Kelly Citrin, a student at Nazareth College, Rochester, and area executive director of People Against the National Defense Authorization Act, was guest speaker at the June 25 general meeting of Southern Tier TEA Party Patriots, held at the Lakewood American Legion. PANDA, founded in Bowling Green, Ohio, and launched nationwide in April 2012, is involved in pushing anti-NDAA legislation in over 20 states and numerous local jurisdictions. Currently, 74 sheriffs refuse to enforce the NDAA law, considering it a "blatant" violation of first amendment rights.
"The NDAA act is unconstitutional and unconscionable," Citrin said. Under Section 1021, the act allows U.S. armed forces to "detain covered persons...for use of military force." The original intention was to "catch and prosecute the planners of 9/11, and those who harbored them: Osama Bin Laden, Al Quaeda, and the Taliban." Ironically, reminds PANDA, the U.S. now is in talks with the Taliban after 10 years of war, and Osama Bin Laden is dead.
Additionally, the president has authority to detain any person that he feels has committed a belligerent act, a major criticism of the law as the term "belligerent" can mean many different things, according to Citirn. Under the NDAA, the government need only label someone as a "terrorist" in order to detain the individual, contrary to the fifth amendment, which allows no person to "be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law." The executive branch is given broad powers to act as judge, jury, and jailer, thus removing the basic system of checks and balances as defined in the Constitution. Citirn reminded the group that Nazi Germany first disarmed citizens, then suspended the German constitution. "Military law over the Constitution is the first step toward tyranny," she said.
Other business discussed by the group was the Immigration bill recently passed by the U.S. Senate, the Flat Tax, a tax on earnings, and the Fair Tax, which is a tax on spending. The next general meeting is July 23. The public is invited to attend.