Connect with us

News and Views

Jonathan Turley | Obama Breaks Promise To Veto Bill Allowing Indefinite Detention of Americans

Published

Cross-posted
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.

Keep supporting MuslimMatters for the sake of Allah

Alhamdulillah, we're at over 850 supporters. Help us get to 900 supporters this month. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

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

Keep supporting MuslimMatters for the sake of Allah

Alhamdulillah, we're at over 850 supporters. Help us get to 900 supporters this month. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Umm Sulaim

    December 16, 2011 at 4:41 AM

    From Allah we come and to Him will we return.

    Perhaps the paucity of protests arise as a result of misleadership of the likely targets of the bill: Muslims.

    If Muslims do not regard it as an issue, why should the rest of America?

    Perhaps when Muslims learn to interact with non-Muslims WITHOUT offering Muslims for sale to show they love America, non-Muslims will begin to see them as fellow Americans.

    This morning I made new American online friends, including some who had the southern flag on their profiles and usernames such as redneck.

    The conversation with one of them got into why I had no profile picture and I mentioned I wore a face veil. He curiously asked whether it was out of choice or custom and said it reminded him of heirlom.

    I laughed and responded it was my choice. When he asked to be reminded of the meaning of heirlom, acknowledging he had misspelt it, I did a quick google search and came up with vegetables! Very funny! Aware that was not his intention, I offered the closest wording harlem and explained it was to protect women from molestation.

    He corrected me and referred it to marrying more than one wife, to which I agree, with clarification of the nonexistence of the term to my knowledge. And in response to the purpose of the face veil, I explained it was for men outside of the family, except a nuptial suitor.

    Umm Sulaim

  2. chuck hird

    December 18, 2011 at 11:18 PM

    Pres. Obama disappointed me on this one. I don’t understand why politics would trump morality and ethics. I just may drop out of all this sh..!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

..
..
..

Ramadan Video Series

MuslimMatters NewsLetter in Your Inbox

Sign up below to get started

Trending