Archive for the ‘Indefinite Detention’ Category

By JC

“When is the war on terror over?”

So asked Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) today. And then he promptly answered himself:

I don’t know what the answer is to the question.”

When the head of the Senate Armed Service Committee asks a rhetorical question like this, and then has no answer, quite simply we are fucked.

Terrorism has been around since the dawn of time, and will be with the human species until we evolve socially and culturally beyond using war and violence to resolve our differences. 

Given the current climate in Washington, and all over the capitalist world, if we are going to maintain a permanent state of war via the AUMF until terrorism ends, then it will be a cold day in hell before we again see peace in, and being projected from, the United States.

Here’s Levin’s statement in context:

“We should be having a conversation about how to update the authorization of the use of military force, but we still have to protect the country while we’re having that discussion,” [Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas)] said. “Unfortunately, this puts the cart before the horse deciding to repeal [AUMF] before we know what will be used to replace it.”

“The world is still dangerous,” he added. “The terrorists are still coming for us. We need to keep this in place.”

Even if the measure had passed the House, the Senate is similarly ambivalent about taking on the AUMF, which also provides the legal basis for detaining terror suspects indefinitely in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) told HuffPost in an interview that his committee was not looking at a similar provision as it debates its own version of the NDAA bill this week.

“It’s a very complex issue,” Levin said. “If there’s no AUMF, what do you do with guys like Khalid Sheik Mohammed? If there is an AUMF, we have a right to keep people under the laws of war until that’s over.”

Levin admitted he was at a loss as to what to do.

“I’m the first one to acknowledge there’s a real intellectual problem here as to when is the war on terror over, or when does that authorization end,” Levin said. “It’s a huge issue. It needs to be debated. There needs to be hearings on it. I don’t know the answer to the question. Maybe if I knew the answer to the question I’d be a little more sure about an amendment. But I don’t know what the answer is to the question.”

He echoed Thornberry about the ongoing risk of terrorism.

“There continues to be a threat from the same threat or an associated source that existed when we passed the AUMF. That threat continues,” Levin said.

“A real intellectual problem here…”

I’d say. And I’d add that’s just the tip of the iceberg

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By JC

———–
Update #2 (this is an update from the original Kos post linked to below):
This is from a statement from Stewart Rhodes of Oathkeepers regarding Republican Denny Rehberg as a target of recall, who also voted for NDAA.

Here in Montana, while we will go after all three violators of the Bill of Rights, I will place special emphasis and “focus of effort” on Denny Rehberg, since he is so fond of wrapping himself in the flag and claiming to be defending the Constitution while his votes do the exact opposite. In that sense, Rehberg is much like John McCain and Lindsey Graham, two Republicans who, right along with Carl Levin and Joseph Lieberman, are leading a sustained and relentless assault on our Bill of Rights.
———–

Do people really believe it is appropriate for our Senators (or Rep) in Montana to cast votes that take away constitutional rights?

Well, many in Montana and across the country don’t believe so. Jonathan Turley, at the TurleyBlog — the foremost legal blog commenting on civil rights in the country — makes a fine example of what many Montanans are doing in response to Max and Jon’s (and should be doing to Denny, too) ill-advised votes for indefinite detention of american citizens:

…Now Montana citizens have decided to try another approach given the non-responsive attitude of our leaders — they are moving to remove their two Senators from office over their votes in favor of indefinite detention powers.

Montana is one of nine states with recall laws. The other states are Arizona, Colorado, Louisiana, Michigan, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, and Wisconsin. Eighteen states have recall laws, but most do not apply to federal officers.

Montana Code 2-16-603, on the grounds of physical or mental lack of fitness, incompetence, violation of oath of office, official misconduct, or conviction of certain felony offenses. [sic]

Presumably, they are arguing that voting for an unconstitutional measure that allows for indefinite detention of citizens constitutes both a violation of the oath of office and incompetence. Usually official misconduct does not include policy differences, though voting for potentially authoritarian powers would not be viewed as good conduct in a free nation.

The move by the Montana votes shows something that I found in doing speeches around the country: there is no difference in red and blue states in citizens (1) fed up with our current two-party monopoly and dysfunctional politics and (2) opposed to the loss of civil liberties in this country.

It seems that occasional 4&20 commenter William Crane and others are behind this effort:

Montana law requires grounds for recall to be stated which show conformity to the allowed grounds for recall. The draft language of the Montana petitions, “reason for recall” reads:

“The Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees all U.S citizens:
“a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed…”

The National Defense Authorization Act of 2011 (NDAA 2011) permanently abolishes the Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial, “for the duration of hostilities” in the War on Terror, which was defined by President George W. Bush as “task which does not end” to a joint session of Congress on September 20, 2001.

Those who voted Aye on December 15th, 2011, Bill of Rights Day, for NDAA 2011 have attempted to grant powers which cannot be granted, which violate both the spirit and the letter of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

The Montana Recall Act stipulates that officials including US senators can only be recalled for physical or mental lack of fitness, incompetence, violation of the oath of office, official misconduct, or conviction of a felony offense. We the undersigned call for a recall election to be held for Senator Max S. Baucus [and Senator Jonathan Tester] and charge that he has violated his oath of office, to protect and defend the United States Constitution.”

…Montana would be the first recall drive to be launched as a result of the vote for the NDAA military detentions provisions.

Ah, it’s a fine day when the “principled left” believes that a dialog about the electeds stripping Constitutional rights from citizens needs to take center stage! As to Turley’s point above about the “two-party monopoly”, Denny should be taking his licks for his vote, also.

Update with thought exercise: What will the election for Senator look like if both candidates have active petition recalls against them? And what might happen if the petitions actually lead to a vote before the general election next year? And who might the fill in candidates be if both recalls succeeded? Who might replace Max?




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