Thursday, December 15, 2011
Worse than George W. Bush?
Barack Obama has abandoned a commitment to veto a new security law that allows the military to indefinitely detain without trial American terrorism suspects arrested on U.S. soil who could then be shipped to Guantánamo Bay.
Human rights groups accused Obama of deserting his principles and disregarding the long-established principle that the military is not used in domestic policing. The legislation has also been strongly criticized by libertarians on the right angered at the stripping of individual rights for the duration of “a war that appears to have no end”.
The law, contained in the $662 billion dollar defense authorization bill that funds the U.S. military effectively extends the battlefield in the “war on terror” to the U.S. and applies the established principle that combatants in any war are subject to military detention.
The draconian legislation’s supporters in Congress say it simply codifies existing practice, such as the indefinite detention of alleged terrorists at Guantánamo Bay. But the law’s critics describe it as a draconian piece of legislation that extends the reach of detention without trial to include U.S. citizens arrested in their own country.
“It’s something so radical that it would have been considered crazy had it been pushed by the Bush administration,” said Tom Malinowski of Human Rights Watch. “It establishes precisely the kind of system that they have consistently urged other countries not to adopt. At a time when the United States is urging Egypt, for example, to scrap its emergency law and military courts, this is not consistent.”
Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California said, “Congress is essentially authorizing the indefinite imprisonment of American citizens, without charge. We are not a nation that locks up its citizens without charge.”
SOURCE: UK Guardian