Activists seek to overturn controversial provisions in defense spending bill
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — President Obama is taking some heat from civil liberties activists over what some say is his apparent support for provisions in the defense spending bill that enables the indefinite military detainment of civilians, including American citizens, without charge or trial.
Colorado Sen. Mark Udall is also seeking to remove the provisions from the defense bill, saying that they could actually hinder the government’s ability to fight terrorism.
In a telephone press call last week, Udall said the provisions are not needed because law enforcement officials have adequate tools already in place. He is seeking bipartisan support for an amendment that would bar the practice.
According to Udall, the provisions would allow anyone to be locked up indefinitely simply if they’re suspected of terrorism. He said the recent court decision in New York shows he’s on the “right side” of the argument.
“President Obama’s support for indefinite detention is utterly tone deaf. His position flies in the face of our Constitution, our basic civil rights, and our common sense.” Said Tangerine Bolen, director of RevolutionTruth.
A court last week ruled that the indefinite detention provisions are unconstitutional, but activists claim that the Obama administration is appealing the ruling. Obama last year said he wouldn’t use the detention provisions in a way that’s inconsistent with the Constitution, but there’s widespread unease about the fact that the U.S. Senate is even considering a bill that includes such onerous language.
“Judge Forrest’s ruling was unequivocal: Indefinite detention without trial or charge is unconstitutional. We will not stop fighting until we stop President Obama and Congress from undermining our basic rights,” Bolen said.
The President’s move comes as the US Senate prepares to debate the 2013 NDAA. Earlier this month the House failed to pass an amendment which would have barred the indefinite detention of Americans and those on American soil, and the Senate will likely take up a similar amendment as early as next week.
Activists have launched a grassroots campaign, led by the civil rights and liberties organization Demand Progress. More than 250,000 Demand Progress members have contacted the President and Congress in opposition to indefinite detention in recent weeks..
“We urge Americans to keep pressuring Congress and President Obama: Our nation’s founders would surely find indefinite detention detestable — but they would find it more abhorrent yet if Americans allowed our rights to be stripped from us without even putting up a fight,” said Demand Progress executive director David Segal.
Filed under: federal government, world news Tagged: | civil liberties, Congress, defense spending bill, indefinite detention of US citizens, Mark Udall, National Defense Authorization Act, President Obama