Civil Liberties

We Conservatives tend to oppose those who claim to defend our civil liberties, such as the ACLU, Senator Al Franken (D-MN), and others in the leftist media. . . even presidential contender Ron Paul. So it is with some pain and consternation that we may wish to admit they do have a point in opposing the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 (S.981), a 346 page, $662 billion document designed to cover current military expenses, wars, and the like. Its sponsors are Senators Carl Levin (D-MI) and our own Senator John McCain (R-AZ). It was approved by the House on December 14, and by the Senate on December 15, just before they left town for their usual Christmas vacations. The next step is approval by the President, and then it becomes law.

So what’s the big deal? We do this every year. But this time there is a difference. Included in the Act is a provision that legislatively codifies the President’s authority to indefinitely detain terrorism suspects, including American citizens, without trial – - as defined in Title X, Subtitle D, SEC 1031(a-e).

conservative view - civil libertiesThere has been some controversy as to whether this provision actually applies to U.S. citizens, who are protected under the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution, which states; “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed . . . and have the Advice of Counsel for his defense.” Evidently it does apply to anyone so designated. Co-Author of the bill, Arizona Senator John McCain, testifying during a Senate hearing on the bill, stated that any American citizen could be declared an enemy combatant, sent to Guantanamo Bay and detained indefinitely, “no matter who they are.” And he should know!

Earlier this month, FBI Director Robert Mueller testified in a Senate hearing on this legislation; “Today is the anniversary of the ratification of the Bill of Rights, and this wasn’t the way to mark its birthday.”
As stated in the current issue of Forbes magazine, “We’re talking about the stripping away of our most basic freedoms. We’re talking about a government, and a President, that can call me a terrorist for writing this article and then lock me up and throw away the key.”

“Impossible,” you say? How many things have we seen come to pass over the past three years that we previously considered impossible? I never thought we would come to where I would suggest we should ally ourselves with the ACLU, and others of their ilk. But nothing surprises me much any more.

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