Democracy Is On Its Deathbed
by, 01-03-12 at 11:16 AM (633 Views)
Note: This is originally from my personal blog
Democracy Is On Its Deathbed: Indefinite Detention Is In the 2012 Defense Authorization Bill
There is currently much uproar and confusion over the passing of the National Defense Authorization Act. The heart of the debate is whether or not is allows for the President to indefinitely detain US citizens. According to Salon columnist and constitutional lawyer Glenn Greenwald, Obama did in fact allow such language to be into the bill.
In addition to this, ABC news, The Guardian, Forbes, and several other media outlets are reporting that this bill does in fact allow for the indefinite detention of US citizens.
While President Obama has stated that he will exempt Americans from this indefinite detention law, it does not mean that a future administration would not have this power.
Some are arguing that the law doesn't apply to US citizens due the fact that the bill states
APPLICABILITY TO UNITED STATES CITIZENS AND LAWFUL RESIDENT ALIENS.—
(1) UNITED STATES CITIZENS.—The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to citizens of the United States.
(2) LAWFUL RESIDENT ALIENS.—The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to a lawful resident
e) AUTHORITIES.—Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect existing law or authorities, relating to the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States.
However, the wording of the bill is extremely important as it states quite clearly that the military detaining US citizens is not a requirement, meaning that it isn't mandatory that you be detained. Yet that doesn't mean that the US military doesn't have the option of detaining US citizens.
The second part states that the bill will not affect existing law, however, we have to ask, what are those existing laws? We have the Patriot Act under which people have been detained indefinitely (see this as well). We also have the 2006 Military Commissions Act which gives the President the power to declare protesters and the like as unlawful enemy combatants and detain them indefinitely. Thus, this bill essentially solidifies the Patriot Act and the 2006 Military Commissions Act, both of which allow for the indefinite detention of US citizens.
With the passing of this law, the democratic experiment that is the United States of America comes closer to drawing its final breath.
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