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We are a worldwide social network of freethinkers, atheists, agnostics and secular humanists.

UPDATE:  President Obama signed NDAA 2012 on New Years day and released a "signing statement" which you can find in its entirety here:  http://obrag.org/?p=52006&cpage=1




Surprised there isn't already a discussion about this very important topic.

 

For those of you who are not in the know:

 

 

WASHINGTON -- The Senate voted Tuesday to keep a controversial provision to let the military detain terrorism suspects on U.S. soil and hold them indefinitely without trial -- prompting White House officials to reissue a veto threat.

The measure, part of the massive National Defense Authorization Act, was also opposed by civil libertarians on the left and right. But 16 Democrats and an independent joined with Republicans to defeat an amendment by Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) that would have killed the provision, voting it down with 61 against, and 37 for it.

"I'm very, very, concerned about having U.S. citizens sent to Guantanamo Bay for indefinite detention," said Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), one of the Senate's most conservative members.

Paul's top complaint is that a terrorism suspect would get just one hearing where the military could assert that the person is a suspected terrorist -- and then they could be locked up for life, without ever formally being charged. The only safety valve is a waiver from the secretary of defense.

"It's not enough just to be alleged to be a terrorist," Paul said, echoing the views of the American Civil Liberties Union. "That's part of what due process is -- deciding, are you a terrorist? I think it's important that we not allow U.S. citizens to be taken."

Democrats who were also concerned about liberties compared the military policing of Americans to the detention of Americans in internment camps during World War II.

"Congress is essentially authorizing the indefinite imprisonment of American citizens, without charge," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who offered another amendment -- which has not yet gotten a vote -- that she said would correct the problem. "We are not a nation that locks up its citizens without charge."

Backers of military detention of Americans -- a measure crafted by Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) -- came out swinging against Udall's amendment on the Senate floor earlier Tuesday.

"The enemy is all over the world. Here at home. And when people take up arms against the United States and [are] captured within the United States, why should we not be able to use our military and intelligence community to question that person as to what they know about enemy activity?" Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said. 

more here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/29/senate-votes-to-let-milita...

 

Slipped into this three hundred page bill is a provision that allows, in vague language, for the military to indefinitely detain terrorist suspects without a trial. While Congress has tried to bold-face lie and say that this provision does not apply to American citizens, the end of the provision actually does say that it applies to citizens "if we want it to". Confirmed by an unbiased expert on military detention and situations like this, he said that the vague language of the bill and the ending piece of the provision definitely allow it to include American citizens.

 

What this means:

 

It means that the US is considered a battleground for terrorism.

 

It makes the US, essentially, a police-state where the military are making arrests. 

 

It means that you will no longer have a first amendment right.

 

You will no longer have a fifth amendment right.

 

You will no longer have the right to due-process.

 

 

The reality:  In light of the Occupy Wall Street movement, is not at ALL far-fetched that occupiers who are rattling the foundations of politics in large cities could all be "suspected of terrorist ties" and thrown into jail with no other word about it. We already know they have been mistreated (made to sit uncomfortably for over seven hours, unable to use the bathroom, forced to relieve themselves in their seats, denied food, locked in small cages on the bus for some).

 

The architects of this bill, cited as including Carl Levin and John McCain (surprise, surprise) have promoted it and defended its vague wording.

 

In fact, the only person actually standing between this bill and reality is Obama, who has threatened Congress mercilessly that he will absolutely veto this bill if it crosses his desk with this provision still in it. But that does not guarantee the bill will die. The President's veto can be overridden, and the stunning landslide by which this bill has passed so far shows that it is also not far-fetched that this could also be reality.

 

As Americans, we have more reason than ever to be completely infuriated with our government.

 

What say you? 

 

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Great post, thanks for posting this.  this is so so wrong, so wrong. 

 

 //"In fact, the only person actually standing between this bill and reality is Obama, who has threatened Congress mercilessly that he will absolutely veto this bill if it crosses his desk with this provision still in it. But that does not guarantee the bill will die. The President's veto can be overridden, and the stunning landslide by which this bill has passed so far shows that it is also not far-fetched that this could also be reality."//

 

I did not realize, POTUS veto could be overridden!!!  wow!  Thanks for great article, Ava.

Yes. The president gets one veto. To override the veto, the bill is sent back around and re-voted on. If it passes through Congress again, the president cannot veto it again. This is why I tell people that the President is not the powerhouse in the US that puts us in the position we're in. It's people in Congress taking bribes from corporations that make the laws you live by. The president can only sign off on the ones he agrees with. But in the end, even if he doesn't, Congress can still put a law in that the President doesn't think is right.

thank you, Ava, i did not know this before. 

Overriding a veto requires 2/3 of the vote, though.

