Happy Birthday, Bill [of Rights]: Obama Breaks Promise To Veto Bill Allowing Indefinite Detention of Americans

There was a brief moment when civil libertarians were stunned to see President Barack Obama actually take a stand in favor of civil liberties after years to rolling back on basic rights of citizens and moving beyond the Bush Administration in building up the security state. Obama said that he would veto the defense bill that contained a horrific provision for the indefinite detention of American citizens. While many predicted it, Obama has now again betrayed the civil liberties community and lifted the threat of the veto. Americans will now be subject to indefinite detention without trial in federal courts in a measure supported by both Democrats and Republicans. It is a curious way to celebrate the 220th anniversary of the Bill of Rights.

This leave Ron Paul as the only candidate in the presidential campaign fighting the bill and generally advocating civil liberties as a rallying point for his campaign. Paul offered another strong argument against the Patriot Act and other expansions of police powers in his last debate. He also noted that the Patriot Act provisions were long advocated before 9-11, which was used as an opportunity to expand police powers. As discussed in a prior column, Obama has destroyed the civil liberties movement in the United States and has convinced many liberals to fight for an Administration that blocked torture prosecutions, expanded warrantless surveillance, continued military tribunals, killed Americans on the sole authority of the President, and other core violations of civil liberties.

The White House is saying that changes to the law made it unnecessary to veto the legislation. That spin is facially ridiculous. The changes were the inclusion of some meaningless rhetoric after key amendments protecting citizens were defeated. The provision merely states that nothing in the provisions could be construed to alter Americans’ legal rights. Since the Senate clearly views citizens are not just subject to indefinite detention but even execution without a trial, the change offers nothing but rhetoric to hide the harsh reality. THe Administration and Democratic members are in full spin — using language designed to obscure the authority given to the military. The exemption for American citizens from the mandatory detention requirement (section 1032) is the screening language for the next section, 1031, which offers no exemption for American citizens from the authorization to use the military to indefinitely detain people without charge or trial.

At least Senator Lindsey Graham was honest when he said on the Senate floor that “1031, the statement of authority to detain, does apply to American citizens and it designates the world as the battlefield, including the homeland.”

I am not sure which is worse: the loss of core civil liberties or the almost mocking post hoc rationalization for abandoning principle. The Congress and the President have now completed a law that would have horrified the Framers. Indefinite detention of citizens is something that the Framers were intimately familiar with and expressly sought to bar in the Bill of Rights. While the Framers would have likely expected citizens in the streets defending their freedoms, this measure was greeted with a shrug and a yawn by most citizens and reporters. Instead, we are captivated by whether a $10,000 bet by Romney was real or pretend in the last debate.

Even more distressing is the statement from sponsor Senator Levin, Chairman of the Armed Services Committee that “The language which precluded the application of Section 1031 to American citizens was in the bill that we originally approved … and the administration asked us to remove the language which says that U.S. citizens and lawful residents would not be subject to this section.”

Source: Guardian

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Section 1031:

Subtitle D–Detainee Matters
SEC. 1031. AFFIRMATION OF AUTHORITY OF THE ARMED FORCES OF THE UNITED STATES TO DETAIN COVERED PERSONS PURSUANT TO THE AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF MILITARY FORCE.
(a) In General- Congress affirms that the authority of the President to use all necessary and appropriate force pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107-40) includes the authority for the Armed Forces of the United States to detain covered persons (as defined in subsection (b)) pending disposition under the law of war.
(b) Covered Persons- A covered person under this section is any person as follows:
(1) A person who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored those responsible for those attacks.
(2) A person who was a part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, including any person who has committed a belligerent act or has directly supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces.
(c) Disposition Under Law of War- The disposition of a person under the law of war as described in subsection (a) may include the following:
(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) Trial under chapter 47A of title 10, United States Code (as amended by the Military Commissions Act of 2009 (title XVIII of Public Law 111-84)).
(3) Transfer for trial by an alternative court or competent tribunal having lawful jurisdiction.
(4) Transfer to the custody or control of the person’s country of origin, any other foreign country, or any other foreign entity.
(d) Construction- Nothing in this section is intended to limit or expand the authority of the President or the scope of the Authorization for Use of Military Force.
(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.
(f) Requirement for Briefings of Congress- The Secretary of Defense shall regularly brief Congress regarding the application of the authority described in this section, including the organizations, entities, and individuals considered to be ‘covered persons’ for purposes of subsection (b)(2).

330 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, Bill [of Rights]: Obama Breaks Promise To Veto Bill Allowing Indefinite Detention of Americans”

  1. If this law has been in place since 2001 then why has it taken until now to have this brought to our attention? I am not by any means justifying what Obama did, but I find the timing of this whole thing to be odd. It is possible, that this was done to turn the people on Obama? I predict that we will see another Democrat running for President–possibly and most likely Hillary Clinton. This whole thing wreaks of scandal–definitely something the Clintons are notorious for. Gawd help us all of another Clinton gets into office. Bill is already pushing for a constitutional amendment to allow more than 2 terms.

  2. A-c, I know all about you and how old you are. You are not old enough to have run a successful anything before there was such a thing as the Internet. BTW, the photograph is not particularly flattering. It does not matter, really, but no one cares about your bragging. You are not the first person busted here trying to invent a persona that does not exist. Your writing indicates a marked lack of maturity and judgment, as does some of your past behavior in the meatworld. Just give it up and get some help.

