Senate's Disastrous New Detention Bill

Update 12/2/11: The Senate passed NDAA.  President Obama must veto this disastrous bill.

The new National Defense Authorization Bill (S1867) presented to the Senate by the Armed Services Committee is such a disaster for civil liberties and human rights it is difficult to know where to begin.

Section 1031 of the Bill extends the Congressional Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) passed after the September 11th attacks to encompass any individual who has “substantially supported” Al Qaeda, the Taliban, or “associated forces”.

This is extraordinarily vague.  The phrase ‘associated forces’ is so flexible that it can be used to encompass almost any militant Islamic group in existence from Indonesia to Nigeria. It might include political parties who share some of the militants’ aims but not their methods – like the Hizb ut Tahrir movement active in Western Europe and Australia.


Dick Cheney's Ten Year War on Truth

Amnesty activists protest Cheney's memoir at Department of State

Amnesty activists present Cheney's memoir as evidence of war crimes to the Department of Justice on August 30th. (Mladen Antonov/AFP/Getty Images)

On Tuesday former Vice-President Richard ‘Dick’ Cheney published his memoirs, In My Time, and, as widely expected, he has used this new platform to restate his wholehearted support for some of the most egregious human rights abuses committed by the Bush administration.

We thought it might be instructive to examine some of the claims he makes in his memoirs and see how well they stack up against the established facts.

In an interview with CNN in June 2005 Dick Cheney spun a rosy picture of conditions in Guantanamo:

“We spent a lot of money to build it. They’re very well treated there. They’re living in the tropics. They’re well fed. They’ve got everything they could possibly want.”