- uploaded: Nov 30, 2011
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Republican Congressman Amash warns that bill can be applied to U.S. citizens
Controversy over whether or not Americans are exempt from a provision of the National Defense Authorization Act bill, set to be voted on this week by the Senate, which defines the the entirety of the United States as a battleground in the war on terror, has been addressed by Republican Congressman Justin Amash, who warns that the bill does apply to U.S. citizens.
As we previously reported, under the 'worldwide indefinite detention without charge or trial' provision of S.1867, the National Defense Authorization Act bill, which is set to be up for a vote on the Senate floor this week, the legislation will "basically say in law for the first time that the homeland is part of the battlefield," said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who supports the bill.
That provoked concerns that American citizens could be targeted as terrorists and indefinitely detained without trial or charge.
"One section of these provisions, section 1031, would be interpreted as allowing the military to capture and indefinitely detain American citizens on U.S. soil. Section 1031 essentially repeals the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 by authorizing the U.S. military to perform law enforcement functions on American soil. That alone should alarm my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, but there are other problems with these provisions that must be resolved," Colorado Senator Mark Udall said in a speech earlier this month.
Following an ACLU alert on the legislation, some pointed out that the text of the bill actually exempts Americans from being detained under the new "homeland battlefield" designation under the proviso that "the requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to citizens of the United States."
However, as Republican Congressman Justin Amash told the The Grand Rapids Press today, the language of the bill is "carefully crafted to mislead the public."
"Note that it does not preclude U.S. citizens from being detained indefinitely, without charge or trial, it simply makes such detention discretionary," Amash wrote on his Facebook page.
The controversy over whether or not the text of the bill suggests the legislation applies to U.S. citizens is largely inconsequential given the fact that every piece of anti-terror legislation passed since 9/11 has been used against Americans, both at home and abroad.
The Patriot Act was passed in the name of giving federal authorities the tools to catch terrorists, but it has been used in hundreds of cases against American citizens, often in cases that have no relation whatsoever to terrorism.