Senate Bill Allows Indefinite Imprisonment of Americans without Trial
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Sen. John McCain and Sen. Carl Levin
Bipartisan legislation being considered in the U.S. Senate would expand the military’s power to go after any terrorism suspect, including American citizens, anywhere in the world—including within the United States—and confine them indefinitely without being charged or tried.
S. 1867, referred to as the National Defense Authorization Act bill, was drafted in secret by Senators Carl Levin (D-Michigan) and John McCain (R-Arizona) and was scheduled for a vote by the full Senate on Tuesday.
Voices on both the right and left have expressed concerns about the bill, including the American Civil Liberties Union and Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul.
Senator Mark Udall (D-Colorado) has introduced an amendment to S. 1867 that would “delete the harmful provisions and replace them with a requirement for an orderly Congressional review of detention power,” according to the ACLU. “The Udall Amendment will make sure that the bill matches up with American values.”
The provision has also drawn the ire of high-ranking officials in the executive branch who see it as a usurpation of power by the military. FBI Director Robert Mueller wrote a letter to members of Congress raising his own concerns and stating that “The legislation ... will inhibit our ability to convince covered arrestees to cooperate immediately, and provide critical intelligence.” President Barack Obama has threatened to veto the bill.
Levin and McCain have defended their measure by saying that it includes a waiver that allows U.S. administrations to “hold these al Qaeda detainees in civilian custody if it determines that would best serve national security.”
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
Senators Demand the Military Lock Up American Citizens in a “Battlefield” They Define as Being Right Outside Your Window (American Civil Liberties Union)
Udall Introduces Amendment to Prevent Veto of Critical Defense Bill (Senator Mark Udall)
FBI Director Raises Concerns with Detainee Policy (by Donna Cassata, Associated Press)
Defense Bill Offers Balance in Dealing with Detainees (by Carl Levin and John McCain, Washington Post)
Vague Wording of Senate Defense Bill Called “Disaster” by Amnesty International (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
Obama Approves Life Imprisonment without Trial for Guantánamo Prisoners (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)
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