Takoma Park residents returned to Takoma Park City Council’s public comment period to speak out against the NDAA’s indefinite detention provisions and in favor of the resolution advocated by Montgomery County Civil Rights Coalition.
Thomas Nephew cordially invited the council to attend the NDAA public forum set for Thursday, April 26th at 7:30pm in the Azalea Room, which is situated near the council chamber in the community center at 7500 Maple Avenue, and added, “I hope you will help publicize this public event on community cable, and would welcome it if community cable TV were on hand to join us in recording and broadcasting the event live and/or online.”
In her statement, Margaret Dadion spoke of how the vaguely drawn NDAA provisions could subject even doctors or public health workers to detention depending on who administers the law and how it’s interpreted:
I work in international public health – a field you would think would be above any reproach. But legal experts suggest that even doctors or public health workers providing humanitarian aid to a group thought to be linked to Al Qaeda could be subject to indefinite military arrest under the NDAA. This law is too broad, too vague – and because it also denies real due process it’s also too dangerous.
She added, “…I believe in community-based politics and because I know from public health that community-based action works best. When it’s clear we’ve wrongly trusted our national government to defend our rights, you are the right council and the right people to take that action. You’re who I can reach.”
Former council member Hank Prensky also spoke for the resolution, quoting journalist Chris Hedges :
“The NDAA implodes our most cherished constitutional protections. It permits the military to function on U.S. soil as a civilian law enforcement agency. It authorizes the executive branch to order the military to selectively suspend due process and habeas corpus for citizens. The law can be used to detain people deemed threats to national security, including dissidents whose rights were once protected under the First Amendment, and hold them until what is termed “the end of the hostilities.” Even the name itself—the Homeland Battlefield Bill—suggests the totalitarian concept that endless war has to be waged within “the homeland” against internal enemies as well as foreign enemies.“
He concluded, “This is brutal stuff. This is heartless. This should not stand.”
(Other videos are collected here; city video archive of the meeting is not yet available.)
After the public comments, Martine Zee explained her sign (“Security firms are actively working to equate ACTIVISM with TERRORISM / NDAA’s Indefinite Detention provisions SO VAGUE even the DOJ doesn’t know how they’ll be interpreted“).
Council members appreciated the planned public forum; Mayor Williams followed up to get the time and date, and both Councilmembers Seth Grimes and Fred Schultz thanked the public forum organizers and co-sponsors for setting up the forum. Councilmember Schultz said he’d distribute information about the public forum to listservs in his ward, and lauded the activists’ persistence in bringing the subject to city council meetings. He added, “persistence pays off.”
We agree! So please join us to advocate the NDAA resolution again during next Monday’s city council public comments.