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December 18
1929 - Swift justice: Thomas Vernon sentenced to life in prison for Saugus train derailment & robbery 1 month earlier [story]


U.S. Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-Santa Clarita), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, issued the following statement on President Obama’s signing of the National Defense Authorization Act on Saturday evening:

“I am gratified that the President signed the NDAA this evening. His signature is the culmination of the most transparent NDAA process to date, and broad bi-partisan agreement in both chambers on a variety of national security issues.

“One of those issues was the establishment of a common sense and coherent detainee policy. Sections 1021 and 1022 uphold the military’s authority to detain terrorists, and offer a structure for holding those who would do us harm; one both parties found preferable to the ad hoc course the White House has been on for nearly four years.”

 
 


 

Obama Signs Defense Spending Bill Despite Reservations

By Donna Miles | American Forces Press Service

 

WASHINGTON, Dec. 31, 2011 – President Barack Obama signed the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act today, while acknowledging “serious reservations” about parts of the act, particularly provisions that regulate the detention, interrogation, and prosecution of suspected terrorists.

“I have signed the act chiefly because it authorizes funding for the defense of the United States and its interests abroad, crucial services for service members and their families and vital national security programs that must be renewed,” Obama said in a statement released today.

The $662 billion act also contains critical initiatives to control spiraling health-care costs within the Defense Department, develop counterterrorism initiatives abroad, build the security capacity of key partners, modernize the force and boost the efficiency and effectiveness of military operations worldwide, he noted.

It increases active-duty and reserve pay by 1.6 percent and governs Defense Department activities from procurement to military personnel policy.

However, “the fact that I support this bill as a whole does not mean I agree with everything in it,” the president emphasized today.

Of particular concern are provisions he said restrict options available to counterterrorism professionals and interfere with operations that have kept the United States safe.

Obama said the act undermines efforts within the last several years to develop an effective and sustainable framework to deal with suspected terrorists. This framework, he said, “allows us to maximize both our ability to collect intelligence and to incapacitate dangerous individuals in rapidly developing situations.”

“The results achieved are undeniable,” the president said. “Our success against al-Qaida and its affiliates and adherents has derived in significant measure from providing our counterterrorism professionals with the clarity and flexibility they need to adapt to changing circumstances and to utilize whichever authorities best protect the American people.”

Obama said he opposes initiatives by some in Congress that could undermine these successes. Although he initially had threatened to veto the bill over language he said could hamper ongoing efforts, he later agreed to changes that were negotiated.

“Ultimately, I decided to sign this bill not only because of the critically important services it provides for our forces and their families and the national security programs it authorizes, but also because the Congress revised provisions that otherwise would have jeopardized the safety, security, and liberty of the American people,” he said.

Moving forward, Obama said his administration will interpret the provisions in a way “that best preserves the flexibility on which our safety depends and upholds the values on which is country was founded.”

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1 Comment

  1. The NDAA only goes to further stifle our Constitutional Rights without the approval of the Americans, just as the Patriot Act was adopted WITHOUT public approval or vote just weeks after the events of 9/11. A mere 3 criminal charges of terrorism a year are attributed to this act, which is mainly used for no-knock raids leading to drug-related arrests without proper cause for search and seizure. The laws are simply a means to spy on our own citizens and to detain and torture dissidents without trial or a right to council. You can read much more about living in this Orwellian society of fear and see my visual response to these measures on my artist’s blog at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2011/09/living-in-society-of-fear-ten-years.html

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