"President Barack Obama desecrated the Constitution that he and I swore to defend when he signed the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012, which includes language violating the Bill of Rights and other constitutionally protected liberties.
The NDAA affirms that the president has the authority to use the Armed Forces to detain any person “who was part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners.”
Under the law, the president also may lock up anyone who commits a “belligerent act” against the U.S. or its coalition allies “without trial, until the end of the hostilities.” The law embraces the notion that the U.S. military can be used even domestically to arrest an American citizen or anyone else who falls under such suspicion – and it is “suspicion” because a trial can be avoided indefinitely.
...those who hoped that Barack Obama, the onetime constitutional law professor, would begin rolling back the aggressive assault on civil liberties that President George W. Bush began after the 9/11 attacks must be sorely disappointed.
Those existing laws – including the original post-9/11 use-of-military-force authorization and the Military Commissions Act passed in 2006 and modified in 2009 – opened the door for presidents to declare anyone of their choice, American citizen or non-citizen alike, an “enemy combatant” and to subject the person to military prison or even assassination.
...when I was commissioned a 2nd lieutenant in the U.S. Army, I took an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic. I knew that the oath carried no expiration date. Back then, I could not conceive of the possibility that one day this would pose a problem. I felt that we Americans were pretty much all on the same team. But how will I honor my oath in today’s circumstances?
...the NDAA strikes me as the most serious affront to American rights in my already pretty long lifetime. That, and the lifetime of my eight grandchildren, constitutes my horizon. Yet, why do so few of my neighbors understand the assault on the Bill of Rights that President Obama advanced with his signature?
...Just as former CIA Director George Tenet protested to Scott Pelley on 60 Minutes – five times in five consecutive sentences, “We do not torture!” – Obama may now declare, “We don’t violate the Constitution!”
But where are our journalists now, this week in January 2012? Why aren’t they investigating how this travesty occurred – and how curious it is that this steady encroachment on American rights continues even as U.S. intelligence agencies say al-Qaeda is on the verge of defeat with only a couple of “high-value targets” left from its core operation?
...Behind closed doors, the law’s chief co-conspirators – Sens. Carl Levin, D-Michigan; John McCain, R-Arizona; Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina; and Joe Lieberman, I-Connecticut – injected into the NDAA ambiguous language that could be applied by this president or the next to Americans who resist endless war against “associated forces” somehow linked to al-Qaeda or the Taliban.
All four of these co-conspirators are prominent supporters of harsher and harsher sanctions against Iran, actions that have put in place the dry kindling that awaits some spark to touch off a new conflagration in the Middle East.
...can we not get up from our armchairs and do what we can to insist that those liberties be protected? How have we reached such a pass? Have we grown so inured to the repetition from our leaders, including both George W. Bush and Barack Obama, that keeping us “safe” is their first priority, that we have forgotten that the Founders risked everything for liberty, not for “safety”?
Madison ...recognized the inevitable effects on our liberties of “continual warfare” of the kind we have been waging for more than a decade now:
“A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defense against foreign danger, have been always the instruments of tyranny at home.”
“Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few.”
“The same malignant aspect in republicanism may be traced in the inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war, and in the degeneracy of manners and of morals, engendered by both. No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.”
...for the Founders and their families, freedom and politics were not spectator sports. They knew all too well how tyranny could be ushered in not only from overseas but also from behind closed doors.
Who has exposed Congress’s latest poaching on our liberties – and President Obama’s hand-wringing decision to compromise those liberties? In fact some have, but you won’t find them on U.S. network TV or even on most American cable channels.
You either have to know your way around the Internet, or purchase the kind of service that will permit you to see foreign-sponsored channels like PressTV, Aljazeera, and RT.
...CNN domestic has been punctual in interviewing me every three and a half years. I have flunked out of Fox News altogether, although there have been a few rare occasions when a local Fox station invites me on to comment on a fast-breaking event.
...It will be necessary to keep informed as we face down this resurgence of tyranny. Sunshine patriots will deceive themselves into thinking they can do that, while staying malnourished by the Fawning Corporate Media."
prepared and briefed the President's Daily Brief
Chaired National Intelligence Estimates.
Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).