By Gale Courey Toensing
The $662 billion National Defense Authorization Act of 2012, S. 1867 (NDAA) was approved in the Senate on Thursday, December 1 by a vote of 93-7. After passing the measure, the Senate incorporated it into the related House bill—H.R. 1540—which passed in Congress on May 25 by a vote of 322-96. Since Congress does not have the authority under the Constitution to initiate appropriations, the bill now returns to Congress for reconciliation.
Opponents of the bill say it violates the due process rights of the U.S. Constitution and gives states too much power. When the House version of the bill passed last spring Indigenous Peoples worried that the legislation could be used against them for asserting their rights to self-determination and sovereignty or for protecting their lands and resources against exploitation by governments or corporations.
President Obama opposes certain provisions of S. 1867 and has promised to veto it, but the overwhelming support for the bill in Congress means it could easily override a veto.
Mounties spied on Natives
MPP compares Caledonia to London riots
Indigenous reistance = "terrorism"?
Indians, terrorists = US enemies
Obama: Bin Laden was "Geronimo"
US considers Aboriginal groups threats
Seminoles compared to al Qaeda
Then draws the obvious connection:
Governments have long connected indigenous peoples with terrorists. In 2008, former New York Republican Assemblyman David Townsend, a politician with a long history of opposing Indian sovereignty, attempted to link American Indian nations’ tobacco sales to terrorism, targeting the Oneida Indian Nation of New York. Townsend sent a flier to constituents in Oneida and Oswego counties, making the extraordinary claim that “cigarette smuggling rackets originating on New York’s Indian reservations are transferring huge sums of money to Middle East terror groups.” He cited a report called “Tobacco and Terror: How Cigarette Smuggling is Funding our Enemies Abroad” that purported to connect the sale of untaxed tobacco products on Indian reservations to Hezbollah, Hamas and al-Qaeda, but provided little substantive evidence to support the claim.
By Gale Courey Toensing
The Senate passed the National Defense Authorization Act on December 1 in a bipartisan vote of 93-7. The bill gives the military the unprecedented power to seize suspected terrorists anywhere in the world, including American citizens on U.S. soil, and keep them locked up indefinitely without charge or trial. Indigenous Peoples worried that the legislation could be used against them for asserting their rights to self-determination and sovereignty or for protecting their lands and resources against exploitation by governments or corporations.
The controversial bill has alarmed and outraged many who say it violates the due process rights of the U.S. Constitution and takes the country one step further on the wrong path toward tyranny. The bill also enraged Anonymous, a nebulous Internet community that opposes censorship and oppression. The group’s latest video is a “Message to the American People” and begins with the salutation, “Dear brothers and sisters. Now is the time to open your eyes!”
For more on the subject, see America's Concentration Camps.
Below: "In this file photo made June 27, 2006, reviewed by a U.S. Department of Defense official, U.S. military guards walk within Camp Delta military-run prison, at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base, Cuba."