So there’s a few things going on around the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that folks need to pay attention to.. First we had a vote in the Senate that went down yesterday.. The Senate voted to pass amendments that would curb military detentions of US citizens. Here’s a run down of what occurred as reported in here in The Hill newsletter…
Senators who have battled for more than a year over military detention of U.S. citizens nearly all supported an amendment from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) Thursday, but the two sides had very different interpretations of what the provision accomplished.
Feinstein’s amendment, which states that U.S. citizens or permanent residents shall not be detained without charge or trial, passed the Senate 67-29, with 19 Republicans joining with most Democrats to pass the bill.
Feinstein said her amendment with Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) would prevent the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents captured on U.S. soil.
The amendment clarified that the law “does not permit an American citizen or legal resident to be picked up and be held without end, without charge or trial,” Feinstein said Thursday.
Feinstein’s push to change the detention laws was backed by liberal Democrats and libertarian-leaning Republicans such as Lee and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.)
Feinstein was trying to ease fears that NDAA would lead to American citizens being picked up and kept indefinitely without being charged or having the right to see a lawyer..However, some of her fellow Senators like Lindsey Graham (R-SC) went on record to say that while they support Feinstein’s amendment, it would only be if the understanding is that Congress would have the ability to authorize indefinite detentions.
Basically Graham and Democratic senator Carl Levin (D-Mich)who played a key role in pushing through NDAA the first go round, want it made crystal clear that if you are a US citizen and they can attach you as being down with Al Qaeda, then all bets are off and you are off the books and they can do whatever they deem necessary to ‘win the war’. Yep you read that right..
Senator Graham backed Levin by stating that we as a country should be able to interrogate a person in a way that will help us win a war.. From that I gather they mean something akin to torture, although that specific language is not being used.
A new wrinkle has been added to this bill earlier today. In response to the historic UN Vote where over 130 countries voted to recognize Palestine as a state vs the 9 who opposed which include the US, Israel and Canada, an amendment was introduced by NY Democrat Chuck Schumer on behalf of AIPAC to punish Palestine if anyone attempts to back them or supports their interests especially as it relates to cases brought before the International Criminal Court (ICC). This includes forcing them to close their offices here in the US and cutting off any and all aid. This is on top of the fact that there is already blockade in Gaza via Israel. Yep folks this is getting ugly. You can read about that HERE
Lastly if things couldn’t get more tricky. This morning the White House threatened to Veto this new NDAA legislation, not because they take issue with penalties issued toward Palestine, but because the new additions prevents President Obama ‘from pursuing his defense strategy and trespasses on his power’..He is also upset that it screws with some of his budgetary perogatives. In others words it would prevent him from making certain cuts to the military. You can read about that HERE
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AIPAC Sacramento is holding its Membership Meeting on Sunday, December 2, from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Woodlake Hotel, 500 Leisure Lane, Sacramento. (They tried to keep the location a secret until the last minute due to protests at previous meetings.) Cindy Sheehan, Jewish Voices for Peace, and other supporters for a free Palestinian state will be protesting at the meeting. We could use the support, as it’s anticipated the weather will be rainy and cold that day, and security will be out in force.
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