By Madison Ruppert
Editor of End the Lie
This is one of the most tragic events I have written about since establishing End the Lie over eight months ago: the horrendous bill that would turn all of America into a battlefield and subject American citizens to indefinite military detention without charge or trial has passed the Senate.
To make matters even worse, only seven of our so-called representatives voted against the bill, proving once and for all (if anyone had any doubt remaining) that our government does not work for us in any way, shape, or form.
S.1867, or the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for the fiscal year of 2012, passed with a resounding 93-7 vote.
That’s right, 93 of our Senators voted to literally eviscerate what little rights were still protected after the PATRIOT Act was hastily pushed in the wake of the tragic events of September 11th, 2001.
The NDAA cuts Pentagon spending by $43 billion from last year’s budget, a number so insignificant when compared to the $662 billion still (officially) allocated, it is almost laughable.
The bill also contained an amendment which enacts strict new sanctions on Iran’s Central Bank and any entities that do business with it, a move which will likely have brutal repercussions for the Iranian people – just like the sanctions on Iraq did.
Not a single Senator voted against this amendment, which was voted on soon before the entirety of S.1867 was passed, despite the hollow threats of a veto from the Obama White House.
Based simply on historical precedent, I trust Obama’s promises as much as I trust the homeless man who told me he was John F. Kennedy.
I wish that I could believe that the Obama administration would strike down this horrific bill but I would be quite ignorant and naïve if I did so.
Furthermore, the White House’s official statement doesn’t even say that they will veto the bill. In fact, it says, “the President’s senior advisers [will] recommend a veto.”
As Glenn Greenwald points out, the objection isn’t even about opposing the detention of accused terrorists without a trial, instead it is the contention that, “whether an accused Terrorist is put in military detention rather than civilian custody is for the President alone to decide.”
Obama’s opposition has nothing to do with the rule of law or protecting Americans, in fact, Senator Levin disclosed and Dave Kopel reported that, “it was the Obama administration which told Congress to remove the language in the original bill which exempted American citizens and lawful residents from the detention power”.
As I have detailed in two past articles entitled Do not be deceived: S.1867 is the most dangerous bill since the PATRIOT Act and S.1253 will allow indefinite military detention of American civilians without charge or trial, the assurances that this will not be used on American citizensare hollow, evidenced by the fact that the Feinstein amendment to S.1867, amendment number 1126, which, according to the official Senate Democrats page, was an attempt at “prohibiting military authority to indefinitely detain US citizens” was rejected with a 45-55 vote.
Let’s examine some of the attempts to convince the American people that this will not change anything and that we will still be protected under law.
Florida’s Republican Senator Marco Antonio said, “In particular, some folks are concerned about the language in section 1031 that says that this includes ‘any person committing a belligerent act or directly supported such hostilities of such enemy forces.’ This language clearly and unequivocally refers back to al-Qaida, the Taliban, or its affiliates. Thus, not only would any person in question need to be involved with al-Qaida, the Taliban, or its surrogates, but that person must also engage in a deliberate and substantial act that directly supports their efforts against us in the war on terror in order to be detained under this provision.”
While this might sound reassuring to some, one must realize that the government can interpret just about anything as engaging “in a deliberate and substantial act that directly supports their efforts against us in the war on terror”.
Consider the fact that the Homeland Security Police Institute’s report published earlier this year partly focused on combating the “spread of the [terrorist] entity’s narrative” which sets the stage for the government being able to declare that spreading the narrative amounts to “a deliberate and substantial act that directly supports their efforts against us in the war on terror”.
At the time I wrote:
Part of these domestic efforts highlighted in the report is combating the “spread of the [terrorist] entity’s narrative” but never addressed is why exactly extremist groups have the ability to spread their narrative.
A frightening conclusion that can be drawn from the focus on the “spread of the entity’s narrative” is that such claims could be used to justify limiting the American right to free speech.
It would be very easy to justify eliminating free speech if much of the United States was convinced of the danger of spreading terrorist narrative.
The report doesn’t specifically explain what the narrative is or why it is so dangerous, but one could assume that any anti-government, anti-war, anti-corporatist and pro-human rights speech could be squeezed under this umbrella. Essentially, anything that criticizes or questions the United States could easily be demonized because it is allegedly spreading “the entity’s narrative”.
This raises an important question: could my work and the work of others devoted to exposing the fraud that is the “war on terror” and the intimate links between our government and the terrorist entities they are supposedly fighting be considered to be supporting these entities?
Unfortunately, the only conclusion I can come to is that it is possible for the following reasons:
1) The Department of Defense actually put a question on an examination saying that protests are an act of “low-level terrorism” (which they later deleted after the ACLU sent a letter demanding it be removed).
2) Anti-war activists and websites are deemed worthy of being treated as terrorists and being listed on terrorist watchlists.
3) We likely will never even be told how exactly the government is interpreting S.1867.
In the case of the PATRIOT Act (which is overwhelmingly used in cases that are unrelated to terrorism in every way), there is in fact a secret interpretation of the PATRIOT Act, as revealed by Senator Ron Wyden back in May.
As of now, we still do not know how the PATRIOT Act is interpreted by the government, meaning that we have no idea how it is actually being used.
I do not believe that it would be reasonable to make the assumption that S.1867 would be interpreted in a straightforward manner, meaning that all of the assurances being made by Senators are worthless.
Glenn Greenwald verifies this in writing the following as an update to the post previously quoted in this article, “Any doubt about whether this bill permits the military detention of U.S. citizens was dispelled entirely today when an amendment offered by Dianne Feinstein — to confine military detention to those apprehended “abroad,” i.e., off U.S. soil — failed by a vote of 45-55.”
Furthermore, as I detailed in my previous coverage of S.1867, Senator Lindsey Graham clearly said, in absolutely no uncertain terms whatsoever, “In summary here, [section] 1032, the military custody provision, which has waivers and a lot of flexibility doesn’t apply to American citizens. [Section] 1031, the statement of authority to detain does apply to American citizens, and it designates the world as the battlefield including the homeland.”
The fact that the establishment media continues to peddle the blatant lie that is the claim that S.1867 will not be used on American citizens is beyond me.
This is especially true when one considers the fact that lawyers for the Obama administrations reaffirmed that American citizens “are legitimate military targets when they take up arms with al-Qaida,” although we all know that no proof or trial is required to make that assertion.
As evidenced by the case of Anwar al-Awlaki, no trial is needed for our illegitimate government to assassinate an American citizen.
We can only assume that it is just a matter of time until American citizens are declared to be supporting al Qaeda and killed on American soil without so much as a single court hearing.