Welcome to the Montgomery County Civil Rights Coalition forum on the military detention provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for 2012.
Our motto is “protecting civil liberties everywhere by protecting them at home.”
And we try to live up to that. We are a group of fairly active activists and a network of like-minded coalition allies who joined together in late 2010 to advocate for local civil rights initiatives ranging from opposing Metro bag searches and advocating for a civil rights restoration act for the county to supporting youth curfew opponents, yet also opposing the worse alternative of a broadly drawn county loitering bill.
This forum — and the resolution we advocate for the city of Takoma Park and beyond — reflects our conviction that the NDAA’s indefinite detention provisions represent a civil liberties emergency for our country and our community. A law purporting to subject any civilian – American citizen or not – detained far from any battlefield to the threat of indefinite military detention is bad enough. One that threatens to do so based on unproven suspicion, without trial, of “belligerence” or of “support” of “associated groups” of terrorist organizations is intolerably broad, dangerous, and chilling. We the people concede such broad powers to our government at our peril; the mistake has been made; it must be undone.
We’re proud and honored that this forum is co-sponsored by a stellar coalition of civil liberties and social justice organizations including the Maryland ACLU, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Defending Dissent Foundation, Peace Action Montgomery, ACLU of Montgomery County, and South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT)
The resolution we advocate is also a product of collaboration; we built it from two model ordinances developed by the Bill of Rights Defense Committee and the ACLU, and worked with those organizations and the Defending Dissent Foundation to perfect it. The result is a resolution that has been vetted by some of the best legal minds and civil liberties advocates in the country, and that is explicitly endorsed by the Maryland ACLU, the BORDC, Defending Dissent, and SAALT.
We’re also very pleased to have two bona fide experts on the subject here tonight to help all of us understand exactly what the NDAA does, what’s at stake, and what we can do about it.
And we’re fortunate to have one of Takoma Park’s leading citizens, Eric Bond of the Takoma Voice, to introduce them and moderate the forum tonight.