Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul has spoken out against the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) Bill 2012, calling it a dangerous and alarming attempt at establishing martial law in the United States.
This is a giant step -- this should be the biggest news going on right now -- literally legalizing martial law, Paul said on the Alex Jones radio show. He added that despite the topic's importance, the subject has never been discussed at any of the Republican presidential debates.
Paul is refferring to section 1031 of the NDAA bill, which describes the U.S. as a battlefield and would give the military a green light to arrest and detain American citizens without any charges or trial. Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) sums it up:
These provisions raise serious questions as to who we are as a society and what our Constitution seeks to protect, Sen. Udall said. Section 1031 essentially repeals the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 by authorizing the U.S. military to perform law enforcement functions on American soil. That alone should alarm my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, but there are other problems with these provisions that must be resolved.
In other words, the military could arrest any American citizen suspected of being a domestic terrorist and throw them into a military prison indefinitely. Beyond being incredibly inhumane, this section of the bill violates a citizen's Sixth Amendment right to counsel, and also ignores the Miranda process that informs criminal suspects of their rights while in police custody.
Several Congressmen and women are speaking out against the wording of section 1031. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has proposed an amendment (No. 1126), which would limit the authority of Armed Forces to detain citizens of the United States under section 1031. Other senators took the floor at the Senate debate.
I have gone back over the last 2 days again and again, reading these sections against each other -- 1031 and 1032 particularly -- and I am very concerned about how this language would be interpreted, not in the here and now, as we see the stability we have brought to our country since 9/11, but what if something were to happen and we would be under more of a sense of national emergency and this language would be interepreted for broader action, said Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.).
If we pass the Defense authorization bill with section 1031, Congress will... for the first time in 60 years, authorize the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens without charge or trial, said Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.). This would be the first time Congress has deviated from President Nixon's Nondetention Act. What we are talking about is that Americans could be subjected to life imprisonment--think about that for a moment--life imprisonment without ever being charged, tried, or convicted of a crime, without ever having an opportunity to prove your innocence to a judge or a jury of your peers, and without the government ever having to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. I believe that denigrates the very foundations of this country.
The NDAA Bill 2012 has been backed by the Senate and passed in the House of Representatives on Dec. 15. The bill, which also permits the Pentagon to wage cyberwars on domestic enemies of the state, is a serious violation of First Amendment human and civil rights, including freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Should the bill become a law, it could potentially hinder the movements of both Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party campaign, as well as muzzle news outlets and independent whistleblowers from exposing government corruption.
The massive $662 billion defense bill, for the most part, would finance military personnel, national security programs, weapons systems and the wars in the Middle East. The broad-reaching bill would also impose several sanctions aimed at Iran's financial structure, and would also help accelerate the transition of national protection in Afghanistan to the Afghanistan National Security Forces.
President Obama has yet to sign the bill, and he is expected to later this week. Lobbyists of the bill, including several leaders within the House and Senate Armed Forces Committees, said they would add language and make changes to avoid a veto.
However, the Pentagon believes that non-state actors increasingly threaten to penetrate and disrupt DOD networks and systems. To address this cyber threat, the Pentagon released a plan declaring the Internet a domain of war, claiming how hostile groups are working to exploit DOD unclassified and classified networks, and some foreign intelligence organizations have already acquired the capacity to disrupt elements of DOD's information infrastructure.
The U.S. is vulnerable to sabotage in defense, power, telecommunications, banking, said Sami Saydjari, a former Pentagon cyber expert. An attack on any one of those essential infrastructures could be as damaging as any kinetic attack on U.S. soil.
In other words, the Pentagon fears the Internet's capability to instantly spread sensitive information (see: Wikileaks), especially when the information or ideas are not consistent with U.S. government themes and messages.
Representative Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) said the bill would set a terrible precedent for the U.S. government.
Our children deserve a world where they know the government will protect them, that it is not going to rule over them by invading their very thoughts, he said.