Thursday, December 1, 2011

Martial Law to become offical in all but name

Corporate media is once again failing us by largely ignoring a significant new war on terror related advance in the development of the American police state.

The Senate Armed Services Committee behind closed doors, approved an amendment offered by Senators Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) to the National Defense Authorization Act the stated purpose of which was to declare everywhere in the world, including within the United States, the "battlefield" of the war on terror and, therefore, subject to the use of military force as specified in the Authorization for Use of Military Force. Without calling it such, the Levin-McCain provision effectively establishes martial law. What has already been held, however wrongly, to be lawful for capture and treatment of detainees abroad, including US citizens, under the AUMF would then also be explicitly authorized at home. This includes indefinite detention of anyone simply accused, without judicial review, of support of terror. It potentially also includes Bush-Cheney style "enhanced interrogations" if the president so decides since it is only current Obama Administration policy, not new legislation or court rulings, that forbids their resumption. (Of course they were really illegal all along but it is hard to hold a "wartime" president to the law as long as war hysteria prevails in Congress and among many in the public).

There was one important article in the WaPo authored by Senator Mark Udall (D-Colo.) who was offering an amendment to strike the Levin-McCain provision, replacing it with a call for further study. but even that was disheartening in its non-prominent placement, weak commenting response, lack of related news and commentary and even its content. It appears that Senator Udall is less concerned with the assertion of government power to violate Constitutional protections than that the provision would be administratively burdensome. I doubt, however, that the weakness of his argument was the reason his amendment was voted down on a lopsided 60-38 vote.

The police state has political momentum driving its accelerating development. Most in Congress want to be firmly in line with the trend if not in the forefront. Special interests have grown that benefit from it, past over-heated rhetoric resists being retracted and fear of being denounced as unpatriotic, even as a traitor, for objecting to it prevails. Indeed, this latest atrocity largely codifies powers already claimed under some interpretations of current law such as the "Patriot" Act. We are most likely on one of those slippery slope slides that cannot be halted before reaching the bottom.

UPDATE: Thanks to a veto threat, the mainstream media has begun to pay more attention to the Levin-McCain addition to the Defense funding bill, but not because of its assertion of power to violate our constitutional rights. No, its because it has become a government insider process story with the Whitehouse and Congress squabbling over the division of that power between them.

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