NDAA 2012: ‘Military detention authority on steroids’

I guess I was lucky that I was pulled off a plane by armed men, frisked, hands and feet splayed on the side of a police car and taken to a police building where I was held, strip searched and interrogated for four hours without really knowing why I was there. I was lucky in that it was before a bill like the National Defense Authorization Act for 2012 was passed.

If I was held under the NDAA’s proposed guidelines, I could have been shipped off to Guantánamo and held indefinitely without trial.

A Michigan Democrat, Sen. Carl Levin, wrote the language that would allow the military to hold anyone — U.S. citizens and non —  suspected of terrorism for as long as it wants without the constitutional promise of a trial. Not only does the NDAA violate the constitution, but it would be another step toward a xenophobic police state where suspicious behavior is just as good as hard evidence.

It’s scary to think that in my case, I could be suspected of terrorism just for sitting next to two Indian men who needed to use the bathroom on an airplane and remained indisposed a little too long. That means anyone who “looks” threatening or “acts” threatening, to which there are no clear guidelines, could be shipped off to a military prison with a reputation for torturing its prisoners and stripped of their civil liberties, including due process . No, it’s not just scary, it’s unjust and corrupt.

The ACLU had this to say about the bill:

“This bill puts military detention authority on steroids and makes it permanent. If it becomes law, American citizens and others are at real risk of being locked away by the military without charge or trial.”


“Based on suspicion alone, no place and no person are off-limits to military detention without charge or trial.”

President Obama has threatened to veto it, saying:

“Any bill that challenges or constrains the President’s critical authorities to collect intelligence, incapacitate dangerous terrorists, and protect the Nation would prompt the President’s senior advisers to recommend a veto.”

Retired four-star Marine generals wrote an op-ed in the New York Times saying:

“…some in Congress are all too willing to undermine our ideals in the name of fighting terrorism.”

Let’s hope for all our sakes that Obama vetoes the bill—even if he’s doing it for the wrong reasons.

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  1. Uncle Mike

     /  December 13, 2011

    Shosh, do you think this new threat will expedite the legal action taken by the ACLU against the agencies that mishandled you at the airport? I sure hope so. Isn’t an election year an opportune time to turn up the heat on elected “leaders”?

    Fortunately we are still in control of our freedom to attain peace of mind, despite the circumstances we find around us, tho easier said than done!

    • Unk, the ACLU hasn’t taken any legal action at this time. And yes, we can all get zen about what’s going on around us, that is one thing we will always have control over. But we can also fight back.

  2. Your story was already terrifying enough, in this context it makes me actually fear the United States (and fear for it).

  3. President Obama is unlikely to veto the bill. His administration specifically asked that language that would have protected us be removed from it.

  4. President Obama is unlikely to veto the bill. His administration specifically asked that language that would have protected us be removed from it.

    (Reposted due to previous video being killed the *moment* I posted it here! Weird.)

  5. Thanks for posting this. Horrifying.

  6. leila

     /  December 14, 2011

    We are SO going in the wrong direction. Thanks for posting this Shosh

  7. scary.. c

  8. ankaboot

     /  December 16, 2011

    Why is anyone surprised by this? Uncle Sam is watching over you, for your own good. Go do some Christmas shopping. The Supreme Court probably won’t uphold this law for at least another year or two, and by then Ron Paul will have Saved The American Dream or something and everybody can go back to sleep to enjoy it.

  9. Randy

     /  December 19, 2011

    I hope you know that the due process you did receive from the FBI was considered by most as unwarranted for the cause of bathroom use which you somehow got lumped into. TSA said they were told 3 people? I hope you know that the treatment you received by the Wayne County Airport Authority was considered by most as outrageous for the cause of bathroom use and the fact that they knew the FBI only wanted to question you. Even the TSA doesn’t have a strip search in any of their security protocols.

    I don’t see how in your case that you would be mistakenly considered a member of al-Qaeda.

    2) COVERED PERSONS.—The requirement in paragraph (1) shall apply to any person whose detention is authorized under section 1031 who is determined—
    (A) to be a member of, or part of, al-Qaeda or an associated force that acts in co ordination with or pursuant to the direction of al-Qaeda; and
    (B) to have participated in the course of planning or carrying out an attack or attempted attack against the United States or its coalition partners.

    I am not going to get paranoid over the bill but I don’t agree that US soil is a war zone. There are many hideous crimes committed by US citizens and they all get a fair trial (due process). I think that a US citizen can be reasonably detained in the US while the FBI investigates anyone accused of such crimes. I don’t agree with any measures that try to get around the constitutional rights of US citizens. I also hate “mandatory” anything in regard to punishments. It may fit 98 out of a 100 people with the intended result but sooner or later someone receives treatment that is unwarranted by any reasonable measure. So for their sake I hate mandatory.


  1. Obama and Civil Liberties « Stories from the Heartland

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