Ron Paul fights indefinite detention of Americans

Ron Paul (Reuters / Chris Keane)

Ron Paul took a day off from the campaign trail on Wednesday, not to pause from politics, but to urge his colleagues on Capitol Hill to overturn the provision in the National Defense Authorization Act that allows indefinite detention for Americans.

The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, or the NDAA, was inked by President Barack Obama on New Year’s Eve, despite immense opposition from Americans who were concerned by vague language that could allow the commander-in-chief to use military forces to domestically police the United States. Under Section 1021 of the NDAA, any person, US citizen or not, can be held without trial by American armed forces if they are suspected of being engaged in hostilities against the country by al-Qaeda or associated forces.

Opponents of the act — and there are many — have questioned the language of the specific section, as it could be written to allow the president to enforce the law to imprison anyone suspected of any crime that could be considered by the right person in office to be an act of terror. President Obama said that he would not abide by this rule, but despite a signing statement that his administration won’t act in that manner, it does not mean that the promise will be upheld.

ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero called Obama’s approval of the legislation is “a blight on his legacy,” insisting that “he will forever be known as the president who signed indefinite detention without charge or trial into law,” and the Council on American-Islamic Relations called the bill an “ill-conceived and un-American legislation” that will “forever be seen as a stain on our nation’s history — one that will ultimately be viewed with embarrassment and shame.” Additionally, this week RT reported that noted journalist Chris Hedges has filed a lawsuit against the White House over the legislation, questioning the legality of the authorization and calling it “a catastrophic blow to civil liberties.”

On Wednesday this week, however, Ron Paul spoke from Capitol Hill, not South Carolina where the rest of his Republican Party rivals were campaigning before the state’s primary scheduled for this weekend. While in Washington to vote against raising the debt ceiling, Congressman Ron Paul also used the opportunity to go after Obama for signing the NDAA and offered a proposal that, if passed, would strike Section 1031 off the Act.

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