Final Curtain: Obama Signs Indefinite Detention of Citizens Into Law As Final Act of 2011

President Barack Obama rang in the New Year by signing the NDAA law with its provision allowing him to indefinitely detain citizens. It was a symbolic moment to say the least. With Americans distracted with drinking and celebrating, Obama signed one of the greatest rollbacks of civil liberties in the history of our country . . . and citizens partied only blissfully into the New Year.

Ironically, in addition to breaking his promise not to sign the law, Obama broke his promise on signing statements and attached a statement that he really does not want to detain citizens indefinitely.

Obama insisted that he signed the bill simply to keep funding for the troops. It was a continuation of the dishonest treatment of the issue by the White House since the law first came to light. As discussed earlier, the White House told citizens that the President would not sign the NDAA because of the provision. That spin ended after sponsor Sen. Carl Levin (D., Mich.) went to the floor and disclosed that it was the White House that insisted that there be no exception for citizens in the indefinite detention provision.

The latest claim is even more insulting. You do not “support our troops” by denying the principles for which they are fighting. They are not fighting to consolidate authoritarian powers in the President. The “American way of life” is defined by our Constitution and specifically the Bill of Rights. Moreover, the insistence that you do not intend to use authoritarian powers does not alter the fact that you just signed an authoritarian measure. It is not the use but the right to use such powers that defines authoritarian systems.

The almost complete failure of the mainstream media to cover this issue is shocking. Many reporters have bought into the spin of the Obama Administration as they did the spin over torture by the Bush Administration. Even today reporters refuse to call waterboarding torture despite the long line of cases and experts defining waterboarding as torture for decades. On the NDAA, reporters continue to mouth the claim that this law only codifies what is already the law. That is not true. The Administration has fought any challenges to indefinite detention to prevent a true court review. Moreover, most experts agree that such indefinite detention of citizens violates the Constitution.

There are also those who continue the long-standing effort to excuse Obama’s horrific record on civil liberties by either blaming others or the times. One successful myth is that there is an exception for citizens. 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.

Obama could have refused to sign the bill and the Congress would have rushed to fund the troops. Instead, as confirmed by Sen. Levin, the White House conducted a misinformation campaign to secure this power while portraying Obama as some type of reluctant absolute ruler, or as Obama maintains a reluctant president with dictatorial powers.

Most Democratic members joined their Republican colleagues in voting for this unAmerican measure. Some Montana citizens are moving to force the removal of these members who they insist betrayed their oaths of office and their constituents. Most citizens however are continuing to treat the matter as a distraction from the holiday cheer.

For civil libertarians, the NDAA is our Mayan moment. 2012 is when the nation embraced authoritarian powers with little more than a pause between rounds of drinks.

So here is a resolution better than losing weight this year . . . make 2012 the year you regained your rights.

Here is the signing statement attached to the bill:
————-

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 31, 2011
Statement by the President on H.R. 1540
Today I have signed into law H.R. 1540, the “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012.” I have signed the Act chiefly because it authorizes funding for the defense of the United States and its interests abroad, crucial services for service members and their families, and vital national security programs that must be renewed. In hundreds of separate sections totaling over 500 pages, the Act also contains critical Administration initiatives to control the spiraling health care costs of the Department of Defense (DoD), to develop counterterrorism initiatives abroad, to build the security capacity of key partners, to modernize the force, and to boost the efficiency and effectiveness of military operations worldwide.
The fact that I support this bill as a whole does not mean I agree with everything in it. In particular, I have signed this bill despite having serious reservations with certain provisions that regulate the detention, interrogation, and prosecution of suspected terrorists. Over the last several years, my Administration has developed an effective, sustainable framework for the detention, interrogation and trial of suspected terrorists that allows us to maximize both our ability to collect intelligence and to incapacitate dangerous individuals in rapidly developing situations, and the results we have achieved are undeniable. Our success against al-Qa’ida and its affiliates and adherents has derived in significant measure from providing our counterterrorism professionals with the clarity and flexibility they need to adapt to changing circumstances and to utilize whichever authorities best protect the American people, and our accomplishments have respected the values that make our country an example for the world.

Source: ABC

682 thoughts on “Final Curtain: Obama Signs Indefinite Detention of Citizens Into Law As Final Act of 2011

  1. […] Barack Obama – NDAA Legacy Image by DonkeyHotey Barack Obama holding a thinning copy the Constitution of the United States. Eight years of Bush, three years of Obama and 11 years of a fearful Congress have produced a law as atrocious as the Nation Defense Authorization Act. Read Jonathan Turley’s post, "Obama Signs Indefinite Detention of Citizens Into Law As Final Act of 2011" […]

    • I say let’s keep this NDAA law, make sure it is firmly enforced, then go after the three most high ranking terrorists we know.
      1. George Busch I (oreginal spelling)
      2, George Busch II ” ”
      3, Dingbat Obama

  2. 36 Hours Left! Tell Congress to Pass the Smith-Amash Amendment to the NDAA

    By Chris Anders, Washington Legislative Office at 11:26am

    Thirty-six hours might not seem like much time. But we are hoping it will be just enough time for all Americans to convince our members of Congress that no president should have the authority to order the military to detain civilians without charge or trial in the United States, or put anyone in our country on trial in front of military commissions.

    http://www.aclu.org/blog/national-security/36-hours-left-tell-congress-pass-smith-amash-amendment-ndaa

    “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.” –Thomas Jefferson

  3. […] only concerns are power, profits and control … now that the president has signed into law the national defense authorization act of 2012, if you use illegal drugs, i.e. marijuana, or if you belong to any group that the government deems […]

