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Obama insists on indefinite detention of Americans

Published time: December 12, 2011 18:01
Edited time: December 16, 2011 20:38

Barack Obama (AFP Photo / Jewel Samad)

Download video (10.79 MB)

Think that President Obama will stand by his word and veto the legislation that will allow the government to detain American citizens without charge or trial? Think again.

The Obama administration has insisted that the president will veto the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, a bill that passed through the Senate last week. Under the legislation, the United States of America is deemed a battlefield and Americans suspected of committing a terrorism offense can be held without trial and tortured indefinitely. Despite the grave consequences for citizens and the direct assault on the US Constitution, the act managed to make it through both halves of Congress but President Obama says he won’t let it become a law.

According to Senator Carl Levin, however, Americans should be a bit more concerned about what the president’s actual intentions are. Levin, who sits on the Armed Services Committee as chairman, has revealed to Congress that the Obama administration influenced the wording of the act and shot down text that would have saved American citizens from the indefinite imprisonment and suspension of habeas corpus.

(Click image above for video of Senator Levin's speech)

Senator Levin told Congress recently that under the original wording of the National Defense Authorization Act, American citizens were excluded from the provision that allowed for detention. Once Obama’s officials saw the text though, says Levin, “the administration asked us to remove the language which says that US citizens and lawful residents would not be subject to this section.”

Specifically, the section that Obama asked to be reworded was Section 1031 of the NDAA FY2012, which says that "any person who has committed a belligerent act" could be held indefinitely.

“It was the administration that asked us to remove the very language which we had in the bill which passed the committee…we removed it at the request of the administration,” said Levin. “It was the administration which asked us to remove the very language the absence of which is now objected to.”

John Wood of Change.org writes that President Obama proposed a veto of Section 1032 of the NDAA, which does not pertain to the detention of American citizens. Rather, that section deals with the use of the US military in taking custody of suspected criminals. Section 1031, which actually deals with the indefinite imprisonment of Americans, remains not only unopposed by the Obama administration, but the president has made sure that the law specifically includes Americans, urging Congress to redraft the legislation with increasingly confusing wording that makes the legalization detrimental to America.

President Obama could sign off on the legislation as early as this December 13 if he chooses not to exercise his veto power. The bill, which includes budgetary provisions for the US military, comes at a price-tag several billion dollars cheaper than the president had asked for of Congress.

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