Monday, December 12, 2011

Stop Indefinite Military Detention

The “indefinite detention” sections of the NDAA bill would turn the whole of the United States into a “battlefield” and hand the executive branch the power to have the military arrest U.S. citizens and hold them without trial.

Last week we were part of an epic struggle led by Senator Rand Paul (RLC-KY) to block the inclusion of language in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which would make it legal for US Military forces to operate inside the US in violation of Posse Comitatus and arrest US civilians and hold them in military detention without charges for an indefinite period of time in violation of the right of Habeas Corpus, a fundamental legal protection under the Bill of Rights. Granting these extraordinary powers to the military is obviously unconstitutional and is opposed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other law enforcement agencies.

Efforts to remove indefinite military detention from the NDAA were blocked by establishment leaders from both parties in the Senate, though Senator Paul did lead a last minute effort to successfully defeat an unexpected additional amendment which would have given the government even more extensive powers to arrest and hold citizens without charges.

The original problem sections (1031 and 1032) are still in the bill and contrary to the claims of supporters of the bill, the wording of section 1032 does not, in fact, provide protection for US citizens. The use of the phrase "not required" instead of "prohibited" leaves the decision to allow the military to detain citizens entirely in the hands of federal authorities.

The only remaining opportunity to have these sections removed from the bill will be during the coming week in the reconcilliation process where members of both houses in a conference committee negotiate a final version of the bill. During this process all members of Congress can make recommendations for changes or adjustments in the language and if there is enough outcry it's possible that the joint committee will do the right thing. Reconcilliation will be wrapping up in the next few days so a final push on this issue on Monday the 12th is absolutely essential.

This will be our last chance to fix the bill and protect our liberties short of hoping for an increasingly unlikely veto from President Obama. Even if you previously wrote in during our effort to stop the bill in the Senate, please take this opportunity to write both your Represenative and Senators using the form provided on our site at

Dave Nalle

Chairman, Republican Liberty Caucus

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