ACTION ALERT: Ask President Obama to Veto Indefinite Detention of U.S. Citizens
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) was passed by the Senate today after being passed in the House of the Representatives yesterday. The NDAA FY2012 is now on its way to the White House where, yesterday the Obama administration disclosed that the president would not veto the legislation, contradicting his stance from a month earlier.
Opposition voices were present, however ultimately ignored. Senator Mark Udall (Dem-CO) cautioned lawmakers that these provisions will “deny American citizens their due process rights,” and thus not only “make us less safe, but would serve as an unprecedented threat to our constitutional liberties.” “If we start labeling our citizens as enemies of the United States without any due process, I think we will have done serious damage” to the Constitution.
CAIR-Chicago fears such detentions could lead to American citizens being shipped off to Guantánamo Bay.
"The National Defense Authorization Act goes against the Constitution of the United States, taking away the due process rights that were guaranteed by our founding fathers," said CAIR-Chicago's Deputy Director, Sufyan Sohel. "This bill clearly violates our Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights."
IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUESTED: (As always, be POLITE and RESPECTFUL.)
CAIR-Chicago is urging American Muslims and other people of conscience to contact President Obama and urge him to veto the National Defense Authorization Act (H.R.1540), which authorizes the military to arrest and indefinitely detain American citizens suspected of terrorism without charge or trial.
1. ASK THE PRESIDENT TO VETO THE BILL
Call the President: 202-456-1111
2. TALKING POINTS:
*Mr. President, I urge you to honor your original pledge and veto the National Defense Authorization Act as it sanctions the indefinite detention of American citizens without charge or trial.
* I believe that it is unconstitutional for the military to police or indefinitely hold American citizens without allowing them their constitutional rights to a fair and speedy trial and hearing the charges brought against them.
3. INFORM YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY by forwarding this alert to at least five other people. Tell them you took action and ask them to do the same.
Today's request follows up on CAIR-Chicago's December 2nd action alert, which addressed similar concerns over a House-Senate conference committee's consideration of the same BILL.
On Monday, that House-Senate conference committee released a revised version of the bill that received House approval on Wednesday by a vote of 283 to 136. The bill is anticipated to get Senate approval by early next week and will most likely reach the president's desk for final approval or veto by the end of the month.
Supporters of the legislation claim that it simply codifies existing presidential practices, such as indefinitely detaining American citizens suspected of terrorism. However, leading members of Congress and civil rights groups rallying against the bill assert that such presidential claims to detention powers are an overreach of executive authority and unconstitutional.
Sections 1021 and 1022 of the bill authorize the president to order the indefinite detention of American citizens, inside or outside of the United States, suspected of being members of al-Qaida, the Taliban or their affiliates without charges, a trial or any legal recourse.
"If the Senate had wanted to make clear that a U.S. citizen could not be detained forever without charge, it could have said so unambiguously, but it did not. At best, we are shooting dice with our liberties and hoping that a federal court, down the line, will rule that it really does mean what the sponsors of this bill say it means," said Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) ranking member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution.
"This legislation authorizes the military to indefinitely detain individuals without charge or trial, including the detention of U.S. citizens on U.S. soil. In short, what this bill does is it takes a wrecking ball to the United States Constitution and gives enormous power to the government or the state," said Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH).
In November, President Obama had threatened to veto an earlier draft of the bill due to mandates requiring the military custody, rather than civilian, of American citizens suspected of terrorism. However, after reviewing the revised bill, "the president's senior advisers will not recommend a veto," said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.