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Forbes: "The National Defense Authorization Act is the Greatest Threat to Civil Liberties Americans Face"

E.D. Kain, Contributor
http://educate-yourself.org/cn/forbesNDAAgreatestthreatcivilliberties05dec11.shtml
December 5, 2011

Forbes: "The National Defense Authorization Act is the Greatest Threat to Civil Liberties Americans Face" (Dec. 19, 2011)

http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2011/12/05/the-national-defense-authorization-act-is-the-greatest-threat-to-civil-liberties-americans-face/

12/05/2011

If Obama does one thing for the remainder of his presidency let it be a veto of the National Defense Authorization Act – a law recently passed by the Senate which would place domestic terror investigations and interrogations into the hands of the military and which would open the door for trial-free, indefinite detention of anyone, including American citizens, so long as the government calls them terrorists.

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:

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/12/senate-military-detention/

    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 to end 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 let the government detain a citizen in military custody, not force it to do that. Reassured yet?

    Civil libertarians aren’t. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) said it “denigrates the very foundations of this country.” Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) added, “it puts every single American citizen at risk.”

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. We need more elected officials with the sensibility of Ron Wyden or Al Franken* on the left, or Rand Paul on the right. Right and left are such shoddy, ad hoc descriptors these days anyways.

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.

E.D. Kain


79 comments, 29 called-out

Comments
   
        daviddelosangeles daviddelosangeles 1 week ago

        Mr. Kain,

        What is truly amazing is that this issue has already been resolved. In Ex parte Milligan the SCOTUS held that military tribunals cannot be used to try civilians when ordinary civilian courts were available. Further, what problem is would this bill solve? Are their terrorists running about the US who cannot be tried in civilian courts? The whole thing is non-sense.
        Reply
    tasher8 tasher8 1 week ago

    This act astounds me.
    It’s like steps following up to one of George Orwells book 1984.
    The thing that gets me is barely any Americans KNOW about this. I feel like the Government is keeping this on the down low on purpose because they know there would be far more chaos going around.
    I don’t know much about politics for I am only 18 years old. But, this whole situation scares me..when I first heard about it, I just couldn’t believe it. This can not happen. Especially the internet ban they are planning.
    Why aren’t more people educated about this? WE need to be. We should not be worrying about occupying wallstreet, taxes, or the what ever else. Instead we/every one needs to be educated on what’s going on with them taking away our basic rights of Americans.

    I feel if we were there would be far more protests and we could stop this before it becomes reality. We need to start doing something now.

    Another thing that concerns me is I am a Dual Citizen. I was born in the United States but my mother is foreign, she’s been living here her whole life as well. Many people do consider dual citizenship anti-american so, would MY country that I have been paying taxes for, going to school for, and living under its laws consider me a terrorist for having another oath for another country? Maybe it sounds far fetched but it could be real. I hope us as Americans, can do something about it. It truly scares me.

        Called-out comment
    Reply
        patriot2120 patriot2120 1 week ago

        Don’t want to scare you, but I think it is worth noting, apparently the government considers certain kinds of immigration a national security threat. You’re gonna want a lot more information than I can give you, but if it’s anything that applies to you, hopefully I’ve pointed you in the right direction.
        Reply
        tdaending tdaending 1 week ago

        I agree. I only found out about this today. Everyone I have told doesn’t take it seriously. People are so blinded nowadays and because of that, we are going to fail at having any rights. It scares me as well.
        Reply
        dgww dgww 1 week ago

        I know what you mean! Im only 17 and I heard about it less than a day ago and Ive been telling everyone I know about it because its been kept under wraps so well. I also find it disgusting how uneducated everyone is on their own freedoms (or lack of freedoms) and the internet censorship/ban freaks me out too and whats even worse is that when i tell people about that no one seems to care its always “i don’t even use Facebook so it doesn’t effect me” or they try to prove me wrong, but i don’t see that dual citizenship thing as farfetched at all in my eyes its completely realistic. i just got done reading “its dangerous to right when the government is wrong” by judge Andrew Napolitiano I thought it was great you show pick it up.
        Reply
    southernwoman343 southernwoman343 1 week ago

    It is scary to me as well. We have let our freedom be eroded in the name of protection from terror. Most Americans are asleep to what is happening in our country. They are more concerned who is the Biggest Loser or who wins Dancing with the Stars…than what our leaders are doing in Washington. They believe main stream media and do not have the criticial thinking skills to see what is happening before their very eyes!!!!!! It will get harder to ignore though. I hope people wake up before it is too late.
        Called-out comment
    Reply
        jeff222 jeff222 6 days ago

