While the bill is troubling I don't believe that is a factual statement.
Actually it is a factual statement.
As an attorney I have a much stricter definition of "factual" than most people. The simplest and fairest way to rephrase your claim to make it accurate is to say, "Some civil libertarians fear that if courts agree with the interpretation of the statute proposed by some of the the bill's sponsors, the army could arrest you and detain you forever without any legal recourse beyond that offered by its own military tribunals." That's the phraseology a responsible journalist would use, too.
Obama signed the bill into law, even though you said he wouldn't.
I never said Obama wouldn't sign the bill. Re-read my comments.
Obama only signed the bill after the inclusion of the Feinstein amendment which was placed in the bill precisely to address fears like the ones you raise.
I don't believe that's a change from existing law (as both Obama and the law professor I linked before stated). But there's nothing I'm aware of in the statute that suspends the right of habeus corpus, and if there were, it would be blatantly unconstitutional.
Furthermore Obama's own signing statement confirms that there is the power to detain US citizens without any due process, but he promises he won't use it.http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/12/31/statement-president-hr-1540
"Section 1021 affirms the executive branch’s authority to detain persons covered by the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) (Public Law 107-40; 50 U.S.C. 1541 note). " but " Moreover, I want to clarify that my Administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens. Indeed, I believe that doing so would break with our most important traditions and values as a Nation. My Administration will interpret section 1021 in a manner that ensures that any detention it authorizes complies with the Constitution, the laws of war, and all other applicable law"
It requires quite a bit of interpretation to come to the conclusion you do. The first part of the statement you quote says that the new statute doesn't change the law that's been in place since 2001 (which, as the Supreme Court has already held, does not allow indefinite detention of anyone with no judicial review). As Obama immediately goes on to say, "This section breaks no new ground and is unnecessary."
The Administration then says they will interpret the new statute consistently with the Constitution, the Geneva Convention and existing Supreme Court rulings, and you cite that statement as evidence that the statute must
authorize indefinite detention. You appear to be arguing that Obama wouldn't try to calm people's fears unless those fears were valid. But nowhere in that statement does Obama "confirm that there is the power to detain US citizens without any due process." In fact, in another section you didn't quote he says exactly the opposite: "Two critical limitations in section 1021 confirm that it solely codifies established authorities. First, under section 1021(d), the bill does not 'limit or expand the authority of the President or the scope of the Authorization for Use of Military Force.' Second, under section 1021(e), the bill may not be construed to affect any 'existing law or authorities relating to the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States, or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States.' My Administration strongly supported the inclusion of these limitations in order to make clear beyond doubt that the legislation does nothing more than confirm authorities that the Federal courts have recognized as lawful under the 2001 AUMF."
I don't need a professor to read for me. What this says is pretty clear.
I don't know your background. Perhaps you have studied the statute and are well-trained in parsing complex legislation. But from the links you're supplying it appears that you are relying on ACLU lawyers to tell you what the legislation means.
The ACLU's job is to think up the most extreme authoritarian interpretation of legislation they can imagine and oppose bills on that basis. I'm glad they do. They serve a crucial purpose in our democracy. But my personal orientation is towards ferreting out what the reality of the situation is, not the worst-case scenario.
For the record I too think it's bad legislation. But I'm confident the courts would strike it down if used in the way you fear.