Sunday, December 18, 2011

NDAA Faces Changes to Reduce Danger of Extra Legal Detention for US Citizens and Permanent Residents #ows #ndaa #election #HRW #AI

Fairy Tales are for Children
Reports that Obama wants a NDAA that will take away citizens' and residents' rights seem to have been over-hyped.

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I am getting a little clarity on what NDAA does do now. It was, as offered in the conference bill, apparently meant to be much less dangerous to citizens and permanent residents than it has been advertised. Too little evaluation and inspection and too much hype among sources we often trust has led us to believe it destroys our rights. That apparently was never the intent it seems.

The first explosion on Twitter made me think that the US Government would be rounding up people it didn't like any day.

I think some #ows people are worried they could be picked up for demonstrating and detained forever without seeing a lawyer. I worried about that too, but would Obama be okay with that?

Some earlier detentions without a judicial review were about groups picked up and put in camps mostly because of their genetic identity such as being of Japanese descent during WW2 and/or political associations (or assumed associations) during the time of the blacklisting of people with alleged ties to communist groups, according to articles and blogs.

From what I'm reading, changes made the bill in conference and now an attempt with a new bill that would amend the meaning of S1867 should cure us of the idea that the government wants to round up citizens and legal residents.

Lawfare article The Conference Version of the NDAA: Lingering Ambiguity as to Citizens\ shows that Congressionals did try to amend the meaning of S1867 by inserting commas. A Lawfare article posted a little later "The Problematic NDAA: On Clear Statements and Non-Battlefield Detention" says that the experts at Lawfare don't believe the ambiguity was cleared up. And possibly the Senate's own lawyers agreed.

Therefore: as of Friday just after midnight Lawfare had more: New changes reported by blogger Steve Vladeck show that 13 Senators led by Diane Feinstein have produced another bill that makes it clear that even under a Declaration of War the government would not be authorized to round up citizens or legal permanent residents without judicial review. See Lawfare The NDAA and the Due Process Guarantee Act of 2011
An authorization to use military force, a declaration of war, or any similar authority shall not authorize the detention without charge or trial of a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States apprehended in the United States, unless an Act of Congress expressly authorizes such detention.
Above is from: Why is the government working furiously to clarify that they don't want to give the president the powers to round up people without judicial review?

I can only think that the White House has put them up to it. Obama most likely doesn't want to sign a bill that contains any implication that US citizens could be rounded without legal protection.. A portion of Feinstein's statement and the list of co-sponsors from Diane Feinstein: United States Senator from California Press Release
“We must clarify U.S. law to state unequivocally that the government cannot indefinitely detain American citizens inside this country without trial or charge. I strongly believe that C
constitutional due process requires U.S. citizens apprehended in the U.S. should never be held in indefinite detention. And that is what this new legislation would accomplish.” The Due Process Guarantee Act of 2011 is cosponsored by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Mark Udall (D-Colo.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Chris Coon
s (D-Del.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.).
Now I know that such a recognized Human Rights Organizations like Amnesty International have railed against Obama's promise to sign the NDAA. They haven't updated on the new information, that shows a clarified understanding exempting citizens and LPRs yet.

Well, it is a weekend, and anyway the more AI gets people worried about their civil rights the more money the organization is likely to collect, so I'm not sure they care that they have an article that is now definitely inaccurate in an over-hyped way. I've lost a lot of respect for them though, and won't be trusting their opinions on what is a civil rights emergency in the future. AI's out of date article is here.

I already lost faith in Human Rights Watch over the way they tried to pin the blame on Russia for the short Georgian-Russian war in 2008. It was then that I googled their history and found it was formerly known as Helsinki Watch a group that had learned how to make money crying out against abuses in the Soviet Union possibly with all validity, but obviously it's a lot harder to make money for such a group in the post Soviet era.

The fact is that I'm pretty damn sure that the White House put Feinstein up to crafting legislation to explain more how citizens and legal residents cannot be rounded up by the US government and held without access to a lawyer or the courts. (If you have a green card, you are a legal permanent resident.)

I don't know how the US government can go any further than that to promise not to round up citizens and permanent residents without legal protection.  But Newt Gingrich would love it if you solidified your thoughts on this right now, before the outcome is known so he can convince you his presidency would be preferable to that of Obama's second term so that you keep yourself pure for Ralph Nader or who ever the new guy will be that emerges to hand the 2012 election to the GOP candidate.

Instead let's all keep an open mind on this, though, until the entire process is resolved.

Don't take the witch's candy at this time.  She'll be passing out another, even crazier, flavor next week for sure.

Note:  I don't mean to imply that all people who are mistaken about the import of this bill are trying to deceive.  I do think that large numbers have gotten the wrong ideas and don't have the additional information they need to evaluate what is really going on. That's why I researched on the matter, picking mostly lawyers instead of politicians to guide my assessment and wrote this post.

I also suspect that the GOP is behind some of the misinformation being spread.  I've seen that hand with the ratty glove passing out candy before.