RSN Fundraising Banner
FB Share
Email This Page
add comment

Sledge reports: "The Senate passed a version of the National Defense Authorization Act that was stripped of a prohibition of the indefinite military detention of US citizens on American soil."

'The National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 will now head to the White House.' (photo: Shutterstock)
'The National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 will now head to the White House.' (photo: Shutterstock)

Senate Passes NDAA Indefinite Detention Bill

By Matt Sledge, Reader Supported News

26 December 12


he Senate passed a version of the National Defense Authorization Act that was stripped of a prohibition of the indefinite military detention of US citizens on American soil by an 81-14 vote on Friday, but only after a furious dissent on the chamber's floor by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who called it an "abomination."

The National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 will now head to the White House, which had earlier pledged to veto the NDAA because it prevents the president from closing the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. It is unclear whether the president will follow through on the threat.

The NDAA is a reauthorization of the large budget bill that sets the budget for a wide range of military activities, but it has proven most controversial for a provision that critics say would allow the military to abuse its detention powers to lock Americans away on the mere suspicion of support for terrorist groups.

In November, a bipartisan group of Senators affixed an amendment to the NDAA that would have explicitly prohibited the military from detaining American citizens on US soil. But earlier this week, a House-Senate conference committee led by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) stripped away that measure.

Paul, a libertarian Republican, voiced his opposition to the conference committee's move in strong terms and urged his colleagues to vote against the bill.

"We had protection in this bill. We passed an amendment that specifically said if you were an American citizen or here legally in the country, you would get a trial by jury," Paul said. "It's been removed because they want the ability to hold American citizens without trial in our country. This is so fundamentally wrong and goes against everything we stand for as a country that it can't go unnoticed."

"When you're accused of a crime in our country you get a trial, you get a trial by a jury of your peers, no matter how heinous your crime is, no matter how awful you are, we give you a trial," he said. "This bill takes away that right and says that if someone thinks you're dangerous, we will hold you without a trial. It's an abomination."

Citing past examples of injustice in America, including the military internment of Japanese-American citizens during World War II, Paul asked, "will America only begin to regret our loss of trial by jury when the people have names like Smith and Jones?"

He also pointed out the open-ended nature of the so-called "war on terror," which has now gone on for more than 11 years and shows no sign of letting up, even after the killing of Osama bin Laden. "When will your rights be restored if the battle has no end, and the battlefield is limitless, and the war is endless?" Paul asked.

But top Senators in support of the bill dismissed Paul's charges as bogus, claiming that language in the NDAA preserves Americans' constitutional right to trial by jury. Only when they ally themselves with foreign terrorist powers, they said, do Americans abdicate their rights as citizens.

Supporters of the NDAA like Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) pointed to new language in the conference committee report stipulating that "nothing" in the bill could construed to deny people of their rights in court -- language that civil liberties advocates dismissed as meaningless, since the controversy is over whether those suspected of terrorism are afforded the right to trial in the first place.

In defense of the bill and in response to Paul's claims, Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) said, "I don't mind saying I think we're at war."

"How long does that war last? I don't know. I can't tell you. Am I supposed to know that? Can we not fight it unless we know the date it ends? America, is it part of the battlefield?" Graham said. "What do you think al Qaeda would love to do more than anything else? Come here and destroy the building I am speaking in."

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News. your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+58 # BradFromSalem 2012-12-26 15:20
The supporters of this unconstitutiona l law seem to forget that the American legal system is founded on a principle of presumed innocence. The Constitution itself describes the process of indicting someone accused of allying with foreign powers. Its called treason.

So, the Constitution already defines treason and it does not specify that an accusation of treason is sufficient for a person to lose their rights as a citizen.
Lastly, while not explicitly declared in the C US Constitution, the assumption of innocence has been declared valid by the Supreme Court.

This should be a question for all potential Supreme Court positions.
+1 # Dave45 2012-12-28 21:30
Good summary from BFS on the insidious nature of this legislation. In traditional US legal (constitutional ) thinking, treason is clearly recognized as a crime like all other crimes, i.e., the guilt of the accused cannot preemptively be decided until it has been clearly demonstrated that a crime has been committed, a decision which can only properly be made after a fair trial. The current crop of despot wannabes would like to give that decision also to non-judicial executives like the president and other such prosecutorial figures personally overwhelmed by the purity of their own moralisms and ruling status. One would think that someone with a background in constitutional law (Mr. Obama comes to mind here) would be more sensitive to such constitutional issues than has been apparent in the case of the current White House occupant since the beginning of his presidency.
+53 # Jack Gibson 2012-12-26 15:44
Oh, these extremists make me sick! NO ONE, EVER "abdicate(s) their rights as citizens"! They are inalienable rights; therefore, they cannot be taken away from us under any circumstances! Thus, U.S. citizens who are allegedly involved in terrorism do NOT abdicate their rights either! And it IS an abomination to claim otherwise! In fact, to claim that ANYONE abdicates their rights, is a violation of legal rights in and of itself; and, obviously, extremely unconstitutiona l and therefore illegal! These extremist politicians hate our Constitution, and hate us for our constitutional rights; and that makes them guilty of high treason and high crimes under the Constitution, THE SUPREME LAW OF THIS LAND! Impeach all of these traitorous bastards!
+16 # Michael_K 2012-12-26 16:45
Oh don't worry so much.... Obama will never sign such a heinously evil Bill, because he's "the lesser evil", remember?

