The Creeping Hand of Fascism in America. Indefinite Military Detention and the NDAA

Thursday, May 8, 2014
By Paul Martin

By Binoy Kampmark
Global Research
May 08, 2014

In declining to hear the case of Hedges v Obama and declining to review the NDAA, the Supreme Court has turned its back on precedent dating back to the Civil War era that holds that the military cannot police the streets of America. Carl Mayer, Attorney for Chris Hedges, May 2014

President Barack Obama’s administration has that curious quality that marks it as authoritarian even as it embraces principles of liberty; an enemy of freedoms even as it claims to be promoting them in bookish fashion. The tendency is part schizophrenic, part conscious bloody mindedness when it is found out. Obama has shown a particular liking for various draconian laws which he hopes will sail past judicial and congressional scrutiny. The National Defense Authorization Act of 2014, signed by the President last December, was devil spawn, engendered by a security atmosphere that has the executive and law makers enthral.

The indefinite detention clause – section 1021, more specifically 1021(b)(2) – allows for the “indefinite detention of American citizens without due process at the discretion of the President.” It actually made its ignominious debut in the NDAA Act of 2012. The wording is astonishingly bruising to civil liberties, and has received considerable criticism from a range of sources. Public polling by OpenCongress.com showed a 98 per cent disapproval rating. The ACLU considered the statute “particularly dangerous because it has no temporal or geographic limitations, and can be used by this and future presidents to militarily detain people captured far from any battlefield.” It can, in fact, be argued that the provision makes the entire domestic and global space of US policy a potential battlefield, governed by executive fiat.

The subsequent bill of 2013 contained amendments made by Congress attempted, in part, to limit the reach of the indefinite detention clause. Sections 1031 to 1033 ostensibly attained those goals, affirming the right to due process for American citizens and the right of habeas corpus. But the legislative Frankenstein would not go away – indefinite detention was simply something too good to let go.

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