On Thursday evening, the Senate passed a $662 billion Defense bill, which included controversial provisions for the detention of American citizens on U.S. soil.
The bill passed 93-7, after an agreement was reached to add compromise language on the detention of U.S. citizens and terror suspects on U.S. soil. The compromise, proposed by Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), states that “nothing in the bill changes current law relating to the detention of U.S. citizens and legal aliens,” but this measure is meaningless according to some opponents of the bill.
Two provisions that would have specifically blocked the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens on American soil and ensured “the military won’t be roaming our streets looking for suspected terrorists” were barred with the passage of the bill.
Many opponents of the legislation say language included in the bill that defines the homeland as a part of the battlefield in the ill-defined War on Terror is in direct violation of the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 (18 U.S.C. Section 1385):
Whoever, except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress, willfully uses any part of the Army or the Air Force as a posse comitatus or otherwise to execute the laws shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.
On Nov. 30, Senator Rand Paul spoke on the Senate floor against the act, saying that even the discussion of ending due process of law for any citizen is a disturbing reaction to an endless war.
Former Reagan Administration official and columnist Paul Craig Roberts said the provisions are the beginnings of the repeal of the U.S. Constitution and that the country is on its way to becoming a police state.
“Only two Republicans in the Senate voted against this amendment, only two, so what do we know? We now have a Republican party that is a Gestapo party,” he said on RTAmerica.
Because the provisions also offer revisions of banned torture policies, the Administration of Barack Obama has threatened to veto the bill.