- Obama supports draconian FY 2012 National Defense Authorization
Act provisions. Justification given is national security and war on terror
- Henceforth, anyone anywhere, including US citizens, may
be indefinitely held without charge or trial, based solely on suspicions,
spurious allegations or none at all.
- No reasonable proof is needed, just suspicions that those
detained pose threats. Henceforth, indefinite detentions can follow mere
membership (past or present) or support for suspect organizations.
- Presidents now have unchecked dictatorial powers to arrest,
interrogate and indefinitely detain law-abiding citizens if accused of
potentially posing a threat.
- Constitutional, statute and international laws won't
apply. Martial law will replace them if so ordered.
- As a result, US military personnel anywhere in the world
may arrest US citizens and others, throw them in military dungeons, and
hold them indefinitely outside constitutionally mandated civil protections,
including habeas rights, due process, and other judicial procedures.
- In other words, presidents may order anyone arrested
and imprisoned for life without charge or trial. Tyranny arrived in America.
Abuse of power replaced rule of law protections.
- Even someone erroneously arrested and cleared of wrongdoing
could be held indefinitely without charge, given non-civil trials, none
at all, or, for foreign nationals, sent abroad to torture prison hellholes.
- Civil Libertarian Responses
- On December 14, an ACLU press release headlined, "White
House Backs Away from Defense Bill Veto Threat," saying:
- Obama "support(s) passage of the (FY2012) National
Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which contains harmful provisions (to)
authorize the US military to pick up and imprison without charge or trial
civilians, including American citizens, anywhere in the world."
- Responding, ACLU Washington Legislative Office director
Laura Murphy said:
- "The president should more carefully consider the
consequences of allowing this bill to become law. If (he) signs this bill,
it will damage both his legacy and America's reputation for upholding the
rule of law."
- The last time Congress authorized indefinite detentions
for uncharged US citizens without trial was in 1950 over Harry Truman's
- The Emergency Detention Act provision of the Internal
Security Act authorized incarceration for those considered likely to commit
espionage or sabotage.
- It was never used, then repealed by the 1971 Non-Detenton
- "No citizen shall be imprisoned or otherwise detained
by the United States except pursuant to an Act of Congress."
- At issue was never again subjecting US citizens to lawless
internment the way Japanese Americans were in 1942. At the time, loyal
citizens were forced into War Relocation Camps lawlessly.
- Murphy faintly hoped Obama would emulate Truman. However,
Senate bill sponsor Carl Levin said he insisted on subjecting US citizens
to the same draconian treatment as foreign nationals. The original Senate
bill excluded them. At his request, they were added.
- ACLU deputy legal director Jameel Jaffer called NDAA
"an awful bill...." He and other civil libertarians are outraged
by its passage. Jaffer added:
- This bill will "make permanent as an American law
this fixture of worldwide indefinite detention without charge or trial.
(It's) a bill that would further militarize counterterrorism policy."
- It's "a bill that will make it harder to close Guantanamo.
It has all the problems that we identified earlier, and it is really quite
astonishing and disappointing that (Obama) is withdrawing his veto threat."
- All along, of course, it was disingenuous and hollow.
As explained above, he insists on subjecting uncharged US citizens to the
same draconian treatment as foreign nationals.
- On December 14, the Center for Constitutional Rights
- Obama "made a choice with chilling consequences
today when he announced he would not veto the NDAA despite the lack of
change to provisions of the bill that make it even more difficult to shut
down the prison at Guantanamo and make indefinite military detention(s)
without trial a permanent feature of the US legal system."
- Throughout his tenure, Obama exceeded the worst of George
Bush. Besides trashing rule of law principles and other democratic values,
waging multiple imperial wars, sanctioning torture, wrecking America's
economy, and turning a blind eye to growing human need, he's taking a major
step toward institutionalizing tyranny by supporting the "indefinite
detention of citizens and non-citizens alike without charge or trial...."
- On December 15, Bill of Rights Day, the Senate passed
NDAA following House passage on December 14. On December 16, Obama will
sign it into law, in defiance of Bill of Rights protections he'll further
abrogate with his signature.
- As a result, December 15 may become known as a day of
infamy when tyranny replaced constitutional law.
- Henceforth, no one anywhere will be safe, and there's
no place to hide.
- Major Media Scoundrels for Tyranny
- Notably, US media scoundrels largely ignored the bill
for months. On December 14, ahead of its enactment, The New York Times
misreported its significance by failing to explain how US citizens are
affected. Instead, it discussed inconsequential language changes and quoted
a White House statement, saying:
- "As a result of (House/Senate conference committee
changes), we have concluded that the language does not challenge or constrain
the president's ability to collect intelligence, incapacitate dangerous
terrorists, and protect the American people, and the president's senior
advisors will not recommend a veto."
- A same day Washington Post (WP) article also ignored
the bill's draconian provisions. It quoted the same White House statement,
and falsely claimed civilian authorities, not America's military, will
be authorized to make arrests on US soil.
- A December 13 WP editorial also misreported, claiming
US citizens won't be subjected to military detention. In addition, like
The Times and is own December 14 article, it discussed (ahead of passage)
inconsequential changes while omitting explanation of constitutionally
destructive draconian provisions.
- Of course, no one ever accused America's major media
of being long on truth and full disclosure. In serving wealth and power,
they fail on all counts by inverting truth and avoiding what journalists
are supposed to do - their job.
- Readers, viewers and listeners have a choice. Growing
numbers exercising it by walking away.
- They're tuning out and making credible choices for real
news and analysis more needed today perhaps than ever, given America's
- Hopefully eventually they all will before it's too late
- A Final Comment
- On December 14, Nader.org headlined, "Congressional
Tyranny, White House Surrender," saying:
- The FY 2012 NDAA "will finish off some critical
American rights under our Constitution." Two retired four-star marine
generals (Charles Krulak and Joseph Hoar) urged an Obama veto, saying:
- "One provision would authorize the military to indefinitely
detain without charge people suspected of involvement with terrorism, including
United States citizens apprehended on American soil. Due process would
be a thing of the past..."
- "A second provision would mandate military custody
for most terrorism suspects. It would force on the military responsibilities
it hasn't sought....for domestic law enforcement...."
- "A third provision would further extend a ban on
transfers from Guantanamo, ensuring that this morally and financially expensive
symbol of detainee abuse will remain open well into the future."
- Other military, security, and former government officials
also expressed opposition.
- This law will deny US citizens due process and judicial
fairness. It will let military forces become law enforcers. It will make
America a police state. It will abolish constitutional freedoms besides
others already lost.
- This "arbitrary, open-ended dictatorial White House
mandate was never subjected to even a House or Senate Committee hearing....It
was rammed through by the House and Senate Armed Services Committees without
the Judiciary and Intelligence Committees invoking their concurrent jurisdiction
for public hearings."
- As president, Obama's done the impossible. He's governed
worse than his fiercest critics feared, worse than Bush on domestic and
- This law furthers destroy American freedom. Obama's support
and moral cowardice assures it.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
- Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and
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