Is There a Fight Against NDAA?

There was a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee today on legislation proposed by Sen. Dianne Feinstein that would make clear that the U.S. government may not indefinitely detain American citizens without charge or trial, notwithstanding the language in NDAA establishing otherwise. Kevin Gosztola at FireDogLake has extended coverage of the hearings, which were sort of like having a congressional hearing reaffirming the fact that there are two chambers of Congress. It should be an accepted fact that the state does not have the legal or moral authority to indefinitely detain U.S. citizens without charge or trial. That it isn’t indicates how truly perverse the zeitgeist in the country is.

Speaking of perversity, Steven G. Bradbury, former Assistant Attorney General and head of the Office of Legal Counsel in the Bush administration, spoke to the committee on the matter. As Gosztola reminds us, Bradbury was “an author of one of the Bush torture memos” and “deserves to be tried in court for his role in the Bush Administration.” Who better to speak on constitutional law, right?

Bradbury said that because “the evident purpose of the legislation is to prevent the President from detaining…without criminal charge…any American citizen” even if they’re alleged to be a member of al-Qaeda, he strongly disagrees with it. He said that there are “extraordinary circumstances during an armed conflict when the President may determine it necessary to detain a U.S. citizen as an enemy combatant consistent with the laws of war.” Plainly, the President does have the authority to disregard the Bill of Rights in “extraordinary circumstances” like war. Lucky for us, those “extraordinary circumstances” have become simply “ordinary circumstances” and the war – as Sen. Lindsey Graham has said – is “without end.”

To recap for people, Obama signed the NDAA into law, codifying the government’s right to detain individuals in the war on terror without charge or trial, even U.S. citizens. Obama signed it, but issued a signing statement in which he promised with a cherry on top he wouldn’t use it on U.S. citizens. Feinstein in the Senate, and others in the House, have decided that’s just not good enough and have pushed legislation establishing that, in the language of Rep. Chris Gibson’s bill, “the writ of habeas corpus shall remain available to any individual detained within the United States and no American citizen or lawful resident may be detained without all the rights of due process…”

It’s not clear to me at this point how much support these efforts will get in Congress, but the fact that people like Bradbury are giving testimony on it is troubling. Furthermore, even if these efforts are successful and are signed into law, it’s doubtful that would undo the damage done in December when NDAA was passed, for the same reason Obama’s after-the-fact signing statement didn’t cut it. Namely, these provisions are now on the books, and I assume future leaders could still draw on the language in NDAA to deprive U.S. citizens of the right to defend themselves in a court.

24 thoughts on “Is There a Fight Against NDAA?”

  1. It was already prohibited by the constitution. Why would a new law be followed? We live under a lawless, totalitarian state.

  2. [Bradford] said that there are “extraordinary circumstances during an armed conflict when the President may determine it necessary to detain a U.S. citizen as an enemy combatant consistent with the laws of war.” Plainly, the President does have the authority to disregard the Bill of Rights in “extraordinary circumstances” like war.

    Hey, f***tard! Please point to the specific clause(s) of Article II of the Constitution, or any one of the Constitution's amendments, which clearly ENUMBRATE(S) the power of the president to summarily annul any of the rights contained therein, or order any other branch of the federal government to do the same, thereby effectively nullifying his own office, along with the authoritay of any other branch of the federal government.

    Tell ya what: given your obvious handicap, I'll be generous and give you 24 hours to fail to find it.

  3. This is worth repeating – the Constitution affords protections for *all people* not just US citizens. So I propose a correction to Mr. Glaser's last sentence: "Namely, these provisions are now on the books, and I assume future leaders could still draw on the language in NDAA to deprive *people* of the right to defend themselves in a court."

  4. This is why the policy to "look forwards not backwards" and thus not to punish the torturers was WRONG WRONG WRONG. And that is most definitely an Obama administration policy. Now the enablers of torturer are testifying on why we should all have no rights, when they should be the ones being sentenced.

  5. NEXT: Will U.S. Deem 1st Amendment Activities—SUPPORT Terrorism, Hostilities, Belligerents?

    Where U.S. Government appears headed with the Patriot Act, The National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 and recently introduced “Enemy Expatriation Act” that would allow U.S. Government to Strip Americans of Citizenship without evidence or a conviction—is getting Congress to grant U.S. Government (The Executive Branch) the Power to arbitrarily arrest, charge, Indefinitely Detain Americans that participate in 1st Amendment activities (on the premise) certain 1st Amendment Activities appeared intended or were used to support or provoke hostilities, combatants, belligerents; terrorism and or threaten National Security. It is foreseeable millions of Americans would increasingly not attend political meetings, peaceful protests or make comments on the Internet out of fear they might be arrested, lose their job; be put on Homeland Security’s NO Hire List, especially if they work for a government agency or contractor—that happened in Nazi Germany.

