Green Party Congressional candidate Joseph Diaferia (NY-16) has issued a statement calling for the repeal of the domestic military detention provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2012, which was signed into law by President Obama last New Year's Eve. The Act, which enables the United States military to patrol American streets with the authority to detain American citizens without trials, is in Diaferia’s words “unconstitutional, and a violation of every conceivable canon of decency and humanity.”
Last month, Federal District Court Judge Katherine Forrest enjoined the more repressive provisions of the Act from obtaining, whereupon President Obama urged the judge to reconsider her decision. Although Judge Forrest abruptly refused, Diaferia acknowledges that her ruling may not survive the succession of challenges thatproponents of the Act are expected to carry through the federal court system.
Diaferia also noted that although NDAA 2012 in its entirety would constitute a most chilling abridgement of Americans’ constitutional rights, it is not the first
such dispensation with our rights ever contemplated by Congress. Said Diaferia,
“The fallacy is to believe that NDAA 2012 is some arcane aberration. As a matter of historical record, only seven years after the passage of the First Amendment, Congress adopted the speech abridging Alien and Sedition Acts. Then in 1917, Congress gave us the Espionage Act. Nineteen-Forty saw the passage of the Smith Act; and of course Congress honored us with the [USA] Patriot Act and the Military Commission Act during the second Bush Administration”. Diaferia added, “There have also been presidential edicts than have served to subvert democratic conventions. For example, there is the infamous Executive Order 9066, which effectuated the forced internment of Japanese Americans following the attacks on Pearl Harbor; there is Executive Directive 51—a dubious decree issued by the second President Bush to enable some abstruse notion of continuity of government in the event of a national emergency—whatever that might mean; and then of course we have Rex 84, a plan for suspension of the Constitution and martial law fashioned during the Reagan Administration. So first, we need to understand that public policies that fly directly in the face of constitutional decorum are not new. Secondly, we need to consider the social and political context in which such policies as NDAA 2012 are created. Right now we have a burgeoning prison industrial complex; we have the acute and inevitable decay of the capitalist system and mass economic immiseration for which the
government has no answer; and we have unpopular wars in pursuit of a globalist
agenda that are only going to escalate despite their unpopularity. Diaferia
continued, “There is also the Occupy Movement—which I fully support, and will
be formally endorsing shortly—that has gained more momentum than any among the One Percent might have expected. So we need to juxtapose the formation of
extra-constitutional policies with the events of the day. When powerful individuals realize that democratizing forces are mobilizing, they fear for their wealth power—and rightly and deservedly so.”
Diaferia concluded by calling upon his Democratic opponent US Representative Eliot Engel to publicly explain his vote in favor of NDAA 2012 and to vote for its repeal. At present, it is not clear where Republican candidate Joseph McLaughlin stands on this issue.