U.S. Says Americans Are MILITARY Targets in the War on Terror … And that the Prez Alone Can Decide Who Is a Target

George Washington's picture

As everyone realizes by now, Congress' push for indefinite detention includes American citizens on American soil. As Huffington post notes:

The debate also has left many Americans scratching their heads as to whether Congress is actually attempting to authorize the indefinite detention of Americans by the military without charges. But proponents -- led by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and Carl Levin (D-Mich.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee -- say that is exactly what the war on terror requires. They argued that the bill simply codifies precedents set by the Supreme Court and removes uncertainty, which they said would better protect the country.

Here is John McCain justifying sending Americans to Guantanamo:

And see this.


(As Emptywheel and Gleen Greenwald note, the White House has believed for many years that it possessed the power to indefinitely detain Americans. See this, this, this and this.)

But that's not all.

The government can also kill American citizens. For more than a year and a half, the Obama administration has said it could target American citizens for assassination without any trial or due process.

But now, as shown by the debates surrounding indefinite detention, the government is saying that America itself is a battlefield.

AP notes today:

U.S. citizens are legitimate military targets when they take up arms with al-Qaida, top national security lawyers in the Obama administration said Thursday.


The government lawyers, CIA counsel Stephen Preston and Pentagon counsel Jeh Johnson ... said U.S. citizens do not have immunity when they are at war with the United States.

Johnson said only the executive branch, not the courts, is equipped to make military battlefield targeting decisions about who qualifies as an enemy.

The courts in habeas cases, such as those involving whether a detainee should be released from the Guantanamo Bay detention facility in Cuba, make the determination of who can be considered an enemy combatant.

You might assume - in a vacuum - that this might be okay (even though it trashes the Constitution, the separation of military and police actions, and the division between internal and external affairs).

But it is dangerous in a climate where you can be labeled as or suspected of being a terrorist simply for questioning war, protesting anything, asking questions about pollution or about Wall Street shenanigans, supporting Ron Paul, being a libertarian, holding gold, or stocking up on more than 7 days of food. And see this.

And it is problematic in a period in which FBI agents and CIA intelligence officials, constitutional law expert professor Jonathan Turley, Time Magazine, Keith Olbermann and the Washington Post have all said that U.S. government officials “were trying to create an atmosphere of fear in which the American people would give them more power”, and even former Secretary of Homeland Security – Tom Ridge – admitst hat he was pressured to raise terror alerts to help Bush win reelection.

And it is counter-productive in an age when the government - instead of doing the things which could actually make us safer - are doing things which increase the risk of terrorism.

And it is insane in a time of perpetual war. See this, this, this and this.

And when the "War on Terror" in the Middle East and North Africa which is being used to justify the attack on Americans was planned long before 9/11.

And when Jimmy Carter's National Security Adviser told the Senate in 2007 that the war on terror is “a mythical historical narrative”. And 9/11 was entirely foreseeable, but wasn't stopped. Indeed, no one in Washington even wants to hear how 9/11 happened, even though that is necessary to stop future terrorist attacks. And the military has bombed a bunch of oil-rich countries when it could have instead taken out Bin Laden years ago.

As I noted in March:

The government’s indefinite detention policy – stripped of it’s spin – is literally insane, and based on circular reasoning. Stripped of p.r., this is the actual policy:

  • If you are an enemy combatant or a threat to national security, we will detain you indefinitely until the war is over
  • But trust us, we know you are an enemy combatant and a threat to national security

See how that works?

And - given that U.S. soldiers admit that if they accidentally kill innocent Iraqis and Afghanis, they then “drop” automatic weapons near their body so they can pretend they were militants - it is unlikely that the government would ever admit that an American citizen it assassinated was an innocent civilian who has nothing at all to do with terrorism.

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ejhickey's picture

i am going to Target tonight. going to pick up a "Target" T shirt.  want to everthing I can to help my government.   

