Mar 10, 2014
Obama Signs NDAA, Maintaining Indefinite Detention Provision
Posted on Dec 27, 2013
President Obama took a break from his Hawaii vacation Thursday to sign the new National Defense Authorization Act, which he criticized for not giving him the flexibility he needs to close Guantanamo Bay. But it also retains the government’s authority to indefinitely detain U.S. citizens, a detail he didn’t seem to mind so much.
The new NDAA makes it easier for the government to transfer Gitmo detainees to other countries, but continues a ban on moving them to the U.S. for trial. From the Los Angeles Times:
Yet Obama was less concerned with the constitutional rights of American citizens, who can still be detained indefinitely under the NDAA. From Salon:
Hedges has chronicled his fight against the detention provision of the NDAA here at Truthdig. And it should be a worrisome provision for anyone who believes in basic American civil liberties, which have been significantly eroded since the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Interestingly, the U.S. has a long history of clamping down on civil liberties in times of political stress, which Geoffrey Stone detailed admirably in his 2004 “Perilous Times: Free Speech in Wartime—From the Sedition Act of 1798 to the War on Terrorism” (I dove into a single case, Dennis v. US, in my 2011 book “The Fear Within: Spies, Commies, and American Democracy on Trial”). In past suppressions, the government, after emotions and the fears subsided, generally corrected the excesses it had embraced (usually through court decisions). But here, a dozen years after the catalyzing event, there is no sign of the government recognizing that it had erred in a fundamental way by infringing on basic civil liberties, which suggests some of these clampdowns may be here to stay—a frightening thing to contemplate.
—Posted by Scott Martelle.
Previous item: Four Reasons Republicans Might Take Back the Senate in 2014
New and Improved Comments