Attempts to block or end indefinite detention of U.S. citizens simply suspected of association with terrorism, has come to Albany, New York. For well over a year I have reported on the enormous Constitutional problems with the National Defense Authorization Act’s Section 1021. That section of the bill, which funds military operations, allows for the indefinite detention of any American simply accused of terrorism until the end of the “hostilities between the United States and Al Qaeda, the Taliban or associated forces.”
Despite the lack of political will by the U.S. Congress to intervene and declare this provision of the NDAA as unconstitutional, there is a new battlefront for those who oppose indefinite detention… the local level.
Albany, New York has just become the center of that fight. One week ago, Ward 11 Common Councilman Anton Konev introduced a resolution “OPPOSING THE INDEFINITE MILITARY DETENTION WITHOUT TRIAL OF ANY PERSON, INCLUDING US CITIZENS”
I talked with Konev who says that under this resolution, Albany’s local law enforcement would be banned from assisting federal authorities in enforcing military detention of U.S. and non-U.S. citizens.
“Here in Albany we believe in protecting civil liberties and rights of our residents. The resolution specifically opposes indefinite military detention without trial of any person who is a resident of the city of Albany or is simply visiting the city of Albany.” says Konev.
The resolution has seven co-sponsors and only needs an eighth in order to be passed and become law in the capital of New York. The language would make it the toughest local NDAA ordinance in the nation. The resolution in part reads:
“Instruct all our public agencies to decline requests by federal agencies acting under detention powers granted by the NDAA, or similar law or authority that could infringe upon residents’ freedom of speech, religion, assembly, privacy, or rights to counsel;
Expect all federal and state law enforcement officials acting within the City to work in accordance with local law, and in cooperation with the Albany Police Department, by allowing any detainees not serving “in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger” among Albany’s residents or visitors access to a trial, counsel and due process, including under Article III, the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments of the Constitution of the United States;”
The due process clause, Councilman Konev says, is what this resolution is all about. He believes that in order to protect the Constitutional rights of the people of Albany, council must be willing to take stand.
“As somebody with a Russian background who was born in the Soviet Union, I know that there is such a thing as “no rights” and I am proud to be an American citizen and proud to be an elected official in the the capital of the state of New York. This is about protecting our residents.”
Konev, who has been working with Dan Johnson and the organization PANDA, says that he is encouraged by the number of council members who currently support the resolution. In fact, he expects an eighth member of council will sign on by the time the issue comes up for a vote on October 7, 2013. On October 2nd council will take up this resolution for discussion.
“I believe we have three members who are very close to signing on and I believe that we have only four members who are leaning toward voting against this resolution. Unfortunately, we have some people on council who have bought into the propaganda that the NDAA is constitutional and a right of government to be able to detain somebody somewhere under some special powers and they say that the NDAA is constitutional. But here in the city of Albany it is clear that we must protect these rights.”
You can learn more about this fight over the NDAA at www.takebackalbany.com