Update on U.S. v. Al Bahlul — More Docs & Government’s Position Comparing Seminoles to Al Qaeda Condemned

We posted Tuesday on the government’s characterization of the Seminole Indians during the 19th century Indian wars as equivalent to Al Qaeda. That posting is here.

The defendant in that case has filed the following response brief, smartly pointing out the history of Gen. Jackson’s invasion of Spanish Florida, which likely was motivated by American slaveowners’ concerns about slaves escaping to Seminole territory. Jackson himself, of course, was a slaveowner. Here is that excellent brief:

US v al Bahlul – Reply on Specified Issues (15 March 2011)

An excerpt:

In the lead up to the First Seminole War, Florida remained under the nominal control of Spain, but Spanish authorities were unable to “enforce peace on the border,” and more importantly, “were unable to prevent black slaves from fleeing to Florida and joining the Seminole Indians.” John K. Mahon, The First Seminole War, November 21, 1817–May 24, 1818, 77 FLORIDA HIST. Q. 62 (1998). While the motivation for the invasion of Florida was partly territorial expansionism, the “principal objective was to break up the free Negro settlements which were becoming increasingly a menace to the slave systems of adjacent states.” Kenneth Wiggins Porter, Negroes and the Seminole War, 1817–1818, 36 J. NEGRO HIST. 249, 254 (1951).

Additionally, this case has received coverage on Huffington Post here.

And the Center for Constitutional Rights has condemned the government’s position in this press release: Balul Final 3-16-11