Senate (predictably) votes to make US citizens subject to indefinite detention

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Republican “conservatives” of course being the bill’s major backers:


WASHINGTON — The Senate voted Tuesday to keep a controversial provision to let the military detain terrorism suspects on U.S. soil and hold them indefinitely without trial — prompting White House officials to reissue a veto threat.

The measure, part of the massive National Defense Authorization Act, was also opposed by civil libertarians on the left and right. But 16 Democrats and an independent joined with Republicans to defeat an amendment by Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) that would have killed the provision, voting it down with 61 against, and 37 for it.

“I’m very, very, concerned about having U.S. citizens sent to Guantanamo Bay for indefinite detention,” said Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), one of the Senate’s most conservative members.

Paul’s top complaint is that a terrorism suspect would get just one hearing where the military could assert that the person is a suspected terrorist — and then they could be locked up for life, without ever formally being charged. The only safety valve is a waiver from the secretary of defense.

“It’s not enough just to be alleged to be a terrorist,” Paul said, echoing the views of the American Civil Liberties Union. “That’s part of what due process is — deciding, are you a terrorist? I think it’s important that we not allow U.S. citizens to be taken.”

Democrats who were also concerned about liberties compared the military policing of Americans to the detention of Americans in internment camps during World War II.

“Congress is essentially authorizing the indefinite imprisonment of American citizens, without charge,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who offered another amendment — which has not yet gotten a vote — that she said would correct the problem. “We are not a nation that locks up its citizens without charge.”

Backers of military detention of Americans — a measure crafted by Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) — came out swinging against Udall’s amendment on the Senate floor earlier Tuesday.

“The enemy is all over the world. Here at home. And when people take up arms against the United States and [are] captured within the United States, why should we not be able to use our military and intelligence community to question that person as to what they know about enemy activity?” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said.


  1. Note to all those who believe the Administration’s veto threat is one of principle:

    The Statement of Administration Policy on S.1867 expresses the administration’s displeasure with the “attempt to expressly codify the detention authority that exists under the Authorization for Use of Military Force(Public Law 107-40) (the “AUMF”). The codification of military detention authority is not deemed necessary or appropriate and would be a dilution of powers that now exist in the hands of the Executive Branch (ie. detention, torture, unwarranted search and seizure, etc). The Administration warns that “Congress must be careful not to open a whole new series of legal questions that will distract from our efforts to protect the country.” Making detention a military matter takes the judge/jury powers away from the Executive Department.

    Welcome to the FOURTH REICH.

    • Hi Geraldine,

      You’re right. Paul Craig Roberts published a great column on this last week. Also, keep in mind that it is Obama who asserts the authority to kill anyone – including US citizens – whom he decides is an “enemy of freedom.” So it is not surprising to learn what the true motives of Big Ears are in this case.

  2. This “nullification” deal could be more effective if people figured that secession was a viable alternative to federal dictates. After all, the USA has pretty much run out of money, so in that context, it’s doubtful that the USA union can remain intact for much more than probably a decade.

    • I wish you were right, but the DHS and the TSA, instruments of opression, are a very small part of our national budet. The government does not have to cut these line items at all. In fact, I expect the expenditures to increase. I expect the totalitarian state to expand as things get more financially unstable.

      • I do, too.

        Worse, I expect that a working majority of the people out there – I call them The Maggots – are not only going to go along with it, they will help it along. This has been true, so far, in every society which has gone authoritarian and as in all things, I do not not regard America as exempt from either the laws of history or the laws of human nature. It is going to be unpleasant.

  3. If this is discussing S.1867 The National Defense Auithorization Act for 2012, the section under Requirement for Military Custody says this does not apply to citizens of the United States. So where does this article come from????? Check by if you want the text of the bill.

    • For me, whether or not the law claims that it will not apply to US citizens is irrelevant. The precedent will be set. And anyone who is familiar with the law understands that precedent becomes the law. How long do you honestly think it will take for some enterprising psychopath to find an argument that will make an exception to this section of the law. The Constitution is supposed to be the supreme law of the land that protects American citizens, yet it doesn’t do shit.

