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Print reports: "Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul took a break from his campaign to come out in opposition to the bill signed into law by President Barack Obama on New Year's Eve that allows the indefinite detention of any terrorism suspect, including Americans arrested in the U.S."

Ron Paul spoke out against indefinite detention today from the floor of the House. (photo: Getty Images)
Ron Paul spoke out against indefinite detention today from the floor of the House. (photo: Getty Images)

Ron Paul Mounts Challenge to Indefinite Detention


20 January 12


epublican presidential candidate Ron Paul took a break from his campaign to come out in opposition to the bill signed into law by President Barack Obama on New Year's Eve that allows the indefinite detention of any terrorism suspect, including Americans arrested in the U.S.

Speaking from the floor of the U.S. House, Paul lashed out at a provision in the latest defense authorization bill that permits the government to imprison without trial anyone who has "substantially supported al Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States." This would include U.S. citizens arrested anywhere in the world.

According to Paul, the legislation could undermine the right to due process and allow the military to act "as a kind of police force on U.S. soil, apprehending terror suspects, including Americans, and whisking them off to an undisclosed location indefinitely."

When he approved the bill, Obama issued a signing statement claiming that his administration would not allow the military to detain Americans indefinitely. Civil libertarians from both the left and the right were, however, appalled by Obama's "Trust me; I won't do it" position, pointing out that even if Obama kept his promise, there is no guarantee that future presidents won't imprison Americans and others indefinitely without trial or even without charge.

The wording of the act, although carefully phrased, is nonetheless clear, and allows the president of the United States to define "supporters" of terrorism as he sees fit and to imprison whomever he chooses.

Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, your social media marketing partner


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-119 # Barbara K 2012-01-20 12:15
Americans are exempted from this Bill, unless they become terrorists.


our future is at stake
+127 # CTPatriot 2012-01-20 13:04
No, Barbara, not just terrorists, but also those who are accused of aiding, abetting or supporting terrorists. The definitions of these terms are so completely open to interpretation that the law can be stretched and twisted in whatever manner a president chooses.

That is precisely why the bill is so dangerous and misguided. The only assurance we have that Obama won't abuse this new power is his signing statement. We are supposed to be a nation of laws, not of men. The NDAA turns that completely on its head.

I'm disappointed to see you, in your zeal to support Obama and the Democrats, both minimize and misrepresent what is in this bill. That's not to say that Republicans aren't worse. But it is to plead for a bit of realism from your side.
+28 # 2012-01-20 15:19
CTPatriot: You have written an excellent post. Could not be said with more clarity.
+24 # ER444 2012-01-20 16:15
Bravo CT Patriot !!
+102 # Reductio Ad Absurdum 2012-01-20 13:13
As determined by whom? Unfortunately, not a court of law. This is an egregious Bi-PARTISAN attack on the Bill Of Rights and democracy itself. We Americans should be outraged and demand the repeal of this stupidity.
+92 # End Endless Wars 2012-01-20 13:18
Americans are NOT exempted from this bill... it allows the govt to arrest, detain, and torture at Guantanamo ANY AMERICAN whom the military or any shadowy govt figure deems a terrorist, or a terrorist supporter ... it is the oldest trick in the book used by thugs like Pinochet and Mao and Stalin and Hitler.
Shame on Obama, shame on the democrats who voted for this nefarious legislation, shame on any democrats who say it's all right to do so long as they themselves are not targeted! It goes against everything the founding fathers stood for. It represents the end of habeas corpus; it means the end of the rule of law.
+55 # burglar 2012-01-20 13:21
Sorry Barbara, the definition of terrorists is so broad as to include someone that donated to a fund that may be connected to another group that may be connected to something else that may support ???. Obama's word is not worth the paper it is on, many examples abound. Except for the supreme court possible nominations I find little differences between the parties.
+58 # universlman 2012-01-20 13:38
call me sentimental for never thinking the worlds "imprisoned without trial" would make it into any law in this country with only a handful in congress objecting

and the main duty of congress is to protect the constitution - this is offensive
+44 # Nick Reynolds 2012-01-20 13:40
"Terrorist," as defined by whom? The president? Maybe a Republican president will think progressives are "terrorists."

