To prove to the world, Republicans, Democrats and perhaps himself that he was tough on terror, President Obama signed the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which included the embedded indefinite detention provision. And yes, Congress passed the bill with bipartisan support. We are now on notice; behave, or the government will detain you as long as they want.
The detention provision states:
(1) Detention under the law of war without trial until the end of the hostilities authorized by the Authorization for Use of Military Force.
(2) COVERED PERSONS- The requirement in paragraph (1) shall apply to any person whose detention is authorized under section 1031 who is determined– (Read the text here)
It is clear that after reading the detention bill that was added to the NDAA and commentary regarding said bill, that there is no expressed prohibition against indefinitely detaining a U.S. Citizens contained in the bill. At the same time, the vague language makes it appear that only foreign nationals are targeted.
For example, what does the term “affiliate” mean in the passage of the bill that states, “al- Qaeda and its violent extremist affiliates”? Is Occupy Wall Street an affiliate, and should they be detained indefinitely? Moreover, why are we still going after al-Qaeda when they have already been eliminated as a threat? It is the desire Congress and our elites have for a never ending war that makes money for the military industrial complex? It also keeps U.S. Citizens in fear and distracted from addressing the real problem in the nation, Congress and the elites themselves who continue these wars against the world’s poor.
Will President Gingrich use this detention provision to detain any political opposition, non-citizen and citizen alike? Republicans clearly think that the Occupy Movement is full of violent extremists, so will they use it against them? The law contains room for interpretation and thus such detentions can be easily justified under it.
Obama pushed for this provision and signed this bill even though it unconstitutionally abridges the Fifth Amendment, guaranteeing the right to due process; the Sixth Amendment, right to a speedy trial and to confront the witnesses against him or her; and the Seventh Amendment, the right to a trial by jury. All of these amendments legally cancel out indefinite detention laws for anyone living in the United States and any U.S. citizen anywhere in the world.
However, if you can label someone an enemy combatant, then the President and the local, state, and national police apparatus can detain you as long as they want without any judicial checks to this power. And the detention provision in the NDAA makes this possible.
What are Obama’s motives in signing this? Is he trying to look tough. The tough stance would have been to veto this bill and explain why. But he had to show the Republicans he meant business, by taking it out on the rest of us. And Congress and their allies will celebrate with the construction of new laws to squelch dissension.