Fixing the NDAA

CALL TO ACTION! Help Us UNDO NDAA By Petitioning Your State Supreme Court For A Protective Writ of Habeus Corpus Like This One
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Congress considers bills to reform the NDAA’s detention powers

by Constitution In Crisis, Bill of Rights Defense Committee [BORDC] Newsletter, May 2012, Vol. 11, No. 5


The amendment offered by Reps. Adam Smith (D-WA) and Justin Amash (R-MI) is among the strongest, as is one championed by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and another introduced by Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX). Unfortunately, an amendment authored by Reps. Scott Rigell (R-VA) and Jeff Landry (R-LA), as well as one by Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) and Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA), are both counterproductive and could make the NDAA even worse.

US Navy Rear Admiral John D. Hutson (Ret.) wrote an analysis for The Hill, noting that the Smith-Amash amendment, which is also supported by Senator Mark Udall (D-CO),

would ensure that no one within the United States can be indefinitely detained without charge or trial, or tried by legally problematic military commissions. It also reverses an NDAA provision—opposed by virtually every national security expert, even former Bush administration officials—that tries to force our military to take custody of a category of foreign terrorism suspects. The Smith/Udall bill, while far from perfect, is the best available first step towards fixing the NDAA.

Hutson notes that the Feinstein-Garamendi proposal creates a disturbing precedent under which non-citizens could be denied rights long guaranteed to all people under US jurisdiction, and “concedes to the NDAA’s proponents one of their key arguments: that the United States can be considered a ‘battlefield.’”

Meanwhile, the Rigell-Landry proposal would protect rights to habeas corpus that the NDAA never aimed to restrict, diverting focus from the real problems with the law. It’s true that habeas corpus rights have dramatically eroded such that they now offer little more than a procedural speed bump to indefinite military detention, but that erosion is mostly the work of the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, not the NDAA. The Rigell-Landry bill would do nothing to address the issues with the court and would thus have little effect.

Proposals introduced by Reps. Jerrold Nadler and Ron Paul are substantively stronger than the rest. Unfortunately, even though they offer the most principled congressional responses to the military detention controversy, they may never come up for a vote because they lack broad support.

With the intelligence establishment dictating oppressive national security policies in Washington, it will take a movement of millions to restore the rule of law in the United States. If you share BORDC’s concerns about the NDAA and looming specter of indefinite military detention, call your congressional representatives today.

Smith amendment helps address detainee question
by Raha Wala, advocacy counsel, Human Rights First, The Hill, 05/09/12


First, Congress codified the authority of the military to pick up and indefinitely detain without charge or trial individuals suspected of terrorism. No probable cause. No jury trial. No guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Although the government had been exercising this authority for a decade in the case of detainees held in Afghanistan and Guantanamo, some proponents of the new NDAA detainee provisions, such as Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), warned of new threats among us, here at home. To these members of Congress, America is now the battlefield, and anyone determined to have substantially supported terrorism could be subject to lifetime imprisonment without ever facing charges.

…last year’s NDAA debate, included a provision that forces the military to take custody of a category of foreign terrorism suspects, absent a presidential waiver. This mandatory military custody policy is so extreme that it was opposed by virtually every national security expert that looked at it, including former Bush administration officials. The CIA Director opposed it. As did the Secretary of Defense, FBI Director, and Director of National Intelligence.
Retired generals and admirals pointed out that forcing the military to take custody of terrorism suspects would give U.S. armed forces a mission they neither want nor need. Current and former national security professionals emphasized that it simply doesn’t make sense to undermine law enforcement operations for the sake of an ideological belief that terrorism suspects should be in military custody.  Though the president issued a policy directive limiting the application of the mandatory military custody provision, it still remains on the books, subject to future abuse.

… the Smith amendment picks up where the Congress failed during the NDAA debate. The Smith amendment would ban indefinite military detention, and military commission trials, within the United States. It would also repeal, in full, the mandatory military custody requirement, and ensure that the military will not be forced to take custody of any terrorism suspects. Importantly, it would put forth civilian courts, established under Article III of the Constitution, as the lawful, appropriate, and time-tested method for handling terrorism threats in the United States.


Fake Terrorists

The Case of the Missing Terrorists

by Paul Craig Roberts, Institute for Political Economy,, May 14, 2012 Excerpts:

Most of his victims were not terrorists or even insurgents. Most were hapless individuals kidnapped by warlords and sold to the Americans as “terrorists” for the bounty paid.

Yet, the tough, macho Navy Seals who allegedly killed Osama bin Laden must have their identity kept hidden so that they don’t become terrorist targets…Indeed, the Seals’ lives are so endangered that President Obama gave up the enormous public relations political benefit of a White House ceremony with the heroic Navy Seals. Very strange behavior for a politician. A couple of weeks after the alleged bin Laden killing, the Seals unit, or most of it, was wiped out in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan.

This would be real terror. Moreover, it would present TSA with an insolvable problem: how can people be screened before they are screened?

…the terrorist threat is more hype than reality. Yet, we have an expensive, intrusive security apparatus that seems to have no real function except to exercise power over American citizens.

The announcements of the “foiled” plots keep the brainwashed public docile and amenable to intrusive searches, warrantless spying, the growth of an unaccountable police state, and endless wars.

The “War on Terror” is a hoax, one that has been successfully used to destroy the US Constitution and to complete the transformation of law from a shield of the people into a weapon in the hands of the state. By destroying habeas corpus, due process, and the presumption of innocence, the “War on Terror” has destroyed our security.

Does The West Have A Future?

by Paul Craig Roberts, Institute for Political Economy,, May 10, 2012 Excerpts:

We have had a second fake underwear bomb plot, a much more fantastic one than the first hoax. The second underwear bomber was a CIA operative or informant allegedly recruited by al-Qaeda, an organization that US authorities have recently claimed to be defeated, in disarray, and no longer significant.

FBI Director Robert Mueller told Congress that the fake plot proves the need for warrantless surveillance in order to detect–what, fake plots? In Congress Republican Pete King and Democrat Charles Ruppersberger denounced media for revealing that the plot was a CIA operation, claiming that the truth threatened the war effort and soldiers’ lives.

Obviously, if the CIA, the news sources, and Dianne Feinstein’s briefers are correct that defeated al-Qaeda has come up with an “undetectable” bomb, we will have to pass through airport security naked.

22 Osama-unit Navy SEALs killed as Taliban rocket shoots down helicopter over Afghanistan, by TODD VENEZIA,, Aug. 7, 2011


Nearly two dozen members of the elite Navy SEAL unit that took out Osama bin Laden perished yesterday in a horrific helicopter strike at the hands of the Taliban in Afghanistan, officials said.

The special-forces operatives were reportedly blasted by a rocket-propelled grenade as they rushed to aid other troops in a firefight at an insurgent stronghold in Wardak province, just west of Kabul.

Thirty Americans — including 22 SEALs and an Army helicopter crew — were killed, along with an interpreter, seven Afghan soldiers and a combat dog, which makes this the deadliest incident in the nearly 10-year war.

Radiation Woes

Why Fukushima Is a Greater Disaster than Chernobyl and a Warning Sign for the U.S., by Robert Alvarez, Institute For Policy Studies, April 20, 2012


“The radioactive inventory of all the irradiated nuclear fuel stored in spent fuel pools at Fukushima is far greater and even more problematic than the molten cores.

“…After visiting the site recently, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) wrote to Japan’s ambassador to the U.S. stating that, ‘loss of containment in any of these pools could result in an even greater release than the initial accident.’

  • This is why: Each pool contains irradiated fuel from several years of operation, making for an extremely large radioactive inventory without a strong containment structure that encloses the  reactor cores;
  • Several  pools are now completely open to the atmosphere because the reactor buildings were  demolished by explosions; they are about 100 feet above ground and could possibly topple or collapse from structural damage coupled with another powerful earthquake;
  • The loss of water exposing the spent fuel will result in overheating can cause melting and ignite its zirconium metal cladding – resulting in a fire that could deposit large amounts of radioactive materials over hundreds of miles.

Irradiated nuclear fuel, also called ‘spent fuel,’ is extraordinarily radioactive.  In a matter of seconds, an unprotected human one foot away from a single freshly removed spent fuel assembly would receive a lethal dose of radiation within seconds. As one of the most dangerous materials in the world, spent reactor fuel poses significant long-term risks, requiring isolation in a geological disposal site that can protect the human environment for tens of thousands of years.”

“…The overall problem we face is that nearly all of the spent fuel at the Dai-Ichi site is in vulnerable pools in a high risk/consequence earthquake zone. The urgency of the situation is underscored by the ongoing seismic activity around NE Japan in which 13 earthquakes of magnitude 4.0 – 5.7 have occurred off the NE coast of Honshu in the last 4 days between 4/14 and 4/17.”

“…The stark reality, if TEPCO’s plan is realized, is that nearly all of the spent fuel at the Da-Ichi containing some of the largest concentrations of radioactivity on the planet will remain indefinitely in vulnerable pools. TEPCO wants to store the spent fuel from the damaged reactors in the common pool, and only to resort to dry, cask storage when the common pool’s capacity is exceeded.”

Concerns Mount Over Spent Fuel Growing Threat, posted by dun renard,, May 8, 2012, originally by Vladimir Slivyak,Bellona, May 6, 2012

“Stabilizing the vast stockpile of spent nuclear fuel that remains at the site is an issue of critical urgency, says a joint petition that nuclear experts, politicians, and environmentalists from 72 Japanese ecological groups addressed on May 1 to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, requesting that the UN lend its weight in organizing and coordinating an immediate international response to address the risk.”

“…Robert Alvarez, who is a leading American nuclear safety expert and a former senior policy adviser to the US Energy Department’s secretary, believes the nuclear waste in the cooling pond at Unit 4 contains ten times the amount of radioactive cesium that was blown into the atmosphere when Reactor 4 exploded at Ukraine’s Chernobyl in 1986 – making an accident involving this spent fuel pool potentially nearly ten times as devastating as the Chernobyl disaster.”

“Altogether, ‘nearly all of the 10,893 spent fuel assemblies at the Fukushima Daiichi plant sit in pools vulnerable to future earthquakes, with roughly 85 times more long-lived radioactivity than released at Chernobyl,’ the petition says.”

Nuclear Engineer Arnie Gundersen: Fukushima Meltdown Could Result in 1 Million Cases of Cancer
Democracy Now interview with Arnie Gundersen, March 12, 2012

At 57:23, speaking of the Mark I nuclear plant design, [of which Fukushima was one], Gundersen says, “…the fuel is stored on the roof in unshielded unprotected areas…” “…There is more nuclear Cesium 137 [half life of 30 years] in the fuel pool of the plant in Pilgrim, Massachusetts [Mark I design] than was ever released from every nuclear bomb ever exploded in the atmosphere.”

Wyden Discusses a Recent Onsite Tour of Fukushima, Japan & Recovery Efforts , April 17, 2012

Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), appeared on MSNBC’s The Daily Rundown to discuss a recent onsite tour of what remains of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facilities decimated by last year’s earthquake and subsequent tsunami.

Wyden, a senior member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, sent a letter to Japanese Ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki looking for ways to advance and support clean-up and recovery efforts. Wyden’s principal concern is the relocation of spent fuel rods currently being stored in unsound structures immediately adjacent to the ocean. He strongly urged the Ambassador to accept international help to prevent dangerous nuclear material from being released into the environment.

Fukushima…radiation so high – even robots not safe , Thom Hartmann on,  April 1, 2012

Fukushima – Could it Have a China Syndrome?, Arnie Gundersen,, [Older video, 12/14/2011, but the water problem is still happening.]
Arnie Gundersen explains how far melted fuel would probably go (probably not cause a steam explosion) but how contaminated cooling water is leaking into ground water and into the Pacific ocean, water which includes uranium and plutonium that last 10,000’s of years.


