Stop Indefinite Detention of U.S. Citizens Without Due Process


Immediate action needed!

Deep inside the National Defense Authorization Act (S. 1867) that the Senate is currently considering is a dangerous and unconstitutional portion that needs to be stripped out. Congress would grant the President the power to use the military in order to detain certain individuals, including American citizens, without trial or due process, indefinitely.

Section 1031 of the National Defense Authorization Act reads: “Congress affirms that the authority of the President to use all necessary and appropriate force … includes the authority for the Armed Forces of the United States to detain covered persons…. [including] [d]etention under the law of war without trial….” This “indefinite detention” section hands over to the Executive Branch the power to have the military arrest U.S. citizens. No trial needed. Simple suspicion would suffice.

This could be quite reminiscent of Stalinist Russia where a knock on the door in the middle of the night meant that the person taken by the military was often never seen again, perhaps having been imprisoned in Siberia or executed. The Japanese American Citizens League has warned that this measure’s detention principles are similar to the ones that sent innocent Japanese-Americans into concentration camps during WW II.

Sadly, this bill has already been passed in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives with nary a whimper by a 322-96 vote. The excuse given for such an egregious disregard for the Constitution by supporters of the bill including authors Senators John McCain (R- Ariz.) and Carl Levin (D-Mich.) is that the provision would strengthen and codify the legal framework necessary for dealing with “terrorists.” Other supporters insist that the language doesn’t necessarily include American citizens.

U.S. Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) who voted against the bill in the House, thinks differently. Amash says the act would indeed “permit the federal government to indefinitely detain American citizens on American soil, without charge or trial, at the discretion of the President.” He notes that the language “does not preclude U.S. citizens from being detained indefinitely, without charge or trial, it simply makes such detention discretionary,” therefore it is misleading and outrageous.

Please see this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rghhz_t5POo&feature=youtu.be  —  Sen. Rand Paul Defends American Citizens Against Indefinite Detainment

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is speaking out in opposition to the “indefinite detainment” provision of S. 1867. He is also offering an amendment that would simply strike out Section 1031 of the bill. As this alert is being written on November 29, the Senate is debating S. 1867 and could vote on the Paul amendment this evening or tomorrow, November 30. A related amendment by Senator Udall to revise the detainee provisions of S. 1867 has already been defeated today by a vote of 37 yeas and 61 nays.

Indefinite detention without due process leaves citizens without the legal protection of the Constitution and strikes at the heart of the essence of U.S. law. It is positively shameful that any elected representative would even consider voting for such an assault on so sacred a fundamental value as the right to due process.

Far too much power has already been either usurped or given over to the Executive Branch under the guise of national security. Contact your Senators immediately and demand that they safeguard individual freedom and liberty by upholding the protections guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. Have them support the Rand Paul amendment that would completely strike Section 1031 from S. 1867, or any other amendment that would accomplish the same purpose.

If one or more amendments are added to S. 1867, it will likely go to a conference committee and then return to both the House and the Senate for a final vote. So, a word to your Representative on this issue is also advised. Make sure you find out how he or she voted on the NDAA before getting in touch.

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7 Responses to Stop Indefinite Detention of U.S. Citizens Without Due Process

  1. CountryStrong says:

    I understand that most Americans are not terrorists and our Constitution should protect us, but I also understand that there are a few that are working and supporting terrorist to hurt America, and because they are American Citizens they area protected even though they are terrorist. In these cases our Constitution protects them when it should not. I think as long as someone takes up arms against America or to try and bring down or create great damage to our country and are considered terrorist, then I see no problem with holding them without giving them due process. Due process by our Constitution is for true Americans who have no intent to do America any harm. Due process gives them the opportunity to go into U.S. Court and try to double talk there way out of a situation they created for themselves. There are times our court systems protect the wrong people, and they due get away with doing America wrong. It would be nice to live in a perfect world where no one wants to do us harm, but in today’s world that just isn’t so.

  2. CountryStrong says:

    Absolutely think about this, but before contacting your Senator make sure your contacting him or her for the right reason. Think!

  3. Joe Wahler says:

    The problem with your statement countrystrong is that you are saying that “Due process by our Constitution is for true Americans who have no intent to do America any harm.”

