On March 4, 2010, Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Joseph Liberman (I-Conn.) introduced “The Enemy Belligerent Interrogation, Detention and Prosecution Act of 2010” which if passed, could allow the US military to detain suspected domestic terrorists - without habeas corpus - for interrogation. Concerns are raised that the anti-terrorism policy is unconstitutional and bars US citizens from being read their rights, yet still be detained as a suspected terrorist and have any collected intelligence collected about them submitted to Congress.
As part of the bill, all defined "terrorist" attacks could be treated as an act of war rather as a criminal violation. A foreign national or US citizen “enemy belligerent” may even be considered “high-level detainees” and then held indefinitely.
As noted in this article published in the New American, the bill defines an "enemy belligerent as (Sec. 6, paragraph 9): “The term 'unprivileged enemy belligerent' means an individual … who (a) has engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners; (b) has purposely and materially supported hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners; or (c) was a part of al Qaeda at the time of capture.”
The language of the bill, yet to be numbered, further implies that any individual whether or not they have ties to al-Qaeda, or if the President considers appropriate, could be detained, as long as the individual or group appear to fit the definition of an "enemy belligerent."
As quoted in the New American article, “The level of potential for abuse here depends on how far it is possible to stretch the meanings of words and phrases such as engaged in hostilities or purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States,” which further raises the question of whether Tea Partiers, or any other extremist or governmental dissenting group, could be suspected under the newly introduced legislation.
Image "March 4" by Jessierocks courtesy of Creative Commons on Flickr.