NDAA: A Slippery Slope

NDAA: A Slippery Slope

NDAA: A Slippery Slope

William Bill Edmonds
William Bill Edmonds

William (Bill) Edmonds served with the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department from 1973-1995 where he received the following honors: Department –  Unit Commanders Citation, Exemplary Service Award, Legendary Lawman, and LA County Board of Supervisors – Deputy Emeritus.  He currently owns CRASH FACTS Collision Reconstruction where he performs detailed collision investigations and reconstructions for insurance companies and attorneys.  He  has over 38 years of litigation experience within the court system in both criminal prosecution and civil cases.

Below is Bill’s response to NDAA:

NDAA:  A Slippery Slope

Having spent over 20+ years (now retired) with the largest Sheriff’s Department in the United States, and now for the past 18 years a forensic expert that routinely testifies in court, I think I know a little about the judicial system from both sides – prosecution and defense.


The singing of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) may make it law, but it does not make it a good law.


We are a nation of laws, and the Constitution is “supposed” to be our guide for making those laws.  But, over the years it has become bastardized by political influence (Congress and the President) and personal motivations (Supreme Court).


Congress passed the NDAA and President Obama signed it into law on New Year’s Eve.  It allows for “anyone” to be indefinitely detained.  This includes American citizens – on American soil.  If so ordered, even an American citizen can be indefinitely detain just not in a military prison – without formal charges being filed or a court hearing as to the merits of the detention being held.  The word “detention” is used in place of “arrested”.  An arrest is the formal taking into custody of someone suspected of violating a law and formal charges are bought in front of a court within a very specific time frame depending on State or Federal statute.  That court then makes a determination if there is enough evidence to hold a person until a trial date.  A “detention” is used while a “suspected” criminal is investigated and the actual detention time differs from State-to-State, usually hours… not YEARS.


While I rarely (if ever) agree with anything that the ACLU is involved in, I do feel that “indefinite” detention without due process, of anyone, is a disgrace to our judicial system of law and only further inflames countries that once looked to the US as a great democracy where personal freedoms were protected and guaranteed under LAW.


slippery slopeIt is an extremely slippery slope we are headed down when we, as US citizens, elect people who take away our personal freedoms in the name of freedom.  While the indefinite detention of “some” persons may be argued as having saved our country from additional attacks by extremist militant groups, it doesn’t give any legitimacy to the American foundations of democracy or the US Constitution.


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2 Responses to "NDAA: A Slippery Slope"

  1. Is the Defense Authorization Act of 2012) more threatening to Americans than Hitler’s (1933 DISCRIMINATORY LAWS that suspended sections of the Reich Constitution that prior protected Germans’ Civil liberties?

    Hitler’s laws stated time limits that Germans could be incarcerated for e.g., Serious Disturbance of the Peace, Provoking Public Unrest, Rioting; Acts that threatened National Security. But Senators Carl Levin and John McCain’s passed National Defense Authorization Act—mandates holding Americans* (indefinitely) in Military Custody, even for being a mere “Belligerent.” Some observers believe NDAA included the vague term “Belligerent” in the manner it did so U.S. Government would have granted authority by Congress to indefinitely detain large numbers of lawful Americans not involved in terrorism. U.S. Government can arbitrarily deem anyone to be a “Belligerent.” Compare below The NAZI Government 1933 Decrees with Senators Carl Levin and John McCain’s National Defense Authorization Act of 2012.

    Under the passed National Defense Authorization Act of 2012, could some Americans be (Retroactively) subject to indefinite U.S. Military or prison detention (without charges or right to an attorney or trial? Most American activists don’t know what other activists and groups they associated or networked might have done in the past, perhaps illegal. Both the National Authorization Act of 2012 and USA Patriot Act are broadly vague what constitutes (1) a terrorist act, (2) supporting or aiding terrorists; (3) being a “Combatant” or (4) “Belligerent.” For example, Americans advocating, attending or supporting a protest demonstration against a U.S. Government Agency; Policy or U.S. Military Action—could be charged with (1) (2) (3) and (4) under NDAA and the USA Patriot Act.

    History repeats itself: When other countries passed Police state, Fascist laws like The Defense Authorization Act of 2012, Citizens abstained from politically speaking out; visiting activists’ websites or writing comments that might be deemed inappropriate by the Police State Government, i.e. cause someone to be investigated, lose their job; be detained in Police / Military Custody. Some writers might be dead-meat now that Obama signed NDAA. It is now foreseeable that “Americans” who write on the Internet or verbally express an opinion against any entity of U.S. Government or its coalition partners could under the Patriot Act or The Defense Authorization Act be deemed by U.S. authorities a Terrorist; “Supporting or Aiding Terrorism”; a “Combatant or Belligerent” or (someone likely to engage in, support or provoke violent acts or threaten National Security.) U.S. Government can too easily allege an author’s writings inspired terrorists, combatants or belligerents in the past; could in the future or does so currently, to order an author’s indefinite prison or military detention. It is too foreseeable that indefinitely detained U.S. Citizens not involved in terrorism or hostile activities, not given Miranda Warnings or allowed legal counsel that are interrogated: will be prosecuted for non-terrorist (ordinary crimes) because of their (alleged admissions) when held in Indefinite Detention. What American will dare speak out against the U.S. Government now that Pres. Obama signed The Defense Authorization Act of 2012?

    Compare below Hitler’s Laws that might appear mild when set side by side with the National Authorization Act of 2012 and USA Patriot Act.