What's wrong with trying them? Give them their day in court. Let a jury decide if they've done something wrong. If they're found guilty, then they go to jail.

Basically, you're supporting putting people in jail who might break the law.
+39 # 2012-01-20 14:11
Barbara K:

You miss the point. Who is going to decide if someone has become a terrorist?

Our constitution guarantees that everyone would get a fair trial and this bill flies in the face of that guarantee.

You may have confidence that Obama might not use this power (even though I do not share that confidence given his actions against an American citizen named Al Awaki), but do you really want someone like a President Santorum or a President Gingrich wielding such power? Santorum might declare all gay people to be terrorists and Gingrich might declare all illegal aliens to be terrorists.

Wake up and protect your rights.

Lee Nason
New Bedford,Massach usetts
+18 # 2012-01-20 15:25
Lee Mason: You are right! why would Obama sign this bill, and why would anyone who understands how dangerous and unconstitutiona l it is to Americans and Non-Americans trust that Obama "might not use this power" Obviously, it's political. What's next?
+25 # chinaski 2012-01-20 15:17
Let me see if I've got this straight, as long as I'm a god-fearing, law abiding, groveling citizen and do not, ever EVER 'cross the line', a line that is arbitrarily moved, like right now, and continue to back into my little corner, then I have nothing to be afraid of.
Bout right? Teentsie question; now that I'm all cozy and 'protected', who's protecting me from those protecting me?
Google, while we still can, the Enabling Act.
Every usurpation of power will always be for our safety, our security, 'for our own good'.
I personally would like this government to get it's gdamn nose out my 'own good'. It has no idea what good is, and most especially, mine.
+23 # 2012-01-20 15:17
Reread the editorial, Barbara K. The President and future Presidents of the US can "define "supporters" of terrorism as he (or they) sees fit and to imprison whomever he chooses".

Youe post says "Americans are exempted from this Bill, unless they become terrorists." Are you naieve of what?? Our freedom and due process is at stake with Republicans AND Democrats and it was Obama who signed this totally unconstitutiona l bill!!!
+27 # pbbrodie 2012-01-20 15:25
Barbara K,
I am extremely saddened to see this comment coming from you.
I sincerely hope that you have simply missed the point that this bill gives the President the authority to determine just who a terrorist is, whether they are actual terrorists by anyone else's definition or not. This is way too much power to put into the hands of anyone, much less one of the lunatics running for President on the Republican ticket!
Just suppose we were unlucky enough to see one of these Republicans elected President and they decided that Barbara K is a terrorist because of the incendiary comments she has been making on ReaderSupported News. They then have Barbara K arrested by the military and whisked away from her home and deposited in Guantanamo, never to be heard from again. She has no legal rights, no access to an attorney, and no way what-so-ever to defend herself or access any assistance in her plight. Are you really in agreement with this? Do you consider yourself a terrorist? I feel quite sure there are many people in detention now who would never have considered themselves terrorists and this is before enactment of this atrocious law!
+23 # noitall 2012-01-20 15:43
And your definition of "terrorists" would be what? Native Americans have been fighting various forms of "terrorism" since 1492. Colonialism is terrorism. Our tax dollars through the Pentagon, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and other aggressions faintly veiled by "good will" and "helping out" have inflicted terrorism on millions and generally in the poorest nations; those being "helped" by large corporations.
+16 # LessSaid 2012-01-20 16:23
This is the first big step in this country's history that is moving us back to the situation that brought us here in the first place. Unfortunately, the Teapublicans and the Democrats came together on this one.
+10 # AMLLLLL 2012-01-20 18:25
What Obama has apparently not considered is this law in someone else's hands, like say, Newt Gingrich.He may have the best intentions, but does not appear to have much savvy about law.
+13 # Kiwikid 2012-01-20 18:34
The article refers to US citizens arrested anywhere in the world. What does it imply about those of us who are not American, not citizens? I guess it means that I'm near the bottom of the food chain - with no rights when the long arm of the the world largest terrorist organisation, the CIA, reaches into my living room. Are we talking about the American Empire here? Bully for you, Barbara, that you're a 'citizen' and expect some form of special treatment.
+7 # Painter 2012-01-21 00:27
Yes, what about all those non-American citizens who have been swept up, tortured, detained without trial, disabled and mentally destroyed? Where were we when this business started? Yes, we protested, but not hard enough!
+7 # soularddave 2012-01-20 21:33
Everyone is exempted from this bill, except those who aren't - yet .
+4 # RMDC 2012-01-21 12:10
Barbara -- you are a terrorist unless you work for the Pentagon or one of its contractor corporations. Don't worry. they have you on their list. You won't be exempt.
+98 # bugbuster 2012-01-20 12:25
Kudos to Mr. Paul for this. I'm not a fan of his, but he deserves praise for speaking out on this.

