The National Defense Authorization Act

By: Daniel Nardini

This piece of legislation has got to be one of the most chilling ever to be considered by the U.S. government. The National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 will allow U.S. military missions and troop deployments in Afghanistan to continue. Nothing problematic with that. What is problematic is that this act allows the President of the U.S. to classify who can be a potential “terrorist” and have them then arrested, locked up and held indefinitely without trial, evidence or the benefit of a lawyer to contest the charges presented against them. In other words we are seeing the most fascistic, totalitarian act ever to come out of the U.S. Congress. What this means is that it is a total suspension of our court system, of habeas corpus, and worse the entire U.S. Constitution itself! Every congressional official who ever voted for this provision in the act has, in my view, committed treason of the highest order against the U.S. Constitution and against the American people.

This act has already been passed by the U.S. Senate. It is now being considered by the U.S. House of Representatives, and if passed there may (hopefully not!) be signed by the President. Although the act has had a last minute provision added that supposedly “protects” Americans from arbitrary arrest, indefinite detention and not having the benefit of a trial or lawyer, this last minute provision is highly questionable given the rest of the act. One has to ask how any congressional officials, whether Democrat or Republican, could have possibly voted for this act knowing that it allows for things that in effect breaks their constitutional oath of office? Is everyone in Washington, D.C. so paranoid, so devoid of principle and humanity that they could even remotely consider passing this kind of sick and demented legislation? Is terrorism such a threat that we must initiate state terror and have our rights thrown away? This is what the act does, and all I can say is that those who voted for this should themselves be thrown out of office for breaking their constitutional vows.

What does it mean for the average American? Plenty. It means you can be classified as a “terrorist” for peaceful assembly, free speech, writing your opinions down, or setting up a website that some officials may find “offensive.” People like the Tea Party supporters, Libertarians, Green Party members, and anyone with a political view not acceptable to the government could find themselves arrested, taken away to a secret location, tortured, held without the benefit of a lawyer or court hearing, and maybe even secretly executed. If you can empower the government with this much authority in the fight against terrorism then anything is possible. And soon we will no longer be a country based on the rule of law but the rule of the political jungle. How will we be any different from Fascist Italy or Nazi Germany of the past? Even I might fall afoul of this if it ever becomes law. Its provisions for who can be detained and who is protected are so vague that this whole thing can be abused. But it may not be too late. We can only hope that there is so much opposition that the act will be greatly changed or hopefully scrapped. It is still not midnight, and we the people should protest to our congressional officials that this thing is totally unacceptable. No matter what hostile forces we may face, eliminating the guiding light of the U.S. Constitution is no answer.

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