boil. This completely dis-respects the American and British servicemen that caught and detained these battlefield combatants and now considering just releasing them back to the battlefield.

        http://weaselzippers.us/2012/01/09/list-of-gitmo-detainees-obama-considering-to-release-in-peace-deal-with-the-taliban/

      29. Meta
        Posted January 10, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

        Relevant:

        “So… You’ve Been Indefinitely Detained! Helpful Information From Your U.S. Government!”

        http://boingboing.net/2011/12/21/tom-the-dancing-bug-so-yo.html

      30. Brainless
        Posted January 10, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

        Hey everybody, Peter knows more than everybody else! ACKNOWLEDGE THIS FACT OR PERISH!!!!

      31. Posted January 10, 2012 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

        Thank you, Mark. I feel better now.

      32. alan2102
        Posted January 12, 2012 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

        David Gomez: “One candidate is making his disgust over the new provisions in the NDAA an election issue. And most of the people hate him. I don’t get it. Do we really think Obama or the supreme court is going to do anything to keep the CIA or army from snatching people up?”

        David, you sound like one of those whacked-out right-wing alarmist conspiracy theorists… you know, the kind who are obsessed with black helicopters and imaginary FEMA concentration camps! Sheesh. Relax, already. We’re all perfectly safe.

      33. alan2102
        Posted January 12, 2012 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

        Mark: “What matters, I think, is that it’s bad legislation that codifies principles incompatible with democratic government. People should not be held without trial, without an opportunity to hear the evidence agains them, face their accusers, etc.”

        Yes, true, but let’s be careful to make the key distinction, here. Those things are wrong and bad, but MUCH wronger and badder when perpetrated by Republicans. Notice how all the wars suddenly became much less wrong as soon as Obama was signed-in. See? Having a Democrat in office has a remarkable transformative effect on the moral status of these things. Obama and the DP are our guys! Let’s cut ‘em some slack, for gosh sakes! Stay on the team!

      34. EGNB
        Posted January 13, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

        dilligras:

        Bingo. You have indeed quoted the very section of the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) that is “interpreted” to give the President the power to indefinitely detain those who are suspected of plotting terrorist acts against the U.S.
        (a) … That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.

        That “necessary and appropriate force” is any force up to lethal force, but has been interpreted to include lesser force, such as battlefield detentions, to remove the enemy from the fight. Boumediene v. Bush, the landmark Supreme Court case that involved Lakhdar Boumediene, actually discusses this interpretation, validated in an earlier Supreme Court case of Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, and declined to overturn it. (By the way, the AUMF is silent on whether it applies only to foreigners or to U.S. citizens as well. However, one Jose Padilla, an American citizen arrested in Chicago, was also “indefinitely” (2002-2006) detained in a military prison in Charleston, SC, under the AUMF, until ultimately his case was transferred to the civilian criminal system. (This would no longer be possible under the new 2012 NDAA provisions.) It instead invalidated a provision of the Detainee Treatment Act (DTA) that purported to suspend the right of individuals held in detention to file a writ of habeas corpus. Even with the newly passed provisions of the NDAA, individuals would continue to have the right to file writs of habeas corpus, whether held in the U.S. or in Guantanamo. What the DTA couldn’t do, the NDAA can’t either.

        You also asserted that certain provisions would have the effect of rendering Posse Comitatus null and void. I do not believe that the law goes so far as to make the military into a domestic law enforcement agency, which is what the Posse Comitatus Act prohibits. Sections 1021 and 1022 require that persons captured under the AUMF be held “in military custody pending disposition under the law of war.” It does not create a scheme under which the Army and Air Force may come to your door (in the U.S.), conducting searches, arresting people, etc. for the purpose of executing laws.

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