Shahid Buttar summarizes the NDAA and how to resist it

In a recent interview with Michael Ostrolenk, a member of the BORDC board of directors and co-founder and national director of the Liberty Coalition, BORDC Executive Director Shahid Buttar summarized the dangers presented by the NDAA to the rule of law and democracy in the United States. He explained,

In 2011, Congress and the President included in the NDAA detention provisions that authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of anyone based on accusation... That authority can extend, does extend, in the bill to US citizens. It can particularly extend to activists, and dissidents accused of associational or speech crimes under a part of the Patriot Act that was upheld by the Supreme Court in the Humanitarian Law Project case. That’s particularly why we’re very concerned about the NDAA. In the wrong hands, it can essentially represent the end of democracy as we know it.

Shahid pointed out that BORDC is actively involved in building grassroots resistance to the detention provisions of the NDAA. For example, BORDC is working with other activist coalitions to seek local and state resolutions that affirm the Bill of Rights and due process and reject indefinite military detention without trial.

Opposition to the detention provisions of the NDAA has transcended political ideologies, bringing together Occupiers, Tea Party members, and peace and justice groups. Shahid explains that this presents an opportunity for political organizing:

Regardless from where on the political spectrum one is coming from … these federal assaults on the bill of Rights, particularly the denial of the right to trial and the inversion of the presumption of innocence into a presumption of guilt [is] hugely opportune for We The People to raise our voice and to do it where we are most powerful which is in our own towns, in our own states, and to translate that political populist trans-partisan energy into the nation’s capital.

Find out how you can voice your opposition to the NDAA.

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Dear Shahid Buttar, After reading your activist resume I am so impressed that I have difficulty in expressing my criticism, but I will try to overcome it.
While I completely agree that we have most influence locally, I feel that we should have a national goal and that such a goal will be more powerful, if it is hitched to a universal value. Family seems to me to be the most universal of values left to us.
So I have wrapped my concern for the BoRs in the following manner. I also believe that we should have a specific goal of legislation annulling all previous legislation that impinges on the Bill of Rights. --I would appreciate your reaction. Thanks, Peter G Cohen

Conveying the Heritage of Liberty
By Peter G Cohen

Last Fall conservative Senate members slipped into a budget bill, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), several sections that threaten to destroy the very freedoms we have been fighting for. With the idea that the United States itself is part of the battlefield of terrorism, the NDAA makes is possible for a president to direct the military to police our nation and to arrest and hold suspects in indefinite detention!

The NDAA passed the Congress and the President quietly signed it into law on New Year’s eve 2011. The dangerous sections were opposed by the Department of Justice and the military as confusing to the antiterrorism efforts of the FBI’s Terrorism Task Force and the Department of Homeland Security, while giving the military an assignment for which it is not trained and does not want.

The NDAA tramples on the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the Constitution. These are the very amendments that were demanded by some of the Founding Fathers before they would accept the Constitution. It squashes Amendment IV, forbidding unreasonable searches and seizures and requiring probable cause. It destroys the right to a speedy and public trial, charge, council and witnesses of Amendment VI. It allows indefinite detention in opposition to Amendment VIII, which prohibits the infliction of cruel and unusual punishment.

“Based on suspicion alone, no place and no person are off-limits to military detention without charge or trial.” --Christopher Anders, ACLU. “The bill also contains provisions making it difficult to transfer suspects out of military detention, which prompted FBI Director Robert Mueller to testify that it could jeopardize criminal investigations.” --ACLU

It has been more than a decade since al Qaeda attacked the twin towers and the Pentagon. Bin Laden is dead and al Qaeda is much diminished. Yet much of the expired Patriot Act lives on in the equally unconstitutional NDAA. Obviously, it is important to find potential terrorists who may be among us, but this is best done by effective police work across the nation, now coordinated by the FBI’s Terrorism Task Force and the new Department of Homeland Security. “Civilian prosecutors and federal courts have jailed hundreds of convicted terrorists...” --N.Y.Times, editorial, 12.16.11. There is no need to trample our liberties in the Bill of Rights on the road to national security. In fact, we must wonder at the true motives of those who are so eager to deprive us of 220 years of Constitutional rights and protections.

If the NDAA provisions that overrule the Constitution are not repealed, they will become the law of the land. In normal times we would rely on the Supreme Court to declare them unconstitutional. But this Supreme Court has said that corporations are people and share their rights. (Can they too be held in indefinite detention?) We cannot trust this court to “secure the Blessings of liberty” without extensive popular pressure.

The best way to assure that we can pass on this blessed heritage to our children and grandchildren is to demand that all of our Constitutional rights be fully restored and that all rights-limiting legislation be repealed now. Our freedoms are always more important than our fears. That to protect our rights all suspects - even dangerous ones - must have fair and open trials. And that we, like the Founding Fathers, are determined to live free and to maintain the rule of law in the face of whatever dangers may lie ahead. That is the American way and we and should settle for nothing less.

There is only one way to preserve our freedoms from the dust bin of history. WE MUST FIGHT FOR THEM NOW. We must organize and demonstrate and exercise our freedoms across the United States. If we do not, they will be lost. It will require a movement, a sense of flag-waving solidarity that we have not seen since the attack of 9-11-01. While we have been told we are fighting for freedom abroad, a far greater danger has been eroding our freedoms at home. The Bill of Rights are the freedoms we have been fighting for. It is our duty to see that they are passed on, intact, to future generations.

Peter G Cohen, artist-writer, is the author of and other internet writings. He lives in Santa Barbara and can be reached at

Copyright O Peter G Cohen

Regarding the above Ron Paul wants to do away with the corporations drvniig up school costs and most of the other high costs associated with many services to society. He mainly is against the various Departments in the government because they have turned into instruments of protection of corporate interests instead of protecting individual citizen interests.Regarding abortion: Media constantly focuses on his personal anti-abortion beliefs but, he has stated over and over that abortion is a social issue and that the Federal government should stay out of the issue and let the states decide. So, I am generally pro-choice but, I'll support Paul because the worst he would do is just let us make those decisions at the state level.Regarding the Civil Rights Act: He mainly believes that the Act exceeded Federal Authority. He believes that the social progress would have occurred despite the Act. He wasn't against social progress he was against the Federal Government exceeding their Authority in dictating private citizen's lives. He is a Constitutionalist and doesn't support anything that exceeds the powers of the Federal Gov't beyond what the Constitution provides. Some times this can be perceived as good and sometimes as bad.