      Am I to somehow believe that the men who crafted this legislation, the men who have shown nothing but utter contempt for the Constitution for which they pledged to obey, will not find some way of extending this new found power over American citizens. Please. The state will never willingly divest itself of power once it has grasped it. To think otherwise is foolish and naive.

      If we want to remain as a free people, we must once again be guided by principle. In our zeal to try to punish others and keep ourselves safe, we will inevitably hurt ourselves and become less free. The road to hell is always paved with good intentions.

      • Reality is that the law means nothing in this country. The gov’t, at all levels, simply does what it wants, when it wants, how it wants and then justifies it by perverting the meaning of an existing law or they retroactively write a new one.

        The gov’t, at all levels, is at the top of the food chain and so there is no one to govern the governors. So, they literally get away with murder.

        The only solution is education and nullification. Withdraw our consent and defend our right to do so. But that takes cooperation, coordination, courage, character and intellect. Unfortunately, we live in America and those sorts of qualities stand a far second to a sense of entitlement, arrogance, ignorance, and narcissism.

        • @Don:

          double-plus good, well said sir.

          We are occupied by a criminal mafia. It is no more “our” government than the lawless gang of thugs robbing your house is “your” gang.

          The sooner people realize that this government is totally illegitimate, the faster they’ll throw off its shackles.

          But they won’t, until it’s hurt them real, real bad…and we have to suffer along with the idiots who deny it’s happening.

    • The devil is in how the sections work together and with previous law.

      What comes about is that there is a power to define anywhere as a battlefield. Anyone can be defined as an enemy combatant. And lastly enemy combatants can be stripped of their citizenship without due process. The same body will hold all those powers to define.

      It is understood that most americans and most legislators will not read in detail or in full or consider interactions between sections and existing law. That’s why they put that little section in there about not applying to US citizens. It doesn’t mean anything. Plus it gets the precedent set which can be easily expanded to be used on US citizens out in the open later, once people get used to it.

  4. Since when a U.S. citizen have the right to be a traitor yet be immune from harm? Oh yeah apparently Jefferson reckoned nothing for freedom to freshen the tree of liberty with the blood of dead politicians.

    • Clover… oh Clover… no one has a “right to be a traitor.” (Another dumb statement I’ll deconstruct later.)

      But a citizen is entitled to due process of law – to be charged with a specific offense; to have evidence of guilt presented and to be judged according to that evidence, or its lack, in a court of law…. or else we live in a lawless society in which a mere accusation is sufficient to have you dragged away into the night, never to be seen again.

      Is that what you want?

      • Gil doesn’t care about what happens when the state becomes openly lawless. He has no principles. The dangers that come with unrestrained state power are nothing more than mere abstractions to him. You see why the Gils and Clovers of this world always talk about the threat of someone speeding, or using drugs, or some other individual menace, the state is given a free pass. It is the individual, with almost no power to do large scale damage that we should always worry about. The state, with its armies, and police forces, and the power to confiscate our wealth and property, and to do so legally, can never really do any wrong. Therefore it is foolish and irrational to hold the state with suspicion.

      • I think Edward is absolutely right. And I would add that clovers will be enthusiastic participants in the “If you see something, say something” campaign. The police state requires nosey busy-bodies and informants to acquire targets for them. Clovers are prime candidates to do just that.

        • Indeed. Most Clovers are the type of morally bankrupt cowards that would have alerted the authorities in the 1800s when they saw a slave escaping the chains of his master. You know the old Fugitive Slave law and all. The idea that there are higher laws, moral laws, that stand above the mere edicts of men, is an anathema to boot-lickers who defer all thinking to anyone with a badge and claims to represent the people.

        • And THAT is what ultimately will sink us–complicity.

          All the machinations of the East German totalitarianism would have been futile, had it not been for the millions of willing accomplices complying with the police state.

          Everything I do now as far as activism is educating. Talk to everyone, everywhere; be open and vocal even in the grocery checkout line. I brought up the NDAA at Whole Foods last week and got a surprisingly good audience from the checker, bagger, and next customer. They all agreed it was a Bad Idea, but none had heard of it–of course, since the MSM works so hard for their masters.

