I saw Mark Antony offer him a crown;–yet ’twas not a crown neither, ’twas one of these coronets;–and, as I told you, he put it by once: but, for all that, to my thinking, he would fain have had it. Then he offered it to him again; then he put it by again: but, to my thinking, he was very loath to lay his fingers off it. And then he offered it the third time; he put it the third time by: and still as he refused it, the rabblement hooted and clapped their chapped hands and threw up their sweaty night-caps and uttered such a deal of stinking breath because Caesar refused the crown that it had almost choked Caesar; for he swounded and fell down at it: and for mine own part, I durst not laugh, for fear of opening my lips and receiving the bad air.
Julius Ceasar, Act I, Scene 2
Start Out the New Year with Indefinite Detention
Saturday December 31, 2011 4:03 pm
Shorter Obama: we were prepared to continue indefinitely detaining people based on my Executive Order until they die off. What’s wrong with that?
At one level, it’s nice to see Obama affirming that he won’t indefinitely detain us in military custody. Partly, though, Obama is still signing a law that President Mitt or Newt or Santorum could-and would-use to indefinitely detain Americans. As I said, “Vote for me, or President Newt will indefinitely detain you.”
But Obama isn’t even making that campaign promise! Note the trick here. Section 1021 pertains to all indefinite detention, not just military detention. But Obama only promises not to put Americans into indefinite military detention. I guess promising that Americans wouldn’t be indefinitely detained, period, was too much of a stretch.
Remember, "other applicable law" includes Scott v. Harris, which authorizes the use of deadly force when you’re pretending to try to detain someone.
A belated defense of civilian law. And an attempt-one even more timid than I imagined-to pretend that Obama objects to the principle of indefinite detention, even including the possibility of indefinite civilian detention for American citizens.
The Worst Part of the Signing Statement: Section 1024
Saturday December 31, 2011 4:49 pm
Section 1024, remember, requires the Defense Department to actually establish the provisions for status reviews that Obama has promised but not entirely delivered.
Lindsey Graham (and other bill supporters, both the right and left of Lindsey) repeatedly insisted on this review provision. Lindsey promised every detainee would get real review of his status.
And yet, in spite of the fact that Section 1024 includes no exception for those detained at Bagram, Obama just invented such an exception.
Section 1024 was one of the few good parts of the detainee provisions in this bill, because it would have finally expanded the due process available to the thousands of detainees who are hidden away at Bagram now with no meaningful review.
But Obama just made that good part disappear.
This seems to be saying two things. First, DOD doesn’t have to go back and grant everyone they’ve given the inadequate review process currently in place a new review. The 3,000 detainees already in Bagram are just SOL.
In addition, this says DOD gets to decide how long new detainees will have to wait before they get a status review with an actual lawyer-and Congress is perfectly happy making them wait over six months before that time.
Obama seems to have taken that language and pushed it further still: stating that DOD will get broad discretion to decide which reviews will carry the requirement of a judge and a lawyer.
It sort of makes you wonder why the Obama Administration wants these men to be held for over six months with no meaningful review?
New Year’s Eve News Dump: Obama Signs Defense Authorization Bill
By: David Dayen, Firedog Lake
Saturday December 31, 2011 12:58 pm
The problem with this bill was always about the codifying of indefinite military detention into the law, available for any future President to pick up and use. The vagaries of the language in the statute, which allows for detentions of people “associated” with Al Qaeda, and the burden on Presidential waivers to avoid military detentions rather than an opt-in kind of process, make the language extremely unadvisable from the standpoint of the civil liberties community. However, it’s important to recognize that the Obama Administration really was already in practice allowing for the indefinite military detention of terrorist suspects. They didn’t want language that hindered their counter-terrorism processes, particularly those of the FBI. That’s what they got out of the changes, so the codification really didn’t matter to them at that point. There are painfully few political actors in Washington opposed to this complete breach of the Constitutional right to due process.
