The National Defense Authorization Act: You, Your Body, and Your Country

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The National Defense Authorization Act: You, Your Body, and Your Country


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By Nate Atwell

Real life is more frightening than fiction. 1984 scared many because of how close to home the blow struck, and even Stephen King, admits in his grimoire of horror fiction, Danse Macabre that there is some amazing talent involved in scaring people with monsters and fiction when there are so many real things to be afraid of.

But after November, 15th even Stephen King is going to have a hard time scaring civil libertarians, constitutionalists, and those paying close eyes on politics and history. In a move that they claim is taken out of George Orwell’s aforementioned novel, the United States Senate passed the National Defense Authorization Act.

A version of this bill is passed each year, allocating funds and responsibilities to the Department of Defense for the given fiscal year. The alarming nature of this bill comes from section 1031, which lists detainee policies.

The section states that prisoners of war are not guaranteed civil rights, or due process of law, furthermore that American citizens and legal residents are not subject to the above, except in the name of national security.

The wording of the bill becomes tricky in this section. A careful reading discovers that those found to be suspects of terrorisms may be locked away without a trial, and without a say. This means U.S. Citizens, when suspected of being a national security threat, are no longer guaranteed civil rights, due process, or a trial by their peers and this is what is upsetting civil libertarians. Constitutionalists and a lot of Southern Maryland residents.

“… If anyone doubted we were becoming a police state before, this should eliminate that doubt” a resident said in armature debate forum December 6th.

The frightening part of the bill is the wording, there are provisions to allow American citizens their due process and constitutional rights; however a “waiver for national secretary” found latter in the bill, overrides those provisions making it possible for a future president to detain and execute, without warrant, trial, or due process anyone deemed, a National Security Threat.

In the past such legislation has allowed legally the arrest, and murder of political dissidents living in countries around the world. Similar laws were put in place prior to World War II, as the totalitarian government grew in power.

Barrack Obama has threatened to veto the bill but not for the reasons mentioned above. According to an interview between Robert Siegel and John Brennan, chief counterterrorism adviser to President Obama, Brennan states that the bill would shrink counter-terrorism flexibility, which could limit intelligence professional’s ability to fight terrorism.

After hearing the reason for Obama’s threatened veto, a young man living in Great Mills, speaking with under the condition of anonymity, plans on switching party affiliation, claiming that the bill is a power grab, and the extensive power given to the chief of staff was not enough to satisfy him.

The only silver lining of the bill seems to be its power to bring together, groups that seem to oppose each other fundamentally. Tea Party supporting libertarians and the American Civil Liberties Union are all fighting against the bill.The controversial ‘hactivist’ (A combination of the words Hacker and Activist,“Anonymous” has also joined against the bill, calling for civil disobedience in reaction to the bill in a video seen here.

This is not the only conjoining power of the Bill. Most people are more than aware of the congress, house and Senate, so busy bickering that nothing is able to get done, the senate at least was able to join together in stripping away due process, in a 93-7 vote.

President Obama is no longer planning to veto this.

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