Rights defenders to protest oppression under Obama administration
As U.S. Rep. Justin Amish leads a group of ten congresspersons battling against the National Defence Authorization Act 2012, protests and funeral march mournings instead of celebrations are slated Thursday, Bill of Rights Day, marking the rights declaration ratified 220 years ago on December 15, 1791. Nationwide, people are readying for Thursday's demonstrations against congresspersons who voted away rights from Americans with the NDAA 2012 and against the 1% who rule the United States with increasingly oppressive military force under the Obama administration as demonstrated in the Occupy Wall Street protests.
A growing number of elected officials, former military leaders, couterterrorism experts and American rights defenders coast to coast are expressing outrage over the U.S. Congress voting for the NDAA 2012 in which President Obama required including that Americans can be treated without human rights, as foreigners have been in the 'war on terror,' and that any United States citizen activist stands at risk of designation as a potential terrorist, especially if their interests include foreign policy or enterprises impacting the environment.
"It is shameful that today, in the United States, we are forced to come together in defense of the Bill of Rights and our civil liberties, as the representatives of the 1% who rule this country continue to take our rights away," stated the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) in a written statement on Tuesday.
The NDAA 2012 includes wording proposed by Democratic Sen. Carl Levin and Republican Sen. John McCain that allows arrest and indefinite detention of U.S. citizens by the military, on U.S. soil, without right of trial -- in direct breach of the Bill of Rights.
Andrea Prasow, senior counterterrorism counsel at Human Rights Watch explained Tuesday, "The latest version of the defense authorization bill does nothing to address the bill's core problems - legislated indefinite detention without charge and the militarization of law enforcement."
Chris Anders of the ACLU said, "The sponsors of the bill monkeyed around with a few minor details, but all of the core dangers remain - the bill authorizes the president to order the military to indefinitely imprison without charge or trial American citizens and others found far from any battlefield, even in the United States itself."
"This is an egregious violation of our first amendment rights and comes at a time when we are witnessing unprecedented attacks on our civil liberties," the human rights organization UNAC stated.
Last week, Presient Obama proclaimed Bill of Rights Day stating:
"For 220 years, these fundamental liberties have shaped our national character and stirred the souls of all who dream of a freer, more just world. As we mark this milestone, we renew our commitment to preserving our universal rights and perfecting our Union.
"Introduced in the First Congress in 1789, the Bill of Rights was born out of compromise. The promise of enumerated rights enabled the ratification of the Constitution without fear that a more centralized government would encroach on American freedoms. In adopting the first ten Amendments, our Founders put forth an ideal that continues to define our Nation -- that we can have both liberty and security, that we need not sacrifice the rights of man for the rule of law."
UNAC lists some of the Obama administration's rights attacks on Americans in direct opposition to what is outlined in the Bill of Rights:
- Massive spying on the Muslim community, including the recent revelations of the spying by the New York City Police Department (NYPD) and the CIA on mosques, Muslim businesses, and Muslim student groups;
- Continuation of the policy of sending agents into mosques with phony plots designed to entrap Muslims for so called “preemptive prosecution”;
- Recent raids on homes of antiwar activists by federal agents, who have carted away personal computers, cell phones, books, and other possessions and handed the activists subpoenas to appear before federal grand juries;
- Recent, often violent evictions of anti-Wall Street occupations around the country;
- Refusal of the Chicago city government and the federal government to allow for peaceful protests when NATO and the G8 countries come to Chicago in May, 2012 to hold summit meetings.
The NDAA is viewed as a last nail in the coffin of human and constitutional rights in the United States.
"Our Constitution does not permit the federal government to detain American citizens indefinitely without charge or trial," a group of ten congresspersons led by Rep. Justin Amash who oppose the NDAA stated in a letter they drafted.
Those working to defend rights who signed the letter were Rep. John Conyers. D-Detroit, Rep. Michael Capuano. D-Mass.; Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Va.; Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C.; Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio,; Rep. Raúl Labrador, R-Idaho, Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va.; Rep. Bill Posey, R-Fla.; Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo. and Rep. Rob Woodall, R-Ga.
The representatives inlcuded in their letter:
"We strongly believe in protecting the country’s security and equipping our Armed Forces with the tools they need to defeat our enemies.
"But we cannot support measures that, in the name of security, violate Americans’ constitutional rights."
Bob Barr, the conservative former Congressman from Georgia, wrote in the Daily Caller:
"During the course of the now decade-old ‘War on Terrorism,' both the administration of President Barack Obama and that of his predecessor, George W. Bush, aided by a largely compliant Congress, have sought and been given - or simply taken - unprecedentedly broad powers of surveillance and evidence-gathering that have severely diminished the heretofore protected civil liberties of U.S. citizens.
"Now, thanks to action the Congress is preparing to take, the threats to those liberties are being taken to a dangerous new level. The vehicle for this threat is the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)." [Bob Barr, 12/12/11]
General Charles C. Krulak, former commandant of the Marine Corps, and General Joseph P. Hoar, former CENTCOM Commander confronted President Obama Tuesday in the New York Times:
"Having served various administrations, we know that politicians of both parties love this country and want to keep it safe. But right now some in Congress are all too willing to undermine our ideals in the name of fighting terrorism. They should remember that American ideals are assets, not liabilities."
On December 15, Bill of Rights Day actions and press conferences are planned in New York City, Boston, Chicago, Minneapolis, San Francisco and other areas of the country.
Occupy Worcester posted information created a Facebook Page about its funeral march planned for Thursday saying, "Come join Occupy Worcester as we mourn the Bill of Rights and the US Constitution (1787-2011).
"Our government has trampled and pissed all over it in the name of national security, and has driven in the final nail with the National Defense Authorization Act."
National coalitions participating in the protests and mournings include the Muslim Peace Coalition and United National Antiwar Coalition.
President Obama could sign the NDAA as early as Wednesday.