        I agree totally. We Americans are in very dire straights. The dancing with the stars morons are one problem (apathy and stupidity). In my view the larger problem are the voters who have their hands out (food stamps, mortgages they cannot themselves afford, etc).
        They all can vote and they pretty much outnumber those paying the bills these days.
        If there aren’t enough real Americans to vote people in and out of office, then we’re pretty much finished as a free nation.
        Somebody tell me the way out (the way to save the Constitution and America) because with the Government working against us, I don’t see one. Sorry, I just don’t. If the progressives need more votes, they’ll just legalize the illegal to get some. That’s where we’re at.
        Reply
    diannna3 diannna3 5 days ago

    I feel the exact same way as you.
    And I believe that Americans aren’t acting upon this Act, because, like you said, the government is trying to keep this on the down low, and many Americans are not educated in governmental aspects. And the ones that are informed on such topics are intimidated to speak out because if this bill passes then they will probably be considered the “terrorists” that the bill refers to. This bill has not even passed and Americans aren’t using the Bill of Rights to their advantage. This is very scary stuff.
        Called-out comment
    Reply
    cheech cheech 1 week ago

    Could somebody ask Al Franken why, if he feels that way about this bill, he voted for it?
        Called-out comment
    Reply
    citizenq citizenq 1 week ago

    The yay votes were for an amendment that striped the original bill of the language of using detaining US citizens. This was passed in a sneaky manner as an annual way to confirm the US military budget so there was no way it wasn’t going to pass, except with that amendment which failed.
    http://wearechangetv.us/2011/11/61-senators-betrayed-you-today-they-authorized-the-indefinite-suspension-of-habeus-corpus/#axzz1fmOsbzPN
    The sixty-one names on this list are the Senators that let this pass.
        Called-out comment
    Reply
    415raechill 415raechill 1 week ago

    Um, I could have SWORN Al Franken voted YAY for the NDAA. The only senators that did not NAY were ones, as a Californian, I’d never heard of befpre
        Called-out comment
    Reply
    citizenq citizenq 1 week ago

    The yay votes were actually for an amendment to the Defense Authorization Bill that would have gotten rid of the detaining US citizen without counsel parts. The nays are the real traitors. The yays voted for the Udall amendment to the McCain/Levin Original
        Called-out comment
    Reply
    lcr1946 lcr1946 1 week ago

    Well the idiots just won’t quit trying to make us safe by putting everybody in jail. I do not like the so-called Patriot Act and I certainly don’t like this. I am so tired of people trying to infringe on our liberties. If the Supreme Court wants to be activist, they should rule all these laws unconstitutional.
        Called-out comment
    Permalink Flag
    Reply

 

***

    Called-Out
    Expand All Comments

        daviddelosangeles daviddelosangeles 1 week ago

        Mr. Kain,

        What is truly amazing is that this issue has already been resolved. In Ex parte Milligan the SCOTUS held that military tribunals cannot be used to try civilians when ordinary civilian courts were available. Further, what problem is would this bill solve? Are their terrorists running about the US who cannot be tried in civilian courts? The whole thing is non-sense.
        Reply
    tasher8 tasher8 1 week ago

    This act astounds me.
    It’s like steps following up to one of George Orwells book 1984.
    The thing that gets me is barely any Americans KNOW about this. I feel like the Government is keeping this on the down low on purpose because they know there would be far more chaos going around.
    I don’t know much about politics for I am only 18 years old. But, this whole situation scares me..when I first heard about it, I just couldn’t believe it. This can not happen. Especially the internet ban they are planning.
    Why aren’t more people educated about this? WE need to be. We should not be worrying about occupying wallstreet, taxes, or the what ever else. Instead we/every one needs to be educated on what’s going on with them taking away our basic rights of Americans.

    I feel if we were there would be far more protests and we could stop this before it becomes reality. We need to start doing something now.

    Another thing that concerns me is I am a Dual Citizen. I was born in the United States but my mother is foreign, she’s been living here her whole life as well. Many people do consider dual citizenship anti-american so, would MY country that I have been paying taxes for, going to school for, and living under its laws consider me a terrorist for having another oath for another country? Maybe it sounds far fetched but it could be real. I hope us as Americans, can do something about it. It truly scares me.

