New Bill Authorizes Rendition of American Citizens Living On U.S. Soil to Other Countries for Torture
Top experts – including the sponsors of the bill – say that the newly-passed National Defense Authorization Act authorizes indefinite detention of Americans living within the United States.
Top legal experts point out that the government claims the right to assassinate American citizens on U.S. soil without any charges, trial or other constitutional protection.
I noted last month that Congress was considering repealing prohibitions against torture. (I wrote to attorneys at the ACLU, but haven’t received word yet on whether such a provision has been enacted).
However, Mother Jones notes today that Congress has explicitly authorized rendition, allowing American Citizens on U.S. soil to be sent to other countries which do torture:
A defense spending bill that passed both houses of Congress overwhelmingly and is set to be signed by President Barack Obama as early as this week could make it easier for the government to transfer American terrorist suspects to foreign regimes and security forces.
The National Defense Authorization Act (PDF) contains a section that says the president has the power to transfer suspected members and supporters of Al Qaeda, the Taliban, or “associated” groups “to the custody or control of the person’s country of origin, any other foreign country, or any other foreign entity.”
That means if the president determines you’re a member or supporter of Al Qaeda or “associated forces,” he could order you to be handed over to the Saudis, the Egyptians, the Yemenis (“any other foreign country”), any of their respective security forces, or even the United Nations (“any other foreign entity”). (You can read the relevant section of the law in the document viewer at the end of this article; look for the highlighted annotations.)
[Daphne Eviatar, a lawyer with Human Rights First] adds that there are “a whole lot of scenarios” where the government might want to transfer a suspected terrorist—even a US citizen—to foreign custody. For example, the administration might not want to go through the political mess of determining whether to send a suspect to Gitmo, try him in a military commission, or use the civilian system. The administration might also want to avoid the mandatory habeas corpus review that would come if the US held the suspect itself. In such a case, transferring the suspect to a foreign security force might present an appealing option.
You can read the detention and transfer provisions of the NDAA here …
The Founding Fathers would not recognize this nation as America.