Allen West Argues Against Amendment to Ban Indefinite Detention of People Arrested on American Soil (Updated)

Categories: Wild, Wild West
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Allen West with a copy of the Constitution, which he says should not apply to anyone arrested on American soil accused of terrorism. UPI
Original post, 2:37 a.m.:
Legislation was considered late Thursday night to specifically ban the indefinite detention of persons detained on American soil on suspicion of terrorism.

It was an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013, and would settle the most controversial facet of the last NDAA bill, signed into law on New Year's Eve, which some say allows for American citizens to be indefinitely detained by military authorities.

The Smith-Amash Amendment discussed Thursday night would specifically ban that from happening, changing the law to say instead that anyone arrested in the U.S. under NDAA would receive due process in civilian court.

At 12:10 a.m. on May 18, Congressman Allen West took the floor in the House of Representatives and said the amendment should be shot down.

Though West said at the beginning of the year that the NDAA did not allow for indefinite detention of Americans, today he suggested that it did -- and that it was necessary.

He said "we're all on this battlefield" in the war on terror, and that he was opposed to extending constitutional protections to anyone accused of terrorism charges.

"I rise in opposition to this amendment," West said. "We cannot look to guarantee to those who would seek to harm us the constitutional rights that are granted to Americans."

The amendment was put forward by a bipartisan coalition of liberals and libertarians led by Michigan Republican Justin Amash and Washington Democrat Adam Smith, the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee on which West serves.

Debate on the floor earlier Wednesday revealed opposition from the right, including California Republican Rep. Buck McKeon, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, who said it was dangerous to limit the military's ability to prosecute terror suspects.

West has drawn ample fire from supporters for his vote in favor of the NDAA bill passed in December, and, despite West's early insistence to the contrary, a federal judge in New York blocked enforcement of the bill Wednesday after determining that "the vagueness of Section 1021 does not allow the average citizen, or even the government itself, to understand with the type of definiteness to which our citizens are entitled, or what conduct comes within its scope."

But given the opportunity to clarify -- and limit -- the legislation, West instead spoke out in the opposite direction.

After debate on a different NDAA amendment from McKeon, Smith rose to defend his.

"Our justice system works," Smith said Thursday night. "This is an extraordinary amount of power to give the president... This is our opportunity to repeal it."

Amash, who was elected alongside West in 2010 with strong support from the Tea Party, spoke in favor of the amendment as well.

"The frightening thing here is that the government is claiming the power under the Afghanistan authorization for use of military force as a justification for entering American homes to grab people, indefinitely detain them, and not give them a charge and a trial," Amash said. "That's the frightening thing. That's the thing that the Smith-Amash Amendment fixes."

West spoke next. Here are his complete remarks:
I rise in opposition to this amendment. I find it very interesting that back in 1942, when there were German Nazi saboteurs that were captured off the coast of Long Island, that they were prosecuted in a military commission. One of them was sentenced to 30 years' imprisonment; others were sentenced to death.

And I understand that this is a different type of battlefield that we're on. The 21st-century battlefield. We're all on this battlefield. No one would have ever thought that Major Malik Nadal Hasan [sic] would stand in Fort Hood, Texas and shoot 43 Americans, and 13 of those would be killed.

I find that we have to understand that we are at a war. We are not in a police action. We cannot look to guarantee to those who would seek to harm us the constitutional rights that are granted to Americans. If we extend that to them, then we are starting to say that this war on terror now is a criminal action. And I find it very interesting that a sponsor of this amendment is the Council for American-Islamic Relations [sic] that is a co-conspirator, unindicted co-conspirator for the largest terrorist financing-"
West was then informed that his allotted time had expired. He appeared to be winding down his remarks -- a generally accepted move on the floor -- but was instead interrupted by Smith saying, loudly, "Will the gentleman yield? Will the gentleman yield?"

"I don't have any time to yield to you," West said, and left the podium.

Smith, with the floor, then said, "I point out that only members of Congress are allowed to sponsor amendments."

Ultimately, Smith requested a recorded vote, which means final action on the amendment will be delayed. But West, we now know, will not support it.

The full text of the amendment is available online; in summary, it reworks the two most controversial segments of the NDAA, Sections 1021 and 1022.

In Section 1021, the amendment would insert two subsections: The first says anyone who is "detained in the United States, or a territory or possession of the United States" shall be immediately transferred to the U.S. court system "for trial and proceedings... Such trail and proceedings shall have all the due process as provided for under the Constitution of the United States."

The second subsection added to Section 1021 says, "No person detained, captured, or arrested in the United States, or a territory or possession of the United States, may be transferred to the custody of the Armed Forces for detention."

NDAA Section 1022 requires that foreign nationals detained under Section 1021 be held and prosecuted by the U.S. military, and provides the option for, but does not require, U.S. citizens to be detained by the military as well. The Smith-Amash Amendment would repeal that section entirely.

UPDATE, 10 a.m.: The Smith-Amash Amendment was just defeated 238-182. A different amendment on the issue from Texas Republican Louie Gohmert passed 243-173. That one clarifies but preserves the federal government's right of indefinite detention. Votes are not yet available online.

Also, we've posted (lousy) video of his statements on the House floor.

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26 comments
Matthew Blacker
Matthew Blacker

Good for Mr. West.  I wish he was running for President.The New Times is an advocate of anarchy and chaos.

