- Politics and Social Issues»
- United States Politics
Rand Paul Opposes Obama's NDAA Military Detention of US Citizens without Trial
Image from anti-NDAA Organization StopNDAA.org
Presidential aspirant Senator Rand Paul has submitted legislation which would reverse a law enacted under the Obama administration which allows the US military to arrest and detain US citizens without charge or trial, and to hold them indefinitely. The law, commonly referred to as "NDAA" because it is an attachment to the yearly National Defense Authorization Act, was enacted by the Congress in the last days of 2010, and signed by Obama on New Year's Eve.
Such arrests and detentions may be classified under "national security" and thus conducted in secret.
As controversy over the law reached a crescendo, Democratic Senator Carl Levin revealed on the floor of the Senate that it was Obama who insisted that the law apply to US citizens. Levin chaired the Senate Armed Services Committee, which crafts the National Defense Authorization Act for the Senate before House and Senate versions are reconciled.
In an exchange with Senator Udall (D-IL), Levin said on the floor:
Is the Senator familiar with the fact that it was the administration which asked us to remove the very language which we had in the bill which passed the committee, and that we removed it at the request of the administration that this determination would not apply to U.S. citizens and lawful residents? Is the Senator familiar with the fact that it was the administration which asked us to remove the very language, the absence of which is now objected to by the Senator from Illinois?
In an email to supporters, Senator Rand Paul writes:
There is only one way to describe detaining a U.S. citizen indefinitely and denying trial by jury: Un-American.
If the federal government can arrest you, throw you in prison for years, and strip away your due process rights to prove your innocence, our Republic is sliding into dangerous territory.
That’s why I’m introducing – along with Senator Mike Lee and others - the Due Process Guarantee to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
This amendment blocks indefinite detention of American citizens without being charged and denying them a jury trial unless there is a vote in Congress.
In the email Paul presented a petition for supporters to sign to support the amendment.
The NDAA's provisions for the military lock-up, without charge or trial, of US citizens alleged by the government to be "associated" with terrorism, indefinitely, has been a subject of controversy in Internet publications since their passage, but have yet to be covered in-depth, or even reported on, by any major media news organization. Only followers of C-SPAN and Internet publications such as Huffington Post on the Left, or American Free Press on the Right, would be familiar with the momentous ramifications of the law, which essentially attempts to negate the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of a jury trial for all Americans no matter what crime they are charged with.
Senator Carl Levin Says Obama "Insisted" on NDAA Applying to Americans
The Sixth Amendment of the Constitution states:
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.
The preamble to Senator Paul's petition in support of his amendment reads:
Whereas: The fight over the indefinite detention of American citizens in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) strikes at the very heart of our fragile Republic; and
Whereas: It effectively GUTS the 6th Amendment of the Constitution. It places the freedom of every American citizen at the mercy of the federal government; and
Whereas: After the NSA's spying scandals and the IRS targeting of conservative political organizations, Americans aren’t buying the argument any longer that our government won't abuse its powers; and
Whereas: The federal government shouldn't have the power to lock American citizens up and throw away the key – all without trial;
Therefore: I urge you to take action to support Senator Paul's amendment to stop the indefinite detention of Americans and restore the 6th Amendment.
Senator Paul's father, Congressman Ron Paul, took the lead in opposing the NDAA law before he retired from Congress. To date no other 2016 presidential aspirant has made a statement on NDAA, although Republican Ted Cruz and Democratic primary candidate Bernie Sanders voted against it recently.