(sarcasm mode: off)
+40 # Surflar 2012-12-26 18:48
I've said for years that most of our politicians should be tried for treason and finally people see that it's for real. They can't pass a budget but no problem taking our rights away. They should be passing laws giving us more freedoms and protecting our rights but no so what does that tell you?
+28 # David Heizer 2012-12-26 20:06
But who decides when an American has "all[ied] themselves with foreign terrorist powers"? And how will we know when this so-called "war" has been "won"? Who will sign the treaty of surrender?
0 # mdhome 2012-12-28 07:44
Ah, theres the rub, it is similar to the 50s when accusing someone of being a "commie" except this time they lose their rights and it is easier to tell them, because they usually look different and have :funny: names.
+32 # treadlightly 2012-12-26 20:07
Remember when hearing about things like this was so far fetched that anyone suggesting that such a thing was possible would be labeled a crazy conspiracy theorist? What do these Senators have to gain? It's not like they are profiting from war or anything. Um..let me get back to you on that.
+33 # treadlightly 2012-12-26 21:06
Incidentally, how will we know when someone has been disappeared? I doubt that they will be posting notices anywhere. Might be a good idea to let our friends know that if they don't see us for a few days that we might be in detention, for an indeterminate time no less. Who might they be interested in getting their hands on? Are we sure J. Edgar Hoover is dead?
-15 # MidwestTom 2012-12-26 23:12
Middle East countries have been held together by dictators; once they get democracy, they have a civil was. TThe United States has been a melting pot of various forms of Christianity. However, Muslims dimply do not integrate into 'norma;l' society. As their numbers grow they will demand more and more concessions. In Michigan they recently tried to make it a felony to criticize Islam. When their number grow they will get it passed.
+19 # MidwestTom 2012-12-26 23:16
The Democrats control the Senate, but this action shows that they are no different from the Republicans.
+14 # futhark 2012-12-27 09:56
All the more reason to help build alternative political parties to end the plutocrat-domin ated duopoly. Send them a signal by re-registering Green or Libertarian.
-2 # indio007 2012-12-26 23:35
Doesn't worry me. Unconstitutiona l laws are void ab initio. People that enforce unconstitutiona l laws are ordinary trespassers.
0 # indio007 2012-12-26 23:35
Doesn't worry me. Unconstitutiona l laws are void ab initio. People that enforce unconstitutiona l laws are ordinary trespassers.
+18 # seniorcitizen 2012-12-27 00:24
Sen. Paul Rand is right! It is an abomination to pass such a blatant law that takes away the basic rights of Americans to a fair trial. President Obama has got to veto this. He promised to close Gitmo, too, so that is a double whammy as reasons to veto it. If he is to uphold the constitution, as he has sworn an oath to do, then the president must do his job to protect us against the crazy fanatics in Congress who passed this travesty!
+21 # Kev C 2012-12-27 02:08
A few centuries ago in the UK it was a crime to be Pagan all it required was for someone to point the finger and scream 'Witch!'. That was the end of yourlife aside from the torture to extract the confession of alliance with the Devil.

Seems to me we have another situation of similar proportions emerging here.

Oh and remember you asked how long the war lasts?
They only repealed the death sentence for 'Witchcraft, (Pagan Worship) in 1951 when the UK signed the international declaration of human rights. The best part of 500 years.

So now you have an idea of how long the war will last........... .....and last........... .....and last!
You have been warned many times and you still do nothing!
+7 # Vardoz 2012-12-27 19:00
Tom Hartment just reported that the FBI and Homeland security are tracking protestors and sending out false reports saying that there were threatens of violence by protestors there were allocations from unknown sources. So what do you propose? It took a lot of abuse before blacks down south had had enough and then they were fire hosed, beaten and killed but it grew and grew as whites joined in and finally no more blacks had to sit at the back of the bus. People are afraid of getting hurt and more and that is why they are not coming out. It hasn't gotten bad enough.
+18 # Vardoz 2012-12-27 09:35
I just called my senator and asked if he voted for this very aggressive and assautive document and he did. They told me that he did and the excuse was it was already law. So I told them that we are active Democrats in our state and will pass this on to other constituients and we will not vote for him again. I then called my other senator who did not vote for this. All of us should do the same. This is one of the most fundelmental rights that we have and to say that an American citizen cannot have the right to due process, a right that every other developed nation supports, is a breach of our freedom and protection under the constitution. They have used the 911 event as an excuse to strip away our rights and freedoms and they should know that they will not be our reps for supporting such a horrible document.
+7 # Doubter 2012-12-27 16:14
"They have used the 911 event as an excuse"