Three myths about the detention bill
By Glenn Greenwald, Salon
Friday, Dec 16, 2011 6:56 AM Eastern Standard Time
(T)here is simply no question that this bill codifies indefinite detention without trial (Myth 1). There is no question that it significantly expands the statutory definitions of the War on Terror and those who can be targeted as part of it (Myth 2). The issue of application to U.S. citizens (Myth 3) is purposely muddled – that’s why Feinstein’s amendments were rejected – and there is consequently no doubt this bill can and will be used by the U.S. Government (under this President or a future one) to bolster its argument that it is empowered to indefinitely detain even U.S. citizens without a trial (NYT Editorial: “The legislation could also give future presidents the authority to throw American citizens into prison for life without charges or a trial”; Sen. Bernie Sanders: “This bill also contains misguided provisions that in the name of fighting terrorism essentially authorize the indefinite imprisonment of American citizens without charges”).
(New York Times link added but previously cited- ek)
The NDAA, 2011 & a Happy New Year
By: Kevin Gosztola, Firedog Lake
Saturday December 31, 2011 7:34 pm
(H)ours before 2011 came to an end, as ACLU executive director Anthony Romero stated, President Obama became “a president who will forever be known as the president who signed indefinite detention without charge or trial into law.”
“The statute is particularly dangerous because it has no temporal or geographic limitations, and can be used by this and future presidents to militarily detain people captured far from any battlefield,” adds Romero. This is all deeply troubling. But, the provision for indefinite detention is even worse. As Glenn Greenwald has pointed out, US citizens would not be exempted.
The bill expands the scope of the “war on terrorism” and also puts Congress’ stamp of approval on powers that had previously been primarily exercised by the Executive Branch without institutional support from legislators.
The NDAA is a product of the US government clinging onto the belief that it must project itself into the furthest reaches of the globe and exercise unbridled power because there is this far-reaching network of extremists, declared and undeclared, that want nothing more than to bring America to its knees. It comes from the same government that sent in special forces to kill Osama bin Laden but, with clear evidence that al Qaeda would no longer be able to thrive, declined to admit how irrational it is continue to treat terrorism as such a great threat to America. And, it is the same government that just over a week ago showed its true authoritarian spirit as it revealed Pfc. Bradley Manning, accused whistleblower to WikiLeaks, is being charged with “aiding the enemy” because the government believes he knowingly released “intelligence” through WikiLeaks to Al Qaeda.
ACLU Blog Postings-
(h/t Jeralyn @ TalkLeft)
Obama Crowned Himself on New Year’s Eve
By: David Swanson, Firedog Lake
Saturday December 31, 2011 8:06 pm
To prevent the U.S. government from behaving like a king, the drafters of the U.S. Constitution empowered an elected legislature to write every law, to declare every war, and to remove its executive from office. To further prevent the abuse of individuals’ rights, those authors wrote into the Constitution, even prior to the Bill of Rights, the right to habeas corpus and the right never to be punished for treason unless convicted in an open court on the testimony of at least two witnesses to an overt act of war or assistance of an enemy.
President Barack Obama waited until New Year’s Eve to take an action that I suspect he wanted his willfully deluded followers to have a good excuse not to notice. On that day, Obama issued an unconstitutional signing statement rewriting a law as he signed it into law, a practice that candidate Obama had rightly condemned. The law that Obama was signing was the most direct assault yet seen on the basic structure of self-governance and human rights that once made all the endless U.S. shouting of “We’re number one!” significantly less ludicrous. The National Defense Authorization Act is not a leap from democracy to tyranny, but it is another major step on a steady and accelerating decade-long march toward a police-and-war state.
President Obama has claimed the power to imprison people without a trial since his earliest months in office. He spoke in front of the Constitution in the National Archives while gutting our founding document in 2009. President Obama has claimed the power to torture “if needed,” issued an executive order claiming the power of imprisonment without trial, exercised that power on a massive scale at Bagram, and claimed and exercised the power to assassinate U.S. citizens. Obama routinely kills people with unmanned drones.
My chief regret is that we have not seen the major resistance we could have, and without any doubt would have, seen to this if only Obama were a Republican.
And now at last it comes.
You will give me the Ring freely! In place of the Dark Lord you will set up a Queen. And I shall not be dark, but beautiful and terrible as the Morning and the Night! Fair as the Sea and the Sun and the Snow upon the Mountain! Dreadful as the Storm and the Lightning! Stronger than the foundations of the earth.
All shall love me and despair!
Happy New Year.