Land of the Free?
President Obama, president of the "land of the free" gave the country a new year's present. On December 31st the American Civil Liberties Union published this:
"President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) today, allowing indefinite detention to be codified into law. As you know, the White House had threatened to veto an earlier version of the NDAA but reversed course shortly before Congress voted on the final bill. While President Obama issued a signing statement saying he had "serious reservations" about the provisions, the statement only applies to how his administration would use it and would not affect how the law is interpreted by subsequent administrations.
The statute is particularly dangerous because it has no temporal or geographic limitations, and can be used by this and future presidents to militarily detain people captured far from any battlefield.
Under the Bush administration, similar claims of worldwide detention authority were used to hold even a U.S. citizen detained on U.S. soil in military custody, and many in Congress now assert that the NDAA should be used in the same way again.
The ACLU believes that any military detention of American citizens or others within the United States is unconstitutional and illegal, including under the NDAA. In addition, the breadth of the NDAA's detention authority violates international law because it is not limited to people captured in the context of an actual armed conflict as required by the laws of war. We are extremely disappointed that President Obama signed this bill even though his administration is already claiming overly-broad detention authority in court. Any hope that the Obama administration would roll back those claims dimmed today.
Thankfully we have three branches of government, and the final word on the scope of detention authority belongs to the Supreme Court, which has yet to rule on the scope of detention authority. But Congress and the president also have a role to play in cleaning up the mess they have created because no American citizen or anyone else should live in fear of this or any future president misusing the NDAA's detention authority. The ACLU will fight worldwide detention authority wherever we can, be it in court, in Congress, or internationally."
So, there you have it. I had written about this a few weeks ago, explaining that there is an act that could jail you for tweeting, but it seems it may have been too little too late.
This is Serious.
Now, before anyone says "well, don't get ahead of yourself, Obama promised he wouldn't actually use it," or "are they really going to care what I tweet?" I ask you this... you may trust Obama (though I don't, not anymore), but this is an act that will be there for any President in the future to use. Forgive me, but in this socially connected world where people are free to say exactly what they want, I don't sleep too well at night knowing that someone, at some point, could take something I've said to be "threatening" and "disappear" me. This is serious stuff. Just listen to Jonathan Turley, a nationally recognized legal scholar, on CSPAN:
What Can You Do?
We are at a crossroads here. Do you like your freedom to tweet, facebook, say what you want about whatever you want, resting easy knowing that the good old Bill of Rights has you covered? Then you need to sit up and take notice. I believe we can fight this and take back our freedom, but it takes people like you, people who are reading this, to listen and say, "I will not vote for anyone, ever, who has or would have supported this."
What are your thoughts? I'd love to hear any and all comments. I try not to get overly political on this site, but this is something that puts our freedoms, and our social media at risk, so I felt it had a home here.
Special thanks to David Seaman for writing the first article I read about this act.
Image Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/video4net/4079991429