The National Defense Authorization Act will likely land on President Obama’s desk today for his signature after having already been rather quietly passed by Congress last week at a 93 to 7 margin. One of the provisions in the Act, Section 1031, the “Indefinite Detention” provision, has a lot of Americans upset and with good reason; among other things, the new law would allow the United States military to detain American citizens indefinitely without trial.
In other words, if the government decides that you are a suspected terrorist, as broad as that definition has become in recent years, you can be held in a military prison until they decide otherwise. Meaning forever. No Miranda rights, no due process, nothing.
Civil Rights groups have pointed out that this not only leaves our personal freedoms in the hands of a reactionary and fallible intelligence system, but also erodes the Fourth and Sixth Amendments to the Constitution (the right to due process based on probable cause and the right to a speedy trial, respectively).
A petition from Change.org has been circulating online and picked up speed on Wednesday after Jon Stewart addressed the issue on The Daily Show, calling the measure “cynical fear-mongering” and joking that the strategy for keeping the American life safe from terrorism seems to be “we’re gonna destroy it before they can get their hands on it.”
Peeling back two of the original freedoms that this country was founded on? Yeah, that’s pretty much the definition of destroying our way of life, would you say? The scary part is that although lawmakers swear that this law will not be applied to regular Americans like you and me, I’m pretty sure none of them will be holding either the key to your cell or the surveillance binoculars that could put you there.
Are you concerned enough to sign the Change.org petition against Indefinite Detention? Or is this measure a reasonable way to keep America safe?