Ron Paul Mounts Challenge to Indefinite Detention
epublican presidential candidate Ron Paul took a break from his campaign to come out in opposition to the bill signed into law by President Barack Obama on New Year's Eve that allows the indefinite detention of any terrorism suspect, including Americans arrested in the U.S.
Speaking from the floor of the U.S. House, Paul lashed out at a provision in the latest defense authorization bill that permits the government to imprison without trial anyone who has "substantially supported al Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States." This would include U.S. citizens arrested anywhere in the world.
According to Paul, the legislation could undermine the right to due process and allow the military to act "as a kind of police force on U.S. soil, apprehending terror suspects, including Americans, and whisking them off to an undisclosed location indefinitely."
Ron Paul spoke out against indefinite detention today from the floor of the House. (photo: Getty Images)
When he approved the bill, Obama issued a signing statement claiming that his administration would not allow the military to detain Americans indefinitely. Civil libertarians from both the left and the right were, however, appalled by Obama's "Trust me; I won't do it" position, pointing out that even if Obama kept his promise, there is no guarantee that future presidents won't imprison Americans and others indefinitely without trial or even without charge.
The wording of the act, although carefully phrased, is nonetheless clear, and allows the president of the United States to define "supporters" of terrorism as he sees fit and to imprison whomever he chooses.
Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov.com