Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Indefinite detention is a step toward tyranny


In 1933, a senile President Von Hindenburg signed the Reichstag Fire Decree in Germany. The decree prepared by Hitler suspended the rule of habeas corpus, allowing indefinite detention of anyone suspected to be an adversary of the state. This decree allowed the Nazi terror machine to eliminate opponents. The public was fairly indifferent at first. The German people and the world came to pay a heavy price for that indifference.

In December, President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act, allowing indefinite detention by the military of all suspected of terrorism, regardless of citizenship status. ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero called the president's action "a blight on his legacy."

The clauses of the Bill of Rights are now de facto suspended. Most of you probably think you have nothing to fear—you are, after all, loyal, law-abiding citizens. Note that I said "suspected terrorists," not "proven." Your lifestyle, voiced opinions, political affiliations, places of worship, travels, and Internet and library records are all subjective elements that combined together could give you the profile of a terrorist.

The government knows a lot about you. The financial and economic interests ruling the country want you to be docile sheep. Anyone going to the beat of a different drum, from left to right, from Occupy Wall Street to militias, is a potential candidate to be sent to some form of Guantanamo without having access to a lawyer and without seeing a judge.

History has taught us to be vigilant. Nobody suspected that the "land of poets and thinkers" (Germany as described by the poet Jean Paul) could become this darkest totalitarian hell, but it did.

There are forces across the political spectrum organizing to resist this blatant disregard for the Constitution. The ACLU has an online petition available at www.aclu.org. Contact your elected representatives.

Remember the well-known and haunting words of German Pastor Martin Niemöller: "Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak out for me."

Jean Jacques Bohl

Hailey




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