Enemy combatants are here

by rdan

The federal Appeals Court in Richmond, Virginia, ruled 5-4 on July 15 that Bush had the right, while prosecuting the “war on terror,” to hold Qatari citizen (and Peoria, Illinois, resident) Ali al-Marri indefinitely as an “enemy combatant.”

“A citizen, no less than an alien, can be an enemy combatant,” administration lawyer David B. Salmons told the Appeals Court in oral arguments on Feb. 1, 2007, adding that the courts cannot interfere with the President’s wartime judgments on such matters.

Salmons insisted that Bush is not interested in using this power too broadly, but argued that the judgment on whom is deemed an “enemy combatant” must solely be at the discretion of President Bush. [NYT, Feb. 2, 2007]

Did we miss something in the press and the election campaign? What is your stance?

WAPO reports on another aspect and example of reporting suspected activities:

Also included in the 46 pages of documents, obtained by the Maryland chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, is an account of an activist’s name being entered into a federally funded database designed to share information among state, local and federal law-enforcement agencies on terrorist and drug trafficking suspects.

ACLU attorney David Rocah said state police violated federal laws prohibiting departments that receive federal funds from maintaining databases with information about political activities and affiliations.

The activist was identified as Max Obuszewski. His “primary crime” was entered into the database as “terrorism – anti govern(ment).” His “secondary crime” was listed as “terrorism – anti-war protestors.” The database is known as the Washington-Baltimore High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, or HIDTA

Still, information about the protesters and their activities was sent to seven agencies, including the National Security Agency and an unnamed military intelligence official.

“Americans have the right to peaceably assemble with others of a like mind and speak out about what they believe in,” Mr. Rocah said. “For state agencies to spend hundreds of hours entering information about lawful and peaceful political activities into a criminal database is beyond unconscionable.

As mentioned in comments, the issue is the quote of the government lawyer supporting the case, and reveals intent and expectation to me. The decision was made on narrower ground but the supporting comment has not been removed.

Then we still have the expanding TLO training of first responders looking for terrorists and suspicious activity in training in Colorado as a beginning of new Homeland Security efforts.