HONOLULU -- President Barack Obama signed a defense bill which allows the indefinite military detention of Americans into law on Saturday. The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2012 signed by Obama in Hawaii (Guam), make provisions for a $662 billion National Defense Authorization Act authorising money for military personnel, weapons systems, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and national security programs in the Energy Department for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1.
The bill imposes sanctions against Iran's central bank, which it is hoped will inhibit Tehran's ability to fund its nuclear program, which could be a double edge sword in this matter as global oil prices may rise since Iran is a major oil producer.
The NDAA also includes controversial provisions on arresting and holding suspected terrorists, which at first drove Obama to threaten a veto. Congress, however, later added provisions that took the ultimate authority to detain suspects from the military's hands and gave it to the president. The signing of this bill now have Americans concerned as they too might be held indefinitely on mere suspicion, as long as there is a war on terror.
"I want to clarify that my administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens," Obama stated in order to quell American fears of the bill. "Indeed, I believe that doing so would break with our most important traditions and values as a Nation. My administration will interpret section 1021 [of the bill] in a manner that ensures that any detention it authorizes complies with the Constitution, the laws of war, and all other applicable law."
"President Obama's action today is a blight on his legacy because he will forever be known as the president who signed indefinite detention without charge or trial into law," said Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union.
"The statute is particularly dangerous because it has no temporal or geographic limitations, and can be used by this and future presidents to militarily detain people captured far from any battlefield," Romero added. "The ACLU will fight worldwide detention authority wherever we can, be it in court, in Congress or internationally."
"I have signed this bill despite having serious reservations with certain provisions that regulate the detention, interrogation, and prosecution of suspected terrorists," Obama said in the signing statement.