Published on Wednesday, November 30, 2011 by The Progressive
by Matthew Rothschild
U.S. citizens beware: A bill being debated on the Senate floor this week is likely to pass, and if it becomes law, you could be sent to Guantanamo Bay.
The bill is the National Defense Authorization Act, S. 1867. Section 1031 of the bill gives the President and the Armed Forces enormous power to detain people they believe were involved in the attacks of Sept. 11 or supported Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or “associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners.”
Guantanamo BayThat section empowers the President to detain such persons indefinitely without trial or to try them before a military court or to transfer them “to the custody or control of the person’s country of origin, any other foreign country, or any other foreign entity.”
Sen. Mark Udall introduced an amendment to modify this section, and his amendment was voted down on Tuesday.
Sen. Rand Paul has introduced an amendment to delete this section entirely, and on Tuesday, he had the following exchange with Sen. John McCain, who is co-sponsoring the bill.
Sen. Paul: “My question would be under the provisions would it be possible that an American citizen then could be declared an enemy combatant and sent to Guantanamo Bay and detained indefinitely.”
Sen. McCain: “I think that as long as that individual, no matter who they are, if they pose a threat to the security of the United States of America, should not be allowed to continue that threat.”
There has been some confusion on the Internet as to whether the National Defense Authorization Act really applies to U.S. citizens. But Sen. McCain’s answer should clarify that once and for all.