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In this author's opinion, this is the final harvest of the fruit planted with the passage of the PATRIOT Act in 2001 and its various subsequent extensions. Under NDAA, civilian terror suspects (whatever that means in the broad definition) in the U.S. could be held in jail (in a military jail no less) indefinitely without charge or trial. In other words, the military will have carte blanche to take custody of alleged terrorists without virtually any questions. To no one's surprise the ACLU finds that this would be a stark violation of human rights as spelled out under the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights ("ACLU.org").
Media coverage of the whole act has been light. A Google News search conducted by this author on 16 December, 2011 showed the major coverage not by the major media outlets, but rather by blogs and alternative news services. Evidently, it does not rate well for prime time CNN coverage. The lobbying was tortuous, and included U.S. military contractors, the President himself and civil rights and citizens groups. When President Obama indicated that he might veto the bill Senator Carl Levin, who sits on the Armed Services Committee as its chairman said on the floor of the Senate to an inquiry for Senator Mark of Illinois that the Obama administration dictated the wording of the act and embargoed the text that would have saved U.S. citizens from the indefinite imprisonment and the suspension of habeas corpus. The original wording of NDAA 1031 would have excluded American citizens from the provision that allowed for indefinite detention of U.S. citizens, even withing the boundaries of the U.S. Once Obama's cabinet officials saw the text Levin remarked that, "the administration asked us to remove the language which says that U.S. citizens and lawful residents would not be subject to this section ("Senate Hearings for NDAA 1031")."
As mentioned before, the Senate Armed Services and House Armed Services committee hearings were secret, so information about other lobbyists other than the White House has to come from indirect sources. It is difficult to know what defense contractors were lobbying for in the bill. As noted already as well, civil rights groups like the ACLU have working nonstop to defeat the bill. However, a fearful metric seems to be playing out. Even many military law enforcement and officials have opposed the broad scope of the Act. Lobbyists for the Act include Honeywell and Bluewater Defense. Certainly, Honeywell is know for a wide variety of electronic devices used for the military, surveillance and otherwise. Bluewater has been a long-time producer of military uniforms. Another lobbyist, Surefire LLC. is a manufacturer of flashlights and tactical lights (Bukowski).
There is not time or ability to draw conclusions other than there is a strange lobbying metric probably more dictated by fiduciary concerns) that has essentially removed criminal prosecution protections under the Sixth Amendment. Needless to say, citizens, rights groups and even many law enforcement groups do not feel comfortable with this. Those who are have largely went away unscathed due to the classified nature of the proceedings. Largely, a narrow coterie of lobbyists with agendas known only to them have won the day.
In conclusion, on wonders if the recent travesty in NDAA 1031 will hopefully yield a high watermark of a dilution of criminal justice protections that Americans have enjoyed for some 220 plus years. Unfortunately, now that the Obama administration has essentially heralded a continuation of the Bush legacy, the picture is not all positive. Hopefully, the outcry over violations of the Bill of Rights will now be so egregious that a public outcry will demand the swing of the pendulum in the other direction from our seeming Orwellian destination.
Blumberg, Abraham S. "The Practice of Law as Confidence Game: Organizational Cooptation of a Profession." Law Society Review. 1.2 (1967): 15-40.
Bukowski, Diane. "National Defense Authorization Act: Internet War on Human Rights Defenders at Home." Voice of Detroit. Voiceofdetroit.net, 15 December 2011. Web. 16 Dec 2011.
"Indefinite Detention, Endless Worldwide War and the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act ." ACLU.org. ACLU.org, 05 December 2011. Web. 16 Dec 2011.
Siegel, Larry J. Introduction to Criminal…[continue]
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