Minimal Changes Made to Detainee Provsions in NDAA

Here is the final conference report of the National Defense Authorization Act for 2012, with slight changes to the detainee provisions, which were made in response to objections by the Obama Administration. A version with just Subtitle D, entitled “Counterterrorism,” is here. The section continues to page 685. The explanation for the changes is here.

Shorter version: Indefinite detention is here to stay and Guantanamo is not closing anytime soon.

The press release from the Armed Services Committee is here. Here is the old version if you want to track the latest changes. The Detainee provisions begin on page 364.

Sen. Carl Levin puts his spin on the changes here.

Check out the Lawfare Blog for technical analysis and Human Rights Watch's statement saying the bill is fundamentally flawed and Obama should veto the newest version. (Don't count on it.) [More...]

The latest version of the defense authorization bill does nothing to address the bill’s core problems – legislated indefinite detention without charge and the militarization of law enforcement,”

...It continues to authorize indefinite detention without charge for certain terrorism suspects and mandates military detention for a subset of terrorism suspects. It provides that the president can waive mandatory military custody only if he determines doing so is in the national security interest of the United States.

The new bill also adopts from the House version a bar to the transfer of detainees currently held at Guantanamo into the US for any reason, including for trial.

...The bill also further extends restrictions, imposed last year, on the transfer of detainees out of Guantanamo to their home countries or to third countries based solely on the alleged conduct of other former detainees. Since similar restrictions were enacted the administration has not transferred a single detainee out of Guantanamo, even though it had previously cleared them for release.

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    In a word . . . (5.00 / 7) (#1)
    by Chuck0 on Tue Dec 13, 2011 at 03:25:38 PM EST
    disgusting. No US citizen should be detained by any level of US government without charge or due process. I don't care the circumstance or crime. I've written Sen. Bob Casey already and let him know that he no longer has my support or vote. I don't care that he put Santorum out to pasture. Supporting this bill, to me, is unforgivable.

    With this kind of legislation coming out of Washington and similar crap coming from many state capitals, we are all doomed.

    From a Layman's Perspective... (5.00 / 6) (#2)
    by ScottW714 on Tue Dec 13, 2011 at 03:49:01 PM EST
     ...I can't think of anything more in direct conflict to the Constitution.
    In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

    I looked there aren't any asterisks and nor do I see an exception clause for nilly willys.

    I just read some 3000+ people died last year because of text messaging, far fewer then terrorists killed, so why are we so scared of them.  Seems like they won, we have completely shelved the very principles that are suppose to make us better then them.

    What's worse, there isn't anyone arguing differently.  And Jim, it's this kind of non-sense that makes me ashamed to be American at times.  We can't even live up to the very set of standards that made us great, the document we proclaim is the gold standard in regards to our character as a Nation.  This is beyond party of social standing, this is about locking human beings up in dark places without the guarantees a lot of folks have died to ensure all people could have.

    It's shameful beyond words.

    We (5.00 / 4) (#3)
    by lentinel on Tue Dec 13, 2011 at 05:31:08 PM EST
    already know that Obama has taken it upon himself to order the killing of an American citizen accused of promoting terrorism.

    Now, he will be granted the authority to indefinitely detain, without charge or trial, American citizens "suspected" of "terrorism".

    American black holes.

    If Obama were to veto it, I would consider it a slight light in the darkness of what America has become.

    But judging by his behavior these last three years, I would expect that he'll sign it when told to do so.

    He cannot veto a single section (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by Edger on Tue Dec 13, 2011 at 06:58:59 PM EST
    of the bill anyway. He can either veto the entire NDAA or not.

    He could issue a signing statement saying that he will not enforce a single section, but that would not bind any future president, democrat or republican.

    His veto threat is more empty words from a master of empty words.

    It was obvious as far back as at least 2007 what Obama is... and why he will not veto the NDAA:

    "The single most important job of any president is to protect the American people," [Obama] affirmed in a major foreign-policy statement last April[2007]. But "the threats we face.... can no longer be contained by borders and boundaries.... The security of the American people is inextricably linked to the security of all people." That's why the U.S. must be the "leader of the free world." It's hard to find much difference on foreign policy between Clinton and Obama, except that Barack is more likely to dress up the imperial march of U.S. interests in such old-fashioned Cold War flourishes.

