Posts tagged ‘National Defense Authorization Act’

March 30, 2012

Links of the Day

by Eric T. Phillips

The GOP is facing popular backlash from its support of the indefinite detention provision of the NDAA. Rep. Justin Amash is leading the charge to change the law’s most egregious language.

The Supreme Court will decide on the constitutionality of the individual mandate today. But it will tell us its decision in June. Robert Barnes explains the court’s arcane and aristocratic procedures.

Anthony Gregory on endless inflation and the tragic death of Subway’s five dollar foot longs.

December 14, 2011

Report: Obama to Sign ‘Battlefield America’ Bill

by Eric T. Phillips

Although President Obama originally signaled that he would veto the National Defense Authorization Act for 2013–the bill which would allow the U.S. Military to arrest American citizens in America without charge or trial–Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin recently told the press, “I just can’t imagine that the president would veto this bill. According to him, the bill in its current form has already satisfied the administration’s qualms.

As I explained when the bill passed in the Senate, Obama’s opposition to the bill had nothing to do with potential law’s authoritarian elements. Instead, the administration was worried that codifying the procedures for turning suspects over to the military, as the bill does, would be a “restriction of the President’s authority to defend the Nation from terrorist threats would tie the hands of our intelligence and law enforcement professionals.” In other words, the president doesn’t want Congress to set the rules for turning people over to the military, because he wants that authority.

But if Levin is right and Obama signs the bill, the military will have authority over American citizens in a matter of days.



November 28, 2011

Battlefield America

by Eric T. Phillips

Next week the Senate will be voting on a bill that would define the entire world–including the United States–as a “battlefield.”  Such a move would allow the U.S. Military to arrest American citizens in America without charge or trial, essentially repealing the venerable Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, which prohibits the Army from exercising law enforcement powers within the borders of the United States.

Such restrictions on the military’s domestic authority are essential to the survival of a free society; giving the military authority to enforce domestic law is to treat American itself as an occupied territory like Iraq or Afghanistan.

The provision, an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that was drafted in secret by Senators Carl Levin and John McCain, is of course being promoted as a tool to fight terrorists. But given that the Department of Homeland Security has characterized such behavior as buying gold, owning guns, donating to obscure charities, supporting third parties, and using cash for any large transactions as “suspicious activities,” the new law would be wide open to abuse. This means that the federal government would be able to simply declare any American a domestic terrorist and throw him in a military prison where he would have absolutely no legal recourse.

Ten years after 9/11, the federal government is trying harder than ever to destroy what liberty is left in this country. And frighteningly, in this quest, they may succeed. But they’ll never succeed in providing the security they’re promising in return. For their power is in itself the greatest threat to the security of the American people.

UPDATE: Some people are arguing that there’s a protection clause for American citizens in the bill. Chris Anders of the ACLU responds:

Don’t be confused by anyone claiming that the indefinite detention legislation does not apply to American citizens. It does. There is an exemption for American citizens from the mandatory detention requirement (section 1032 of the bill), but no exemption for American citizens from the authorization to use the military to indefinitely detain people without charge or trial (section 1013 of the bill). So, the result is that, under the bill, the military has the power to indefinitely imprison American citizens, but it does not have to use its power unless ordered to do so.

But you don’t have to believe us. Instead, read what one of the bill’s sponsors, Sen. Lindsey Graham said about it on the Senate floor: “1031, the statement of authority to detain, does apply to American citizens and it designates the world as the battlefield, including the homeland.”

There you have it — indefinite military detention of American citizens without charge or trial. And the Senate is likely to vote on it Monday or Tuesday.

UPDATE 2: Battlefield America bill passes Senate.


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