US Congress Is Quietly Abandoning Ship With The Fifth Amendment
Most people don’t think the government would withhold penicillin from a man with syphilis just to see what will happen, but they will.
You wouldn’t think the military would coerce young soldiers to expose themselves to nerve gas on purpose, but they will.
Few expected that President Obama would preside over the persecution of an NSA whistle-blower, or presume guilt on all military-aged males killed by U.S. drone strikes.
Nonetheless, it all happened.
Would you believe the US Government would imprison a man without trial or charges and ignore his due rights according to the US Constitution?
Current anti-terrorist measures are taking these rights away one by one and we are afraid to speak up.
Senator Dianne Feinstein tried to shoo away these concerns with an amendment:
“An authorization to use military force, a declaration of war, or any similar authority shall not authorize the detention without charge or trial of a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States apprehended in the United States, unless an Act of Congress expressly authorizes such detention.”
Charlie Savage, a journalist at the New York Times, has this to say on the subject:
“Lawmakers charged with merging the House and Senate versions of the National Defense Authorization Act decided on Tuesday to drop a provision that would have explicitly barred the military from holding American citizens and permanent residents in indefinite detention without trial as terrorism suspects, according to Congressional staff members familiar with the negotiations. “
Adam Serwer adds:
“Of the four main negotiators on the defense bill, only one of the Democrats, Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), opposes domestic indefinite detention of Americans. The Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator Carl Levin (D-Mich.), believes detaining Americans without charge or trial is constitutional, and only voted for the Feinstein amendment because he and some of his Republican colleagues in the Senate convinced themselves through a convoluted legal rationale that Feinstein’s proposal didn’t actually ban the practice. Both of the main Republican negotiators, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard ‘Buck’ McKeon (R-Calif) and Senator John McCain (R-Ariz) believe it’s constitutional to lock up American citizens suspected of terrorism without ever proving they’re guilty.”
Don’t let their lack of attention fool you — this is a scandal. US Congress has turned its back on preserving Constitutional protection and a centuries old requirement of Western justice.
The Fifth Amendment is dying.