The catch-all phrase "...or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States" is just the kind of fig leaf that could be used against, say, the Occupy movement.

Some of us remember Joseph McCarthy, Richard Nixon, and J. Edgar Hoover. They would have jumped on that phrase and got busy locking up Occupiers last October.

Who are the new Hoovers, Nixons, and McCarthys? Nobody knows for sure. I'm not ready to throw in the towel just yet on the current lot, but it won't take much.
+53 # JONN X 2012-01-20 12:48
The key sentence here is, "The wording of the act, although carefully phrased, is nonetheless clear, and allows the president of the United States to define "supporters" of terrorism as he sees fit and to imprison whomever he chooses."

This means, even if Obama actually never does, future presidents can simply say anyone in opposition to them is potentially "supporting terrorism" and they get locked away forever without trial. We would never know what actually was the reason behind the imprisonment.

While I may not support Ron Paul about everything, let's all pray he at least makes it to the stage against to debate Obama, whether as a republican or independent, as many issues like this one will never even be mentioned otherwise. He doesn't have to beat Obama, but a healthy conversation in the spotlight would be a great star.
+34 # tomo 2012-01-20 13:07
Good for Ron Paul! I may have someone to vote for after all come November.

Sure, occasionally, I hear Ron Paul say something that makes me wonder what planet he was raised on. But so help me, I would vote for Ron Paul if he believed the earth is flat so long as he convinced me that he had an abiding commitment to the Bill of Rights, and that he repented any derogatory remark he may ever have made about Martin Luther King.

If the remark was merely about Martin Luther King Day, I might be less demanding. My feeling about the day is that it has turned into a Forgetting-Abou t-Martin-Luther -King Day, has turned into a day for celebrating the man as a substitute for hearing his message.)
+5 # Doctoretty 2012-01-20 13:35
You would vote for Ron Paul because he agrees with you on this issue? So does my auto mechanic, but that doesn't make him qualified to be President! Besides, there are way too many things about Ron Paul that are awful, including his position on a woman's right to choose, gay rights and civil rights!
+17 # 2012-01-20 14:18

Paul is personally pro-life but has stated numerous times that he would not make any federal law concerning abortion or the right to choose.

But where do you get gay rights or civil rights? Paul is completely 100% in favor for the rights of all citizens to be identical regardless of gender, race, age, sexual preference, ethnicity, religion, etc., etc. including the right to marry whom one pleases and the right to be fairly treated by our judicial system which punishes minorities far more often and far more severely than majority citizens.

His closest allies in Congress on gay rights issues included Barney Frank!

Your facts are messed up.

