BY LUCID, WEARECHANGETORONTO.ORG
January 4, 2012
When the incumbent Barack Obama campaigned for president back in 2008 he rode in on a massive wave of grass-roots support — As a vocal dissenter against the Iraq War and the Bush administration’s “Patriot Act” policies of martial law implemented in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks, he promised to roll back those policies and to end the practice of torture. 8 Years on war weary Americans saw in Obama a hopeful future for change. 4 years into his tenure, however, having broken his pledge, his approval rating is significantly diminished. On December 31st, 2011 with the stroke of a pen he signed the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012; NDAA 2012 codifies into law the end of Habeus Corpus, the right to fair trial and the right to challenge one’s accuser. Rather, jurisdiction has been handed over to the US Military to arbitrarily and indefinitely detain whomsoever it pleases under executive approval.  It was met with serious concerns and stern criticism.
In the lead up to the signing of the bill, having already passed through the Congress and House of the Senate, Human Rights and Civil Liberties groups pleaded for the bill to be vetoed by the president. Though the signing was uniquely timed and unceremonious, it came as no surprise and scornful reactions to the decision were immediately issued; Kenneth Roth, Director of Human Rights Watch commented, “by signing the bill President Obama will go down in history as the president who enshrined indefinite detention into US law,”  Anthony Romero, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union, “the breadth of the NDAA’s detention authority violates international law because it is not limited to people captured in the context of armed conflict as required by the laws of war.” 
Michel Chossodovsky, Director of the Centre for Research and Globalization remarked that “the National Defense Authorization Act (HR1540) repeals the US Constitution. While the facade of democracy prevails . . . the American republic is fractured. The tendency is towards the establishment of a totalitarian state, a military government dressed in civilian clothes . . . the “most important traditions and values” in derogation of the bill of rights and the US Constitution have indeed been repealed effective new year’s day January 1st, 2012.” Provisions 1021 and 1022 of NDAA bear strong similarities to the provisions President Bush signed into law under the John Warner Defence Authorization Act HR 5122 of 2007. Under the Patriot Act, combined with NDAA, the Military Commissions Act and the Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) of 2002 the office of the President now holds power to declare martial law, deploy armed troops against the American people for roundup and and arrest without charge to be detained indefinitely and tried in military courts. 
January 11th 2012 marks an important day in history as it commemorates 10 years of indefinite detention of prisoners held captive extra-judiciously at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base. Human Rights organization Amnesty International has called an international day of action to remember the decade long struggle for prisoner release and the closure of the prison. In the last 6 years they have had some notable successes along the way, but now under NDAA 2012, it’s a goal believed to be “nearly impossible” to fulfill.  In a report recently issued by Amnesty, some 40 pages of voluminous study into the prison it gives a timeline of events concluding with at least 10 anti-human rights messages the US is sending by continuing to keep the prison open under it’s current operational guidelines.
Case studies conducted by the International Red Cross included therein contain testimony by the detained whom were directly subjected to sadistic acts of unusual and degrading treatments. Because these cases are well known and widely publicized , it is thus unnecessary to extrapolate upon further but suffice to say even George Bush, Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney have each admitted boastfully that they personally authorized “coercive management techniques” and “enhanced interrogations” that involved the application of “waterboarding”, “solitary confinement”, “sensory deprivation”, “beatings” and other inhumane and unwarranted forms of punishment upon inmates. 
The effectiveness of these “enhanced interrogation techniques” are highly disputed, or more accurately, discredited. Out of the hundreds detained and interrogated at Guantanamo only a handful have been tried in military courts, many have had their charges dropped. Of the few that have been charged they have had their charges later dropped in the US Court of Appeals; for example in the case of Mohamed al-Qahtani. Amnesty reports,
“Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Mohamed al-Qahtani are among the detainees remaining in Guantánamo today. There is as little prospect as there has ever been of seeing Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and others brought to justice before ordinary criminal courts for their alleged involvement in the 9/11 or other attacks; instead, they are charged for unfair trial by military commission. Mohamed al-Qahtani – who has been in US military custody since late December 2001 and at Guantánamo since 13 February 2002 – is held indefinitely without any criminal trial after charges against him were dropped in 2008 on the grounds that he had indeed been tortured, as found by the official then in charge of the military commission proceedings at Guantanamo.” 
Rather than producing valid evidence in a Federal Court against these individuals for involvement in the 9/11 attacks, the US Government choose instead to use arcane methods of torture and secret military trials in stark violation to internationally recognized rules of war, such as the Geneva Conventions. It stands to reason, then, that perhaps the US Government has a lot to hide in regards to the 9/11 attacks. Certainly, through conducting their judicial proceedings in such a manner as described, or alternatively in the case of the assassination of Osama Bin Laden, whom was alleged found unarmed and killed on sight, the truth about who plotted the 9/11 attacks will never be known definitively.
America’s secret and illegal proceedings backed up military might in it’s bloody and inexhaustible “war on terrorism” has led to one disgrace after the next. In the court of public opinion, this has had the effect of fuelling an international public inquiry based upon the burgeoning influence of the 9/11 Truth scholars like Richard Gage and David Ray Griffin whom have amassed an impressive body of evidence against the official narrative, verified by scientific experts and other credible sources such as eye witnesses, government, military and law official insiders. Perhaps then, a decade later, we’re a lot further along in our goal, to end war and to end torture, than we were, initially some years ago.
Yet the NDAA presents a serious legal hurdle and set back and in a very real sense, especially for Canadian born Omar Khadr, the child prisoner of war. Despite the US Military Commission sentencing him 40 years imprisonment for war crimes, he plead guilty in a bargain to serve 10, (much already served) in a Canadian prison. The NDAA could complicate his transferral, which brings us back to why it is important to remain vigilant in the struggle for justice and human rights, especially as it relates to the Prisoners of War held illegally and indefinitely at Guantanamo. 
Obama rode in to the White House on a massive wave of grass roots support. As we approach the next presidential election that support is gone, along with all “hope”; for through him and through his successors, they have pledged a commitment to martial law. The fears we faced 4 years ago have not been washed away, rather they have been temporarily vanquished only to re-emerge. However, by now we may have learned for once and for all that the “hope” for change and a better future does not come out of a pledge made in a bid for power, that power lies within each of us. May we organize for strength in numbers this year and mobilize to summon the strength of character that will be required to face the challenges of restoring democracy as we enter the era of an empire in decline.
 Nakumura, David “Obama Signs Defense Bill, Pledges to Maintain Legal Rights of US Citizens,” WashingtonPost.com, Jan 1, 2012
 Ibid. 1
 American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), “Obama Signs Indefinite Detention into Law,” ACLU.org, Dec. 31, 2011
 Chossudovsky, Michel “The Inaguration of the Police State USA 2012″ GlobalResearch.ca, Jan. 1, 2012
 Morales, Frank “Bush Moves Toward Martial Law,” GlobalResearch.ca, Oct. 29, 2006
 Webster, Stephen C. “Constitutional Attourney: Guantanamo Nearly Impossible to Close Thanks to NDAA,” RawStory.com, Jan. 3, 2012
 Amnesty International, “Guantanamo, A Decade of Damage to Human Rights,” Amnesty.org, Dec. 16, 2011
 Ibid. 6
 Koring Paul “Despite Plea Deal Omar Khadr to Spend 10th Year in Guantanamo,” TheGlobeAndMail.com, Dec. 22, 2011