Takoma Park residents spoke out against the NDAA’s indefinite detention provisions and in favor of the resolution advocated by Montgomery County Civil Rights Coalition during the Takoma City Council public comment period this evening.
Urging the council to support the resolution, Jim Kuhn said the resolution was “very much a local matter.” Jim pointed out that the proposed resolution is “very much in keeping with existing ordinances which instruct city employees to not cooperate with governmental systems characterized by widespread abuses of human rights and rights of due process.” Since the NDAA comes “perilously close” to undoing the rule of law,
“a key provision of this resolution is to “instruct all our public agencies to decline requests by federal agencies acting under detention powers granted by the NDAA that could infringe upon residents’ freedom of speech, religion, assembly, privacy, or rights to trial and counsel.”
Human rights know no national or jurisdictional boundaries. They require governmental protection, accountability, and enforcement in order to mean anything at all. So I will end by urging you to remember the special responsibility of local officials to protect our human rights, and our rights of due process when these are being ignored or abused by federal or state authorities.
Ward 1 resident Steve Silverman said that while the NDAA addressed some legitimate security concerns,
“I can’t help but be worried by the overbreadth of these provisions. They really do appear to authorize indefinite military detentions even of U.S. citizens under some circumstances, as well as lawful resident aliens. There’s an awful lot of overbreadth in these provisions … There are some basic rights here which seem to be put in jeopardy.”
Earlier, Fran Pollner also supported the NDAA resolution in the course of advocating an important resolution developed by Fund Our Communities/Montgomery County Peace Action that urges decreased military spending and redirection of savings to human needs. Addressing the reluctance of some councilmembers to take up non-city issues, she noted that while the council obviously doesn’t control federal funds or policy, “you do have the responsibility and the power to convey the needs of your constituents to those who do…”
We agree. And we hope even more people will join Jim, Steve, Fran, and others to advocate the NDAA resolution during next Monday‘s city council public comments. We also strongly encourage people to take a look at the Fund Our Communities resolution; you’ll almost certainly want to support it as well.