Congress Weighs Indefinite Detention of Americans

(Well how about that? The other day I wrote about Trump carrying on with Clinton’s “Green Revolution” regime change op in Iran and now we have Hillary’s VP candidate helping him with a new, open-ended AUFM and tossing in provisions allowing him to lock up dissidents who oppose his endless wars.)

by Marjorie Cohn, Consortium News

Under the guise of exercising supervisory power over the president’s ability to use military force, Congress is considering writing Donald Trump a blank check to indefinitely detain U.S. citizens with no criminal charges. Alarmingly, this legislation could permit the president to lock up Americans who dissent against U.S. military policy.

The bill that risks conveying this power to the president is the broad new Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), S.J.Res.59, that is pending in Congress. Senate Foreign Relations Committee chair Bob Corker (R-TN) and Democratic committee member Tim Kaine (VA) introduced the bipartisan bill on April 16, and it has four additional co-sponsors.

This proposed 2018 AUMF would replace the 2001 AUMF that Congress gave George W. Bush after the September 11 attacks. Although the 2001 AUMF authorized the president to use “all necessary and appropriate force” only against individuals and groups responsible for the 9/11 attacks, three presidents have relied on it to justify at least 37 military operations in 14 countries, many of them unrelated to 9/11.

But the 2018 AUMF would codify presidential power to make war whenever and wherever he chooses.

S.J.Res.59 allows the president “to use all necessary and appropriate force” against Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Libya and Somalia, al-Qaeda, ISIS (also known as Daesh), the Taliban and their “associated forces” anywhere in the world, without limitation.

However, the bill contains no definition of “co-belligerent.” A president may conceivably claim that a U.S. citizen who writes, speaks out or demonstrates against U.S. military action is a “co-belligerent” and lock him or her up indefinitely without charge. “Associated forces” is defined as “any organization, person, or force, other than a sovereign nation, that the President determines has entered the fight alongside and is a co-belligerent with al Qaeda, the Taliban, or ISIS, in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners.”

Under the new AUMF, the president could tell Congress he wants to use force against additional countries or “associated forces” that are not listed in the bill. It would put the burden on Congress to say no by a two-thirds vote, a virtually impossible margin to achieve in the current political climate.

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights — a treaty the United States has ratified, making it part of U.S. law under the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause — forbids arbitrary detention without charge.

[read more here]

One Response

  1. This obviously isn’t good but I still think it’ll be the Noahide laws that will do many of us in.

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