Lee Nason
New Bedford, Massachusetts
+11 # John Gill 2012-01-20 15:09
Inason, I admire a lot of what Paul has to say, but I think you and I both know what the man means when he says he would not make any federal law concerning abortion or the right to choose. He is saying that he would support a state's right to make any law they deemed fit and proper. This would mean that there would soon be a number of states in our nation requiring that its residents engage in abortion tourism, that is traveling to a state where abortion is legal in order to have such a thing done. In which case you could forget about the availability of such services for say, a minor raped by someone and who doesn't want to tell the world about her situation or be forced to keep the child. The same can be said about his position on gay rights. Kinda like Obama saying HE won't put Americans in black sites. Paul can say HE supports the right of a citizen to's those mean old states that take those rights away, not him.
-1 # 2012-01-20 15:28
Lee Mason: Your facts are mixed up Here.
You are so smart. what aren't you getting from his newsletters?
+13 # spellbinder 2012-01-20 13:39
Most people on RSN dislike Ron Paul, but most really don't think, really think about what he is saying. They say he is a failure in Congress and the corrupt will say that. He does not follow the sheep in Congress who pander to the large corporations and the financial institutions like almost all the rest. Ron Paul is the only one who is really standing up for the 99% and he is the only one who can be trusted with what he says. How many in Congress, in the House and in Obama's adminstration fought to audit the corrupt Fed? No one except for Paul. If you want the same, then vote for Obama who is being supported by the big banks. Ron Paul is being supported by the people.
+13 # Smiley 2012-01-20 14:38
Don't get too carried away now. Remember that he is against ALL regulation of the corporations and banks and against medicare and social security.
+6 # uglysexy 2012-01-20 13:54
this may be a shrewd tactical move that obama forced a republican to come out against a defense bill.
@spellbinder...NO...I've looked at all ron paul's positions....
his only ones that make a wee bit of sense are limiting some projection of power in terms of extant bases around the world, his wish to end the drug war and his favoring of due process and privacy protections.
The rest is extremely conservative AYN RAND style "ME FIRST" cultism. Pure Social Darwinism that favors only those who do well in the Dog Eat Dog capitalist model. He would throw those not geared towards commerce under the Bus. Those victims are what I call Casualties of Capitalism and they are ough they are typically too dumbed down to know it. Ron Paul is a cult member and cult leader....follo wing a cult as bereft of merit as scientology and the moon church. It's the Cult of Ayn Rand. Why do you think he named his son RAND? It's because of Ayn Rand's influence on him, and because he's a gold bug so...KrugerRAND . Ayn Randism is a Brutal and Merciless, Uncaring Cult.There is nothing wrong with the Government being Big, having Regulatory Teeth and employing People. One reason republicans want to gut gov't is that many gov't workers are in Unions. Republicans hate the labor Movement. Paul is a gold bug.Gold has no inherent value beyond it's use in jewelry and industry. Paul's notion to cut the fed budget 1 trillion in the first year would cause a GLACIAL Depression
+8 # 2012-01-20 14:25
ugly sexy:

Aside from your unfounded allegations, Ron Paul did not name his son Rand. He named him Randy and Ron Paul's wife (who is not political) shortened it for convenience sake to Rand.

Furthermore, Paul is definitely not particularly admiring of Ayn Rand in a number of important areas: Rand was an atheist and Paul is a firm Christian; Rand loved pollution and Paul is an advocate of stiffer anti-pollution regulations than the EPA; Rand was a gung-ho foreign interventionist and Paul is an advocate for a non-interventio nist foreign policy; Rand suggested her followers read detective novels and look at abstract modern art and Paul suggests his followers read economics and history and look at whatever pleases them.

