This piece is my most viral piece to date and appeared on Daily Kos on December 15, 2011. It's an ironic diary coming from myself given all the economic pieces I write but I do have range on other issues, too. It's about the NDAA and is still relevant because the US can still indefinitely detain American citizens, and the White House has never been able to properly define the terms "associated forces" among others things with regard to Al Qaeda. Section 1021 can still be used to indefinitely detain American citizens.
You may recognize my illustration about the NDAA as well which is also still relevant.
Not that it should only be a worry if it happens to American citizens. This war on terror George W. Bush league crap that the Obama administration is still peddling, even with its signing statement claiming it won't matter while they are in the White House, assuming, of course, no Republican will ever win an election again. That is ridiculous, insulting, and a major assault on the Bill of Rights. This is further compounded with the White Paper and the Rand Paul filibuster in which he didn't get an answer to his simple question really on how they define the term "engaged in combat" when it comes to whether they can order a drone strike on an American citizen on American soil. This one is still relevant so enjoy.
Processing the President's Disdain for Due Process
That’s right. You know what’s going on.
This administration never threatened to veto the NDAA because of civil liberties concerns. This administration is using the same fear mongering that the Bush administration has used concerning Al Qaeda to codify the unchecked executive power it has claimed erroneously for itself in the exact same way.
For starters one can disagree with Glenn Grenwald or Cenk Uygur, but the hysteria regarding “I hate Glenn Greenwald! I HATE HIM! I hate Cenk Uygur! He HATES OBAMA!” is not a Constitutional argument so please remember that when responding.
Maybe you don’t like either of them, but regardless, this administration is using the same fear mongering that the Bush administration has used concerning Al Qaeda in order to codify the unchecked executive power it has claimed erroneously anyway. And we get Bush style fear mongering even though Osama Bin laden is dead and the president regularly boasts about it while we somehow we should be very afraid and afraid enough to give up our rights?
You have decisions to make when reacting to all of this. Perhaps they are not easy decisions, but they are decisions nevertheless. A moment of self reflection is in order in order to process the attack on the bill of rights that is being waged by a Democratic president and a Democratic Congress.
Is habeas corpus, one of the primary reasons the American Revolution was fought, important to you? Is due process important to you? Are they really or is that just something that was only relevant in 2008?
Do you always have to qualify it with a BUT which pretty much means NO on these black and white standard bearer Constitutional issues? Hint: it’s obvious when one answers like that. Do you think unchecked presidential power is OK if just as long as he belongs to the voting party you belong to?
I ask these questions because we’re past the point where there needs to be some real honesty from some of you, my fellow kossacks though I know many kossacks are just as outraged as I am about this. I am just trying to get to the bottom of anyone's defenses who excuses the inexcusable.
If you are one who is trying desperately to excuse the inexcusable, do you really believe in checks and balances? Do you really believe in using courts? Do you believe in the Justice system? Can you tell the difference between a war with uniforms and a tactic which is a law enforcement problem? I really want to know.
If you are honest in your answer, I may be slightly less disdainful of your views if you just come out and say the S. 1867, the National Defense Authorization Act(NDAA) doesn’t bother you for these reasons. However, I'll be honest and say I cannot wrap my brain around whatever prism in which you actually view the United States of America, honestly.
Does eliminating due process bother you or does it not bother you just because President Obama is your hero and he decided it? These are simple questions with no ifs, ands, or BUTS about them. You cannot weasel your way out this with a qualifier and I only say weasel because those are weasel words.
This damages the 1st, 5th, and 6th amendments greatly in one swoop as well as potentially the Posse Comitatus Act. 71% of Americans think our civil liberties are important and aren’t worth sacrificing for a Bush style war on terror national security state Obama is continuing. Do you think that should matter at all?
Can you answer without a qualifier? The President insisted even against some in his own cabinet’s advice that any language exempting American citizens be removed according to Senator Carl Levin. You can say it bothers you, BUT saying the end justifies the means because “Republicans are scary,” however the means meaning multiple major planks of the Constitution do not mean anything anymore is a pretty despicable view. That’s what I call not having any idea of what we stand for as a country. You can’t qualify that.
You either believe in due process or you don't, just like George Bush and John Yoo. This does not have a good historical precedent for democracy, historically, even somewhat recently where many of our somewhat progressive Democratic Senators showed what hypocrites they are from then to now.
When it comes to their citizens being detained in other countries without due process, no figure can muster outrage like a US politician.
Take the case of Sarah Shourd, Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer, known to many as simply "the American hikers" during their detention in Iran, where the government accused them of being spies and sentenced them without trial. Shourd was held for more than a year, while Fattal and Bauer waited for two years before they were tried, convicted and ultimately freed.
The rallying cry to release them was strong, if not necessarily sustained. There was even a US Senate resolution, co-sponsored by two Minnesota senators - Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar, both Democrats, urging Iran to free the three prisoners.
"The fact that these three innocent Americans have been unjustly detained for over a year is incomprehensible," said Franken at the passage of the resolution in August 2010.
