Tag Archives: HR 1540

U.S. Citizens Still Subject to Detention w/out Trial in Final Version of Defense Bill

The House and Senate Armed Services Committees met last Monday to “reconcile” the two respective versions of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2012 which the House (HR 1540) and the Senate (S 1867) had passed.
It appears they’ve removed U.S. citizens from S. 1867 Section 1031’s arrest and detention without charge or trial. But then, it doesn’t.
Donna Cassata of the AP reports, Dec. 13, 2011:

WASHINGTON –  Congress is pressing ahead with a massive $662 billion defense bill that requires military custody for terrorism suspects linked to al-Qaida, including those captured within the U.S., with lawmakers hoping their last-minute revisions will mollify President Barack Obama and eliminate a veto threat.

Leaders of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees announced late Monday that they had reached agreement on the policy-setting legislation that had gotten caught up in an escalating fight on whether to treat suspected terrorists as prisoners of war or criminals in the civilian justice system. […]

The lawmakers said they hoped the House and Senate could vote on the final bill by Thursday and send it to the president.

The issue of how to handle captured terrorist suspects has divided Obama’s senior national security officials and Congress, as well as Democrats and Republicans.

The administration insists that military, law enforcement and intelligence officials need flexibility in prosecuting the war on terror. Obama points to his administration’s successes in eliminating Osama bin Laden and radical Islamic cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. Republicans counter that their efforts are necessary to respond to an evolving, post-Sept. 11 threat, and that Obama has failed to produce a consistent policy on handling terror suspects.

The bill would require that the military take custody of a suspect deemed to be a member of al-Qaida or its affiliates who is involved in plotting or committing attacks on the United States, with an exemption for U.S. citizens.

Several paragraphs after that, however, there’s this paragraph:

The legislation would deny suspected terrorists, even U.S. citizens seized within the nation’s borders, the right to trial and subject them to indefinite detention. The lawmakers made no changes to that language.

I’m thoroughly confused. I will need to find and read the final “reconciled” version of the NDAA, but the bill is not yet available on the Library of Congress’ Thomas website.
At this point, it looks to me that this “reconciled” version has retained S. 1867’s Sections 1031 and 1032. The “exemption for U.S. citizens” pertains to Sec. 1032; the indefinite detention and denial of the right to trial to “even U.S. citizens” pertains to S.1867’s Sec. 1031 — the same Sec. 1031 that we find so problematic and threatening.
Nothing’s changed.
So much for conservatives putting our hopes in Congressman Allen West, who’s a member of the “conference committee” that produced this reconciled version of the NDAA. If you need more confirmation that Allen West is an enemy of freedom, listen to Glenn Beck’s radio interview of West on the NDAA yesterday. Go here. I heard it live and was ready to spit nails.
Allen West also voted for the Budget Control Act of 2011, the passage of which immediately increased our national debt ceiling by $2+ trillion.
I will do everything I can to see that Allen West does not get re-elected.
~Eowyn

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Obama Proposed "Preventive" Indefinite Detention of Americans


We are living in a waking nightmare.
On December 1, 2011, by a bipartisan 93:7 vote, the Senate passed a bill that, in Sec. 1301, gives the President of the United States the authority to have the military arrest and detain U.S. citizens without charge or trial.
The bill is S. 1867, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2012.
Obama has said he means to veto the final version of NDAA, produced by the House and Senate reconciling their respective versions of the bill. (The House version is HR1540.)
Don’t be fooled by Obama’s veto. He’s not doing it because he disagrees with S. 1867’s Sec. 1301. He’s not doing it because he cares about the Constitution and our civil liberties. (To find out why he’ll veto the bill, go to my post here.)
The truth is that Obama completely agrees with S. 1867’s Sec. 1301 — and more.
The truth is the Senate, in approving S1867, was merely doing his bidding.
More than two years ago, on May 21, 2009, in a speech at the National Archives, flanked by copies of the U.S. Constitution, Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence, Obama outlined a new policy of preventive detention, without trial, for people he suspects might commit crimes in the future.
He said that more than two years ago! Did you hear/read/know about it? No? Join the crowd. I consider myself well-informed, with my ear to the ground. But I only found out about Obama’s “preventive detention” speech early this morning when I got an email tip about the Maddow video below, which has no date or year. So I went on the web to look for when Obama had made that speech.
Here’s MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow (yes, liberal Rachel Maddow! — which goes to show this issue transcends political parties) telling us what Obama is proposing — the “preventive” and indefinite detention/incarceration of Americans. “Preventive detention” means detaining people for crimes they haven’t yet but may commit in the future.

