Saturday, December 03, 2011

Senate Vote To Trash The Constitution Yes Vote For Military Spending Bill - Roundup

I had three questions in mind to ask of all this, until I had a Rick Perry moment that is, now I only have two. Still I hope you forgive me, it was afterall, a most uncivilised time of the morning when I started compiling this lot.

So unless I have a revelation in the next few minutes, I can only ask the same question as Paul Craig Roberts, what is the real agenda here, why would the Senate vote the way they have?

And the most obvious one, so I wouldn't be alone in asking it by any means, will Obama really veto this bill as promised?

Da Dah! What kind of spin is Fox News going to put on this giant leap towards a totalitarian state?

It must have been reading the ''Hanitize'' link in a previous post of this morning that threw me, well it would anybody who had the misfortune to read the thing. Direct link to Media Matters, Fox's One-Man Clean-Up Crew: A History Of "Hannitization" here.

Paul Craig Roberts: Congress is Repealing the Constitution

Paul Craig Roberts: We have a republican party that is a Gestapo party

Uploaded by RTAmerica on Dec 1, 2011

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Senate votes to allow indefinite detention of Americans
Josh Gerstein
December 01, 2011

The Senate on Thursday evening essentially blessed the indefinite detention of American citizens who join up with Al Qaeda.

By a 45-55 vote, senators rejected an amendment from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) that would have excluded U.S. citizens from the detention authority created by the Authorization for the Use of Military Force passed just after the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001.

Feinstein's amendment would have inserted language excluding Americans into the detainee provisions of the Senate version of the National Defense Authorization Act.

During floor debate on Feinstein's proposal, some senators argued that Supreme Court decisions make clear that American citizens can be detained under the law of war. They point to a 1942 decision upholding the trial of an American-born saboteur before a military commission and a 2004 decision in which four justices endorsed an opinion that found the government has the right to detain a U.S. citizen who joins with enemy forces. However, other senators said the facts of those cases don't squarely endorse the open-ended detention of a U.S. citizen captured on U.S. soil.

The Senate later adopted, by a 99-1 vote, a compromise amendment clarifying that nothing in the NDAA is intended to alter the government's current legal authority to detain prisoners captured in the war on terror.

An earlier Feinstein amendment seeking to limit new detention-related rules to prisoners captured outside the U.S. also failed, on a 45-55 vote. Politico

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U.S. Senate Adopts Vast Military Spending Bill
By Olivier Knox
December 02, 2011

The US Senate on Thursday approved a vast military spending bill that tied strings to military aid to Pakistan and aimed to stem the spread of shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles from Libya.

The $662 billion annual Defense Authorization legislation also included a murky compromise on the issue of whether the US government may hold suspected terrorists, including American citizens, indefinitely without trial.

The bill, which sailed to passage by a lopsided 93-7 margin, included tough new sanctions aimed at cutting off Iran’s central bank from the global financial system in a bid to force Tehran to halt its alleged nuclear program.

Lawmakers feuded for much of the week on the legislation’s affirmation of past judicial opinions that US citizens who sign on with Al-Qaeda or affiliated groups may be held indefinitely without trial.

Senators repeatedly rejected efforts to exempt Americans from that fate, but ultimately voted 99-1 to embrace a face-saving compromise that left the volatile issue to the US Supreme Court.

“The Supreme Court will ultimately decide who can, and cannot, be detained indefinitely without trial,” said number-two Democratic Senator Dick Durbin. “The United States Senate will not.”

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin insisted that the high court had already ruled “there is no bar to this nation holding one of its own citizens as an enemy combatant” but acknowledged deep divisions on that issue.

“If that law is there allowing it, it remains. If, as some argue, the law does not allow that, then it continues that way,” said Levin, a Democrat, highlighting the compromise’s deliberate vagueness.

The White House, which previously had issued a vague threat to veto the bill over the detainee provisions, had no immediate comment, but Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International urged him to stand firm.

The legislation did exempt US citizens from a requirement that Al-Qaeda fighters who plot or carry out attacks on US targets be held in military, not civilian, custody, subject to a presidential national security waiver.

Critics expressed worries that tough new standards for transferring detainees to other countries -- notably a requirement that top US officials formally declare them no longer a threat -- could hamper the American exit from Afghanistan, where US forces hold thousands of prisoners.

The legislation included a provision by Democratic Senator Bob Casey aimed at blocking counterinsurgency aid to Pakistan until Islamabad takes aggressive steps to curb the use of roadside bombs blamed for the deaths of US soldiers in neighboring Afghanistan.

It also included an amendment from Republican Senator Susan Collins that calls for US-Libya" cooperation to secure slain dictator Moamer Kadhafi’s stockpile of 20,000 portable anti-aircraft missiles.

US officials fear terrorists could get their hands on such weapons in the chaotic aftermath of Kadhafi’s ouster.

And it included Republican Senator John McCain’s amendment calling for closer military ties with Georgia, including the sale of weapons he said would help the country, which fought a brief war with Russia in 2008, defend itself.

The bill also contained Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley’s call for an assessment of the feasibility of accelerating the US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, where combat operations are due to end come 2014.