VT_Republic's picture

"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.” -- Thomas Paine

Racer's picture
"And that the Prez Alone Can Decide Who Is a Target"

then he is a murderer if he can condemn a person to death without trial

navy62802's picture

Americans were military targets on 9/11. What does this change?

jack stephan's picture

John Herod: All I hear from you, you spineless cowards, is how poor you are; how you can't afford my taxes. Yet somehow, you managed to find the money to hire a gunfighter to kill me. If ya got so much money, I'm just gonna have to take some more. Because clearly some of you haven't got the message! This is my town! I run everything! If you live to see the dawn, it's because I allow it! I decide who lives and who dies! 

sound familiar?

The Heart's picture

How to recall all senators that voted for the detention bill:


If your state does not allow for recall, sue them for civil rights violations and the suspected future damages they will do to you if you do not like the way they smirk or something.


cranky-old-geezer's picture



(1) Detention under the law of war without trial until the end of the hostilities authorized by the Authorization for Use of Military Force.

And you happen to die from torture, disease (poisoning), malnutriion, starvation, a guard's rifle butt to your head (or bullet (accidentally fired) in your head), before such trial ever occurs, oh well, shit happens, we're not responsible.

Still denying FEMA (concentration / death) camps exist?

What do you think this legislation is for?

Money 4 Nothing's picture

Yesterday's conspiricy is tommorows headlines. It's called REX-84 and Operation Garden Plot, some of Olley North's handy work from back in the day.

f16hoser's picture

This is what our idiot politicians are afraid of:




Ron Paul is the only candidate talking about this. The 25 minute point is scary.

f16hoser's picture

McCain is a fucking moron hiding behind the very military he claims to love so much. In the end, he will rob their wealth and retirement pensions. Wake the fuck up people. See these criminals (DEMS/REPUB) for who they are. McCain, take your Geritol and go home. You senile fuck head.

IQ 101's picture

Is he senile? he managed to crash 5 aircraft during his glorious military career, if I remember rightly.

The grandson of an admiral and the son of an Admiral, he managed to

come bottom of his class and still get the Glam Piloting job he wanted, and fucked up so badly.

I will give him this, he has balls, but for crying out loud, he is a comedy skit in a Jerry Lewis movie, not a competent individual.

How the fuck can Harry Reid and Jonny Mc Lame exist ?

You have got to be shitting me!

Is not the authorship of this bill, grounds for a treason trial ?

He is an argument for abortion, and a confounding thought in reference to the good folk of Arizona who have stood up while the east ,west and south go gay, seriously, who voted for this guy ?

And Napolitano (Janice) came out of AZ too, if I remember rightly,

Are they sisters, this is getting wqeird, whats next, Jane Fonda marries

Archie Bunker!

lasvegaspersona's picture

Poor John McCain has forgotten how to answer a question... he does know how to answer the wrong question.

One can easily see his contempt for Paul as he answers but then goes on to discuss a completely different topic.....time to put on the pjs and take a nap old man, you served your country well but now you are embarrassing yourself and us.

MobBarley's picture

No one here among the readership of ZeroHedge is surprised by any of this in the least,

and as a matter of fact, every last reader of ZeroHedge and just about every other

publication in any language on earth has been expecting this along with much much

more. Frankly, that Mordor is winning the battle for middle earth is well understood

by most Hobbits, Humans, Orks, and even the Tree People.

 The only hope is for Frodo to deliver the Rothchild King Solomon magic ring to

the fires of Eskador for decasting.



4horse's picture



                                    step   .   .   .



              turned soviet







and, like, nobody could have forseen, like wuz you surprised

DosZap's picture

Personally I have no issues with Americans being included as TARGETS, if they are indeed helping, aiding and abetting Al Queda, or the Taliban.(this ineed makes them enemies of the state,and  enemy combatants).

Where I have an issue is the LOSS of our GUARANTEED rights,rights to counsel, trial by Jury, innocent until proven guilty,and we ALL know that Legislation such as this ALWAYS goes to the extreme.(this will wind up being used against any Militia group, or group separated from society by choice, that want to just be LEFT alone.(they cannot stand for this).

