Posts Tagged With: United States Constitution

Federal Judge In New York Blocks Indefinite Detension Of Americans Temporarily

Federal Judge In New York Blocks Indefinite Detention of Americans Temporarily

Plaintiff Jennifer "Tangerine" Bolen speaks to reporters during a news conference outside the Federal Court in Manhattan March 29, 2012 (Reuters / Mike Segar)

Plaintiff Jennifer “Tangerine” Bolen speaks to reporters during a news conference outside the Federal Court in Manhattan March 29, 2012 (Reuters / Mike Segar)

A US federal judge has temporarily blocked a section of the controversial National Defense Authorization Act that allows for the indefinite military detention of US citizens.

­In a 68-page ruling, US District Judge Katherine Forrest agreed on May 16th that the statute failed to “pass constitutional muster” because its language could be interpreted quite broadly and eventually be used to suppress political dissent.

“There is a strong public interest in protecting rights guaranteed by the First Amendment,” Forrest wrote, according to CourtHouseNews.Com. “There is also a strong public interest in ensuring that due process rights guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment are protected by ensuring that ordinary citizens are able to understand the scope of conduct that could subject them to indefinite military detention.”

The Manhattan judge therefore ruled in favor of a group of writers and activists who sued US officials, including President Barack Obama. They claimed that the act, which was signed into law on December 31, makes them fear possible arrest by US armed forces.

Among those who filed the complaint, Bloomberg reports, was former New York Times reporter Christopher Hedges. According to the journalist, NDAA would allow federal authorities to hold him in custody just for interviewing individuals who were detained on “suspicion of providing substantial support” to people engaged in hostilities against the US.

The order by Judge Forrest prevents the enforcement of the statute provision, pending further order of the court or an amendment to the statute by the US Congress.

Congress Still Okay With Indefinite Detention and Torture of Americans

Reuters / Jose Luis Magaua

Even after a federal court deemed the NDAA unconstitutional, the US House of Representatives refused to exclude indefinite detention provisions from the infamous defense spending bill during a vote on Friday 18 May.

An attempt to strike down any provisions allowing for the US military to indefinitely detain American citizens without charge from next year’s National Defense Authorization Act was shot down Friday morning in the House of Representatives.

Following discussions on an amendment to the 2013 NDAA that was proposed by Rep. Adam Smith (D-Washington) and Rep. Justin Amash (R-Michigan), House lawmakers opted against passing the law by a vote of 182-238. Had the Smish-Amash amendment passed, military detention for terror suspects captured in the US would have been excluded in the annual defense spending bill. Provisions that allows for that power, Sections 1021 and 1022, were inserted into the NDAA for Fiscal Year 2012. President Barack Obama signed that legislation on New Year’s Eve, essentially authorizing the US Armed Forces to detain Americans indefinitely at military facilities over only allegation of ties with terrorists and subject them to enhanced interrogation tactics on par with torture.

On Thursday night, Rep. Amash took to his Facebook page to address the amendment with his followers. “No matter how much I am slandered or my positions are demagogued, I will NEVER stop fighting to defend your liberty and the Constitution,” wrote the congressman.

Back on Capitol Hill, Rep. Amash circulated a document to his fellow lawmakers on Thursday outlining his proposed amendment. In urging his colleagues to vote yes on the Smith-Amash amendment, the representative from Michigan explained to Congress that the proposal would offer protection to non-citizens of the United States and is the only amendment up for discussion that would guarantee Americans a charge and trial.

Elsewhere in the paper, Rep. Amash harped on a decision out of a federal court earlier this week that ruled that the NDAA violated the US Constitution.

“Our constituents demand that we protect their right to a charge and a trial — especially after the NDAA was ruled unconstitutional this week,” wrote Rep. Amash.

That decision came Wednesday when United States District Judge Katherine Forrest shunned the NDAA’s indefinite detention provision, saying it had a “chilling impact on First Amendment rights.”

“An individual could run the risk of substantially supporting or directly supporting an associated force without even being aware that he or she was doing so,” wrote Judge Forrest, who then cited complaints for American journalists who were concerned that they’d be imprisoned without charge solely for speaking with alleged terrorists.

Attorney Carl Mayer represented the plaintiffs in this case and spoke with RT after Judge Forrest’s decision. Mr. Mayer revealed that while the Obama administration can — and most likely will — file an appeal, “we are suggesting that it may not be in their best interest because there are so many people from all sides of the political spectrum opposed to this law.”

Although that opposition has indeed been widespread since even before this year’s NDAA was signed by President Obama on December 31, it was absent on Capitol Hill this Friday when the Smith-Amash amendment was shot down.

