National Defense Authorization Act Passes House: News Releases: The Independent Institute

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News Release
December 15, 2011

National Defense Authorization Act Passes House
Independent Institute Expert Ivan Eland Warns of Alarming Implications

Washington, D.C, Dec. 15, 2011—Congress announced late Wednesday evening that the National Defense Authorization Act and its controversial provisions regarding detention of terror suspects passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 283-136.

The debate split Democrats down the middle, with 93 voting in favor and 93 against the legislation that President Obama tacitly endorsed earlier in the day before retreating from a veto threat.

In his news-breaking article, The Dangerous Militarization of the US Justice System, Senior Fellow and Director of the Center on Peace and Liberty, Ivan Eland, calls for the President to stand by his original promise to veto the legislation and reject the violations of basic freedoms that are rampant in the bill's numerous provisions. Eland, author of the latest book, No War for Oil, warns:

The bill would authorize the U.S military to detain suspected terrorists indefinitely, sideline the federal court system in favor of military tribunals, and ban transfers of prisoners from Guantanamo—thus, perpetuating a horrible symbol to the world of America's retreat from its core belief in the individual right of due legal process.

The military brass has traditionally been reluctant to get into law enforcement, as demonstrated by the opposition of two Marine four-star generals—Charles Krulak and Joseph Hoar—to these provisions in the bill. As they point out, with the bill’s movement of terrorism cases into the military’s legal system, due process will cease.

That’s because the military’s justice system for terrorism cases has pathetic due process to begin with. As Krulak and Hoar note in an op-ed in the New York Times, “Since 9/11, the shaky, untested military commissions have convicted only six people on terror-related charges, compared with more than 400 in the civilian courts.”

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