NDAA, Patriot Act, and DHS: Welcome to the Police State of America!

President Obama, despite earlier promises to veto it, will sign the National Defense Authorization Act ( NDAA). The NDAA contains dangerous provisions concerning indefinite detention of suspects without trial, and is yet another tool of “legal” repression with the Patriot Act and the omnipresent Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to crack down on basic human rights and  civil liberties. It takes the United States away from the rule of law, and  a step further towards a fascist system where “order” and repression  is the number one priority.

In one of his typical flip-flops, President Obama originally said he would veto the Levin/McCain bill, but instead he announced two days ago that he would sign the controversial NDAA into law. Human rights and civil rights organizations worldwide are up in arms against the bill. The ACLU, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have all condemned the NDAA in the strongest terms.

According to the ACLU, the NDAA will authorize all future US presidents to order the military to imprison people indefinitely without charging them of any wrong doings or putting them on trial. The NDAA will aslo give unlimited war authority to the US executive branch of government. The ACLU also says that the provisions of the NDAA are inconsistent with fundamental American values embodied in the US Constitution, and that the bill is an”unacceptable attack on fundamental freedoms”. The far reaching detainee provisions in the NDAA, codify indefinite detention without trial into US law for the first time since the McCarthy era. In 1950, the US Congress overrode the veto of president Truman to pass the Internal Security Act.

“By signing this defense bill, President Obama will go down in history as the president who enshrined indefinite detention without trial into US law. It is a sad moment when a president who has prided himself on his knowledge of and belief in constitutional principles succumbs to the politics of the moment to sign a bill that poses so great of a threat to basic constitutional rights,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. Roth added that president Obama cannot “justify this serious threat to basic rights on the basis of security”. Roth further argued that the signing of the  NDAA will provoke a “global outrage that will delight recruiters of terrorists”.

Amnesty International is also vehemently criticizing the NDAA. “The NDAA enshrines the war paradigm that has eroded the United States human rights record and served it so poorly over the past decade as the country’s primary counter-terrorism tool. In doing so, the NDAA provides a frame work for ‘normalizing’ indefinite detention and making Guantanamo a permanent feature of American life. This legislation establishes a two track system of justice by distinguishing between US persons- citizens and resident aliens- and foreign nationals. It is a betrayal of the most fundamental principles of justice and equality before the law,” said Amnesty International’s Tom Parker.




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