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.
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?
The economic crisis hit in Dec 08, btw, there was a slower sinking prior to Dec 08, but in Dec 08, the house began to burn, and it imploded in JAN 08..like my gop pals like to say, "look at the calendar" as if it's Obama's fault, lol.
which is like blaming the fireman who shows up to put out the fire.
Many in the Obama staff, have said, it was a few more months til the full extent of sinking ship that is the USA
was fully understood in all it's entirity and horror.
the unprecedented abuse of the filibuster and the jump to majority = 60 votes, both happened with Obama swearing in.
but, you are right, it may be possible, he was flat out lying, no intention of ever closing it. He did sign the bill to close gauntanamo, it was his very first persidential order, but it died in the house..
He did empty out many of the ppl from gauntanamo, ppl had strokes about photos of former prisoners on carribean beaches, remember?
but when he tried to move the remaining prisoners to US jails, poopoo hit the fans. Just about rioting in the streets. I never understood it, really. I wasn't even sure how being in US jail, would be step up from gauntanamo, either.
Most can't be tried in courts, cuz they were tortured...it's a catch 22.
That's just it. I think he did the best he could with what he had, and in that sense fulfilled the essence of his promise. He pursued it to the best of his ability. But Congress didn't like the idea, and citizens who wanted Guantanamo closed on principle didn't realize they'd have to be housed here on US soil near our families for that to happen. I think everyone assumed we'd just send them back where they came from or something. Who knows.
i so agree.
I disagree in that I don't think Obama did the best with what he had. I am not the first to be of the opinion that he uses the tools of rhetoric poorly. He should be up there on the bully pulpit pushing his themes again and again and at the same time demonizing his opponents (this is just what Bush did and his whole team did this again and again - and sadly did it well). I think Obama mistakenly believed his own spin that he was going to be a consensus builder when the Republicans have never believed he is legitimate and have done everything to undermine everything he has attempted. If Obama had stuck fast to some of the things he promised and pushed hard for them and reminded people of the failure of the policies of his predecessors we wouldn't be in the state we are today. He could have done better.
'He could have done better' is a compliment toward a president when standing in line next to somebody like Bush, for whom we can say 'practically wrecked the entire nation'. For instance, Bush signed in tax increases for the middle class that weren't due to take effect until Obama's presidency. A lot of Bush's regime was set up that way, where you only saw the minimal effects during his term, and the full scale whack over the head with the frying pan didn't happen for a few more years. I think Obama was handed a shattered ceramic plate that he's been cutting his fingers trying to piece back together in chunks, and the Republicans are sitting there sabotaging his glue to make it look like he's not capable of the job.
There was some poster on Occupy that remarked how many jobs the Republicans had fucked over just trying to get Obama out of office, screwing over his good ideas, rejecting them, and making it look like he can't get anything done.
I was so upset about this I didn't feel like commenting for a couple of days.
The Obama administration Tuesday reversed itself and said it would not veto a major 2012 defense bill that expands the American military’s authority to arrest suspected terrorists anywhere in the world—including Americans on U.S. soil—and hold them indefinitely without charge or the right to a civilian trial.
“We have concluded that the [defense bill’s] language does not challenge or constrain the President’s ability to collect intelligence, incapacitate dangerous terrorists, and protect the American people,” Press Secretary Jay Carney said in a written statement. “The President’s senior advisers will not recommend a veto.”
Only two weeks ago Carney told reporters that Obama stood by his veto threat. The reversal by the White House will now subject the president to an unprecedented lobbying campaign by retired generals, intelligence officers, and myriad civil rights organizations to reject the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act.
“If President Obama signs this bill, it will damage both his legacy and American’s reputation for upholding the rule of law,” said Laura W. Murphy, director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. “The last time Congress passed indefinite detention legislation was during the McCarthy era and President Truman had the courage to veto that bill. We hope that the president will consider the long view of history before codifying indefinite detention without charge or trial.”
Read the rest here.
President Barack Obama speaks at the White House Tribal Nations Conference at the U.S. Department of the Interior in Washington, Dec. 2, 2011. (Photo: Doug Mills / The New York Times)
There has never been a better time to take a close look at how we got here, with Obama, a former Constitutional law professor, about to sign a law which overnight turns the U.S. into a Third World country, where anyone can be swept off the streets by the military to rot forever, or even be killed.