Older video, Sept 2011, but good sum up of lies TEPCO and Japanese government said and the truths they didn’t tell at the time of the disaster.

End of the Rule of Law


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Update: March 4, 2012

Goodbye, First Amendment: ‘Trespass Bill’ will make protest illegal,, Feb. 29, 2012


“The House of Representatives approved a bill on Monday that outlaws protests in instances where some government officials are nearby, whether or not you even know it. The US House of Representatives voted 388-to-3 in favor of H.R. 347 late Monday [the US Senate already passed the bill on February 6.], a bill which is being dubbed the “Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011.’ ”

“The new legislation allows prosecutors to charge anyone who enters a building without permission or with the intent to disrupt a government function with a federal offense if Secret Service is on the scene…Under the law, any building or grounds where the president is visiting — even temporarily — is covered, as is any building or grounds “restricted in conjunction with an event designated as a special event of national significance.

“Covered under the bill is any person protected by the Secret Service. Making it a federal offense to even accidentally disrupt an event attended by a person with such status essentially crushes whatever currently remains of the right to assemble and peacefully protest.”

“In the text of the act, the law is allowed to be used against anyone who knowingly enters or remains in a restricted building or grounds without lawful authority to do so, but those grounds are considered any area where someone — rather it’s President Obama, Senator Santorum or Governor Romney — will be temporarily visiting, whether or not the public is even made aware. Entering such a facility is thus outlawed, as is disrupting the orderly conduct of “official functions,” engaging in disorderly conduct “within such proximity to” the event or acting violent to anyone, anywhere near the premises. Under that verbiage, that means a peaceful protest outside a candidate’s concession speech would be a federal offense…”

“When thousands of protesters are expected to descend on Chicago this spring for the 2012 G8 and NATO summits, they will also be approaching the grounds of a National Special Security Event. That means disruptive activity, to whichever court has to consider it, will be a federal offense under the act.”

March 1, 2012

This Website is a Belligerant Act,, Dec. 31, 2011


“Can the US government now proclaim that the constitutionally protected act of protest against the government is a ‘belligerent act’ and legally lock up those who participate in such a protest?”

“For the purposes of defining what a ‘belligerent act’ is, with respect to a US citizen, how does the government differentiate between an act of war against the United States vs. a lawful protest against the government? Prior to this Act, such a distinction would have to be decided in a court of law by a jury of a citizen’s peers. With the signing of the NDAA, the government is claiming the right to decide this unilaterally, without any judicial proceedings and no legal representation afforded to the accused. Does that sound like a government of the people, by the people, and for the people? ”

“The primary founding principle of the United States is that of the Rule of Law. Rule of Law does not mean ‘rule’ as in the rules of a game. Rule of Law means that, rather than being ruled by the arbitrary dictates of a powerful man, we are ruled, each of us, by a common set of laws that are the same for everyone, everywhere, all the time. These laws are agreed upon through a public democratic process and they are written down for everyone to see. The Constitution of the United States is the basis of all US law and it lays out the essential precepts of the Rule of Law.”

“Under the Rule of Law and under the Constitution, citizens of the United States are presumed innocent until deemed guilty of a crime by a jury of their peers. Under the Rule of Law and under the Constitution, no citizen of the United States can be incarcerated without recourse to legal counsel and the justice system in a timely manner. These principles are what separate the Rule of Law from dictatorship. It is precisely the inability of powerful men to impose their will arbitrarily on the less powerful that makes Rule of Law mean RULE of LAW.

“Think it doesn’t really matter and that protesting this act is alarmist and paranoid? It may not matter in practice in this moment, but when principle is compromised in a nation founded on principle, then what is left of that nation?”

The NDAA: a clear and present danger to American liberty, by Naomi Wolf, The Guardian, Feb. 29, 2012


“The US is sleepwalking into becoming a police state, where, like a pre-Magna Carta monarch, the president can lock up anyone…And with a new bill now being introduced to make it a crime to protest in a way that disrupts any government process – or to get close to anyone with secret service protection – the push to legally lock down the United Police States is in full force.”

“Overstated? Let’s be clear: the NDAA grants the president the power to kidnap any American anywhere in the United States and hold him or her in prison forever without trial. The president’s own signing statement, incredibly, confirmed that he had that power. As I have been warning since 2006: there is not a country on the planet that you can name that has ever set in place a system of torture, and of detention without trial, for an “other”, supposedly external threat that did not end up using it pretty quickly on its own citizens. ”

“As former Reagan official, now Ron Paul supporter, Bruce Fein points out, on 1 March, we won’t just lose the bill of rights; we will lose due process altogether. We will be back at the place where we were, in terms of legal tradition, before the signing of the Magna Carta – when kings could throw people in prison at will, to rot there forever.”

“If we had cared more about what was being done to brown people with Muslim names on a Cuban coastline, and raised our voices louder against their having been held without charge for years, or against their being tried in kangaroo courts called military tribunals, we might now be safer now from a new law mandating for us also the threat of abduction and fear of perpetual incarceration.”

“He [Shahid Buttar] points out that it gives future presidents the power to arrest their political critics. That may even be understating things: it is actually, in my view, the worst threat to civil liberty in the US since habeas corpus was last suspended, during the American civil war.”

“What will happen next? I wrote recently that the US is experiencing something like a civil war, with only one side at this point – the corporatist side – aggressing. This grassroots, local-leader movement represents a defensive strategy in what is being now tacitly recognized as unprovoked aggression against an entire nation, and an entire people…The local resistance to the police state goes further: midwestern cities, such as Chicago and Minneapolis, are considering “torture-free city” resolutions that would prohibit the torture which civil libertarians see as likely under a military detention regime expanded by the NDAA.”

Stop The NDAA : sign to send letters to your Congresspeople to support the lawsuit against the President. Support Chris Hedges, Noam Chomsky, Daniel Ellsberg, and Birgitta Jonsdottir in suing the United States Government to stop the implementation of the NDAA – It’s set to take effect on March 1, 2012.

NDAA Is Now In Effect, And Many Are Terrified, David Seaman,, March 1, 2012


“But wait… Obama signed a new ‘policy directive’ which fixes the problem, right? Well, actually no. Don’t fall for the PR ploy.”

“As RT explained yesterday, ‘The signing could indeed bring a cease to the requirementof military detainment for alleged adversaries of America, a requirement that is authorized under Section 1022 of the act. It does not, however, squash the indefinite detention without trial provision of Section 1021, nor does it negate the fact that the US government has already allowed itself to approve a nasty legislation that denounces the civil liberties of every American and has marred the administration of a president who campaigned on upholding constitutional rights. ”

Obama Can Now Imprison You For Life WITHOUT Trial Or Charges: David Seaman on RT discussing the NDAA

“Obama’s ‘waiver’ and new ‘policy directive’ released yesterday in response to growing NDAA outrage unfortunately is a PR ploy, and does little to mitigate the real danger to our civil liberties posed by the NDAA’s indefinite detention provisions. Those in Congress who voted for NDAA must be peacefully removed from office via one-time special recall, or voted out.”

This Website is a Belligerent Act

The Sleeping Giant Stirs


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Update: Feb 29, 2012

Barack Obama Waives Rule Allowing Indefinite Military Detention Of Americans, by Michael McAuliff,, Feb 28, 2012


“The White House released rules Tuesday evening waiving the most controversial piece of the new military detention law, and exempting U.S. citizens, as well as other broad categories of suspected terrorists.”

” ‘It is important to recognize that the scope of the new law is limited,’ says a fact sheet released by the White House, focusing on that worry. ‘Section 1022 does not apply to U.S. citizens, and the President has decided to waive its application to lawful permanent residents arrested in the United States.’ ”

“Advocates for liberties will likely find the new rules for implementing reassuring, at least while President Obama is in office. But one of their big complaints with his signing of the law is that his policies only last so long as he is in office, and they will likely step up attempts to repeal it.”

“The rules also set out for the first time how they will be implemented, specifying that if local law enforcers suspect they’ve grabbed someone who would be covered under the law, they have to notify the Department of Justice. While law enforcers continue their work, the notification sets off an extensive review culminating in a decision by the attorney general, secretary of state, secretary of defense, secretary of homeland security, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the director of national intelligence.”

“Three of the bill’s lead Republican sponsors, Sens. John McCain (Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), cautioned that Obama may be undercutting their intentions for the measure.

” ‘Although we have not been able to fully examine all the details of these new regulations, they raise significant concerns that will require a hearing in the Senate Armed Services Committee,’ they said in a joint statement. ‘We are particularly concerned that some of these regulations may contradict the intent of the detainee provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act passed by Congress last year.’ All three senators were adamant that all terrorism suspects — American citizens or otherwise — should be taken into military custody.”

Obama Issues Waivers on Military Trials, by Charlie Savage, New York Times,, Feb. 28, 2012


“The rule [NDAA detention provisions], imposed by Congress, applies only to a narrow category of terrorism suspects: those who are not American citizens, who are deemed to be part of Al Qaeda or its allies and who are suspected of participating in a terrorist plot against the United States or its allies. ”

“The White House prepared the waivers as part of required guidelines instructing the executive branch on how to put the new rule into effect. The waivers would apply, according to the guidelines, to any case in which officials believed that placing a detainee in military custody could impede counterterrorism cooperation with the detainee’s home government or interfere with efforts to secure the person’s cooperation or confession. ”

“Even with the exceptions, a senior administration official familiar with the procedures stressed that the mandate meant that executive branch officials would be forced for the first time to consider transferring a newly arrested terrorism suspect to military custody. That could expose the government to greater public scrutiny whenever it decided against the military option. ”

“The sweeping scope of the waivers outlined by the administration could reopen the debate over whether to handle noncitizen terrorism suspects as wartime prisoners rather than as criminal defendants. ”

“All six members of an interagency national security team must agree before a prisoner is transferred to military custody, effectively giving any of them veto power over complying with the mandate. In addition, even if all six agree that a prisoner should be transferred to the military, the director of the F.B.I. must agree that the timing is right. ”

Obama lays out detention rules for al Qaeda suspects, Jeremy Pelofsky and Laura MacInnis,, Feb. 28, 2012


“Under the directive, al Qaeda suspects arrested by U.S. law enforcement for waging attacks against American interests would not necessarily be held by the Pentagon under several scenarios, including if foreign governments refuse to hand them over to U.S. military control.”

“Other exceptions would include if the person were a U.S. permanent legal resident or if transferring them to military custody would hurt the chances of obtaining a confession or cooperation from the terrorism suspect.”

“The president’s directive also gave the attorney general permission to make additional waivers on a case-by-case basis in consultation with other national security officials.”

Obama sidesteps terror suspect law, World News,,  Feb. 29, 2012


“…Obama appeared to be following through on a commitment to not uphold parts of the rule, particular those which could pave the way for the indefinite detention of US citizens without trial.”

“The December law revived debate over the complicated legal thicket surrounding the treatment of terror suspects and over rules hurriedly drawn up by the previous Bush administration after the September 11 attacks in 2001.”

“The directive is aimed in part at preventing a disruption of terror investigations conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”

“Obama specifically waived the NDAA requirements for US citizens and permanent residents, as well as anyone arrested by a federal agency in the US, such as the FBI, or by state or local law enforcement…Obama’s waivers were released one day before the US Senate convenes a hearing on the law’s military detention previsions.”

Feinstein aims to blunt provisions of detainee law, by Carolyn Lochhead,, Feb. 29, 2012


“The California Democrat [Feinstein]has argued that the detainee provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act are a contemporary version of a World War II executive order that sent about 110,000 Japanese Americans to relocation camps throughout California and the West in what is considered one of the most shameful episodes in U.S. history. ”

“Feinstein will chair a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on a bill she is sponsoring, the Due Process Guarantee Act, that would change the detainee portions of the law that the president signed in December. The bill has 24 co-sponsors including four Republicans, Mark Kirk of Illinois, Mike Lee of Utah, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Jerry Moran of Kansas.”

