The NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) is normally nothing more than a military budget that’s passed every year. But for many, this year is the only year they’ve ever cared about it. Why is that? Because sections 1031 and 1032 call for the indefinite detention of terror suspects, and some believe the wording of the clause exempting Americans is too vague to prevent indefinite detention of Americans. Let’s check it out!
Section 1031 pt. e says:
Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect existing law or authorities, relating to the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States.
The argument? It can’t “affect existing laws or authorities” about the detention of U.S. citizens suspected of terrorist ties, because there are none. Except the Authorization for Use of MIlitary Force, or the AUMF, which was passed shortly after 9/11 to vaguely detain terror suspects. So this won’t affect those laws that don’t exist about how you can or can not (we’re not sure yet) detain U.S. citizens indefinitely without a trial. And as an [employed, regularly-showering and law-abiding] protester whose political movement is on the verge of being labeled a “terrorist organization,” (in some places, it already has) that doesn’t make me feel too comfortable. Already, 300 of my friends were held in jail for days, with their bail outright refused, for a misdemeanor of “staying in a park after the police said not to.” Because everyone knows that the best way to convince those faithless protesters that the political system isn’t really corrupt, is by… being really corrupt.
So while this may seem like another issue for the likes of over-active activists, there is reason why so much independent media is focusing on this bill. Despite the mainstream media’s decision not to cover the NDAA, the House and Senate talk about it all the time. I’ve come to realize that you actually have to listen to C-Span radio all day since it’s the only place to find out what they’re actually saying.
The outnumbered legislators speaking out against the NDAA aren’t just releasing hot air. This wouldn’t be the first time vaguely-worded legislation has been used to let the government do whatever it feels it needs to. And they’ve made it pretty clear already that they’re not too keen on American protesters, if you’re one of those. (The American take on protesting is generally, ‘The further away it is from me, the more I support it.’)
As of today, the NDAA has passed both the House and the Senate, and the President has rescinded his promise to veto the bill. In fact, it turns out his problem with the bill was never its potential for manipulation to indefinitely detain American citizens — he just really wanted them to add a part stating that the whole world is our battleground now. Gotta make those provisions clear. And he got what he wanted, so he’s signing it.
It’s too late to call your congressman, but it’s not too late to remember how your representatives voted — including representative number uno: our president.
Whether you’re for or against this NDAA isn’t my concern. I just thought I’d share what the hubbub is all about.
Ironically, today is not just the day the NDAA passed. It’s also Bill of Rights day. No wait, that’s not irony. That’s just Washington trolling all of us. Well played, gentlemen.