Terror suspects in America could be held in prison indefinitely – without charge or trial. The military will be able to take custody of alleged terrorists virtually without question. Critics say this would be a stark violation of human rights.
The controversial National Defense Authorization Act, which was met with criticism from human rights activists, faced a presidential veto, but since last month Obama has retracted his warning.
“The White House explained it would veto the bill because these provisions, mandating military custody amount to a restriction of president’s authority,” explains John Glaser, assistant editor at Antiwar.com.
“But in truth it’s reasonable to assume that a veto threat was a mere political theater, because Senator Carl Levin one of the provision’s primary authors revealed during senate debate that it was the Obama administration itself who requested the inclusion of language mandating military detentions, including US citizens. So you could say the administration never changed their minds, it was just a sort of doing it for public consumption,” he told RT.
Obama’s current position is in sharp contrast to the promises to shut down Guantanamo Bay he gave during the election campaign.
“I am skeptical it was ever Obama’s plan to actually do that. He faced some congressional backlash for wanting to close Guantanamo Bay so early, but he has already agreed to indefinite detention of people that are left into Guantanamo. And that bill has within it language that would prevent transfer from Guantanamo to US prisons and any sort of US trials for people, who are still at Guantanamo right now. I think people were just fooled by Obama’s promises, regarding Guantanamo,” the activists pointed out.
Radio host, Ralph Schoenman says that under the new law the US military will be entitled to “disappear” American citizens for offences that are never even made public – and not only that.
“If you look carefully at this legislation, if you have a family or a friend who publicizes that you’ve disappeared they too can be detained. If anybody helps you with a taxi ride or attempts to give assistance to your family in the circumstances of your disappearance, they too can be detained. This is the architecture of the fascist state,” he told RT.
The legislation is yet another step on the path of deteriorating human rights in America, Glaser believes.
“Human Rights Watch has already condemned [the bill], calling it a historic tragedy for rights, but I doubt the international community will do anything about it. The government has already assumed that they have the power to detain US citizens indefinitely without trial. The targeted assassination of US citizen Anwar Al-Awlaki proves again that the government has already in every practical sense dismissed the due process rights for Americans,” he said.