The nation’s two strongest resolutions blocking the indefinite detention provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) were passed in New York and Massachusetts last week, following a long campaign by activists and several civil liberties groups.
Under the NDAA, signed by President Obama in Dec. 2011, sections 1021 and 1022 officially declare the United States a “battlefield,” where American citizens can be placed in military prisons for the rest of their lives without trial, charge, or access to a lawyer, based merely on the government’s unverified claim that a person is in the commission of a “belligerent act.”
The Albany, NY Common Council struck down the NDAA in an 11-0 vote last Monday, successfully passing Resolution 80.92.13. Albany has now become the nation’s first city to place an outright ban of indefinite detention, removing the federal government’s “battlefield” classification by deeming it completely unconstitutional. In fact, elected officials, police officers and any state employee who took an Oath to the U.S. Constitution is now required by law to stop any indefinite detention attempts made by federal agents on the residents of Albany.
A diverse coalition of civil rights groups including the Patriot Coalition, Project SALAM, Occupy Albany, Campaign for Liberty New York and People Against the NDAA (PANDA), were key in the resolution’s passage.
“This is what citizen activism looks like. Albany residents Jesse Calhoun and Lynne Jackson, from opposite sides of the political spectrum, decided that now was the time to stop the NDAA in their city, and they did just that,” PANDA founder Dan Johnson told Storyleak.
Only two days after the victory in Albany, residents of Oxford, MA, not only blocked indefinite detention, but also blocked the federal government’s alleged right to “targeted killing.” Oxford’s resolution was passed by 95 percent of attendees at the city’s unique “Town Meeting,” where residents, not elected officials, are allowed to vote on issues once a minimum amount of signatures are collected.
“As we celebrate the victory, let us not lose sight of the long road ahead of us. There is work that still needs to be done, but together, we will restore constitutional governance to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,” said PANDA Massachusetts Team Leader Benjamin Selecky.
The actions seen in both states represent the growing number of Americans becoming engaged and aware of pertinent issues. While much of the media has continued to ignore the reality and dangerous ramifications of indefinite detention, anti-partisan groups have continued to bring the subject to the forefront, turning the tide in the public debate.
“Now that the tide is turning, it is time to take back our towns. Since Albany and Oxford we have had nearly 50 people grab our packet and start approaching their cities and counties about this issue. These two cities started a tidal wave, and it won’t be stopped,” said Johnson.
Learn how you can take back your town here: http://pandaunite.org/takeback