President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law on December 31, 2011. This means that suspected “terrorists” whether foreign or domestic, can be detained without trial or any evidence presented to detain them. It has no limitations as far as whereto live locally or globally!
The actual signing took place in Hawaii on the 31st of December. He justifies the signing of the NDAA as a means to combating terrorism, as part of a “counter-terrorism” agenda. But in substance, any American opposed to the policies of the US government can –under the provisions of the NDAA– be labelled a “suspected terrorist” and arrested under military detention. The NDAA authorises the arbitrary and indefinite military detention of American citizens. The National Defense Authorization Act will be implemented under Martial Law, which disenfranchise every American of civil and social liberties.
“President Obama’s action today is a blight on his legacy because he will forever be known as the president who signed indefinite detention without charge or trial into law,” said Anthony D. Romero, ACLU executive director.
“The statute is particularly dangerous because it has no temporal or geographic limitations, and can be used by this and future presidents to militarily detain people captured far from any battlefield. The ACLU will fight worldwide detention authority wherever we can, be it in court, in Congress, or internationally.”
What’s more disturbing, it permits the government to use the military to detain U.S. citizens, strip them of due process and hold them indefinitely in military detention centers, could have been easily fixed by Congress.
The Senate and House had the opportunity this month to include in the 2013 version of the NDAA an unequivocal statement that all U.S. citizens would be exempt from 1021(b)(2), leaving the section to apply only to foreigners. But restoring due process for citizens was something the Republicans and the Democrats, along with the White House, refused to do. The fate of some of our most basic and important rights—ones enshrined in the Bill of Rights as well as the Fourth and Fifth amendments of the Constitution—will be decided in the next few months in the courts. If the courts fail us, a gulag state will be cemented into place.
Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Mike Lee, R-Utah, pushed through the Senate an amendment to the 2013 version of the NDAA. The amendment, although deeply flawed, at least made a symbolic attempt to restore the right to due process and trial by jury. A House-Senate conference committee led by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., however, removed the amendment from the bill last week.