Wasn't that the whole point of the big show?
0 # mdhome 2012-12-28 07:54
I certainly hope everyone remembers this and vote those who voted for the unconstitutiona l law, but I also know the short term memory of the voter, something the politicians count on.
+10 # Whatliesbeyond4u 2012-12-27 10:10
We all need to stand up against these and similar laws that are STEALING OUR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS! It is REDICULOUS that the government thinks it can do what the hell it wants without considering us. THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO BE ELECTED OFFICIALS. THEY WORK FOR US NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND! THIS NEEDS TO STOP NOW!
+9 # chomper2 2012-12-27 12:59
"THEY WORK FOR US" you say? I beg to differ. They haven't worked for us for a very long time. They work for themselves and those corporate entities whose money ensures their repeated reelection to office. The only way we can get our government back is to vote against every incumbent at every opportunity. Party affiliation means little as they all succumb to the opiate of corporate money. VOTE THE BASTARDS OUT!
+7 # Vardoz 2012-12-27 14:27
Not every rep voted for this and had the choice not to. You can easily look up who voted for and aginst this. Why should we reelect those who are will to do this to us. It's has really gotten so bad in our nation that we feel stressed out about living in a nation that is so against us as citizens. The very least we can do is make a phone call. At this point we have nothing to loose.
+5 # Vardoz 2012-12-27 14:24
If a lot of people call their reps and threaten not to vote for them again because they supported this. Frankly I wouldn't and will not vote for any rep who is willing to agree to take away my rights to due process. Some senators tried to amend section 1022 but I believe they knew that the majority would already be against the amendment but wnet through the motions as if they cared. But where the rubber meets the road they voted for it when they had the option not to. Another reason I was given was that there was more money for the military in it for over seas wars. But when you think that this is part of the Patriot Act that was created by a president that LIED about our resons for going to war in Iraq and then proceeded to take away our right to due process this Act is a total assault on us! No rep that really serves the people who elected him would support this. So please call your reps and tell them you are not going to vote for them again because of this. If people do it in big enough numbers they start to get sacred.
It's not enough to blog we must actually do something and placing pressure on our reps is something we can do. 202-224-3121
+3 # EgoSum01 2012-12-27 10:28
After the terrorist attack, everyone was afraid. Any Muslim might be a fanatic terrorist. Islam was branded a religion of hate and violence. Something had to be done. It was made obvious that the old laws were obsolete in the new order. But the news never said why Muslims were angry and radicalized, and had turned to terrorism. Some said it was religion, social injustice, or political ideology caused by bad foreign policy. But that was in the past, and thus past fixing. A quick solution was desired, and quickly passed. Safety was guaranteed.

After the shooting, everyone was afraid. Any gun owner might be a fanatic spree shooter. Guns were branded a tool of hate and violence. Something had to be done. It was made obvious that the old laws were obsolete in the new order. But the news never said why Americans were angry and radicalized, and buying so many guns. Some said it was mental illness, or economic and social frustration caused by bad domestic policy. But that was in the past, and thus past fixing. A quick solution was desired, and quickly passed. Safety was once again ensured.

But over time the news made people aware of ever present fears of attack, and threats of violence, by enemies from within and without. In order to preserve their freedom and way of life, it was ultimately necessary to amputate civil liberties – in order to preserve civil liberty. And so it went, until there was nothing left to preserve – except the power of the State.
+1 # futhark 2012-12-29 07:51
Muslims might be angry because they have unfairly been made the scapegoats for the 9/11 attacks, which they obviously did not plan or execute, yet for which they continue to bear the burden of unproven guilt and sustain unprovoked attacks in retaliation.

Let's get back to the root of so much evil in today's world: conduct a thorough, rational, and objective investigation of the 9/11 attacks without defending a foregone conclusion, the major failures of the Kean Commission and the NIST reports.
+2 # MendoChuck 2012-12-27 13:48
We have the government that we deserve . . . .

As Old Ben Franklin supposedly once said, " We have given you a Republic, now lets see if you can keep it?"
Or something to that effect . . . .
+1 # futhark 2012-12-29 07:43
So, now we have in the Senate 81 certified betrayers of the American Revolution and violators of their oaths of office. In this past election, with California's new "open primary, top two general election runoff" I couldn't vote for either the Republican or Dianne Feinstein, so left that one blank. I voted for Feinstein for the last time in 2006. She ought to resign or retire in shame.

Hooray for Rand Paul for speaking truth to power! Such courage and tenacity should be commended by all those who take a real interest in defending the American Revolution.

THE NEW STREAMLINED RSN LOGIN PROCESS: Register once, then login and you are ready to comment. All you need is a Username and a Password of your choosing and you are free to comment whenever you like! Welcome to the Reader Supported News community.