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The Trump Administration Is Holding An American Citizen Without Charge Or Trial

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 bring 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 given 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
Derrick Broze, a staff writer for The Last American Vagabond, is a journalist, author, public speaker, and activist. He is the co-host of Free Thinker Radio on 90.1 Houston, as well as the founder of The Conscious Resistance Network & The Houston Free Thinkers.

4 Replies to “The Trump Administration Is Holding An American Citizen Without Charge Or Trial

  1. Who is holding this individual hostage? Is it the “Trump Administration?” No, it is not an abstract group of people in suits that make up an “administration.”

    Who is holding this individual hostage?

    Once again, it is order followers. Why do we keep naming presidents, politicians, or agencies as the “bad guys?”

    It is the immoral military servicemen/women that are holding this individual hostage.

    Until we hold the RIGHT/CORRECT people accountable (those who follow orders and create our shared reality), our world will never move away from its current hellish ways.

    There will always be a handful of people in the world that want to control others, but they themselves cannot accomplish anything of significance.

    It takes the hordes of trash in uniforms to enact terror, war, murder, mass rape, genocide, colonization, etc.

    Start writing about the RIGHT/CORRECT offenders – THE ORDER FOLLOWERS.

    Consistently blaming the government/president/etc. is utterly useless.

    1. Well if you bothered to read the article, as opposed to having a emotional reaction to a title, you would have seen that it is worded that way because the report comes from the ACLU, who is quoted “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.”

      And it is indeed the administration as opposed to Trump himself, which is also why it’s worded as such, to avoid the backlash (like this) from people who emotionally react to anything bad about Trump. So this is to show that it is indeed the entity, and not necessarily Trump alone, although that is also a possibility. And to only hold those who are manipulated by the true culprits is truly what I see as “utterly useless.” Anyone can see that both are the issue, and one is much more responsible than the other.

  2. To be clear, I am an Anarchist in the purest sense of the word, I do not recognize any form of authoritative agency. Also, I actually did read the article, as I have read many on this site. And as I cannot recall an article on this site EVER ONCE holding order followers directly responsible – my response was not born of emotion – but of facts.

    This idea of “much more responsible” does not hold water in reality, either. A man or woman has the right to say anything that they want (politicians), as these are merely words. These words only take physical form when order followers take action.

    Thanks for the reply.

  3. Also, if you can point me to some articles written on this site that do hold order followers directly responsible, that condemn the military and any individual that would willing take part in abject evil – I would gladly apologize for my inaccurate statements.

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