Less than a month after he threatened to veto terrifying legislation that would cease constitutional rights as we know it, Obama has revoked his warning and plans to authorize a bill allowing indefinite detention and torture of Americans.
After passing in the House of Representatives earlier this year, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 went before the US Senate last week, where it was met with overwhelming approval. In the days before, the Obama administration issued a policy statement on November 17 saying explicitly that the president would veto the bill, as it would challenge “the president’s critical authorities to collect intelligence incapacitate dangerous terrorists and protect the nation.”
Opposition from the White House seemed all but rampant until RT revealed earlier this week that Senator Carl Levin told lawmakers that the legislation was altered because “the administration asked us to remove the language which says that US citizens and lawful residents would not be subject to this section.”
On Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said that those last minute changes yielded legislation that would “not challenge the president’s ability to collect intelligence, incapacitate dangerous terrorists and protect the American people,” and therefore “the president’s senior advisers will not recommend a veto.”
Originally the White House said that the administration objected to matters in the bill that applied to detainees. Under the act, Americans could be arrested and held indefinitely in military-run prisons and tortured without charges ever being brought forth, essentially making Guantanamo Bay a threat for every American citizen.
Under the legislation, a literal police state will be installed over the United States. Republican Congressman Ron Paul said earlier this week that “this should be the biggest news going right now,” as the legislation would allow for “literally legalizing martial law.”
“This step where they can literally arrest American citizens and put them away without trial….is arrogant and bold and dangerous,” said the congressman and potential Republican Party nominee for president.
In its threat of a veto last month, the White House said it had similar sentiments, writing in an official statement from Washington that “The Administration strongly objects to the military custody provision of section 1032, which would appear to mandate military custody for a certain class of terrorism suspects.”
“This unnecessary, untested and legally controversial restriction of the President's authority to defend the Nation from terrorist threats would tie the hands of our intelligence and law enforcement professionals,” added the White House. “Moreover, applying this military custody requirement to individuals inside the United States, as some Members of Congress have suggested is their intention, would raise serious and unsettled legal questions and would be inconsistent with the fundamental American principle that our military does not patrol our streets.”
Despite Obama’s promise from last month, a veto seemed questionable after it was revealed that the bill, which approves the budget for the Department of Defense, came at a price tag much lower than the president had asked for.
It is expected to be in Obama’s hands anytime this week.