If his cell were at Guantanamo Bay, the prisoner would be just one of hundreds of suspected terrorists detained offshore, where the U.S. says the Constitution does not apply.George Bush's America, ladies and gentlemen. A nation with a government possessing such powers cannot be described as Free. Time to call Boortz.
But Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri is a U.S. resident being held in a South Carolina military brig; he is the only enemy combatant held on U.S. soil. That makes his case very different.
Al-Marri's capture six years ago might be the Bush administration's biggest domestic counterterrorism success story. Authorities say he was an al-Qaida sleeper agent living in middle America, researching poisonous gasses and plotting a cyberattack.
To justify holding him, the government claimed a broad interpretation of the president's wartime powers, one that goes beyond warrantless wiretapping or monitoring banking transactions. Government lawyers told federal judges that the president can send the military into any U.S. neighborhood, capture a citizen and hold him in prison without charge, indefinitely.
UPDATE: I've gotten some objections over the fact that Mr. Al-Marri is not an American citizen. But back as far as 1896 the Supreme Court has reaffirmed the clear language of the 14th Amendment:
No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.Anyone within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States has constitutional rights. In fact, if you read the article, you find the following:
The fact that "US Person = US Citizen" is canon in our legal system. So much so that even the crazy-assed Bush Administration doesn't try to argue the point. Case closed.
"What you assert is the power of the military to seize a person in the United States, including an American citizen, on suspicion of being an enemy combatant?" Judge William B. Traxler asked.
"Yes, your honor," Justice Department lawyer Gregory Garre replied.