JACQUELINE MARCUS FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Where is the outrage over the radical provision in the Levin-McCain National Defense Act? Tuesday, November 29th 2011, the Senate voted on a bill that allows the US military to imprison civilians with no formal charges and hold them indefinitely with no trial.
The ACLU reports even US citizens wouldn't be immune as the legislation aims to declare national territory part of the "battlefield" in the War on Terror. You can read more about the NDAA provision here.
What it means: It's shocking to learn that the majority of representatives and senators have replaced our civil liberties with a de facto military dictatorship while no one is watching. How is the Levin-McCain provision different from Patriot Act laws? If an American citizen is seen as a threat to the government, that citizen will be denied his/her constitutional rights of protection, as Justin Raimondo at AntiWar.com correctly explained: "The provision would give the President the power to use the military to intern anyone - including American citizens - indefinitely, and hold them without charges or trial, anywhere in the world, including on American soil. The provision repeals the longstanding Posse Comitatus Act, which prevents the military from engaging in law enforcement on US territory - the greatest fear of the Founders."
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) was supposed to be kept secret, drafted behind closed doors by Senators Carl Levin (D-Mich) and John McCain (R-Ariz). When a bill is supposed to be kept secret from the public, it usually means that it's against the public's interests.
"The White House has threatened to veto the legislation because of language that mandates military custody of terror suspects, but Wednesday's 88-12 cloture vote signals that the bill - which could pass as early as Thursday - will likely have the detainee provisions included in the chamber's final legislation." Unfortunately, the administration's veto threat has nothing to do with protecting civil liberties; their real objection is that it can create confusion between Homeland Security agencies and the F.B.I.
Connect the dots: Why this bill and why now? Members of the House and Senate who represent the 1% wealthiest corporate elite (primarily the industrial oil and military oligarchs), know that the people's approval ratings of Congress are down to 7%. They see uprisings taking place here and abroad-so what do they do? They write laws that allow them to arrest American citizens as if we were in the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan. This is particularly disconcerting for the OWS protesters because they could easily make the protesters against the oil wars and oil drilling projects the "enemy" or "persons of interest". We-the citizens of the United States of America-can be defined under this threatening NDAA provision as "insurgents" to be arrested by the military at any time, any place, without our constitutional protections. If you think the police have been rough with the protesters, imagine military tanks and soldiers on the scene-for that is exactly what the Levin-McCain provision legally proposes: it replaces our Justice system with military law enforced by the military, it replaces your civil liberties with Martial Law i.e. no constitutional legal protections at all.
How far can it go?: Under this provision, the military can indefinitely imprison protesters without charge or trial-they could even be transferred to Guantanomo Bay detention prison if the federal government and the military defined the OWS protesters as "terrorists". Example: during the BP oil spill, Greenpeace activists were referred to by the federal government as "eco-terrorists" when they took action to stop oil companies from drilling or when they attempted to block the logging industry from clear-cutting ancient Redwood trees. Terrorism under this bill can be broadly defined to describe anyone the government doesn't approve of: journalists, environmentalists against the Canada-American tar sands oil pipeline, anti-war and Wall Street protesters-it can be used to define anyone they so deem as a threat to this government's corporate and military oligarchs. It is not hyperbole to say that this provision is in essence a congressional declaration of war against ordinary American citizens who protest governmental and corporate abuses of power.
The Solemn Oath of Office:
Every congressman-woman, every Senator has taken an Oath to uphold and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.
Every member of the House and Senate who approved of this NDAA provision, which is an echo of Hitler's authoritarian Homeland Security Laws, has breached his or her Oath of Office to defend the Constitution.
They have violated their Oath of Office by passing anti-constitutional legislation that explicitly authorizes the federal government to indefinitely imprison without charge or trial American citizens and others picked up inside and outside the United States.
Why is the Bill of Rights a Threat to the Federal Government? Keep in mind that the underlying principle of the Bill of Rights is to protect the individual's inalienable rights from a government that abuses its power. When a government is owned and ruled by the oil and military elite, which is pretty much the case in the United States, the people's right to peacefully protest government-corporate abuse of powers is a nuisance to the government and the corporate and military oligarchs. Proof? Ask Julian Assange of WikiLeaks. As Justin Raimondo put it, "Our cowardly Congress, which lives only to advance special interests and line its own pockets, is hardly a bulwark against this onslaught: indeed, they are the source of it."
You have the right to be outraged, but if this detention power is invoked, it may be too late.