And it included Republican Senator Roger Wicker’s amendment stating that US military chaplains are not required to perform gay marriage.

Senate approval touched off negotiations with the House of Representatives to resolve differences between both chambers’ versions and send a compromise to President Barack Obama" Agence France-Presse

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Quite an interesting list from Homeland Security as to who or what might constitute a terrorist organisation. Basically it falls into two groups, those that breath in, and those that breath out.

Administration Officials say Obama has Sole Power to Declare Citizen’s Enemies
By Matt Lacy
December 02, 2011

A pair of lawyers for the Obama administration said the president has sole discretion to define who is an enemy and that U.S. citizens with that designation are legitimate military targets.

Government lawyers, CIA counsel Stephen Preston and Pentagon counsel Jeh Johnson, were asked at a national security press conference about the CIA killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S. citizen who was also a member of al-Qaida.

Following al-Awlaki’s killing by a drone aircraft; the administration has faced criticism from both the left and right. Critics have said it is one thing to die in a firefight with troops, but the aerial attack amounted to a targeted assassination.

Last year, a lawsuit by al-Awlaki’s father was thrown out by a judge who said courts do not have the authority to review military decisions made by the commander in chief that are intended to protect to country from terrorists.

While not directly addressing the al-Awlaki case, the lawyers said any U.S. citizen who takes up arms with al-Qaida is a legitimate military target. They went on to say that when it came to deciding who is an enemy, the executive branch, not the courts had sole authority to make that distinction.

While a recent defense authorization bill has come under criticism by those who say it could grant the military powers to detain U.S. citizens here in America, the bill has not yet been signed into law.

Today’s statements show that regardless of what the bill contains, the President believes he has full power to declare a U.S. citizen an enemy and order his termination.

Brian Britton with the Greeley 9/12 Project called the statement by the administration “frightening.”

“For any president, regardless of his political party to have the power to act as judge jury and executioner of any American citizen based simply on his say so is frightening,” Britton said “Members of Congress and even the Department of Homeland Security have said that everyday citizens can be terrorists if they support Ron Paul for president, are in favor of lower taxes or love the Constitution. Based on those statements, every tea party member is a possible military target.”

During this Summers debate over the debt limit, Republican members of Congress and the tea party were called terrorists by several Democratic lawmakers.

On Aug. 1, Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) speaking about members of the tea party caucus, reportedly said “We have negotiated with terrorists. This small group of terrorists has made it impossible to spend any money.” Vice-President Joe Biden supposedly echoed the sentiment saying “They have acted like terrorists.” Biden has denied making the remark.

A few days before Doyle’s comments, former Ted Kennedy staffer William Yeomans wrote, “It has become commonplace to call the tea party faction in the House ‘hostage takers’, but now they have become full-blown terrorists.”

Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) said “tea party extremists really held this country hostage. Another Florida Democrat Rep. Alcee Hastings said “What we have witnessed in the past several weeks was hardly a negotiation, but rather the Republicans recklessly holding the full faith and credit of the United States hostage until they got everything they wanted and then some.”

In 2009 the Department of Homeland Security issued a memo warning law-enforcement about terrorist groups. The memo's list of terrorist indicators included returning vets, people who support state authority over federal authority and those who are dedicated to a single issue such as abortion or immigration. The memo also listed Christians who believe in “end time prophecies” such as the "Rapture" as portrayed in the Left Behind series of books and movies.

DHS Secretary, Janet Napolitano, issued a statement saying she stood by the report. Critics have said the memo's description of terrorist also applies to many tea party members.

The Missouri Highway Patrol was given a similar report by the Missouri Information Analysis Center that linked conservative groups with terrorists. The report said terrorist indicators included support for third-party candidates such as Ron Paul, Bob Barr and Chuck Baldwin. Other characteristics included opposition to illegal immigration, abortion and federal income taxes. The Missouri Highway Patrol disavowed the report after news of it had been made public.

Soldiers taking the Department of Defense’s Annual Level I Antiterrorism Awareness Training, in 2009, were asked the question “which of the following is an example of low-level terrorist activity?”

The choices were attacking the pentagon, IEDs, hate crimes against racial groups, and protests. To answer the question correctly on the knowledge check, the examinee had to select the answer “Protests.” Following the complaint, the DOD withdrew the question from the training manual. Greeley Gazette

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Internment specter raises ugly head in forgetful U.S. Senate
By S. Floyd Mori

The oldest generation of Japanese-Americans, those whose earliest memories were of their lives and families being upended by internment without charge or trial in concentration camps during World War II, at least take comfort in the hope that America is now committed to never inflicting that experience on any other group of Americans or immigrants. But our trust in that commitment is being shaken by a bill poised to go to the Senate floor that could once again authorize indefinite detention without charge of American citizens and others now living peacefully in our country.

We have reason to believe in the commitment of Americans to say never again to indefinite detention. In 1988, the Civil Liberties Act officially declared that the Japanese-American internment had been a "grave injustice" that had been "carried out without adequate security reasons." In other words, the indefinite detention of Japanese-Americans during World War II was not only wrong, but unnecessary. more

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