ACLU: “Nothing short of chilling”
Paul Joseph Watson
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
In the aftermath of Barack Obama’s Presidential Policy Directive which forbids controversial provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act from being used against lawful residents, a former architect of the infamous Bush torture program today testified in favor of indefinite detention for US citizens.
Following the release of a White House “fact sheet” which announced that “Section 1022 does not apply to U.S. citizens, and the President has decided to waive its application to lawful permanent residents arrested in the United States,” Steven G. Bradbury, former head of the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) in the United States Department of Justice under the Bush administration, testified today that the law should be applied to American citizens in order to deal with “homegrown terrorists”.
In his position as OLC head, Bradbury is widely acknowledged as one of the primary architects of the Bush torture program, having provided legal opinions that justified the kind of abuse that came to light in the aftermath of the Abu Ghraib scandal, which included torture by hanging, beating prisoners to death, raping women, and sodomizing detainees with batons and phosphorescent tubes.
Bradbury told a Senate Judiciary Committee that legislation which would limit the arbitrary application of indefinite detention provisions, the Due Process Guarantee Act, was dangerous because it would prevent US citizens labeled “enemy combatants,” from being interrogated by the military.
“If we capture on our soil a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident who is such an enemy recruit and has been actively involved in carrying out or otherwise aware of an unfolding plot by a foreign power against the United States, this proposed legislation could seriously impede our ability to gather critical intelligence from that combatant through military questioning,” Bradbury told the committee. “By requiring that criminal charges be brought against the detainee as a condition of this continued detention, the [Due Process Guarantee Act] would threaten to disrupt the practical opportunity to conduct such intelligence gathering.”
In response, Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), who voted against the NDAA, requested that Bradbury’s involvement with the Bush torture scandal be included in the record.
“It’s nothing short of chilling that the Senate Judiciary Committee would have as a witness one of the architects of the torture program,” American Civil Liberties Union legislative counsel Chris Anders told Raw Story. “This is a person who wrote several memos that provide legal justification for the torture program during the Bush administration, and wrote memos on how to try to circumvent legal protections that Congress had put in place to block the use of torture and abuse of detainees.”
“For Congress to be relying on someone who has shown so little disregard for the law that he would say that it’s legally okay to waterboard people and use other torture tactics against them is remarkable. It’s remarkable and it’s wrong.”
However, Sen. Lindsey Graham supported Bradbury’s position, arguing that “The homeland is part of the battlefield,” and that so-called enemy combatants, even if they are American citizens, should be treated as terrorists.
As we explained in our previous article, although Obama’s PPD on exempting Americans from being subject to indefinite detention represents a worthy victory for civil libertarians, it comes after the administration itself demanded such provisions be applied to US citizens in the first place.
It also provides no guarantee that a future administration, which could be in office in less than a year, will not use the ‘kidnapping provisions’ against US citizens. This is all the more reason to support efforts by states such as Virginia and Utah to repudiate the NDAA altogether.
Paul Joseph Watson is the editor and writer for Prison Planet.com. He is the author of Order Out Of Chaos. Watson is also a regular fill-in host for The Alex Jones Show and Infowars Nightly News.
This article was posted: Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 2:20 pm