          It’s these little day-to-day contacts that will save us now; putting people on the “mind your own damn business” side of the fence and pulling them away from the “see something say something” horrors.

  5. Hear that flushing sound? That’s the sound of my once wonderful country heading straight down the toilet. What could possibly be so wrong with people that they would make us like the other countries perpetrating unspeakable evil upon its OWN citizens? I used to write letters for Amnesty International to free people in OTHER places wrongly imprisoned! WTF?

    • Appalling, isn’t it?

      But it’s not surprising. Americans accepted the principle tat “safety” and “security” – vague, generalized “threats” – justify taking away our civil liberties and the destruction of the rule of law.

  6. Al-Qaeda is wholly a creation of the US for use as a bogeyman to distract the public from government corruption and criminality.

    • At minimum I agree with Chalmers Johnson who was the first author I’m aware of to discuss “blowback” in re US policies in the Middle East. I am being scrupulously careful with my language here, so as to avoid being “indefinitely detained” – but the fact is OBL expressed a legitimate beef with regard to American interference in countries such as Saudi Arabia and so on. Most Americans seem incapable of doing the simple mind exercise of asking themselves how they’d react to foreign troops stationed on US soil, to foreign governments openly interfering in their US internal affairs and so on.

      As regards 9/11 itself, I like many people have questions – especially about WT7, which collapsed symmetrically onto its own footprint, which (as far as I have been able to determine) has never happened in the history of tall buildings, other than as a result of controlled demolition.

      • The illustrations I use *face to face* to bring the point home of what occupying someone else’s land means are these:

        ‘You’re taking an exit ramp off I-35 into Kansas City. At the bottom of the ramp are a group of Afghani soldiers at a checkpoint. They stop you at gun point, make everyone get out of the car. They take your driver’s licenses and frisk everyone. The feel up your wife and laugh about it. Then they pull all the stuff out of your car and throw it on the ground as they do a search. Then they tell you to pick up your shit and get moving. Do you think you’d be trying to figure out a way to kill them?’

        ‘You see your neighbor arguing with his wife. You and some of your friends use this as an excuse to go tell them to “cool it” at gun point. Then you point out that he has timber he’s not using, it’s a wasted resource and you will help him sell it and only take 25%. You tell him if he resists, there will be reprisal. Do you think he’ll be trying to figure out a way to get rid of you?’

        Most people I talk to ‘get it’ right away and don’t argue. I suspect it’s because there’s really nothing to argue about. When you put men with guns on other people’s land and order them around, they get pissed. Who’d a thunk it…..

  7. The Inquisition is back! Anyone who voted for this should be arrested for treason! Where is all the evidence that this type of legislation is even really needed. VETO VETO VETO

    • I’d amend that to: Anyone who voted for the “Patriot” Act should be arrested for treason. It just amazes me that people continue to be surprised by the blossoming police state when they (all too many of them) so eagerly embraced the original police state enabling legislation. America is now a lawless Decidership. And I will never forgive Republicans for being the ones who force-fed it to us.

  8. But do not the liberals and the Administration say this should not even be allowed to happen to non-citizen terrorists who have waged war against the U.S. but now , with the passage of this bill, say it is okay if they are citizens? I apparently am confused.

    • Anything that came from members or supporters of team D with regard to not wanting to mistreat non-citizens was just for show to hurt team R because they stopped objecting to it the moment team D got control of management.

    • We’re not at “war” – only nations can war against nations. You cannot engage in a war against a tactic. In the UK (IRA) and Italy (Red Brigades) they dealt with terrorism – effectively – as a police/criminal matter. We can and should do the same. The only reason why we haven’t is because “we” means not you and I burt the elites who run the country, who use terrorism as a pretext to enhance their control.

    • Gil, first of all your statement is incoherent, so everything is normal there. But what Libertarian has ever told you this? In fact I doubt you can cite any true libertarian that has advocated unprovoked (i.e. non-defensive) violence against anyone. The libertarian stance is that of the students at UC-Davis that sat there and refused to move as a sadistic para-military cop (a real domestic terrorist) sprayed them in the face with a noxious chemical. Then the rest of the group shamed those cops into leaving. The truth and passive resistance will prevail.

