Obama Signs NDAA
January 2, 2012 by staff
Obama Signs NDAA, President Barack Obama signed a law on New Year’s Eve granting himself absolute power to indefinitely detain American citizens suspected (by him) of being “belligerents.” He promises he won’t use it, however.
On December 31, 2011, with the President’s signing of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the writ of habeas corpus – a civil right so fundamental to Anglo-American common law history that it predates the Magna Carta – is voidable upon the command of the President of the United States. The Sixth Amendment right to counsel is also revocable at his will.
The United States, as Senator Lindsey Graham declared during floor debate in the Senate, is now a theatre in the War on Terror and Americans “can be detained indefinitely … and when you say to the interrogator, ‘I want my lawyer,’ the interrogator will say, ‘You don’t have a right to a lawyer because you’re a military threat.’”
Don’t worry, though. Although the President now wields this enormous power, he adamantly denies that he will ever “authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens.” That guarantee is all that stands between American citizens and life in prison on arbitrary charges of conspiring to commit or committing acts belligerent to the homeland.
The President continued by explaining that to indefinitely detain American citizens without a trial on the charges laid against them “would break with our most important traditions and values as a nation.”
Ironically, the signing statement in which President Obama gave these assurances is itself violative of the Constitution, the separation of powers established therein, and only demonstrates his proclivity for ignoring constitutional restraints on the exercise of power once those powers have been placed (albeit illegally) by a complicit Congress at his disposal.
Once development of it begins in the body politic, the muscle of tyranny never atrophies.
Supporters of the law (including President Obama) point to the “undeniable” success achieved against “suspected terrorists.” Although President Obama claims that the section of the NDAA (1021) authorizing the President to detain these suspects “breaks no new ground and is unnecessary,” the President’s interpretation of just who inhabits the universe of likely suspects (as explained in the signing statement appended to the NDAA) includes “al-Qa’ida and its affiliates and adherents….”
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