Sunday, January 8, 2012

National Defense Authorization Act

(Update below)

The National Defense Authorization Act is one of the most insidious bills ever passed by the US government. President Obama signed the bill quietly and regretfully(!) on December 31, 2011. But don't worry, he has promised not to use the provisions that allows for US citizens to be apprehended on US soil, turned over to the military and detained indefinitely without counsel or trial. What a brilliant strategy! "Reelect me because you really don't want these powers in the hands of a Republican president!"

President Obama threatened to veto the bill, not because of this but because there was originally a provision to exclude US citizens from indefinite detention. The Obama administration felt the restrictions were an infringement on their established authorization to do just that. Now, it's just nicely codified into law. (Sources: Obama to sign indefinite detention bill into law and BREAKING: Obama Signs Defense Authorization Bill)

Fortunately for us law abiding citizens, the NDAA only applies to terrorists. Bear in mind that 'terrorist' is not defined and that the government already considers protesters as low-level terrorists. Soon, the working definition of a terrorist will be a dissenter of the government.

Let's not forget the 86 senators who voted for this bill. Only the following (good guys) did not:
Cardin (D-MD), Coburn (R-OK), Crapo (R-ID), DeMint (R-SC), Durbin (D-IL), Franken (D-MN), Harkin (D-IA), Lee (R-UT), Merkley (D-OR), Paul (R-KY), Risch (R-ID), Sanders (I-VT), Wyden (D-OR), Moran (R-KS) (did not vote) (Source: US Senate)
Also, there was an amendment to the bill to take out the unconstitutional clause. Democrats who voted against it were (bad guys):
Casey, Conrad, Hagan, Inouye, Kohl, Landrieu, Levin, Lieberman, Manchin, McCaskill, Menendez, Bad Nelson, Pryor, Reed, Shaheen, Stabenow, Whitehouse.  (See: Villain rotation.)
From Washington's Blog (Psychopaths Caused the Financial Crisis … And They Will Do It Again and Again Unless They Are Removed From Power):
The U.S. has become a kleptocracy, an oligarchy, a banana republic, a socialist or fascist state … which acts without the consent of the governed. There is a malignant symbiotic relationship between the governmental leaders and their cronies, which makes a handful rich at the public trough (in the same way that the Mubarak family raked in between U.S. $40 and $70 billion dollars through bribes and cronyism).
From Occupy Wall Street's NYCGA:
Not only does this act violate our first [freedom of religion, speech, press, peaceable assembly, petition the Government for redress of grievances], third , fourth [security from unreasonable searches and seizures], fifth [not be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law] and sixth [fair and expedient trial] amendments, as well as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, but this Act was signed quietly this past New Years Eve violating what little trust remained between the people and their established government. We see what’s happening here, and we will not stand for it.
From The NDAA Repeals More Rights by Ron Paul:
The Bill of Rights has no exemptions for “really bad people” or terrorists or even non-citizens.  It is a key check on government power against any person.  That is not a weakness in our legal system; it is the very strength of our legal system.  The NDAA attempts to justify abridging the Bill of Rights on the theory that rights are suspended in a time of war and the entire Unites States is a battlefield in the War on Terror.  This is a very dangerous development indeed.  Beware.
Now while there is no mention of 'torture' in the law, you can be sure that the US will use 'advanced interrogation' techniques including isolation, removal of clothes or worse, in violation of the eighth amendment to the Constitution. They tried to break Bradley Manning with these techniques.

I might add that NDAA also makes a mockery of the 'Pledge of Allegiance' (emphasis added):
I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
Even though the NDAA is grossly unconstitutional, don't look for the Supreme Court to strike down the act. The Supreme Court is just another organization bought and paid for by America's elite.

We the People have let this happen through lack of involvement in the democratic process.  Democracy is not a free ride. All is not lost though. We must get involved to take back this country. It is time to petition the government for redress of grievances. Call and write your congressmen, congresswomen and senators. And most importantly, you have to get your feet in the street.

We the People must mobilize:

The NDAA is now law but the battle is not over. From Demand Progress :
Senator Dianne Feinstein has introduced legislation to undo these provisions of the NDAA, in the form of the Due Process Guarantee Act.  
We need to urge other Senators to support it.  Will you click here to ask your lawmakers to stand with us?
The Due Process Guarantee Act of 2011 amends the Non-Detention Act of 1971 by providing that a Congressional authorization for the use of military force does not authorize the indefinite detention—without charge or trial—of U.S. citizens who are apprehended domestically.
If there's enough of a public outcry, we have a real chance of making this happen:
More than 40 senators voted against the indefinite detention provisions of the NDAA -- and that was before the media and general public caught on to what was happening.
Please urge your Senators to remedy this terrible wrong.  Just click here -- it'll only take a few seconds.
It's been a tough year for civil libertarians -- thanks for keeping up the fight.
-Demand Progress
P.S. If there's enough of a public outcry, we have a real chance of making this happen. Please use these links to ask your friends to join the fight:
[fb]If you're already on Facebookclick here to share with your friends.
[fb]If you're already on Twitter, click here to tweet about the campaign: Tweet
Other fronts of the war on the American people

The 'powers that be' attack on several fronts at one time with the expectation that something gets through. Here's what else they have up their sleeves:

SOPA and Protect IP

The government and the elite behind the government really want the ability to censor the Internet. The Internet is the last bastion of free speech, free thought, real investigative journalism and dissent outside the Republican-Democrat duopoly. Perhaps the government just wants to codify what it is already doing with their corporate partners such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo, Verizon, AT&T, etc.

FCC works for media conglomerates

Did you hear? While most of us were busy with the holidays, the FCC pulled a fast one and proposed terrible rules that would unleash a new wave of media consolidation across the country.

Free Press' criticism of the FCC's proposal has been reported in media outlets nationwide. Now it's time to hold the FCC accountable to people who want better media — not more consolidation — in their communities.
Bradley Manning pre-trial hearing

The pre-trial has finished. It is a foregone conclusion that there is enough evidence for a trial. If the allegations are true, they will court martial Bradley Manning for blowing the whistle on government crimes. Follow his plight at

Update I: Boumediene v. Bush (2008)

The Supreme Court ruled that Guantanamo Bay detainees were entitled to habeas corpus. Lakhdar Boumediene's account of his Guantanamo Bay nightmare, in his own words, is here:
My Guantánamo Nightmare
From Glenn Greenwald's article The evil of indefinite detention and those wanting to de-prioritize it:
Post-Boumediene, indefinite detention remains a staple of Obama policy. The Obama DOJ has repeatedly argued that the Boumediene ruling should not apply to Bagram, where — the Obama administration insists — it has the power to imprison people with no due process, not even a habeas hearing; the Obama DOJ has succeeded in having that power enshrined. Obama has proposed a law to vest him with powers of “prolonged detention” to allow Terrorist suspects to be imprisoned with no trials. His plan for closing Guantanamo entailed the mere re-location of its indefinite detention system to U.S. soil, where dozens of detainees, at least, would continue to be imprisoned with no trial. And, of course, the President just signed into law the NDAA which contains — as the ACLU put it — “a sweeping worldwide indefinite detention provision,” meaning — as Human Rights Watch put it — that “President Obama will go down in history as the president who enshrined indefinite detention without trial in US law.” Those held at Guantanamo will continue to receive at least a habeas hearing, but those held in other American War on Terror prisons will not. Read Boumediene’s Op-Ed to see why this is so odious.
"So this is how liberty dies...with thunderous applause." – Senator Padme Amidala, Star Wars Episode III