|Anthony Freda Art|
It seems big changes are all around our country now; things like globalization, the economic crisis, and our “war on terror”. I have to ask myself why the war on terror is stealing our chances of living as free people, in a free country, being governed by the consent of the people?
The National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 has destroyed three of the ten guarantees of your liberty as stated in the United States Constitution's Bill of Rights. Any U.S. citizen can now be arrested by the U.S. military while inside the U.S. and can be permanently jailed with no charges, no right to a trial, and no lawyer to assist with a defense.
Yes, it is all true. It is now the law of the land. Congress wrote it and President Obama signed it into law on December 31st, 2011. It is the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2012 (NDAA 2012). The problems with the new law are located in Title X, subtitle D, subsections 1031 and 1032. Under it, the U.S. military can now arrest U.S. citizens on U.S. soil and indefinitely detain them without charge, without a trial, without the right to ever appear before a civilian judge, and without the right to a lawyer. The U.S. citizen might then be transferred to “any other foreign country, or any other foreign entity”. Why was the person arrested by the military? Because the person is a “suspected terrorist” or “conspired with suspected terrorists”.
So who is a “suspected terrorist”? According to NDAA 2012, anyone suspected of committing or conspiring to commit a “belligerent act” against the U.S. A look at the definition for belligerent in Webster's dictionary includes, in addition to “at war”, the definition “ready to fight or quarrel”. Quarrel is defined as “a dispute, especially an angry one”. Disputing our government's policies, especially at a loud but nonviolent protest could easily be considered a “belligerent act”.
But how bad is this bill, really? First, there is very broad opposition to it from the “left” and “right”. Both the “right wing” Heritage Foundation and the “left wing” ACLU are strongly opposed. There has not been this much bipartisan anger against a new federal law since the banker bailouts. Also, it shreds the Bill of Rights in three places, specifically the Fifth Amendment, Sixth Amendment, and Eighth Amendment.
The Fifth Amendment in the Bill of Rights states, “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise INFAMOUS (caps mine) crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury ... nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law”. Being disappeared by the military is not due process. When you are held forever and never see a judge in open court, it is also a clear violation of the Writ of Habeas Corpus.
The Sixth amendment states, “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury ... and be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense”.
As a U.S. Citizen, you are no longer entitled to any of that. Now it's no more lawyer, no more speedy and public trial by jury, no charges leveled against you, evidence obtained through torture is O.K., and secret evidence can be used against you. The mere suspicion that you are an “enemy belligerent” or have conspired with other belligerents is now enough to get you permanently detained. Proving you are indeed a belligerent before a jury is not required.
The Eighth Amendment states, “Excessive Bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted”. Permanent detention in a black hole, chained to the floor or ceiling, with no civilian oversight, and no contact with family or friends, is about as cruel as it gets.
What is going on now in Washington State says a lot about NDAA 2012 subsection 1031 and 1032. Five Washington State representatives have introduced a bill in their State House to protect their citizens from NDAA 2012. The Washington State Preservation of Liberty act states: “It is indisputable that the threat of terrorism is real, and that the full force of appropriate and constitutional law must be used to defeat this threat. However, winning the war against terror cannot come at the great expense of eviscerating the unalienable rights recognized by and protected in the United States Constitution and the Constitution of the State of Washington. Indeed, undermining those constitutional rights serves only to concede to the terrorist's demands of changing the fabric of what has made the United States of America a republic granting the greatest number of people the greatest amount of liberty, justice, opportunity, prosperity, happiness, peace and good ever known or experienced by humankind throughout the history of the world”.
Under NDAA 2012 your right to be a free man or woman has been stripped from you. Your freedom is now in the hands of one strongman, the Commander-In-Chief of the U.S. Armed Forces, our President. He can act alone and decide who is a terrorist, or what group of people are terrorists. And history is full of examples of what happens when one man is given total control of the military and then uses that power against his own citizens. Specific examples of military policing of the civilian population include Central and South American tin pot dictators such as Augusto Pinochet of Chile and Manuel Noriega of Panama. You had the Communist military dictatorships of Nicolae Ceausescu in Romania, and Kim Jong Il in North Korea. You had the 1930's and 1940's European dictatorships of Benito Mussolini in Italy and Adolf Hitler in Germany. You had the British tyranny over our 13 original colonies prior to our revolution.
Our own Declaration of Independence lists many grievances against the tyrannical King George III of England, among them: “He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to the civil power” and “for depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by Jury”. It is absolutely undeniable that handing unrestricted military policing powers to one man brings tyranny, danger and misery to his citizens. Justice disappears. People disappear, never to be seen or heard from again. Mass graves full of political dissidents are still being unearthed, and bear witness to the crimes of military strongmen. How is the power we have handed our president any different than the power wielded by the above listed strongmen? We all know absolute power corrupts absolutely.
But didn't Obama issue a signing statement when he signed NDAA 2012 saying that he would not indefinitely detain American citizens without trial? Yes he did, and here's why his signing statement means nothing. First, it is not legally binding; it is an opinion that says “trust me” and is in direct conflict with Obama's past actions. It was the Obama Administration that demanded legislators remove language during the crafting of the bill that would have precluded Americans from being subject to indefinite detention without trial.