Take the RICO ACT,created for ONE reason, now used for anything and everything.

Countless others.

Give them an inch, and they take a mile.

MobBarley's picture

I love your post. It's PERFECT.

Your support for the war on terror is much appreciated, Comrade,

Your loyalty to Dear Leader and the party line is a shining example

of our New Bright Future. The Taliban, as you know, being of religiously

inspired moral character was opposed to the opium we all love so much,

and really, aren't we entitled to the finest opium on the planet?

In large abundant quantities of course! We are America, and our

insatiable lust for drugs is paramount. Again, thank you for

voicing your support for killing American Citizens on American Soil!

Really, it is much appreciated. You do well, young Anakin Skywalker.

Your personal geniune 14k gold filled Nobel Peace prize is assured.


Darth..Putter's picture

Is there a way of shorting the elderly and disabled?

DosZap's picture

I feel another Operation Phoenix coming.

Zero Govt's picture

Crap isn't it?

And to think YOU fund it (you pay tax yes?)

So here's the easy route. You want to stop US State terrorism, stop funding US terrorism....

Stop Paying Your Taxes all you Sponsors of State Terrorism (ie. taxpayers)

Zero Tax = Zero Govt

Gringo Viejo's picture

I'm one of those living anachronisms that believes I have been "endowed by my CREATOR with certain unalienable rights." According to Blacks Law Dictionary, UNALIENABLE is defined as that which cannot be sold. I'm in my 60s......let me be and I'll go quietly. Push me and I'll push back..........hard.

el Gallinazo's picture

Since the NATO supported fighters in Libya against Gadaffi were largely al Qaeda who were previously attacking American soldiers in Iraq, I think the Prez should throw the entire CIA and NATO command in Gitmo.  They certainly qualify under all the categories in the bill.  The expansion of Gitmo would be a good jobs bill as well.  Might have to annex a bit more of Cuba though, but I imagine the Castro Bros wouldn't object if the Koch Bros explained it to them.  OTOH, this move poses some risk.  Look what happened to JFK for firing Allan Dulles.


The reputation of the agency and its director declined drastically after the Bay of Pigs Invasion fiasco, and Dulles and his staff (includingDeputy Director for Plans Richard M. Bissell, Jr. and Deputy Director Charles Cabell) were forced to resign in September 1961. President Kennedy reportedly said he wanted to "splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it into the winds."[18]

SAT 800's picture

I've always assumed that this had something to do with the one indvidual madman who shot him in the front of his head from behind his car out of the sixth floor window of the Texas School Book depository; with three rifles. or whatever.

Beancounter's picture

I wonder if Chris Matthews is getting a thrill up his leg. 

Money 4 Nothing's picture

Update: 12:00


According to Govt track S 1867 has passed 97ayes, 7 nays.
It will now move to the house for a vote. Also the house has it's own bill; H.R. 1540.


flacorps's picture

In January of 1775 the people of the Carolina colony, including my ancestor Dennis Hankins, were asking the king's man, Mr. Bull, to allow the General Assembly to meet in order that the public's will could be carried out.


By July, 1776 the time for asking was over. What came after that was full of hardship, and after 1913's Jekyll Island skullduggery we were again largely under London's yoke.

Many poeple agree with the proclamation of justice Robert H. Jackson in the Terminello decision that "the Constitution is not a suicide pact." In so doing, they fail to examine their own history. The Declaration of Independence explicitly was a suicide pact, pledging "lives and sacred honor." And the Constitution itself flowed from that document, binding all living under it to the same principles.

How far are you personally willing to take your disagreement with your government's subservience to Wall Street, K Street, the CFR, the Trilateral Commission, the Bilderberg Group, the UN, the IMF, the World Bank, the flexians or whatever you want to call the apparatus that has supplanted Constitutional limited government? If you are willing to take it to the lengths necessary to displace the aforementioned usurpers, then by their definition you are a terrorist.

David Rockefeller said he wore proudly the accusations made against him that he was working against the interests of the U.S. and for a one world government.

