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The Indefinite Detention Bill DOES Apply to American Citizens

Updated December 17, 2011


WILL OBAMA SEND U.S. CITIZENS TO GUANTANAMO?

'It's something so radical that it would have been considered crazy had it been pushed by the Bush administration.'
- Tom Malinowski of Human Rights Watch on detention laws in NDAA 2012

I have never understood how so many Americans accepted the torture of Padilla - an American citizen on U.S. soil, and not even a foreigner held at Guantánamo - without recognizing that, although a Latino Muslim convert was today's "enemy combatant," tomorrow it might be some other demonized American. I was also astonished when no one cared that Padilla's torture was not mentioned in his trial, and he received a sentence of 17 years and four months for little more than a thought crime. 
- Andy Worthington, "It Could Be You: The Sad Story of Jose Padilla, Tortured and Denied Justice"

“1031, the statement of authority to detain, does apply to American citizens and it designates the world as the battlefield, including the homeland.”
- Senator Lindsey O. Graham (R.-SC)


The 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) passed by Congress gives the military the power to detain American citizens in its gulag prisons like Camp Delta in Guantanamo, Cuba.


Jose Padilla, a U.S. citizen, was held in solitary confinement in a military prison in South Carolina for nearly 4 years - without being charged.

IT COULD BE YOU

Jose Padilla, a U.S. citizen from Chicago, was arrested in 2002 at O’Hare International Airport on suspicion of plotting to set off a radioactive “dirty bomb” and held for nearly 4 years - without criminal charges - in solitary confinement in a military prison. Dubbed an "enemy combatant" by George Bush, John Ashcroft, and Michael Chertoff, Padilla was kept in complete isolation for three and half years with prolonged sensory deprivation (seen above). According to a psychiatrist who spent 22 hours with Padilla in 2006, "What happened at the brig was essentially the destruction of a human being’s mind." Although the government had claimed that Padilla was suspected of planning to build and explode a "dirty bomb", he was neither charged nor convicted for having done so.


U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke

In January 2006 Padilla was transferred to Miami, Florida, to face criminal conspiracy charges. In August 2007 he was found guilty and sentenced by Judge Marcia G. Cooke to 17 years in prison. During the trial, Judge Cooke, who had been appointed to the bench by George W. Bush in 2003, barred any mention of the three and a half years Padilla had been held in a legal black hole, sidestepping the fundamental question of whether the government has the legal authority to detain U.S. citizens without charges. From 1999 to 2002 Cooke had served as Chief Inspector General for the State of Florida under Governor Jeb Bush, where she was responsible for promoting accountability, integrity, efficiency, and ethical behavior in the agencies under Bush's jurisdiction.

A good presentation of the conflicting claims about the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act and the power it gives the military to detain U.S. citizens without due process can be read on the Washington Blog under the title "The Indefinite Detention Bill DOES Apply to American Citizens on U.S. Soil":

DON'T BE FOOLED

The Indefinite Detention Bill DOES Apply to American Citizens

Even at this 11th hour – when all of our liberties and freedom are about to go down the drain – many people still don’t understand that the indefinite detention bill passed by Congress allows indefinite detention of Americans on American soil.


Elements of the law are so legally confusing, as well as being constitutionally questionable, that any detentions are almost certain to be challenged all the way to the supreme court, Chris McGreal writes in the Guardian article "Military given go-ahead to detain US terrorist suspects without trial."

Sources and Recommended Reading:

The Indefinite Detention Bill DOES Apply to American Citizens on U.S. Soil, Washington Blog, 14 December 2011
http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2011/12/the-indefinite-detention-bill-does-apply-to-american-citizens-on-u-s-soil.html

Keneally, Meghan, "Will Obama send U.S. citizens to Guantanamo?" Daily Mail (UK), 16 December 2011
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2074576/President-Obama-signs-law-detain-terror-suspects-indefinitely.html#ixzz1ghs0Ywzu

McGreal, Chris, "Military given go-ahead to detain US terrorist suspects without trial", Guardian (UK), 15 December 2011
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/dec/15/americans-face-guantanamo-detention-obama?newsfeed=true 

Vladeck, Stephen, "The lost Padilla verdict," Los Angeles Times, 17 August 2007
http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-vladeck17aug17,0,4813258.story

Worthington, Andy, "It Could Be You: The Sad Story of Jose Padilla, Tortured and Denied Justice", Truthout, 3 October 2011 
http://www.truth-out.org/it-could-be-you-sad-story-jose-padilla-tortured-and-denied-justice/1317399537


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