President Barack Obama's backtracking from his earlier stand to veto the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) has put Americans under the risk of losing their human rights.
The Senate and Congress have already passed the bill and Obama now seems ready to sign a piece of legislature that could become a draconian piece of legislature making U.S. citizens vulnerable to legal abuse.
The President's office has defended the decision to approve the NDAA, saying the law was essential for the safety of the country and the revisions made by a corrections committee were sufficient.
Why is the NDAA Considered Anti-Human Rights?
The American constitution and the country's traditional values stand for personal safety, liberty and free speech. These are, theoretically, assured to every citizen. In addition, the right to trial and the right to defend oneself in federal and civil courts are important elements of these human rights.
The NDAA, however, awards the President with what amounts to absolute and near-dictatorial powers. It allows him to detain any person on U.S. soil, including U.S citizens, for an indefinite time and without any charge or trial, if the person is suspected of supporting or engaging in terrorist activity or organization either directly or indirectly in the past, present or future.
Worse still, the law does not require the furnishing of reasonable proof to lock up any individual the government considers a terrorist. Therefore, any suspicion, allegation or even remote possibility of being involved with terrorism could land a man or a woman in lock-up.
Civil libertarians have lost no time in pointing out the multiple instances of the blatant violation of human rights and anti-American sentiments in the NDAA.
According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Web site, the provisions of the NDAA were declared inconsistent with fundamental American values embodied in the Constitution and that the bill was an unacceptable attack on fundamental freedoms. The earlier form of the NDAA had provisions that stripped power from federal and civil courts, entrusting the responsibility of trial and the detaining of terrorists to the military.
President Obama had earlier objected to this provision saying it unnecessarily constrained the country's counterterrorism efforts and would undermine national security, particularly where federal courts were the best - or even the only - option for incapacitating dangerous terrorists, a White House release said.
The report continued, saying the President would veto the bill if that provision were not altered. The House Senate Conference Committee came up with corrections that included removing a clause that would have prevented prosecution of terrorism suspects by the federal courts.
However, it has been argued that the corrections were minor and cosmetic in nature; the power of detention without trial remains with the government. This amounts to the violation of American constitutional right over free speech and protection against imprisonment without due process.
Human right activists have also argued that the proposed law could result in increasing abuse of government power, enabling authorities to crush any dissent in any form in the country. The law could also do more harm to U.S-led anti-terrorism efforts and escalate the rate of attacks on U.S. targets, as there were chances of innocents, both American and non-Americans being trapped in prison forever.
Several organizations labeled it a disgrace to the country that stands as an icon of free speech and liberty.
The law might also escalate armed conflict in other countries as well as war crimes, said experts, who pointed out that if passed it could also put an end to easy promises made by President Obama to close the Guantanamo prisons.
Among other terribly depressing consequences, the bill makes it virtually impossible to ever close Guantanamo Bay, wrote political expert Andrew Rosenthal, in his column for the New York Times blog.