Share on Google Plus Share on Twitter 3 Share on Facebook 5 Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest Share on Fark! Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon Tell A Friend 5 (13 Shares)  
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites (# of views)   11 comments

    Get Permissions OpEdNews Op Eds

Are Americans in Line for Gitmo?

By       Message Ray McGovern     Permalink
      (Page 1 of 6 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; (more...) ; , Add Tags  (less...) Add to My Group(s)

Must Read 6   Well Said 3   Supported 3  
View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com Headlined to H1 12/3/11

Author 2452
Become a Fan
  (161 fans)

This piece was reprinted by OpEdNews with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

- Advertisement -

Ambiguous but alarming new wording, which is tucked into the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and was just passed by the Senate, is reminiscent of the "extraordinary measures" introduced by the Nazis after they took power in 1933.

And the relative lack of reaction so far calls to mind the oddly calm indifference with which most Germans watched the erosion of the rights that had been guaranteed by their own Constitution. As one German writer observed, "With sheepish submissiveness we watched it unfold, as if from a box at the theater."

The writer was Sebastian Haffner (real name Raimond Pretzel), a young German lawyer worried at what he saw in 1933 in Berlin, but helpless to stop it since, as he put it, the German people "collectively and limply collapsed, yielded and capitulated."

"The result of this million-fold nervous breakdown," wrote Haffner at the time, "is the unified nation, ready for anything, that is today the nightmare of the rest of the world." Not a happy analogy.

The Senate bill, in effect, revokes an 1878 law known as the Posse Comitatus Act, which banned the Army from domestic law enforcement after the military had been used --and often abused -- in that role during Reconstruction. Ever since then, that law has been taken very seriously -- until now. Military officers have had their careers brought to an abrupt halt by involving federal military assets in purely civilian criminal matters.

But that was before 9/11 and the mantra, "9/11 changed everything." In this case of the Senate-passed NDAA -- more than a decade after the terror attacks and even as U.S. intelligence agencies say al-Qaeda is on the brink of defeat -- Congress continues to carve away constitutional and legal protections in the name of fighting "terrorism."

The Senate approved the expanded military authority despite opposition from Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and FBI Director Robert Mueller -- and a veto threat from President Barack Obama.

The Senate voted to authorize -- and generally to require -- "the Armed Forces of the United States to detain covered persons" indefinitely. And such "covered persons" are defined not just as someone implicated in the 9/11 attacks but anyone who "substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, including any person who has committed a belligerent act or has directly supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces."

- Advertisement -

Though the wording is itself torturous -- and there is a provision for a waiver from the Defense Secretary regarding mandatory military detentions -- the elasticity of words like "associated forces" and "supported" have left some civil libertarians worried that the U.S. military could be deployed domestically against people opposing future American wars against alleged "terrorists" or "terrorist states."

The Senate clearly wished for the military's "law and order" powers to extend beyond the territory of military bases on the theory that there may be "terrorsymps" (short for "terrorist sympathizers") lurking everywhere.

Is the all-consuming ten-year-old struggle against terrorism rushing headlong to consume what's left of our constitutional rights? Do I need to worry that the Army in which I was proud to serve during the 1960s may now kick down my front door and lead me off to indefinite detention -- or worse?

My neighbors have noticed, after all, that I now wear a longish beard and, sometimes, even a hat like Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. And everyone knows what a terrorsymp he was. "If you see something, say something!"

Worse still, a few of my neighbors overheard me telling my grandchildren that President Obama should be ashamed to be bragging about having Awlaki, an American citizen, and later his 16 year-old son murdered without a whiff of due process. "If you hear something, say something!"

- Advertisement -

A Lost Respect

Citizens of powerful countries used to have their rights widely respected -- at home and abroad. "I am a Roman citizen" -- "Civis Romanus Sum" -- once counted for something. Even more respect tended to greet "I am an American" -- because of our power abroad and our once famous adherence to a written Constitution at home.

Adherence? Lately not so much. Not since power-hungry politicians set out to exploit 9/11 so that "everything changed," including even the rights formerly guaranteed us by the Bill of Rights and the habeas corpus protection in the Constitution itself.

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6

 

- Advertisement -

Must Read 6   Well Said 3   Supported 3  
View Ratings | Rate It

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He was an Army infantry/intelligence officer and then a CIA analyst for 27 years, and is now on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). His (more...)
 

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon


Go To Commenting

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
- Advertisement -

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

What's Hayden Hidin'?

Asylum for Julian Assange -- Former Awardee for Integrity

Petraeus Cons Obama on Afghan War

Obama Stands Up to Israel, Tamps Down Iran War Threats

Mullen Wary of Israeli Attack on Iran

Note to Nancy Pelosi: Colin Powell Got Snookered at CIA, too