Moments before the amendment went up for vote, Rep. Amash wrote on Facebook, “We know the NDAA’s detention provision is unconstitutional. The House will vote on one substantive solution.”

RT reported.

A  Federal Judge ruled on Wednesday 16 May that the indefinite military detention of American citizens, as allowed in the National Defense Authorization Act that President Barack Obama signed on December 31, 2011, is unconstitutional.

For now, American citizens will be excluded from the NDAA’s nasty laws that allow the government to detain persons with suspected ties to terrorist groups behind bars without ever pressing charges. Civilians the world over still face persecution, however, as the controversial legislation continues to allow for their imprisonment.

United States District Judge Katherine Forrest declared this week that the NDAA’s indefinite detention provision has a “chilling impact on First Amendment rights” and formally struck down the section of the legislation that allows for the government to imprison Americans for only supposed terrorist ties. Unless the law is further challenged, though, those outside the US still face the wrath of Uncle Sam for having only suspected links with anti-American forces.

Chris Hedges, a reporter with a career that spans stints with outlets such as National Public Radio and The New York Times, added his name to a lawsuit earlier this year challenging the legality of the NDAA. He was among the journalists and civilian activists who were instrumental in challenging the legislation in a court of law.

“I have had dinner more times than I can count with people whom this country brands as terrorists,” Hedges wrote earlier this year, “but that does not make me one.”

In her ruling this week, Judge Forrest appears to agree, writing, “In the face of what could be indeterminate military detention, due process requires more.”

“An individual could run the risk of substantially supporting or directly supporting an associated force without even being aware that he or she was doing so,” she added.

Although Judge Forrest’s ruling this week is without a doubt a milestone in terms of revoking the NDAA, her efforts are but only a start in terms of terminating the legislation. It does not rule out the possibility that the Obama administration will appeal her decision, either. Attorney Carl Mayer represented the plaintiffs in this case and tells RT that, although he expects the White House to appeal, “we are suggesting that it may not be in their best interest because there are so many people from all sides of the political spectrum opposed to this law that they ought to just say, ‘We’re not going to appeal.'”

In the meantime, though, Mayer says that Judge Forrest’s ruling is a major victory for American civil liberties.“The NDAA cannot be used to pick up Americans in a proverbial black van or in any other way that the administration might decide to try to get people into the military justice system. It means that the government is foreclosed now from engaging in this type of action against the civil liberties of Americans.”

For now, more than 6 billion citizens of foreign nations can still be handcuffed and hauled away to a military prison without ever being brought to trial. This week’s decision may protect Americans from that provision, but unfortunately does nothing to spare both foreign reporters and civilians from a life of imprisonment.

Hedges himself applauded the ruling, calling it “a tremendous step forward for the restoration of due process and the rule of law,” reports the Associated Press.

“Ever since the law has come out, and because the law is so amorphous, the problem is you’re not sure what you can say, what you can do and what context you can have, added Hedges.

The judge’s ruling comes, coincidentally, at the same time that the US House Armed Services Committee has passed next year’s National Defense Authorization Act. Congress is expected to begin voting on amendments for next year’s NDAA as early as this this week, but during Wednesday’s opening debates it was revealed that indefinite detention is already included once again in the bill.

Presidential hopeful and congressman, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), has signed his name to an amendment proposed by Rep. Adam Smith (D-Washington) and Rep. Justin Amash (R-Michigan) that will shoot down the indefinite detainment of anyone in the next NDAA.

“Hopefully we can be successful this week in clarifying this to make sure once and for all that we as a people don’t endorse the whole notion —which contradicts everything we should believe in — that we could be arrested and put in secret prisons,” said Rep. Paul.

“If we don’t change this, believe me, this country is in serious trouble.”

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Cadet Used Honor Code Position To Obtain Sexual Favors.

Cadet Used Honor Code Position To Obtain Sexual Favors.

Cadet Robert M. Evenson Jr. is alleged to have forcibly raped a female cadet in the spring of 2010. He’s also charged with breaking cadet regulations by having an ongoing relationship with a female freshman. He also is suspected of abusing his power position as a “cadet non-commissioned officer for honor cases” to extract sexual favors from a female fellow cadet. This is serious. He was charged with enforcing the Honor Code. He may have used it to supply gris for his mill. As one of the cadets entrusted with enforcing the Academy’s Honor Code, he would have been in a very coveted position. He was expected to punish those who lie, cheat, steal or tolerate others who do. Those who violate the Honor Code face a maximum punishment of expulsion from the Academy. Allegations of corruption in the Honor Code enforcement system will likely send shock-waves through the Cadet Corps and the Academy alumni. The Honor Code is the very touchstone of the Academy’s culture.

