‘US government is not protecting its citizens’ civil liberties’

by RT.com  |  published on January 5, 2013

civil liberties

The US should not lecture other countries while Washington is unable to protect the civil liberties of its own citizens, American blogger Kevin Gosztola said in an interview with RT.

The 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which was signed on Wednesday by President Barack Obama, has already been criticized by many within the US for allowing warrantless wiretapping of Americans and indefinite detention for suspicions of terrorism. The NDAA also allows for the notorious Guantanamo Bay military prison to remain open, despite President Obama’s campaign pledge to shut down the facility years ago.

Many in the United States know very little about the secretive NDAA, Gosztola told RT.

RT: The White House earlier threatened to veto the [NDAA], but ended up rubber-stamping it anyway – why was that? And what are the implications?

Kevin Gosztola: For the most part, the reason why we are not seeing Obama veto this legislation as he could have is because he just doesn’t want to use all the political power that he might have to get his agenda accomplished. It’s just not something that he wants to take any risk on, because there are a lot of people in the Congress of the United States who do not support his commitment to closing this facility. So, the implication right now is that you have, there are 166 individuals still in the prison. Many of them are there being held indefinitely. Only nine are on trial or have been convicted, and so you’ve got a situation here where many men are possibly going to be languishing in this facility for quite some time.

RT: Obama also claims the provisions of the [NDAA] will never be used on Americans. But can he be expected to keep that promise, after failing to close Guantanamo for instance?

KG: I don’t know if you can say there is a guarantee, and in fact that is why currently in the US courts. there is in fact a case moving, it’s on appeal right now, the government has appealed it. But a judge earlier in 2012 had actually enjoined it, so that its conjunction made it so that this provision for indefinite detention was exactly not something that the government could use. Now the Obama administration is defending that in the courts.

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