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Andrew Sullivan on the Defense Authorization Bill

In today’s Dish, Andrew Sullivan discusses the Defense Authorization Bill:

The president has mercifully agreed to veto the bill that would allow the US military to seize and detain without any due process anyone, including American citizens, who are suspected of terrorism, even in the US itself. A future Republican president might throw torture in with this toxic brew.

The veto is a relief. But the US Senate has thrown its weight behind gutting the core, most basic freedom upon which all others follow: habeas corpus. It has endorsed the notion that the government can do whatever it likes to any citizen it merely suspects of being involved of terrorism. It is a hole through which the entire framework of the constitution could disappear. One more terror attack, and we would have authorized soldiers to break into citizens’ homes at will, round up any citizens the government deems suspicious, and deny them any recourse.

Having seen a number of Facebook posts on the subject and the silence from the right on this important issue, I agree with Sullivan on the following sentiment:

A healthcare mandate is an outrage; gutting habeas corpus is just fine. Go figure.

-Chris

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December 2, 2011 Posted by | Civil Rights, Democrats, Obama, Politics, Republicans, Terrorism | 1 Comment

George Takei vs. Provision of Defense Bill

I am a huge fan of Star Trek, and of George Takei specifically.

As a kid in the early 70’s, I remember running home from school to watch reruns. It was comforting as a Japanese-American to see an Asian face on television in a role of responsibility who was treated as an equal — something rare in that era.

George Takei is a remarkable man, and I follow his mostly humorous Facebook postings avidly.

He  is currently starring in a musical set in an American internment camp for Japanese citizens during World War II, called “Allegiance: A New American Musical”

Young George Takei was one of those citizens who was imprisoned at the  Rohwer, Arkansas and Tule Lake, California camps for the crime of being of Japanese descent.

Now the actor has posted in opposition to The National Defense Authorization Act (S 1253), particularly Section 1031 which S. Floyd Mori, the national executive director of the Japanese American Citizens League states:

…would let the military lock up both Americans and noncitizens in the 50 states. There would be no charges, no trial, no proof beyond a reasonable doubt. All that would be required would be suspicion.

Mr. Takei’s post Never Again reads, in part:

We are a nation of laws, and we have a Constitution that guarantees certain inalienable rights, including the right to liberty, the right to a jury trial, and the right against unlawful search and seizure. And yet, in times of trouble, how quickly these cornerstones of our freedom are abandoned. We must be constantly vigilant against tyranny and injustice of all forms, especially when it isn’t politically expedient.

Executive Director Mori has an op/ed in the Silicone Valley Mercury News titled “Internment specter raises ugly head in forgetful U.S. Senate”.

It’s worth a read.

The Japanese-American community is especially sensitive to the possibility of indefinite detention without charges. Having experienced the terrible injustices that can occur in the name of security, they understandably never want it to happen again. To anyone.

In the Mercury News piece, Mori argues:

As the measures to indefinitely detain Japanese-Americans during World War II have been deemed a colossal wrong, the same should be true of modern indefinite detention of terrorism suspects. Our criminal justice system is more than equipped to ensure justice and security in terrorism cases, and we certainly should not design new systems to resurrect and codify tragic and illegitimate policies of the past.

Please write your senator and support the amendment by Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., to Section 1031 from the act.

-Chris

December 2, 2011 Posted by | Civil Rights, History, Politics, Terrorism | Leave a comment