Victoria N. Alexander
March 18, 2012
A group called StopNDAA.org has filed a lawsuit against the federal government to block the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which, they claim, gives the president power to arrest and indefinitely detain U.S. citizens without evidence.
The state of Virginia has declared the NDAA illegal. Arizona, Tennessee, Washington, and Cherokee County, Kansas have passed or are developing similar legislation, which will render it unlawful for local officials to cooperate with federal investigators or U.S. armed forces trying to arrest citizens under the NDAA. These challenges are being made under the 10th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which gives states ultimate sovereignty. A group called the Tenth Amendment Center is offering local governments assistance in nullifying the NDAA in their districts. Severe criticism of the NDAA has been leveled by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Bill of Rights Defense Committee. This is a very serious set of events that is very much underreported in the U.S. media.
The NDAA was signed into law by President Obama on December 31, 2011 and went into effect on March 1, 2012. Although NDAA is designed to aid in preventing terrorism, critics say that the language is so vague that any U.S. citizen can be targeted. StopNDAA.org notes that political activists are especially vulnerable.
What Does the NDAA Say?
There has been some uncertainty as to whether or not the NDAA actually does potentially apply to U.S. citizens, and critics believe that this confusion may itself serve to disarm public concern. Nevertheless, there may be some credence to claims that the NDAA merely codifies already existing laws, for example, the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) which ended the rights to judicial due process of “enemy combatants,” defying the Geneva Conventions, and the 2001 Patriot Act, which allows the federal government to ignore privacy rights and seize papers without a warrant.