Steven Newcomb: Military compares Seminoles to al Qaeda

"In March 2011, the U.S. government filed a response brief to two appeals by two Guantanamo Bay detainees. They had been convicted of “providing material support for terrorism” and their defense contended that the charge was not a war crime subject to military tribunal jurisdiction.

The defense argued that the U.S. government was obliged to cite historical evidence demonstrating that “providing support to an enemy” had been previously treated by the United States as a war crime. In its March 2011 response, the United States created an explicit connection between the Seminole Indians and al Qaeda under the label of “terrorism,” and cited a single historical example to support its theory.

That precedent was the prosecution and hanging of two British subjects under Major General Andrew Jackson’s command during his unauthorized invasion of Florida. In an effort to make their precedent fit, the U.S. military commission prosecutors offered two examples of what they claimed to be “terrorism,”—the Seminole Indians resisting Jackson’s invasion in 1817 and al Qaeda in 2001."

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