Albany’s on its way to becoming the next city to challenge federal indefinite detentionFriday, October 4, 2013 at 8:00 pm by Adwoa Masozi
On October 2, 2013, Anton Konev, City of Albany Common Council member, introduced Resolution #80.92.13, adding his voice to mounting dissent in the Albany City Council towards the detention provisions within the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The resolution aims to repeal Sections 1021 and 1022 in the NDAA, which could allow anyone, including US citizens, anywhere in the world to be indefinitely detained without trial.
The resolution points out that:
[T]he U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that neither Congress nor the President can constitutionally authorize the detention and/or disposition of any person in the United States, or citizen of the United States “under the law of war” who is not serving “in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger;” or in subsequent cases as “part of or supporting forces hostile to the United States or coalition partners” and who have “engaged in an armed conflict against the United States” while “in a foreign combat zone;”
The NDAA provisions have no constitutional merit, pose critical threats to our rights to due process and exist in vulgar disregard of our nation’s tragic history of military detention. Shahid Buttar, BORDC executive director, in his memorandum to the Albany City Council regarding Council Member Konev’s resolution, recalls:
The legacy of the Japanese-American internment is crucial to commemorate and formally recognize, given the recurrence of the military detention powers whose history proved so abhorrent only a few short decades ago.
The experience of Japanese Americans from World War II was also a major consideration in governor Jerry Brown’s decision to outlaw indefinite detention in California, the most recent state to implement this ban. Buttar’s memo also notes that in the years following the September 11 attacks, when the US government began to aggressively expand its power beyond constitutional limits, the US Supreme Court cautioned:
[A]s critical as the Government’s interest may be in detaining those who actually pose an immediate threat to the national security of the United States during ongoing international conflict, history and common sense teach us that an unchecked system of detention carries the potential to become a means for oppression and abuse of others who do not present that sort of a threat.
As a nation we are at a tipping point, where the federal government has become so overgrown with power that it will take the concerted effort of states to bring the scales of power back into balance. Passage of the California Liberty Preservation Act, this resolution introduced by Council Member Konev, and previous resolutions introduced by the Albany City Council chipping away at the detention provisions, show us that there is growing national cognizance of the dangers posed by indefinite military detention to the future and stability of our Republic.