Occupy Austin protests the NDAA (photo by: Radical Librarian)

Citizens all over the country held actions against the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Occupy Wall Street and others protested at Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Sen. Chuck Schumer’s offices in New York.

Occupy Austin in Texas held a “silent protest.” They received some support from city bus drivers. There was a march later in the evening to the state capitol.

A group gathered outside of Sen. Kay Hagan’s office in Charlotte, North Carolina, to protest the NDAA. Occupy Worcester was out protesting at the federal courthouse. And a group was out at President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign headquarters in Chicago.

The Muslim community held a protest at NYPD headquarters at 1 Police Plaza, which was especially significant given a recent story from AP’s Adam Goldman on NYPD targeting Shiite Muslims. The protest may not have been a part of the NDAA day of action but it was nonetheless important.

Occupy Oregon had a “silent protest” against the NDAA in Portland. [WATCH: Streaming live now.]

Occupy Long Beach in California focused on Pfc. Bradley Manning, the soldier who has been charged with releasing documents to WikiLeaks:

Manning, a 23-year-old Army intelligence analyst, is accused of leaking a video [http://huff.to/baDcXy] showing the killing of civilians, including two Reuters journalists, by a US Apache helicopter crew in Iraq. He is also charged with sharing the documents known as the Afghan War Diary, the Iraq War Logs, and embarrassing US diplomatic cables, with the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks. According to bradleymanning.org reports, although Bradley has not yet been tried, he was held in solitary confinement for the first 10 months of his incarceration. During this time he was denied meaningful exercise, social interaction, sunlight, and has occasionally been kept completely naked. These conditions were unique to Bradley and are illegal even under US military law as they amount to extreme pre-trial punishment. Occupy Long Beach sees this Nation Day of Action as a chance to help people make the connection between Bradley Manning, Occupy and the NDAA.

 

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In at least two states, bills are moving through the legislature that oppose the NDAA. A bill in Virginia would make it so that:

§ 1. Notwithstanding any contrary provision of law, no agency of the Commonwealth as defined in § 8.01-385 of the Code of Virginia, political subdivision of the Commonwealth as defined in § 8.01-385 of the Code of Virginia, employee of either acting in his official capacity, or any member of the Virginia National Guard or Virginia Defense Force, when such a member is serving in the Virginia National Guard or the Virginia Defense Force on official state duty, may engage in any activity that aids an agency of or the armed forces of the United States in the execution of 50 U.S.C. 1541 as provided by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (P.L. 112-18, § 1021) in the investigation, prosecution, or detainment of any citizen of the United States in violation of Article I, Section 8 or 11 of the Constitution of Virginia.

The bill in Washington would essentially “nullify” the NDAA:

No member of the armed forces of the United States of America, nor any person acting directly with, or on behalf of, the armed forces of the United States of America, shall be permitted to conduct within the boundaries of the state of Washington, an investigation or detainment of a United States citizen or lawful resident alien located within the state of Washington except for (1) an investigation or detainment by the United States coast guard when it is not operating as a service in the navy, (2) an investigation or detainment by national guard units or state defense forces while under the authority of the governor of the state of Washington, or (3) an internal investigation or detainment by the armed forces of the United States of America of active duty members of the armed forces of the United States of America.

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What is the NDAA? Why are citizens out protesting and why is there any need for a day of action?

A fact sheet put together by the Constitution Campaign details some of the most egregious aspects of the act that passed near the end of last year and was signed into law by President Barack Obama on New Year’s Eve. And this is how the organization summarizes the NDAA:

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) was signed into law by President Obama on December 31, 2011. It contains provisions that allow the military to arrest, indefinitely detain, and deny a trial or day in court to anyone—even US citizens—accused of a “belligerent act,” or any terror-related offense. The NDAA subjects these individuals to arbitrary detention without trial, denying the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee of due process and Sixth Amendment rights to challenge evidence and confront one’s accusers. The NDAA also endangers First and Fourth Amendment protections, because the PATRIOT Act expanded the definition of “material support for terrorism” to include crimes of speech and association even by defendants who neither committed nor ever intended to support violence. Those of us who care about liberty and freedom must take action to restore due process and the right to trial. Whether concerned about racial profiling in the war on terror, the FBI’s ideological profiling of peace and justice activists across the country, or with preserving the right to trial or the longstanding prohibition on domestic military deployment, all Americans share a stake in this struggle

The ACLU opposed the NDAA because “it contains a sweeping worldwide indefinite detention provision.” They launched a petition immediately after Obama signed it into law because “the dangerous new law can be used by this and future presidents to militarily detain people captured far from any battlefield. He signed it. Now, we have to fight it wherever we can and for as long as it takes.”

And, journalist Chris Hedges recently filed a lawsuit against the Obama Administration over the NDAA. He appeared on Democracy Now! on January 17 to discuss exactly why he was suing: