The Constitution says: “The privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.” The great unless is about to arrive.
The military will soon be empowered to arrest citizens inside the USA. Ever since 1878, this has been illegal. This, of course, is the National Defense Appropriations Act (NDAA).
What is annoying is that the Obama Administration is pretending to oppose this.
According to reports, the White House has attempted to downplay its support for this lawless provision and what it actually permits, as well as its potential impact on American jurisprudence. In a statement released Thursday, administration officials said President Obama essentially got what he wanted by having the provision in question “watered down,” as if that matters.
“We have concluded that the language [in the appropriations bill] 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,” said the White House in a statement, adding that this president would never really use the power anyway, so there is nothing to worry about.
This sounds good. But how good is it?
Look at what the measure actually says. While it doesn’t “expand” existing authority to detain American citizens indefinitely, it supports previous federal court decisions which found that the president has the authority, as commander-in-chief, to define who is an “enemy combatant,” who can, therefore, be detained indefinitely, even if that suspect is an American citizen.
What’s worse is the official denial that is going on. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said this about the controversial provision: “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.”
White House pledges to “never use” this power are ringing hollow with others as well. “By signing this defense spending bill, President Obama will go down in history as the president who enshrined indefinite detention without trial in U.S. law,” Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, told CBS News. “In the past, Obama has lauded the importance of being on the right side of history, but today he is definitely on the wrong side.”
It should be clear that a new era of controls is about to be imposed.
How bad is this bill? Beyond belief.
This is another tightening noose.
Your best protection? Anonymity. Invisibility. And no contact with “suspected terrorists.”