by Farid Zakaria, Bill of Rights Defense Committee
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 theHumanitarian 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.