    That is not true. Due process is for all Americans who are “accused” by their government of wrongdoing. It then rests upon that government to “prove” said accusations.

    Under your statements, and under this bill, the accusation is all that is required to imprison anyone, including you. All they need is to say that they “suspect” you of being a terrorist, whether you are one or not, and then you are whisked away and placed in a prison “indefinitely”.

    They won’t have to prove a thing, and no one will ever hear from you again.

    Is that worth it to you? Think hard about the words of Ben Franklin on this one.

    • CountryStrong says:

      Joe, I hope what this law is stating is ” IF ” you are caught making a bomb, or you try to kill a lot of people on the sub way, or they can prove you are mixed up or helping terrorist, then they will go after you weather your an American or not. I see no issue with that.
      America has sort of brought this forward ourselves. We have put up with illegals, and god knows what coming into our country. We stand by and allow these idiots that we put in office to due nothing in protect us. We believe what ever they promise just to get elected is the gospel, and once in and they due nothing we just take it.
      There have been American Terrorist caught and because of being Americans have been allowed to use our system, only because there Americans which they feel they can try to get away with a lot, some even are let go.
      I don’t know the answer, but I do feel when we should have followed our constitution we
      did not, Obama was not Vetted and look what we got.
      The system we have now really isn’t working, we have home grown terrorist, and illegals
      plus terrorist coming into our country with no problem recruiting Americans to work with
      them. So what due we do to protect ourselves on that subject?

  4. A concern would be if this law would be applied only towards terrorists or individuals accused of other crimes as well. It could be a slippery slope and may possibly lead to the detainment of non-terrorists as well. U.S Citizens should be entitled to a trial.

  5. Michael Martin says:

    December 8, 2011
    Dear Friend,

    Thank you for contacting me regarding the Fiscal Year 2012 National Defense Authorization Act and, in particular, provisions in the legislation regarding detainees. I appreciate hearing your thoughts on this very important piece of legislation.

    The Fiscal Year 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2012 (H.R. 1540/S. 1867), was originally approved by the Senate Armed Services Committee on June 16, 2011. However, in mid-November the Armed Services Committee met again to consider several changes to the legislation before it was debated by the full Senate. Those changes included an additional $21 billion in cuts to meet the deficit reduction targets set by the Budget Control Act of 2011, as well as modifications to the provisions related to detainees in order to respond to concerns that had been raised regarding the original bill. With these changes, the Committee voted unanimously to bring the bill before the full Senate for consideration.

    The annual process of writing and approving our nation’s defense budget is a responsibility each member of Congress takes very seriously. A well-constructed NDAA means that we can continue to defend our interests, can continue to pay our troops, and can continue to make this world a safer place. It is a top priority of mine to provide our troops with the resources they need to complete their missions, and I believe that this legislation accomplishes that goal.

    I understand your concerns regarding a number of provisions relating to the detention of terrorists captured by the United States government. I carefully considered these provisions while the legislation was debated on the floor. While I agree that the provisions in the bill are not perfect, I believe they represent a significant improvement over the original version passed by the Armed Services Committee in June. Furthermore, I supported three amendments offered by Senator Diane Feinstein to make reasonable modifications that would have clarified the applicability of the provisions in the bill. While two of those amendments failed by votes of 45-55, the Senate did adopt an amendment from Senator Feinstein to ensure that the bill does not affect existing U.S. law or authorities relating to the detention of U.S. citizens, lawful resident aliens, or any person captured or arrested in the United States. On December 1, 2011 the Senate passed the NDAA by a vote of 93-7.

    The National Defense Authorization Act now proceeds to a conference committee in which differences between the House and the Senate will be reconciled. I assure you that as this process continues, I will keep your thoughts and concerns in mind.
    Again, thank you for contacting my office. It is truly an honor to represent North Carolina in the United States Senate, and I hope you will not hesitate to contact me in the future should you have any further questions or concerns.

    Sincerely,

    Kay R. Hagan

    Please do not reply to this email. Instead, if you have further questions, please visit http://www.hagan.senate.gov and fill out my web form for your inquiry. Thank you.

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