Thursday, May 8, 2014

Indefinite Detention and the 2012 N.D.A.A.

The following was written in April 2014, as part of a response to the Campaign for Liberty's 2012 survey questionnaire for candidates running for federal office.

13. Will you support legislation such as the Smith/Amash Amendment to the NDAA of 2012, which would prevent the indefinite detention of U.S. Citizens and would ensure full Fifth Amendment rights to due process?

     Yes, I will support legislation such as the Smith/Amash Amendment to prevent the U.S. Armed Forces - under Sections 1021 and 1022 of the National Defense Authorization Act for 2012, and pursuant to a 2001 Authorization of the Use of Military Force – from detaining persons suspected of terrorism indefinitely and without legal representation.
     Neither the president nor the secretary of defense should have the authority to detain individuals – let alone indefinitely, without trial, without being allowed to meet with attorneys or family members, anywhere in the world, and for any reason - regardless of the N.D.A.A.'s requirement that the secretary of defense must certify to Congress that such a detention would be in the interest of national security. Any presidential objection to such detention legislation will only be likely to come in the form of signing statements expressing the sentiment that the president already wields this authority himself.
     Furthermore, the aforementioned sections of the 2012 N.D.A.A. are undesirable altogether because they authorize the indefinite detention of individuals suspected of directly supporting hostilities against not just the United States, but its “coalition partners”. If apprehension of foreign nations' direct enemies must occur in the U.S., it can and should be done without denying the suspect the right to a fair trial, and without denying the public the right to exert meaningful influence on how such a person (if found guilty) should be punished.
     Whether citizen or not - and whether (if guilty) they are the enemy of the U.S. or of a foreign nation – domestic terror suspects are innocent until proven guilty. They cannot be denied legal representation, nor the right to a speedy trial within the jurisdiction wherein some real crime was committed. I will support any and all efforts to strengthen the civil liberties enumerated in the 4th, 5th, and 6th Amendments to the Constitution; and I will sponsor legislation augmenting the enumerated rights of the accused.

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