… So much for innocent until proven guilty. So much for limited government. What Americans are now facing is quite literally the end of the line. We will either uphold the freedoms baked into our Constitutional Republic, or we will scrap the entire project in the name of security as we wage, endlessly, this futile, costly, and ultimately self-defeating War on Terror.
Over at Wired, Spencer Ackerman gives us the long and short of things:
There are still changes swirling around the Senate, but this looks like the basic shape of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act. Someone the government says is “a member of, or part of, al-Qaida or an associated force” can be held in military custody “without trial until the end of the hostilities authorized by the Authorization for Use of Military Force.” Those hostilities are currently scheduled toend the Wednesday after never. The move would shut down criminal trials for terror suspects.
But far more dramatically, the detention mandate to use indefinite military detention in terrorism cases isn’t limited to foreigners. It’s confusing, because two different sections of the bill seem to contradict each other, but in the judgment of the University of Texas’ Robert Chesney — a nonpartisan authority on military detention — “U.S. citizens are included in the grant of detention authority.”
An amendment that would limit military detentions to people captured overseas failed on Thursday afternoon. The Senate soundly defeated a measure to strip out all the detention provisions on Tuesday.
So despite the Sixth Amendment’s guarantee of a right to trial, the Senate bill would let the government lock up any citizen it swears is a terrorist, without the burden of proving its case to an independent judge, and for the lifespan of an amorphous war that conceivably will never end. And because the Senate is using the bill that authorizes funding for the military as its vehicle for this dramatic constitutional claim, it’s pretty likely to pass.
I seriously don’t care if you’re a liberal or a conservative or a libertarian or a Zen anarchist. So long as you aren’t Carl Levin or John McCain, the bill’s architects, you can join the Civil Liberties Caucus. Spencer writes:
Weirder still, the bill’s chief architect, Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), tried to persuade skeptics that the bill wasn’t so bad. His pitch? “The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to citizens of the United States,” he said on the Senate floor on Monday. The bill would just letthe government detain a citizen in military custody, not force it to do that. Reassured yet?
This is what I mean: Give me Rand Paul and Al Franken any day of the week over the Levins and McCains of the Senate. …
What’s truly at stake when we start talking about Big Government and such is far more dangerous and preposterous than high marginal tax rates.
We’re talking about the stripping away of our most basic freedoms. We’re talking about a potential state that can call me a terrorist for writing this blog post and then lock me up and throw away the key. …
* Update: Actually, Franken voted for the NDAA so never mind. He’s also sponsoring the PROTECT IP Act which would clamp down on free speech online.
Second Update (Dec. 17th): The National Defense Authorization Act passed. Senator Al Franken withdrew his support from the bill, stating:
“I voted against this bill because it contains provisions on detention that I find unacceptable. While I voted for an earlier version of the legislation, I did so with the hope that the final version would be significantly improved. And that didn’t happen.
“The bill that came before the Senate today still includes several troubling provisions, the worst of which could allow the military to detain Americans indefinitely, without charge or trial, even if they’re captured in the U.S. What’s more, provisions like these could ultimately undermine the safety of our troops stationed abroad. And just yesterday, FBI Director Robert Mueller testified in a Senate hearing that I attended about his deep concerns with the detention provisions and their potentially harmful effects on our counterterrorism efforts.
The Obama administration might be coming for you, no matter who you are, according to a group of people fighting President Barack Obama’s indefinite detention act.
Chris Hedges, Daniel Ellsberg, and a whole host of others involved in the fight against the National Defense Authorization Act yesterday took to Reddit to answer questions about the act.
A federal judge permanently blocked the NDAA — which allows the government to indefinitely detain anyone even remotely related to terrorism — claiming it has a “chilling effect” on free speech.
But the Obama administration was quick to pounce, saying Judge Katherine B. Forrest overstepped her bounds in opposing the White House.
“Anyone who dissents is in threat,” Hedges wrote in response to a question about who should fear the act. “The legislation, as the dumped emails by Wikileaks from the security firm Stafford illustrated, allows the state to tie a legitimate dissident group to terrorism and strip them of their right of dissent.”
Another Redditor asked why Obama was so quick to fight Forrest’s ruling.
“If the Obama administration simply appealed it, as we expected, it would have raised this red flag,” Hedges wrote. “But since they were so aggressive it means that once Judge Forrest declared the law invalid, if they were using it, as we expect, they could be held in contempt of court. This was quite disturbing, for it means, I suspect, that U.S. citizens, probably dual nationals, are being held in military detention facilities almost certainly overseas and maybe at home.”
Everyone should be shouting about this and planning the big march on Washington to overthrow this attack on our country and our Constitution. Well, kiss them both goodbye. The election is rigged. You are a slave. Do you understand? No you don’t.
People who make statements like, “I’m not worried, because I’m not doing anything wrong,” are completely missing what’s going on. The people who can now legally grab you and throw you in a secret prison forever without a trial are torturers, rapists and murderers. They do not care if you are doing anything wrong or not. They can make it seem like you were, if they take you.
If they take you, they might make up a phoney story about how you were a terrorist “plotting” something. Your friends and neighbors will be “shocked,” because you didn’t seem like the terrorist type… but there was that one thing you said once, now that they think about it…
You probably haven’t even heard of the NDAA, have you? Just go back to sleep until they snatch you.
An astounding 2,300 Americans are reported missing every day, including both adults and children. – link