Ruth Hopkins: New law turns Americans into the new Indians

"On New Years Eve, President Obama signed The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law. Essentially the law does what previous NDAA incarnations have- it provides funding for the U.S. military. The controversy over this version of the NDAA arises from Section 1031. It gives the federal government, in particular the president, global authority to apprehend and detain anyone, including American citizens on U.S. soil, who are suspected of terrorism, assisting terrorists, or who are perceived as being in league with “associated forces.” The law also states that those detained may be held without being charged or receiving a trial, “until the end of hostilities.” In other words, perhaps indefinitely. That’s right: indefinite detention without trial is now codified law in the United States of America.

Section 1031 should be distressing to Americans and especially American Indians. While lauded as legislation that will offer the United States and her interests greater protection and enable us to win the War on Terror, Section 1031 tramples on Habeas corpus (a common law legal action that allows prisoners to seek release from unlawful detention) and constitutional rights promised to U.S. citizens in the Fourth Amendment (protection against unreasonable searches and seizures), the Fifth Amendment (right to a Grand Jury and protection against double jeopardy and self-incrimination), the Sixth Amendment (right to a public, speedy trial, to be confronted by witnesses, and to have the assistance of public counsel), and the Fourteenth Amendment (right to due Process and equal protection)."

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Ruth Hopkins: Americans Are the New Indians (Indian Country Today 1/7)

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