Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Something quite odd has occurred on Capitol Hill concerning the NDAA.As Huffington Post‘s Michael McAuliff reported, “Congress stripped a provision Tuesday from a defence bill that aimed to shield Americans from the possibility of being imprisoned indefinitely without trial by the military. The provision was replaced with a passage that appears to give citizens little protection from indefinite detention.
The amendment to the National defence Authorization Act of 2013 was added by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), but there was no similar language in the version of the bill that passed the House, and it was dumped from the final bill released Tuesday after a conference committee from both chambers worked out a unified measure.”
Although the Feinstein amendment was criticised by some of the most hardcore civil liberties advocates as inadequate, it would have at least put something in writing to prevent the abduction of US citizens by the military, without charge or trial. Why Congress does not want such a thing in writing is quite troubling… and makes little sense.
I’ve been covering NDAA off and on for the past year, and many people have told me it is a “complex, delicate” situation that is beyond the understanding of your average Joe.
I don’t actually agree with this.
Our right to a trial is enshrined quite clearly in the Bill of Rights.
And the legislation as it stands now would allow members of the government to silence critics — journalists, Wikileaks-funding millionaires, people critical of our drone strikes on children — by merely suspecting them of terrorism. With no burden of proof needed. “Terrorism,” it seems, is the new McCarthy-style buzzword to discredit and silence any political opponent.
As the highest rated comment on the Huffington Post article, by user AddledCentrist, put it: “In plain English that means once someone has been labelled an enemy combatant, OR the evidence used to arrest and detain them is ‘security sensitive,’ the courts and defence counsel can neither access evidence, nor challenge said detention on evidentiary grounds.
Conclusion; Habeas Corpus is no longer relevant once ‘terrorism’ has been invoked by the State. Due Process is no longer relevant as defence is universally refused access to ‘evidence’ and the courts have upheld the States interest in withholding said evidence.
In practice; The State has the power to grab any citizen off the street, detain them without hearing of probable cause indefinately and try them in secret without ever having disclosed to the defence, the evidence, sources or sealed testimony in support of such arrest, ‘trial,’ and conviction. It also perfectly and absolutely creates an infallible estoppel to appeal.
No matter how you feel about terrorism or law and order, this should send shivers down the spines of every American. If history has taught us anything, it’s that such broad ranging, unchecked power is ALWAYS abused.
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