For more information about the NDAA, go to:
Bill of Rights Defense Committee: http://constitutioncampaign.org/campaigns/dueprocess/
Center for Constitutional Rights: http://ccrjustice.org/files/NDAA_report_final.pdf
JULY 4th, The NDAA, and YOU!
Are We Celebrating Freedom, Democracy, Our Bill of Rights?
Opinion Editorial by Hedi Saraf, July 3, 2012. Hedi Saraf is a learning disability specialist and a member of the SF99% Coaliion, which is putting on two forums on the civil liberties impacts of the NDAA later this month.
I’m up in the middle of the night, worried. This is one of those times when images from the past came back vividly, insistently connecting to what is happening now in our country.
I was a university student at San Francisco State College and UCLA in the 1950’s at the height of the red scare. Senator McCarthy and his Un-American Activities Committee had taken it upon themselves to “witch hunt” anyone suspected of “communist” association. His manipulation of fear led to thousands of educators, union activists, those in Hollywood, on Broadway, and journalists being apprehended, questioned, accused, sometimes imprisoned with no credible evidence, on suspicion of disloyalty to the United States government. Many lives were ruined! Anyone wishing to work at a public institution was required to sign a “loyalty oath” before being hired. I applied for a job on campus. The loyalty oath was pushed in front of me when the interview ended, and I was offered a job in the library. I stared at the oath–and after a few minutes’ thought, refused to sign. I did not get the job. No loyalty oath, no job.
There have been other times when the Bill of Rights was thrown under the bus. During World War II all Japanese-Americans on the West Coast were rounded up and interred in “War Relocation Camps.” They were deprived of their freedom–all of their civil rights.
It’s the middle of the night and the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 is the intruder in my sleep. This year, the NDAA, a bill that is renewed every year to fund the Defense Department, was signed into law by President Obama. NDAA Sections 1021 and 1022 say:
* You can be labeled a “terrorist,” be arrested without charges and held without trial, merely on suspicion of association with terrorist groups. This may happen without your knowledge of that suspected association
* You can be detained indefinitely by the armed forces even if you are a US citizen.
* You can be denied the right to legal representation and due process
* You could be sent to a foreign country, imprisoned, and/or tortured with no legal recourse NDAA Sections 1021 and 1022 violate several of our Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments to the US Constitution: The 1st Amendment–the right to free speech and freedom of assembly, the 4th Amendment–the right to be secure in our homes, the 5th Amendment–the right to due process, and the 6th Amendment–the right to a speedy, public trial and access to legal counsel.
To the extent that we are silent and do not respond to this, we are allowing our Bill of Rights to be rendered meaningless words on a piece of paper.
The middle of the night worries continue until—-I voice my opposition to these portions of the NDAA. Join me in that opposition.