The Trump Administration is Holding an American Citizen Without Charge or Trial

By Derrick Broze

Civil liberties advocates are worried about the fate of an American citizen accused of fighting for ISIS in Syria who has been held for almost two months in a secret Iraq prison without access to a lawyer.

The American Civil Liberties Union is fighting to represent an American man who has been accused of fighting alongside the Islamic State in Syria. The U.S military has been detaining the American citizen at a secret prison in Iraq without access to a lawyer or even releasing his name to the public. He has been labeled an “enemy combatant” by the Trump administration despite a lack of evidence to brings charges against the man.

The ACLU reports:

We went to court asking a judge to protect the citizen’s constitutional rights, including the right not to be imprisoned without charge and the right to challenge his detention in court. The Trump administration has told the court that it doesn’t have to respect these essential due process rights.

The Washington Post recently revealed that the man was captured in Syria on September 12. He reportedly surrendered to a rebel group in Syria before being give to the U.S. military. According to The Washington Post, as told by anonymous “officials familiar with the case,” the Justice Department does not believe they have enough evidence to bring charges against him. However, if the military does not charge him they will face legal challenges. The ACLU is attempting to lead the way, but the organization is facing heavy push-back from the military.

“A Defense Department spokesman, Air Force Maj. Ben Sakrisson, said last week that the government continues to withhold the detainee’s identity and circumstances because ‘it’s still an ongoing operation'”, the Post reports. “Asked to elaborate, he said, ‘there are still a number of U.S. agencies looking at the circumstances of how he came to be detained’ and what should happen to him now.”

The anonymous officials told the Post the man has been questioned by “an interagency interrogation team” and the FBI. The suspect apparently refused to answer questions and has requested a lawyer.

He was then read his Miranda rights, and he again refused to cooperate and repeated his demand for a lawyer, according to people familiar with the case. An additional complication emerged — web postings suggested he may have done some reporting in Syria as opposed to being a fighter, these people said. But U.S. officials are skeptical of the idea that he is a journalist, they said.

The man now stands in legal limbo. The U.S military seems lacking in evidence to charge him, and it is unlikely an Iraqi court would charge him. However, if he is returned to Iraq he will likely face torture and/or unfair trial. The Post notes that current U.S. law prohibits releasing a suspect to a country where they are likely to face torture.

The ACLU says the Pentagon and Department of Justice have ignored their requests for access to the U.S. citizen so they could advise him of his rights and offer him legal representation. The ACLU says they worry because the man “is facing grave threats to his liberty and possibly his life.” The Trump administration continues to oppose allowing anyone access to the man. As the ACLU notes, “even George W. Bush’s attorney general and former federal district court judge, Michael Mukasey, ruled that the government’s national security interests cannot override an American citizen’s right to a lawyer.”

The Trump administration is indeed taking a dangerous step towards the complete erosion of civil liberties and protections from violations. It has not been stated by the DOJ or the U.S. military, but it is possible that this man is being held under section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the annual military budget. Many of you may remember that the NDAA 2012 contained the controversial section 1021 and 1022, provisions which allowed indefinite detention of American citizens without a right to trial if they are suspected of terrorism.

President Obama signed the bill in late 2011, making a special note in his presidential signing statement. “Moreover, I want to clarify that my Administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens,” Obama wrote. Obama said his administration would interpret section 1021 as complying with the Constitution and other applicable law. However, the fear of many activists at the time was that another president might come along and decide to make use of this section 1021 to detain and imprison activists or journalists accused of “terrorism” or “extremism.” Perhaps, someone like Donald Trump?

As of the most recent version of the NDAA 2018, the indefinite detention provision is still contained in the most recent version of the NDAA 2018. It has passed the House and the Senate and will make its way to Trump’s desk soon to be signed into law. Is it possible that the Trump administration has been holding this American citizen under this particular provision? Whatever mechanism the U.S. is using to hold this man, it is wrong. He deserves a lawyer, a day in court, and judgement by a jury of his peers. Nothing less.

Derrick Broze is an investigative journalist and liberty activist. He is the Lead Investigative Reporter for and the founder of the Follow him on Twitter. Derrick is the author of three books: The Conscious Resistance: Reflections on Anarchy and Spirituality and Finding Freedom in an Age of Confusion, Vol. 1 and Finding Freedom in an Age of Confusion, Vol. 2

Derrick is available for interviews. Please contact

This article may be freely reposted in part or in full with author attribution and source link.

