MCCRC activists returned to Takoma Park City Council this evening to argue for the NDAA resolution, update Council on the ACLU endorsement, and present a list of 104 Takoma Park residents supporting the resolution.
Jim Kuhn led off with a forceful case for the NDAA resolution:
The detention provisions under NDAA authorize this and any future president to order the military to pick up and indefinitely imprison civilians captured anywhere in the world, far from any battlefield, not because they were convicted of a crime based on proof beyond a reasonable doubt, but in fact without criminal charges or courtroom trials, based on suspicion alone. Even where there is no armed conflict and no threat to Americans. For the first time in American history, indefinite military detention without charge or trial is lawful.
Suspicion of having created a terror-related crime — gosh, only the worst of the worst could end up like that, right? Wrong. There is very credible evidence that the FBI and other law enforcement agencies have long long engaged in racial, religious, and ethnic profiling; without a doubt they have also treated peace, environmental, and anti-tax activists as terrorists, for instance under the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act and the material support provisions of the PATRIOT Act. The NDAA, on top of such already way-overly-broad federal laws — not to mention secret interpretations of those laws — give this and all future federal governments basically unchecked power to silence its critics, to deny civilians the right to trial, and to make irrelevant the presumption of innocence.
Jim reminded council members of the statement of a prior city council — “that there is no inherent conflict between national security and the preservation of liberty and that government can protect public safety without impairing civil rights and liberties” — adding that to him the most important provision of the resolution was this one:
We expect all federal and state law enforcement officials acting within the City to work in accordance with local law, and in cooperation with the Takoma Park Police Department, by allowing any detainees among Takoma Park’s residents or visitors access to a trial, counsel and due process, as provided by Article III of the Constitution of the United States;
For my part, I invited Council members once again to the NDAA forum this Thursday, 7:30pm in the Takoma Park Community Center’s Azalea Room. I also notified them of last week’s Maryland ACLU endorsement of our resolution, emphasizing the nationwide movement to reverse the NDAA’s Sections 1021 and 1022:
I’m very grateful for the Maryland ACLU’s advice, and am of course very encouraged by their support. That support reflects county, State, and national ACLU’s strong support for local resolutions about this issue, as part of their national strategy — shared with the Bill of Rights Defense Committee and in fact a range of other organizations — to pressure Congress to repeal this law. In addition to the Maryland ACLU, the proposed NDAA resolution is endorsed by South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), the Bill of Rights Defense Committee (BORDC), and the Defending Dissent Foundation.
To illustrate community support for the resolution, I added:
I also wanted to share with you a list of 104 Takoma Park residents who have added their names to our petition for this resolution. Some added their names online, but most did so the good old-fashioned way, on clipboards at the Farmer’s Market or the Takoma Metro. We anticipate collecting more in the days ahead.
I hope you can join us on Wednesday morning 8-9AM and Wednesday after work, 5-7PM, to petition for the resolution and distribute NDAA forum flyers at the Takoma Metro station.