        Called-out comment
    Reply
        patriot2120 patriot2120 1 week ago

        Don’t want to scare you, but I think it is worth noting, apparently the government considers certain kinds of immigration a national security threat. You’re gonna want a lot more information than I can give you, but if it’s anything that applies to you, hopefully I’ve pointed you in the right direction.
        Reply
        tdaending tdaending 1 week ago

        I agree. I only found out about this today. Everyone I have told doesn’t take it seriously. People are so blinded nowadays and because of that, we are going to fail at having any rights. It scares me as well.
        Reply
        dgww dgww 1 week ago

        I know what you mean! Im only 17 and I heard about it less than a day ago and Ive been telling everyone I know about it because its been kept under wraps so well. I also find it disgusting how uneducated everyone is on their own freedoms (or lack of freedoms) and the internet censorship/ban freaks me out too and whats even worse is that when i tell people about that no one seems to care its always “i don’t even use Facebook so it doesn’t effect me” or they try to prove me wrong, but i don’t see that dual citizenship thing as farfetched at all in my eyes its completely realistic. i just got done reading “its dangerous to right when the government is wrong” by judge Andrew Napolitiano I thought it was great you show pick it up.
        Reply
    southernwoman343 southernwoman343 1 week ago

    It is scary to me as well. We have let our freedom be eroded in the name of protection from terror. Most Americans are asleep to what is happening in our country. They are more concerned who is the Biggest Loser or who wins Dancing with the Stars…than what our leaders are doing in Washington. They believe main stream media and do not have the criticial thinking skills to see what is happening before their very eyes!!!!!! It will get harder to ignore though. I hope people wake up before it is too late.
        Called-out comment
    Reply
        jeff222 jeff222 6 days ago

        I agree totally. We Americans are in very dire straights. The dancing with the stars morons are one problem (apathy and stupidity). In my view the larger problem are the voters who have their hands out (food stamps, mortgages they cannot themselves afford, etc).
        They all can vote and they pretty much outnumber those paying the bills these days.
        If there aren’t enough real Americans to vote people in and out of office, then we’re pretty much finished as a free nation.
        Somebody tell me the way out (the way to save the Constitution and America) because with the Government working against us, I don’t see one. Sorry, I just don’t. If the progressives need more votes, they’ll just legalize the illegal to get some. That’s where we’re at.
        Reply
    diannna3 diannna3 5 days ago

    I feel the exact same way as you.
    And I believe that Americans aren’t acting upon this Act, because, like you said, the government is trying to keep this on the down low, and many Americans are not educated in governmental aspects. And the ones that are informed on such topics are intimidated to speak out because if this bill passes then they will probably be considered the “terrorists” that the bill refers to. This bill has not even passed and Americans aren’t using the Bill of Rights to their advantage. This is very scary stuff.
        Called-out comment
    Reply
    cheech cheech 1 week ago

    Could somebody ask Al Franken why, if he feels that way about this bill, he voted for it?
        Called-out comment
    Reply
    citizenq citizenq 1 week ago

    The yay votes were for an amendment that striped the original bill of the language of using detaining US citizens. This was passed in a sneaky manner as an annual way to confirm the US military budget so there was no way it wasn’t going to pass, except with that amendment which failed.
    http://wearechangetv.us/2011/11/61-senators-betrayed-you-today-they-authorized-the-indefinite-suspension-of-habeus-corpus/#axzz1fmOsbzPN
    The sixty-one names on this list are the Senators that let this pass.
        Called-out comment
    Reply
    415raechill 415raechill 1 week ago

    Um, I could have SWORN Al Franken voted YAY for the NDAA. The only senators that did not NAY were ones, as a Californian, I’d never heard of befpre
        Called-out comment
    Reply
    citizenq citizenq 1 week ago

    The yay votes were actually for an amendment to the Defense Authorization Bill that would have gotten rid of the detaining US citizen without counsel parts. The nays are the real traitors. The yays voted for the Udall amendment to the McCain/Levin Original
        Called-out comment
    Reply
    lcr1946 lcr1946 1 week ago

    Well the idiots just won’t quit trying to make us safe by putting everybody in jail. I do not like the so-called Patriot Act and I certainly don’t like this. I am so tired of people trying to infringe on our liberties. If the Supreme Court wants to be activist, they should rule all these laws unconstitutional.
        Called-out comment
    Reply
        dgww dgww 1 week ago

        yeah the patriot act is a bunch of bullshit its almost as bad as the espionage act during the early 1900′s but now with this new authorization act they’ve out done themselves. By saying its a counter terrorism act its more or less socially acceptable but some of the things on the “terrorist check list” are completely insane. for example someone missing fingers or more than 7 days of food stored can be suspected as a terrorist.
        Reply

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