In his last official act of 2011, President Barack Obama signed the massive bipartisan National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that included shocking detainee provisions.
We explain the reasons in the letter below. We invite you to send a letter to your Representatives and Senators demanding repeal, and you may borrow from or copy this...
I demand you repeal the detainee provisions of the 2011 National Defense Authorization Act. I am appalled that any member of Congress would support provisions such as...
* REQUIRED military detention of foreigners that are suspected of being terrorists
* Military detention as the preferred OPTION for American terror suspects
* No charges need to be filed, and no trials must be held
* Prisoners to be held "until the end of hostilities"
These provisions can be more accurately described as "kidnapping" — which is a crime whether it's done by individuals, gangs, or bigger gangs called States.
And what does "the end of hostilities" mean? Indefinitely, probably for life. After all, when does "terrorism" end?
Terrorism is indeed a serious crime. But just as with any other crime, many persons "suspected" of it are not guilty. The American, Constitutional presumption is innocent until proven otherwise via due process of law. Terrorism is an especially tricky judicial matter, because mere acquaintances of real terrorists, or people caught in the "wrong place at the wrong time" could be rounded up.
These kidnapping provisions violate the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment. They also disregard my Fourth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendment rights. They even contravene Article III, Section 3, which deals with treason.
Not only is kidnapping unconstitutional, but these kidnapping powers attack the foundation of who we are as a people. The British ancestors of the Founding Fathers enjoyed protection against arbitrary executive power since the Magna Carta of 1215.
How can ANY of our rights and freedoms be secure if the President can, by whim, call me a "terrorist" and order troops to kidnap YOU because you are associated with me?
How can we enjoy the rights inherent in our humanity — life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness — if you or I can be "disappeared" in a federal gulag?
Two bills have been proposed that would restore SOME due process guarantees...
* HR 3676 would restore Constitutional protections for American citizens but denies them to foreigners -- even legal residents. (http://www.opencongress.org/bill/112-h3676/text)
* S.2003 restores due process to American citens and lawful alien residents, but seems to deny even citizens due process rights if apprehended on foreign soil. (http://www.opencongress.org/bill/112-s2003/text)
Human rights belong to all of us, not just Americans or people living in the United States. Our rights are "pre-constitutional." They are not derived from the whim of any government, but naturally endowed to individuals since creation. Moreover, our Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights protect "persons," not just American citizens.
Please propose a bill to restore Pre-Constitutional rights and Constitutional due process guarantees to ALL terrorism SUSPECTS.
Also, our friends at the Tenth Amendment Center invited me to write an analysis of NDAA's detainee provisions. During debate many Congressional offices told constituents there was an exception for Americans. I DEMONSTRATE why that was false. I invite you to read this analysis and to check out the other fare at the Tenth Amendment Center.
Thanks to you, we're able to do this work, so...
Thank you for being a DC Downsizer,