“Feinstein’s allies among civil rights organizations praised her effort but said her bill is too limited. They want full repeal of the detainee provisions, as a House bill by GOP presidential contender and Texas Rep. Ron Paul would do. The Feinstein bill would protect citizens and permanent legal residents from indefinite military detention but not tourists, business travelers, illegal residents and anyone who is not a citizen or green-card holder. ”

” ‘Sen. Feinstein has been a true hero in fighting back against the NDAA,’ said Chris Anders, legislative director of the American Civil Liberties Union. But he said the bill ‘still needs some more work to meet the goals of explicitly blocking indefinite detention without charge or trial in the United States and ending illegal indefinite detention worldwide.’ ”

Update: Feb. 28, 2012

Live, from the Senate Judiciary Committee, it’s Dianne Feinstein! (Chairing the committee)

DATE: February 29, 2012
TIME: 10:00 AM
ROOM: Dirksen 226

See webcast of meeting here:

“The Due Process Guarantee Act: Banning Indefinite Detention of Americans”

Senate Judiciary Committee, Full Committee

Here’s something else you can do: Via ACLU, send your Congress people a message to fix the NDAA!

Tell Congress: Fix the NDAA, the American Civil Liberties Union, [sign letter to your Congresspeople at above link. ]

Will Congress Finally Start to Clean Up the Mess It Made With the NDAA?, by Chris Anders, Washington Markup, ACLU, Feb. 28, 2012

Update, Feb 27, 2012

Critics of Indefinite Detention Gain Traction to Stop NDAA, by Adam Klasfeld, Courthouse News Service, Feb. 27, 2012


“A hearing to block the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, which allows the U.S. military to indefinitely detain, without charge or trial, anybody accused of planning or supporting terrorism anywhere in the world, may occur as early as Thursday, a federal judge ruled.”

“…Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges filed a lawsuit against Obama and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, claiming that the law threatens reporters with life imprisonment for interviewing people whom the United States classifies as terrorists.”

“Hedges’ lawyers must give the defendants 72-hours’ notice before seeking a temporary restraining order, which the parties may argue as early as Thursday…”

” ‘How is it that we can have local elected officials and state elected officials who can see this act clearly for what it is, and we have only a handful of congressmen and senators that do?’ [Jason] Overstreet said during the [phone] conference.”

“Peggy Littleton, the Republican commissioner of El Paso County, joined the call from an Air Force base where she reported many soldiers are alarmed about the law. ‘They can’t imagine being put in a position to take away a person’s habeus corpus rights’…”

“Without a temporary restraining order, the NDAA will go into effect on Saturday, according to an article Hedges wrote for”

“In her book ‘The End of America,’ [Naomi] Wolf proposed that there are 10 steps to the subversion of democracies.  NDAA represents the final step outlined in the book, ‘Suspend the rule of law’… ‘once governments can take people in without charge or trial, journalists aren’t safe…Union leaders aren’t safe. Clergy aren’t safe. Activists aren’t safe. Nobody’s safe.  Other governments likely would follow suit.'”

The costs of US counter-terrorism policy, Gabor Rona, Human Rights First, Feb. 27, 2012

Fordham Law School conference: “The Economics of Terrorism,” Friday, February 24, 2012


“There are four choices to be made about how suspected terrorists are handled: extrajudicial killing, prosecution in federal court, prosecution by military commission and indefinite detention without trial.”

“These governments, rightly or wrongly, (rightly, I think) also believe that Guantanamo-style indefinite detention without trial and trial by military commission are incompatible with international law, including the law of armed conflict and human rights law. They withhold intel and they decline to transfer terrorism suspects to the US so long as these policies and practices remain in effect. Just recently, an appeals court in Canada denied US extradition request for a terrorism suspect because of incompatibilities between Canadian human rights obligations and US detention policies. ”

“The cost is not only to cooperation between governments. Guantanamo, military commissions, targeted killings, and Abu Ghraib’s power to recruit disaffected individuals to the anti-American cause is clear. Those who understand the tribal structure of places like northern Pakistan and Yemen are absolutely clear that a drone attack on one terrorist creates five more, and a drone attack that kills one woman or child can create a dozen more.”

“Defenders of the military model uniformly fail to acknowledge that the US code contains a war crimes law, which provides for jurisdiction in our tried and true Article 3, federal courts.”

“The annual cost of detaining an individual in Federal prison: $27,251. The annual cost of detaining an individual in Guantanamo:     $800,000.”

[National Lawyers guild] NLG condemns NDAA provisions on indefinite detention, Dec. 27, 2011


“The National Lawyers Guild adds its voice to the many others who oppose this legislation. Our opposition is not based solely on the fact that this bill allows indefinite detention of US citizens and residents or that the presumed “battlefield” encompasses the entire globe. We oppose indefinite detention without trial because it is immoral and cruel and because it violates the U.S. Constitution and international law.”

“Our principled opposition is based on the:

1.         United States Constitution’s Article 1, Section 9, Clause 2 which enshrines the privilege to petition for habeas corpus;

2.         United States Constitution’s Article 3, Section 3 which provides those charged with treason heightened due process protections;

3.         United States Constitution’s Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable seizure;

4.         United States Constitution’s Fifth Amendment prohibition of deprivations of liberty without due process;

5.         United States Constitution’s Sixth Amendment right to a speedy and public trial, to knowledge of the charges, to the assistance of counsel and to confront witnesses;

6.         Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which the United States has signed, and which holds that ‘no one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile’ (Article 9); those who are arrested are entitled to a fair and public hearing by an impartial tribunal (Article 10), and all those charged with a penal offense are presumed innocent, and have the right to a public trial and all of the guarantees necessary for a defense (Article 11); and

7.         International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which the United States has ratified, and which provides in article 9 (1): ‘Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention. No one shall be deprived of his liberty except on such grounds and in accordance with such procedure as are established by law.’ ”

“The laws of war do not override these rights. International humanitarian law, set forth in the Geneva Conventions, applies to all battlefield hostilities, including illegal wars. The current ‘war on terror’ is an undeclared war without end, waged everywhere on Earth. Indefinite detention for the duration of such a ‘war’ is an immoral act of extreme injustice that makes a mockery of the idea that prisoners of war may be held only until the end of hostilities. ”

NDAA Protest, Feb. 3, 2012 Ralph Lopez

More NDAA responses and related news

And now also Utah!

Currently, eight states have varying levels of legislation aimed at nullifying the NDAA, National Defense Authorization Act, refusing to acknowledge its influence  in their state. Virginia’s legislation passed the House 96-4. The other states  with introductory legislation are: Tennessee, Washington, Arizona, Oklahoma, Maryland and Missouri. Other actions in states are: Alaska (State Supreme Court case) and Montana (recall effort).

Local resolutions have also been adopted at the town and county level, refusing to allow the detention provisions to be observed in their jurisdictions. Towns and counties adopting resolutions are: El Paso County, CO, Fremont County, CO, town of Fairfax, CA, Weld County, CO, town of Macomb, NY, town of New Shoreham, RI (and Block Island, RI), and city of Northampton, MA.

National Campaign Organizes to Overturn Provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act that Empowers Government to Indefinitely Detain American Citizens [Interview with Shahid Buttar, executive director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee],  by Melinda Tuhus, Between The Lines, 22 Feb, 2012


“The fact of the matter is that even for U.S. citizens within the U.S., the NDAA does in fact authorize detention without trial, particularly because the existing authorities – particularly the Authorization of Use of Military Force (AUMF) in Afghanistan – has already been used to assert that power.

“What the NDAA does is codify what used to be a unilateral executive assertion applied to two Americans over the last ten years and then creates a statutory framework that can now be applied to anyone. You might think of the NDAA as the bill that extends Guantanamo beyond Guantanamo into the domestic U.S. and across our country, giving any future president the authority, essentially, to round up political opposition without allowing people a day in court to prove their innocence.”

“…the AUMF contemplated a very specific set of actions, that is to say, the invasion of Afghanistan. It did not encompass any of the things that presidents from both political parties have shoehorned onto it…The NDAA builds a much bigger hook for any executive to interpret his powers very expansively in the future. ”

“… on Dec. 15, Bill of Rights Day, there were 30 different cities in which grassroots actions along the lines of marches, rallies, took place opposing the NDAA. None of them – not a single one – nor the 30 together got any press conference. It’s the closest thing I’ve seen to a coordinated media blackout of any subject matter I’ve ever seen…”

“The first of the resolutions rejecting the NDAA came from a county in Colorado [El Paso County] that encompasses the Air Force Academy, and it’s red, white and blue patriotism straight through and through. It says these are not the principles that our armed services fought and died to defend.”

“…the libertarian right, and progressive sectors of our society – people of color, peace and justice activists, the Occupy movements – and the Tea Party chapters and the Campaign for Liberty and the Tenth Amendment Center are coming together around this set of principles that are so fundamental, so deeply engrained and enmeshed that they constitute what America has long been known for.”

ACLU sues US over extrajudicial killings of Americans,, feb 3, 2012


“… the ACLU writes that ‘the Obama administration has released very little information about the practice — its official position is that the targeted killing program is a state secret …’ ”

“The ACLU was demanding that the government release documents pertaining to a September drone strike that executed alleged al-Qaeda member Anwar al-Awlaki, a US-citizen. Samir Khan, also a US citizen, was reportedly killed in the same strike in Yemen. Two weeks later, Awlaki’s 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman, was also believed to be killed in a strike carried out by the Joint Special Operations Command. Both blood kin were born in the United States.”

“The ACLU demanded in October that the FBI, DOJ and CIA explain the executions of three US citizens, who were killed without ever being brought to trial. The CIA had placed the older al-Awlaki on a “kill or capture” list a year earlier per orders from President Obama, but had never brought any charges against him.

“Asked this week on CBS’ 60 Minutes of how a terror suspect makes it to the list, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta explained, ‘the President of the United States has to sign off and he should.’

Bill to put 30,000 drones in American skies by 2020 worries many by Jenn Morrill, Salt Lake City Independent Examiner,, Feb. 8, 2012

FBI Enlists Internet Café Owners to Spy on Customers, by Linda Lewis,, Feb 6, 2012


“…even the government cannot monitor everything Americans do—not directly, anyway.  Thus, it created the Communities Against Terrorism (CAT) program to enlist your friendly local businesses as spies for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).”

“The government’s flyer designates people as suspicious if they “always pay cash” at an internet café. That’s a jaw-dropping assumption considering that we’re talking about businesses that sell $2 cups of joe, not $600 airline tickets. Good luck paying with a credit card for a purchase under $10.”

“If you engage in these or any other ‘suspicious’ activities listed on CAT flyers, businesses are encouraged to ‘gather information’ about you, including ‘license plates, vehicle description, names used, languages spoken, ethnicity, etc.’  ”

“If the FBI cannot distinguish between legitimate computer use and credible evidence of terrorist activities, it cannot zero in on genuine threats.”

“I Am Not a Terrorist!”


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Feb. 10, 2012

The American people are beginning to wake up to the reality that with the passage of the NDAA, their own Congress, both Democrats and Republicans,  has declared “war” on them;  their country has been defined a “battlefield.”

Under the guise of protecting freedom, Congress ignored the Bill of Rights and voted to expressly allow US citizens to be detained by the military, at the discretion of the President, without accusation, lawyer, trial, or jury, taking away the very freedoms they were attempting to secure.

There is no other way to look at it- until the NDAA detention provisions are repealed, Americans will be living under a government that is not acting in accordance with its own Constitution. Each citizen will have to decide for him or herself what form of government that is.

