Obama Signs Law to Indefinitely Detain Americans Without Charge or Trial

One of the most important days in recent years for Americans who cherish their individual liberties and personal freedoms was December 31, 2011, a day many people were preparing for the celebration of the new year. On this day President Barack Hussein Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law. This statute contains an indefinite detention provision that gives the government the power to detain Americans suspected of involvement in terrorism without charge or trial and imprison them for an indefinite period of time, underminding the United States Constitution. Even with little mainstream media debate this statute has drawn criticism from people across the political spectrum.

Examples of strong criticism are as follows:

“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. 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. The ACLU will fight worldwide detention authority wherever we can, be it in court, in Congress, or internationally.”

- Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of American Civil Liberties Union

“By signing this defense spending bill, President Obama will go down in history as the president who enshrined indefinite detention without trial in US law. In the past, Obama has lauded the importance of being on the right side of history, but today he is definitely on the wrong side.”

- Kenneth Roth, Executive Director of Human Rights Watch

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