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FEATURE NEWS

AN EGYPTIAN MILITARY
MODEL IN THE U.S.?
Could U.S. military, emboldened with impunity of new law up for Senate vote, arrest any American anywhere, anytime
and for anything?

November 26, 2011



(MONROE, WA) -- This one might have escaped the nightly newscasts this week. Even many of the newsies on the Internet, including this one, have been oddly silent about the story given its broad implications for the safety and security of all Americans not to mention the constitutional protections all Americans enjoy.

Yet critics of the soon to be voted on National Defense Authorization Act bill say we should all be concerned; very concerned about what could happen to any one of us if this bill is approved.

The U.S. Senate is getting set to vote on Monday or Tuesday on what critics refer to as a “worldwide indefinite detention without charge or trial power for the military” which is at the heart of the act.

The bill “Goes to the very heart of who we are as Americans. The Senate will be voting on a bill that will direct American military resources not at an enemy shooting at our military in a war zone, but at American citizens and other civilians far from any battlefield — even people in the United States itself," says the American Civil Liberties in a warning on its website.

One of the things Senators will be voting on in this bill is this: whether Congress will give President Obama and every future president the power to order the military to pick up and imprison - without charge or trial - American civilians anywhere in the world.

“Even Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) raised his concerns about the NDAA detention provisions during last night’s Republican debate. The power is so broad that even U.S. citizens could be swept up by the military and the military could be used far from any battlefield, even within the United States itself,” says the ACLU statement on the bill which claims the bill was “drafted in secret” by Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) and passed in a closed-door committee meeting, without even a single hearing," says the ACLU statement.

The New York Times said of the act, “Osama bin Laden had been dead only a few days when House Republicans began their efforts to expand, rather than contract, the war on terror. Not content with the president’s wide-ranging powers to pursue the arch criminals of Sept. 11, 2001, Republicans want to authorize the military to pursue virtually anyone suspected of terrorism, anywhere on earth, from now to the end of time…this wildly expansive authorization would, in essence, make the war on terror a permanent and limitless aspect of life on earth, along with its huge potential for abuse.”

“Hasn’t anyone told the Senate that Osama bin Laden is dead, that the president is pulling all of the combat troops out of Iraq and trying to figure out how to get combat troops out of Afghanistan too? And American citizens and people picked up on American or Canadian or British streets being sent to military prisons indefinitely without even being charged with a crime. Really? Does anyone think this is a good idea? And why now?” says Chris Anders of the ACLU’s Washington Legislative office.

Anders says the answer to the “why now?” question is nothing more than election season politics.

“The White House, the Secretary of Defense, and the Attorney General have all said that the indefinite detention provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act are harmful and counterproductive. The White House has even threatened a veto. But Senate politics has propelled this bad legislation to the Senate floor,” he adds.

A Nov. 15 Washington Post story pointed out that among those opposed to the provisions are Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the chairwoman of the Intelligence Committee, Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., the head of the Judiciary Committee, and Mark Udall, D-Colo., a member of the Armed Services panel.

Udall said he sees red flags waving over some provisions in that bill and their impact on U.S. citizens and counterterrorism operations.

“I do not believe that the consequences of the provisions have been adequately considered, and it should be noted that the Department of Defense strongly objects to their inclusion,” he said in a statement.

“The White House, the Secretary of Defense, and the Attorney General have all said that the indefinite detention provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act are harmful and counterproductive. The White House has even threatened a veto. But Senate politics has propelled this bad legislation to the Senate floor,” he adds.

The ACLU says there is a way to stop the harmful provisions of the bill visa vi’ the Udall Amendment.

Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) is offering an amendment that critics of the bill believe will delete the harmful provisions of the act and replace them with a requirement for an orderly Congressional review of detention power.

The ACLU is urging Americans to send this message here to U.S. Senators asking them to vote for the Udall amendment.





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