Washington lawmakers latest to join chorus of opposition to bill allowing for indefinite detention of U.S. citizens
Five Washington state representatives have introduced legislation in an attempt to override provisions the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2012 that would allow for the indefinite detention of American citizens without trial.
Reps. Jason Overstreet, Matt Shea, Vincent Buys, Cary Condotta, and David Taylor introduced HB 2759, the Washington State Preservation of Liberty Act this week.
The legislation slams a provision in the NDAA that allows the U.S. government and the military to “indefinitely detain United States citizens and lawful resident aliens captured within the United States of America without charge until the end of hostilities.”
The controversial legislation, signed into law by Obama on New Years Eve, allows American citizens to be abducted and held in a detention camp anywhere in the world without trial under section 1031.
As reported by the Tenth Amendment Center, the Washington State Preservation of Liberty Act forbids “any state employee, member of the Washington National Guard or any agent of a corporation doing business with the state” to cooperate in the federal detainment or investigation of a U.S. citizen or resident alien.
It also prohibits any state involvement “with an investigation or detainment of a United States citizen or lawful resident alien located within the United States of America by the armed forces of the United States of America.”
The bill puts forth the case that the NDAA is blatantly unconstitutional and legislates for the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens without due process.
The Bill states:
It is indisputable that the threat of terrorism is real, and that the full force of appropriate, and constitutional, law must be used to defeat this threat. However, winning the war against terror cannot come at the great expense of eviscerating the unalienable rights recognized by and protected in the United States Constitution and the Constitution of the state of Washington. Indeed, undermining those constitutional rights serves only to concede to the terrorists’ demands of changing the fabric of what has made the United States of America a republic granting the greatest number of people the greatest amount of liberty, justice, security, opportunity, prosperity, happiness, peace, and good ever known or experienced by humankind throughout the history of the world.
“By taking a stand, Washington can join those heroic state officials who stood up against federal power to protect black citizens in the waning years of slavery.” Michael Maharrey, Communications Director for the Tenth Amendment Center said.
Several other states, including Virginia and Tennessee are also considering legislation to nullify the NDAA provision.
As we have previously noted, although President Obama indicated in a signing statement attached to the bill that he would not use it to indefinitely detain American citizens without trial, it was the Obama administration itself which requested that the provision be worded so it would apply to US citizens.
As the bill’s co-sponsor Senator Carl Levin said during a speech on the floor in December, it was the Obama administration that demanded the removal of language that would have precluded Americans from being subject to indefinite detention.
“The language which precluded the application of Section 1031 to American citizens was in the bill that we originally approved…and the administration asked us to remove the language which says that U.S. citizens and lawful residents would not be subject to this section,” said Levin, Chairman of the Armed Services Committee.
The Tenth Amendment Center has Model Legislation to nullify NDAA available here – we urge readers to contact their state legislators to ask that they introduce this legislation today.
Steve Watson is the London based writer and editor for Prisonplanet.com. He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham in England.