moderate_excess: (Angry Calvin)
I subscribe to the online edition of The New York Times. I don't always read every issue, but I try to when I have the time. Every so often I see an article which makes my blood run cold. The most recent one is from today's issue, and concerns the government's right to detain those it designates as 'enemy combatants' on an indefinite basis, without access to the rights guaranteed by our constitution, sometimes in solitary confinement, without bringing charges against them. Oh, sure, some say, we need to be able to do that with the most dangerous people, where bringing out the evidence against them would reveal classified sources and information and is thus against the interests of National Security. I can see where some people would buy that. But the most chilling thing in this article is the administrations definition of 'enemy combatant'. Here is the end of the article, showing the dangerous way these people think, and how it threatens all of us and our safety and freedoms.

Combine this attitude with the recent arrest of a woman for not showing her identification on a public bus, Papers Please and you can hear the jackboots getting louder and closer. Exactly what has to happen before we, the people, realize that this is no longer the land of the free?

In Terror Cases, Administration Sets Own Rules

Published: November 27, 2005


In Mr. Hamdi's Supreme Court case last year, the four justices who joined Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's controlling opinion used a narrow definition of "enemy combatant," saying, at least for purposes of that case, that it meant someone "carrying a weapon against American troops on a foreign battlefield."

The government has proposed a much broader definition.

"The term 'enemy combatant,' " according to a Defense Department order last year, includes anyone "part of or supporting Taliban or Al Qaeda forces or associated forces."

In a hearing in December in a case brought by detainees imprisoned in the naval facility in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, a judge questioned a Justice Department official about the limits of that definition. The official, Brian D. Boyle, said the hostilities in question were global and might continue for generations.

The judge, Joyce Hens Green of the Federal District Court in Washington, asked a series of hypothetical questions about who might be detained as an enemy combatant under the government's definition.

What about "a little old lady in Switzerland who writes checks to what she thinks is a charitable organization that helps orphans in Afghanistan but really is a front to finance Al Qaeda activities?" she asked.

And what about a resident of Dublin "who teaches English to the son of a person the C.I.A. knows to be a member of Al Qaeda?"

And "what about a Wall Street Journal reporter, working in Afghanistan, who knows the exact location of Osama bin Laden but does not reveal it to the United States government in order to protect her source?"

Mr. Boyle said the military had the power to detain all three people as enemy combatants.


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