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Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke’s Statement on the FY 2012 Defense Authorization Bill


Yesterday, with a vote of 283-136, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1540, FY 2012 Defense Authorization Bill. Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke released the following statement in opposition to this bill:


“As a member of the Committee on Homeland Security, I am well aware of the threats that face this nation from home and abroad.  While this struggle is of the highest stakes, we must remember the very values and basic rights that set us apart from those who would seek to destroy us. We must remember that we cannot sacrifice our freedom or the freedom of others in order to maintain it. To follow such a path represents a fundamental contradiction and degrades any moral high ground we claim to possess,” stated Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke.

H.R. 1540 contains an indefinite detention provision, which allows our military to detain suspected terrorists, foreign and domestic, indefinitely and with limited ability for redress. It has been reported that if enacted, the detention provisions would codify authority for indefinite detention without charge and mandatory military detention, authorizing their application on the basis of suspicion to virtually anyone picked up in the anti-terrorism efforts; including those arrested on U.S. soil. 


“In effect, the U.S. military would become the sole authority over terrorism suspects, to the exclusion of the U.S. judicial system,” stated Congresswoman Clarke.  “This blatant eradication of habeas corpus is a scary thing, particularly for the people of New York City who live under the constant threat of terrorism and the ever present surveillance of law enforcement. This bill is not a full reflection of what American democracy should look like. This among other things was one of the reasons why I voted against this bill.”