Friday, December 21, 2012

Senate Approves Infinite Detention of American Citizens by a margin of 81-14

It looks like there is one thing that most politicians from both parties can agree on, that civil liberties should be ignored when they are inconvenient.  The Senate has just passed the National Defense Authorization Act by a margin of 81-14 (after the House approved the same bill 315-107).  Tucked in there is a section which codifies, for the first time, the indefinite detention of American citizens without trial until "the end of hostilities" in an undeclared war (which means forever).  Not only that, it expands the scope of who could be covered for action by the US government.  While the original authorization of the use of military force from 2001 targeted those who "planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001" the NDAA expands this to cover those who "substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners."  How does one define "associated forces"?  Do they have to be in an org chart?  Or just someone who basically agrees with them?  It doesn't seem to be much of a stretch to think that at some point an amendment might be attached to legislation that adds the phrase "or any other group deemed by the President to be a clear and present danger to the United States".  Suddenly all of us are at risk.  Half the Democratic Party already thinks the Tea Party is just a hate group that should be suppressed.  The Senate had previously attached an amendment which guaranteed the basic civil rights of American citizens but John McCain, that big government Republican, had it stripped from the final conference committee version.

Rand Paul seems to be one of the few politicians of either party on the right side of this issue.  I hope he is able to make a good run for it in 2016.

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