Senator Joe Lieberman, who has announced that he will not be seeking reelection in 2012, seems to be taking advantage of his virtual lame-duck status by pushing for his most controversial piece of legislation yet: the Enemy Expatriation Act. The purpose of the legislation, as stated on the government website govtrack.us, is “to add engaging in or supporting hostilities against the United States to the list of acts for which United States nationals would lose their nationality.”
Press TV explains the inspiration of the act: “This act was in response to Obama’s assassination of a U.S. citizen [Anwar al-Awlaki] without formal charges or due process to, in effect, legalize such action by removing Constitutional protections of those suspected of supporting hostilities.”
The recently passed National Defense Authorization Act — which has declared American soil to be part of the “battleground” of the War on Terror — has alarmingly ramped up tyranny over the American people. The NDAA includes provisions that permit the U.S. military to arrest and indefinitely detain U.S. citizens on mere suspicion of supporting or sympathizing with “terrorists” — even as the definition of a terrorist is broadly defined. The NDAA basically undermines the benefits of American citizenship; however, just in case there were any opposition to such treatment of an American citizen, Lieberman’s Enemy Expatriation Act simply calls for the citizenship of any “hostile” individual to be stripped.
In legal terms, “hostilities” refers to any conflict subject to the laws of war; however, given that the War on Terror is highly ambiguous and all-encompassing, any action could be defined as “hostile” to the United States.
The NDAA also demonizes those who engage in “belligerent acts,” which could possibly include protests and speech. Section 1031(b)(2) of the NDAA defines “covered persons” as those who have “committed a belligerent act.” Those “belligerent acts” are not clearly defined in the NDAA, allowing much of its use to be discretionary. Such ambiguity could well mean that the Occupy Wall Street protesters or Tea Party members, for instance, could be deemed to be engaging in “belligerent acts” against the government.
President Obama issued a promise to the American people that the NDAA would not be used against American citizens, which may explain the introduction of the Enemy Expatriation Act to remove citizenship status from anyone targeted by the government.
Christopher Anders, senior legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, warned about these provisions prior to the bill’s signing:
The bill is an historic threat to American citizens and others because it expands and makes permanent the authority of the president to order the military to imprison without charge or trial American citizens.
After the bill was signed into law by the President, the ACLU remained uncomfortable with it:
President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law today. The statute contains a sweeping worldwide indefinite detention provision. While President Obama issued a signing statement saying he had “serious reservations” about the provisions, the statement only applies to how his administration would use the authorities granted by the NDAA, and would not affect how the law is interpreted by subsequent administrations.
[…] ACLU executive director Anthony D. Romero stated: “The statute is particularly dangerous because it has no temporal or geographic limitations, and can be used by this and future presidents to militarily detain people captured far from any battlefield.”
Lieberman has gained a reputation for advocating bills that permit the federal government to take on far more authority than it was originally intended to have. Another one of his “pets” is the Enemy Belligerent Act, which grants “the president the power to order the arrest, interrogation, and imprisonment of anyone — including a U.S. citizen — indefinitely, on the sole suspicion that he or she is affiliated with terrorism, and on the president’s sole authority as commander in chief.”
Lieberman’s Internet Kill Switch Bill, called the Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act, allows the President to censor and/or shut down parts of the Internet under a “cyber emergency.” During his campaign to push for the bill, Lieberman publicly called for the United States to censor the Internet in the same way as does China.
The all-encompassing reach of the NDAA has accomplished the purpose of the Internet Kill Switch bill, however, because it declares the Internet an “operation domain” in the War on Terror. This means that the Pentagon may be directed by the President to “conduct offensive operations in cyberspace,” authorizing more than just censorship of the Internet. The NDAA will fund the recruitment and training of cyber combatants to address the threat of cyber attacks.
Press TV said of Lieberman and his various bills:
How bad each of these bills are separately only reflects the magnitude of what Lieberman and his hawkish ilk were able to accomplish in the NDAA. No other elected official can claim the success of Lieberman in terms of ramming through increasingly tyrannical legislation. But nearly all elected officials are responsible for passing the NDAA and its predecessor the USA PATRIOT Act.
Although Lieberman’s Enemy Expatriation Act has already been introduced in the House of Representatives, the mainstream media refuses to cover it. That same failure to report was seen when the NDAA was being heavily debated in Congress, even as alternative media outlets were in a frenzy over its draconian provisions.
In the U.S. House, the Enemy Expatriation Act was introduced by Charles Dent (R-Penn.). He also posted a YouTube video about his proposed legislation, which as of this morning had garnered just a handful of likes and over a thousand dislikes.
Constitutionalists urge those angered by the possibility of the passage of the Enemy Expatriation Act to contact their Congressmen and Senators to let their voices be heard.