220 years ago today, the United States passed the “Bill of Rights”, the first 10 amendments to the constitution that guaranteed the rights of citizens to have free speech and not be imprisoned without due process. Those rights are in jeopardy of being lost as congress considers the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which could allow military detention of US citizens without factual justification, due process or a trial.
People are speaking out against the NDAA and asking Minnesota Senators, Representatives and President Obama to stop it from becoming law. Thursday night at the Plymouth Congregational Church in Minneapolis Former FBI Agent Coleen Rowley and various groups including Women Against Military Madness talked about what the proposed law could do to cherished constitutional rights.
U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) issued the following statement after voting no on the National Defense Authorization Act conference report.
“I voted against this bill because it contains provisions on detention that I find unacceptable. While I voted for an earlier version of the legislation, I did so with the hope that the final version would be significantly improved. And that didn’t happen.
“The bill that came before the Senate today still includes several troubling provisions, the worst of which could allow the military to detain Americans indefinitely, without charge or trial, even if they’re captured in the U.S. What’s more, provisions like these could ultimately undermine the safety of our troops stationed abroad. And just yesterday, FBI Director Robert Mueller testified in a Senate hearing that I attended about his deep concerns with the detention provisions and their potentially harmful effects on our counterterrorism efforts.
“Today is the anniversary of the ratification of the Bill of Rights, and this wasn’t the way to mark its birthday.”
Sen. Franken had expressed concerns about the detention provisions in a speech he delivered on the Senate floor in November, which you can watch here.
He also filed two amendments—that ultimately never received a vote—that would have stripped the detention provisions from the legislation.