On Jan. 17,2012, Amy Goodman of Democracy Now (www.democracynow.org) asked the renown author and journalist Chris Hedges and public interest lawyer Carl Mayer to give their assessment of the recently passed “National Defense Authorization Act” (NDAA). The act expands the power of the state to determine who is a terrorist. It permits the military to jail anyone it considers a terrorism suspect anywhere in the world and hold them indefinitely and without due process or a trial in Federal courts. Military tribunals will adjudicate these cases. An American citizen could be subject to procedures which make a mockery out of our democratic principles.
The NDAA gives further institutional impetus to the militarization of American society. Traditionally and constitutionally the military has been kept from domestic policing. Under the NDAA, American citizens could be adjudicated by military tribunals which do not allow the same constitutional protections guaranteed in Federal courts.
Secretary of Defense Panetta and FBI director Mueller and others in the U.S. security establishment were against these unconstitutional additions to state power. The question, then, is who pushed for this augmentation of state power and the destruction of the constitutional safeguards guaranteeing the civil rights of American citizens? Chris Hedges stated that, in his opinion, it is the “corporate elites” who wanted these provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act. “They don’t trust the police” to keep order and protect their assets and want to be able to call in the army. This, according to Hedge’s, is the response of the “corporate elites” to the Occupy Wall Street movement and the challenge it poses to their socio-economic dominance. All citizens should be concerned about the far reaching effects of the assault on their constitutional rights posed by the NDAA.