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Please begin with an informative title:

Or, "Mr. President, don't you care about the military arresting American citizens, on our soil, and locking them away without trial?"

According to Huffpo, and other sources, the defense authorization bill gives the president sweeping powers to lock up Americans. Also, according to Huffpo, a last-minute amendment by Senator Udall intend to protect us all was voted down by LIBERALS!

It took a long time to find a blog or article that linked to the actual text of the bill.

Finally I went to good old Thomas.loc.gov, that dry, undramatic recording of the congressional record. I browsed through the 800 page pdf. And there is absolutely nothing in it that supports the idea of these new, sweeping military powers.

Why don't we read the actual text
of the Defense Authorization bill that the Senate voted on?

Intro

You must enter an Intro for your Diary Entry between 300 and 1150 characters long (that's approximately 50-175 words without any html or formatting markup).

Subtitle D—Detainee Matters
SEC. 1031. AFFIRMATION OF AUTHORITY OF THE ARMED
FORCES OF THE UNITED STATES TO DETAIN
COVERED PERSONS PURSUANT TO THE
AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF MILITARY FORCE:

(d) CONSTRUCTION.—
Nothing in this section is in
tended to limit or expand the authority of the President or the scope of the Authorization for Use of Military Force.
 (e) AUTHORITIES.—Nothing in this section shall be
 construed to affect existing law or authorities, relating to
 the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident
 aliens of the United States or any other persons who are
 captured or arrested in the United States.

SEC. 1032. REQUIREMENT FOR MILITARY CUSTODY.
6 (a) CUSTODY PENDING DISPOSITION UNDER LAW OF
7 WAR.—(b) APPLICABILITY TO UNITED STATES CITIZENS AND
 LAWFUL RESIDENT ALIENS.—
 (1) UNITED STATES CITIZENS.—The requirement
 to detain a person in military custody under this
section does not extend to citizens of the United States.
(2) LAWFUL RESIDENT ALIENS.—
 The requirement to detain a person in military custody under
 this section does not extend to a lawful resident alien
 of the United States on the basis of conduct taking
 place within the United States, except to the extent
 permitted by the Constitution of the United States.

Okay, but what about the amendment to the bill that would save us all?

Here's what was voted down:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

(B) an order affecting the disposition of the individual that is issued by a court or competent tribunal of the United States having lawful jurisdiction (which the Secretary

[Page: S7729]  GPO's PDFshall notify Congress of promptly after issuance); or
    (C) pre-trial agreement entered in a military commission case.

    (d) National Security Waiver.--

    (1) IN GENERAL.--The Secretary of Defense may waive one or more certification requirements specified in subsection (b) if the Secretary, with the concurrence of the Secretary of State and in consultation with the Director of National Intelligence, determines that--

    (A) alternative actions will be taken to address the underlying purpose of the requirement or requirements to be waived; and

    (B) the transfer is in the national security interests of the United States.

    (2) REPORTS.--Whenever the Secretary makes a determination under paragraph (1), the Secretary shall submit to the congressional defense committees, not later than 30 days before the transfer of the individual concerned, the following:

    (A) A copy of the determination and the waiver concerned.

    (B) A statement of the basis for the determination, including an explanation why the transfer is in the national security interests of the United States.

    (C) A summary of the alternative actions to be taken to address the underlying purpose of, and to mitigate the risks addressed in, the paragraph or subsection to be waived.

I'm not a law scholar, but to me it reads as an amendment telling the executive branch that it has to report to congressional committees before taking any action regarding the Guantanamo prisoners, including the decision of whether or not to hold their trial or tribunals in the United States. That is what was voted down.

So, all this bill did was keep the status quo. Thats all. It specifically does not give the President any sweeping new powers, and it doesn't take any powers that were conferred by earlier legislation.

But the net is swarming with hysterical headlines "Military can arrest citizens without trial!!!" "Battlefield Now the US!!!!" "The End of The Bill Of Rights!" from both the right and the left.

Why are we freaking out? I'm curious to know where this originated. I'd also be curious to find out who it benefits from the scare.

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