“Indefinite Detention Under the NDAA: the Great Attack on Civil Liberties You May Not Have Heard About” @ The Record
Posted on February 27, 2012
Ariel Schneller — February 27, 2012: “On December 31, 2011, President Barack Obama signed the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law. Many of you may not have heard of it because the holidays aren’t exactly conducive to keeping up with current events, but the NDAA represents one of the most dramatic attacks on civil liberties in this country in many years. While the NDAA contains many routine provisions related to defense spending, there are two particular provisions that should deeply trouble any American concerned with the encroachment upon civil liberties that has been the hallmark of post-9/11 America.
Section 1021 affirms that the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) authorizes detention of anybody whom the President determines was involved in the attacks of 9/11, as well as detention of anybody who substantially supports or is a member of al-Qaeda, the Taliban or associated forces. This detention is authorized so long as the hostilities authorized by the AUMF are ongoing. Of course, because the battle against al-Qaeda may never end, Section 1021 is essentially a de facto authorization of indefinite detention.
Section 1022 states that if an individual is detained under the authority of Section 1021, that person must be held by the military. This mandate does not apply to a citizen or lawful resident of the United States. Put these sections together and a scary picture emerges in which a person accused of being a member of a terrorist group, or even of substantially supporting one, can be detained by the military as long as the United States is at war with al-Qaeda.
This codification of indefinite detention is chilling because it represents how quickly and drastically our nation’s discourse about civil liberties has changed in just a few years. Fewer than four years ago we elected a president who explicitly and strongly campaigned on closing Guantanamo Bay, the internationally infamous facility in which terrorist suspects were being indefinitely detained. Now that same president is signing a bill codifying some of the practices against which he had so vigorously campaigned. ……..”
Read more at The Record.