  3. Dear Mr Turley, associates and Americans,

    It is good to see debate about the new power to do to everyone else soon upon the NDAA Bill becoming Law Mr. Turley, as it is an important step for the mainstream internet community that they will maybe now understand what the authorities have been doing to us is the same as the NDAA for several decades already.

    A relatively small vocal group including myself have been telling anyone who would listen about our being attacked in our homes by the authorities where essentially the country is a battlefield, we have received no due process and we are interned in this hell permanently just as the NDAA Bill proposes. The method they are using on us may not be traditionally recognized as the NDAA but it is the same in principle. The authorities have been developing and refining for some 75 years or more implantable (in vivo) devices placed in the body by surgery covertly without the knowledge or consent of the individual and since around the mid 1960’s has been doing so in great numbers to Americans. There is also the use besides these secret surgery devices the use of directed energy not unlike that from a microwave oven to attack people in their homes. We are being tortured yes in our homes by the authorities! We have been ignored by most internet reporting personalities and that may now change as those whom have not wanted to believe such could be happening or were afraid to talk about it for fear they too would be affected, may now with the NDAA on the horizon realize their silence will be foolish and do nothing but place themselves in danger from the same fate as well. There are millions of mentions on the net as to websites that talk specifically about these atrocities. Merely look up the following phrases “electronic torture in my home” “dew weapons attack” “mind control attack “victim” to name a few. It is time for such a topic to be the main topic of conversation or we may well wake up and find those internet personalities that may have been able to warn us have taken ill and cannot make even the decision to leave their bed, they can disable a person to the point where they are sidelined and not even aware f what has happened. For those whom realize too late to speak up now leave those of us fighting against it in a very bad position alone. You will find information of value on the following website http://www.us-government-torture.com as to symptoms of being attacked and other information that may be useful.

  4. Pffft. I ran an international BBS long before there was the “web.” The technology would be more advanced without government. We don’t need rulers. We need equality under the law, the non-aggression principle.

    1. Sorry AC, you are obviousely dilusional AND ignorant of the facts. Your thinking and grasp of reality falls somewhere after the dinasours but before the cavemen.

  5. The stereotypical fascist authoritarian response. “Submit to unprovoked aggression and coercion, flee the tyranny I desire over you, shut up or else.” Fuck you. I’m going nowhere. Somalia has a government, first of all. The US government murders people everywhere and controls the escape routes and my property here is mine. I will defend myself and my property. Don’t tread on me you fucking fascists. I and many others and many more every day have had enough of your tyranny and eternal world war of empire. Fuck your empire, fuck your trillions of unjust rules, fuck your whole system.

    1. AC- time for your thorazine. FYI: the technology you used to post your rant was largely created by government funding directly or indirectly.

  6. A-c, there are very few countries where people can get away with not having to pay taxes if they don’t want to. Somalia is calling. I hear the weather there is good this time of year.

    There are a few small uninhabited islands scattered around the globe as well. Have fun.

  7. If you aren’t calling for less revenue, and ideally NONE, less power, less rules across the board on every issue, less government [actually NONE!] you are complicit in evil.

  8. You’re the ones living in a fantasy world to think you can make change by continuing to do what you’ve always done. And you really think that the Democrats are working for you. You believe what the administration says. You need more sources. Check out their campaign contributors. They are paying their piper as they have always done.

    1. bettykath, you know in those movies were a group of people find themselves in a very difficult situation – maybe even fighting for their survivial – and there is always someone who does nothing but complain, complain, complain, complain, and never has anything useful to say or do, and when the time comes to stand and fight they are the first to run. You know that charachter in the movie, well, guess what, its you.

      The world is not a perfect place for sure but still we make choices with what we we’ve got and do the best we can to make it better. You, I’m affraid want a perfect world but are unwilling to do anything that gets it there.

      1. You really don’t know me or what I do.

        I’ve spent more years than many working for change. Sometimes successfully, sometimes not. My energies go into areas where I have some hope for success. Trying to change the makeup of the Democratic and Republican parties is no longer on my list.

        Your comments are completely off base. Get over it.

        1. bettykath, well of course I don’t know you. all i have to go by is what you have said here, but perhaps I know more then you think. Its all well and good what you have done, but the real question now is what you will do and what will happen if we all do nothing.

  9. Mr. Turley, Please don’t think I don’t share your passion for individual rights, or don’t grasp the implication of some of these laws. There is no doubt that the best way to protect all our rights is to protect the rights of those whose guilt we are feel most certain of or activities most offend us. But I also know there is a time when a tactical retreat is better then an all out defeat.

    It is certainly important to make clear our disappointments and hold our leaders accountable, but doing so in a way that can only make the road ahead more difficult is counter productive. Its seems to me that the best way to insure our rights is to take back congress, and retain the Presidency. As you well know the next president is almost certainly going to appoint at least one and possibly more USSCJ.

    Some people think the election is the ‘economy stupid” but if we really believe in Democratic Ideals its all about the Supreme Court. For those who think it doesn’t matter if Republicans or Democrats win I suggest you just say the words Scalia, Roberts, Alito, and Thomas over and over in your head.

    I’m sure, you, Mr. Turley know this better then most.

    I suggest people think about the coming election more in terms of the Battle of Gettysburg rather then just another election between parties more or less the same. If it was lost the world we have would have had would be very different from the world we do have and not for the better. It is the difference between hope for the future and a short road back to the dark ages. That is what is at stake and it is time people wake up to that fact.

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