The bill’s co-sponsor, Senator Carl Levin, said during a speech on the floor in December that “the language which precluded the application of section 1031 to American citizens was in the bill that we originally approved ... and the administration asked us to remove language which says that U.S. citizens and lawful residents would not be subjected to this section”. If Obama did not want military strongman powers to be given to the president, why did he lobby for them and then sign a bill containing them? Secondly, Obama's signing statement will have absolutely no influence on future presidents. NDAA 2012 will still be the law of the land when Obama is gone, and we won't even have his non-binding signing statement to give us the illusion of freedom. The devil is indeed in the details, so do not be fooled.
All this demands a closer look at the “liberal Democrat” Obama. The former Chief Prosecutor of the Guantanamo Military Tribunals, Colonel Morris Davis, says of Obama, “he didn't just continue the Bush policies, he kissed them on the lips and ran with them”. Nor did our “liberal Democrat” Obama repeal any of the freedom destroying, overreaching aspects of George W. Bush's war on terror. All this blows a big hole in the “conservative” verses “liberal” fight that the common citizens have been waging against themselves. While the little people fight amongst themselves, the ruling elite of our country work to maintain Continuity Of Agenda and implement their plans.
It is also noteworthy that Colonel Davis resigned as Chief Prosecutor at Guantanamo because he did not want to admit evidence obtained through torture. So yes, if you are a suspected terrorist, the military can torture you until you confess to whatever they want to hear. They have done it before. This “evidence” is then admitted to their Kangaroo Court, you are convicted at a closed secret trial, and then you are thrown into a military prison forever. This is the current state of U.S. Military Tribunal justice. You may also be “permanently detained” as a suspected terrorist and not ever be given a military tribunal.
So how is NDAA 2012 , the latest “weapon” in the “war on terror”, sold to the American public? It is sold by instilling fear of terrorism into us, assisted by a complicit mainstream media. “An evil exists that threatens every man, woman and child of this great nation. We must take steps to ensure our domestic security and protect our homeland”. Who said that? Was it Bush or Obama? Neither. It was Adolf Hitler when he was proposing the creation of the Gestapo in Nazi Germany. Tyrannical governments throughout history have always scared the hell out of their people so the people will accept loss of their freedom and liberty in the name of “security”.
Is the NDAA 2012 subsection 1031 and 1032 really necessary to fight terrorism? Carl Mayer, a public interest attorney who is conducting a lawsuit against the NDAA's constitutionality writes, “One of the most disturbing aspects of this is that the security establishment came out against it - the CIA, the FBI, the Attorney General, the director of National Intelligence. None of them wanted it. And I think we have to ask, if the security establishment did not want this bill, and the FBI Director Mueller actually goes to Congress and says publicly they don't want it, why did it pass? What pushed it through?” In answer to Mr. Mayer's question, the strongman pushed it through, the man who now enjoys dictatorial power over his subjects.
There is a better way. Again we look to history. After World War II, we had Nazi leaders in custody and the world wanted justice. These men were the worst of the worst - warmongers, mass murderers, sadists and sociopaths. These Nazi’s planned and started a mission to do nothing less than take over the world. When the war finally ended, the free world responded with the Nuremberg trials. The accused Nazi's were formally charged with various crimes, had access to legal counsel, heard the evidence against them, no torture was used on them, and the proceedings were open and broadcast to the world. Even today you can look in any library and find transcripts of the trials and know exactly what transpired. A team of judges weighed the evidence against the accused and sentenced 12 to death and 7 to prison for various terms, some for life. Three men were found not guilty. It is obvious that the current U.S. Congress and President believe the American public is not deserving of the level of justice we used to give to Nazi war criminals. How despicable and sad is that?
The National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 has destroyed 3 of the 10 guarantees of your liberty as stated in the United States Constitution's Bill Of Rights. Any U.S. citizen can now be arrested by the U.S. military while inside the U.S. and can be permanently jailed with no charges, no right to a trial, and no lawyer to assist with a defense. One should remember though, that in the 1770's our forefathers in the 13 colonies got tired of British solders kicking in their doors and dragging off their fathers and sons. They got tired of patriots being “disappeared” because they questioned their government's policies.
Military policing of our 13 original colonies, as well as disgust over other totalitarian practices by the British, gave birth to the United States. This new nation codified and jealously guarded a new set of rights and freedoms. These rights and freedoms have blessed the American people for more than 220 years. Hundreds of thousands of our soldiers, sailors, airman and marines have spilled their blood all over far away lands fighting those that believe dictatorial, totalitarian tyranny is the best way to run a country. They fought and died to protect a system of government that guarantees it's citizens fair treatment as well as “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. Unfortunately we now have many Democrats and Republicans in Congress, as well as President Obama, who either don't understand our rights as citizens, or don't give a damn about our rights.
The rights our soldiers, sailors, airman and marines have sacrificed so much to defend are being stolen from us by thieves in Congress and the White House. These thieves are taking our blessings of liberty and throwing them in the trash. The NDAA 2012 is a blatant, in-your-face assault on our most basic rights. Even if no U.S. citizen is ever dragged out of his home by solders in the middle of the night and thrown in some dark hole forever, the fact that this is now a possibility is a disgrace to our country. It is a dismantling of our country. It truly unmasks what our leaders think about the citizens of the United States. Anyone with any grasp of history should smell the danger our citizens now face.
Article originally submitted anonymously to Central Florida Veterans for Peace. Special thanks to Phil Restino for permission to repost.
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