Lee Nason
New Bedford, Massachusetts
-2 # 2012-01-20 15:34
Lee Nason: You are missing the forest for the trees. If Paul is not admiring of Ayn Rand (and who care what he named his son or what novels she reads); he is every bit as self-serving and just because he is a "Christian" does not make him any more moral or altruistic than Ayn Rand.
+10 # dcholley 2012-01-20 13:59
Keep it going RON, you are right!
+26 # Kit 2012-01-20 14:08
Why is Ron Paul apparently the only politician protesting this egregious violation of the constitution? Why are Americans not marching in the streets to undo the damage? When did we become a nation of people who just sit down and take the abuse instead of standing up for our rights? I want to see every member of Congress who voted for this abomination to be replaced in the next election.
+2 # John Gill 2012-01-20 15:15
Well, I would get up and march about it, but it's the potato chips, doncha know. I sat down last week to watch the game...ate a few chips, slugged down a few beers, and before I knew it, my shapely posterior was wedged so tightly between the armrests of my lazyboy that I couldn't get up to make myself a sandwich...much less march for freedom. Ah well.
+6 # MylesJ 2012-01-20 14:14
Man, I wish he would quit the anti-intellectu al GOP and run as a Libertarian. All he gets from most of the GOP is disrespect
+5 # motamanx 2012-01-20 14:15
Whoever advised obama to sign that bill is not a help to the President. He should not be on Obama's staff. This is what happens when you listen to hawks.
+16 # 2012-01-20 15:38
MOTOAMANX: Obama is a grown up as well as a constitutional law professor. He is responsible for himself in regard to signing this unconstitutiona l bill. Nobody was twisting his arm. If he signed it because he was promised something' shame on him! What do the hawks have to do with Obama's decision to deny due process to American citizens?
+25 # Richard Raznikov 2012-01-20 14:16
Thank God somebody in this race wants to keep what's left of the Bill of Rights. The bill is the most dangerous legislation ever passed in this country, and the President's disingenuous statement amounting to "trust me" is frightening. No one should have the power in a free country to lock up people without irrevocable safeguards, including judicial review and trial, and to grant that power to anyone is a perversion of everything America has always claimed to stand for.
Obama lost my vote with this act. I only hope he and the idiot Congress have not lost us our country.
+7 # Coleen Rowley 2012-01-20 14:25
Progressives write that "Ron Paul gives hope to people weary of U.S.'s war record", in Des Moines Register guest column:
+6 # John Gill 2012-01-20 14:32
One point, right off the bat, is that it is a bit disingenuous, or at least naive, to suggest that his coming out in opposition to this bill is "taking a break" from campaigning. Please. Beyond that though, the fears most commonly expressed by Democrats when Ron Paul's name comes up are those having to do with a woman's right to choose, whether or not a cafe owner has the right to discriminate against who they serve, federally mandated social welfare programs, and gay rights. These are well founded fears. At this point in our history though, and addmittedly, being someone who does not have a complete grasp on all the possible ramifications, I wonder if the trade-off, getting out of this endless war, rising up out of this nightmare of a totalitarian autocracy in which we presently find ourselves, is not a reasonable gamble. I used to be a "big government" Democrat for all the reasons above, and very much on the issue of federally mandated equal education for all children in every state, but let's face it, that was an illusion anyway, and I am afraid that the reigns of Bush and Obama have placed us in a position that requires a shaking up and maybe someone like Paul could do some shaking. It's a moot point anyway. I'm sorry, but we're fu*ked. The corporation's man/woman will be put in office just as they have been for decades now. Paul (corporate himself, btw, at least from the perspective of deregulation,) doesn't stand a chance.
+8 # BettyFaas 2012-01-20 14:50
I listened to Ron Paul's speech on C-Span before the House and it was magnificent. He seems honest in his feelings about all of his views. However, his impractical Libertarian monetary policies are not the answer. His participation in debates broadens the discussions about war and other worthwhile issues but I could not vote for him for President.
+5 # WLawpsh 2012-01-20 15:03
If indefinite military detention of American citizens (resident in America) under the 2011 federal legislation is unconstitutiona l because it conflicts with the Bill of Rights, such detention equally is unconstitutiona l relative to the constituents of "foreign Nations and Indian Tribes" (resident in their lands) within the meaning of the War Powers Act of 1973 and the Appropriations Act of 1871 respectively. These three seminal federal imperial statutes are a set the root of which began with the genocidal ethnic cleansing from America of the Indian Tribes and at last the tyranny has come home to We the People. It is all laid out at mightisnotright .org. Otherwise you risk rendering the simple larger issue of imperialism unnecessarily complex by focusing on a part of the set.
+7 # AndyG 2012-01-20 15:17
I wonder whether Congress realized that because of this bill, our Congress itself for example can now be accused of terrorism if it fails to pass a large defense budget. Thus a president can now legally take over the country with the help of the Defense Department and imprison much of Congress indefinitely. For how long will our presidents resist this splendid opportunity for recasting oneself as president-for-l ife?
