A bill discussed in the U.S. Senate on Monday, dubbed the National Defense Authorization Act, would authorize the military to detain Americans suspected of terrorist activities on U.S. soil without charge or trial.
The bill, created by Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Carl Levin (D-Mich.), declares American soil a battlefield and allows the President and all future Chief Executives to order the military to arrest and detain American citizens, innocent or not, without charge or trial.
Opponents of the legislation say that it will create military powers never before used within the borders of the United States and that it designates the entire planet as the battlefield in the War on Terror.
The American Civil Liberties Union released a statement last week calling into question the motives behind the legislation:
Hasn’t anyone told the Senate that Osama bin Laden is dead, that the president is pulling all of the combat troops out of Iraq and trying to figure out how to get combat troops out of Afghanistan too? And American citizens and people picked up on American or Canadian or British streets being sent to military prisons indefinitely without even being charged with a crime. Really? Does anyone think this is a good idea? And why now?
There is some speculation that organized protest movements such as Occupy Wall Street have encouraged lawmakers to put provisions in place that give the Federal government the authority to quickly quell dissent that grows out of control and the detain agitators.