Legislation set for final vote Thursday
Paul Joseph Watson
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
40 members of Congress have sent an urgent letter to House and Senate Armed Services Committee leaders protesting provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act that would legalize indefinite detention of American citizens without trial, as the revised version of the bill heads for a final vote on Thursday.
“The Senate-passed version of the NDAA, S. 1867, contains Section 1031, which authorizes indefinite military detention of suspected terrorists without protecting U.S. citizens’ right to trial. We are deeply concerned that this provision could undermine the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth amendment rights of U.S. citizens who might be subjects of detention or prosecution by the military,” states the letter.
Opposition to the bill has been bipartisan. While the letter is signed mostly by Democratic members of Congress, Republican representatives like Justin Amash, Ron Paul, and Rand Paul have also been vocal in their opposition.
After a weekend of secret meetings, the final version of the bill emerged on Tuesday morning and is set to voted on before the end of the week. Issues the Obama administration had with the bill, which had nothing to do with indefinite detention (indeed it was the White House itself which removed language that would have protected Americans from Section 1031), now appear to have been settled.
Both the ACLU and Human Rights Watch point out that the final version does nothing to protect American citizens against indefinite detention.
“The sponsors of the bill monkeyed around with a few minor details, but all of the core dangers remain – the bill authorizes the president to order the military to indefinitely imprison without charge or trial American citizens and others found far from any battlefield, even in the United States itself,” said the ACLU’s Chris Anders.
“The latest version of the defense authorization bill does nothing to address the bill’s core problems – legislated indefinite detention without charge and the militarization of law enforcement,” concurred HRW’s Andrea Prasow.
Proponent of the legislation Senator Lindsay Graham ironically summed up the nightmare scenario the bill will codify into law – the complete evisceration of all Constitutional protections for U.S. citizens.
“It is not unfair to make an American citizen account for the fact that they decided to help Al Qaeda to kill us all and hold them as long as it takes to find intelligence about what may be coming next,” remarked Graham. “And when they say, ‘I want my lawyer,’ you tell them, ‘Shut up. You don’t get a lawyer.’”
Of course, the government would not be required to present any evidence whatsoever or go through any legal process to snatch an American citizen off the street and send them to Guantanamo Bay, merely accusing them of aiding terrorists or ‘committing an act of belligerence’ would be enough.
Protests and funeral marches to mark the death of freedom in America and the legalization of permanent martial law, are being planned for Thursday, which ironically is Bill of Rights Day, 220 years since the liberties now about to be eviscerated were first ratified on December 15, 1791.