Forget about the obvious violation of Constitutional rights that the recently-approved $662 billion Defense Authorization bill inflicts by allowing for indefinite military detention of United States citizens without formal charges or trial by a jury of peers, the justification for doing so just became more absurd. In the clip below, Rand Paul (R-KY) asks John McCain (R-AZ), “if an American citizen is declared an enemy combatant, could they be sent to Guantanamo Bay and detained indefinitely?”
To which McCain replied affirmative; “If they pose a threat to the security of the United States of America.” McCain claimed this new anti-American authority was needed because of the “facts” that “27% of detainees who were released get back into the fight.”
These so-called facts that McCain has repeatedly regurgitated have long been debunked.
A 2009 report (PDF) by Seton Hall Law Professor Mark Denbeaux found that DOD’s claim referring to GITMO detainees returning to the battlefield to be pure fiction.
“Once again, they’ve failed to identify names, numbers, dates, times, places, or acts upon which their report relies,” Denbaux said in a statement accompanying his report released.
“Every time they have been required to identify the parties, the DOD has been forced to retract their false IDs and their numbers. They have included people who have never even set foot in Guantánamo—much less were they released from there. They have counted people as ‘returning to the fight’ for their having written an Op-ed piece in the New York Times and for their having appeared in a documentary exhibited at the Cannes Film Festival. The DOD has revised and retracted their internally conflicting definitions, criteria, and their numbers so often that they have ceased to have any meaning—except as an effort to sway public opinion by painting a false portrait of the supposed dangers of these men.”
Denbaux also said that the Defense Department has admitted that “they do not track” former detainees. “Rather than making up numbers ‘willy-nilly’ about post release conduct, America might be better served if our government actually kept track of them,” he added.
Even according to the U.S. Government’s own figures, McCain is grossly exaggerating the number. In December 2010, Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, claimed that 13.5 percent (PDF) of former Guantanamo detainees are “confirmed” to have returned to the battlefield. Yet, even that figure was proven to be an outright fraud.
In January 2011, the New America Foundation, a non-partisan public policy think tank, released a report contradicting Clapper’s alarmist claims. The report found that if the Pentagon-released names can be believed, at best, only 6% of tortured and released detainees found their way back to the battlefield.
Clearly, the idea of indefinitely detaining American citizens in military prisons on the suspicion of being a “threat” to U.S. security is a gross violation of the principles on which America was founded. But what’s worse, is justifying such tyranny with outright lies and distortion. Even more disgusting, is McCain and other entrenched politicians know this and yet they continue their wickedness against the American people and the Constitution.