    That delights neoconservative guru Robert Kagan, who summed up Obama's message succinctly:  "His critique is not that we've meddled too much but that we haven't meddled enough.... To Obama, everything and everyone everywhere is of strategic concern to the United States."  To control everything and everyone, he wants "the strongest, best-equipped military in the world.... A 21st century military to stay on the offense."

    For more on Obama's foreign policy thinking, see:
    Barack Obama, Resort to Force, and U.S. Military Hegemony(.PDF)
    Harry van der Linden
    Butler University, 1/1/2009

    Obama is a dyed in the wool neocon, carrying on - no, expanding on - the full spectrum world dominance neocon policies of George Bush.

    Bush would never have gotten away with the things Obama has hypnotized his supporters into praising him for. They would be screaming for Bush's impeachment.


    Where's ABS, (Angry Black Sycophant, ) (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Mr Natural on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 09:38:13 PM EST
    to educate us as to the yet again unparalleled brilliance of Obama's duplicity?

    "We have concluded that the language does not challenge or constrain the President's ability to collect intelligence, incapacitate dangerous terrorists, and protect the American people, and the President's senior advisors will not recommend a veto," the White House statement said.

    Well that's the thing of it, see (none / 0) (#7)
    by Edger on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 10:23:09 PM EST
    Obama's complaint was that the go**amn piece of paper might restrict him, and you can't go putting restrictions on the unitary executive, after all, or republicans might call him "weak on national security"

    "when it was revealed in 2005 that the Bush administration had been illegally spying on Americans, [Vice President Dick] Cheney responded:
    'If you want to understand why this program is legal...go back and read my Iran-Contra report.'
    In that report -- authored in 1987 -- Cheney and aide David Addington defended President Reagan by claiming it was 'unconstitutional for Congress to pass laws intruding' on the 'commander in chief'."--Charlie Savage, October 2007.[1]

    "The president is always right."--Steven Bradbury, U.S. Department of Justice lawyer, July 11, 2006.[2]

    "It's not too far from King of Everything, really."--Jan Frel, AlterNet, October 28, 2005.[3]

    The unitary executive theory "asserts that all executive authority must be in the President's hands, without exception."[4]

    President George W. Bush "has been asserting from the outset of his presidency" that presidential power "must be unilateral, and unchecked."[5]

    "But the most recent and blatant presidential intrusions on the law and Constitution supply the verse to that refrain. They not only claim unilateral executive power, but also supply the train of the President's thinking, the texture of his motivations, and the root of his intentions.

    So, now he's not weak and powerless anymore like he has been for three years.

    He's finally grabbed hold of the reins and he'll be able to come out of the closet now letting his inner FDR bloom and start arresting investment bankers while shutting down the WOT and all the ridiculous imperial wars that are bankrupting the country, driving republicans into extinction as he sails through a 2012 landslide into a permanent Democratic majority?

    It should also mean the end of all the terrorist attacks on peaceful Americans by mayors and blue suited goon squads all across the country?

    The brilliant sun rises and shines on the empire.

    It's been a long day and I'm Bushed. Goodnight.


    In fact now, (none / 0) (#8)
    by Edger on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 10:47:31 PM EST
    having no law barring him that says he can't or that anyone can challenge him when he does, he can simply with the stroke of his pen or a nod to his chief of staff declare every GOP member in the House and the Senate to be "enemy combatants" and have them all disappeared by lunchtime tomorrow.

    It was his greatest eleven dimensional bipartisan initiative.


    If I had a Boehner I'd be feeling a little limp right about now.


    And, the reliance upon a (5.00 / 3) (#5)
    by KeysDan on Tue Dec 13, 2011 at 07:25:10 PM EST
    presidential veto has dampened an effective organizational protest of the bill.  After the president actually signs the bill, having been "satisfied" with the provisions, it will be too late.