Congress just passed the gigantic $625 billion dollar sweeping National Defense Authorization Act of 2014 with a vote in the House 350 to 69 and in the Senate 84 to 15. Establishment media coverage seemed to center on what did not make it into the act such as, a crackdown on sexual assault in the military and provisions making it easier to close Guantanamo, rather than upon what did.
Most maintained the image that the annual act merely funded the military for another year, as has been the case formerly. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Left in place was the extremely controversial 2012 provision authorizing the military, under presidential authority, to arrest, kidnap, and detain without trial, and held indefinitely, American citizens thought to “represent an enduring security threat to the United States.”
Simply stated it defied Habeas Corpus (your constitutional right not to disappear at the hand of government), the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 (preventing the military from having a law enforcement function in the United States), and essentially gutted large portions of the Bill of Rights especially amendments 4, 5, and 6 with secondary damage to 1, 2 and possibly 8.
It is the single most dangerous law passed by Congress in U.S. history.
Only socialists and Tea Party advocates seemed to understand that a non-specific definition of terrorism, such as that noted above, can easily be turned into a revolving definition of terrorism and used to wipe out either an opposing party or philosophy.
Imagine being arrested, kidnaped, and secretly shipped to Guantanamo Bay for defending the Constitution. Such is possible under the 2012 version left unchanged.
Republican President Richard Nixon used the IRS to persecute his political enemies in the 1970s, as has Democratic President Barack Obama in the last five years. Neither political party is exempt from fault on this version.
Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham and John McCain pushed it through the Senate and Democrat President Barack Obama promised to veto it, then signed it. Sadly, only 2012 presidential candidates Ron Paul and Rick Santorum opposed it.
Unfortunately the National Defense Authorization Act of 2014 is still unconstitutional, still unacceptable, and even more dangerous than its predecessor.
Newly added is Section 1071(a) which authorizes the Secretary of Defense to “establish a center to be known as the ‘Conflict Records Research Center’” authorized to compile a “digital research database including translations and to facilitate research and analysis of records captured from countries, organizations, and individuals, now or once hostile to the United States.”
Section 1071 (g) is more explicit, defining a captured record as “a document, audio file, video file, or other material.”
This effectively expands the surveillance of the Bush 43 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) defining, as never ending, the War on Terrorism and his resultant Patriot Act, requiring citizens to report certain activities of other citizens.
Factor in the government’s several expensive NSA facilities especially those of Oak Ridge, Tenn. and Bluffdale, Utah -- the latter of which is designed to accommodate a yottabyte of information.
Factor in also the known collection by NSA of every email, telephone conversation, social media post and text of every U.S. citizen for the last eight years and it is easy to see why the federal government now wants a Conflict Records Research Center.
Only the following U.S. Senators understood the danger to the Constitution and freedom by voting against: Barrasso (WY), Coburn (OK), Corker (TN), Crapo (ID), Cruz (TX), Enzi (WY), Flake (AZ), Lee (UT), Merkley (OR), Paul (KY), Risch (ID), Sanders (VT), Sessions (AL), Shelby (AL) and Wyden (OR).
Senators not listed do not understand the Constitution and its checks and balances enough to merit your vote regardless of which political party they represent.
Perhaps Tea Party Sen.r Ted Cruz said it best when he told his constituents: “Today I voted against the National Defense Authorization Act. I am deeply concerned that Congress still has not prohibited President Obama’s ability to indefinitely detain U.S. citizens arrested on American soil without trial or due process. The Constitution does not allow President Obama, or any President, to apprehend an American citizen, arrested on U.S. soil, and detain these citizens indefinitely without a trial.”
We agree and that is why the National Defense Authorization Act of 2014 is still dangerous, still unconstitutional and still unacceptable in a free country.
Dr. Harold Pease has taught history and political science from this perspective for over 25 years at Taft College. He has dedicated his career to studying the writings of the founding fathers and applying that knowledge to current events. For more of his weekly articles, see www.LibertyUnderFire.org.