Tyranny: an absolute ruler unrestrained by law or Constitution”

Recent responses to NDAA: “I Am Not a Terrorist!”-graffitist, Boise, Idaho

Man pleads guilty to spray painting federal building, by Jaclyn Brandt, KIVI-TV, Boise, Idaho, Feb 9, 2012


“He spray-painted the words “FU 1867 I’m not a terrorist” on the East, North and West windows, and “FU 1867 NDAA I’m not a terrorist” on the South windows.”

“The case was investigated by the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Protective Service.”

Marin County Board of Supervisors’ letter to Dianne Feinstein re: S2003 and NDAA, Feb. 7, 2012


“Indefinite detention without due process leaves citizens without the legal protection of the United States Constitution and serves to diminish some of the most basic protections Americans have relied upon since the founding of our republic.”

“The Bill of Rights intentionally provides checks on the government’s power over its citizens. That is not a weakness in our legal system; it is the very strength of our system. We therefore support your efforts [S.2003, Due Process Guarantee Act of 2011] to ensure that a Congressional authorization for the use of military force does not authorize the indefinite detention without trial or charge of American citizens who are apprehended domestically.”

Fairfax Town Council Passes Anti-Defense Act Resolution, by Michael Rock, San Anselmo-Fairfax Patch, Feb. 7, 2012


“NDAA could allow for indefinite detention without trial of any person, including US citizens. The FBI Director, the Defense Secretary, the Department of Defense, and many of our nation’s generals, admirals, and service men and women have opposed the NDAA’s detention provisions.”

“The town of Fairfax has an extensive history of protecting its residents’ civil rights and liberties embodied in its rejection of the USA PATRIOT Act, which led hundreds of other municipalities across the nation to emulate our example.”

Text of Resolution 12-11: A Resolution of the Town Council of the Town of Fairfax objecting to the Military Detention Provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act, adopted Feb. 1, 2012.


“WHEREAS, the Constitution of the United States is the foundation of our nation’s rights and freedom, and the basis of our representative democracy; and…

“WHEREAS the indefinite military detention of any person without trial violates the 5th and 6th amendments of the Constitution of the United States, Article III of the Constitution of the United States, and the Posse Comitatus Act; and

“WHEREAS the NDAA corrodes the ideals of presumed innocence and right to a fair trial on which our nation was founded, and which generations of activists and military servicemen and women have fought to preserve; and…

“BE IT RESOLVED that the Fairfax Town Council does hereby declare that we…instruct all our Town of Fairfax agencies to decline requests by Federal agencies acting under detention powers granted by the NDAA that could infringe upon residents’ freedom of speech, religion, assembly, privacy or rights to counsel…

“…Expect all Federal and State law enforcement officials acting within the Town of Fairfax to work in accordance with local law, and in cooperation with the Fairfax Police Department, by allowing any detainees among Fairfax’s residents or visitors access to a trial, counsel and due process, as provided by Article III of the Constitution of the United States…”

Anniversaries from ‘UnHistory, by Noam Chomsky, Nation of Change, Feb. 7, 2012


“In three years we may – or may not – commemorate another event of great contemporary relevance: the 900th anniversary of the Magna Carta.
“This document is the foundation for what historian Margaret E. McGuiness, referring to the Nuremberg Trials, hailed as a ‘particularly American brand of legalism: punishment only for those who could be proved to be guilty through a fair trial with a panoply of procedural protections.’ “
“The Great Charter declares that ‘no free man’ shall be deprived of rights ‘except by the lawful judgment of his peers and by the law of the land.’ The principles were later broadened to apply to men generally. They crossed the Atlantic and entered into the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, which declared that no ‘person’ can be deprived of rights without due process and a speedy trial.”

“A further step in undermining the principles of the Magna Carta was taken when President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act, which codifies Bush-Obama practice of indefinite detention without trial under military custody.”

“Such treatment is now mandatory in the case of those accused of aiding enemy forces during the ‘war on terror,’ or optional if those accused are American citizens.”

“Many other examples illuminate the concept of ‘terrorist.’ One is Nelson Mandela, only removed from the terrorist list in 2008. Another was Saddam Hussein. In 1982 Iraq was removed from the list of terrorist-supporting states so that the Reagan administration could provide Hussein with aid after he invaded Iran.”

“Accusation is capricious, without review or recourse, and commonly reflecting policy goals – in Mandela’s case, to justify President Reagan’s support for the apartheid state’s crimes in defending itself against one of the world’s ‘more notorious terrorist groups’: Mandela’s African National Congress.”

San Diego Activists Slam Both Susan Davis and Duncan Hunter for Supporting the NNDA, San Diego Blogspot, Feb 5, 2012

Anti-NDAA protesters at Cong. Duncan Hunter’s office, Feb 3, 2012. Photo by Hugh Moore


“Several members of one of San Diego County tea party factions joined progressives at Hunter’s office site.  This reflects the fact that both sides of the political spectrum oppose the NDAA.”

“The action at Davis’ office was organized by a recently-formed coalition called Save the Bill of Rights. It consists of members of different progressive organizations, such as MoveOn San Diego, Occupy San Diego, the Movement for a Democratic Society, the Democratic Party, and Progressives for a Democratic America… The Ramona Forum – made up of progressives, independents and tea party members from that East County community – sponsored the action at Hunter’s office.”

“Another protest against the NDAA is planned for the State Democratic Party convention being held in San Diego next weekend [Sat. Feb 11].”

The NDAA and the Militarization of America, by Carl Mirra, Common Dreams, Feb. 10, 2012


“The NDAA, they[former federal judges Abner Mikva, William Sessions, and John Gibbons] write [in Beyond Guantanamo], ‘codifies methods such as indefinite detention without charge and mandatory military detention and make[s] them applicable to virtually anyone…including U.S. citizens.’ ”

“Congress could have stated something to the effect that, ‘Nothing in this act shall be construed as authorizing the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens.’ It did not. That a clear statement to protect U.S. citizens was defeated in favor of a contested one strongly suggests that the NDAA does not offer safeguards for citizens.”

“Even the president, then, admits that the “existing law” provision in 1021 (e) is subject to interpretation, rendering it vague to the point of being meaningless. Existing law is, at best, under dispute with respect to the detention of U.S. citizens. The president has, after all, already asserted his authority not only to detain citizens without trial, but to assassinate them as well.”

“Senator Carl Levin (D-MI), who drafted the NDAA, disclosed in a floor statement that the ‘existing law’ clause in section 1021 (e) fails to insulate citizens from detention without charge… Levin is referring to Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, a 2004 Supreme Court ruling that found there is “no bar” to indefinite detention of U.S. citizens as long as they are granted some limited habeas rights. Levin is arguing that it is the Supreme Court’s interpretation of “existing law,” not the NDAA’s, that permits indefinite detention.”

“Of special concern is the administration’s contention that “it is not possible” to define the “precise nature and degree of substantial support, or the precise characteristics of associated forces.” Since these undefined categories are now, verbatim, part of the NDAA, it opens the door for the indefinite detention of a category of people the government is unable to define. ”

Beyond Guantanamo, by Abner Mikva, William S. Sessions and John J. Gibbons, Chicago Tribune, Oct 7, 2011


“It is a fact that our criminal justice system is uniquely qualified to handle complex terrorism cases. Indeed, civilian courts have successfully overseen more than 400 terrorism-related trials, whereas military commissions have handled only six. While the use of military commissions may occasionally be appropriate under the Constitution, the Guantanamo military commissions remain subject to serious constitutional challenges that could result in overturned guilty verdicts.”

“We need access to proven instruments and methods in our fight against terrorism. Stripping local law enforcement and the FBI of the ability to arrest and gather intelligence from terrorism suspects and limiting our trial options is counterintuitive and could pose a genuine threat to our national security. Furthermore, an expanded mandatory military detention system would lead to yet more protracted litigation, infringe on law enforcement’s ability to fight terrorism on a local and state level, and invite the military to act as law enforcement within the borders of our states.”

[Abner Mikva is a former chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia and former counsel to President Bill Clinton. William S. Sessions is a former director of the FBI, federal judge in Texas and a member of the Constitution Project’s Liberty and Security Committee. John J. Gibbons is the former chief judge of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.]

The NDAA Makes it Harder to Fight Terrorism, by Brian Michael Jenkins, Foreign Affairs, Feb. 1, 2012


“The Senate rejected efforts to exclude U.S. citizens from indefinite detention. Instead, the bill states only that it will not alter existing law, but existing law on detention is not settled. President George W. Bush claimed that he had authority to indefinitely detain without bringing charges or bringing to trial José Padilla (a U.S. citizen arrested in Chicago) and Ali al-Marri (a legal permanent U.S. resident). Before the Supreme Court could hear the case challenging this assertion, however, the administration turned both individuals over to civilian courts.”

“…the United States has no separate prison system for terrorist suspects. In practice, indefinite detention (to which American citizens remain vulnerable under the new law) means military custody. The government held both Padilla and al-Marri in a Navy brig to keep them out of civilian custody. ”

“…the new legislation’s proponents see this process as inadequate. One of their principal arguments is that regular trials allow terrorist suspects to “lawyer up,” thereby depriving authorities of valuable information. The evidence indicates otherwise. Those arrested in the United States or returned there for trial have proved to be treasure troves of information. They can negotiate information for sentencing leniency or other considerations.”

Most recent State and Local Resolutions to nullify NDAA indefinite detention provisions prohibiting enforcement because they are unconstitutional:

Washington State




Fremont County, Colorado

Weld County, Colorado

[in addition to previous resolutions, statements or legal approach by Virginia, Montana (recall), Rhode Island, Alaska, El Paso County, Colorado]

Emerging movement encourages sheriffs to act as shield against federal tyranny, by Nancy Lofholm, The Denver Post, Feb. 12, 2012


“Online Constitutional Sheriffs materials state, ‘The sheriff’s position overrides any federal agents or even the arrogant FBI agents who attempt to assume jurisdiction in our cases.’ ”

“Colorado had the largest representation at this convention, along with California and Utah.”

“Elkhart County, Ind., Sheriff Brad Rogers told of chasing federal regulators out of his county after they repeatedly did inspections at an Amish dairy farm that was selling raw milk. He threatened to arrest the regulators if they tried to come back. ”

“El Paso County Commissioner Peggy Littleton, who attended with El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa, gave a presentation that took another tack. She told how her county recently passed a resolution to nullify the National Defense Authorization Act. She urged other counties to do the same. ”

Constitutional Sheriffs Conference Jan 29-31, 2012 (audio)

Stewart Rhodes, of Oathkeepers,  speaking from 1:18:29- 2:30:10, on NDAA.

NDAA & Obama: Defenders Are Wrong – Here’s Why, Young Turks, Jan 3, 2012

Rachel Maddow, “A Tale of two Speeches,”  analyzing President Obama’s speech on  “prolonged detention,” May 21, 2009

Text of show and speech, May 21, 2009 [note mistake at 3:52. Should read “To ensure that they are in law line with the rule of law.”]

Unalienable Rights v. Martial Law


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unalienable: adjective

…incapable of being alienated, surrendered or transferred, as in, unalienable rights. -Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” -Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776.

martial law: noun

1. the law temporarily imposed upon an area by state or national military forces when civil authority has broken down, or during wartime military operations.
2. the law imposed upon a defeated country or occupied territory by the military forces of the occupying power.
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A Response To Senator Carl Levin: Part II, by Jonathan Turley,, January 27, 2012


“While Sen. Carl Levin insisted the bill followed existing law ‘whatever the law is,’ the Senate specifically rejected an amendment that would exempt citizens and the Administration has opposed efforts to challenge such authority in federal court.”

“…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.” -NDAA

“…the language cited by Levin [above]has been ridiculed by civil libertarians as meaningless rhetoric designed to give members political cover after various members denounced the legislation as allowing indefinite detention of citizens.”

“The provision merely states that nothing in the provisions could be construed to alter Americans’ legal rights. Since the Senate clearly views citizens are not just subject to indefinite detention but even execution without a trial, the change offers nothing but rhetoric to hide the harsh reality.”

