Thursday, January 19, 2012

National Defense Authorization Act - Loosing Our Rights

We are loosing our constitutional rights as U.S. Citizens.

The Patriot Act has been the biggest cause of U.S. citizens loosing constitutional rights. It allowed the government to spy on citizens. Laws were changed to allow law enforcement to search phones, finincial records, medical records, etc. Spy cameras started showing up on every street of every town. Next thing we know, there is the TSA and body scanners at airports. The TSA is now moving into bus stations and there are highway check points starting too. Tennessee was the first state to implement highway checkpoints for random searches to counter terrorism.

Now it is the National Defense Authorization Act. This is an act that Congress passes each year. It is the way congress keeps tabs on what the Department of Defense is doing and how much money it is spending. Generally just the amount of money it authorizes is what changes. This time it passed with additional provisions that have a lot of people feeling uncomfortable with the government.  It now calls for indefinite detention of U.S. citizens if they are "suspected" of being terrorists. With the passage of this law there is no longer innocence until proven guilty. This is unconstitiutional. The Fourth Amendment grants liberty from unreasonable seizures, while the Sixth guarantees every U.S. citizen a trial in front of a jury. The passage of this bill is a violation of these amendments and is therefore unconstitutional. Yet, most of congress passed it and while no one was watching on New Years Eve, president Obama signed it into law. He promised not to use it though.

According to the New York Times Obama said, “The fact that I support this bill as a whole does not mean I agree with everything in it,” Mr. Obama said in a statement issued in Hawaii, where he is on vacation. “I have signed this bill despite having serious reservations with certain provisions that regulate the detention, interrogation and prosecution of suspected terrorists.”
The NDAA absolves the president of the requirement of gathering and presenting to an impartial judge evidence of association with terrorists. The mere suspicion of of association with terrorists now suffices as a justification for the indefinite imprisonment of those so suspected. Even U.S. citizens.

The NDAA places the American military at the disposal of the President for the apprehension, arrest, and detention of those suspected of posing a danger to the homeland (whether inside or outside the borders of the United States and whether the suspect be a citizen or foreigner).

The bill of rights is eroding away. The Bill of Rights has no exemption for 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 slippery slope we are going down.

Congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul criticized his fellow lawmakers. “Sadly, too many of my colleagues are too willing to undermine our constitution to support such outrageous legislation. One senator even said, about American citizens being picked up under this section of the NDAA, ‘When they say ‘I want my lawyer,’ you tell them, ‘Shut up. You don’t get a lawyer.’”

Ron Paul described the bill as a “slip into tyranny,” one that will almost certainly accelerate “our descent into totalitarianism.”  Ron Paul left his 2012 presidential campaign on January 18th for a moment to fight directly for all of our freedoms, by introducing legislation to repeal Section 1021 from the 2012 NDAA “law” that authorizes the indefinite detention of American citizens without trial. Read the repeal statement here.

Currently only one congressman is trying to help protect these rights. Tell your representative what you think about this. Get more of them standing up for U.S. citizen rights. Ask them to join Congressman Ron Paul and support the repeal of section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act.  

I am including a link here that will allow you to easily look up your federal and state representatives names and contact address/email/phone numbers.