Some people say wearily that the new powers for the indefinite military detention of Americans are not new at all. That this is nothing the government cannot, and has not, already done.
What this misses is that the new government powers seek to codify, "hard-wire" if you will, an area of law which is in flux, and far from settled in the courts. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) proclaimed in his momentous speech on the Senate floor that:
“1031, the statement of authority to detain, does apply to American citizens and it designates the world as the battlefield, including the homeland.”
Graham goes on to say that the proposed law is simply based on the "law of the land" in the Fourth Circuit Court decision in the case of Jose Padilla, the first American arrested in the US and declared "enemy combatant" in the war on terror. Padilla was held for 3 1/2 years in isolation, tortured, and given, according to his lawyer, some kind of hallucinogenic drug such as LSD. His attorney Andrew Patel said that after a time, according to brig staff, “Mr. Padilla's temperament was so docile and inactive that his behavior was like that of a piece of furniture. ”
Read the rest here. I hate it because this is not Bush, damn it, it's Obama; I voted for him, and I have no other choice but to vote for him again. These are hard times for progressives. This is dangerous stuff, people.
I haven't decided whether I'm voting for him again or not. I don't want a Republican in office, not this time around, but I won't support Obama with my vote either if he passes this law and/or exercises its permissions in the election year.
Obama signed it. I still will vote for him. The alternative is just too horrible. But I'm very, very disappointed. The US is turning more right-wing every day. The bill is an erosion of democracy.
OK, now I'm confused; the President vows not to use the suspension of habeas corpus but is it in the bill or not? Can someone explain it to me?
This afternoon, Obama signed the controversial Defense authorization bill, despite his reservations about provisions related to the treatment of terrorism suspects. The National Journal reports:
President Obama signed on Saturday the defense authorization bill, formally ending weeks of heated debate in Congress and intense lobbying by the administration to strip controversial provisions requiring the transfer of some terror suspects to military custody.
“I have signed this bill despite having serious reservations with certain provisions that regulate the detention, interrogation, and prosecution of suspected terrorists,” Obama said in a statement accompanying his signature.
The AP has more from the signing statement: “My administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial .... Indeed, I believe that doing so would break with our most important traditions and values as a nation.”
Full text of the signing statement below:
It is targeted against terror suspects. We are fighting a war on terror against people who want to kill as many civilians possible. We must give law enforcement and the federal government the tools necessary to prevent terrorist attacks. The so controversial "Patriot Act", prevented several potential terror plots. Were any of our rights really "violated"? I think not. It is important to remember that we are living in a post 9/11 world.
Sassan, I think you have no idea the ramifications of this kind of bill.
For instance, it makes the torture and indefinite detainment of Bradley Manning in a military facility legal. Bradley Manning is a regular American soldier that shared some classified information with a news source. He was not aiding and embedding terrorists. He's not a terrorist. He didn't mean for 'harm to come to America' - he was forcing the government to be transparent.
What information did he share, exactly? Well, proof that America is guilty of war crimes under the Bush administration (including mercilessly slaughtering unarmed middle eastern civilians), namely. He wasn't sharing military positions or sensitive information that could get our troops killed. He was exposing the government for its crimes (foreign presidents / ministers / city mayors have already threatened that if George Bush ever sets foot in their nation or city, he will be arrested and tried for war crimes because of proofs like these).
The reaction of the government? To indefinitely lock him up. He has been waiting years for a trial, under unknown conditions (presumably torturous). The government has accused him of being a traitor. But the fact is that he was working FOR the American people, to know the truth about their government. It's THOSE people who will suffer under this act, NOT terrorists. That means that Occupiers could be accused, or Atheists who talk a little too loudly about making America a secular nation, -- OR WHOEVER THEY WANT. That's the point of the bill. They need only accuse you.
So if you, in any way, think that this bill is 'okay', I must say that you are *totally* delusional and have ignorantly forfeited your rights as an American. The law violates your first and fifth amendments and your right to due process. We are not in the business of electing our liberties. Our liberties are given to us in the Constitution. We are supposed to be electing officials that uphold them, but we're only electing people that seek to destroy them totally.