MTV Martial Law Commercial (2) – National Defense Authorization Act (S. 1867)

The Enemy Expatriation Act: Learn How Your Government Could Strip You of Your Citizenship If This Legislation Becomes Law, by Elaine Magliaro,, January 29, 2012


[quoting Ashley Protero, ‘Enemy Expatriation Act’ Could Compound NDAA Threat to Citizen RightsInternational Business Times, January 24, 2012] “EEA would allow the government to revoke Americans of their U.S. citizenship if they are accused or suspected of ‘engaging in, or purposefully or materially supporting, hostilities.’ The sparse amendment, which defines ‘hostilities’ as ‘any conflict subject to the laws of war,’ does not say which government body — say a military tribunal or a congressional panel — has the power to brand suspected persons as hostiles.” If EEA becomes law, our government “could potentially revoke the citizenship of anyone deemed to be supporting hostilities against the U.S., thereby subjecting him or her to the indefinite military detention provision of the NDAA.”

[quoting Ashley Portero]“…joining the military of a foreign state or engaging in ‘a conspiracy to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force’ the U.S. government are actions that can be interpreted as voluntarily renunciations of citizenship.”

The sponsors of the legislation argue that the Enemy Expatriation Act is constitutional. Their contention is that “citizens who engage in hostilities against the U.S. perform those acts with the intention of relinquishing their nationality.”

Nullify the NDAA: Virginia House Bill 1160: Virginia State Legislation to nullify NDAA, January 16, 2012

Excerpt: “Prevents any agency, political subdivision, employee, or member of the military of Virginia from assisting an agency or the armed forces of the United States in the investigation, prosecution, or detainment of a United States citizen in violation of the Constitution of Virginia.”

Model to Nullify the NDAA using State Legislatures, City Councils, and/or County Commissioners, by Tisha Casida,  [quoting model written by Blake Fillipi, The Rhode Island Liberty Coalition],, January 16, 2012


“Conscientious citizens, like you, must demonstrate to state and local governments that provisions of the NDAA are unconstitutional and antithetical to the United States, and that legislation nullifying the NDAA is required.

“It further provides that state/county/local officials and employees may not knowingly cooperate with an investigation or detainment of a United States citizen or lawful resident alien by, or by in-part, the Armed Forced of the United States. The Supremacy clause of the United States Constitution cannot overturn this provision because the Federal Government is not able to force state and local government officials to take affirmative acts, in this case, the cooperation with an investigation and/or detainment by the Armed Forced of the United States.”

“Next, the legislation goes one big step further and renders it unlawful for members of the Armed Forces of the United States to conduct investigations or detainments of United States citizens or lawful resident aliens. The Constitution’s Supremacy Clause may override this provision. However, the RILC takes the position that the Federal Government cannot shred the most fundamental portions of the Constitution through indefinite detainment without charge, including the rights to Habeas Corpus and Due Process, and then seek to utilize the same Constitution’s Supremacy Clause to legitimize those patently unconstitutional government acts.”

“Please be strategic about introducing NDAA nullification legislation. Build coalitions, talk to religious groups, tea party groups, the occupy movement, progressives and conservatives. Opposition to the NDAA transcends political parties and philosophies. Yet, local elected officials will be wary about the appearance of challenging the Federal Government. Your elected officials must have the community behind them in order to take the leap. ”

Petition to Supreme Court of Alaska to Block NDAA Indefinite Detention Provides Model for All States, by Monique Hairston & Liz Butler,, January 27, 2012


“Activist M. Riezinger-von Reitz and other unnamed Petitioners filed a petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus with the Supreme Court of the State of Alaska on December 20. She started the petition in response to the “indefinite detention without trial of American citizens” provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA 2012.

“The petition cites 16 specific grounds and calls upon the Court to issue the protective preemptive Writ and to refer over twenty named criminal charges including Seditious Conspiracy against the members of Congress who voted in favor of the USA Patriot Act and NDAA 2012. Ground 16 of the Petition exposes a long and well-documented history of federal government fraud and notes that America has been kept in a constant ‘state of emergency’ for almost 80 years.”

How to Reverse the Corporate Coup d’Etat: Chris Hedges and Lawrence Lessig discuss the Occupy movement, Citizens United and options for reform.

On January 20th, occupiers across the country rallied together in protest against the insidious influence of the corporations over the judiciary. Shortly before the rally in Foley Square, New York City, Lawrence Lessig and Chris Hedges met in front of Occupy TVNY’s cameras to discuss their vision of change.

Controversial Law Lays Waste to Much of the Bill of Rights, by Harold Pease,, January 23, 2012


“…even Americans could be removed to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, against their will and deprived of their constitutional rights. The law gives no protection from a revolving definition of terrorism to anti-government, perhaps even tea partyers or Occupy Wall Street folks. The threat of potential incarceration without recourse to a lawyer, judge and trial is very serious. The military performing police duty, heretofore rendered by civil authorities, is unconscionable in a free society.

“The writ of habeas corpus, found in Article 1, Section 9, recognized that someday war might exist on our soil and that the accused had rights that might have to be momentarily delayed until recognized civilian authority could reasonably attend to them. It allowed this delay in only two circumstances, ‘when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it.’ Section 9 is a list of powers specifically denied Congress; nor were they given to the president in Article 2. This strongly suggests no federal role outside these two parameters in the delay of justice — certainly no military role. The removal of any civilian role and the carting off of U.S. citizens to a foreign country without benefit of judge or jury obliterates this right.

“The Fourth Amendment deals with searches and seizures and reads in part ‘no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation.’ Warrants give civil authorities the power to arrest only when the reason for the search (probable cause) has been reviewed and authorized, normally by an elected judge, who has given an oath to uphold the Constitution. He stands between the plaintiff and the defendant as the protector of constitutional law. There is no role for the military even with a president’s authorization. Tell this to the young soldiers just following orders. Freedom dies when this amendment dies.”

Jailed forever without trial: It’s ‘1984’ in America, by Paul Metzger, attorney and former professor of law,, Jan 24, 2012


“With this law, one of the worst abuses of the 18th century has been revived. In 1789, the French revolution was partly a revolt against the widespread use of “lettres de cachet”. These were orders, issued by a minister of the king, bearing the royal seal, authorizing indefinite imprisonment of anyone named, without trial.
If Sections 1021 and 1022 sound remarkably like they resurrect the infamous lettres de cachet, you’re right.
So here we are in 21st-century America reverting to the worst practices of 18th-century autocracy. Our Constitution’s 1791 Bill of Rights was designed, among other things, to prevent the federal government from arresting anyone and holding him or her indefinitely without bail or trial. The bill’s provisions are very specific on these points.”

“In the U.S. today, the fundamental freedoms that have always defined our country are under open, wrongheaded attack in the name of national security. How well we succeed in preserving our liberties, even under the constant threat of terrorism, will ultimately define who we are as a people, and whether our country continues to proudly be “the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

‘I’m going to destroy America and dig up Marilyn Monroe’: British pair arrested in U.S. on terror charges over Twitter jokes, by Richard Hartley-Parkinson,, January 31, 2012


“Two British tourists were barred from entering America after joking on Twitter that they were going to ‘destroy America’ and ‘dig up Marilyn Monroe’.”

“The Department of Homeland Security flagged him as a potential threat when he posted an excited tweet to his pals about his forthcoming trip to Hollywood which read: ‘Free this week, for quick gossip/prep before I go and destroy America?'”

“After making their way through passport control at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) last Monday afternoon the pair were detained by armed guards.
Despite telling officials the term ‘destroy’ was British slang for ‘party’, they were held on suspicion of planning to ‘commit crimes’ and had their passports confiscated.”

ACTA Signed By European Union; The Internet is now on full alert, by Zach Walton,, January 26, 2012


“The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is a plurilateral international agreement which wants to set a “gold standard” for the enforcement of intellectual property rights. The Agreement will have major implications for freedom of expression, access to culture and privacy. It will also harm international trade and stifle innovation.”-European Digital Rights Group

“The EU and 22 member states signed the agreement today according to Wired.” [“ACTA — which is supported by many rights owners — has been met with widespread criticism from open rights activists, who argue that the legislation has been rushed through the legal system under the guise of being a trade agreement, when in fact it is a new copyright law. They also argue that it blurs the distinction between piracy and counterfeiting and that it criminalises copyright infringement when there are civil sanctions already.” –The EU signs up to Acta, but French MEP quits in protest,, January 26, 2012]

“The only five member states who have yet to sign the agreement are Cyprus, Germany, Estonia, Netherlands and Slovakia. They are expected to sign it soon though. Australia, Canada, South Korea, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore and the U.S. signed the agreement back in October 2011.”

“As we previously reported, the U.S. signing of the agreement is in direction violation of the Constitution as it requires any trade agreements, which ACTA is, to be approved by Congress before being signed by the president.”



“WHEREAS, the execution of parts of the NDAA may require members of the armed forces to violate their oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States,

WHEREAS, the supporters of the NDAA have said the NDAA will have the effect, and we believe it will have the effect, of allowing the President to treat the United States of America as if it was a “battlefield,” placing it under the “law of war,” and its citizens as if they were foreign enemies on a foreign “battlefield” subjecting them to the “law of war” and martial law, exactly like the people of occupied Iraq and Afghanistan are treated…

WHEREAS, granting the President the authority he would have over a foreign “battlefield,” for use against the American people, is unconstitutional and a violation of the federal government’s duty of allegiance to protect U.S. citizens and lawful resident aliens…


For the above and forgoing reasons, this Legislature expresses its belief that the NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2012 (NDAA) is unconstitutional in authorizing the President to use war powers, the “law of war,” and/or martial law in the United States and its territories over any person, including citizens or lawful resident aliens of the United States not in the military forces, and over citizens or lawful resident aliens of the United States,  who are not in the military forces, anywhere in the world.

FURTHER, the Legislature expresses its sense that all provisions of the NDAA which are unconstitutional, including as noted herein above, were and are null and void from their inception and are not enforceable in this state, and it is the express policy of state’s Legislature that no officer, employee, or agent of the state will implement, enforce or otherwise support, directly or indirectly, any of the above noted unconstitutional provisions, and that a violation of such policy will be deemed a violation of their oath of office and employment agreement, and will subject them to disciplinary action up to and including termination.

FURTHER, the Legislature recognizes its duty to interpose itself between unconstitutional usurpations by the federal government or its agents and the people of this state, as well as the duty to defend the unalienable natural rights of the people, all of which is consistent with the 9th and 10th Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, and with our oaths to defend the Constitution of the United States and the constitution of this state against all enemies, foreign and domestic…

RESOLUTION OF THE SHERIFF Against NDAA 2012, Rhodes & Fry, January 29 20121



For the above and forgoing reasons, I, (INSERT SHERIFF’S NAME), Sheriff of (INSERT COUNTY NAME) County, in the State of (INSERT STATE NAME) express my belief that the NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2012 (NDAA) is unconstitutional in authorizing the President to use war powers, and the “law of war,” and/or martial law in the United States and its territories over any person, including citizens or lawful resident aliens of the United States not in the military forces, and over citizens or lawful resident aliens of the United States who are not in the military forces, anywhere in the world.

“FURTHER, all provisions of the NDAA which are unconstitutional, including as noted herein above, were and are null and void from their inception and will not be implemented, enforced, or otherwise supported in this county, and it is the express policy of the Sheriff that no officer, employee, or agent of the Sheriff’s Office may implement, enforce or otherwise support, directly or indirectly, any of the above noted unconstitutional provisions including seizure, detention, or trial by the United States Armed Forces, and/or any other agents of the United States government, both foreign and domestic, of any person, including any United States citizen and/or lawful resident within this county, and that a violation of such policy will be deemed a violation of their oath of office and/or employment, and will subject them to discipline up to and including termination and potential arrest for assault, battery, kidnapping, unlawful detention, and other unconstitutional actions under the color of law.