Image Credit: Getty/ The Daily Beast

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19 Comments on "The Trump Administration is Holding an American Citizen Without Charge or Trial"

  1. “The Trump administration has told the court that it doesn’t have to respect these essential due process rights.”

    Do tell.

    Trump talks a good game, but at the end of the day, he is just another swamp denizen. Trump is doing a leisurely backstroke in the swamp while he has gone stark-raving insane with his militarism. We are talking about a monster who launched a sneak attack on the sovereign government of Syria. We are talking about a monster who is murdering untold numbers of civilians with drones.

    We can’t afford to have another war-monger asshole in the Whitehouse. It’s really time to remove this federal political machine from our country — it’s well past being reformed.

  2. Vicki Grover Trinity | November 7, 2017 at 8:29 pm | Reply

    If anyone believes Obama cared about Civil Rights or the Constitution (just like his predecessors going back 50 years), you are in denial. NDAA anyone?

  3. If you understand ISIS has been an ally of the US, Israel, and Saudi Arabia this entire affair stinks to high heaven. They probably have this guy locked up for fear he might expose the truth about what the US is doing over there.

    • You are right on. Follow the MONEY.

    • makes the most sense – wikileaks was a drip, this would/could be the storm water drain falling apart

    • Look closer. Former USArmy, Psychological Operations officer, Scott Bennett documented that ISIS is funded by thousands of secret, CIA bank accounts with the Swiss bank. See “My Story” for details. Veteranstoday dot com established that ISIS in Iraq was commanded by the MOSSAD. Variously documented is that ISIS wounded have been treated in Israeli field hospitals and in clinics in Israel. Netanyahu stated that “Israel” was proud to conduct a humane assistance program for wounded soldiers, disguising support for MOSSAD operatives and terrorist soldiers of Israel. ISIS has been the proxy army of the CIA/MOSSAD.

    • Not just an ally but the spawn of.

  4. Is this about the first star US Marine’s General Marine Brig. Gen. John Baker being held in prison for disobeying orders?

  5. Army deserter “Bowe Bergdahl lived 5 years with “Taliban allies” and was released to US forces live and in decent health?” Who is supposed to believe this fairy tale? And yet, Bergdahl received no prison time, but a dishonorable discharge that he plans to appeal? Who is funding his attorney(s)? How does Bergdahl have any money? A US Army deserter is worth 5 ISIS leaders to the foreign alien, alias Barrack H. Obama ?
    There is a great deal of missing information about this situation.

  6. Let him go with a Non Disclosure signed…. But, no trial is not cool…. If you are going to hold him, then do the right thing and allow a lawyer and a trial…. Or, let him go after he signs a Non Disclosure agreement….

  7. If he is being “indefinitely detained” then thanks for that should go to one Barack H. Obama for signing the 2011 NDAA with the unconstitutional Section 1021 in it… that allows the executive branch to repeal Due Process from American Citizens.

  8. Well we knew eventually that a test case would come along but it appears that this situation can’t even be challenged on Constitutional grounds if you can’t get the case into a court. This is serious shit as the thin end of the wedge, that fat end being the indefinite detention without a proper trail of anyone designated a ‘terrorist’, foreign or more chillingly a ‘domestic terrorist.”

    • NDAA in action and the majority of propagndized American voter stooges just let it pass into official status decades ago and never raised a hue and cry,neither did the ACLU, when it was approved to continue….

  9. Meet the new boss – same as the old boss!
    The Who

  10. “Whatever mechanism the U.S. is using to hold this man, it is wrong.”

    Combatants, not in uniform, nor under a national banner, are not afforded the same formal privileges as a soldier. He has also presumably lost his claim to citizenship.

    If you want to be a responsible freethinker, you still have to acknowledge how
    you trigger other people, no matter how deluded you think they are.

    If you’re sincerely skeptical of the govt fairytale, then, you don’t take a side, in this discussion, under the force of arms.

  11. Guess that is the BUSH-OBAMA NDAA in action. Under that act an individual can be held indefinitely without charges or representation. Where was the commie ACLU when this act was first passed then renewed…
    Can’t blame Trump he is just acting under an established, congressional approved, Bush-Obama edict…LOL

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