SB.3081: The Enemy Belligerent Interrogation, Detention and Prosecution Act of 2010
You’re sitting in your yard enjoying a nice BBQ and maybe a few brews, telling your friends about your recently completed trip to the Middle East.
“It was fantastic. Just by coincidence, I got there as demonstrations broke out by citizens demanding representative government. Well, you know, I’m not into politics. I’m an archeology student. I managed to score appointments with the antiquities directors of both Egypt and Israel. And to my complete amazement, they both agreed to see me. I got some amazing pictures and they agreed to keep channels open for my further research.”
Just then, three men clearly overdressed for the weather, come into your yard. “Jerry Hamed?” one asks.
“Yeah, who are you?”
“Federal agents (CIA, FBI, Homeland Security), come with us.”
“What’s this all about?”
The men draw back their jackets exposing badges and guns.
“Put your hands behind your back. Let’s go.”
The four of them pile into a black SUV and were gone.
Hamed is full of questions but the agents tell him, “Shut up. We’ll ask the questions.”
At length, they pull into the underground garage of an unmarked building downtown. Hamed is taken to a bare room with cinderblock walls and told to wait there.
Two other men with military style haircuts enter and begin questioning him.
“Is this your real name?” “Have you ever used any other names?” “How many passports do you have?”
It turns out Hamed’s first name is Achmed and he has two passports.
“I changed my name when I got into school. Nobody could pronounce Achmed and the kids made fun of me. So I became Jerry. Is that what this is all about?”
“Tell us about your passports.”
“Look, you grab me out of my house, and you take me somewhere that I don’t know. You don’t have any ID, and you want me to answer your questions. Don’t I have a right to remain silent or something? I want a lawyer and I want to call my wife. I know my rights. When do I see a judge?”
“Look, kid, you’re in a lot of trouble. Now just keep quiet and speak when you’re spoken to. I’ll tell you this much, you’re being held under the new Enemy Belligerent Interrogation, Detention, and Prosecution Act. You have no right to remain silent. You’ll see a judge when our boss decides you will, if ever. You don’t get a lawyer, an indictment or even a trial. We get to hold you and interrogate you until we’re satisfied you aren’t a terrorist.”
“But, but, I’m an American citizen. The Constitution….”
“Quit your whining or I’ll give you something to whine about.”
The Enemy Belligerent Interrogation, Detention and Prosecution Act of 2010 is a real bill (SB 3081) in Congress. It was introduced last year by none other than our very own Sen. John McCain and Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla. Under it, any person, regardless of citizenship, can be held without a grand jury indictment, the right not to incriminate himself, speedy trial, indeed any trial at all.
What’s more, if the citizen is determined to be “a high-value detainee,” he is subject to trial before a military tribunal. This determination will be made by as yet unspecified members of Congress.
I understand the government is frustrated by the restrictions in the Constitution as applied to suspected terrorists. But one wonders if they have read it in the last 20 years. There is shockingly little distance between this bill and simply having some official in Washington declare a person an enemy of the state and order him killed.
If that’s what it takes to save our republic, then we really have little left to save.
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