Can you be cowed by someone whose aims you detest applying an epithet to you that you know does not describe you, whether it's terrorist, anti-semite, paranoid, conspiracy theorist, militiaman, or the like?

VT_Republic's picture

But what do we mean by the American Revolution? Do we mean the American war? The Revolution was effected before the war commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people; a change in their religious sentiments, of their duties and obligations...This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people was the real American Revolution. John Adams, letter to H. Niles, February 13, 1818

onthesquare's picture

When one continues to stand on estblished principles even when they become inconvenient then they truely are men of principles.  That is the true test.

Flammonde's picture

There is a limit to the application of democratic methods. You can inquire of all the passengers as to what type of car they like to ride in, but it is impossible to question them as to whether to apply the brakes when the train is at full speed and accident threatens.


flacorps's picture

But is the looming juggernaut merely an airblown inflatable cunningly placed by your minions?

f16hoser's picture

US Politicians participating in "Insider Trading" is an act of terrorism. Good thing they can write the laws to protect them directly. VOTE THESE FUCKERS OUT OF OFFICE NOW! Or reap your stupidity. Simple really.

High Plains Drifter's picture



kapner talks about possible martial law.    he of all people should know his own people. 

whstlblwr's picture


In case anyone here doesn't know already, HPD is creepy racist.

Penniless Pauper's picture

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<!-- @page { margin: 0.79in } P { margin-bottom: 0.08in } -->

So your okay with Joseph Lieberman being in charge of Homeland Security?  The same Joseph Lieberman who is a Dual Israel/US citizen.  You do realize he has taken an Oath to put Israel first in front of the US. kind of a conflict of interest if you ask me.



my puppy for prez's picture

Come get me, Chairman MaObama!

my puppy for prez's picture


Dollar Bill Hiccup's picture

If the President can declare a US Citizen an enemy combatant and detain that citizen without a legal warrant indefinitely then the President is no longer a President, he is a King. The President is beholden to upholding the constitution. The King is not.

randomdrift's picture

A plan to make the US competative in the global market place:

 "(b) Applicability to United States Citizens and Lawful Resident Aliens-

(1) UNITED STATES CITIZENS- The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to citizens of the United States.

 (2) LAWFUL RESIDENT ALIENS- The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to a lawful resident alien of the United States on the basis of conduct taking place within the United States, except to the extent permitted by the Constitution of the United States."


b1 seems to be a pretty explicit exclusion but b2 could be used to round up illegal aliens and put them in detention camps as slave labor.
Darth..Putter's picture

The relief from a requirement to do something is not the same as being prohibited from doing something.  The constitution's 6th amendment prohibits such an imprisonment of PERSONS regardless of nationality or citizenship.  The Fascist approach is exactly the same regardless of Hilter or Stalins abscence.

Money 4 Nothing's picture

Here is a piece I wrote on our blog site yesterday, my perspective, you may find it interesting comming from someone who has been there and done that.



Anyone can be labled Al CIAda once the USA is deemed a "Battlefeild", it's done overseas to validate occupation and or firing on civillians (accidental or not) in their own neighborhood = AKA Residents, labled sometimes to justify a "Bad Kill".

Expanding on this, "We rolled into a small Neighborhood in Bagram, meet armed resistance and was found to be an Al CIAda stronghold" When it was only residence defending their town, (They are not uniformed soldiers and neither are you) see? Sick, I know, but this is how it works and there will be no destinction drawn between a battlefeild overseas or USA soil not if, but when this vote passes today, and it will. Thanks Glen, Alex Jones is suddenly making sense. Stewart Rhodes does all the time 24/7, RTI rubbing off?

Thank you Stewart and Alex for covering my six on that Bill vote, the Publication I read was "The S-1867 Bill passed", but, what passed was the vote of "confidence" of S-1867 to ensure expeditial passage checking for political resistance and those Oath bound Senators, mainly Republican I might add.. folded like lawn chairs to the Fascist will of the Administration, like ususal. It was a trial balloon so to speak, these test votes are done often and the polpular vote (as we saw yesterday) 9 times out of 10 get voted up all the same. May they find it in their Oath's and conscience to change their mind today, I pray for them.

