American rights activists have slammed the US Senate for gearing up to vote on a bill on Monday that would define the whole of the United States as a ‘battlefield’ and allow the military to arrest American citizens in their own back yard without charge or trial.
The reactions comes after the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said last week that “the senate is going to vote on whether Congress will give this president-and every future president – the power to order the military to pick up and imprison without charge or trial civilians anywhere in the world. The power is so broad that even US citizens could be swept up by the military and the military could be used far from any battlefield, even within the United States itself.”
Under the ‘worldwide indefinite detention without charge or trial’ provision of S. 1867, the National Defense Authorization Act bill, which is set to be up for a vote on the Senate floor Monday, the legislation will “basically say in law for the first time that the homeland is part of the battlefield,” said South Carolina’s left-wing Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who supports the bill.
The bill was drafted in secret by Senators Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.), before being passed in a closed-door committee meeting without any kind of hearing, the ACLU added.
This means Americans could be declared domestic terrorists and thrown in a military brig with no recourse whatsoever.
Given that the Department of Homeland Security has characterized behavior such as buying gold, owning guns, using a watch or binoculars, donating to charity, using the telephone or email to find information, using cash, and other instances of mundane behavior as potential indicators of domestic terrorism, such a provision would be wide open to abuse, critics say.
The senate bid comes against a backdrop of protests in the United States where Americans have been holding rallies against the corporatism and corruption on Wall Street.
The so-called ‘Occupy’ protesters say they are fed up with current economic hardships and are demonstrating against poverty, unemployment, war, and corporatism among other grievances that have plagued the country for several years now.
Protesters say they aim to increase the awareness of the public on the economic injustice in the country.
The Occupy movement emerged after a group of demonstrators gathered in New York’s financial district on September 17 to protest the unjust distribution of wealth in the country, and the laws that maintain the distribution.