“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.” –Lord John Dalberg-Acton
Since September 11, 2001, the government has found every way to make exceptions to our Bill of Rights protections—all in the name of safety, of course. It is shocking that our own government is advancing the agenda of terrorists by killing our freedom.
Our job is to remain watchful of our rights and make sure our government doesn’t take the focus off the real terrorists and begin labeling anyone who simply has a dissenting opinion, the enemy.
4th Amendment: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized
6th Amendment: In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.
In December 2011 on New Year’s Eve, President Barack Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), declaring the entire United States a “battlefield” and giving the U.S. government the right to detain an American citizen indefinitely and even assassinate them, if they are suspected of terrorism—without due process.
The NDAA is not constitutional, it is vague, and it needs to be reviewed in its entirety—and possibly repealed. Language within the NDAA also allows the government to create and distribute pro-American propaganda on the American people, “especially online.” With the government considering several pieces of legislation related to Internet privacy and regulation, this is particularly concerning.
Although an Obama-appointed federal judge, Katherine Forrest, shot down the indefinite detention provision in the NDAA as unconstitutional, the Obama administration continues to insist it is.
Journalist Chris Hedges was one of the plaintiffs who originally brought suit against the constitutionality of the NDAA, resulting in Judge Forrest’s ruling. In an interview he said of the NDAA, “It is a huge and egregious assault against our democracy. It overturns over 200 years of law, which has kept the military out of domestic policing. It’s an extremely frightening step backwards for American democracy. And I think that for those of us who care about civil liberties, the right of dissent and freedom, we have to stand up.”
Reps. Adam Smith (D-WA) and Justin Amash (R-MI) offered an amendment to repeal the indefinite detention provision, but it was voted down. Rep. Amash said during the debate, “The frightening thing here is that the government is claiming the power under the Afghanistan authorization for use of military force as a justification for entering American homes to grab people, indefinitely detain them and not give them a charge or a trial.”
Now Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) has offered an amendment that seems to give Congress more power over Americans. Her amendment states:
“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 apprehended in the United States, unless an Act of Congress expressly authorizes such detention.”
The key language is not that Feinstein’s amendment goes further to protect the American people and our freedom, it is that it seems to imply that there are no constitutional obstacles to Congress enacting a statute that would make it legal for our military to detain anyone in the United States.
In typical fashion, lawmakers are adding amendments and language that seem to do one thing, but in reality, they do the opposite. The NDAA and the Feinstein amendment allow the President to detain anyone who commits a “belligerent act” (posting the “wrong” thing on a social media site, for example?) or provides “substantial support” to the Taliban, al-Qaeda or associated forces. And her amendment goes beyond giving the President power—it gives Congress more control.
As one blog pointed out, “The Feinstein-Lee Amendment, in the guise of protecting Constitutional rights, has instead simply extended the unconstitutional powers that the 2012 NDAA granted to the President, also to the Congress.”
If the government says you are terrorists—or if they say you are associated with terrorists—your Constitutional protections are null and void. This is a concern because the Department of Homeland Security funded a study, which hardly mentions Islam at all, yet labels terrorists as including:
- Americans who are suspicious of centralized federal authority;
- Americans who believe their way of life is under attack;
- People opposed to abortion;
- Americans who are reverent of individual liberty
We want to catch the radical Islamists and others who want to kill us, but we do not accept the government eliminating our Bill of Rights protections and having full, unchecked authority while doing it. We cannot give up our freedoms as the government tries to “fix” problems that have already happened.
And this is how America dies, little by little, with signing statements and amendments and executive orders that the American people hardly notice and of course the media giants rarely report.
Tell Congress to govern by the Constitution and reject all attempts at destroying it, or we will kick them out of office and vote someone in who will. On their watch, we are experiencing the unraveling of hundreds of years of guaranteed and protected freedoms, the very foundation of America. Fax them now and demand they support S. 2175 and H.R. 5936, which will repeal the mandatory military detention requirement and ban indefinite detention and military commissions from the United States.
Involved citizens like you who keep up with what is really going on in Washington are the last line of defense against tyranny. It is not okay for our government to lock up American citizens without charges or due process. If they will not defend our Constitution, we will.