If this Bill makes passage, Obama will not Veto it, this has been their dream for total control. Make no misunderstandings about it, if this vile piece does not get stripped from this Bill, your Govenment has declared outright war on US. Reference MIAC and Partriot Act part II.
Don't get it twisted or think your not reading it right, it is exactly as it is written and intended and will stand unless there is some sort of devine intervention. Remember your Oath's and God speed to the Patriot.

God help us.
-JP __________________
Chartered member "The Sons of The American Revolution"
Chartered member "The Society of The Cincinnati

Carlyle Groupie's picture

Fukushima guilty of world's worst sea contamination

Ladies and Germs, it's working it's way UP the food chain.


Paul Thomason's picture

Maybe they are setting up to deal with the peasants revolt from an engineered economic collapse - this seems the most obvious reason to me - bill passes - economy collapses - peasants revolt - peasants die. No harm done.

onthesquare's picture

The highly contagious H5N1 virous has been perfected in a Dutch lab and is ready for distribution to the manufacturing labs.  Flu shots may help but only the strong will survive.  Get in line if you want to live.

it is predicted that if this thing goes viral it will take out half of the worlds population.

Pitchman's picture

Paul T.

Right On.  Pretty soon some joystick cowboy in Nevada will start to elimanate Americans from on high.

USA, USA, USA... 9/11 “patriotism” has mutated into blood lust. Sick, sick world. -  
The Disappearance of Chivalry - George Santayana & Murder By Joystick

blindman's picture

Thursday December 1 9:01am
Public Affairs
Richard Wolff: Eurozone Woes Result from Mating of Our "Dysfunctional" Political, Economic Systems

GMadScientist's picture

"(1) A person who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred 19 on September 11, 2001, or harbored those respon sible for those attacks."

"(2) A person who was a part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, including any person who has committed a belligerent act or has directly supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces."

"(1) Detention under the law of war without trial until the end of the hostilities authorized by the Authorization for Use of Military Force."

"Nothing in this section is intended to limit or expand the authority of the President or the scope of the Authorization for Use of Military Force.

Money 4 Nothing's picture



Educate yourself.

The Senate is very near to passing Senate Bill 1867, the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012, which contains provisions that will give clear congressional support and authorization for indefinite military detention and military trial of American citizens. If passed, this will amount to a declaration of war against the American people, authorizing the Obama Administration and all future administrations to treat Americans the same as citizens of occupied Iraq or Afghanistan, subjecting us all to military jurisdiction and the jurisdiction of the international laws of war, rather than our Bill of Rights and our domestic criminal laws, upon the mere say so of Obama or one of his minions.

There is a great deal of confusion about this bill, with some incorrectly interpreting it as not affecting American citizens. There is also confusion about the very dangerous legal precedents that this bill seeks to codify and bolster.

I am writing an in-depth article where I will do my best to clarify both what this bill does, how all three branches of the federal government have worked to impose the international laws of war on the American people, the historical and legal precedents, and just how close we are to losing our Bill of Rights forever. I will send that article out shortly, but please act now to put some serious pressure on your Senators to stop the detention provisions in S. 1867.

For an in-depth analysis of “enemy combatant status” see my 2004 Yale paper, available at: http://oathkeepers.org/oath/2010/11/...tewart-rhodes/

We are now very nearly at the point where all that will save liberty in America is another American Revolution. This bill, if it becomes law, will shove us across that line, placing us in almost exactly the same position our forefathers were in when they were forced to take up arms in defense of their liberty in 1775. If you wish to avoid that, you must stop this bill from becoming law, right now.

Good Video..


Silver Dreamer's picture

It's already too late.  Many of us are going to have to die if we want to even have a chance that our children will live free.

Dangertime's picture

In the end, it all comes down to an accusation with no proof.


If we are so certain they aided and abetted Al Queda, why are we so afraid to supply proof in a court of law?