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Senate to Vote on Defense Authorization Act Nov. 28: So Loaded Obama Might Veto It? We May Get to See.

Behind closed doors, Senators Carl Levin and John McCain have added a couple new sections to the NDAA that could find Americans arrested, locked up indefinitely without charge, and being shunted into the military tribunal system.  There would be no guarantees, of course, that  detainees would ever see the inside of even a military courtroom.

The ACLU is not just fooling around with their title: Senators Demand the Military Lock Up citizens in the ‘Battlefield’ They Define as Being Outside Your Window’.

“The Senate is going to vote on whether Congress will give this president—and every future president — the power to order the military to pick up and imprison without charge or trial civilians anywhere in the world. Even Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) raised his concerns about the NDAA detention provisions during last night’s Republican debate. The power is so broad that even U.S. citizens could be swept up by the military and the military could be used far from any battlefield, even within the United States itself.

The worldwide indefinite detention without charge or trial provision is in S. 1867, the National Defense Authorization Act bill, which will be on the Senate floor on Monday.”

(Yes, the ‘even Ron Paul’ mention is gratuitous, IMO.  But that’s a whole ‘nother subject, and not for today.)

Let’s look at the objections the White House apparently has:

“Any bill that challenges or constrains the President’s critical authorities to collect intelligence, incapacitate dangerous terrorists, and protect the Nation would prompt the President’s senior advisers to recommend a veto,” the White House said in a statement.

The Administration strongly objects to the military custody provision,” the White House said, noting that it could apply to people in the United States. That “would raise serious and unsettled legal questions and would be inconsistent with the fundamental American principle that our military does not patrol our streets.”

If enacted, sections 1031 and 1032 of the NDAA would:

1)  Explicitly authorize the federal government to indefinitely imprison without charge or trial American citizens and others picked up inside and outside the United States;

(2)  Mandate military detention of some civilians who would otherwise be outside of military control, including civilians picked up within the United States itself; and

(3) Transfer to the Department of Defense core prosecutorial, investigative, law enforcement, penal, and custodial authority and responsibility now held by the Department of Justice.

The ACLU continues (sorry for the cut-paste nature of this diary; I’m jammed in RL):

“In support of this harmful bill, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) explained that the bill will “basically say in law for the first time that the homeland is part of the battlefield” and people can be imprisoned without charge or trial “American citizen or not.” Another supporter, Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) also declared that the bill is needed because “America is part of the battlefield.” (my bold)

The solution is the Udall Amendment; a way for the Senate to say no to indefinite detention without charge or trial anywhere in the world where any president decides to use the military. Instead of simply going along with a bill that was drafted in secret and is being jammed through the Senate, the Udall Amendment deletes the provisions and sets up an orderly review of detention power. It tries to take the politics out and put American values back in.”

So; anyone want to say ‘domestic terrorists’?  Will protesters continue to be labeled ‘terrorists’ as per a 2003 FBI memo that pretty much conflated protesting with ‘terror’:

“A confidential FBI memorandum sent to over 15,000 local law enforcement agencies in October urged them to “be alert to these possible indicators of protest activity and report any potentially illegal acts to the nearest FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force.” Among the “criminal activities” of protesters catalogued in the memo are “use of the internet to recruit, raise funds, and coordinate their activities prior to demonstrations” as well as “[d]uring the course of a demonstration … using cell phones or radios to coordinate activities or to update colleagues about ongoing events.”

Other examples of criminal activity cited include using tape recorders and video cameras, which “may be used for documenting potential cases of police brutality and for distribution of information over the internet”; wearing scarves and sunglasses “to minimize the effects of tear gas and pepper spray as well as obscure one’s identity”; and wearing “layered clothing” as a form of “body protection equipment.”

The implications of the memo are sweeping. There is hardly anyone among protest demonstrators who has not worn sunglasses, layered clothing or used a cell phone. By making an amalgam of these commonplace activities with “more aggressive tactics,” including terrorism, the FBI has made millions of people the potential subjects of police surveillance.” (my bold)

Mitch Green writing at new economic perspectives has penned a ‘Letter to the Winter Patriot’, anticipating the day the military will be called in to break up Occupies around the nation.

He reminds them of their oaths to protect and serve, and the inherent conflict in these times:

“Those that take this oath seriously are faced with a terrible conflict.  You must battle internally between the affirmation that you will place your body between the social contract embedded in the Constitution and those that seek its destruction, while maintaining your loyalty to the government you serve and the orders issued by its officers.  Sadly, society has placed a twin tax upon you by asking that you sacrifice both your body and your morality.  This tax has been levied solely upon you overseas, and soon they’ll come to collect domestically.  Your government in its expression of corporate interests relies upon your tenacity to endure, and your relentless willingness to sacrifice.  And so you do.

Now, more than ever we need your sacrifice.  But, I’m asking you to soldier in a different way.  If called upon to deny the people of their first amendment right to peaceably assemble and petition their government for a redress of grievance, disregard the order.  Abstain from service.  Or if you are so bold, join us. Make no mistake: The consequences for such decisions are severe. You will be prosecuted under the full extent of the law.  But sacrifice is your watch word.”

If the NDAA passes with sections 1031 and 1032 intact, will Obama veto it, and why or why not?   Before you vote, remember (deleted: you know what you need to know before you vote…).

From Obey (with thanks) at in answer to my posting the ACLU piece there:

“Matt Taibbi sums it all up nicely:

‘… when we abandoned our principles in order to use force against terrorists and drug dealers, the answer to the question, What are we defending? started to change.

The original answer, ostensibly, was, “We are defending the peaceful and law-abiding citizens of the United States, their principles, and everything America stands for.”

Then after a while it became, “We’re defending the current population of the country, but we can’t defend the principles so much anymore, because they weigh us down in the fight against a ruthless enemy who must be stopped at all costs.”

Then finally it became this: “We are defending ourselves, against the citizens who insist on keeping their rights and their principles.”’

Matt’s  final sentences about the pepper-sprayed US Davis students said it perfectly:

“Bravo to those kids who hung in there and took it. And bravo for standing up and showing everyone what real strength is. There is no strength without principle. You have it. They lost it. It’s as simple as that.”

Stay strong and loving, and know that we will prevail.  We must!

(cross-posted at

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