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Friday, February 10, 2012

National defense act denies due process

Letter to the Editor

Congress has passed something like the National Defense Authorization Act every year for the last 50 years. It basically funds our military.

What was different this year is it included language authorizing the indefinite military detention of individuals who may be suspected of supporting hostilities against the United States (Sections 1021 and 1022).

Sounds like terrorists, right? Except that it doesn’t define “support” or “hostilities,” and it denies U.S. citizens constitutional rights of due process to protect themselves against unfounded accusations or activities that are well within freedoms of expression.

And who gets to decide that? Not the courts, but the government, specifically the president.

That is not the America I grew up in. This is also not a partisan issue.

Forbes Magazine says: “The NDAA authorizes the military to detain even US citizens under the broad new anti-terrorism provisions provided in the bill, once again without trial.”

And the ACLU says: “President (Barack) Obama’s action today is a blight on his legacy because he will forever be known as the president who signed indefinite detention without charge or trial into law.”

Liberal and conservative congressmen have introduced bills reaffirming our due process protections (H.R. 3702 and S. 2003). Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, has introduced a bill amending the language of the act, and left-leaning, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Chris Hedges has just sued the president over it.

Time to be concerned. Time to write your congressman.

Jerry Ross