DownsizeDC.org
November 30, 2011
Does the bill really do what we said it would?
By James Wilson

Some have challenged our contention that legislation pending in the Senate would allow the Feds to hold people indefinitely without trial. It's good that people have challenged us on this. We have reviewed the matter yet again, and we stand by our claims. This message explains why, and calls for URGENT action.

This is about Sections 1031 and 1032 in a defense spending bill. We have posted these sections on our blog so you can read them for yourself.  

The two sections seem to contradict each other. Some people, including some Senators, think that Section 1032 exempts Americans. But a more accurate rendering goes like this . . .

According to Section 1032, the military cannot indefinitely imprison citizens and legal resident aliens. But that doesn't mean some other law enforcement agency couldn't eternally jail citizens and resident aliens, because of the vague wording of Section 1031. How vague?

Section 1031(b)(2) "includ(es) ANY PERSON who has committed a belligerent act or has directly supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces."

What is a belligerent act? There have been more than 40 cases of alleged terrorist plots that were little more than entrapment, and not actual threats to the American people. The way we read it ANY of these entrapped people, AS WELL AS completely innocent people associated with them, could potentially be imprisoned without due process because of the vagueness of Section 1031. And Section 1032 has NOTHING to do with this, because it only deals with military custody.

Here's the thought to take away from this -- 1032 says the military can't kidnap citizens, but Section 1031 opens the door for other federal agencies to do so.

But even the supposed exemption from military detention isn't so clear cut. If a citizen or resident alien is arrested by the military, he or she may have great difficulty proving that they are a citizen or legal resident alien, because the habeas corpus burden on the military is weak, or perhaps non-existent.

It’s even more problematic that this bill was explicitly designed to permit the military to play a police function on American soil, even if it is only to arrest and hold alleged foreign "belligerents."

This is how we analyze the proposed legislation. But Senator McCain, one of the authors of this mess, goes even further. Consider the following exchange between him and Senator Rand Paul from the Senate floor . . .

MR. PAUL: My question would be, under the provisions, would it be possible that an American citizen could be declared an 'enemy combatant' and sent to Guantanamo Bay, and detained indefinitely?
 
MR. McCAIN: I think that as long as that individual, NO MATTER WHO THEY ARE, if they POSE A THREAT to the security of the United States of America, should not be allowed to continue the threat.

Our assessment is conservative compared to Mr. McCain's interpretation. Even so . . .

NONE OF THIS REALLY MATTERS.

What really matters is what people in the future will do with this law once it has passed. This consideration should make you very afraid. After all, just look at how closely your so-called government follows the Constitution, the supposed Supreme Law of the Land. They have taken every loophole or loose interpretation they could find and driven a freight train through it. And most of the rest they have simply ignored.

Do you really think the same thing WON'T happen with Sections 1031 and 1032? If so, do nothing. But if you agree with us then please send Congress a message now demanding that they remove these sections from the defense spending bill.

I'm sorry that we can't provide a sample letter. But honestly, I think this message needs to come from your heart. Make YOUR case.  

You can use our "I Am Not Afraid" campaign for this purpose. Here's the link: https://secure.downsizedc.org/etp/not-afraid/

But I want to ask you to take one more important action. Whether this bill passes or fails, the fight will continue. And the year is winding down. We need your support to keep meeting our year-end budget goal.

Pledges are also needed right now. And each new dollar pledged will be matched by Bill Haynes of CMI Gold & Silver.

Please go to our secure web page to invest in the self-defense of your liberty: https://secure.downsizedc.org/contribute/

And if you can't give now, then please think of one or two people who need to read this message, and encourage them, with a PERSONAL APPEAL, to join you in sending a message to Congress using Downsize DC's Educate the Powerful System.

Thank you for being a DC Downsizer,

Jim Babka
President
DownsizeDC.org, Inc.

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