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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 12/4/11

We Are All Really Bradley Manning Now: Senate Passes Military Detention for American Citizens.

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"1031, the statement of authority to detain, does apply to American citizens and it designates the world as the battlefield, including the homeland."

Military detention means Americans can now be treated no differently than Iraqi or Afghan detainees when they disappear behind the wall of the military chain-of-command.  It will not matter what you are guilty of or not guilty of.  And while soldiers in war-fighting units are for the most part honorable and patriotic, not all units are the same.   Americans suddenly branded with the "terrorist" label will be at the mercy of the Charles Graners and Lyndie Englands of the world, with no recourse to a lawyer, family, friends, or 230 years of carefully constructed jurisprudence.  And it will be indefinite, that is to say, possibly for life, again at the whim of the military and the Executive branch, and whoever is in it after Obama.  

All practices and measures are in place for whatever president promises to "fight terror" by going the next step.  Jane Mayer in the New Yorker writes of the treatment of terror detainees under the Bush administration:

"According to a report adopted in June by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, titled "Secret Detentions and Illegal Transfers of Detainees," detainees were "taken to their cells by strong people who wore black outfits, masks that covered their whole faces, and dark visors over their eyes." (Some personnel reportedly wore black clothes made from specially woven synthetic fabric that couldn't be ripped or torn.) A former member of a C.I.A. transport team has described the "takeout" of prisoners as a carefully choreographed twenty-minute routine, during which a suspect was hog-tied, stripped naked, photographed, hooded, sedated with anal suppositories, placed in diapers, and transported by plane to a secret location.  A person involved in the Council of Europe inquiry, referring to cavity searches and the frequent use of suppositories, likened the treatment to "sodomy." He said, "It was used to absolutely strip the detainee of any dignity. It breaks down someone's sense of impenetrability."

Most amazing, this is all being met by the major media with a deafening silence.  NPR today spoke only of the jobs bill and devoted more time to Greece. The silence from PBS, NPR, and the commercial media is nearly as remarkable as the bill inching its way into law.  If you make donations to public broadcast, now might be the time to demand coverage or hit them where it hurts.  18 states allow for voter recall of US senators: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington and Wisconsin.

The Founders stipulated that there were some rights which could not be taken away permanently, declared "inalienable."  One was the right to a trial by jury.  

""We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with inherent and inalienable rights; that among these, are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it..." - Declaration of Independence as originally written by Thomas Jefferson, 1776.

Jefferson said:

"I consider trial by jury as the only anchor ever yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution." - Thomas Jefferson

If we as a nation are going to do this, and as people go about their business shopping and singing Christmas carols, it appears we are, let's at least have our eyes wide open about what it means. Without ever having signed on the dotted line submitting to military justice or the UCMJ, permanently and for ever, the US Senate has made us all Bradley Manning.

"I don't know how the hell these people got into our army" - Colorado Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell of Abu Ghraib guards

They're murderers, they're terrorists, they're insurgents. - Republican Senator James Inhofe of Abu Ghraib prisoners, captured randomly and having never received trial.


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Ralph Lopez majored in Economics and Political Science at Yale University. He writes for Truth Out, Alternet, Consortium News, Op-Ed News, and other Internet media. He reported from Afghanistan in 2009 and produced a short documentary film on (more...)

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