“FURTHER, in keeping with my oath to defend the Constitution of the United States, and the Constitution of this state, against all enemies, foreign and domestic, I hereby express my commitment to interpose this office and stand in defense all persons including citizens and lawful residents of the United States within this county, against any and all attempts by the United States Armed Forces or any other agents of the United States government to subject the people to military force, military seizure, military detention, military trial, or to subject them to extraordinary rendition to any foreign country or entity. Such actions were among the causes of the necessity for taking up arms in the American Revolution, as is clearly stated in the Declaration of Independence…

More Responses to the NDAA


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More Responses to NDAA, National Defense Authorization Act

January 25, 2012

War makes for strange bedfellows. Both Democrats and Republicans voted FOR the NDAA and here’s how some Democrats and Republicans are acting AGAINST it.

Due Process Guarantee Act

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) has introduced S2003,  The Due Process Guarantee Act (full text of S 2003): “…to clarify that an authorization to use military force, a declaration of war, or any similar authority shall not authorize the detention without charge or trial of a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States and for other purposes.”

Representative John Garamendi (D-CA) has introduced a matching bill  HR 3702, Due Process Guarantee Act in the House.  Excerpt: “We must clarify existing law to guarantee the due process rights of every American. It is a foundational principle of our great nation that we are all innocent until proven guilty and that we all deserve a fair trial…”

Local Government Resolutions

El Paso County in Colorado Passes Resolution Nullifying the National Defense Authorization Act
Excerpts from the El Paso County, CO, Resolution to Preserve Habeas Corpus and Civil Liberties:

WHEREAS, Sections 1031 and 1032 (or any other wording as the bill is modified) of the 2011 United States Senate National Defense Authorization Act, Bill Number SB1867, as proposed, provide that in limited circumstances, an American citizen may be detained by our own United States government and by our Armed Forces, which detention could last, without trial until the end of the hostilities currently authorized by the Authorization for Use of Military Force…

“WHEREAS, Sections 1031 and 1032 (or any other wording as the bill is modified) of the National Defense Authorization Bill, SB 1867, jeopardize the fundamental rights of American citizens to remain free from detention without due process and the right to habeas corpus in direct contravention of the guarantees of the Bill of Rights and the United States and Colorado Constitutions…

“BE IT RESOLVED, the Board of County Commissioners of El Paso County, Colorado, is in opposition to Sections 1031 and 1032 of the United States Senate National Defense Authorization Act, and does hereby support the Colorado Constitution and the Constitution of the United States of America and all the freedoms and guarantees as guaranteed by our Founding Fathers and as provided by the brave efforts of the members of our Armed Forces…”

[Sections 1021 and 1022 in the new version of the bill were originally sections 1031 and 1032 in the old version of the bill.]

Repeal of NDAA, Section 1021

Representative Ron Paul (R-TX)  has introduced a bill to have Section 1021 of NDAA  repealed.

Ron Paul (R. TX)  says Section 1021 of the NDAA is so vague that it allows  for the detention of American citizens without trial. Excerpts of speech:

“Section 1021 essentially codifies into law the very dubious claim of presidential authority under 2001 authorization for the use of military force to indefinitely detain American citizens without access to legal representation or due process of law. Section 1021 provides for the possibility of the U.S. military acting as a kind of police force on U.S. soil apprehending terror suspects, including Americans, and whisking them off to an undisclosed location indefinitely, no right to attorney, no right to trial, no day in court. This is precisely the kind of egregious distortion of justice that Americans have always ridiculed in so many dictatorships overseas…

“Some have argued that nothing in Section 1021 explicitly mandates holding Americans without trial, but it employs vague language, radically expanding the detention authority to include anyone who has substantially supported certain terrorist groups or associated forces. No one has defined what those terms mean. What is an ‘associated force?’…

“Sadly, too many of my colleagues are too willing to undermine our Constitution to support such outrageous legislation. One senator [Senator (R- S.C.) Lindsay Graham] even said about American citizens being picked up under this section of the NDAA, ‘When they say I want a lawyer, you tell them, shut up! You don’t get a lawyer!’ Is this acceptable in someone who has taken an oath to uphold the Constitution?” -Jan. 18, 2012

Withdraw authorization from AUMF, Authorization for Use of Military Force, granted by Congress 14 Sept 2001

What Congress must do to Fix the Damage of NDAA, by Stewart Rhodes,, 19 January 2012.


“Right now, the President can claim that Congress has authorized him to use war powers and the laws of war against the American people, to kill them, detain them indefinitely, or to try them for pretended offenses against the laws of war.   To remove that supposed power, and stop it from being used on Americans, Congress MUST do the following:

  1. Repeal.  Repeal Section 1021 and 1022 of the NDAA, or at least amend it to clearly state that nothing therein applies to U.S. citizens or lawful residents…
  2. Deny authorization. Congress must clearly state that it does not authorize the President to use military force, military detention, or military trial against US citizens or lawful residents (and amend current laws, including the NDAA as needed to be consistent with that clear statement that Congress does not give such authorization).    Congress may need to say that any prior authorization, including within the 2001 AUMF, whether express or implied,  is hereby withdrawn, or state that Congress now clarifies that it did not intend such authorization in 2001…
  3. Prohibit use of the laws of war against Americans.  Clearly prohibit the use of military force, military detention, or military trial (except as to those Americans serving in the Armed forces) against any US citizen or lawful resident for any crime whatsoever, including any alleged violations of the laws of war.
  4. Mandate a trial for Treason, before a jury. Congress must clearly mandate that a US citizen or lawful resident who is suspected, accused, or even “determined” to be levying war against the United States, or committing any belligerent act, or to be aiding and abetting the enemy, must be indicted by a Grand Jury, pursuant to the 5th Amendment, for the crime of treason and must be tried for treason, before a jury of their peers (as required by Article III, Section 2 and by the 6th Amendment), in a civilian court, with a requirement of two witnesses to the same overt act or confession in open court before conviction, as required by Article III, Section 3.”

Refer to State and US Constitution

Representative Daniel Gordon’s (R-Rhode Island) statement on NDAA, 16 January, 2012:

“Given the fact that the constitutions of Rhode Island and that of the United States are replete with guarantees of individual liberties, right to habeas corpus, and right to freedom of speech, the offending sections of that law are repugnant to the sensibilities of anyone that has a basic understanding of the foundation of this country,”

“When I took the oath of office, I swore that I would support the constitutions of Rhode Island and the United States. And before one single constituent of mine is snatched up in the dead of night, without due process under our laws, they’ll have to pry those documents from my cold dead hands…”

Recall Members of Congress

Montana Launches Recall Efforts Against NDAA Supporters, by Raven Clabough, New American, 24 January 2012


“Montana is just one of nine states with constitutional provisions asserting the right to recall members of its congressional delegation for reasons including a violation of their oath of office…

The other eight states are Arizona, Colorado, Louisiana , Michigan, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, and Wisconsin.

“The draft language of Montana’s petition provides the following justifications for recalling the three men [Senator Max Baucus and Senator Jonathon Tester (Democrats) and Representative Denny Rehberg (Republican)]:
1. ‘The Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees all U.S citizens: a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed…’

2. The National Defense Authorization Act of 2011 (NDAA 2011) permanently abolishes the Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial, ‘for the duration of hostilities’ in the War on Terror, which was defined by President George W. Bush as a ”task which does not end’ to a joint session of Congress on September 20, 2001.

“And the recall petition specifically addresses the last-minute additional provision to the NDAA that was used to defend the rest of the bill and assert that the law would not be used against American citizens: 7. Section 1021 reads: ‘Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect existing law.’ But ‘existing law’ may be construed to refer to Padilla v. Rumsfeld in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, which upheld the government’s claim of authority to hold Americans arrested on American soil indefinitely.”

Refer to oath taken to the US Constitution

Oathkeepers: 10 orders we will not obey,, 3 March 2009


Oathkeepers: “…a non-partisan association of current and formerly serving military, reserves, National Guard, veterans, Peace Officers, and Fire Fighters…who support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic…our Oath is to the Constitution.”

3. We will NOT obey any order to detain American citizens as “unlawful enemy combatants” or to subject them to trial by military tribunal.

One of the causes of the American Revolution was the denial of the right to jury trial, the use of admiralty courts (military tribunals) instead, and the application of the laws of war to the colonists. After that experience, and being well aware of the infamous Star Chamber in English history, the Founders ensured that the international laws of war would apply only to foreign enemies, not to the American people. Thus, the Article III Treason Clause establishes the only constitutional form of trial for an American, not serving in the military, who is accused of making war on his own nation. Such a trial for treason must be before a civilian jury, not a tribunal.

The international laws of war do not trump our Bill of Rights. We reject as illegitimate any such claimed power, as did the Supreme Court in Ex Parte Milligan (1865). Any attempt to apply the laws of war to American civilians, under any pretext, such as against domestic “militia” groups the government brands “domestic terrorists,” is an act of war and an act of treason…

“7. We will NOT obey any order to force American citizens into any form of detention camps under any pretext…Whenever a government interns its own people, it treats them like an occupied enemy population…

“8. We will NOT obey orders to assist or support the use of any foreign troops on U.S. soil against the American people to “keep the peace” or to “maintain control” during any emergency, or under any other pretext. We will consider such use of foreign troops against our people to be an invasion and an act of war…

“During the American Revolution, the British government enlisted the aid of Hessian mercenaries in an attempt to subjugate the rebellious American people. Throughout history, repressive regimes have enlisted the aid of foreign troops and mercenaries who have no bonds with the people.

“Accordingly, as the militia of the several states are the only military force contemplated by the Constitution, in Article I, Section 8, for domestic keeping of the peace, and as the use of even our own standing army for such purposes is without such constitutional support, the use of foreign troops and mercenaries against the people is wildly unconstitutional, egregious, and an act of war…”

Some are going even further than NDAA:

Enemy Expatriation Act, EEA

‘Enemy Expatriation Act’ Could Compound NDAA Threat to Citizen Rights, by Ashley Portero, International Business Times, Business & Law, 24 Jan. 2012


“In October [2011], Rep. Charles Dent, R-Pa., and Sens. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., and Scott Brown, R-Mass., introduced a slight but powerful amendment to the Immigration and Nationality Act that gives the government the authority to strip a person of their American citizenship if that person is accused or suspected of supporting “hostilities” against the U.S…”

“If the amendment [EEA, S1698, HR 3166] became law, the government could potentially revoke the citizenship of anyone deemed to be supporting hostilities against the U.S., thereby subjecting him or her to the indefinite military detention provision of the NDAA…”

For more, see Action Alerts.

Standing Up To the NDAA



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January 18, 2012

 Responses to NDAA

Protesters march against Guantanamo and indefinite detainment 
Washington,DC, Jan 11, 2012 Photo by Andrew Courtney

1. Indefinite Detention of Citizens: A Response To Senator Carl Levin, by Jonathan Turley,, Jan 16, 2012

Yesterday, my column “10 Reasons The United States Is No Longer The Land Of The Free” ran in the Sunday Washington Post. I have been heartened by response to the column. However, a few commenters continue to suggest that the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) does not allow for the indefinite detention of citizens. This claim is being advanced by Senator Carl Levin (D., Mich.) in emails and fax messages to voters. I wanted to respond to Senator Levin’s points which are detached from language of the law and the clear intent of the majority of Senators. I would also like to address those who have stated that our liberties are not at risk when such powers will not affect most Americans.