Who will watch the watchers? This exploitation of a power position was inevitable. It is as impossible to avoid detection indefinitely as it is to plans your own surprise birthday. This is probably not the first time this cadet has done this. It appears that he had momentum; that is, forward motion fueled by a series of wins.

Just what is the Honor Code. each of our military academies has an Honor Code or an Honor Concept. How do they differ? Read all about it in my book CONDUCT UNBECOMING an Officer and Lady. Read it for free in Kindle format at

https://www.amazon.com/author/cgachall.blogspot.com

The Coast Guard Academy Cadet Handbook (2010) tells the new cadet recruit that when you take the oath of office as a Cadet in the United States Coast Guard you begin your development as a commissioned officer in the Armed Forces of the United States. You will be expected to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States and to selflessly serve the American people.

In the Honor Concept there exists a higher standard of conduct that can neither be delineated by laws nor defined by regulations. It is the concept of Honor. Because Coast Guard cadets are called to a life of public service, and desire to attain that special trust and confidence which is placed in our nation’s commissioned officers, their actions must be straightforward and always above reproach. As future law enforcement officers, each cadet’s word and signature must be regarded as verification of the truth. The Coast Guard Academy’s Honor Concept is exemplified by a person who will neither lie, cheat, steal, nor attempt to deceive. It is epitomized by an individual who places loyalty to duty above loyalty to personal friendship or to selfish desire. While the Coast Guard Academy’s Honor Concept differs from a code, in that failure to report an honor offense is not itself an honor violation, cadets are required to report all activity that does not incriminate themselves. Moreover, the condoning of an honor violation is a Class I offense under the Cadet Regulations. Dis-enrollment is a very possible outcome. The Corps of Cadets are stewards of their Honor Concept.

At the center of their new world is adherence to a Concept or Cadet Honor Code to which they swear: “A cadet will not lie, cheat, or steal, nor tolerate those who do.” Their whole new world is shaped around these principles. This initially shapeless reality begins to form into principles of rigid honesty, loyalty to their fellow cadets, and respect for their classmates and all with whom they associate.

What is conduct unbecoming an officer and a lady? Does it violate the Honor Concept? Does conduct that violates the UCMJ constitute a higher standard than the Honor Concept? Times are changing so rapidly, one wonders if cadets and officers of today can be held to the same standards of conduct that were intended by the drafters of the UCMJ and the MCM promulgated in 1951? Not everyone can be expected to meet ideal moral standards, but how far can the standards of behavior of cadets and officers fall below contemporary community standards without seriously compromising their standing as officers and ladies? Have the changes in ethics and values of American society been reflected in the military?

Both the United States Military Academy and the United States Air Force Academy have adopted a Cadet Honor Code as a formalized statement of the minimum standard of ethics expected of cadets. Other military schools have similar codes with their own methods of administration. The United States Naval Academy, like the Coast Guard Academy, has a related standard, known as the Honor Concept.

The Cadet Honor Code at the Air Force Academy, like that at West Point, is the cornerstone of a cadet’s professional training and development — the minimum standard of ethical conduct that cadets expect of themselves and their fellow cadets. Air Force’s honor code was developed and adopted by the Class of 1959, the first class to graduate from the Academy, and has been handed down to every subsequent class. The code adopted was based largely on West Point’s Honor Code, but was modified slightly to its current wording:

We will not lie, steal, or cheat, nor tolerate among us anyone who does.

In 1984, the Cadet Wing voted to add an “Honor Oath,” which was to be taken by all cadets. The oath is administered to fourth class cadets (freshmen) when they are formally accepted into the Wing at the conclusion of Basic Cadet Training. The oath remains unchanged since its adoption in 1984, and consists of a statement of the code, followed by a resolution to live honorably:

We will not lie, steal or cheat, nor tolerate among us anyone who does.

Furthermore, I resolve to do my duty and to live honorably, so help me God.

Cadets are considered the “guardians and stewards” of the Code. Cadet honor representatives throughout the Wing oversee the honor system by conducting education classes and investigating possible honor incidents. Cadets throughout the Wing are expected to sit on Honor Boards as juries that determine whether their fellow cadets violated the code. Cadets also recommend sanctions for violations. Although the presumed sanction for a violation is di-senrollment, mitigating factors may result in the violator being placed in a probationary status for some period of time. This “honor probation” is usually only reserved for cadets in their first two years at the Academy. (Cadet Honor Code, from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Categories: Military Justice | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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