      • He won’t cite anything or it will turn out to be ‘some guy who said he was libertarian’. Group think at it’s finest to divert and discredit by using someone else’s (or even fictional) views.

  9. WTF??! This is through the looking glass stupidity. Have these esteemed a-holes lost their minds?? The potential for abuse is off the charts. God help us if this crap stays in effect.

    I agree with Rocketman’s post. H— has frozen over but I am supporting Feinstein/Obamanation in nullifying this piece of sh– legislation.

    • We’ve crossed the Rubicon because so any people have already accepted the fatal premise – that anything is justified if it “keeps us safe.” It all began more than 25 years ago with random sobriety checkpoints. Now the circle is complete.

  10. One more thing.

    Your Pledge of Allegiance now needs updating.

    “with liberty and justice for all” needs to be revised, since it is no longer true “for all”.

    If it’s left as is, it becomes a bit of a mockery.

    • My understanding is that Canada’s pretty bad, too. (No offense meant.)

      For example, your government’s speech codes and denial of firearms (that is, self-defense) rights. But at least you’re not – yet – a militarized police state. So you’re probably living in a place that was like America was circa 1990…

    • Hows that healthcare working for y’all up there Eh??? Seems like alot of u cunucks coming down here for heart transplants, giving birth, and so on. Now these Commies running stuff down here copying ur system….

      • I can’t tell whether you’re being sarcastic about government run health care or those who oppose it. In any event:

        Your medical issues/treatment are your business – and mine are mine. Neither of us has any right to force the other to take any decision (or buy any service) or “help” anyone else. That’s the core issue here. Not “affordability” or “access.” No one has a right to medical care – much as emoting people think so. They emote over the plight of the ill. But they never seem to show much emotion about its corollary in the context of the government-run and enforced health care system they advocate. That is, the literal pointing of guns at people, the threats of violence for failure to comply. Yet they are taken as “caring” people, while those of us who do not believe we have any moral right to threaten others with violence to force them to provide us with material benefits are popularly regarded as “selfish” and mean-spirited. It’s interesting, eh?

  11. WOW! So much for “Land of the Free”.

    More like the “Land of f*ck anyone & everyone’s rights & freedoms”.

    It’s McCarthy-ism all over again… only this time it’s not communists, it’s terrorists hiding behind every tree and lurking in every dark alley.

    It’s about time American voters declare a “War on Washington”, and vote these war-mongering, fear mongering megalomaniacs out of office.

    Your founding fathers would be sick at what’s happening. A war of independence was fought, blood shed & lives lost to found a nation based on principles of freedom & justice.

    And you’re throwing it all away. Like a spoiled rich kid who can’t see, no, can’t even begin to comprehend, the value of what you have. Correction. What you had.

    You’re fast-tracking on a path toward becoming the very essence of what was fought against.

    Right now Egyptians are fighting – some have died – to achieve what your nation is throwing in the trash. They’re desperate to rid their country of the very style of quasi-military government you’re creating.

    You’re also making me very nervous about sharing a border with you…

  12. Heil Hitler ! This is directly out of Nazi Germany and the gestapo. Senator levin and John McCain who pandered this aasult on our Constition are nothing but Nazis. Those who supported this legislation are also Nazis and my enemies.

    Seig Heil !

  13. Can someone please check for me and see if hell has frozen over? The reason is that I find myself on the same side as Obama and Feinstein.

    • You’re not on the same side as them. I predict they will do just enough to get the american people to believe they stopped it, then have it become law.

      Then all of us will just be konspiracy kooks for knowing it became law.

      I had to really restrain myself in writing senators on this one. I felt like telling them this is how the executive eventually makes legislators it doesn’t like ‘go away’.

  14. A clear violation of the 4th amendment of the Constitution.
    Since the Patriot Act, the United States is turning into a Fascist State and Al Quida is accomplishing its goals with the help of the idiots in Congress that don’t understand that Fascism is the opposite of freedom.


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