I have previously explained why the claim by Sen. Levin is unfounded, as have others like the ACLU and commentators like Glenn Greenwald. The White House itself offered the spin to supporters in Congress, explaining why the President reneged on his pledge to veto the law. The White House is saying that changes to the law made it unnecessary to veto the legislation. That spin is facially ridiculous. The changes were the inclusion of some meaningless rhetoric after key amendments protecting citizens were defeated. The provision merely states that nothing in the provisions could be construed to alter Americans’ legal rights. Since the Senate clearly views citizens are not just subject to indefinite detention but even execution without a trial, the change offers nothing but rhetoric to hide the harsh reality. The exemption for American citizens from the mandatory detention requirement (section 1032) is the screening language for the real section, 1031, which offers no exemption for American citizens from the authorization to use the military to indefinitely detain people without charge or trial. Section 1031 only contains a meaningless provision stating “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.”

First, this provision was added after an amendment to exempt citizens was defeated by the Senate — legislative history that any court is likely to note in the interpretation of its meaning.

Second, the fact that the Senate put a clear exemption in the mandatory detention provision for citizens but opted not to simply include the same provision in the discretionary detention provision reinforces this meaning.

Third, after the exemption for citizens was defeated overwhelmingly, the same Senators who voted to deny any exemption proceeded to vote for this language — clearly indicating that it did not offer such protection for citizens.

Fourth, Levin and others are seeking to deny the authority that the President just acknowledged in his signing statement. Obama stated “I want to clarify that my Administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens.” He does not deny that he has such authority . . . only that he does not intend to use it.

Fifth, Levin admitted on the floor that it was the White House that insisted on eliminating the exemption for citizens — affirming that without such an exemption, citizens would be subject to such detention. In an exchange with Senator Udall, Levin stated:

Is the Senator familiar with the fact that it was the administration which asked us to remove the very language which we had in the bill which passed the committee, and that we removed it at the request of the administration that this determination would not apply to U.S. citizens and lawful residents? Is the Senator familiar with the fact that it was the administration which asked us to remove the very language, the absence of which is now objected to by the Senator from Illinois?

Sixth, many of the members at the time of passage voiced their understanding that the provision authorized the indefinite detention of citizens – including those who wanted such a power codified and those who opposed the power. For example, At least Senator Lindsey Graham was honest when he said on the Senate floor that “1031, the statement of authority to detain, does apply to American citizens and it designates the world as the battlefield, including the homeland.”

Seventh, the language that was ultimately put into the bill was standard cover language for Senators who knew that they would be criticized for voting for the law. Indeed, when Levin referred to the language, he insisted that it would merely permit what is already permitted by law “whatever it may be.” Of course, the White House has claimed the right to kill citizens on the president’s sole authority. The indefinite detention of citizens would seem the lesser included in such a greater. Moreover, the Senators refused to change the existing law by putting in an exemption for citizens. It is also worth noting that the White House has successfully opposed the right of citizens to present national security powers to federal courts for independent review. What is the “law” is often only the assertion of power by the President – unchecked by judicial review.

Levin has been hammered by civil libertarians and liberals over his role in passing this harmful law. His official Senate site now features a statement at the top. One of his financial supporters (who told me that he had declared that he will not to support Levin in the future due to the bill) sent me the following email from Levin’s office:

“The provisions on detention of terror suspects in the bill got more attention than all these other important priorities. The criticism of these provisions has usually been wildly inaccurate; if the bill did what some of its critics claim, I would have led the opposition. . . . It does not prohibit civilian trials for terror suspects. It does not strip the FBI and other civilian law enforcement agencies of their authority. It does not allow the military to make arrests on U.S. soil. It does not enact new authority to hold U.S. citizens without trial or charge. It does not provide for indefinite detention of citizens without access to civilian courts.”

Note the use of new authority. This is authority that has been claimed as being part of the President’s inherent authority — just as he claims the right to kill citizens. However, this law codifies new detention powers and the Senate expressly chose not to exempt citizens — and the President himself acknowledged the ability to indefinitely detain citizens in his pledge not to use it. Moreover, it was the duty of Levin and others to fight the passage of this law in the absence of an exemption, including fighting to use every power available from a filibuster to demanding a president veto. Instead, they took the political convenient approach and sought to excuse their act of constitutional nonfeasance behind this meaningless language.

I am hardly shocked that senators are not answering the criticism over this provision by being open about their failure to protect citizens. However, I continue to be amazed by comments on the Washington Post and this blog from citizens that we are not really losing any rights because most citizens are unlikely to be subject to these powers. It is disgraceful argument that only “those” people will be denied rights so I must remain free. Of course, since these are secret powers, you are not likely to know if you have been subject to surveillance or some other measures. More importantly, something is not a right if it is discretionary with your government to allow or to take away. By the time you find yourself denied of the right, it is too late to do anything about it. It is the same amoral logic described by pastor Martin Niemöller:

First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn’t speak out because I was Protestant.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

Thankfully are we not facing the type of horror faced by Niemöller, but the logic is the same: I do not need to object unless the government denies me a right.

The government always embraces abusive power by targeting the least popular among us. The test of patriotism is to fight for the values that define us. While people appear ready to protest over taxes against “big government,” some of the people often seem to remain silent in the face of the very abuses that the Framers sought to combat from indefinite detention to warrantless searches to assassination. The play on security as a rationale to limit freedom is nothing new. As Benjamin Franklin observed, “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

Jonathan Turley
Professor, George Washington U., (Complete Bio)

2. Why I’m Suing Barack Obama, by Chris Hedges,, Jan. 16. 2012

Attorneys Carl J. Mayer and Bruce I. Afran filed a complaint Friday in the Southern U.S. District Court in New York City on my behalf as a plaintiff against Barack Obama and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta to challenge the legality of the Authorization for Use of Military Force as embedded in the latest version of the National Defense Authorization Act, signed by the president Dec. 31.

The act authorizes the military in Title X, Subtitle D, entitled “Counter-Terrorism,” for the first time in more than 200 years, to carry out domestic policing. With this bill, which will take effect March 3, the military can indefinitely detain without trial any U.S. citizen deemed to be a terrorist or an accessory to terrorism. And suspects can be shipped by the military to our offshore penal colony in Guantanamo Bay and kept there until “the end of hostilities.” It is a catastrophic blow to civil liberties.

I spent many years in countries where the military had the power to arrest and detain citizens without charge. I have been in some of these jails. I have friends and colleagues who have “disappeared” into military gulags. I know the consequences of granting sweeping and unrestricted policing power to the armed forces of any nation. And while my battle may be quixotic, it is one that has to be fought if we are to have any hope of pulling this country back from corporate fascism.

Section 1031 of the bill defines a “covered person”—one subject to detention—as “a person who was a part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, including any person who has committed a belligerent act or has directly supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces.”

The bill, however, does not define the terms “substantially supported,” “directly supported” or “associated forces.”

I met regularly with leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza. I used to visit Palestine Liberation Organization leaders, including Yasser Arafat and Abu Jihad, in Tunis when they were branded international terrorists. I have spent time with the Revolutionary Guard in Iran and was in northern Iraq and southeastern Turkey with fighters from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party. All these entities were or are labeled as terrorist organizations by the U.S. government. What would this bill have meant if it had been in place when I and other Americans traveled in the 1980s with armed units of the Sandinistas in Nicaragua or the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front guerrillas in El Salvador? What would it have meant for those of us who were with the southern insurgents during the civil war in Yemen or the rebels in the southern Sudan? I have had dinner more times than I can count with people whom this country brands as terrorists. But that does not make me one.

Once a group is deemed to be a terrorist organization, whether it is a Palestinian charity or an element of the Uighur independence movement, the military can under this bill pick up a U.S. citizen who supported charities associated with the group or unwittingly sent money or medical supplies to front groups. We have already seen the persecution and closure of Islamic charity organizations in the United States that supported the Palestinians. Now the members of these organizations can be treated like card-carrying “terrorists” and sent to Guantanamo.

But I suspect the real purpose of this bill is to thwart internal, domestic movements that threaten the corporate state. The definition of a terrorist is already so amorphous under the Patriot Act that there are probably a few million Americans who qualify to be investigated if not locked up. Consider the arcane criteria that can make you a suspect in our new military-corporate state. The Department of Justice considers you worth investigating if you are missing a few fingers, if you have weatherproof ammunition, if you own guns or if you have hoarded more than seven days of food in your house. Adding a few of the obstructionist tactics of the Occupy movement to this list would be a seamless process. On the whim of the military, a suspected “terrorist” who also happens to be a U.S. citizen can suffer extraordinary rendition—being kidnapped and then left to rot in one of our black sites “until the end of hostilities.” Since this is an endless war that will be a very long stay.

This demented “war on terror” is as undefined and vague as such a conflict is in any totalitarian state. Dissent is increasingly equated in this country with treason. Enemies supposedly lurk in every organization that does not chant the patriotic mantras provided to it by the state. And this bill feeds a mounting state paranoia. It expands our permanent war to every spot on the globe. It erases fundamental constitutional liberties. It means we can no longer use the word “democracy” to describe our political system.

The supine and gutless Democratic Party, which would have feigned outrage if George W. Bush had put this into law, appears willing, once again, to grant Obama a pass. But I won’t. What he has done is unforgivable, unconstitutional and exceedingly dangerous. The threat and reach of al-Qaida—which I spent a year covering for The New York Times in Europe and the Middle East—are marginal, despite the attacks of 9/11. The terrorist group poses no existential threat to the nation. It has been so disrupted and broken that it can barely function. Osama bin Laden was gunned down by commandos and his body dumped into the sea. Even the Pentagon says the organization is crippled. So why, a decade after the start of the so-called war on terror, do these draconian measures need to be implemented? Why do U.S. citizens now need to be specifically singled out for military detention and denial of due process when under the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force the president can apparently find the legal cover to serve as judge, jury and executioner to assassinate U.S. citizens, as he did in the killing of the cleric Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen? Why is this bill necessary when the government routinely ignores our Fifth Amendment rights—“No person shall be deprived of life without due process of law”—as well as our First Amendment right of free speech? How much more power do they need to fight “terrorism”?

Fear is the psychological weapon of choice for totalitarian systems of power. Make the people afraid. Get them to surrender their rights in the name of national security. And then finish off the few who aren’t afraid enough. If this law is not revoked we will be no different from any sordid military dictatorship. Its implementation will be a huge leap forward for the corporate oligarchs who plan to continue to plunder the nation and use state and military security to cow the population into submission.

The oddest part of this legislation is that the FBI, the CIA, the director of national intelligence, the Pentagon and the attorney general didn’t support it. FBI Director Robert Mueller said he feared the bill would actually impede the bureau’s ability to investigate terrorism because it would be harder to win cooperation from suspects held by the military. “The possibility looms that we will lose opportunities to obtain cooperation from the persons in the past that we’ve been fairly successful in gaining,” he told Congress.

But it passed anyway. And I suspect it passed because the corporations, seeing the unrest in the streets, knowing that things are about to get much worse, worrying that the Occupy movement will expand, do not trust the police to protect them. They want to be able to call in the Army. And now they can.

Text of Hedges’ Legal Complaint

Journalist Chris Hedges Sues Obama Admin over Indefinite Detention of U.S. Citizens Approved in NDAA (video), Democracy Now,, Jan. 17, 2012

3.   How Congress is Signing its own Arrest Warrants in the NDAA Citizen Arrest Bill, by Naomi Wolf,, Dec. 12, 2011

I never thought I would have to write this: but—incredibly—Congress has now passed the National Defense Appropriations Act, with Amendment 1031, which allows for the military detention of American citizens. The amendment is so loosely worded that any American citizen could be held without due process. The language of this bill can be read to assure Americans that they can challenge their detention — but most people do not realize what this means: at Guantanamo and in other military prisons, one’s lawyer’s calls are monitored, witnesses for one’s defense are not allowed to testify, and one can be forced into nudity and isolation. Incredibly, ninety-three Senators voted to support this bill and now most of Congress: a roster of names that will live in infamy in the history of our nation, and never be expunged from the dark column of the history books.