+5 # chinaski 2012-01-20 15:38
How ironic, in an attempt to protect us from terrorism, we are offered the terrifying prospect of indefinite detention. This is the same thing as making someone disappear. Pinochet showed us how to do it, and we taught them how to torture.
Indefinite detention IS terrorism.
The primary target of The War on Terror is YOU & ME. And when the inevitable fit hits the shan in this misguided jihad, there'll be the requisite oop's and sorry-about-tha t's. You & I, and our liberty, will be considered collateral damage in the Necessary War That Must Go On.
This is just another bill of goods like the latest iPhone or a new set of tires. The only difference is it's sold to us in the political marketplace, and this one will carry the brand names Freedom and National Security.
So show me the way to the cash register. I'll whip out my debit card and buy another six-pack of Freedom and I'll go home, turn on the TV, watch the news and get drunk.
+6 # Susan W 2012-01-20 15:38
Good for him.
+9 # hd70642 2012-01-20 15:42
I am no advocate of terrorism of any kind for any reason but abandoning the bill of rights for any crime is nuts. This is worst than the witch hunts because there is no trial where evidence either for or against is weighed and going by confessions obtained from torture is something out of the Inquisition or some Stalinist purge . Sometimes even an idiot can see when something is wrong such as when Pat Robertson saw the flaws in the war on drugs via the over reaction when it came to the draconian sentencing via pentalies for Marijuana laws
+3 # lcarrier 2012-01-20 17:38
Don't get taken in by Ron Paul, who would get rid of every social program, every government intervention on behalf of the poor--all to benefit the rich. As regards his stand on the Constitution, even a stopped clock is right twice a day.
+5 # Texas Aggie 2012-01-20 21:03
Getting away from Ron Paul for the moment and into the implications of the bill itself, the Patriot Act is a good model for what we can expect from the bill allowing the president to jail anyone he likes under terrorism charges. The Patriot Act also was supposedly limited to terrorists, but the FBI and local police have been abusing its provisions in investigations of common criminals and have been using it to illegally investigate anyone (warrantless searches, break ins without advising the victim, etc.) who the powers that be are unhappy with. Why should this bill be any different?
+1 # anarchteacher 2012-01-21 08:33
Please read this frank and judicious analysis of Ron Paul and whether or not progressives should support his presidential candidacy:
0 # anarchteacher 2012-01-21 08:38
+1 # beadgal46 2012-01-21 10:17
President Obama is getting all the blame for signing this bill for it's controversial Section 1021. But I'm wondering why there was no hint of a gasp by Ron Paul (or anyone else) when the bill was initially proposed in April 2011 by Republican, Howard McKeon. Furthermore, most Congressional aye votes were by Republicans. Bill HR-1540 - National Defense Authorization Act - has hundreds of separate sections totaling over 500 pages. Some sections are quite beneficial to military service members. But like most bills, this one incorporates a few sinister provisions. If protests were to be lodged by Mr. Paul against Section 1021, they should have occurred months ago. I don't know who proposed the controversial Section 1021, but that's where the spotlight and blame should go.
-1 # rhgreen 2012-01-21 19:12
Good for Ron Paul on this issue, but (a) he's certainly got faults on other issues, and (b) I too wonder why he's doing this now instead of when it was being debated in Congress. Actually there was something suspiciously stealthy about how it was introduced and passed through Congress, tacked on to a National Defense Authorization Act.
+1 # Steve5551 2012-01-23 10:12
I find it so very ironic that Ron Paul is marginalized and treated as an unelectable laughing-stock by the media while the three main contenders-Ging rich, Romney and Santorum are billed as respectable electable Republican contenders for the office of President of the United States. The way I see it is---Ron Paul is the only one of the 4 who seems to be a respectable, consistent, truth teller. The other three ought to be strung-up for crimminal activities against the people of the United States. Help me understand why the big three are not ashamed and begging for forgiveness. I mean...DAMN!!!! Ron Paul is the only bright spot in this line-up of potential candidates.
0 # futhark 2012-01-28 08:41
Ron Paul seems to be the only candidate, and certainly the only Republican candidate, who demonstrates any concept of the foundation of the American Revolution: that it is the People's right to go about their own business, including selecting their mode of governance and their political leaders, without undue interference by the already politically powerful.

Despite his shortcomings in the areas of protecting the environment and dealing with civil rights, Ron Paul's campaign is a clarion call for our society to rethink many now deeply ingrained attitudes about privacy, national security, and military interventionism .
+1 # Steve5551 2012-01-23 14:54
Good point Steve! Are the Republicans of South Carolina INSANE? How could those Bible Thumpers give Newt the big nod when he was carrying on an affair simultaneously while pushing for Clinton's Impeachment? The Civil War is over. It's time to let common sense guide us in selecting our presidential candidates.

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