Joel SkousenFinal Military Com Act Does NOT Apply To US Citizens (?)Sat Oct 21, 2006 14:49
Final Military Com Act
Does NOT Apply
To US Citizens (?)
By Joel Skousen
World Affairs Brief
"With that said, and I have quoted several other experts last week, it appears that the language of the MCA does NOT in fact authorize any portion of the bill to apply to citizens. It specifically limits the bill's application to "aliens," defined as non-citizens. I'm indebted to one of my lawyer subscribers for having the tenacity to insist I reread the bill again. I did. I found that earlier versions of the bill (which the current experts may still be relying upon) do not limit the bill to aliens. But the one signed by the president does."
CLARIFICATION ON THE MILITARY COMMISSIONS ACT
Despite the presumed urgency of passing this bill, President Bush finally signed the MCA after delaying more than 2 weeks. Many have presumed he was delaying to forestall the legal challenges waiting in the wings. Whatever the reason, it's now law and none of the non-citizens (between 12 and 20 million strong) in America have the core civil protection of habeas corpus if suspected of any form of support for terror, very broadly defined. Ironically, the courts have mandated, with no constitutional basis, that illegals have the "rights" to public welfare, education, and hospital care, but apparently not freedom from unlimited detention.
In past briefs on this issue, I have relied on numerous judges and legal scholars who have claimed that certain portions of the MCA strip even citizens of habeas corpus protections. Specifically, MCA establishes an overly broad definition of "unlawful enemy combatant" to include anyone who gives material or verbal support to enemies of the state. Here is a recent example. Keith Olbermann, anchor, MSNBC's "Countdown" interviewed Professor Jonathan Turley, who teaches constitutional law at George Washington University.
OLBERMANN: "I want to start by asking you about a specific part of this act that lists one of the definitions of an unlawful enemy combatant as, quote, 'a person who, before, on, or after the date of the enactment of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, has been determined to be an unlawful enemy combatant by a combatant status review tribunal or another competent tribunal established under the authority of the president or the secretary of defense.'
"Does that not basically mean that if Mr. Bush or Mr. Rumsfeld say so, anybody in this country, citizen or not, innocent or not, can end up being an unlawful enemy combatant?"
JONATHAN TURLEY: "It certainly does. In fact, later on, it says that if you even give material support to an organization that the president deems connected to one of these groups, you too can be an enemy combatant. And the fact that he appoints this tribunal is meaningless. You know, standing behind him at the signing ceremony was his attorney general, who signed a memo that said that you could torture people, that you could do harm to them to the point of organ failure or death. So if he appoints someone like that to be attorney general, you can imagine who he's going be putting on this board."
OLBERMANN: "Does this mean that under this law, ultimately the only thing keeping you, I, or the viewer out of Gitmo is the sanity and honesty of the president of the United States?"
TURLEY: "It does. And it's a huge sea change for our democracy. The framers created a system where we did not have to rely on the good graces or good mood of the president. In fact, Madison said that he created a system essentially to be run by devils, where they could not do harm, because we didn't rely on their good motivations. Now we must. And people have no idea how significant this is. What, really, a time of shame this is for the American system. What the Congress did and what the president signed today essentially revokes over 200 years of American principles and values.
"It couldn't be more significant. And the strange thing is, we've become sort of constitutional couch potatoes. I mean, the Congress just gave the president despotic powers, and you could hear the yawn across the country as people turned to, you know, 'Dancing with the Stars.'... I think people are fooling themselves if they believe that the courts will once again stop this president from taking over - taking almost absolute power. It basically comes down to a single vote on the Supreme Court, Justice Kennedy. And he indicated that if Congress gave the president these types of powers, that he might go along. And so we may have, in this country, some type of uber-president, some absolute ruler, and it'll be up to him who gets put away as an enemy combatant, held without trial."
*** With that said, and I have quoted several other experts last week, it appears that the language of the MCA does NOT in fact authorize any portion of the bill to apply to citizens. It specifically limits the bill's application to "aliens," defined as non-citizens. I'm indebted to one of my lawyer subscribers for having the tenacity to insist I reread the bill again. I did. I found that earlier versions of the bill (which the current experts may still be relying upon) do not limit the bill to aliens. But the one signed by the president does. ***
Even with that correction, I must warn you that the government is still treating some citizens as if they have no habeas corpus rights. We need look only into the case of Jose Padilla, the presumed planner of a dirty bomb attack. NPR journalist Ray Suarez (News Hour with Jim Lehrer) explains the conundrum:
"President Bush labeled Padilla an 'enemy combatant,' allowing the U.S. military to detain him indefinitely with limited access to attorneys. Padilla then sat in a Navy brig in South Carolina for more than three years without ever being formally charged with a crime, until yesterday, when Attorney General Alberto Gonzales announced the U.S. Government was indicting Padilla for supporting terror campaigns in Afghanistan and elsewhere between 1993 and 2001. Gonzales said, 'The indictment alleges that Padilla traveled overseas to train as a terrorist with the intention of fighting in violent jihad.' Gonzales would not explain to reporters why Padilla's alleged plans to attack the U.S. were not included in the indictment, or whether he's still considered an enemy combatant."
The government only brought charges against Padilla, trumped up and generalized as they were, in order to derail a habeas corpus demand by Padilla's volunteer legal team. The government didn't want the nation to be aware that Padilla had been denied both the habeas corpus and "speedy trial" provisions of the US Constitution.
Padilla also claims he was tortured and forcibly medicated with a hallucinatory drug (probably some form of 'truth serum' which doesn't really work). His lawyer told the court, "He was threatened with being cut with a knife and having alcohol poured on the wounds. He was also threatened with imminent execution."
So, while I am standing by the clarification made that the specific language of the MCA does not authorize the denial of habeas corpus for citizens, it is happening anyway and will happen again. We simply cannot trust the president or the courts to follow the Constitution.
Moreover, the President does not consider unfavorable portions of the law apply to him. As the Air Force Times reports, Bush says he may ignore the new war-funding law Congress said it wants next year's defense budget to include. "In a 'signing statement' released when he signed the 2007 Defense Authorization Act on Oct. 17, the president listed two dozen provisions in the act that he indicated he may or may not abide by." Those provisions restrict his ability to hide funding for wars. Congress wants all the costs to be up front and verified, and the president obviously does not.
Copyright Joel Skousen. Partial quotations with attribution permitted. Cite source as Joel Skousen's World Affairs Brief (http://www.worldaffairsbrief.com)
Pentagon Admits Keeping Database on US Civilians Deemed Suspicious
Posted Oct 21, 2006 09:49 AM PST
Aren't those guys supposed to be watching Osama with all that time and money?
Feel that Nose In Your Bum? That's George Bush!
Artificial Synchronicity. NO COINCIDENCES!
THE HIGH CABAL'S AGENDAS:PART3
THE HIGH CABAL'S AGENDAS:PART2
THE HIGH CABAL'S AGENDAS
Main Page - Friday, 10/20/06
Message Board by American Patriot Friends Network [APFN]
APFN MESSAGEBOARD ARCHIVES