"The Iranian government needs to release Shane, Sarah and Josh immediately so that that they can be reunited with their families and start putting their lives back together."
Franken and Klobuchar both voted in favour of the NDAA.
Given the way the US typically lambastes states it feels violating fundamental rights by detaining people without end or trial, it seems odd that it seems to going in that direction.
Between increasing troop levels within the US (roughly 20,000 to be deployed internally) and then giving them the option to pull US citizens off the streets and send them Guantanamo Bay indefinitely, the provisions in the NDAA take a page out of the playbooks of governments they routinely criticise.
"This flies in the face of fundamental rights, the constitution and recent US history," said Manatri, referring to the 2001 attacks.
"In some ways, we're less thoughtful, we're less reflective, we're less concerned with protecting individual rights now than we were 10 years ago. Were any other country to apply the terms of this bill to the US or its allies, the US would be the first to complain."
The ACLU's position is similar, and Anders pointed out that the "enactment of this legislation would certainly undermine the US government's policy of urging other governments to rely on their courts and not on military detention."
I don't know about you, but I think this is rampant hypocrisy and Shock Doctrine style fear mongering reviving what I thought was dying from the Bush administration all because the MIC wants it's way and the politicians it owns or the politicians who want a piece of it codified to their liking.
And I don’t care if any progressive Democrat or even Bernie Sanders votes to keep Guantanamo open, it’s disgraceful and they should be ashamed like the president should be ashamed for not working hard enough to make that happen and this shows he never really wanted it to happen. I’m consistent with my principles I blame everyone. I don’t care if I agree with Bernie Sanders on a lot of issues. His vote to keep Guantanamo open was wrong and so is anyone else’s. We also need to shut down Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan where we are also holding people indefinitely.
Do you really think we had as much of a choice on one of the main issues in the 2008 Obama campiagn when Republican Senator Rand Paul(who's Libertarian nonsense I find abhorrent on most things except this) is the one arguing against this monstrosity and the Democratic President agrees with John McCain’s skewed Orwellian view of the so called war on terror in favor of it? Does that make you feel just fine and ready to get to work in 2012? How does it actually make you feel?
And how can we celebrate the end of the war in Iraq if the most egregious abuses are forever with us stemming from the AUMF and the Patriot Act? If the president was really bothered by how these acts were used by GWB, why is he invoking provisions in it even to this day when the war is supposed to be ending? It's not ending really unless you demand he stop invoking the AUMF as emptywheel said:
And while it is true that the Administration had a campaign event dog and pony show yesterday declaring the war over, it is not.
And, as I keep noting, the Iraq AUMF serves another purpose. That AUMF’s general language on “terrorism” has been used to authorize the use of “war powers” against people the Executive Branch claims are terrorists who have nothing to do with al Qaeda. The Iraq AUMF has been interpreted by the Executive Branch to authorize a war against all so-called terrorists, not just the terrorists who hit us on 9/11. And based on that argument, it was used to authorize the wiretapping of American citizens in the US.
"Oh yeah, it bothers me, But." There are those that object to this premise because they think they can have it both ways or they don’t want to admit it, but one can’t evade this premise. Military tribunals don’t even have a good record of convicting terrorists like civilian courts do. So there goes another fail.
According to the US Department of Justice, there have been over 400 terrorist convictions in civilian courts since the September 11 attacks.
Besides, the military is not set up for domestic law enforcement, said Hulburt, adding that she’s done briefings with members of the military who "roll their eyes and say 'I don't know, on a practical level, how they expect us to this'".
Despite the disgraceful fear mongering by this administration here, terrorism is a tactic and Al Qaeda does not have an army. What do the Al Qaeda uniforms look like? No, not civilian garb otherwise we are just killing civilians in Afghanistan just for being them which is not too far from the truth as long as we are waging that endless immoral war.
I am sick and tired of the endless war over there while we're talking about shared sacrifice with millionaires here. The fact is that this shows that Osama Bin Laden has won now that our freedoms are being taken away over an overblown threat; a law enforcement and intelligence mission that belongs in the civilian courts regardless of whether this administration denies it and regardless of whether any Democrats wants to hide behind whatever decision this administration makes out of blind partisan loyalty. It’s disgusting.
There needs to be a gut check and Democrats in Congress and all Democratic voters need to express their outrage at their so called representatives who don't give a damn about their rights.
Like Always, Occupy Wall Street is out front on the important issues of the day that affect everyone.
Defend the Bill of Rights for All of Us. Posted 2 hours ago on Dec. 15, 2011, 2 a.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
On Bill of Rights Day, Thursday, Dec 15 there will be a Press Conference on Federal Court Steps, 40 Centre St., Manhattan, 11am. A coffin of the Bill of Rights will be brought to Federal Court Foley Square, NY, NY
The Bill of rights was ratified 220 years ago, on December 15, 1791. It is shameful that today, in the United States, we are forced to come together in defense of the Bill of Rights and our civil liberties, as the representatives of the 1% who rule this country continue to take our rights away.
The ACLU is on this as well too.