Big brother’s warm, friendly hand
Since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, civil liberties have been shredded. Every war brings violations of civil liberties. What is doubly dangerous is that now we do not even have declared wars, but rather vaguely defined “hostilities.”
On Dec. 31, 2011 the National Defense Authorization Act was passed by Congress and signed into law. The law codifies a practice started by George W. Bush and continued by President Obama that allows for indefinite detention, without a trial, of “covered persons,” including U. S. citizens, picked up anywhere in the world, and accused of having ties to Al Qaeda or associated organizations. No trial, no habeas corpus, just a black hole for years or decades. Remember, a War on Terror is a war on a tactic. There is no government to surrender, no end in sight, until some magical mystical day when there is no one left evil, or desperate enough, to plant a homemade bomb on some distant Third World road.
Worse, the law is cleverly worded so that there is real concern that it could even apply to U.S. citizens in America. George W. Bush indefinitely detained U.S. citizen Jose Padilla for years before getting around to giving him a trial. When Obama signed the NDAA into law, he said he thought it could apply to U.S. citizens in the U.S., but promised he would not do that. That is nice of him, but a veto would have been nicer. Perhaps he had a reason to want the bill signed to give him legal cover for those indefinitely detained in Guantanamo Bay.
Lists have surfaced from government sources naming all manner of activity suspicious. Federal and state organizations under the large “security” umbrella have named putting a Ron Paul bumper sticker on your car, paying cash for a hotel room, stockpiling food, supporting the Constitution, even standing at a bus stop as reasons to be watched. War, er, hostilities, is the health of the state. An informed, active citizenry is the last hope to push back against the emerging police state.
Here in Nevada that pushback is coming from PANDA, or People Against the NDAA. PANDA’s objective is to have local and state governments issue laws and resolutions against the NDAA. In the last legislative session, a bill was drafted that would make it a felony for a federal or state official to implement the most controversial sections of the NDAA. Called the Nevada Liberty Preservation Act, it was an encouraging example of how Southern Nevada liberal Democrats and Northern Nevada constitutional conservative Republicans can unite to protect state citizens from overreaching federal encroachment. During the heady days of the Sagebrush Rebellion in Nevada, a bill making it a misdemeanor for federal agents to perform an “official act” on the disputed federal lands was almost passed. Second Amendment Preservation Acts that criminalize federal enforcement of certain gun control laws are another example. Call it nullification, or simply call it the assertion of state power under the 10th Amendment, this tactic is becoming more frequent as the federal government oversteps its constitutional boundaries.
Unfortunately, liberty died in committee in the last legislative session.
PANDA is now taking the cause to local government. Both the Washoe County Commission and the Reno City Council have been approached to pass resolutions against NDAA. So far, both have declined, but the door is still open. On March 26, PANDA made another pitch to the Reno City Council, pointing out that similar resolutions have been passed in Idaho. Visit their website, sign up for their newsletters, come to their presentations. Your due process rights are at stake.