    Soon Americans won’t be able to arrange or attend a 1st Amendment protected meeting or other activity e.g., a doctor or business appointment without government/police knowing about it. U.S. Government is on the threshold of having surveillance cameras and drones most everywhere. TSA is expanding its checkpoints on highways, bus and train stops and ports. U.S. Government is actively monitoring without warrants—journalists, U.S. Citizens’ social networks, emails, phone calls, Internet Activity and faxes. One can only guess how much radiation is transmitted into the bodies of Americans by U.S. Government and Police covert scanning (without warrants) private homes—Americans walking on the street; driving vehicles; especially repeated scanning of “Persons of Interests”—potentially damaging their health. Had the Nazi police or Gestapo had X-ray scanners, no doubt the Nazis would have manufactured any reason or no reason to repeatedly x-ray at checkpoints, anywhere—persons the Reich deemed politically or socially undesirable, until either a targeted person was too ill to travel or dead.

    Most Americans haven’t awakened to the fact they are subject to an array of recently passed Fascist Laws including The National Defense Authorization Act and perhaps soon—the Enemy Expatriation Act that U.S. Government can unleash against the public. Congress gave U.S. Government the power to arrest and indefinitely detain Americans without probable cause or bringing charges: Detained U.S. Citizens now have no right to an attorney or trial or right to learn the charges against them—if any. If that isn’t Fascism what is?

    It is foreseeable U.S. activists in the future that occupy government and other property (and) violate State or Federal laws will be charged by U.S. Government for conspiring or provoking violence; supporting hostilities; International and or Domestic Terrorism and may be incarcerated in Indefinite Detention or prosecuted under United States Code 18 Sec. 2331 (appear intended (i)“to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion…” Any Violent-Occupation or Protest even if caused by agent provocateurs, potentially can play into the hands of individuals, law enforcement and corporations that may want America turned into a Police State: Almost any criminal or physical act can be used by U.S. Government or Police to charge a person or group with advocating, supporting or committing terrorism. Considering these laws—only idiots or provocateurs would advocate violence or destruction of property.

    U.S. terrorist laws are broad and vague and can be used by Government or Police against anyone, which makes it easy to set up or frame anyone for being involved in or connected to terrorism—perhaps for no other reason a Citizen or group dared challenge or question government policy.

  6. Please point to the specific clause(s) of Article II of the Constitution, or any one of the Constitution's amendments, which clearly ENUMBRATE(S) the power of the president to summarily annul any of the rights contained therein, or order any other branch of the federal government to do the same, thereby effectively nullifying his own office, along with the authoritay of any other branch of the federal government.

  7. National Security. It is foreseeable millions of Americans would increasingly not attend political meetings, peaceful protests or make comments on the Internet out of fear they might be arrested, lose their job; be put on Homeland Security’s NO Hire List, especially if they work for a government agency or contractor—that happened in Nazi Germany.

  8. Government is on the threshold of having surveillance cameras and drones most everywhere. TSA is expanding its checkpoints on highways, bus and train stops and ports. U.S. Government is actively monitoring without warrants—journalists, U.S. Citizens’ social networks, emails, phone calls, Internet Activity and faxes.

  9. One can only guess how much radiation is transmitted into the bodies of Americans by U.S. Government and Police covert scanning (without warrants) private homes—Americans walking on the street; driving vehicles; especially repeated scanning of “Persons of Interests”—potentially damaging their health. Had the Nazi police or Gestapo had X-ray scanners, no doubt the Nazis would have manufactured any reason or no reason to repeatedly x-ray at checkpoints, anywhere—persons the Reich deemed politically or socially undesirable, until either a targeted person was too ill to travel or dead.

  10. Most Americans haven’t awakened to the fact they are subject to an array of recently passed Fascist Laws including The National Defense Authorization Act and perhaps soon—the Enemy Expatriation Act that U.S. Government can unleash against the public.

  11. Congress gave U.S. Government the power to arrest and indefinitely detain Americans without probable cause or bringing charges: Detained U.S. Citizens now have no right to an attorney or trial or right to learn the charges against them—if any. If that isn’t Fascism what is?

  12. It is foreseeable U.S. activists in the future that occupy government and other property (and) violate State or Federal laws will be charged by U.S. Government for conspiring or provoking violence; supporting hostilities; International and or

  13. Domestic Terrorism and may be incarcerated in Indefinite Detention or prosecuted under United States Code 18 Sec. 2331 (appear intended (i)“to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion…”

  14. Any Violent-Occupation or Protest even if caused by agent provocateurs, potentially can play into the hands of individuals, law enforcement and corporations that may want America turned into a Police State: Almost any criminal or physical act can be used by U.S. Government or Police to charge a person or group with advocating, supporting or committing terrorism.

  15. America turned into a Police State: Almost any criminal or physical act can be used by U.S. Government or Police to charge a person or group with advocating, supporting or committing terrorism. Considering these laws—only idiots or provocateurs would advocate violence or destruction of property

  16. Government (The Executive Branch) the Power to arbitrarily arrest, charge, Indefinitely Detain Americans that participate in 1st Amendment activities (on the premise) certain 1st Amendment Activities appeared intended or were used to support or provoke hostilities, combatants, belligerents; terrorism and or threaten

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