  4. Someone You Love: Coming to a Gulag Near You

    by Chris Hedges
    Apr 2, 2012

    http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/coming_to_a_gulag_near_you_20120402/

    Excerpt:

    “There are now 1,271 government agencies and 1,931 private companies that work on programs related to counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence in about 10,000 locations across the United States, The Washington Post reported in a 2010 series by Dana Priest and William M. Arken. There are 854,000 people with top-secret security clearances, the reporters wrote, and in Washington, D.C., and the surrounding area 33 building complexes for top-secret intelligence work are under construction or have been built since September 2011. Investigative reporter James Bamford wrote in the latest issue of Wired magazine that the National Security Agency is building the largest spy center in the country in Bluffdale, Utah, as part of a secret NSA surveillance program code-named “Stellar Wind.” Bamford noted that the NSA has established listening posts throughout the country to collect, store and examine billions of email messages and phone calls.

    If we lose this case it will hand to the vast network of operatives and agencies that investigate and demonize anyone who is not subservient to the corporate state the power to detain citizens and strip them of due process. It will permit the security and surveillance state to brand as terrorists any nonviolent protesters and movements, along with social and political critics, that in the government’s imagination have any trace of connection to al-Qaida or “associated forces.” If the National Defense Authorization Act is not reversed it will plunge us into despotism, leaving us without a voice, trapped in eddies of fear and terror, unsure of what small comment, what small action, could be misinterpreted to push us out of our jobs or send us to jail. This is the future before us. And we better fight back now while we can.”

    • Well it looks like we are all Bradley Manning.
      A solution to this might be found in the early history of America. Yes! The Salem witch hunts….How did that all come to a screeching stop? They began to acuse the wives and daughters of the leaders of witchcraft.
      So lets go after the ruling class and their cohurts.

  5. http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_polite_conference_rooms_where_liberties_are_saved_and_lost_20120326/

    The Polite Conference Rooms Where Liberties Are Saved and Lost
    Email this item Email Print this item Print Share this item… Share

    Mar 26, 2012
    AP Photo / John Minchillo

    Chris Hedges is suing the president over the National Defense Authorization Act, which legalizes the indefinite detention of American citizens without due process.

    By Chris Hedges

    I spent four hours in a third-floor conference room at 86 Chambers St. in Manhattan on Friday as I underwent a government deposition. Benjamin H. Torrance, an assistant U.S. attorney, carried out the questioning as part of the government’s effort to decide whether it will challenge my standing as a plaintiff in the lawsuit I have brought with others against President Barack Obama and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta over the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), also known as the Homeland Battlefield Bill.

    end of excerpt

  6. @Carol: I have had no sad experiences with either pregnancy or abortion.

    An abortion that results in a live child is called a “birth,” not an abortion. You do not get to redefine the language to make yourself “right” in some weird sense. My entire thesis from the beginning is that the fetus obviously becomes a person sometime before birth and once it does it has the rights of a person, including the right to life, and cannot be killed at the whim of the mother. Trying to inject some fantastical live abortion into that equation is just you grasping at straws.

    But I’ll go along, if a late-term fetus can survive on its own and is not injured or killed in the process of terminating the pregnancy early, I am fine with that too. The objective is to protect both lives when that is possible.

  7. Abortion is the termination of pregnancy. You terminate and can still have as the product of that pregancy a live child. Period. You want to ignore that.
    And sure you tell a social worker I dont want this child, simple as leaving the hospital without it (you are aware I assume of the safe haven hospitals have just for women who do not want/cannot take the responsibility of a child.) children’s services would find placement, whether with a relative or not depending on circumstances.
    Tony from your vehemence and refusal to really read and understand what many of us have written, I have to think you had a sad experience in your own life with this kind of situation or a woman who did not want to proceed with a pregnancy in which you, or someone close to you, was involved.
    If so I am sorry for the sadness you experienced.

  8. @Carol: Tony continues to ignore the just keeping the baby alive.

    You are lying about me. I have not “ignored” that, it is what I am arguing in favor of. Giving birth to the baby and then turning it over to child services would be fine by me; my objection is only to killing it before it is born. Any legal thing that can be done with the child after it is born is not anything I am arguing about, I am strictly arguing about what can be done before that happens.

    If it is viable when a late term abortion is performed then turn it over to children’s services.

    Turn what over? A dead body? An abortion kills the fetus by design, a delivery preserves the child, even if the delivery is by C-section. If the child survives the “abortion” then it wasn’t an “abortion,” it was a “birth.”

    he seems to prefer finding a way to call women murderers.

    Bullshit squared, it is YOU that is struggling to find ways to insist I am a monster bent on subjugating women. A woman is a murderer only if she kills another person.

    If a woman wants to escape responsibility for a child, she cannot necessarily just induce birth and then hand it over to child services, if she gives birth she may bear financial responsibility for the child. Child services only takes children in danger. If she endangers the child to make child services take the child, she will likely be committing a crime, and can be punished. If she kills the born child, she is guilty of murder. The way out, if she wanted to escape responsibility, would be to kill the child by abortion before she gives birth. That is the scenario I argue against, restricting the right of a woman to have a late term abortion without just cause, as a matter of Constitutional law.

    And before you tell me nobody would do that, we have murders of children by their mothers just this year because the mothers decided they couldn’t afford them, and didn’t like them because they got divorced from the father, and other such emotionally insane reasons. Read the news, woman drown their normal, living children, do not try to tell me there are no women that would kill a ninth-month fetus for purely emotional reasons.

Comments are closed.