Occupy Philly Performs Street Theater, Says U.S. Senate Worse than Historical Fascists
Occupy Philly held a day of action against the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012, which, they and other critics contend, would allow the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens on U.S. soil. The crowd of about 30 marched around the city, hitting both Sen. Bob Casey and Sen. Pat Toomey’s offices, among other spots. Both senators voted in favor of the NDAA and against early amendments which would have taken out language allowing for the indefinite military detention of U.S. citizens.
“The bill contains troubling language that essentially allows for the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens,” Occupy Philly alum Shawn McMonigle yelled into a bullhorn outside the Ritz Carlton Hotel on South Broad Street, where Mayor Michael Nutter was delivering remarks to the British American Business Council of Greater Philadelphia. “It was passed 93-7 in the Senate and…that basically says our Senate is OK with fascism.”
McMonigle detailed the fact that the White House has threatened to veto the bill, though not because it’s unconstitutional, but because it limits the power of the Executive Branch.
“The NDAA basically drives home the point that they want to define terrorism, broaden the scope and allow the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens and she doesn’t care,” he said, pointing to a woman walking by with two small dogs.
As we’ve detailed, the original Senate writing of the NDAA included two sections (1031 and 1032) which were perceived by critics, including Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), to allow the indefinite detention of American citizens on U.S. soil, if determined to be affiliated with al-Qaeda. Both senators offered amendments which would eliminate or harshly edit the language on military detention, though both were voted down by their Senate colleagues, including Pennsylvania’s Democrat and Republican senators. After a national uproar began over the language, the Senate passed an amendment to Section 1032 by a 99-1 vote, which specifically states American citizens are exempt from this provision:
Applicability to United States Citizens and Lawful Resident Aliens-
(1) UNITED STATES CITIZENS- The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to citizens of the United States.
(2) LAWFUL RESIDENT ALIENS- The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to a lawful resident alien of the United States on the basis of conduct taking place within the United States, except to the extent permitted by the Constitution of the United States.
This language has not satisfied critics of the bill across the U.S. According to the ACLU, S. 1867 (the NDAA) would still “authorize the president to send the military literally anywhere in the world to imprison civilians without charge or trial” since the aforementioned language is not included in Section 1031. The ACLU notes on their website:
No corner of the world, not even your own home, would be off-limits to the military. And there is no exception for American citizens. Section 1031 — one of the indefinite detention provisions — of the Senate-approved version of the NDAA has no limitations whatsoever based on geography, duration or citizenship. And the entire Senate bill was drafted in secret, with no hearing, and with committee votes behind closed doors.
Leaders of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees have been meeting to reconcile the two versions of the bill passed by their respective houses of Congress. Understanding the White House’s veto threat, the requirement of military tribunals for all cases of detention, originally included in the House draft, was taken out of the bill.
Later in the Occupy Philly event, members impersonating Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, John Lennon and others spoke and bags were put over their heads as they were deemed terrorists, according to NDAA legislation. Later, members with Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin and Saddam Hussein masks got up for a
world’s greatest fascist Fascist of the year contest. The U.S. Senate was deemed the winner for having passed the NDAA bill. An Occupy member with a sign around his neck that read “Toomey” accepted the award.
“[The National Defense Authorization Act] will make our streets safer than they were in 1930s Germany and our state more secure than Russia in the 1950s,” he said. “I want to thank all the senators who stood by me and stood with me, especially my fellow Pennsylvania senator Bob Casey. We would not have legislation like this if it weren’t for the bullheaded resolve of our senators.”