FQS9000
FQS9000

 And a peaceful jihadist who has served his time living next to you.

riverrat69
riverrat69

You and West , two frightwing nutjob assholes, need to spend a long and inhumane sentence in an inhospitible unsafe American psyche ward. Frontal lobotomies for you both.

FQS9000
FQS9000

So the New Times is in favor of releasing killers of innocents for political reasons after they have served a short and humane sentence in a clean and safe American prison.

My fondest hope is that one of these jihadists blows up the school where the New Times editors sends their kids.

Jihadists are vermin.  They only thing they have the right to is extermination, like any other cockroach.

James Curto
James Curto

I hope these criminals have to answer for their crimes one day... Some of these crooks need to be deported! There are some good articles on http://www.martiallawusa.com about exactly how banksters and unscrupulous politicians are ruining our country... Take a look sometime; scary stuff!

Billy
Billy

AAAaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.... YOU CRAZY MOTHER FUCKER! Seriously? He's not serious. Are you serious?? What we'd essentially be saying here is, without a hearing, without a trial, without any form of checks in place, we would have the right to detain you indefinitely until we see fit.  And just because I'm a curious bastard, detain people in the name of... what exactly? The U.S.? Freedom? Fear? What you'd be doing is quite literally legally kidnapping and imprisoning  someone because you got a funny feeling in your tummy. At least right now we make up reasons to detain you, realize that without proof it's unethical to keep you, and release you.  I think, some people have ultimately forgotten what it means to "put yourself in their shoes".  I can honestly be making a God awful, terrible decision. As soon as I put myself in their shoes, I immediately think, WTF WERE YOU THINKING YOU ASSHOLE?! And then I form a new opinion.  Whatever.  No cure for stupid. KCCO

Lifelong Dem
Lifelong Dem

Midafternoon Friday update:

House Republicans ignored the requests of the generals and a White House veto threat today, passing their bloated defense spending authorization bill, 299-120.The bill breaks the spending agreement made last year as part of the Budget Control Act, and spends much more than thePentagon has asked for on programs it opposes.That includes: a new missile defense system on the east coast; keeping ships and aircraft that the Pentagon is trying to retire; rejecting the military's request for domestic base closings; and about $4 billion more than the administration and the Pentagon set as a spending limit.And there's more, including a ban on "same-sex marriages and 'marriage-like' ceremonies on military bases." Additionally, it includes "indefinite detention without trial of terrorism suspects, including U.S. citizens, captured on U.S. soil," despite a decision by a federal judgeissued yesterday to block implementation of indefinite detention as included in last year's National Defense Authorization Act.For these reasons, and more, the White House has said it will veto the bill.

Amistybleu
Amistybleu

t5his shitbag should be hung, drawn, and quartered

KennyPowersII
KennyPowersII

Someone needs to kick the Bully Boy's ass. West has very little respect, if any, for people in general, so it seems. He lives in this twisted hateful universe that he has made his private battleground. 

Dive
Dive

How is Obama doing on closing GITMO ?  (oh wait!)

-OTOH, if you are an american citizen, then you should get a trial, not a military tribunal. 

so I don't agree with West.

 

Pete Pepper
Pete Pepper

Wow, and I thought Romney flip flopped a lot. The criminal West has him beat!  And to think he an the rest of his tea bagger allies are supposed to be all about the Constitution.  Well, as long as your rich at least..everyone else can just suck it.

nanook5
nanook5

yep...tea baggers are all about the constitution.

Lifelong Dem
Lifelong Dem

Well, really, did anyone expect poor dumb Allen to take any other position besides the Cheney-Rumsfeld-Alberto Gonzalez position? The guy is a Nazi, so what did you expect?

riverrat69
riverrat69

Having any citizens of this country indefinitely detained by the military is the first step to a dictatorship. Allen West continues to voice the opinions of the asshole that he is.

Pete Pepper
Pete Pepper

 Reading was once considered fundamental in the days before tea baggers.  Seems like its a forgotten art form these days.

nanook5
nanook5

 pre-emptive lobotomies for everyone

Chaz Stevens, Genius
Chaz Stevens, Genius

What's wrong with being hung?  Speaking from experience, the dames appreciate my equipment.

chris
chris

Knock yourself out.  Or rather, West would knock you out.  That'd be a little sad, seeing a 50-something year old man beat up on an internet loudmouth.  Cmon man.  You have to be better than that.

Chaz Stevens, Genius
Chaz Stevens, Genius

Acutally, it is sad to admit you're right about the Gitmo thingy.

That's when I knew Change Wasn't Possible.

Fat Hand
Fat Hand

Remember when West said that 80 or so members of Congress were Communists and how that seemed like the stupidest thing in the world? You just beat him. Can't we leave the Nazis out of this?

FQS9000
FQS9000

 A typical liberal comment.  Petoid doesn't have anything intelligent to say , so he accuses Blacker of not being able to read.  This proves Blacker's point and demonstrates Petoid's utter lack of an argument.

Pete Pepper
Pete Pepper

 So the two of you have not a clue that your hero, the criminal West is advocating the imprisonment of Americans on American soil, forgoing that little piece of paper known as the Constitution.  And you make fun of me?  Wow the right fright wing tea baggers are completely delusional.

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