Thursday, December 15, 2011

Welcome To America: Where Citizens Can Be Imprisoned Without A Trial

The House and Senate have just passed the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2012, setting the budget for military spending by the federal government for the United States for 2012. This bill granted around $565 billion for the federal government to spend on military/defense purposes next year. The Congress passes a defense spending bill at the end of every year for the upcoming fiscal year; however, this year’s legislation has a very controversial amendment attached to it. That controversial amendment exists in section 1031 of the bill, which allows the executive branch to indefinitely detain US citizens who are suspected of engaging in terrorist activity without due process.

The indefinite detainment of a US citizen without being tried in a court of law is a complete violation of their right to due process. Due process in its most simplistic terms means fair treatment through the normal judicial system. The 5th amendment of the US Constitution states that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without the due process of law, indicating this provision is a complete violation of the 5th amendment. The 6th amendment also states that in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial. The infinite detainment provision of the National Defense Authorization Act also violates the 6th amendment since it deprives US citizens the right to a speedy and public trial if suspected by the executive branch of being involved in terrorist activity.
The American people should be outraged with the passing of this legislation. This bill shows Congress does not care about the Bill of Rights, and does not care about the fact they have violated their oath of upholding the Constitution by passing legislation that blatantly erases multiple Constitutional rights. Considering there are many things one can do in order for the federal government to declare them a suspected terrorist, many people charged of regular crimes could be held indefinitely without any rights granted to them once this bill becomes a law. The passing of a bill such as this is dangerous because it grants the power to the executive branch to act as its own judge and jury. US citizens should not take this lightly, and should hold their representatives accountable if they voted in favor of this bill. 283 members of the House and 86 members of the Senate voted in favor of this bill. The American people need to become active and vote those members out of office in 2012!

- Liberty Mike