State and local officials in surging numbers are telling Washington they simply won’t cooperate with any plans to detain Americans the federal government may choose to describe as “belligerents.”
The issue centers on provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012, signed by President Obama, for the indefinite and rights-free detention of those Washington cites as belligerents, whether American citizens or not.
WND reported when Rep. Daniel P. Gordon Jr. immediately drafted a resolution in the Rhode Island legislature to express opposition to the sections of the NDAA “that suspend habeas corpus and civil liberties.”
Now the Tenth Amendment Center confirms that the resistance to the federal bureaucracy is catching on.
“Sources close to the Tenth Amendment Center say as many as 10 states will consider legislation or resolutions in response to the detention provisions in section 1021 and 1022 of the NDAA,” the organization is reporting. “Lawmakers in Rhode Island and Washington will likely introduce resolutions authored by the Rhode Island Liberty Coalition within the next week. Additionally, local governments, including Fremont County, Colo. and El Paso County, Colo., have passed resolution condemning the detention provisions.”
Tenth Amendment Center executive director Michael Boldin commented that “federal politicians never seem to repeal federal law.”
“It’s going to take ‘We the People’ in our states to stand up and say, ‘No!’ to this unconstitutional monster,” he said.
The center’s report noted that the provisions in the law “may allow” for the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens, depending on exactly how it is interpreted.
Already, Virginia Delegate Bob Marshall, R-Manassas, has introduced HB1160, which would prevent “any agency, political subdivision, employee, or member of the military of Virginia from assisting an agency or the armed forces of the United States in the investigation, prosecution, or detainment of a United States citizen in violation of the Constitution of Virginia.”
The center already has developed model legislation that addresses the issue.
It states, “The Legislature finds that the enactment into law by the United States Congress of Sections 1021 and 1022 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012, Public Law Number 112-81, is inimical to the liberty, security and well-being of the people of (STATE), and was adopted by the United States Congress in violation of the limits of federal power in United States Constitution.”
Mike Maharrey, communications director for the TAC, said the fight is shaping up like the conflict in the 1850s when northern states refused to cooperate with fugitive slave laws that required them to capture and return escaping slaves.
“It is clear to me, and I am far from alone in this view, that the detention provisions in the NDAA are vague, overbroad and open to interpretation,” he said. “That leaves me to trust in the good character and moral clarity of Barack Obama, Rick Santorum or whoever happens to reside at the White House, to protect me and my fellow Americans from abuse of this power. No thanks.”
Maharrey noted that during the latter days of slavery, “state and local governments in northern states stepped in and thwarted the enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Acts, which allowed the federal government to arrest and detain black people, and send them back into slavery with little or no due process.”
“We laud these men and women as heroes,” he said. “I have no doubt that history will prove equally kind to those standing up for the most basic rights of Americans today.”
Gordon earlier told WND that Sections 1021 and 1022 of the act, signed into law on New Years Eve of 2011, “provide for the indefinite detention of American citizens by the military on American soil, without charge, and without right to legal counsel and right to trial.”
He continued, “Given the fact that the constitutions of Rhode Island and that of the United States are replete with guarantees of individual liberties, right to habeas corpus, and right to freedom of speech, the offending sections of that law are repugnant to the sensibilities of anyone that has a basic understanding of the foundation of this country.”
Opinions on the legislation signed by Obama vary. Commentator Chuck Baldwin, who himself has been the target of smears by the Department of Homeland Security-related apparatus, explained the law, “for all intents and purposes, completely nullifies a good portion of the Bill of Rights, turns the United States into a war zone, and places U.S. citizens under military rule.”
“When signing the NDAA into law, Obama issued a signing statement that in essence said, ‘I have the power to detain Americans … but I won’t,” Baldwin wrote.
Baldwin was vilified by an anti-terror campaign in Missouri several years ago when authorities there described suspicious characters as those who might have supported him or other third-party candidates during a presidential election.
Others pooh-poohed the concerns about the apprehension of Americans. Wayne Bowne, an academic at Southeast Missouri State University not far from where state officials had issued that warning about Baldwin, said, “The NDAA not only does not empower the U.S. military to detain American citizens indefinitely, it specifically prohibits this.
“The NDAA confirms as U.S. law the practice that foreign terrorists … will be held indefinitely by the U.S. military. Indeed, this is a far more generous policy than allowed under international law,” he wrote.
Gordon knows there are those who don’t worry, but he’s not willing to jeopardize freedoms on the assumption something won’t happen.
He cited Charles C. Krulak and Joseph P. Hoar, both retired four-star Marine generals, who have concerns.
“Both of these distinguished gentlemen understand that the first obligation of military personnel is the oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. Violation of that oath, constitutional provisions and that of the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 is a slippery slope to tyranny,” he said.
“When I took the oath of office, I swore that I would support the constitutions of Rhode Island and the United States. And before one single constituent of mine is snatched up in the dead of night, without due process under our laws, they’ll have to pry those documents from my cold dead hands,” he said.