Overriding a veto

Action by both the House and the Senate is required to override a presidential veto. A two-thirds majority vote of the Members present is required to override a presidential veto. If one house fails to override a veto, the other house does not attempt to override, even if the votes are present to succeed. The House and Senate may attempt to override a veto anytime during the Congress in which the veto is issued. Should both houses of Congress successfully vote to override a presidential veto, the bill becomes law. According the the Congressional Research service, from 1789 through 2004, only 106 of 1,484 regular presidential vetoes were overridden by Congress.

This has been an outrage since the Bush administration implemented. It is a terrifying loss of civil liberties and provisions to guarantee that all citizens are timely and fairly arraigned, tried, etc.  It is VERY dangerous. It has been in existence ever since "the war on terror" was implemented. What has just happened is that Mark Udall's amendment has not passed, the provision has not been struck down, Udall's amendment has been defeated by a pretty large majority, with too many democrats jumping ship; which is disgusting but not entirely surprising. I hope Obama does veto the bill. He also promised to close Guantánamo but this does not look like it's going to happen before he is re-elected. I hope he gets to it in his second term when there is no more pressure to be re-elected. 

Shame on Carl Levin...

i thought closing Guantanamo req'd an act of congress, not something a pres can legally do???

Absolutely, Jean Marie. The problem is that presidents promise stuff with an unspoken attachment to the promise, which is "If Congress ALSO likes my idea."

 

 

Yes it does, but of course the President can "negotiate" with congress to make stuff happen. plus, for the 1st two years of his first term, Obama's party had majority in both Houses. 

//" plus, for the 1st two years of his first term, Obama's party had majority in both Houses."//

as well as an unprecedented abuse of the filibuster,

 

and 

the number req'd to be considered a "majority" was suddenly hiked from 51, to 60 in the senate

 

 

and we had some dems out with strokes, etc, as well, to say nothing of useless, blue dog dems who are D.I.N.O.s  

and

we had two wars, an economy on fire, a depression on the way, job loss was bleeding all over just gushing!! trying to pass health care reform, tarp, etc etc,

and all types of fires all over, etc etc, and a very angry nation with many crisises.

 

not to be misunderstood, i so completely share Ava's and Adriana's severe revulsion at Guatanomo, or any of the other hidden detention centers, i so completely agree...but, i always kinda wince at that "but dems had both houses" thing, in the midst of that level of wall to wall crisises.

 

 

Well, but when he ran he knew about the crisis and the Republicans' abuse of filibuster (which has to go! it is insane that the majority needs to be 60, what??), but he still used the promise to close Guantánamo in his campaign. All I'm saying is all politicians make campaign promises they can't keep; Obama made that one to attract the most left-leaning voters, but why even make it? Someone like me (a very left-leaning voter, LOL) was NEVER going to vote for a McCain-Palin ticket!

Well, our nation's quota for presidential candidacy seems to include old white man who's filthy rich and looks like he's about to drop dead (McCain fit most peoples' visual view of a president). Obama was up against a lot more. Young, black, with a shorter voting record in Senate than the other candidates. He probably promised it because he was sure that Congress would do it. It was naivety, more than anything. But all politicians are deceitful. ALL of them. Even my favorite politician (Dennis Kucinich) I'm sure lies at least sometimes while he's working.

 

It's also the partial responsibility of the voter to look at these and realize that a President does not have the kind of godly control of everything we perceive him to have, and that he can never actually make a 'promise' about ANYTHING. What the presidential candidate is really saying during his speeches is "I promise to PURSUE this route the best way I can while in office".

 

I do think Obama grossly underestimated the Republican use of filibuster, and he probably assumed like I probably would have in high school that Democrat majority means that most of your party's agenda will be taken care of until the majority changes. But that really doesn't always happen like that. Our check and balance system sometimes gives idiots too much exercised control over good laws not coming to pass. But you can't really change much because those measures can also be used to prevent really stupid laws from passing.

 

The problem with this law? Both the Republican House and the Democratic controlled Senate have passed this bill with this provision still in it, which makes me wonder if any of them actually read the bill in question. If not, they should all be fired. 

//"It's also the partial responsibility of the voter to look at these and realize that a President does not have the kind of godly control of everything we perceive him to have, and that he can never actually make a 'promise' about ANYTHING. What the presidential candidate is really saying during his speeches is "I promise to PURSUE this route the best way I can while in office".//

 

THAT IS A GOOD POINT!!  As hard as it seems to believe, i had many a time, where i watched Obama, who is a centrist, negotiating away towards the right, it almost seemed he really believed his own self, "if i bend on this, they'll bend on stuff i need a lot". 

Or maybe he is notoriously bad negotiater.  And like you said, POTUS is not king.  Actually, i do think, overall, he's done a lot of marvelous things, he has passed more significant legislation pieces than any modern times prez.

 

//"The problem with this law? Both the Republican House and the Democratic controlled Senate have passed this bill with this provision still in it, which makes me wonder if any of them actually read the bill in question. If not, they should all be fired."//

(APPLAUSE)

 

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