H/t beloved fellow Tina.
What can we do about this?
A committee, called a “conference,” of House and Senate members is being assembled, whose job is to “reconcile” the two versions of the National Defense Authorization Act (HR 1540 and S 1867).
The House is our hope, because HR 1540 does not contain a section like S 1867’s Sec. 1301. We already know Congressman Allen West (R-Florida) has been appointed to that conference. Tell your Congressman/woman you strenuously, vehemently object to the arrest and detention of U.S. citizens without due process — without charge or trial!!!!
Your very life depends on it.
UPDATE:
No cigar. Our concerns about Sec. 1031 are ignored. The reconcile conference committee has produced a final version of NDAA, and US citizens are NOT exempted from being arrested and detained without charge or trial. See my post of Dec. 14, 2011: “U.S. Citizens Still Subject to Detention w/out Trial in Final Version of Defense Bill.”
See also, “There Really Are FEMA Camps.”
~Eowyn

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Sen. Feinstein Confirms S. 1867's Detention of U.S. Citizens w/out Trial

UPDATE:
Our concerns about Sec. 1031 are ignored. The reconcile conference committee has produced a final version of NDAA, which Obama says he will not veto. US citizens are NOT exempted from being arrested and detained without charge or trial. See my post of Dec. 14, 2011: “U.S. Citizens Still Subject to Detention w/out Trial in Final Version of Defense Bill.”
See also, “There Really Are FEMA Camps.”
+++

Sen. Dianne Feinstein


If you still have doubts that the recently passed Senate bill 1867 (National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012) is harmless, read this e-mail from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif).
S. 1867’s Sec. 1301 gives authority to the President to detain certain “covered persons” without charge or trial “until the end of the [war] hostilities.” There’s a dispute in the blogosphere as to whether “covered persons” include U.S. citizens.

Sen. Rand Paul


Feinstein — like Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) and Mark Udall (D-Colo)— had tried to get an amendment into S 1867 that would “limit the authority of the Armed Forces to detain citizens of the United States under section 1031″, but her proposal was rejected by the Senate 45Y – 55N.

Sen. Mark Udall


Here’s Sen. Feinstein’s e-mail to FOTM’s beloved Tina:

From: <senator@feinstein.senate.gov>
Date: Mon, Dec 5, 2011 at 12:05 PM
Subject: U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein responding to your message

Dear Mr. and Mrs. ___:

Thank you for writing to express your concerns about the detention provisions in the “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012.”  I appreciate knowing your views and welcome the opportunity to respond.

This year’s defense authorization bill would, among other things, authorize funding for the U.S. Department of Defense.  As you know, section 1031 would authorize the U.S. government to detain suspected terrorists until the end of hostilities, and section 1032 would require that certain suspected terrorists connected to al-Qaeda be automatically detained in military custody when apprehended.

Like you, I oppose these provisions.  Section 1031 is problematic because it authorizes the indefinite detention of American citizens without due process.  In this democracy, due process is a fundamental right, and it protects us from being locked up by the government without charge.  For this reason, I offered an amendment to prohibit the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens without trial or charge.  Unfortunately, on December 1, 2011, this amendment failed by a vote of 45-55.

I was, however, able to reach a compromise with the authors of the defense bill to state that no existing law or authorities to detain suspected terrorists are changed by this section of the bill.  While I would have preferred to have restricted the government’s ability to detain U.S. citizens without charge, this compromise at least ensures that the bill does not expand the government’s authority in this area.

I also oppose section 1032 of the defense bill, which creates a presumption that individuals associated with al-Qaeda will be held in military custody, as opposed to being processed through the criminal justice system.  I disagree with this approach, and believe that the President should be able to hold captured terrorists in the military or the criminal justice systems based on the individual facts and evidence of each case.  Accordingly, I offered an amendment to clarify that under section 1032, the presumption of U.S. Armed Forces detention only exists for an individual captured abroad.  Unfortunately, on December 1, 2011, this amendment also failed on a vote of 45-55.

Once again, thank you for your letter.  Please know that I am committed to ensuring that our nation has the appropriate tools to combat terrorism, and committed to upholding our fundamental constitutional rights.  If you have any additional comments or questions, please do not hesitate to contact my Washington, D.C. office at (202) 224-3841.  I hope that you and your family enjoy a happy and healthy holiday season.
May I wish you and your family a happy and healthy holiday season.

Sincerely yours,

Dianne Feinstein
United States Senator

In the end, however, both Feinstein and Mark Udall voted “yes” on S1867, while Sen. Rand Paul held firm and was one of seven senators who voted against the bill.
This is not the end of the story. Now that both houses of Congress have passed their respective versions of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (the House version of this Act is HR1540), they must now reconcile their two versions in committee. FYI, the House version of the Act is significantly different from the Senate’s version. More on this in a separate post to come.
~Eowyn

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