President Barack Obama signed a wide-ranging defense bill into law Saturday despite having “serious reservations” about provisions that regulate the detention, interrogation and prosecution of suspected terrorists.
The bill also applies penalties against Iran’s central bank in an effort to hamper Tehran’s ability to fund its nuclear enrichment program. The Obama administration is looking to soften the impact of those penalties because of concerns that they could lead to a spike in global oil prices or cause economic hardship on U.S. allies that import petroleum from Iran.
In a statement accompanying his signature, the president chastised some lawmakers for what he contended was their attempts to use the bill to restrict the ability of counterterrorism officials to protect the country.
Administration officials said Obama was only signing the measure because Congress made minimally acceptable changes that no longer challenged the president’s terrorism-fighting ability.
“Moving forward, my administration will interpret and implement the provisions described below in a manner that best preserves the flexibility on which our safety depends and upholds the values on which this country was founded,” Obama said in the signing statement.
Signing statements allow presidents to raise constitutional objections to circumvent Congress’ intent. During his campaign for the White House, Obama criticized President George W. Bush’s use of signing statements and promised to make his application of the tool more transparent.
Obama’s signature caps months of wrangling over how to handle captured terrorist suspects without violating Americans’ constitutional rights. The White House initially threatened to veto the legislation but dropped the warning after Congress made last-minute changes.
Among the changes the administration secured was striking a provision that would have eliminated executive branch authority to use civilian courts for trying terrorism cases against foreign nationals.
The new law now requires military custody for any suspect who is a member of al-Qaida or “associated forces” and involved in planning or attempting to carry out an attack on the United States or its coalition partners. The president or a designated subordinate may waive the military custody requirement by certifying to Congress that such a move is in the interest of national security.
The administration also pushed Congress to change a provision that would have denied U.S. citizens suspected of terrorism the right to trial and could have subjected them to indefinite detention. Lawmakers eventually dropped the military custody requirement for U.S. citizens or lawful U.S. residents.
“My administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens,” Obama said in the signing statement. “Indeed, I believe that doing so would break with our most important traditions and values as a nation.” – csmonitor
Will the Occupy movement become a “force” associated with al-Qaida through some black op? If a US citizen gets a military trial, history shows that there is a real risk of it being an unfair trial. That’s the way it was with the Gitmo tribunals:
… an audience at Oxford University in England was stunned, witnesses said, when two of the lawyers, Lieutenant Commander Charles Swift of the U.S. Navy and Major Mark Bridges of the U.S. Army, said that the tribunals were not capable of producing a fair and just result. … – link
… Under trial rules only three out of the five members of the tribunal are needed to make a guilty verdict. Hearsay and "evidence" extracted under torture are admissible, and, in contrast to US military courts martial, there is no civil court appeal. In other words, the Pentagon is the captor, jailer, judge, jury and prosecutor. …- link
Obama can, it seems, now grab any US citizen using the military, fix the military trial (?), control all the news that gets out including fake details (?), and after a fake trial, can STILL keep a US Citizen indefinitely in a military prison to be tortured, abused, used in human experiments or murdered. That will never happen, of course, because our leaders as well as the people who run prisons are all so honest and trustworthy.
Military custody for suspected terrorists is also insurance against the world finding out if it turns out that al-Qaida itself is still a secret operation of the US military. Which it isn’t, of course. Sure, the CIA is responsible for al-Qaida in some ways, but that was a long time ago.
Several… authors, journalists and statesmen have all made the claim that Bin Laden was funded, armed and trained by the CIA to fight off the Russians. After Ronald Reagan was elected in 1981, U.S. funding of the mujahideen increased significantly and CIA Paramilitary Officers played a big role in training, arming and sometimes even leading mujahideen forces. The CIA trained the mujahideen in many of the tactics Al Qaeda is known for today, such as car bombs, assassinations and other acts that would be considered terrorism today. – link
The good news is that everyone is fed up with the way things are and we can all rise up together to change the world. Viva la evolution!