They may have supported this bill because—although it’s hard to believe—they think the military will only arrest active members of Al Qaida; or maybe, less naively, they believe that ‘at most’, low-level dissenting figures, activists, or troublesome protesters might be subjected to military arrest. But they are forgetting something critical: history shows that those who signed this bill will soon be subject to arrest themselves.

Our leaders appear to be supporting this bill thinking that they will always be what they are now, in the fading light of a once-great democracy — those civilian leaders who safely and securely sit in freedom and DIRECT the military. In inhabiting this bubble, which their own actions are about to destroy, they are cocooned by an arrogance of power, placing their own security in jeopardy by their own hands, and ignoring history and its inevitable laws. The moment this bill becomes law, though Congress is accustomed, in a weak democracy, to being the ones who direct and control the military, the power roles will reverse: Congress will no longer be directing and in charge of the military: rather, the military will be directing and in charge of individual Congressional leaders, as well as in charge of everyone else — as any Parliamentarian in any society who handed this power over to the military can attest.

Perhaps Congress assumes that it will always only be ‘they’ who are targeted for arrest and military detention: but sadly, Parliamentary leaders are the first to face pressure, threats, arrest and even violence when the military obtains to power to make civilian arrests and hold civilians in military facilities without due process. There is no exception to this rule. Just as I traveled the country four years ago warning against the introduction of torture and secret prisons – and confidently offering a hundred thousand dollar reward to anyone who could name a nation that allowed torture of the ‘other’ that did not eventually turn this abuse on its own citizens — (confident because I knew there was no such place) — so today I warn that one cannot name a nation that gave the military the power to make civilian arrests and hold citizens in military detention, that did not almost at once turn that power almost against members of that nation’s own political ruling class. This makes sense — the obverse sense of a democracy, in which power protects you; political power endangers you in a militarized police state: the more powerful a political leader is, the more can be gained in a militarized police state by pressuring, threatening or even arresting him or her.

Mussolini, who created the modern template for fascism, was a duly elected official when he started to direct paramilitary forces against Italian citizens: yes, he sent the Blackshirts to beat up journalists, editors, and union leaders; but where did these militarized groups appear most dramatically and terrifyingly, snapping at last the fragile hold of Italian democracy? In the halls of the Italian Parliament. Whom did they physically attack and intimidate? Mussolini’s former colleagues in Parliament — as they sat, just as our Congress is doing, peacefully deliberating and debating the laws. Whom did Hitler’s Brownshirts arrest in the first wave of mass arrests in 1933? Yes, journalists, union leaders and editors; but they also targeted local and regional political leaders and dragged them off to secret prisons and to torture that the rest of society had turned a blind eye to when it had been directed at the ‘other.’ Who was most at risk from assassination or arrest and torture, after show trials, in Stalin’s Russia? Yes, journalists, editors and dissidents: but also physically endangered, and often arrested by militarized police and tortured or worse, were senior members of the Politburo who had fallen out of favor.

Is this intimidation and arrest by the military a vestige of the past? Hardly. We forget in America that all over the world there are militarized societies in which shells of democracy are propped up — in which Parliament meets regularly and elections are held, but the generals are really in charge, just as the Egyptian military is proposing with upcoming elections and the Constitution itself. That is exactly what will take place if Congress gives the power of arrest and detention to the military: and in those societies if a given political leader does not please the generals, he or she is in physical danger or subjected to military arrest. Whom did John Perkins, author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, say he was directed to intimidate and threaten when he worked as a ‘jackal’, putting pressure on the leadership in authoritarian countries? Latin American parliamentarians who were in the position to decide the laws that affected the well-being of his corporate clients. Who is under house arrest by the military in Myanmar? The political leader of the opposition to the military junta. Malalai Joya is an Afghani parliamentarian who has run afoul of the military and has to sleep in a different venue every night — for her own safety. An on, and on, in police states — that is, countries with military detention of civilians — that America is about to join.

US Congresspeople and Senators may think that their power protects them from the treacherous wording of Amendments 1031 and 1032: but their arrogance is leading them to a blindness that is suicidal. The moment they sign this NDAA into law, history shows that they themselves and their staff are the most physically endangered by it. They will immediately become, not the masters of the great might of the United States military, but its subjects and even, if history is any guide — and every single outcome of ramping up police state powers, unfortunately, that I have warned for years that history points to, has come to pass — sadly but inevitably, its very first targets.

See websites and phone numbers of President and West Marin’s Representative and Senators on Action Alert page.

Senator Feinstein’s speech on her amendment 1126 (rejected).

Facebook page: Nationwide NDAA 2012 Congressional Protest

Friday, Feb 3, 2012, 12-7pm, at Congressional Offices throughout country

Indefinite detention the law of the land?


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Update: Jan 2, 2012

President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) on Dec. 31, 2011. He attached a signing statement expressing “serious reservations”:

Excerpt: “…I want to clarify that my Administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens. Indeed, I believe that doing so would break with our most important traditions and values as a Nation. My Administration will interpret section 1021 in a manner that ensures that any detention it authorizes complies with the Constitution, the laws of war, and all other applicable law…”

[But how will future presidents interpret this aspect of the law? The law gives the President the power to detain Americans without trial but he says he won’t use it. One can’t help but wonder, then, what is the purpose of this law? The President has already gone further than detained a US citizen without due process of accusation and court, he has killed him. So why wouldn’t he use it?]

Carl Levin’s speech in Congress on the Administration’s request to remove language which would have exempted US citizens from the indefinite detainment:

ACLU statement on National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), Dec. 31, 2011.


The statute is particularly dangerous because it has no temporal or geographic limitations, and can be used by this and future presidents to militarily detain people captured far from any battlefield…

The ACLU believes that any military detention of American citizens or others within the United States is unconstitutional and illegal, including under the NDAA. In addition, the breadth of the NDAA’s detention authority violates international law because it is not limited to people captured in the context of an actual armed conflict as required by the laws of war.

Defense Act Affirms Indefinite Detention of US Citizens, by Matthew Cardinal,, Dec. 30, 2011.


David Gespass, president of the National Lawyers Guild, called it an “enormous attack on the U.S. and our heritage” and a “significant step” towards fascism…

Section 1021(e) says the act does not alter any rights of U.S. citizens, meaning that the Bill of Rights of the Constitution remains intact. It might be up to the courts, however, to eventually determine whether the application of these NDAA provisions to a U.S. citizen would be constitutional.

However, if they are being detained indefinitely with no lawyer, then how does anyone know they are there, to appeal to the civilian courts on their behalf?

Another section says “the requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to citizens of the United States”. It does not say military custody is not an option; merely that it is not required.

Section 1021 defines who can be detained by the military.

The definition of “covered persons” under the provision includes not only those who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2011, but also “a person who was a part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, including anyone who has committed a belligerent act or has directly supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces.”

Critics say problems with this language include the vagueness of the terms “substantial support”, “belligerent act”, or “directly supported”…

Update- 21 Dec 2011
Jonathan Turley, law professor at George Washington University Law School, on Washington Journal, Dec. 19, 2011, discussing privacy and indefinite detention:

Part 1: surveillance, privacy, GPS tracking, “citizens have no expectation of privacy,” drones in US…

Part2: President asserts power to assassinate Americans on his discretion, arrest Americans without charge or review indefinitely, privacy vrs possible terrorism, privacy vrs anonymity

Part3: necessity of independent judiciary, people need to organize as a citizenry

Update- 20 Dec 2011

Diane Feinstein has introduced, with other Senators,  a new bill- the Due Process Guarantee Act of 2011- to clarify the unclearly worded indefinite detention clause in the MDAA, Military Defense Authorization Act of 2011. That Act, known also as S 1867 and HR 1540, passed the Senate on Dec. 1, 2011 and the House on Dec. 14, 2011.

Learn more about this new Due Process Guarantee bill on Thomas and track it on, when it gets assigned a number. Email and call  Senator Feinstein,   Senator Boxer and Representative Woolsey and ask them to support it!

Here is some of the wording:

10  ‘‘(b)(1) An authorization to use military force, a dec-

11   laration of war, or any similar authority shall not author

12   ize the detention without charge or trial of a citizen or
13   lawful permanent resident of the United States appre

14  hended in the United States, unless an Act of Congress
15   expressly authorizes such detention.
16   ‘‘(2) Paragraph (1) applies to an authorization to use
17   military force, a declaration of war, or any similar author
18   ity enacted before, on, or after the date of the enactment
19   of the Due Process Guarantee Act of 2011.’’

More on recent history of Senator Feinstein and the issue of  indefinite detention:

Every accused citizen deserves a trial – San Francisco Chronicle, Dec 12, 2011

Editorial: A fight for rule of law, even for terror suspects – San Francisco Chronicle, Dec 1, 2011

Feinstein, Rand Paul fight indefinite detentions – San Francisco Chronicle, Nov. 30, 2011

*   *   *

The US Senate has approved the Defense Authorization Act, S-1867, 93-7, without any amendment exempting US citizens from its coverage.

Holding US citizens without being charged or without a trial and using the military on US soil is against American historical precedent and against our American principles. It’s also against the Constitution!

See which Senators voted for and against it at Note Senators Boxer and Feinstein voted FOR it.

As of  Dec 14, Obama has said that he will NOT veto it, whereas previously he has said he would veto it.

Call Pres Obama and demand that he veto it.

Pres Obama’s Comment line: 202-456-1111. Email President Obama

See more about the specifics of the bill:

Three myths about the detention bill, Glenn Greenwald,, Dec. 16, 2011

Obama to sign indefinite detention bill into law, Glenn Greenwald,, 15 Dec 2011

Politics Over Principle, New York Times Editorial, 15 Dec 2011

Congress endorsing military detention, a new AUMF, Glenn Greenwald,, Dec 1, 2011

Sen Mark Kirk, R Illinois, on why Senators shouldn’t vote for it (Kirk ended up voting FOR it…)

Senator Kirk, R-IL, November 30, 2011, floor speech in support of the Feinstein amendment to S. 1867, the FY 2012 Defense Authorization bill.
(Sen. Kirk speaks of the texts of the amendments which are violated; how the purpose of the detaining foreigners who are waging war against the US is to “defend the rights of U.S. citizens” [limiting the rights of US citizens in the name of defending their rights makes no sense],
how when people join the military they swear allegiance not to the President or to Congress but to the  Constitution whose purpose is to defend citizens’ rights against the government; how a citizen’s rights are “inalienable,” how they supersede the government’s rights and how these rights belong to a citizen as their birthright…)

ACLU: Senators Demand the Military Lock Up of American Citizens in a “Battlefield” They Define as Being Right Outside Your Window


In support of this harmful bill, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) explained that the bill will “basically say in law for the first time that the homeland is part of the battlefield” and people can be imprisoned without charge or trial “American citizen or not.” Another supporter, Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) also declared that the bill is needed because “America is part of the battlefield.”

UPDATE: Don’t be confused by anyone claiming that the indefinite detention legislation does not apply to American citizens. It does. There is an exemption for American citizens from the mandatory detention requirement (section 1032 of the bill), but no exemption for American citizens from the authorization to use the military to indefinitely detain people without charge or trial (section 1031 of the bill). So, the result is that, under the bill, the military has the power to indefinitely imprison American citizens, but it does not have to use its power unless ordered to do so.

Watch goings-on at Congress at

Voice your disapproval of the Defense Authorization Act, S1867, which allows the military to operate in the US, detaining, without charge or trial, individuals who they deem to be “terrorists.”

Phone numbers of Senators

Call your Senators today and express outrage!

Senator Boxer (CA): 1-202-224-3553

Senator Feinstein (CA): 1-202-224-3841

Senator Levin (D-Michigan): 1-202-224-6221

Senator McCain (R-Arizona): 1-202-224-2235

Really Senators, do we have to watch you every minute?