    1933. ROBL. I 83.

    Note: Based on translations by State Department, National Socialism, 1942 PP. 215-17, and Pollak, J.K., and Heneman, H.J., The Hitler Decrees, (1934), pp. 10-11.7

    In virtue of Section 48 (2) of the German Constitution, the following is decreed as a defensive measure against Communist acts of Violence, endangering the state:

    Section 1
    Sections 114, 115, 117, 118, 123, 124, and 153 of the Constitution of the German Reich are suspended until further notice. Thus, restrictions on personal liberty, on the right of free expression of opinion, including freedom of the press, on the right of assembly and the right of association, and violations of the privacy of postal, telegraphic, and telephonic communications, and warrants for house-searches, orders for confiscations as well as restrictions on property, are also permissible beyond the legal limits otherwise prescribed.

    Section 2
    If in a state the measures necessary for the restoration of public security and order are not taken, the Reich Government may temporarily take over the powers of the highest state authority.

    Section 4
    Whoever provokes, or appeals for or incites to the disobedience of the orders given out by the supreme state authorities or the authorities subject to then for the execution of this decree, or the orders given by the Reich Government according to Section 2, is punishable—insofar as the deed, is not covered by the decree with more severe punishment and with imprisonment of not less that one month, or with a fine from 150 up to 15,000 Reichsmarks.

    Whoever endangers human life by violating Section 1, is to be punished by sentence to a penitentiary, under mitigating circumstances with imprisonment of not less than six months and, when violation causes the death of a person, with death, under mitigating circumstances with a penitentiary sentence of not less that two years. In addition the sentence my include confiscation of property.

    Whoever provokes an inciter to or act contrary to public welfare is to be punished with a penitentiary sentence, under mitigating circumstances, with imprisonment of not less than three months.

    Section 5
    The crimes which under the Criminal Code are punishable with penitentiary for life are to be punished with death: i.e., in Sections 81 (high treason), 229 (poisoning), 306 (arson), 311 (explosion), 312 (floods), 315, paragraph 2 (damage to railroad properties, 324 (general poisoning).

    Insofar as a more severe punishment has not been previously provided for, the following are punishable with death or with life imprisonment or with imprisonment not to exceed 15 years:

    1. Anyone who undertakes to kill the Reich President or a member or a commissioner of the Reich Government or of a state government, or provokes to such a killing, or agrees to commit it, or accepts such an offer, or conspires with another for such a murder;
    2. Anyone who under Section 115 (2) of the Criminal Code (serious rioting) or of Section 125 (2) of the Criminal Code (serious disturbance of the peace) commits the act with arms or cooperates consciously and intentionally with an armed person;
    3. Anyone who commits a kidnapping under Section 239 of the Criminal with the intention of making use of the kidnapped person as a hostage in the political struggle.

    Section 6
    This decree enters in force on the day of its promulgation.
    Reich President
    Reich Chancellor
    Reich Minister of the Interior
    Reich Minister of Justice

  2. I do hope that your correlation between Hitler’s Laws and the NDAA were only to point out that Hitler’s Laws had time frames attached to them wherein the NDAA does not; and not to infer that any members of the US Congress (or the President) are as-bad-as or worse than Hitler.

    To understand the text of Sections 1021 and 1022 of the NDAA one must understand the words and their meanings.

    Section 1021 (b) (1) and (2) delineates who covered persons are.

    (1) A person who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored those responsible for those attacks.

    (2) A person who was a part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, including any person who has committed a belligerent act or has directly supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces

    And, Section 1022 (a) (2) (A) and (B)

    (A) to be a member of, or part of, al-Qaeda or an associated force that acts in coordination with or pursuant to the direction of al-Qaeda; and

    (B) to have participated in the course of planning or carrying out an attack or attempted attack against the United States or its coalition partners.

    So unless you are a member of one of these groups or “directly” or “substantially supported” one of those groups there is nothing to worry about.

    The first worrisome part to me is “substantially supported.” The word substantially means: of ample or considerably amount, quantity, size, etc.: a substantial sum of money.. or of a corporeal or material nature; tangible; real.

    Therefore, freedom of speech in defiance to a law that was passed by Congress does not rise to the legal definition of substantial as it is now defined. But I guess that could be changed if we go back a few years and look at the use of semantics and ponder, “that would depend on what you definition of is, is.” Anything can be interpreted or mis-interpreted at the whim of who speaks it or hears it.

    There seems to be some great concern about the use of the word “belligerent.” We all have the conception that someone is belligerent when he or she does not do what they are told or talks back. That is the colloquial meaning that we have grown up with.

    However, a belligerent is an individual, group, country or other entity which acts in a hostile manner, such as engaging in combat. Belligerent comes from Latin, literally meaning “to wage war”.

    Belligerency is a term used in International Law to indicate the status of two or more entities, generally sovereign states, being engaged in a war.

    So under, “International Law”, you can talk bad about something, just don’t go to war or engage in a hostile manner for or against it. But again… anything can be interpreted or mis-interpreted at the whim of who speaks it or hears it.

    Where my concern still lies is the “indefinite detention” as outlined under Section 1021 (c) (1) and “Applicability To United States Citizens” as outlined under Section 1022 (b) (1).

    Section 1022 (b) (1) states, “The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to citizens of the United States”

    What a “LEGAL” twisting of words and covert shadowing statement this is. It simply means that the military is not “required” to “indefinitely detain” a US citizen in military custody… BUT… it does not prohibit it.

    As I stated in my prior post, “I do feel that ‘indefinite’ detention without due process, of anyone, is a disgrace to our judicial system of law and only further inflames countries that once looked to the US as a great democracy where personal freedoms were protected and guaranteed under LAW” and, “while the indefinite detention of ‘some’ persons may be argued as having saved our country from additional attacks by extremist militant groups, it doesn’t give any legitimacy to the American foundations of democracy or the US Constitution.”

    Let’s get back to the basics of LAW that founded this great Country and give everyone their date in court.

    Let a Military Tribunal or US Court decide who should be incarcerated and for how long… NOT Congress or the President.


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