Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Don't sacrifice your rights for the war on terror

I received this from Campaign For Liberty:

You and I both know that freedom is not free. Its price cannot be measured in dollars - and its defense requires eternal vigilance.

On December 1, the U.S. Senate passed S. 1867, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), by a vote of 93-7.

A slightly different NDAA, H.R. 1540, had already passed the U.S. House in May, and it has been reconciled with the Senate version in a closed session of a Joint Conference Committee.

The NDAA is passed annually to specify the budget and expenditures for the U.S. Department of Defense, but this year's version would essentially strip American Citizens of due process - protections that used to set us apart from despotic nations.

The Senate version of the NDAA declares the homeland to be part of the battlefield in the "War on Terror."

In simple terms, Sections 1031 and 1032 of S. 1867 allow American citizens to be detained indefinitely - without charges or trial - until the War on Terror is declared over.

There has been some recent confusion over what exactly the Senate bill actually stipulates.

In fact, when you call your representative and BOTH of your senators, as I'm about to ask you to do, the staff will probably give you one of two canned responses:

1.) "The Feinstein amendment #1456, which passed on Dec. 1 (by a vote of 99-1), says that no provision of Sec. 1031 can be taken to "affect existing law or authorities, relating to the detention of United States citizens."

In reality, this was added nearly unanimously at the last minute to appease those of us rightly opposed to these detention provisions. In the Congressional Record that day, there are arguments from Senators Lindsey Graham and Carl Levin, both of whom supported this amendment, stating they believe the President and Congress already have the authority to detain American Citizens, since the Supreme Court hasn't yet ruled otherwise. This is not the case, but it explains why the bill's main supporters did not oppose the Feinstein amendment.

2.) "It already exempts American Citizens. You should know that Sec. 1032 actually states: "The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to citizens of the United States."

Don't fall for their cleverly chosen legislative language.

A careful reading of the suspect sections bears out that, while there is no requirement to detain an American citizen, the act thereof is not explicitly prohibited. By extension, it is actually permitted.

As if the above is not bad enough, the power to determine which American citizens will be indefinitely detained without charges or trial will be left to the President alone.

I'm certain you would agree that something as important as overturning longstanding American jurisprudence deserves to be the subject of a vigorous debate in a public forum.

But, late last week, the House, by an overwhelming majority (406-17), passed a motion that allowed this Joint Committee to meet in secret.

Last night, the House and Senate conferees emerged without having changed the offending detainee provisions of the NDAA.

And the section numbers (formerly 1031 and 1032) have been changed to 1021 and 1022.

A vote on the conference report could come as early as this Wednesday in the House of Representatives!

So I need your members of Congress to know where you stand immediately!

It is imperative you contact your representative and both of your senators today to urge them to vote NO on the NDAA (H.R. 1540/S. 1867) Conference Report unless Secs. 1021 and 1022 are removed or modified to explicitly exclude all U.S. citizens and lawful resident aliens.

Also related to this story is this one:

Here at C4L, we've been getting a wide range of questions from our members about what happened in the Senate during the fight over S. 1867, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), and what the current status of the bill is.

Legislative battles are often fast-paced fights where details are changing minute-to-minute. Unfortunately, the internet doesn't always help clear things up because many political reporters who think they have a grasp of what is occurring, don't, and they unintentionally mislead people. To help clear things up, we'll start with the most recent, and work our way back, then finish up with where the bill is now.

To begin, the Senate passed the NDAA on Thursday Dec. 1, by a vote of 93-7. This is not the end of the fight. The House passed a different version, H.R. 1540, near the end of May. Both versions will now end up in a joint House/Senate conference where differences will be hammered out, but more on that at the end.

On Friday, Dec. 2nd, C4L's Vice President, Matt Hawes sent around an email describing an amendment to S. 1867 that would have allowed the military to keep an individual locked up even after they had been tried and found NOT GUILTY until after the conclusion of the "War on Terror." Senator Paul helped defeat the amendment, S.A. 1274, by a vote of 41-59, just by calling for a roll call vote on Thursday night.

What you won't see from looking at the roll call vote on S.A. 1274, is that Senators Carl Levin, John McCain, and members of both parties had agreed to allow the amendment to pass by voice vote, but when forced to record Yea or Nay next to their name, the majority voted against it.

Next, we move back to last Thursday afternoons vote on Senate Amendments (S.A.) 1125 & 1126. Campaign for Liberty urged a "YES" vote on both of these amendments.

S.A. 1125 would have clarified that military requirement to detain individuals only applies to those captured overseas by adding the word "abroad" after "captured" in Section 1032 of S. 1867. This amendment failed by a vote of 45-55.

S.A. 1126 would have amended Section 1031 of S. 1867 to clearly state that the authority to detain individuals does not confer any authority of the military to detain American citizens without trial until the end of hostilities. This amendment also failed by a vote of 45-55.

Now, it's important to make something very clear here. We've received a number of messages from well-intentioned folks who contacted us saying something like, "But, Section 1032 already says it doesn't apply to U.S. Citizens, you're making a fight where there isn't one and really just being used as pawns in the ACLU's liberal agenda..."

I cannot stress this enough (nor can I express how many times I responded to it by email, phone, and private message) -- don't be fooled by Section 1032, Subsection (b) on "Applicability to United States Citizens and Lawful Resident Aliens."

Despite what a straight-forward reading of the text would appear to say, that the "requirement to detain a person" does not apply to U.S. Citizens and Lawful Resident Aliens this is just cleverly worded political-speak to deceive the American people. Just because they aren't "required" doesn't mean they aren't allowed.

With all that cleared up (hopefully clear as glass rather than mud) let's look at where we're at now.

The National Defense Authorization Act, (H.R. 1540/S. 1867) is now in a conference committee squaring the differences between the House and the Senate version. The House passed a motion that allows them to hold the meetings for this important conference committee behind closed doors. Arguments pertaining to something as important as overturning the Posse Comitatus Act and Habeus Corpus deserve to be heard in a public forum.

Click here to see a list of House & Senate Conferees. If your representative or senator is one of those listed, please contact them immediately at 202-224-3121 and urge them not to sign the conference report unless the language of Sec. 1031 & 1032 is removed or modified to explicitly exclude all U.S. Citizens and lawful resident aliens.

A vote on the conference report could come as early as this Thursday in the House of Representatives. It is imperative you contact your representative and both of your senators today to urge them to vote no on the NDAA Conference Report unless Sec. 1031 & 1032 are removed or the offending sections are modified in such a way as to prohibit the application to U.S. Citizens and lawful resident aliens.

Source:click here

Let's contact our elected leaders by clicking here and let them know to make the modifications to safeguard U.S. citizen's rights. The more of us they hear from the better so email them today.


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