This has been blogged locally both here and here, with both sites calling out Sens. Blunt and McCaskill as treasonous lackeys 1 for their votes on S. 1867 earlier this week. As the Senate easily passed the bill yesterday it’s worth noting some of the highlights:.
1) It explicitly authorizes the federal government (U.S. military and other agents) to indefinitely imprison without charge or trial American citizens and others picked up inside and outside the United States;
(2) Mandate military detention of some civilians who would otherwise be outside of military control, including civilians picked up within the United States itself; and
(3) Transfer to the Department of Defense core prosecutorial, investigative, law enforcement, penal, and custodial authority and responsibility now held by the Department of Justice.
Isn’t that groovy?
S. 1867 (National Defense Authorization Act) flat out declares American soil a battlefield. It allows the President 2 to order the military to arrest and detain American citizens, innocent or not, without charge or trial.
In other words, if the President signs this bill, OWS protesters or any other American could end up arrested and indefinitely locked up by the military without the guaranteed right to due process or a speedy trial.
President Obama had threatened to veto the bill should it cross his desk. A statement released by the White House reads (in part):
“The Administration strongly objects to the military custody provision,” the White House said, noting that it could apply to people in the United States. That “would raise serious and unsettled legal questions and would be inconsistent with the fundamental American principle that our military does not patrol our streets.”
Both Senators Mark Udall (D) and Rand Paul (R) proposed amendments to the bill that would have weakened the more dangerous provisions, Udall’s by eliminating provisions regarding the handling of terrorism suspects. Paul’s would have struck 1031 from the legislation altogether.
Both amendments were rejected, Udall’s by a vote of 37 to 61 and Paul’s by 30 to 67.
“I can’t support provisions that I believe will hurt our national security,” Udall said prior to the vote. “We haven’t had time to adequately consider these provisions. We need to know what our military and intelligence experts — and our men and women in the field — actually need to most effectively prosecute the war on terror, especially before we change detainee provisions that are already working.”
A second amendment proposed by Senator Dianne Feinstein of California would have prohibited U.S. citizens from being held in indefinite detention without being charged or brought to a trial failed by a vote of 45 to 55.
Yes, you read that correctly – a vote on an admendment to a Senate bill to prohibit U.S. citizens from being held in indefinite detention without being charged or brought to a trial failed by a vote of 45 to 55.
Instead, Sens. Feinstein and Graham worked out a deal to pass an amendment that stated: “Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect existing law or authorities relating to the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States.”
That compromise amendment passed 99 to 1, with hopes it would give President Obama “wiggle room” to go back on his promise of a veto.
Speaking as a long-time Fed? The odds of President Obama vetoing the bill are awfully long; it is, after all, the 700-page defense spending bill that includes spending authorization on a gamut of military programs. (December 14th UPDATE: As predicted, the President has rescinded his veto threat.)
Several thoughts come to mind.
First is, remember when you were a kid and there was going to be a fight? Your friends would show up, as would the other kid’s. Everyone would circle around the 2 of you while you set the ground rules: no kicking, spitting or biting. Anyone who punched below the belt agreed the other kid’s friends could then beat the snot out of him. 3
I see little difference here.
It’s as if the U.S. Government has decided to openly limn a set of rules for an upcoming engagement between itself and its citizens. Which, as far as it goes, is decidedly open of them.
However, what with the literal text and inferences of the 2nd Admendment, I’m not sure traitors McCain and Levin have thought this all the way through.
Hey!, you squeal. If you do nothing wrong, if you’re not a terrorist, you have nothing to worry about.
Because, really, when was the last time the US government made a mistake, right?
Another thought is the bill doesn’t go far enough.
You know what will happen when the Canadians find out about this don’t you? They’ll start making fun of us. 4 They’ll be sitting up North drinking their moose beers, watching hocky and going “hey! america, eh? the whole bunch of you are right off, eh! know what i mean, eh?” and we will be unable to illegally arrest and detain them. We will be helpless 5 in the face of our enemies!
As is becoming more and more common (and frightening therefore) these days, one of the Rands was nearly alone in standing up for America.
Not for nothing? here’s the White House switchboard number and e-mail addy. I suggest you start calling and making your voice heard before it becomes a crime to do so.
- My interpretation of Dan and PFLoW’s posts. ↩
- And all future Chief Executives; think Herman Cain. Or Rick Perry. Or insane
Nazi-wannabeMichele Bachmann. ↩
- A far more innocent age, for all that it is commonly maligned. ↩
- Again. And rightly so. ↩
- When I say “helpless” I mean aside from subjecting random Canadian citizens to rendition or assassination, as the Supremes have made it clear U.S. law permits such behavior, even with treaty signatories, unless said treaty specifically denies the U.S. rendition or assassination privileges. ↩